Elise: 5 o'clock

It is five o'clock, and I don't know where to go. I am in the lobby of Thomas's hotel, because he hasn't answered my emails, or his cell phone, or left me a key to the room. I know he can be a bit forgetful at times, and he forgot to tell me he was going out. He has a lot on his mind. So I am waiting.

The receptionist, a tall, perky woman in blue, peers over at me. I have been sitting on the plush red lobby couch for the past two hours with Pastella wrapped in a pale pink recieving blanket. My duffel bag is at my feet. Under her gaze, I straighten up, trying to look as old as possible. "Miss, are you sure you're all right?" She asks, and I can hear her silent accusation, You pathetic, homeless little girl! Get off my couch!

"I am waiting for my husband, thank you," I repeat for the thirtieth time, wincing as I say the word husband. Thomas hates that word, and I am forbidden to refer to him as mine. But sometimes its just neccesary. I sure hope the receptionist doesn't let him know.

The hotel doors slide open and I watch the people pour in to the lobby. A man and a woman, laughing, loaded down with suitcases while a little boy and girl follow them, clinging to a few toys. The girl is crying, and the woman reaches down and scoops her up, kisses her, and then kisses her husband. The little boy stands off to the side, pretending to look cool, but watching his mother with adoration. The father smiles at him and puts an arm around his son. A perfect family on a perfect vacation.

I stand up, careful not to wake the sleeping Pastella, and head for the phone behind the lobby.

The End

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