Darcy was not in a good mood. She had been sent to the middle of nowhere to run tests for Jane. She had used her only carry-on for the delicate scientific equipment (which had been confused for an eight track at security), and when she landed, she had learned that the airline had lost her luggage. No sweater for the cold night that she was about to sit in. No toothbrush. No underwear.
She had gone to her hotel and checked in, asking the desk clerk for recommendations about where to go to replace her missing items. The clerk had been bored with the conversation, but had pointed her in the direction of where she could pick up a little of everything.
Darcy had carefully tucked the receipt into her wallet. She was absolutely expensing these purchases when she got back. She stopped a the desk on her way in, asking if by any chance her luggage had been delivered. It had not, so she made her way back to her room. Today was a travel day, so she didn’t need to be out in the field until the following evening. After the hell of travel with the added “bonus” of lost luggage, all she wanted was to take a shower and go to bed. She unloaded the purchases she had made at the store, and headed to the bathroom where she promptly discovered there were no towels.
“Of course there aren’t,” she muttered to herself. “Why would there be towels?”
She made her way back to the front desk when her calls went unanswered. The same bored man sighed as he saw her approach, which almost made her lose her cool.
“Hey,” she said in what she hoped was a friendly manner, “I just tried calling, but no one answered.” He gave a listless shrug. “So, uh, my room doesn’t have any towels? Could I maybe get some?”
“All rooms are stocked with two towels and that’s all we provide,” he said.
“Cool, but there were actually zero towels in my room?”
“We only provide two.”
“I get that,” she said, starting to get annoyed, “but in this case there are zero, which is less than two. In fact it is two less than two.So can I get even one of my promised two towels?”
“We only have stock for the two allotted towels. There are none to supply beyond what are already in your room.”
Darcy was going to lose it. She could feel it. She was going to end up in jail in this tiny nothing of a town for throwing a fit about towels. Someone cleared their throat behind her, stopping her train of thought. “Yes?” she asked as she turned.
In front of her was the most gorgeous guy she had ever met. He was tall and lean; his hair artfully tousled. “I have an extra towel you can have,” he said somewhat shyly. “Sorry to butt in, but it’s just I heard you ask if your lost luggage had arrived earlier, and about the towels just now. That sounds like a bad afternoon, and giving you a towel is the least I could do to make it better.”
Darcy looked over at the desk attendant who had gone back to leafing through a magazine. “That sounds amazing. Yes please. I’d like that.” She was babbling a little, but his eyes had crinkled in happiness as soon as she had accepted, and it was turning her into a bit of a stammering fool.
“I’m this way,” he said, heading to the elevator. “I’m Spencer, by the way.”
“Darcy,” she said, following him. “Thanks so much Spencer. It’s been a bit of a day for me. The airport was a nightmare, and then the luggage and this hotel…”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “It’s the only one in town, otherwise I wouldn’t be here either.”
“Why even come to a place like this?” she asked. “I mean, I didn’t come here for pleasure, so I can’t imagine you did either.”
“Work,” he agreed as the elevator door opened. He was on the same floor as her. “Not the good type either. Not to be too intrusive, but are you here alone?”
“You know, I would probably tase most people for asking that, but my taser was in my lost luggage, so you’re lucky today. Why do you ask?”
He walked to a door and fumbled in his pocket for the key card. “I work for the FBI. We’re here investigating a series of murders. If you’re alone, I just wanted to make sure someone was looking out for you.”
“Oh,” she said, somewhat surprised as his door clicked open. “Yeah I’m here alone. The nature of my work requires me to be outside, alone at night. I’m guessing that’s not good.”
He pursed his lips. “I’d feel better knowing someone was watching out for you. The abductions have been taking place sometime between 7 and 11 PM. At least, that’s what we think based on what we know so far.” He wandered into the bathroom, coming out with two towels that he handed to her.
“You should keep one,” she said, not taking them.
“I’m on the road a lot and always travel with my own. You can have both.” Their hands brushed as she took the towels from him. “Maybe I could give you my number?” he said nervously, his cheeks staining pink. “You know, so you have someone to check on you?”
She smiled up at him. “That sounds like an excellent idea,” she said, pulling out her card. “You’re welcome to use it for more than just checking on me,” she said with a wink as she turned to leave the room, now in a hurry in case she had read things wrong.
Once her room door was shut, she pulled her buzzing phone out of her pocket.
Maybe you should have dinner with me. You know, so I can make sure you’re safe.