After the museum, we headed over to the bay-side area and got fish and chips at Ivar’s. Larsa seemed to enjoy watching the birds and boats from the pier, and we enjoyed seeing him so happy. The afternoon was cool, the sky a little cloudy– not nearly cloudy enough for rain, though that could change later. It felt just right for wearing long sleeves but not necessarily for a jacket. Still, Stefan sat close to me as we ate.
After lunch, we walked along the pier for a little while before deciding that it was a good time to head to the hotel. Stefan rode in my car on the way there, happy to give Killian and Larsa a little extra time alone. The symphony had reserved rooms at the Warwick Hotel for its musicians, which meant that it would be the fanciest hotel I’d ever stayed at.
The entrance hall of the hotel was pretty busy when we got there. All of the check-in counters were manned, and the font desk agents were all doing their best to keep people from having to wait too long. Killian was called forward right before Stefan was, and we got the desk agent next to theirs.
“Welcome to the Warwick Seattle, sir and miss,” she said, offering a kind smile. “What name is your reservation under?”
“Nilsson,” Stefan told her, then spelled it out for her. A lot of people who don’t know him will try to spell it as Nielsen, but since his parents were immigrants, they used the Swedish spelling. “First name Stefan.”
He handed over his I.D. card as she typed into the computer.
“I have your reservation pulled up, sir,” she said after verifying his identification. “One room, with a king-size bed, and your company approved you for one guest.”
He nodded as she spoke, but then caught on to one of the details. “That’s mostly right, miss,” Stefan told her, “but I requested two separate beds.”
“Please allow me a moment to check on what we have sir,” the desk agent said. After typing and clicking around the computer for a couple minutes, she gave him a concerned look. “I’m sorry, sir, but it looks like the company booked you a room with a single bed. I tried to make the change for you, but I’m afraid all the rooms we have left are single beds.”
Stefan grimaced a little. “It’s okay if the bed are smaller… even just full or twin-size will do.”
She nodded to him. “I appreciate that, sir. Unfortunately we don’t have any rooms with two beds available. It’s a busy weekend, and the last few we had went quickly.”
“Could we add a roll-in bed?” he asked. Then he turned to me and added. “I can sleep on that one.”
The agent checked the computer and shook her head sadly. “I apologize again, Mr. Nilsson, but we don’t have any left; they’ve all been taken to other rooms already.”
Stefan frowned. “I’m sorry Leila,” he told me. “They told me they’d book a room with two beds for us.”
“It’s okay,” I told him, knowing that he wanted to be a gentleman and not make me uncomfortable.
“Can I get a second room, please?” he asked the hotel employee. “My friend came all the way down from Silver Star mountain to see me play in the symphony tomorrow night, and I want to make sure she enjoys her trip.”
“I can check, sir,” she told him, biting her lip nervously. After checking the computer again, she said, “It looks like all of the rooms not yet occupied are reserved and waiting for their guests to arrive. Right now, all I can do is offer you a choice between a room with a queen bed or one with a king.”
“Oh, boy…” Stefan sighed.
“I know that some other closer hotels are booked, too, sir, but if you need separate beds, I can try calling around…”
“What’s wrong?” Killian asked as he cam up next to Stefan. He’d finished checking in and had his room keys and several papers in hand.
“The company booked us one bed instead of two,” Stefan told him.
Killian grimaced a little. “I saw you fill out the request form, though,” he recalled. “You put down for separate beds.” He looked at me them. “I’m sorry, Leila. They do their best to fulfill requests, and they hardly ever fall short like this.”
“They have a room for you, though, right?” Larsa chimed in.
“Yeah, Larsa,” Stefan told him, “but I can’t expect Leila to share a bed with me.”
“Does the room have a couch?” Killian asked the front-desk agent. He frowned as she told him that they only had armchairs.
“I don’t want you sleeping on a couch, anyway,” I said. “We can’t have you sore for the concert.”
“Sir, I can make some calls for you,” the agent said. “Do you still have no preference for bed size?”
“I–” Stefan began, but he shook his head.
“How small is the bed here?” Killian asked.
“They have a king-size,” Stefan replied.
“I don’t see the problem,” Larsa said. “A bed that big should be okay, right?
Stefan groaned. “Larsa–”
“Just ask for some extra blankets,” Larsa added.
Stefan opened his mouth to interject again, and that’s when I jumped in.
“He’s right, Stefan,” I said. “We’ve been friends for too long to make a big deal out of this. Neither of us needs to go all the way to another hotel.”
“Are you sure, Leila?” Stefan asked, still looking concerned.
“I wouldn’t say so if I wasn’t,” I told him, taking his hand. “I trust you not to try any funny business. Like Larsa said, we can get some extra blankets and sleep on opposite side of the bed. It won’t be that different from the sleeping arrangement we had at Killian’s place.”
“Well, if you insist…” Stefan said, though he still sounded a little uncertain. He looked to the hotel employee. “Please tell me you at least have extra bedding you can send up.”
She nodded, looking extremely relieved. “We do, sir, or course.” She started working on the computer again. “I’ll get your room keys ready and have extras sent up right away.”
After a few minutes of the agent working on the computer and me turning over my I.D. so that I could be officially added to the room, we had our key cards. She added a couple extra amenities to our room at no charge– and Killian’s, since he was standing right there– and waived the parking fees, thanking us several times. It seemed to me that the Warwick wanted to keeps its guests happy, and also to keep in good graces with the company– especially since they’d purchased so many rooms.
Before too long, another hotel employee came around and helped us load our suitcases onto his cart. We took the elevator up together. Killian’s room was on the 17th floor, and we dropped him and Larsa off before heading up one more floor to our room. The bell boy wheeled our bags into the room and help set up the luggage racks. There was already a stack of extra pillows, sheets, and blankets on the bed, and extra towels in the bathroom.
“Oh, wow!” I exclaimed when the bell boy opened up the curtains. “We can see the Space Needle from here!”
“The city view up here is great,” Stefan agreed.
The bell boy asked if we needed anything else, and I noticed Stefan tipping him as he asked him to take care of filling the ice bucket before he headed back downstairs. Once that was done and we were along, he sank down into an armchair and gave me a warm yet tired smile.
“I really appreciate you being so understanding,” he told me.
I sat down across from him. “I know you care way too much about our friendship to advantage of the situation.”
“You’re a great friend,” he told me. “My best friend.”
“‘Best,’ huh?” I said with a wink. “Does Killian know that?”
Stefan chuckled. “He’s too fixated on Larsa to worry about which of us I hold in higher regard. Besides, I can have two best friends. I mean, he does a great job of making sure we all stay in touch.”
“That’s true,” I agreed. “So, what do you say to taking off your shirt?”
“I– my–” Stefan’s face was turning red. “What– what do you–”
I giggled and hopped out of my chair. “You know what I mean: why don’t we get changed and head down to the pool?”
A minuet for oboe and harp: