Regina whirled into the lobby of the hotel, her ruby red, velvet cloak whirling around her. Her arms were laden with bags and there were also a few hat boxes clutched in her hands. She sniffed appreciatively at the warm pine smell coming from the very large Christmas tree in the lobby. Currently, it only had its lights, twinkling fairy lights, but soon it would be decorated. Late at night, the staff would set to work turning the hotel into a Christmas dream. The bannisters would be strung with garlands, greenery would be around windows and doors. Bowls of glass ornaments and strings of shimmery beads. Glittery snowflakes and icicles dripping off of the balcony overlooking the lobby. The hotel would be alive with classic Christmas music and every member of the staff would have their holiday uniforms; sparkly dresses for the ladies, and festive vests and bow ties for the men.
Regina hummed The Christmas Song, Karen Carpenter’s voice in her head as she plopped her purchases in Luke’s office. Luke was out, it appeared, and Regina grinned deviously. She picked up the phone on his desk and rang up the kitchen.
“Hi, Margo. Could you have a bottle of champagne, a plate of shortbread cookies and some finger food brought to Luke’s office? I’m decorating.” She couldn’t stop the giggle to Margo’s groan of “oh God.”
Luke, while festive, did not like his office touched. Even by Regina, and they were a thing.
Regina had just plugged in some holiday music and was pulling things out of her bags when Craig came in with the things she’d ordered, the champagne in an ice bucket and the rest on a tray.
“Put the champagne on the desk and the two plates on that table,” she directed, pointing at the small table between two comfortable chairs she frequently confiscated when she was writing.
“The boss ain’t gonna like this,” Craig warned as he set the champagne flutes next to the bucket of ice and popped the cork on the bubbly.
“That’s because he’s never had me decorating. Besides, he can’t fire his woman.”
“Just don’t say I had any part of this,” Craig warned.
“Why would I? You only brought my order,” Regina said, confused.
Craig grinned and stuck his head out of the door. “Oy! Jason. Sam. Bring it in,” he called.
Two of the other bellhops came in carting a faux, fluffy, white Christmas tree and set it up in front of one of the long windows that looked out on Ashland’s bustling East Main. They plugged in the cord hanging near the base and the tree was lit up in glittery white.
“Lissa ordered this for your suite, but when she heard you were decorating the boss’s, she told us to bring it in here.” Craig and the boys left and Regina stood, staring at the tree in glee. She knew she always liked Luke’s assistant, Lissa, but this was extra perfect. And she was amazed that the word had gotten around that she was decorating in the twenty minutes since she’d ordered the food. Ah yes, living in a hotel was like a small town. Gossip was always a hot topic.
To the sounds of Bing Crosby and many more classic Christmas artists, Regina pulled ornaments from bags that had come from Paddington Station, one of Regina’s favorite stores along Ashland’s shopping district. There were other bags of ornaments from other stores and soon there were silver and gold and glittery red ornaments hanging on the tree. Thank goodness she didn’t have to put the lights on herself. She wound glittery pine garlands around the windows, she sipped the champagne, she nibbled the good eats, and soon, the office of the very prominent owner of the very luxurious hotel, was a warm and cozy winter wonderland.
She had the shades up so passersby could look in the windows, and she caught many open-mouthed “whoa’s” as she fixed things. Some she would wave at, others, she would toast with her glass of bubbly. It was fun.
By the time Luke entered his office at half past four, Regina was a bit tipsy and belting out White Christmas. He should have been furious with his zen office now almost as richly decorated as a store, but when his gorgeous lady held up a bunch of mistletoe in a gold bow and presented her very red lips, who was he to make a fuss?
So I have recently been writing little vignettes of my various novels and their characters. I wanted to give everyone a Christmas story. I read off one of my little somethings the other night and was told that it was like a Hallmark script. I had never thought about my stories that way; the stories I have been writing for 16+ years, but it was incredibly encouraging because I like to write nice stories. I have been trying to figure out what to do with my stories for ages. Now I might have some inspiration.
Regina and Luke are the start of something I wanted to write about Ashland, Oregon, and the glorious Ashland Springs Hotel. I wrote a character piece on Luke ages ago. You can read it here.