As I walked down the corridor, I wondered what tonight's big event was to be. Last time, it was a ball. The hotel didn't have those often, maybe every six months, so I knew it wasn't going to be that. I had heard rumours of an alcohol-fueled party, but I really couldn't imagine that being authorised.
"This is a place of class," my brother had told me. "So don't get up to anything."
I had assured him with my fingers crossed that any reputation I would gain would be a good one. Of course, my fingers had only been crossed in case something went wrong. I had a plan, and my plans almost always worked.
"Excuse me," I stopped a young lady as she passed me in the hall. "Do you know what the event is tonight? Only, I'm planning to go and I'm not quite sure what to wear."
She smiled. "I'm not supposed to tell people who don't have invitations."
"Oh," I replied, slightly offended by her assumption. "Well I have had an invitation. I just lost it. Not everyone is as organised as you, miss."
My brother, Marcus, always told me about guests he'd heard about. This one in particular, he didn't know the name of, but he had had numerous complaints when her food hadn't been ready and at the table in the exact amount of time estimated.
"Yes, well, I suppose you're only young. But where is your proof?"
"Surely the fact that I knew of an event tonight is proof enough?"
"Unfortunately not. And I'll have you know that-" she continued with quite a pretentious rant about how esteemed she thought she was and how common she thought I was for some time. I had a good mind to comment on the fact that she was still in her night robe even though it was almost noon, but I held my tongue. A good reputation did not come from pointing out other people's faults.
It was quite boring. I actually stopped listening after about five minutes, but luckily the one-sided conversation was interrupted by a smart and well-spoken room attendant.
"Excuse me, ma'am," he directed his words at me. "Am I correct in believing that you are Miss Tyrant, the sister of one of our chefs?"
"You would," I said.
"I recognised you from the dress your brother described. Stained with hot sauce, is it?"
"Um, yes, that's right," I agreed with him mainly for continuity. I normally claimed the stains were from an accident with some bleach.
The attendant turned to the young lady. "I apologise for interrupting. Miss Tyrant is actually invited to all of our events. She is our most frequent customer. One could almost say she resides here permanently, however she does leave for six weeks in the summer to visit her parents. I would kindly request that you treat her with more respect."
She pursed her lips and continued down the corridor.
I followed the room tenant to keep him company in return for his kindness. He let me do so for around half an hour, making sure I didn't disturb his actions the whole time. I chatted absently, pointing out that were were roughly the same age and commenting on what he was doing. All he said the entire time was that his name was Ewan. Eventually, while taking his break, he spoke.
"That's quite an interesting accent."
"I could say the same for yours."
"True." His accent was probably the best you could get in Manhattan. The stereotypical British accent of America. "Where does yours come from? I'm sure you can guess the wealthy upbringing which led to mine."
His openly self-important attitude attracted me instantly. He wasn't quite conceited, but he had an honest quality about him.
"My family own a farm in New Zealand. I've never actually lived there myself, though."
He looked at me for a second. "Go on then, elaborate."
I sat opposite him. "Well, I was born in Seattle, and that's where I learnt to talk, but I was surrounded by people with this accent. My family's quite big, and we don't get out much. I spent a lot of time with my brother. His accent's worse than mine. We're actually known for this accent, even in New Zealand apparently."
"You talk a lot," Ewan said before I could continue. "Do you not go to New Zealand in the summer?"
"Nope. I've never set foot there in my life. I just go back to Seattle. I have a summer job there as a waitress, but all that money goes to my stay here. My family contribute a bit too."
"So, how did you come to live in Manhattan?"
"We're not terribly rich. Actually, we're quite-" I stopped myself before I said 'poor'. That would scupper my plan before it started. "I mean, we have a bit of money, but like I said, we're a big family, and we have to share it around. Marcus earns a lot here and he likes to provide so-"
"Alright, I've heard enough," Ewan stood up and we began walking back down the hall. "Perhaps I can get to know you over time, rather than all at once."
"How would you do that when you work here? Isn't that against the rules?"
"Miss Tyrant, it is only against the rules when I'm working. Tonight's event is a cocktail party. If you like, we could attend it together. The way I see it, you're not liked by all, and the guests attending will recognise me as their servant. However, together, we could heighten each other's reputation, just by standing side by side. What's your opinion?"
"My opinion is that I like the way you think. We'll meet in the lobby at seven-thirty."
He nodded and smiled. This was to be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.