Curtains Rise Love is a many splendid thing; love lifts us up where we belong… All we need is love. The city during the day was far less impressive than at night, without all it’s parties and it’s grandeur the city seemed to rest more during the day than it ever did when the sun was down. It wasn’t calm, people still pushed and shoved tourists out of their way to make it to their jobs in time, hustlers still lined street corners to sell whatever they could, and the cars of the fabulously wealthy still paraded down the avenues in search of their next source of entertainment. The city simply seemed to be allowing it’s self to recover before starting the nightly celebration over again. It was a peaceful chaos that could spit a person out just as quickly as it could make them King of the world. And Kim loved it. Her bank account however, did not. Finding a way to stay in the city she had grown to love so much became more of a trial than anything else. Rent was high and with her brother Simon’s recent attraction to military life Kimberly had found her self alone in the city with small temp jobs here and there to keep from wasting the last of her father’s inheritance. Due to budget cuts however, staying in a job long enough to support herself had become nearly impossible. The last chance she had to stay in her beloved city lay on a small piece of paper baring the instructions to the last place in town she knew to be hiring. Slipped into her hand by a skinny man with slightly too large ears the piece of paper seemed to burn a hole in her pocket until she agreed to look into it further. And though nightclubs and high-end resorts were never her forte everyone knew the Grey name paid incredibly well. Against her better judgments and the small amount of dignity she had left Kim found her self staring up at one of—if not the most— infamous resorts in the city. The Grey Resort and Casino. Built like something from a fairytale the rumors surrounding it were just threatening enough to keep a fresh batch of employees every year along with a constant flow of loyal guests and brave tourists. It was the last place a girl as goodhearted as Kim needed to go, but it was also the last place willing to take her in. So with a determined sigh and a small prayer to whoever was listening the small girl found herself striding proudly through the marble doorway, intent on outlasting whatever trouble the secrets of the wealthy tried to cause.
“You need a vacation.” The voice came over John’s phone for the forth time that day.
Despite the fact the response to each call has been an abrupt dropped call or a few foul words. No amount of disregard seemed to stop John’s phone from ringing.
“I’ve told you Mark. I’m too busy to just walk out on things here,” John said with a groan.
“You wouldn’t be walking out on things, you’d just be changing offices! Besides if you took me along it’d be a work expense or something.” The voice continued, barely able to hide it’s excitement over the prospect of a vacation.
“What’s the point of owning all those big hotels if you can’t stay there anyway! It’ll be fun, I promise.”
With an exasperated sigh Arthur leaned back in his office chair, looking at the rather disorganized room around him. Papers falling off his desk, picture frames bumped out of place by slammed doors and rushed meetings, the remnants of lunch shoved away in a trashcan along with the latest economics report. Perhaps it was time to step back from the clutter and relax.
His father still had time left to finish the business proposals before retiring and their direct family had yet to frequent one of their many luxury resorts. The majority of the work had been completed already anyhow, so taking one small vacation to enjoy his youth couldn’t really be seen as avoiding his duties.
There would be time to work on things at the resort anyway, it would simply be a check up on another branch of the Grey empire.
“Fine,”John said with a small smile escaping his lips, “We can go on one vacation I suppose.
But you’re still going to be working Mark. Don’t think you’re getting off that easily.”
“I wish it were that easy.” Mark’s excitement was so large John could practically hear him smiling. “I’ll get the plane tickets and we’ll be there by tomorrow night.” Bleep After what had seemed like an eternity of strange and moderately invasive interview questions Kim found herself waiting in the lobby of the Grey resort, watching enviously at the women walking by with their designer getups and perfectly tamed hair. It was as though she’d been placed in the presence of lords and ladies from all over the world but simply did not know any of their names. The interview room wasn’t any better; in fact Kim was the only woman there who didn’t look ready to seduce the interviewer.
She counted too.
Caught up so thoroughly in her own fantasies as people too wealthy to do anything but spend their money Kim barely noticed as a tall and gorgeous brunette walked up in front of her, handing a small form for her to sign.
“Kimberly Johnson ?” The woman’s voice chimed, snapping Kim back to reality.
A smile crossed the woman’s flawlessly pale face, flashing stunningly white teeth. “My name is Dakota Grey I’d let to welcome you to the resort. If you’d sign the disclosure form I’ll start giving you a tour. You’re going to be very busy around here.”
The automatic looks of disdain for Kim shot like daggers form the other applicants eyes, unbeknownst to Kim she had managed to secure one of the most sought after openings this side of town. Though none of the women looked like the particularly needed the job there was something about the promise of working under the Grey’s that drew people of all backgrounds together and left them fighting for a spot.
With a parade of ‘thank-you’s’Kim took the form, signing anywhere she could, barely reading the fine print. What she did manage to read during her frantic skimming was slightly perplexing though. The promise of work and of allegedly being kept very busy seemed to hold a longer lifespan than the contract stated.
Claiming she would be required to undergo a trial week before being given the full job. No more details about what occurred after that trail week were mentioned however, so Kim shrugged it off as a small technicality.
“You’ll be working as a waitress for the time being, we’re always short staffed there,” Dakota explained as she waited on the contract. “Once that’s done though you’ll be working for me. You’ll be our new starlet, isn’t that exciting!”
Handing the contract up Kimberly couldn’t help but smile at the woman’s enjoyment even if she didn’t quite understand why it was happening.
“I’m sure it will be.”
“Now follow me,”Dakota said with a sisterly smile. “There is still so much to do before you can start, and we haven’t even begun to talk about where you’ll be working in here.” Leading Kim from the loby the smile never left Dakota’s face, her own agenda running through her head almost as fast as her explanation of the resort’s customs.
Oh yes, she’ll do. Dakota thought. She’ll do quite nicely.
“You’ll find that once you know your way around here you’ll barely ever need to use facilities outside of the resort,” Dakota’s voice echoed as she led Kim through a quick overview of the Grey. At least she claimed it was the quicker version, despite the fact they had been walking for at least an hour. “The pool is open until midnight, but if you speak to the cleaners before hand they’ll leave it open. I can’t guarantee the bar beside it would want to wait around though.”
Kim looked to her left, seeing a pool that looked more like a fairytale grotto than an actual hotel pool. A statue of some angle holding up a soft blue light in her hands that flooded the pool in an eerie wash of color that only added to the dream like feel. From the structure built to conceal a secret passageway to a smaller secluded poor to the waterfall pouring down across a slide made to look like a rock formation. But before Kim could even comment on her awe she found herself being dragged away from the oasis to the next point in the tour.
“The girls you’ll be working with like to spend their free time either there or in the resorts gym. We’ve got more things there than I know the name for, but what’s really important is the dance studio I had built in the back. We’ve had company’s come by to use it over the ones their theaters offered its so nice.” The pride Dakota felt was obvious. “You’ll be able to go there before and after your shifts. We recommend it.”
I’m not sure if that’s a complement or not… Kim thought as she followed the proud woman through the remainder of the resort, never getting an opportunity to stay in one place as long as she wanted to. The amount of opulence within the rooms they had managed to visit was almost as overwhelming as if Dakota had tried to shove a rich chocolate cake down Kim’s throat without giving her time to breath. “Not that I don’t appreciate this ma’am,” Kim piped up, “but it’d be nice if I could see where I am actually supposed to work.”
Dakota stopped in her tracks, almost causing Kim to run into her. Staring back at the smaller woman with an unreadable expression on her face that managed to scare Kim back a few steps. The taller woman’s eyes two dark and intimidating orbs that never once left the smaller woman’s face, even when she smiled.
“Of course. That was our next stop anyway. I needed to lead up to it you know.” Her words, though sweet, practically dripped with poison, daring Kim to cut her off again.
Meekly Kimberly nodded, staying quiet as she was lead into what Dakota called the ‘crowning jewel’ of the resort. Built into the side of the building having originally been the largest structure in town before the city blossomed around it more recently an old Broadway size theater stood, offering shows to both guests in the resort of people off the street. It’s size alone was like nothing Kim had ever seen. The grand pillars leading towards golden staircases and elevators with matching plagues pointing out the different levels in seating, the red carpet trailing down from the stairs to the isles of orchestra seating, converted into a dining area that rivaled any five star restaurant.
The dinning addition wasn’t the only renovation Kim noticed. In front of the stage in what Dakota said was called orchestra seating was a dance floor, matching the thrust built into the stage, making the dark wood come down from the large stage into what would have been the most sought after seats.
“This is incredible…” Kim muttered, watching as several women moved out onto the dance floor, starting what she could only assume was a rehearsal of some sort.
“It was my idea,” Dakota said, swelling with pride. “I went off the old burlesque theaters that used to be in the area, we get more profits from here than we do from anything else aside from resort bookings.” Walking Kim towards the group of women Dakota clapped twice to get their attention, going forward to kiss the cheeks of a tall woman with auburn hair. “Serena, I want you to meet our new serving girl. She’ll be watching the show tonight.”
Serena’s eyes surveyed Kimberly closely, making her shift uncomfortably, feeling as though she was being stared down by some fearsome predator. “That’s nice.” Her soft voice broke the tension. “It’s been a while since we’ve had someone new here. I hope you last.”
The sweet smile on her face wasn’t enough to mask the unspoken threat behind her words. Somehow Kim figured she had to do with the last person quitting.
Before any of the other dancers could catch onto Serena’s tone Dakota shooed them away, going on about an important guest who they needed to impress. Taking Kim’s arm Dakota led her away from the women, not letting her get distracted by the music starting to play through the theater.
“You’ll be able to see them tonight. Serena always gets a standing ovation.”
“I’m still not sure why going here of all places is necessary.”
Luggage was thrown across the penthouse floor. The obviously separation between the two occupants defined clearly by one side of the room having a slight system to the placement of the luggage while the opposite side of the room was lucky if there was any flooring visible.
“Because,” came a voice from the cluttered half of the room, “I like it here. I got to visit last month when your cousin needed help.”
John shook his head, never being given a satisfactory response to the question no matter how many times he asked. “I just think there are better places we could have gone. Now Dakota’s wrapping us into seeing that show of hers and I’d much rather get some sleep. That flight was terrible.”
“Well next time you should agree earlier so I don’t have to book them last minute.” Mark emerged from the pile of clothes on the floor, having managed to find the closest thing to a suit he owned. “Now get dressed. I don’t want to be late. I’ve heard it’s a good show too.”
With a roll of his eyes John began to get dressed, not paying much attention to Mark raving about musicals he had seen when he lived with his mother. John had no interest in seeing people running around singing than he had in helping Mark tie his tie. The only reason he had agreed to go at all was to keep Mark from driving him mad.
Their seats were close to the stage, or at least as close as they could get with the extra floor placed in the orchestra. To John’s surprise the seats were more comfortable than he expected, almost as if he was at a lounge instead of some old theater.
“Can I get you two anything before the show?” A sweet voice broke through John’s haze, much to Mark’s excitement.
A pair of dark brown eyes watched John innocently, throwing him off from his usual order of scotch as he stared up to the waitress.
“Any… Anything is fine,” he managed to get out, eliciting a small snicker from Mark.
Unsure of what caused him to loose his train of thought John pulled back, taking a moment to look over the unfamiliar face smiling down at him.
“If you say so, sir.” The girl smiled, picking the menus off the table. “I’ll bring something back by the time the first number is over.”
Practically sensing the question on John’s lips Mark piped up. It was as if he had planned to leave John dumbstruck and judging by the smirk he couldn’t hide to save his life he was rather pleased with himself. “What’s your name?
Just in case we need something.”
Spinning back on her heels, picking the menus off another table, the girl smiled. “Kimberly, but you can call me Kim. ” J
…to be continued