Painting by the Blond Duck
It was her spot.
In the midst of fluttering housemaids and chefs, gardeners and bellboys, the little girl slipped quietly through the daily hotel bustle. She slid by the screaming children and their red-faced mothers and humiliated fathers, strolled by the oblivious businessmen shouting into cell phones and giggled as she tiptoed by the kissing honeymoon couple entwined at the bar in more than their wine glasses. Stepping through the glass doors onto the back porch, she drank in the warm summer afternoon air like thick sweet tea.
She grinned at the landscape manager as he pruned the flowerbed. ”Mr. Louis.”
“Where are you going, looking so fine?”
Georgia giggled. ”You know I can’t tell you.”
“Your daddy know?”
“Yes,” Georgia lied.
“Mmmhmm.” Mr. Louis raised a white eyebrow and she squirmed. ”Well, I’ll be out here all afternoon. You get in any trouble or one of the guests start bothering you, you holler, all right?”
None of the guests would ever bother the daughter of a hotel owner. ”Yes, sir.”
“All right now.” He plunked a purple peony and handed it to her, grinning as she squealed. ”Have fun, now.”
“I will. Bye, Mr. Louis.” Tucking the flower behind her ear, she skipped down the sidewalk. She nearly trampled an older couple shuffling through the gazebo and turned down the sidewalk, running until the smooth cement melted away into lush grass. Ignoring the signs and glistening gold chains, she swung one leg over. She slipped off her shoes, wiggling her toes in the soft warm carpet. Swinging her sandals in one hand, Georgia skipped deeper into the landscaping, ducking between trees and gingerly tiptoeing over the sharp mulch. She sucked in her breath, happiness fluttering in her heart.
“There you are,” she whispered. Dropping her sandals, she plopped down on the smooth stone bench. Her back centered firmly on the smooth trunk of an ash, she picked up a book she’d hidden under the shaded stone. She flipped it open and fell into the world of dragons and goblins as plucky Princess Penelope stormed the Castle Forge.
It was her favorite spot.
Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! A flashback to the Blond Duck’s childhood mañana!
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