Inspired by: Boots of Spanish Leather
Charlotte stepped into the luxury hotel and waited for the receptionist to finish with a phone call.
“Good evening, miss. Do you have a reservation with us?”
Charlotte bit her lip and feigned embarrassment.
“I’m afraid I don’t.”
“I’m sorry we don’t have any available rooms.”
“I know someone who I think is staying here, and I was hoping to surprise him.”
“We don’t give out our guests’ names. I’m sure you understand.”
“I do understand, but this guest is…”
“Oh, Reggie! I love Reggie. He was such a delight!”
“I’m afraid he checked out a few days ago.”
“Oh, darn. I guess it was stupid of me to assume. Thank you.”
Charlotte walked out of the hotel for a moment before entering again and headed straight for the bar.
“Paloma, please,” she said as she laid $20 on the bartop, “and keep them coming.”
She received her drink and took a sip. An employee stopped in his tracks as he passed her.
“You have some nerve coming back here.”
Charlotte nearly spat out her drink.
“Do you know what you did to that poor sweet man?”
“Who even are you?”
“Reggie!” Estaban explained.
“You aren’t Reggie.”
“I’m talking about Reggie! He spent weeks here drinking and calling everyone in Italy looking for you.”
“You broke that man’s heart.”
“I came back!”
“And he’s just supposed to sit tight like a good little puppy while you do whatever you were doing.”
“I was on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I’m a designer, and I was inspecting their leather supply. I brought him back a gift and everything.”
Charlotte reached into her bag and pulled out a leather jacket she made explicitly for Reggie.
“That is beautiful, but you’re too late. He’s moved on.”
“Where did he go? I knew it was just supposed to be a fling, and I thought it would be easier if I disappeared, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him.”
“He barely moved for days. He just drank and called all of Italy, good thing he’s loaded. I got him moving and, more importantly, moving on.”
With that, Estaban turned to leave.
Esteban cocked his head back.
“Take the jacket, just tell me where he went.”
“I don’t know where he went. Juarez, maybe?”
“Well, take it anyway. Someone may as well enjoy it.”
Esteban gladly accepted the jacket and didn’t hesitate to try it on. It fit perfectly.
“Oh, yeah. I have to ask. What did you do with his suitcase?”
“You didn’t realize you swapped suitcases? He was anxious about something inside of it.”
Charlotte checked the suitcase and was surprised to see it wasn’t hers. She popped it open and found a locked compartment beneath the lining of the lid.
“Huh, I didn’t realize it.”
“That was anticlimactic. Well, have a good one. Thanks for the jacket!”
Esteban left, Charlotte ordered another drink and wondered what to do now.