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  1. #1
    Le Grand Hotel (with Sojourn)

    Le Grand Hotel (with Sojourn)

    Shades

    Location: Le Grand Hotel, Paris.

    Summer, 1920

    It was a beautiful day for lovers. The weather was warm, but not too hot, birds chirping, a soft breeze all around. Despite people saying other seasons were more romantic, it seemed like more than a few couples had decided to spend summer in Paris. But then again, it was Paris, right? The city was romantic, no matter the time of year. And who would want to stay indoors, right?

    That hotel, whose name definitely matched the style, was packed with guests of all places and flavors. The one thing they had in common was that they were all rich. Very rich. You had to be rich if you wanted to stay in Le Grand Hotel. But it was worth every penny. The apartments were lavish, the food was wonderful, and it had the best view in Paris. It was one of the few hotels that lived up to every word in its advertisement.

    It was a place for those who wanted the best. And apparently, not few did.

    The front desk was busy with a few people checking in - a young woman that seemed to be Italian and tried to communicate with the clerk, an older man speaking a French with a slightly different accent, but correct, and a lady trying to find someone who could speak English. After handling the man, the clerk sighed. Apparently the entire world was gathered in there.

    With an exasperated expression, the man turned to another group who had just arrived. They seemed foreign as well. Just what he needed now. Hoping they at least knew French, the young clerk motioned for them to approach the desk.

    The Gentleman who was speaking French finished checking in, and took his keys, leaving the area with a boy rushing after him with his suitcases.

    The Lady, who had finally managed to speak to the clerk with some help from The Gentleman, was finally moving to her apartment as well. The American lady, less lucky, was still struggling to make herself understood by the young lady she was talking to. Shaking his head, the clerk turned to the newcomers. “Do you speak French?”, he asked, hopeful that he wouldn’t have to deal with more torture for now.

  2. #2
    Sojourn

    Paris was the city of lovers. The perfect place for the Actor and his new Wife to celebrate their honeymoon. Of course, the Agent had planned it all. His client was one of the most popular movie actors in America. With his blond hair and blue eyes, many girls and their mothers had crushes on him. His wife was the envy of many women. They wished they could be her, being married to one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. Becoming a part of a life full of fame and fortune. It was a Cinderella story, especially when she had been a simple secretary before her marriage. The agent was making sure lots of pictures of the newlyweds were taken. He wanted everyone to know what his client and new wife were in one of the grandest cities in the world and very in love with each other.

    He had made sure they were all staying in the Le Grand Hotel. It screamed you had to be rich to stay here and only the best for his client and his wife. And himself, since he got to enjoy the lifestyle as well. The Agent was very annoyed that they had to wait in line. Didn't these people know who they were? They shouldn't have to wait in line like normal people.

    "This is ridiculous."

    He grumbled to the actor, who shrugged. While he was very famous back home, he didn't like to make a huge deal out of himself. Just because he was an actor, it didn't make him better then other people.

    "It's not a big deal."

    "Not a big deal?! You are-"

    The agent was about to tell his client how he was one of the biggest deals in America, which he would have been reminded they were in France. But the clerk addressed them.

    "But of course."

    The Agent replied and the Wife shook her head. She whispered to her new husband.

    "This should be good."

    The Agent was a man quite full of himself and thought that reading over a book of French phrases on the plane ride over made him an instant expert of the language. Somehow instead of asking for three hotel rooms, the actor's Bodyguard had joined them as well for the trip, he instead said in French.

    ~"I want to see your naked breasts and suck on them."~

  3. #3
    Shades

    Upstairs, The Gentleman and The Lady were being settled in their respective rooms. The Gentleman had chosen a penthouse suite, as he loved the view from the top. The Lady had gotten herself a first floor apartment, as she was not particularly fond of heights. That, and she couldn’t really be seen taking up an apartment too close to The Gentleman. They had to keep a low profile, even if the place where they chose to stay seemed to defeat the purpose. The one reason why it didn’t was because they both had a habit of staying there every time they went to Paris. Choosing a different hotel, in this case, might be considered more suspicious than using their regular one.

    Downstairs, the American lady had given up on speaking to the girl. Gesturing for a piece of paper and a pen, she had written down her name and the number of her suite, and added her identification, to make the girl’s work easier. With a sigh of relief, the girl had started checking the woman in. She could feel that the lady would be one of those difficult guests. After checking the lady in and calling for someone to take her and her bags to her apartment, the girl approached the other clerk, in order to help him with the group who had just arrived at the counter.

    She stood at the side of the clerk just as he had finished asking the guests the question about their ability to speak French. They weren’t sure about what his initial answer was. But they did understand his second sentence perfectly.

    The clerk’s eyes went wide in his face. The girl turned beet red and covered her face with her hands. After a moment of shocked silence, the clerk started shouting in French. The shouting attracted an older gentleman, who seemed to be a manager, and a heated conversation in French followed, with the clerk pointing at the agent with a furious expression.

    After hearing everything the man had to say, the older gentleman turned around to the guests and spoke in a slow and careful English. “How may I help you?”. The clerk started protesting, but the man only motioned for him to shut up. They wouldn’t lose a group of rich guests because someone thought he could speak French and obviously couldn’t, after all.

  4. #4
    Sojourn

    The Agent truly had no idea what he had said to the clerks to cause the woman to have such a reaction. In his arrogant mind, he had asked for three rooms and the hotel employees were the ones with the problem understanding his request. Such crappy service, they should have stayed somewhere else if they expected movie star Martin Hayes and his entourage to wait like common folk.

    "What? Doesn't the girl the understand French?"

    Why was she working in a French hotel if she didn't understand the language? The Actor shook his head and asked The Bodyguard quietly.

    "What did he actually?"

    The Bodyguard whispered it into the Actor's ear.

    "...Oh, dear God."

    The Wife looked at the two men curiously and wanted to know as well. When her husband told her, she muttered.

    "I'm shocked she didn't slap him."

    She certainly would. The Agent wasn't her boss anymore, she had worked for him as a secretary before her marriage, but if he had ever said anything like that to her, he would have quite a red mark to explain. Both men agreed with her. The Actor was glad the female employee hadn't, because knowing his agent, the police would be called. Which would get them in the papers for the wrong reasons. He was supposed to be on his honeymoon and it was supposed to be happy times. Not having his agent trying to get people arrested or be arrested himself. The Agent looked at the hotel manager.

    "I certainly hope you are more hopeful these two morons."

    He said waving his hand dismissively at the two clerks. The manager needed new employees, such terrible customer service.

    "We need three rooms, the best your hotel has to offer. For I have American royalty with me and this absolutely ridiculous how long we have been waiting."

    The Agent declared proudly, which caused the Actor's face to turn a little red. He might be famous but he didn't like a big deal being made out of him. He certainly was not royalty. He was a guy from a small town that took a chance to make it big in Hollywood and it worked. Not that his agent ever cared, everywhere the Actor went now was a huge production. Like his wedding and this honeymoon was proving to be. He couldn't remember the last time he went outside his house without a camera in his face. The Agent added.

    "I also want a huge discount because she insulted me."

    The Agent said, pointing at the female clerk. He had no idea what she said but she had being yelling and he was smart enough to know it was about him. Not that his mind could comprehend she was justified in being upset with him.

    "If you don't give me what I want, we'll go somewhere else and I'll tell everyone what a terrible hotel you run. I know lots of important people."

    The Bodyguard turned to the woman that the Agent had offended and told her in much better French.

    ~"I apologize for him, Miss. He is a royal horse's ass."~

    The Wife said to the Actor quietly.

    "I didn't know Paul could speak French."

    "His grandmother was born in Nice and taught him it."

    The Wife nodded her head and wished that they had let Paul do all the talking. Not that Agent would have let them. He always had to be the mouthpiece where ever they went.

  5. #5
    Shades


    The hotel manager was not surprised that the American tourist had offended his clerks. Most of the problems he had there were indeed created by Americans. They thought they knew everything - including how to speak French. He would listen to them, tell them they were right and give them a discount and some treats, like a nice bottle of champagne sent to their apartments, and keep them happy. Just part of the business.


    So, he listened to the Agent with a polite smile, nodded and agreed right away. “Of course, Sir. I will take 40% off your bill, and make sure to send you a bottle of our finest Champagne as a means of apologizing for my clerk’s behavior”, he stated. Of course, always apologize and let them think they’re right, he thought to himself.


    The Agent’s threat almost made the man roll his eyes. He had heard that countless times, and he was still in business. He would never say that, of course. But for him, the Agent was nothing more than the typical spoiled American.


    While the Bodyguard spoke to the female clerk, the manager called for a boy to organize the bags and take them up.


    The young woman behind the counter giggled at the man’s words. She nodded and looked at the Agent. “If I had been anywhere else, I would probably have poured wine on his head”, she replied, obviously pleased with the man’s comment.


    As the group was finally led to one of the elevators to go upstairs to their apartments, the manager waited near the counter and touched the Bodyguard’s arm. “Keep an eye on him out there”, he advised. “Not everyone will be as accomodating”.

  6. #6
    Sojourn


    Unfortunately for the other three, The Agent was definitely the stereotypical tourist. He gave the other three and Americans in general, a bad name. He truly believed he knew everything and that since his client was rich and famous, everyone else should bend to his will. He nodded his head in agreement of what the manager was willing to offer in return for the rudeness of his clerk.


    "Make it two bottles of champagne. These two are on their honeymoon."


    The Agent with a dirty wink that caused the newlyweds to roll their eyes. The Bodyguard smiled at the young woman. Happy that she was no longer as angry. Although she had ever right to be angry. Why his boss kept the Agent around, he had no idea. The man should have lost his job years ago for being a prick.


    ~"I don't blame you. He deserves it."~


    The Agent definitely deserved to have wine dumped on his head and a whole lot more. The Agent yelled at the boy the manager sent to be careful with the bags. If anything was damaged, he'd sue. The Actor passed the two clerks enough French francs to equal out to one hundred American dollars. He was sorry for how his Agent had acted towards them and embarrassed as well. He'd have to talk to him about it later. He also planned to give the boy taking up their luggage the same amount of money.


    The Bodyguard fell into line behind the others. He nodded his head to the manager.


    ~"I will. Thank you."~


    He replied in French. He had a feeling he'd be watching the Agent's back more the Actor's and his bride's backs if this was going to be the older man's attitude on their whole trip.

  7. #7
    Shades


    The manager almost rolled his eyes when the Agent told him to make it two bottles of champagne. Americans, he thought to himself. But he really didn’t have time to argue. So, he simply nodded and stated he would make a note of that. He definitely would. A note to send a fine bottle of champagne and some strawberries and chocolate to the newlyweds and a cheap bottle for the agent. Not like that heathen would know the difference, after all.


    Happy with the Bodyguard’s agreement to her comment on the end, the young clerk returned to her work. At least the other Americans seemed more reasonable, and she wouldn’t have to deal with the man all the time. She felt bad for the chamber maids and bellboys, though.


    When the Actor passed them those francs, both clerks smiled and thanked him. It was rare that they got a really nice tip, as all they did was checking people in and out and retrieving keys. But they did feel that the way they had been treated warranted a bit of a better one, and were grateful for it.


    The boy dealing with the bags soon noticed he was in for the same kind of treatment and sighed. There was really nothing he could do for now. Not even asking for the floor - people like them always went for the top floor, after all -, the boy simply pressed the corresponding button and kept silent.


    Once upstairs, and having already checked the numbers of the rooms, the bellboy decided to get rid of the Agent first by leading him to his room and leaving his bags there, and then handle the others, who seemed more reasonable. While he pulled his cart from the lift, a young woman - dark hair and a somewhat furtive expression - stepped out of the second lift and went for a door with a ‘do not disturb sign’, knocking twice on it and waiting for it to be opened.

  8. #8
    Sojourn


    The Agent fit the stereotype of an American tourist perfectly. He was obnoxious and oblivious to how others perceived his attitude. He nodded his head and gave the manager an arrogant grin.


    "Excellent."


    He replied, pleased that there would be an extra bottle of champagne. He whispered to the Actor and his new Wife that this why he did all the talking. They got much better deals and service when he was in charge. The newlyweds just shook their heads and let him think what he wanted. It was always better that way.


    The Actor told the clerks they were welcome. The Agent gave the bellboy one measly franc, as an after thought, and told him to be careful with his stuff. It didn't escape the Actor and he handed the boy a much better tip. Once inside their room, the Wife told her husband.


    "You tip very well."


    "My mother always said to spread the wealth. Plus, I used to work as a busboy. I remember what it's like."


    The remembered what it was like to work a low paying job and not get much respect. He had to deal with people like his Agent all the time before his big break. He didn't forget where he came from. The Wife smiled at his reply and went to put her things away. The Actor was going to join her, when the Bodyguard knocked on the door. The Actor invited him in.


    "Were you able to smooth things over with the clerk, Paul?"


    The Bodyguard nodded his head.


    "Yeah, she thinks Rich is an asshole."


    "Who doesn't?"


    The Actor replied, he meant it as a joke but the Bodyguard was serious. He told his boss that manager's warning. The Actor sighed.


    "We can't control Rich's mouth."


    "No, but..."


    The Bodyguard lowered his voice and asked.


    "Why don't you just fire him? You don't need him anymore."


    The Actor shook his head.


    "I can't...He gave me my big break. I'd still be bussing tables if not-"


    "His fucking attitude is going to hurt your career or worse, Martin. I don't want something bad to happen to you because of that prick."


    "I know..."


    The Actor shrugged.


    "Besides he knows and-"


    "So? Diane knows."


    The Bodyguard replied, the Wife knew the truth. The Actor replied.


    "She knows and it benefits her to not say anything. As for Rich...If I fire him, he'll destroy me. That's the type of person he is."


    The Actor knew that without a doubt.. He had seen what he had done to other people that had crossed him. He was stuck with his Agent no matter what. Sometimes he felt like he made a deal with the devil. The Bodyguard sighed, he knew where would be no changing his mind. He told the Actor he was going to get settled into his room and the Actor decided to go get settled into his.

  9. #9
    Shades


    Downstairs, the hotel staff had returned to their duties. The manager started preparing the note for the kitchen, indicating that a bottle of champagne should be taken to each of the rooms reserved by the newcomers. A bottle of the finest one for the newlyweds, and a basket of strawberries and chocolates, and a bottle of cheap champagne to the one who had created all of that mess.


    It wouldn’t take long for both treats to be taken up. One of the chamber maids went to the Agent’s room, and knocked. She would wait for the man to open and smile, presenting the champagne bottle. “Our manager has asked me to deliver this, sir”, she stated in a broken, but understandable, English. “Our finest”. My ass it is, she thought to herself. But these American heathens couldn’t tell the difference between fine Champagne and cat piss.


    Another chamber maid, a younger one, knocked on the other door. She couldn’t speak English, so she looked at the three of them and really hoped at least someone there understood French. “Champagne, strawberry and chocolate for the newlyweds”, she announced. “Our manager hopes you have a wonderful stay and enjoy your time here”.


    In another room, someone sat in bed with a briefcase on their lap. In it, a stack of papers was neatly organized. The person started pulling one by one. “A gentleman who is not so gentle… a lady who is not lady-like… a couple who will never be real, and a man who has more secrets than I do… how adorable”. The person smiled. “Come, little mice. The cat wants to play”.


    Across the hallway from the Actor and the Wife, another couple, this one as real as it gets, sat on the large bed staring at each other. The young woman seemed calm, while the man seemed anxious. His hand moved slowly, as though he was wondering whether or not he could touch her. She simply sat there, her big dark eyes staring at the man. After some hesitation, he stood up and went to a brief case. Opening it, he took out a delicate emerald bracelet and returned to the girl.


    “I’m not sure this is as good as what you are used to”, he whispered, caressing her hand and putting it on her. The girl smiled. “Oh, dear. You didn’t have to…”, she whispered back, finally condescending in kissing him.

  10. #10
    Sojourn


    The Agent had no idea what champagne was truly the finest and what was cheap. If it was French, he assumed it was expensive. He was the type of man who liked to flaunt expensive things, but he had no idea what things were truly expensive all the time. Although, he did always order caviar whenever he ate with his client. Even if he didn't care for the taste. Rich people ate caviar and he was rich, thanks to having a very famous and successful client.


    The Agent took the bottle from the maid. He made the bad decision of attempting to speak French again to the poor chambermaid.


    ~"Thank you. I want you to ride me like a horse."~


    The other chamber maid had much better luck. The Bodyguard was getting ready to leave when she arrived. He was aggravated with the Actor for his decision about the Agent. Yes, he could understand the fear but...That man was an asshole and didn't deserve any of the money he was earning off of the Actor. Maybe they would be lucky and someone would teach him some manners in Paris. He translated what the young woman said to the Actor and his new Wife, who had came to see who was at the door. The newlyweds smiled at her and the Actor handed her the same good tip he had been giving her co-workers.


    "Merci beaucoup."


    He said, one of the only few French phrases he knew. He looked at the Bodyguard to make sure he had pronounced it correctly, he smiled when his employee nodded his head. His wife echoed the same thanks and took the treats from the young woman and went to set them down at the table and pour her and her husband a glass of champagne. The Bodyguard was about to leave, when the Actor grabbed his arm.


    "Hey, Rich demanded a bottle too and...Will you make sure whatever poor employee has to deal with him gets a good tip and isn't too angry at whatever he says."


    "Yeah, sure thing, Martin."


    The Bodyguard replied and took the francs that the Actor held out after he said thanks. The Bodyguard was sure the Agent was making an asshole out of himself again.

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