I bit my lower lip, stunned by Bill’s news about REO staying at the hotel where I worked. Suppressed rage fought to escape. It took less than five minutes for me to lose the battle. Anger rushed up from my toes, dashed through my middle, into the esophagus and burst out my mouth. I swiveled around in the chair to face Sandy. “Why didn’t you tell me the truth about REO staying at our hotel?”
Her eyes narrowed. “What? Are you still on that?”
“Oh brother, not again.” Mary groaned.
Despite the trouble my confrontational attitude cost me in the past, I snarled at the snotty reservationist sitting beside me. “Shut up.”
“Don’t tell me to shut up. I’m not afraid of your tough-act, Lori.” Mary shot warning darts from her black eyes.
“Oh? What’re you going to do? Use your taekwondo black-belt to kick my ass?” I cringed at my own combativeness.
Kyla pressed the hold button on her phone. “Knock it off, you guys. Can you please act like adults?”
I directed a lowered tone toward Mary. “This doesn’t concern you. It’s between Sandy and me.”
“Why are you bringing this up again?” Sandy cocked her head sideways, appearing genuinely interested this time.
“I found out the entire band is checking in the hotel later today.”
She stood, her hands still on the desk. “Who told you that?”
I gulped. My outburst might’ve gotten Bill in trouble. “Employees talk, you know. It seems everyone knew but me.”
“I’ll be right back.” She marched out of the room.
Mary spoke through her headset to a customer and pointed to phone calls on hold. My shaky hand pressed a button to answer a line. Was I nervous about the confrontation with these selfish coworkers, or about REO Speedwagon on my front doorstep? Thankfully, telephone customers kept me occupied for the moment.
About fifteen minutes later, Sandy returned to the office. She reclined onto the springy back of the chair and rested her legs on top of the desk. We answered calls while our supervisor worked yet another crossword puzzle. Once the phones quieted, she blurted. “You were right, Lori.”
I spun my chair around.
“The sales secretary, confirmed it. REO Speedwagon is staying here.” She diverted her eyes away from me. “I had no idea.”
She’s obviously lying. I didn’t have the strength to push the matter, because my insides hadn’t stopped twisting into pretzel shapes since Bill rang with the news.