The Morningstar Arms is an unremarkable yet pleasant hotel in the more fashionable end of London’s SoHo district. A typical boutique operation it typically catered to modestly budgeted tourists – the kind that visit a city year after year and would never dream of wasting their money on anything so high hat as a Ritz or Hyatt. Brown suits, gray dresses, tan macks, sensible shoes these were the dress of the day. Billowing yellow silk, high heels and a pleasant waft of “Joy” were to say the least attention getting. So were the eyes and the crisp and business-like manner of the woman who had invaded the sleepy lobby at 3:30pm, when Roger was working the desk. She signed the register, Katherine Arlington, and said she was visiting from Dover, but Roger was from Dover and he knew the accent wasn’t quite right – Bristol maybe or ______. It didn’t matter – this one had come a long way from where she started and there wasn’t much use in quarreling about just where that past had been.
She wanted a room, which had surprised Roger almost as much as her sudden entrance. Women like this simply didn’t stay at the Morningstar Arms – at least he had never seen one, in twenty one years of working there. He thought maybe she wanted directions or her car had a flat or she had her purse pinched by some Soho thug. The thought that she would be a guest simply had never occurred to him.
She asked for a room facing the street, he gave her the key for 4C, she let her fingers linger lightly atop his hand as she grasped the key then she deliberately walked past the elevator and took the stairs. Roger never saw her or anyone like her ever again, but that night he felt good.
The room was simple and dressed in brown just like the lobby clerk