Sheer determination transformed his burning rage to cold calculation. It was
simply a click from one extreme emotion to the other. Indifference gave him the power to
turn away and continue walking down the hall of the Holiday Inn. The burgundy carpets
were soft against his leather boots, making him feel like a ghost already haunted by the
scene distilled in his brain. Emotions were an afterthought, for he had a plan that was
shrouding all else. The cruelty of it gave him balance; the calm before the storm. As he
opened the door to leave, his mouth formed something that resembled a smile.
Janie threw her head back in ecstasy, letting Philippe take her to the heights of
pleasure her reserved husband could never accomplish. She felt young and free in his
muscled embrace, straddling his thick sweaty thighs as he mastered her. A powerful
thrust sent her senses reeling and her eyes popping open. She caught a glimpse of a
shadow at the door as wetness flooded her. Philippe heaved a great sigh, and placed his
sweaty head against her breast with a laugh.
“Ah, babe. I think that was the best yet.”
Janie rubbed her eyes. The door was firmly shut. Still, uneasiness flowed through
her. She disentangled herself from Philippe, and quickly threw open the door. She looked
up and down the corridor. No one was there. There was not even a hint of disturbance in
“Babe, close that damn door. For Christ sake, you don’t have any clothes on.”
With a roll of her eyes, Janie shut the door and leaned against it. Absently, she
stared down at her wedding band, twisting around her finger. She was paranoid. For the
past week she’d felt she was being watched. Every time she met with Phillipe, she’d felt
eyes scorning her. Maybe it was guilt, but that was ridiculous. She’d been having an
affair for the past six months, an echo of her malicious rebellion against the utter
constrictions of her life with the, oh so perfect Walter, and his disapproving family. She
was common, a fact they didn’t let her forget. She didn’t grow up with nannies,
limousines to school, and four year degrees. She’d been raised in middle class comfort,
with school buses and community college.
It was by chance that she’d met Walter, the attractive but broodingly quiet
successful lawyer. If Patricia, her supervisor, hadn’t accidentally entered the wrong dollar
amount into his checking account the day she’d left for vacation, then she, plain Janie
Carlton, wouldn’t have had to fix it in Patricia’s absence. Lord knows, she’d never dealt
with him before and he’d been banking with Affix Bank of America for years. A
flirtation started, then a date. Before she knew it, she was vacationing across the world,
flying on private jets, given everything she ever dreamed, and a new husband to boot.
Eventually, the fantasy ended, and reality came crashing down with heartbreaking
clarity. Walter was a fraud. He’d gotten married to the legal defense system the day he
passed his bar. Oh, he was attentive and sweet, gentle in bed. Perfectly cordial, never one
to raise his voice, always compromising, so lovingly tender. For Janie, it wasn’t enough.
She was a self absorbed, attention seeking, thrill chaser that just wanted more.
She was almost ashamed of herself for feeling such a way. She hadn’t
immediately given into her greedy compulsions. She’d tried to be the object of
admiration, although it bored her to tears. She needed the fights, the sloppy sex, drunken
nights, and suicidal moments. She was deranged, she knew it, but still, she’d tried to be
the content wife! Then the in laws showed up.
There weren’t a more snobbish bunch in the world. To have made her feel so
unworthy was a huge feat indeed, for she didn’t lack in ego. Yet, somehow with their
snotty comments, and well placed barbs, they had managed to shred every last bit of her
pride. Her spiteful words did not faze them, was only met with a raised eyebrow and a
smirk. How frustrating it was when nothing could penetrate the smugness of that lot.
Increasingly with time, her discontent malformed into abject misery, followed by
an outlet that was her present lover, Philippe. He was young, wild, and insatiable; the
type of guy for whom a girl would jump off a building for. Tall, sleek, and muscled with
the grace of a panther, he rolled out of bed and pulled her to him.
“What’s that look?”
His green eyes twinkled with humor. How could one stay so pensive when up
against such childish playfulness? She stroked a finger down his chest. “Hmm…I was
thinking that we should take a bath.”
Philippe grabbed her finger, and placed it in his hot mouth. “With bubbles?” he
Laughing, Janie nodded. Philippe picked her up, and together they headed into the
bathroom, all thoughts of guilt and suspicion vanished from Janie’s mind.
Walter looked at the dawn in greeting. The day had finally come. Every fiber of
his being was honed on the moment. Every feeling he had left turned on itself, canceling
out all others as he stood, still and calm, staring at the pinkish orange hue gently
brightening the sky. Oblivion has a strange effect on a person, Walter thought. But then,
so does revenge.
“She thinks she’s got it, don’t she?” grumbled Jennifer Kemble.
“Humph! Child, if you had a rack like that, you’d be strutting like you were queen
of the jungle too,” argued Eileen.
“She’s a snotty bitch, Eileen. Been working here for three weeks, and already
she’s got the penthouse suites.”
“It’s because she works hard. I didn’t see you volunteering to stay over all those
nights last week, Jen,” reminded Eileen.
“I bet she’s fucking Malcolm,” speculated Jen, the other housekeeper.
“And I bet you’ll look really sweet with a bar of soap down your throat. For
shame, Jennifer Kemble, for using such language!” Madison reprimanded.
She stared, appearing deeply wounded at the two Latino housekeepers eating their
lunch at the back table of the break room. She’d dealt with that jealous heathen Jen for
over three weeks, and she’d had enough. Eileen was an older woman in her forties with a
pleasant smile and an occasional nod. Jen, in her mid-twenties, looked like a shriveled
raisin, with her squinty coal black eyes, and moustache on her thin upper lip.
Jen stood up, visibly shaking. “Are you threatening me?”
Madison merely raised a sardonic brow. There was no doubt that her shapely, but
athletic build could take on the atrocious woman. “Think whatever you wish. I have
duties to attend to.”
So upset was Jen, that she picked up a linen towel and threw it at the back of
Madison’s head with a childish shriek.
Eileen jumped up. “My word, Jen!”
Without even realizing it, Madison’s docile green eyes glazed over in rage and her
fiery red tresses suddenly looked like flames come to full blaze as she swung her head
around. Both Jen and Eileen took a step back
Just then, Malcolm, the hotel manager, stepped into the break room with a cheery
smile. He was a rotund short man with a slouching toupee and watery gray eyes.
“Good afternoon ladies!” He looked between the women.” My, my, did I miss
Jen and Eileen quickly shook their heads. Malcolm gazed questionably at Maddie.
He was half in love with her, and who could blame him. She was a lovely piece. She
emanated purity, despite the looks of a mighty temperament. She had even forgiven him
his faux pas of weeks ago, when he’d had a little too much to drink from the mini bar.
One minute he was talking to her and the next, he had her breast in his hand atop her.
God knows how long she’d been trying to get him off of her. She could have exposed
him, ending his career, but instead had said, “ no harm,” and asked for the penthouse
suites. He knew the other girls hated her because of her beauty, but he would not allow
her tender sensibilities to be offended.
“Everything all right, Maddie?”
For ten suspenseful seconds, Madison eyed her enemy. They both knew that
Madison had the upper hand, had had it since she arrived at the Holiday Inn three weeks
ago. The meekness was back in her demeanor, her smirk one of droll amusement.
“Everything is fine, Malcolm, but I really must go, “she said, heading toward her
housekeeping cart. “ Plenty of people checking in on the penthouse level, and I have a
million things to do.”
The view from the Holiday Inn balcony was magnificent as always, but
something just felt off. Janie couldn’t explain it. It was Walter, Walter was causing her
strange mood. For the past month, her husband was not the man she married. Oh he
smiled, and charmed, and talked, had even made love to her as if everything were the
same. All month, everyone had raved on how attentive he was, how happy they looked,
how lucky they were to still have the flare of newlyweds, but it just all seemed so staged.
It could be the affair, but it wasn’t all on her part, this feeling of falseness. Walter was
absent, and only this shell remained of him. It was disconcerting to say the least, but
nothing more so than his parting words that morning.
Just a little after 4am, her husband prepared to leave, and as always he’d leaned
down with a kiss and a stroke of her hair. “Goodbye,” was what he'd said. Not the usual,
“see you later,” as was his habit, but goodbye.
Why goodbye? Why now?
“Why are you standing on that balcony with such a frightened look, babe? Come
away from there and join me in bed. “
Sex, sex, sex! Was that all he thought about? God, how stupid was she to have
engrossed herself in this rebellious affair. Today would be their last day, she decided, as
she sat down next to Philippe. Her handsome admirer had lost his appeal. His amorous
attentions that once excited her, now only made her halfheartedly interested. He cared not
for conversation, her life, or her thoughts. He simply wanted her body, numerous times,
which simply made her sore. The fulfillment had dulled, and now the more she once so
avidly sought was but a faded memory.
She was married woman, for Christ sakes! What was she doing here?
“Kiss me, babe,” purred Philippe.
She looked into his face, trying to recall what had brought her to this moment.
With no answer readily coming, she simply leaned down and did as he asked. Just as he
was slipping her shirt off, a knock came at the door. Both froze.
“Housekeeping,” came a gentle voice.
Laughing, Janie jumped up and answered the door. A five foot six, green eyed
beauty stood before her. Her shy smile took her aback for surely someone that looked that
gorgeous couldn’t be so timid.
“I brought you champagne, ma’am”
Janie felt so ugly before this sparkling diamond, that she straightened her stance
and presented herself much like a haughty witch. “I didn’t order champagne.”
The girl immediately appeared contrite. Dear god, she didn’t look a day over
sixteen. Maddie bit her lip and pleaded with guileless eyes.
“I’ve only been on the job a short while ma’am, and Jen is the one that put in the
order that the champagne be sent up. Housekeeping does all executive deliveries, and she
assured me that you ordered champagne,” said Madison.
The girl looked on the verge of tears. Without knowing she did so, Janie’s spine
softened. “It’s all right,” she soothed. “ We’ll take the champagne.”
“I won’t charge you ma’am, and I’ll inform my boss from now on to approve
orders being sent up.”
“Yes, well…” the girl’s sunny smile could make the dead rise. “ I’ll have a couple
of words myself to say about this Jen. Thank you.”
Taking the bottle and the two stemmed glasses that the girl offered, she reentered
“What you got there?” asked Phillipe.
Holding up her prize, she boasts, “champagne!”
“Ah, pour us a glass. Let’s drink until we’re half dead on it! “
“Mr. Larson! Mr. Larson! Malcolm?” shouted Madison.
Malcolm turned around, just as a man careened into him. There was something
stoic and malevolent about the stranger. Mumbling an apology to the rude brute, he
turned around to find Maddie flagging him down. She sprinted to a halt in front of him,
looking wildly anxious. He’d never seen the girl in such a tizzy.
The rude man forgotten, Malcolm settled Maddie in a chair nearby. “Tell me
what’s wrong?” he asked, taking the seat opposite her.
“It’s about a champagne order, sir. Jen told me that suite number twelve
prearranged a bottle. I went to deliver it, but the lady said that they didn’t place the order.
She did it to embarrass me!” she cried.
Malcolm put his head in his hand. He should have known that, that angry whore
would try to be spiteful. “It’s ok, dearie. I’ll deal with her.”
“But that’s not the worst of it!” she wailed. “As I was handing the nice lady the
bottle, I noticed that it was…oh…it was messed with. I saw the cap halfway off. I
thought to take it back, but that would have been so rude. I think she meant to get me in
trouble by putting something in it and blaming it on me. I’ve tried, Mr. Larson, I have! I
just wanted to fit in, and I think she has it in for me. I mean, today she threw a towel at
“She what?!” Malcom exclaimed.
Covering her eyes with her hands, Maddie shook her head; tears streaming down
her cheeks. “I didn’t say anything earlier because I just meant to brush it off. Eileen saw
the whole thing. It was hateful, but I thought she’d come around. But messing with a
customer…” she trailed off, a look of horror etched on her face.
Malcolm too, was dismayed. Oh, that girl had done it now. He would personally
see that, that bitch wouldn’t work in a hotel for the rest of her life. How dare she make
this delicate flower cry?
Malcolm stood, anger pouring from him. “I’ll take care of this. This could get
ugly, and I don’t want you anywhere around here when this all goes down. Everybody
here knows that surveillance has been blacked out all day, and that wench thinks to take
advantage. Well, I’m going to collect her, and we’re going to visit suite twelve just to
prove her mischief.”
Madison too stood, terror creeping into her gaze. “But, Mr. Larson, everyone will
think I’m a snitch. I’ll be ruined! They’ll know it was me.”
“Don’t you fret. This I swear to you, your name will not come from these lips. In
no shape or form will I implicate you as my informant. Rest assured, I’ll deal with
So outraged was Mr. Malcolm Larson that when he walked away he missed the
satisfied smirk of Ms. Madison Eden.
Walter ignored the fat man he’d almost trampled, but couldn’t continue the same
lack of interest in the red haired goddess sprinting across the lobby. Only for a second did
he let her glow touch him, before he turned away and made his way onto the elevator.
Not worried about being seen by the eyes of the hotel, he knew their surveillance system
was all but blank monitors. He’d planned it so. Still, time was of the essence. He had
twenty minutes. He watched his clock absently go tick tock as he made his way up to the
penthouse floor; suite number twelve.
Malcolm Larson strode purposely down the hallway, five security men one step
behind him for the witch hunt. He found her in the locker room, looking intently into her
locker. At the sound of his approach, she guiltily slammed the door.
“Mr. Larson, what are you doing here?” asked Jennifer.
The guards all looked at each other, then back at her in suspicion. Malcolm
glared. “What are you hiding?”
“ Non…nothing,” she stuttered. Why is security with you? Is something wrong?”
“Stand aside, Jennifer,” Malcolm demanded.
When she refused to budge, he nodded to one security man, who promptly hauled
her out of the way. “Hey! You can’t go in there. That is my private stuff!”
Opening the locker, everyone stood back, amazed. There were about two dozen
pictures of a man, all in black and white. They hung from every corner in the locker,
along with locks of hair and different objects obviously belonging to him.
Malcolm swung his thunderstruck gaze to her “What is the meaning of this?”
“It’s not mine! I just found it like that!” she cried.
“You expect me to believe that?!” Without waiting for an answer, he swings back
to the guard. “Search the whole thing Charlie, and call me when you find something. You
four come with me, and bring Ms. Kemble with you.”
“You can’t do that! That must be illegal. What the hell is going on? Where are
you taking me? Malcolm!”
She looked hysterical, strongly held prisoner in the guard’s grasp. He didn’t know
what the hell was going on either, but the man in the picture looked awfully familiar.
Something evil was afoot. “I’m taking you to the penthouse level.”
The key let him in. He felt no fear of detection for he knew they would be
completely out of it. Madison had done her job well, and by now Malcolm Larson would
be finding the planted pictures in Jennifer Kemble’s locker along with the pills. From the
very beginning she had been the target to take the fall, for she had a malicious streak that
deserved to be punished. All was in place for the final act.
Janie lay half naked, hanging over the side of the king sized bed, her mouth
gaping open. Her lover, the impressionable Philippe, sat up against the headboard,
champagne glass still in hand. Slipping on his latex gloves, Walter removed the
wineglass, and threw it against the wall. Champagne oozed down onto the floor, staining
the plush white carpet, but Walter was already onto his next task.
There wasn’t much to do besides destroy the room in a resemblance of a brawl,
stomping here, throwing himself up against the wall there. It would be enough to alert
neighbors to trouble. Taking out the nine millimeter, he tested the gun in his hand. He
was overcome by an unexpected wish to pull the trigger. He aimed accurately at his
wife’s head, and imagined the blood oozing from her brain; the impact of the bullet
sinking into her skull. So arousing it would be to see the surprised death in her eyes, the
ebbing of life from her body, the last cry from her mouth, thought Walter.
He gently squeezed.
His phone rang, bringing him back to reality.
“Three minutes,” murmured a husky voice.
Hanging up, he allows the coldness to mellow out, meticulously spreading torn
love letters written in a very accurate housekeeper’s hand. Hefting Janie off of the bed,
she restlessly stirred. With her in his arms, all he could feel was flesh. So unmoving that
flesh was. Familiarity had deadened, making her a thing, a tool to ease the anger churning
in his gut. Carefully, he placed the gun in her hands. Groggily, she reached for
consciousness, and just when her fingers started to twitch; he helps her pull the trigger.
Without his support, she fell backwards. Quickly, he yanked Philippe from his
position on the bed, and onto the floor next to it; face down. For thirty seconds he
watched the glazed look in her once beautiful eyes, searching for remorse for what he’d
just done. None was forthcoming. As he heard the rushing pound of footsteps coming
down the hall, he quickly made his escape via a hidden rope off of the balcony.
“You can’t do this to me. You have no right! I don’t know that man. Someone set
me up. It probably was that bitch, Madison,” Jen sneered.
“And did Madison throw a towel at herself, and then cover for you? Ugh, you
make me sick. I’ve been watching you Jennifer. I’m not going on hearsay here; I’m going
on what I’ve personally seen. You sabotaged a bottle of champagne, and sent it up to that
suite. I don’t know why, but I’m about to find out!”
“We’ll see about that.”
Just as they were getting off of the elevator, a shot rang out from down the hall.
All ducked, and stand crouched; appalled, as silence swept the hallway. Suddenly, open
doors filled with scantily dressed individuals, all pointing toward the source of the shot.
“I heard them arguing,” someone yelled.
“Sounded like a fight was going on, “chirped in another.
“Somebody call 911!” Malcolm yelled. He noticed that all doors had opened,
except one, suite number twelve. His guards must have perceived this too, for all looked
peculiarly at Jennifer.
“Why are you looking at me like that?,” she screamed. “ Her eyes widened. “ You
don’t think that I…” she trailed off, looking dumbstruck.
All rushed down the hallway. After seconds that felt like hours of fumbling for
the keycard, Malcolm finally unlocked the door. What met his eyes made him feel like
vomiting. A crazed looking woman sat on the floor with a smoking gun in her hands. A
check around the bed, found them her target. A man lay facedown in a pool of blood, a
single gunshot to the head.
Jennifer started screaming.
Malcolm could barely take it all in. The room was trashed; broken glass and
furniture were everywhere, along with a million different pieces of torn paper that look
liked old love letters. Absently, he picked one up, and was aghast at the signature.
Jennifer was staring down at the dead man in utter amazement. He was her old lover,
according to the letter in Malcolm’s hand. My god, what did the girl set into motion? It
took him a minute to notice that his walkie was going off. He couldn’t make out the
“What’s that you said, Charlie?”
“Yeah, I said I’ve got a pretty empty bottle of prescription drugs belonging to a
Philippe Izreal. Looks like sleeping pills. Found it in Ms. Kemble’s locker. What’s she
doing with another man’s prescription?” he asked.
Plotting to kill, that’s what, Malcolm thought. He was only too happy to let the cops
take over when they got there. Jennifer Kemble, and Mrs. Janie Bradford were arrested,
one for attempted murder, the other for the deed. Malcolm almost felt sorry for the Janie
woman, for she didn’t even look there, her vacant eyes only showed confusion and
heartache. Jennifer’s pleas of innocence fell on deaf ears.
The evidence spoke for itself. It seemed to everyone that Mrs. Janie Bradford had
been conducting an affair with Mr. Philippe Izreal. At an unknown time, he attracted the
attention of Jennifer Kemble who quickly became obsessed with the Phillipe after a brief
affair of their own. Upon learning that he and Mrs. Bradford were having an affair (at the
hotel she worked at, no less!), Jennifer devised a plan to kill them both with an overdose
of sleeping pills, planted in a champagne bottle. Unfortunately, Mrs. Bradford found the
hundreds upon hundreds of love letters Ms. Kemble had written Philippe over the years,
and flew into a jealous rage, promptly killing her lover with the nine millimeter registered
in her name. No one contested what was so obvious.
It was an open and shut case.