I read a lot when I'm feeling fernweh.
You can find the beginning of this particular tale here.
Side note: This entry, and the next one, are late. Life got away from me enough I didn't make it to the computer for a couple of days. Hopefully that'll be the last time that happens this month, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
None of that meant he was averse to using it when he needed to.
“What can I help you with, Captain?” The hotel manager stood at attention, on the other side of the desk. His name tag said Julius, but Brody had been in three different versions of this hotel and every single time the manager was named Julius. This Julius was Hispanic, with jet black hair and dark brown eyes, and the kind of tan skin that looked like he spent all his time in the sun but actually meant that was just his skin color and he barely ever saw daylight. The last one had been over six feet and probably actually named Thor. The one before was Nigerian, with a loud booming laugh he released every time he introduced himself, just so everyone was in on the joke.
Brody appreciated taking the name the job told you too, it was part of why he kept staying in this one. Coupled with its tendency to be exactly the same no matter where his wanderlust took him.
“There’s been some sort of issue with Records, and Ms. Wade here doesn’t officially exist but still needs a place to stay.” He leaned against the counter. “If you’d like to verify things with Inspector Hussein at CID I can give you her contact information.”
“You’ll verify that she is who she says she is?” Julius asked, pulling up the reservation terminal.
“I will. If you need payment information right away you can use mine until we get hers reinstated.”
Julius nodded. “The system will require me to put something in, but I’ll make sure it doesn’t run charges. I can do that for four days.”
“Perfect, I’m sure we’ll get it straightened out by then.”
Julius looked at Ms. Wade. “I’d still like you to sign for the room, Miss.”
“Of course.” She stepped forward. “And once I get a chance to call my boss I can probably give you company payment information and it can bill normally.”
Julius smiled professionally. “Who do you work for?”
He nodded. “We get entire survey crews through here. Would you like me to contact them and request payment information?”
She bit her lip, and thought about it. “I think given the whole mess I’m apparently in it would be best if my boss hears from me before he hears from anybody else.” She smiled at his confused look. “If I’m not in the system then no one informed them I was injured and he’s sitting at his desk wondering why I haven’t checked in to say I arrived yet and getting more worried-about-slash-angry-at me by the second.”
“Of course.” Julius put a key card on the counter. “I’m afraid we only have a few rooms that don’t work on biometrics, and they’re all on the third floor.”
“That’s fine,” Ms. Wade answered. “It’s a room.”
Julius nodded. “When everything gets straightened out if you’d like to move to a room with a better view and standard room preferences please just let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate that.”
“Thank you.” Brody smiled at him. “I’ll be sure and fill out my survey card, Julius, and let them know how helpful you’ve been.”
Brody led her to the elevator, and held the door open until she’d stepped on. He hadn’t brought up the fact she didn’t have any clothes—other than the scrubs they’d sent her from the hospital in—and until she had her identity back she wasn’t going to be able to feed herself with the exception of room service.
“Thank you,” Ms. Wade said softly.
“You don’t have to thank me.” Brody held the elevator open when they hit the third floor, and let her step off first.
She laughed, wry and tired. “Do babysitting services come included with the original rescue?” She glanced at the card holder, with the room number printed on it, and headed down the hall toward room 312. “Nobody else is treating this like an accident.”
Brody blinked at her. Everyone had been trying really hard to treat it like an accident. They apparently just weren’t fooling her.
She opened room 312 and he stopped in the doorway while she looked around the room quickly. It was a pretty standard hotel room. No balcony, large picture window, queen sized bed, standard bathroom. And if she spent her life traveling for GIG and doing survey she probably nearly always lived in places like this, didn’t she?
He wasn’t really sure how her job worked, but he was going to make friends with the information system as soon as he could and find out.
She cocked a brow at him, waiting for an answer.
He could have blown her off, said he was just helping a pretty girl and given her the patented smile that went with it. She might even have accepted that. She wouldn’t have believed it, and it wouldn’t have made her trust him, but it would have gotten him out of the conversation.
The whole radical honesty thing was damn uncomfortable, but on some level that discomfort was reminding him why it needed to happen.
“I don’t know if it was an accident or not.” He shrugged. “My gut says not, but that’s not evidence. Before you were in a position to talk I decided you either were trouble or you were in trouble.”
She blinked at him. “And now that I’m talking?”
“You’re not as panicked about the situation as I expected you to be, but that may be shock.” He smiled wryly. “Or you may just be naturally unflappable. Either way, if you were trouble and I walked away now and someone got hurt I’d feel responsible.”
“And if I’m in trouble?”
“If you’re in trouble and I walk away now and you get hurt, then I’ve failed a rescue because I walked away.” He pushed out a breath. “I’m not saying I’ve never failed a rescue, shit happens. I’ve never failed a rescue because I walked away before it was done.”