Theodora Whatley couldn’t resist a backward glance as Brett Andrews triumphantly walked away. “Damn,” she thought, “He won.” Moments before, his hazel eyes had pierced her own as he simply said, “I’ve never seen a woman who could make a messy bun look so sexy.” He slipped a folded piece of paper in her hand and walked away, never looking back. She found her hands trembling as she opened the note.
Theo and Brett had worked together for several months. He was the newest manager to come through the hotel, and every girl from the front desk to housekeeping melted in his presence. Until that night, Theo had been the exception. She sat on her bed — the one she shared with Jess — hands still shaking, clutching the phone as the note lay in front of her. Things had been bad between her and her girlfriend for some time. Only getting worse, Theo had been trying to find her way out of the toxic romance. Desperately, she hoped that the answer was on the piece of paper in front of her.
It was getting late and her night had been long and stressful. Theo’s eyes drifted off of the messy penmanship to nowhere. Her mind filled with all of Jess’s harsh words. “Am I truly unlovable?” she thought. Knowing that her ideas and dreams were ridiculous, that she couldn’t be trusted to think for herself — after all, Jess had told her so many times — Theo asked herself why she bothered questioning it. Fantasizing about and acting on the inscription on this piece of paper would just be another one of her bad ideas. She was bound to Jess. The thought of it stabbed at her heart. Jess was the only one who could ever truly love her. Theo was “damaged goods.” Her thoughts spiraled into darkness as tears began to soak the note.
“Crying again? Do you ever do anything else?” The sound of Jess’s voice sounded distant and all Theo could sense was the strong smell of tequila. “What the hell are you crying over anyway?” Jess snatched the soggy scrap of paper from the bed. “What the fuck?”
The shrill in Jess’s voice brought Theo out of her stupor just in time to realize that she was being tackled. She flew off the bed and hit her side on the corner of the dresser. The sound of her rib cracking and the immediate pain that followed made her feel nauseated. “You fucking bitch!” Jess’s fist came down, crushing the bridge of Theo’s nose. Blood splattered the wall. “I should have known that you’re nothing more than a whore. No one will ever love you.” Jess stormed out of the room, slamming every door that she went through. An engine outside revved into life, and Theo heard the sound of Jess’s tires peeling off the concrete drive.
Theo felt the warm blood gushing from her nose. Dizzy, she grabbed the wastebasket on the side of the dresser, vomited and then wearily got to her feet. She went into the bathroom and stared into the mirror as the blood continued to steadily run off of her lips. Jess would surely leave her now, and she would have nothing. She was nothing. Tears streamed through the blood that had begun to dry on her cheek. Everyone would be better off without her. She was nothing more than a fuck up. No one would ever love her. Horrible thoughts consumed her and she beat at her head, pleading with them to stop. She opened a cabinet drawer, looking down at a razor blade like it was a long lost friend. She looked at the scares on her arms and legs. It would be so easy. Her gaze drifted as she weighed her options until she found herself focusing on her name badge.
THE HYATT REGENCY
Grabbing a washcloth, Theo absently wiped the blood and tears away. Today was not the day. She walked to the closet, grabbed her suitcase and threw it down next to the note that simply said, “You are beautiful!”