She’d never been given a real explanation as to why her body reacted like that, why her body would burn with those Irate welts from the sun.
Her condition, like most things, was only a miner inconvenience at this point in her life.
That same response was rare enough around her face, which she would’ve been thankful for if she’d taken a day flight.
Concerned with her skin Eloise always took a night plane when she traveled.
This would’ve made sleep difficult for others, but Eloise was one for the night life, taking her five to eight hours by the horns.
Eloise was proud to say that she’d been everywhere the sun shined hot, and never bothered it while she was there.
And now she was in a Major Coastal City at about ten o’clock at night, still managing to avoid the sun's advances, as she took a taxi out to the Hotel.
Her driver seemed friendly, though his girlfriend was seven kinds of queasy.
She couldn’t complain much, her trip was a bargain.
Besides horses have teeth.
Eloise was lucky to have packed light in any case, considering the relative size of the place.
That was unfair, at least to the hostess; who seemed rather frazzled when she asked about the room she’d booked.
“I’m sorry Miss, was that 1C?”
“Yes, I’d asked for a room facing the west.”
“It seems someone’s already booked it.”
“Well, that’s alright, are there any other rooms on the west side?”
“Well there is the room adjoining it, room 2C. It’s still on the west side and we could give you a discount on it!”
“That should suit nicely.”
Eloise took the downright vintage keycard and booked it to her room.
She dropped her tote and suitcase before inspecting her sheets, since she wasn’t interested in carrying bed bugs upon her leaving.
Eloise wasn’t above living out of her suitcase, even if her mother would’ve derided her.
She went about freshening up, setting up the bathroom, and arranging everything for her week.
While Eloise rarely made use of the bath towels, the other amenities were fair game.
The various sample sized containers filled with soaps of mismatched scent.
They had provided conditioner but no shampoo.
Eloise being a frequent traveler had a small backlog anyway, so she was set.
Eloise considered making coffee after she finished her bath, but went for the tea when she noticed they had only provided fully-caffeinated coffee.
Eloise always made use of her amenities, at least the pleasurable ones.
Now that wasn’t unexpected, what was unexpected was the rustling at the other side of the adjoining door.
She hadn’t been expecting that, and she couldn’t see anything wrong with watching the door.
Though it did defeat the purpose of a calming cup of tea.
The rustling stopped in short order.
Then, there was a timid little knock.
If Eloise was a cat the curiosity would’ve killed her, but knowing what curiosity did to the cat didn’t stop her from opening the door.
“Mom! there’s somebody in there?”, went the little boy at her door.
“It’s nice that you acknowledge I’m somebody.”
The boy’s mother scurried over from her bed to pull the little boy from the door.
“Now, how did you manage to open that?”
“It was already open.” the little boy squeaked.
“I opened mine actually, I got curious.”
“That’s dangerous you know!”, she said, pointing to Eloise.
“Probably. So, do you have any decaf?”
Her face fell, “Yes. why?”
“I for some reason only have full-caf, wanna trade?”
As it turned out she did, she managed to get a whole stack of decaf from the lady next door at the minimum expense of all three of her own envelopes.
The locks didn’t seem to work as intended, she was hoping for a nice weekend to spite it.
The adjoining room was quiet after that, the child’s ruckus ebbed completely by twelve o’clock.
It seemed late for a boy that young, but Eloise couldn’t judge given her own lifestyle.
Eloise had the rest of her first night squared out, after getting redressed.
She’d decided she wanted to laugh, so it was people watching until last call, it was a lousy first activity of the week but it was really all that could be done after the ride over.
She took as long as she could in the interim outside before sunrise, she even managed to find an indoor pool she could use later.
Eloise knew she wouldn’t be up for too much on her first night out, so after fetching something from a twenty-four hour place she went back to her room.
Which was about the time she ran into her neighbor, who was fetching Ice for herself with a different kid.
“Was that the Door creep?”
“Oh shush, don’t be rude.”
“Well, was it?”
“Yes.”, The mother said, making Eloise trip.
She managed not to lose her dinner, but she had something to laugh about after.
She got into a pattern after that, Eloise had watched a lot of people in her travels, but a few minutes here or there, had nothing on the week in common she was having with the family next door.
The Lady Austeja, was apparently writing a book, actually did live in the city full time, she was between apartments due to a divorce of all things.
She couldn’t imagine it really, being married or eventually divorced, it wasn’t a good look on her mother and she certainly couldn’t wear it with any grace.
Her kids were living essentially in the second bed; one thing they both pulled off was a mingy attitude.
The kids were great, little Isaac was sweet and beamed like the sun in your eyes, while Emily was as funny as a shovel to the shin.
The gap in their ages was something to think about, though she supposed it was hard to plan those kinds of things.
This was what she understood by the third day, with only a few hours of daylight shared with her neighbors.
Eloise felt like a detective.
It was the fourth day that really took her by surprise.
The hard knock of a less than happy mother, was what pulled her out of bed, at about ten o’clock in the morning.
Realizing that she wasn’t gonna get much sleep just then, she let Austeja in.
She liked Austeja.
“I need time away from the kids. They get it.”
“I get it. Do you want anything?”
“Tea and an ear?”
While Eloise was only semi-responsive, it was apparently all Austeja needed, though it made sense considering the subject matter.
After sharing what advice Eloise had regarding the rather fitful subject, Austeja had her own curiosities.
“Why didn’t you go to a specialist?”
Eloise was surprised at that, Austeja had been watching her too.
So she answered, “My disconnection always seemed like a worse issue, I didn’t want to go out because the sun seemed to hate me,” she continued, “That and I couldn’t afford it. I wanted to do things, and once I knew how to deal, it didn’t really matter.”
Austeja seemed like a busy bee after that, barely looking up from her work, only really stopping to eat and feed her kids.
Eloise had been near forced into a dayshift by then, listening to their lives, she didn’t mind really, they were an interesting family, and she felt safe enough to leave the door open.
It wasn’t like that for her usually, even if she was mostly fearless.
She was glad they’d taken to her so well, even if it made them a little annoying.
Austeja’s most recent plot seemed to be based on sleeping beauty, though the beauty in her story seemed to be a vampire released by a deviant prince and reformed by a fairy.
It all seemed a bit backward, but it was fun to hear about.
Her children on the other hand were rather bored by their mother’s antics.
Which is how she ended up dragging the whole lot to the indoor pool she found earlier in the week.
A day of swimming would at least make the kids less noisy.
Discounting the side benefit of forcing some selfcare into Austeja’s life.
Eloise was happy she managed to swim on her vacation, even in a rather boring city.
She wasn’t much used to boredom, though fascination with it might be an oxymoron.
The pool water was warm from the skylight anyway, she could worry about a reaction, nothing ended a fascination with boredom like easily avoided injury, but seeing the width of the glass eased her.
It wasn’t the only absent thought of the day, as Emily saw fit to bother her while in the pool.
“Why do you wear such thick clothes?”
“Being in direct sunlight gives me hives.”
“What are hives?”
“They are itchy bumps that you get when you come into contact with an allergen.”
“Not really, it’s all an allergic reaction. Hives are just more annoying than threatening.”
“Oh. like hayfever?”
She continued with the strange asides, while Isaac was going back and forth, in then out of the pool.
Austeja was amused with her watching everyone, at least halfway avoiding the water.
It was good practice to take a break every once and awhile.
The kids would mellow out by the end of their trip, well and ready to sleep by the time they got back to the hotel.
Eloise would break out something sweet, while Austeja would sink right back into her writing nook.
They’d drink while the kids slept in the adjoining room.
They’d be laughing about all kinds of off things before Austeja would state, “You're really not old are you? You seemed older when we met, but then I look at you, and you’re not.”
“I suppose I’m a bit ageless,” Eloise said, “maybe it's the lack of sun?”
“The laurel refuses the sun you know.”
“A Lot of things refuse the sun. I mean your Brier Rose does, right?”
She looked into the young Author’s face, and knew she’d found a friend.
“I’ve found an apartment. I know you're a bit of a transient, I’d like to have you over after I sign the lease.”
“That sounds nice.”