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Romance Asian American Suspense

“Checking out of room 302 under the name Ferhat Jafar” a tall man said with full snow gear on. “Sure, you’re all set, have a nice day, sir.” I said, looking to see if the lady behind him would follow him up. Yup, that’s my life. I people-watch, check families in, and basically have lived in the snow my whole life. Well, since the age of twelve.

 My parents own an Inn for incoming skiers in Southern Colorado. Now our inn isn’t in the middle of the resort area, it’s actually on the edge of a highway in the middle of nowhere. But, just 30 miles up the highway is one of Colorado’s finest ski resorts ‘The Golden Yvenne’. So, a vast amount of  families that can’t afford to stay there, or just need somewhere to use for a resting point for the night, come to our inn. I like to think of it as my very own castle. I have chosen to look on the positive side of working this job,, otherwise I would never hear the end of it from my strict Afghan father if I ever were to show disinterest. So, the month of January means so much to me. Not only do we make the most money around this time of year, but this year is another chance for the boy of my dreams to walk through that sliding door. 

Boys that ski have had a place in my heart for the longest time. The thing is, I usually don’t even get to see their faces due to the vast amount of headgear they put on for the snow. There have been the occasional times where I thought I saw a tall teenage boy, but it was just Benny, the old guy who loves the coffee from our Espresso machine. Being homeschooled I don’t meet a lot of boys outside of the Inn. But this year, now that I’m 15, I think it’s time I start using my job here as an advantage. 

The only thing getting in my way, as it has been the last three years, is my mother, whom I call Amma. She is embarrassed of our family working at this small hotel, and doesn’t like getting close with the customers because she feels threatened by them being wealthier than us, because my mom herself used to come from a rich family.. I’ve never even been up the mountain, even though the mountain is the reason we have this job. I guess I’m destined to be here forever, but I was fine with that. No boy that is able to afford to stay at Yvenne's would want my company anyways, oh well. 

“Hi Marigold, I love your name, it's so beautiful. Are you from Afghanistan? My aunt is from there! I would love to know more about y-”. “Excuse me, maam?” a lady with dark hair hollered. I awoke from my dream, drooling on my laptop. “Hi, my boys and I are staying for the next 2 nights. There are 4 of us.” No way, could it be? Gear off and they looked like high schoolers? I avoid mixing with hoi polloi, but they were staying at our Inn? This must mean they couldn’t afford Yven- “Golden Yvenne was so packed this weekend! Did you know they are making people book time slots for the ski lifts now?” I felt like my heart was crushed. Like someone’s hand, physically got shoved into my chest and just squeezed my heart until it bursted into a million pieces. So they are upper class. Here I am, shattered over a family that I met roughly 10.8 seconds ago.

“Oh, uh wow.” I said, acting like I’ve been to the top of the mountain before, “Here is your room key, maam. Oh and breakfast closes tomorrow at 10 am.” The mother grabbed her keys from my hand without saying anything before I heard her say to one of her sons, “I have reservations at the Palace on Main tomorrow morning at 8:30 please be ready.” As they walked away, one of her sons who looked to be the oldest stared intently at me. I awkwardly pretended like I had random things to input on my computer as I typed “kbfs hdbfs”. His stare was so intense I didn’t know if I should ask him if he needed assistance. “Mrs.Telley, let’s just have breakfast at the hotel tomorrow,” he said while still staring at me. “Calliope, you only have two weeks left here in America. Let’s not waste it!” the lady he was with responded. The boy sighed and followed the rest of whom I assumed was his family, but I was now confused. 

An acrid smell rose through my nostrils as I heard Amma’s voice even in my deranged state yelling “how is this happening!”. My first thought after I became fully conscious was that maybe there weren’t as many customers at our inn as we presumed. But my ears started to shrivel as I heard our old, staticky fire alarm go off, and a stampede of feet stomping outside my window. “Mari, get out! Break the window!” I looked out the window and saw the boy. The boy from yesterday, the one who wanted breakfast here. 

I didn’t move for 5 seconds. My vision got worse, all I could see was him, and he was looking at me from the outside. I heard Amma’s voice but I ignored her even though she was speaking in the most harsh tone I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t think but to throw my phone out of the window, breaking the glass.

The only fire I’ve ever experienced was when I was three in Afghanistan, though I don’t even know if that really happened because I don’t remember it clearly. I climbed out of the window, forgetting to place a towel on the windowsill, but wishing I had as I felt the glass pierce through my thigh. I’d like to not remember the next 20 minutes of my life that followed.

Tears were forming in his eyes, as his lips quivered, “it was an accident.” I didn’t respond because I liked the thought of this boy but my parents lost all their money and it was because of him. And that was more important to me. I got up because I didn’t know what would happen now, but he grabbed my arms with his ashy hands. “Your parents aren’t suing Mrs.Telley, so thank you.” I was bewildered and skimmed over to my mom, avoiding any ashy pieces on the ground that the snow didn’t already burn out. 

“Marigold, we are moving back to Afghanistan because  my mother has jobs for us there. The Inn wasn’t doing well anyways and maybe this was a sign,” my mom said in a stern tone as if it was already decided. My voice got nasally as I started visibly crying, “Why don’t you just sue th-that family. They’re rich and we n-n-need money to get back up on our feet, right?” My voice trembled. “Mari, our building is burnt to the ground. There is a cleanup crew coming up north that Ms.Telley is already funding. We will stay with them for a night and use all of our money from the Inn for living in Afghanistan,” my dad stepped in. 

I had no words. None at all. The roads closed because of the fire right off of the highway. So our only route was to drive the car up to the top of the mountain, and take a ski lift down to the next town in sight. A fireman took the Telley family’s car. It was a beautiful sight. The top of the mountain, approaching a ski lift, next to a boy. But I was not feeling very beautiful inside. I only felt pain. Pain, pain, and only pain. I didn’t have the slightest love for the boy anymore, who’s name I found out was Calliope. “Ride with me?” He said as we approached the ski lift. I had no other clothes besides what I was wearing, not even a purse, or a cell phone, because he couldn’t wait 6 years until he was legal to smoke. Calliope took my hand and pulled me onto the ski lift. “The smoking age is only 18 in Greece, where I’m from,” he said.

 “You’re from Greece?” I asked. 

“Yeah, staying with the Telley’s for two more weeks as an exchange student.” 

“Oh.”

His stare grew intense, just like the first day I met him. 

“So, tell me about you. I may never see you again, but I’d like to at least know the name of the girl whose life I unfortunately ruined.”

“Marigold.”

“First time at the mountain? How long have you lived here?”

I hated that he could tell, it made me angry for some reason. I didn’t respond. The awkward silence filled the air, but I let it. 

We came off the ski lift together and headed to their minivan. I didn’t really talk to the other two boys, didn’t even catch their names. Mrs.Telley put on a CD and the acoustic version of ‘Island in the Sun’ by Weezer was brought to all of our ears. Maybe I would wake up and it would all have been a dream. A traumatizing one but still  a dream. 

A male voice could be heard from the inside of the Telley’s house. “I need a new franchise to open up, Terrance. After visiting Calliope, seeing his country, and the new opportunity Paul gave me, I can open up a franchise somewhere in Greece,” the man said. It was Mr. Telley. 

As Mrs.Telley unlocked the door, his words processed some more in my head. Calliope heard it too because he was staring directly at me as if a light bulb had popped into his head. “Your business.” he said, “The-the Inn”.  I ignored him because I was puzzled, confused, and just needed to lay down. After a nice shower and a night of worrying, I could overhear Mr. and Mrs.Telley’s conversation and I heard my name come up. 

3 years later 

It was our sixth ski ride together, and our 4th in Greece. It was almost time for me to head back to the inn but he insisted on following me. I took out my camera and snapped another photo for my photography class assignment. It was my senior year. In another country. With the person who once ruined my life. Who knew what fate could bring me.

January 22, 2022 04:41

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02:53 Jan 27, 2022

Your story popped up in my 'critique circle'. I really like the opening and hearing about what's it like to work in a hotel! You have great sentence structure and variety. The part I like best is when you are describing what you are doing like the line.. 'I awkwardly pretended like I had random things to input on my computer as I typed “kbfs hdbfs”. ' That's a great writers voice, making the reader feel how you feel. For suggestions, I think you could have added some more anecdotes about the hotel, and some more details about moments wi...

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