The last thing Savannah Price needs is a rat infestation at her small zoo. But high-pitched screaming and a freaked out staff is what she gets. Not to mention the extermination bill that she'll just have to add to her other pile of growing debt that this zoo is costing her.
Her rock through the entire ordeal turns out to be the head of the kitchen staff, Sheldon, though he may also be partly responsible for the infestation problem in the first place. No matter, because he and his friend Curtis manage to get the staff members a hotel to stay in for the week of the extermination, all at half cost.
If only Savannah could figure out who to thank first: Sheldon or Curtis. As it turns out, she can thank both of them at once.
The hotel was a mid-range and mid-size one a fifteen minute drive from the zoo. Since it was still the spring just before vacation season truly began, it wasn't at full capacity. Savannah was able to fit in all of her staff on the same floor, saving a single room above them for herself. Just to give herself some distance from the situation. And probable late night rendezvous she'd rather not be privy to.
Ah, young love. She looked out the third floor window and spotted most of her counselors by the pool area. Spring or not, chilled air or not, they were using this as an opportunity for fun--and to clearly get to know one another. Savannah felt her own romantic impulse return as she watched Taylor, a barely nineteen year old boy who still seemed too skinny to be real, talk to Amber and touch her knee as he did.
Savannah shut the drapes to the window. She did not want to watch her counselors courtship. She was still hungry, too, and when the fridge in the room yielded nothing that wouldn't cost her an arm and a leg, or leave her still peckish fifteen minutes later, she grabbed the phone in the room and dialed down.
"Hello, Savannah. How can I help you?"
Savannah baulked. "Um. How did you --"
"Sheldon gave me your room number. And said that I should be the one to assist you no matter what." Savannah wasn't sure, but she swore the man's caramel honey voice contained a smile. A wry one, like the kind that sometimes upturned Sheldon's mouth when a recipe came out right. "Hello? Are you still there, Savannah?"
"Yes, sorry. Just really hungry. I'm ... not too sure what I want."
"I can give you the house special."
"What is that?"
"A three course meal. Starts with a salad, and then --"
"Oh, that's too much. I don't need anything fancy."
"Fancy food for a fancy lady," Curtis said, almost aimlessly. "But sure, what are you feeling instead?"
Savannah shifted on the bed. She was desperate for an image of what Curtis looked like. Was he a carbon copy of Sheldon, with light hair and tanned skin? Maybe with some curls that turned golden in sunlight? Did he have strong biceps from lifting bags of rice and flour and people's bags or were his legs that much more toned from going up and down passages in a hotel? She wanted to know everything, suddenly, and she wanted to see Sheldon, too. Why hadn't she gotten him a room close by? She should have --
"Should I bring you what I think you want?" Curtis asked, interrupting her aimless fantasies. "Just for the sake of speed?"
"It doesn't have to come right now. But I do want to do something soon. So ... yes." Savannah shuddered as she rubbed a palm over her thighs. "Bring me what you think I'd like."
"And if Sheldon thinks you want something else?"
"Bring me both meals, then."
"Yes. Both." Savannah hesitated. She was tempted to specify that she wanted both meals, but she left it vague. She left her words open and porous for anyone to interpret, and she hoped that she was not let down.
"Okay, then. Give me fifteen minutes. And we will see you then."