I approached the reception desk nervously and waited for the receptionist to look up. This was not our usual date night activity.
“Hello. Welcome to The Groves, are you checking in?” she asked pleasantly with a welcoming smile. I passed her the envelope. I did not speak. She took it and looked at it with a puzzled expression. The envelope had ‘FAO Reception’ written on it and so she opened it, glancing at me as she did. She extracted the paper from inside the envelope and unfolded it. She began to read, looking at me as she did. I was impressed, truly, her smile never faltered, and for a moment I wondered if she had painted it on.
Nervously I watched.
The receptionist picked up the phone and dialed a number, after a few moments someone answered and she asked if they would come to reception. She must be calling the manager. What was written in the letter? I didn’t know. My instructions were to arrive at 2:15pm, which I had done, and to hand the letter to reception. Oh and I wasn’t allowed to talk. That would teach me to answer back I guess.
A man arrived, and the receptionist stepped back from the desk, taking the letter with her to show him.
“What should I do?” She was asking him and she moved away, and they were speaking so quietly I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I did hear the odd word as the receptionist kept looking back at me… “deaf…..mute….later…..second key….room” The manager shrugged, nodded and returned to the desk with her. “Here’s your room key,” he said very slowly enunciating each word – he must think I can lip read I thought. So I smiled. “You are in room 3, 0, 1,” he paused between each number and pointed to the number on the keycard. I must have looked confused because he repeated, “301?” And pointed to the signs on the wall that directed guests to the various floors and rooms. I smiled and picked up the key and my bag.
The room was on the 3rd floor.
Ignoring the lift and I opted to take the stairs. The movement would help calm my nerves that were once again making themselves known. I wondered what awaited me. My instructions said I would receive a text when I was in the room.
I was finally at the 3rd floor, I pulled the door open and looked at the signs, the room was to the left and so I headed down the corridor. The first door I came to on my left was 311 so I continued to walk, the doors on the right hand side were even numbers so 301 would be on the left. I past several doors, finally I arrived at 301. I put the keycard in the door and when the light went green I removed the card and opened the door.
As I pushed the door open and went inside I heard my phone beep, a message. Excitement fluttered in my stomach. I put the bag on the floor, shut the door and removed the phone from my pocket. There was a new text message.
I will arrive shortly, prepare yourself, use the facilities if you require it, then remove your clothes and stand facing the wall, arms by your side, feet shoulder width apart. Keep your eyes closed.
I did as I had been instructed, showering quickly and relieving myself. I made sure my clothes were neatly folded and stood by the wall. The room was not uncomfortable although I could feel that I was naked. I considered adjusting the temperature but reconsidered. I didn’t want to get into trouble. The minutes passed. It seemed like forever before I heard the lift door open, and I strained to hear if someone was coming to the door. There were faint footsteps. Then I heard it, the card sliding into the lock…