A Few Words from the Author
Still a novice at writing, I was thrilled when one of my friends commissioned me to write him a story. He liked it so much; he wanted me to post it for other people's enjoyment. Like the main character in this story, my friend has a unisex name. His name is even shared by a beautiful female Hollywood celebrity. This story is almost entirely based upon my friend's fantasies.
Absolutely nothing in this story is true, realistic or possible (well maybe possible but at least highly unlikely). Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead and past, current or future events are purely coincidental. No animals or humans were knowingly mistreated, abused or killed in the process of writing and posting this story on the internet. If any ethnic minorities, religious groups, aliens, humans or intelligent animals are offended by this story, it is not intended by the author. This story may contain explicit description of, or advocate one or the following: adultery, morbid violence, bad spelling and grammar, deviant sexual conduct in violent contexts, things that Bill Clinton would not call sex, the consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs, hidden messages, or even 50 Ft. squirrels. But then again, it may not. Who knows? Also any resemblance to fictional characters and events are based on true fictional persons and incidents. Any violation of international copyright law is small, deliberate and actually not punishable according to my country's freedom of speech act. If this causes any trouble for those hosting the story, the story will be retracted and hosted elsewhere where it causes no problem. Do not read this story near an open flame or in a toxic environment. Please remain seated until each page has come to a complete stop. For best result and the greatest enjoyment, avoid doing stupid things when reading this story. If you actually paid for this story you are gullible and should support other charities like the Fictional Character Relief Fund or the Anti-Dihydrogen Monoxide Coalition.
Copyright 2006 Martin Young. All rights reserved. Permission for any use other than personal must be requested from the author. Do not repost without permission.
There were only a handful of persons at the beach, because it was too late in the year. The sun fell on the sand at the same time it did during the summer, but it was much weaker now. The sun fell on me as well but it didn't warm me at all. In fact it was a bit chilly.
My name is Sean Miller and I was a loser. That's right a loser. I had not always been one, but I had become one. In fact, people used to think I was smart and good-looking. I used to have a lovely girlfriend too. But, I screwed up at a huge business deal so instead of receiving a promotion, I ended up being sacked.
After that incident, everything changed forever. My parents and friends let me know they were disappointed in me and that things were different. The words my father had said to me still echoed in my head.
"Son, we're very disappointed in you. You have made many mistakes before, but until now, they have been small and forgettable. This one is not. People will always know about it. It will effect everyone's view of you, even ours. We will always love you, son, but as of this moment, you are on your own. We will not help you any more. In fact I think it's better if you leave now."
I had wanted to scream at him, but I couldn't. I knew I had made a terrible mistake, but how could a father be so cold. I had not wanted his help, just some supporting words and an ounce of sympathy. There was none. Instead, I had just driven back to my apartment in anger and started crying. I think I cried for three days straight. It felt like I had been abandoned by my parents. Heck, my parents had abandoned me.
My girlfriend, who always supported me, hadn't called in a couple of months either. I knew why. I saw her holding another man's arm while walking in town. Things had changed between us. When I had spoken to her about it, she said, "You are a man that climb ladders, but you only look at the sky. That is why you lost your footing."
What the hell did that mean? Why say that to me? I had no idea what it meant. She was even more cryptic than a delusional Buddhist monk. I was the one that had failed, so I'm not the one climbing ladders, she is the one going somewhere. She had always been more interested in a career than me so she had to be staring at the sky as well. I didn't get it.
I thought that we had been equals, but I had slipped and fallen beneath her. She had stayed with me for a while out of pity, but then it was time for her to move on. Leaving me alone and going out with a new guy. It all made me feel so miserable. I was more upset by her new boyfriend than my damned failure. I had loved her so much and I had believed that she would love me forever as well. Everybody knew we loved each other. Our friends had said that we were destined to be together. Had it just been an illusion? Had it just been a house of cards, so easy to knock over?
I remembered when I was nine; my mother took me to a carnival. I had a great day and we were almost on our way home when I noticed the poster for the fortuneteller. I begged my mother to take me to her and I guess I was persuasive at that age. The fortuneteller had been a scary old hag with an eye patch over her left eye. I had asked if I would ever fall in love like mom and dad, and I will never forget her answer.
"Your life will be filled with loneliness and heartaches. In the end, you will fall in love with yourself." The old hag had smiled a wicked smile and said, "Don't worry, it is not a bad thing."
What she had said had scared me and I had tried to forget about it. I was wondering if it might be true. At least, she was right about the heartache and loneliness. It was my loneliness that had led me to this place. The emptiness of the beach really suited a person like me.
I wandered aimlessly on the beach and headed towards some rocks. Continually washed by the waves and winds, the rocks looked like the obstacles in my own life; too big and sturdy to be moved by anything. They looked like they could stay there for an eternity.
It had been my friends that had told me to take a vacation. They told me that I was just moping around, feeling sorry for myself. I was not even trying to find a new job. They had not realised that I had just wanted to run away from the world. That was what I was doing. It was not an accident that I ended up on that beach. I had come there the summer before with my girlfriend. We had had so much fun there. But it wasn't to last. It was probably me, thinking too much, allowing her to move away from me. For her part, she had waited until our relationship had died of natural causes, before she found a new guy. Why hadn't I fought to keep fighting to keep our happiness alive? I couldn't believe that she had found another lover, well not until I saw them together. They had looked happy. The world was a cruel place for a loser like me.
I had become a failure in both my professional and personal lives. Those things had robbed my life of any purpose. I had come full circle. I no longer cared about my girlfriend, my failure or anything. I had come to that specific beach to find closure and a purpose in my life. I wanted to be reborn.
A cold breeze was coming in from the ocean and it was getting colder outside. Not wanting to catch a cold, I decided to head up to the hotel and check in. Leaving the now empty beach behind me I walked towards the big red house in the distance. As I got closer I could see a big banner "International Dermatology Congress 2006." There were also a lot of foreign cars outside. I remember thinking that I had been smart enough to book a room in advance, because otherwise I might have ended up sleeping on the beach.
I entered the hotel and found that the lobby was surprisingly empty. Someone was probably giving a fascinating speech on the latest treatments of psoriasis, keeping everyone occupied. I put my backpack on the floor since it was getting heavy. There was no one behind the front desk so I hit the little bell. After a few moments, a short man in his fifties came out. He was overweight, barely 5 feet tall, wore glasses, and was almost baldheaded. I remembered from the year before that he was the owner of the hotel.
"Hello sir, how may I help you?"
"I have a reservation under the name Sean Miller."
The corpulent man looked at me strangely and then opened up his old fashioned ledger. He looked at it for a while and just shook his head.
"I'm sorry. It seems like you already checked in."
"What? Are you sure? There must be some kind of a mistake."
"No, mistake. Room 201, Sean Miller. Checked in two days ago."
"Whomever is in room 201 must be an impostor. Here look at my identification."
I pulled up my driver's license and he looked at it closely. He raised an eyebrow and picked up his keys.
"I'm sorry, sir. There must be some kind of misunderstanding. Follow me and we will sort this out."
We headed up the stairs to the second floor and soon arrived at room 201. The short man knocked on the door and I could hear a female voice from the inside answer, "Just a minute."
We waited for a while and then the door opened. Before me was a 5'7'' blond woman, in her mid twenties. The woman was beautiful and could feel my heart beating faster. She was dressed in what seemed like a dark grey, hand knitted sweater and a pair of jeans, which made her even more beautiful, in an earthbound kind of way. I was spellbound by her appearance and was quickly lost in my fantasies.
"Yes," the woman said harshly and snapped me back to reality.
"Ma'am, it seems like there has been a mistake. This room is reserved by Sean Miller."
"Yes, I'm Sean Miller," the woman answered a bit puzzled.
"No, I'm Sean Miller," I said with an annoyed voice. She may have looked like an angel but I was not letting her to get away with stealing my room.
"And I can prove it," I added and flashed my drivers license.
The blond beauty looked really surprised but didn't say anything.
"I'm sorry, ma'am. I'm afraid that you have to leave this room," the owner said.
"That's preposterous. I'm Sean Miller. Look here is my passport," the woman said and handed over the passport to the owner. He looked at it closely. Even though it was chilly this time of year he began to sweat. He picked up a handkerchief and wiped his forehead before he handed the passport back to her.
"There seem to have been a mistake from our side and this room is double booked. I'm terribly sorry. Unfortunately, there are no more available rooms. There is a hotel 50 miles north of here and we would be more than be more than willing to accommodate one of you there. We would pay the extra cost of course."
I was angry for what he was suggesting. I was not going to leave that place. I had come there, to that beach, to find some kind of closure. I would not find that 50 miles from there. There was no way that I would leave.
"Look, I have no intention of leaving. Either you get that woman out of my room or you get me another room. Is that understood," I said in an almost threatening voice.
The owner of the hotel looked with appealing eyes at the blond woman. She seemed almost as angry as I was.
"Oh, no. You're not getting me out of here. I don't care if that loser has to sleep on the beach. I paid for this room, and I intend to use it," she said.
The owner sighed and it was easy to see that he was not pleased with the situation.
"Once again, I must apologise for the inconvenience we have caused you. I will see what we can do. It might take a while but I will see if we can find something for you Mr. Miller. In the mean time I would like to offer you both a free dinner here at the hotel. It's the least we can do to make it up to you."
We left room 201 and headed back to the lobby. On the way down, I realised that it was still a couple of hours before dinner would be served. Feeling a bit travel-stained, I decided to asked the managed if there was somewhere I could freshen up.
"Excuse me, is there somewhere I could take a shower and change clothes?"
"Well, usually, I would direct you to the public showers at the beach, but since it's so cold outside, I'll make an exception. Follow me and I'll show you the employee section."
The manager took me to a door next to the front desk marked with the words "Employees Only". He opened the door and inside I could see a dressing room.
"On the far left are the showers. I'll tell the staff that you are in here so you will have some privacy."
"Thanks," I said just before the owner closed the door behind me.
I started to undress and I noticed that I reeked. I had been on a train since early that morning and I must have sweated like a pig. After getting out of my clothes, I entered the shower.
For some strange reason, I could not get the woman with my name out of my head. God, she was beautiful. If she had not had such an obnoxious personality I would probably have asked her out. That thought got me thinking about my ex-girlfriend again and suddenly I started crying. How I had loved her. She had truly broken my heart. The weight of losing her, along with the weight of everything my life had become, was too much and my knees buckled. Sobbing, I landed hard on the floor of the shower but in my grief I didn't care.
I don't know how long I just sat there, crying my heart out, but eventually I felt a painful stiffness in my legs, so I got up and noticed I felt better than I had In a long time. I hoped that it was some kind of catharsis and picked out some clean clothes from my backpack.
I left the employee dressing room and stopped by the front desk to thank the owner. I looked at my watch and noticed that it was still an hour before dinner so I decided to read today's newspaper in the lobby until then.
An hour later, I was sitting in the dining room of the hotel. On the floor beside me was my backpack, since they still had not managed to find me a room. I was just about to explore the menu when I saw the beautiful woman with my name entering the diner. She noticed me and gracefully strode over to my table with a smile on her face.
"Hello, am I interrupting?" she asked me.
"No, I'm just about to have dinner."
"I'm sorry for being a bit rude earlier. I was just afraid being thrown out."
"Well in that case, I should apologise as well. I said some harsh words too."
"Look, I'm here alone and if you don't mind, I wouldn't say no to some company for dinner," I asked her a bit nervously.
"Well, for stealing your room, that is the least I can do." She answered and sat down opposite me.
She reached out her hand and said, "Sean Miller."
I shook her hand and answered, "Likewise."
A smile spread across her face and I was once again struck by her beauty. Not wanting to be caught ogling, I started skimming through the menu. Sean quickly followed my example and did the same.
"I can't believe what a mess we are in. What are the odds of two people with the same name checking in to this little back water hotel at the same time?" she asked.
"Very unlikely. Even less if you consider that one is a woman and the other one is a man."
"I really hate having a unisex name. Ninety-nine percent of the time people seem to assume that I'm a man. You have no idea what kind of trouble I've been in because of it."
"Well it's more often used as a man's name. You should blame your parents for not naming you Jeanine."
"Trust me, I have. My mom is a big fan of Sean Young, so they named me after her."
The waiter came over to us and waited to take our order. Since I was not paying for the meal, and I liked lobster, I knew what to order.
"I'll have the Homard à l'armoricaine and let the sommelier recommend a few wines that he thinks is suitable," I said with a confident voice.
"Certainly, sir," the waiter answered.
"That sounds wonderful. I'll have the same," Sean added.
The waiter nodded and left us alone.
"I'm impressed. You seem to know your way around a fancy restaurant. When I saw you earlier, I thought that you were a scruffy looking ruffian, I guess I was wrong," Sean said.
"Well, I've been to my share of business dinners, but to be perfectly honest it's all an act."
She looked surprised and expected me to continue.
"I was taught this technique by a friend to impress people at dinners. First of all, I didn't understand half of what was on that menu. I took French in high school so I knew homard meant lobster, which I like. Then I told the waiter to let the sommelier pick out a few wines to choose from. I don't know anything about wines but I know that they will only select suitable ones. When they arrive, I will simply pick one of them and it will seem like I actually know what I'm doing."
"You could have fooled me and I'm not entirely unaccustomed to having dinner like this."
"Oh. When I saw you wearing that sweater, I thought that you looked like a rural kind of gal."
She smiled at me and answered, "I like to wear comfortable clothes when I relax."
"So you are here on holiday then?"
"Well partially. I'm using it as a pretence to devote myself to my hobby."
"Painting. Why are you here than? Are you a dermatologist?"
I smiled at her.
"Far from it. I came here to get my life sorted out. I recently lost my job and broke up with my girlfriend, so I'm in a bit of a slump."
"I can't even imagine how that feels."
"Losing a job?"
"Well, that too, but I was thinking about the relationship part. I've never been in one."
"A beautiful girl like you?"
"You haven't met my father. The way he protects me, I'm damned to be a spinster."
I was just about to ask her more about it when the sommelier arrived with a list of wines. There were five of them and since I knew nothing about them I picked the most expensive one. He nodded and informed us that our food and wine would arrive soon.
"A good choice," Sean whispered to me and smiled. I smiled back. I had a feeling that she actually knew quite a bit about wine.
"How long are you staying?" She asked me.
"I haven't decided. It's not like I have anything else to do. But as it seems right now, I might going home earlier than expected."
"Because of the room situation?"
I nodded in response.
"I feel a bit guilty. I hope that it all works out for you," she said.
Before I could tell her that it was not her fault the waiter arrived with our food. The lobster was served with rice and it looked delicious. The waiter handed over the wine and we tasted it. I must admit that even though I know very little about wine, this tasted really good.
After the waiter left us, we continued our conversation. We talked about everything from politics to horseback riding. I found that most things she had to say were interesting and I really enjoyed her company. We had so much in common, I could not believe it. Never once did my mind think about my old job or my ex-girlfriend. I hadn't felt that happy in a long time, not even when things were still good in my life. I hadn't spent much time with Sean but I was really beginning to like her. It was if I had found myself a soul mate, someone that made me feel whole. She was the missing piece to the jigsaw puzzle that was my soul.
When we had finished our delicious lobster, the waiter appeared again and asked if we wanted dessert. Looking at Sean, I tried to determine if she was interested, but she gave me no hint.
"I will have a cup of coffee and a piece of Schwarzwald cake," I finally answered.
"I will have the same," she added.
The waiter nodded and once more left our table. Sean started laughing and I could not get what was funny. Her laugh was contagious though and soon I had big smile on my face and laughed a bit as well.
"What's so funny?" I finally asked.
"I was just thinking how alike we are. We like the same food, have the same opinions on the world, we order the same dessert, and we even share names. It's just so funny I had to laugh."
"I know what you mean. It feels like I'm in an episode of the Twilight Zone."
Sean started to whistle the eerie music from the Twilight Zone and none of us could hold back the laughter.
"God, I used to love watching reruns of that show," Sean said.
"I must confess that I still see them," I answered with a smile.
Sean smiled back and was just about to say something when our conversation was interrupted by a gentle cough. We turned our heads and saw that the owner of the hotel had walked up to our table.
"Mr. Miller. Ms. Miller. I'm sorry to disturb your dinner. I would just like to inform you that we think we have found a temporary solution. There is an old storeroom in the basement that is empty and we are about to move a bed in there. It will not be as comfortable as a real room, but if you insist on not changing hotels, that is the best we can offer."
I was not exactly thrilled about sleeping in the basement but was about to say that I'd take it when my namesake interrupted.
"Look, I feel a bit guilty about all of this and I think I have a better solution. The room I have is pretty large and I have no use for all that space. As a temporary solution I would like to suggest that we put that bed in there instead. I'm sure that it would be more comfortable than sleeping in a damp basement."
The owner of the hotel looked at me as if trying to get confirmation. Not knowing what to answer, I looked at Sean and trying to figure out if she really was okay with it. Her pokerface gave away nothing. It was her suggestion though, so I simply nodded to the owner.
"Ms. Miller. I think that is a splendid idea. We will move the bed in immediately," the owner said and left us.
Just as he left our desserts arrived. Our pieces of cake looked, if possible, even more delicious than our meal. I tasted it and it felt like I was in heaven. When the short moment of bliss subsided, I realised that there was something I had to ask Sean.
"Are you really okay about it?"
"You sleeping in my room? I know I must be crazy, but I feel like I can trust you. We have to be a bit discreet about this though. A man sleeping in a unmarried woman's room is no scandal nowadays, but if my father found out he would have a heart attack."
"Don't worry. I don't kiss and tell."
She looked a little worried and said, "You do understand that it is an invitation to share my room, not my bed?"
"Perfectly. I don't think I'm ready for a new relationship anyway."
I could see that she was relieved, but there was something else in her eyes. It almost seems like she was a bit disappointed as well. Perhaps she was interested in me? I thought that it would be wise to watch my step so I wouldn't end up breaking her heart. I decided to quickly change the topic.
"You never told me what you do for a living."
"Well, you never asked."
There was a short pause before I realised that she was not going to continue.
"So, what do you do for a living?"
"I work for my father."
"I don't know how to describe it. The closest thing would probably be a PR adviser."
"You like it?"
"No. To be perfectly honest I hate it but I feel like I can't let my father down."
"I know that situation. I've spent most my life trying to keep my parents happy. Recently, I disappointed them and now they hardly speak to me. The funny thing is that I am probably more disappointed in them for not supporting me. I can't be the person they want me to be, that is not who I am. If they don't like me then they can stay away."
I have no idea where those words came from. They just flowed out of me and as soon as I said them I realised that they were true. They must have been suppressed feelings. Things that I didn't want to admit to myself.
Sean just stared at me like I was a ghost. We sat like that for a while but in the end the silence got to embarrassing so I suggested that we headed to her room. She immediately agreed, so we left our empty plates and walked to room 201. When we entered the room, the extra bed was already in place. It was a small wooden bed that did not seem very comfortable, but more than adequate for my needs.
I dropped my backpack on my new bed and the sound of my laptop hitting wood could be heard. I put my hand on the mattress and discovered that it was so airy that when I touched it my hand sank down to the hard wood beneath it. Great, I thought sarcastically. It would be no different than sleeping on the wooden floor. Since I never liked people whining I kept my mouth shut, but I knew I would never get any sleep in that bed.
"Is something wrong?" Sean asked me.
"No," I said putting on a fake smile.
"Since you are now my roommate, I have to ask you something."
"I was kind of hoping to watch a documentary on the telly about now, but if it bothers you I will skip it."
"No, silly. It wouldn't bother me. It's your room anyway. Besides it's too early to turn into bed."
"Thank you," Sean said and smiled.
As she was walking towards the TV, I suddenly remembered something.
"It wouldn't happen to be the documentary about Harold Pinter?"
She looked surprised but answered, "It is."
"I was kind of hoping to watch it myself. Would you like some company?"
"Sure," she said and turned on the telly.
We sat down in the sofa waiting for the show to start. Since I didn't want her to get the wrong impression, I made sure to leave some space between us. There was an awkward silence so I decided to say something.
"I don't care what some people say, he deserved the Nobel Prize. I really like his slightly absurd, comical but pessimistic plays. I must have seen The Caretaker at least ten times."