You can feel the wood vibrate against your back as you sit in front of it, head between your knees. Seriously? Why? Was God playing some kind of nasty joke? Terror and humiliation? Again, a knock comes and through the door you hear the manager, “Miss, we apologize. Please to come to my office when you are dressed for the day.” You can hear them speaking as they walk away, the chime of the elevator signals departure.
You should just check out, now, it had obviously been a mistake to speak to the manager earlier in the week. You’ve been at this hotel for almost two months straight, you liked it here, had felt safe…. Had. You reset all the locks, add your door alarm and move to get ready for the day. It spoke well of Junsu that most walking in to his hotel would not know it was owned by him. Yes, posters of any current musical he was in were in the lobby, but you just figured that was advertisement. Your head falls to the shower wall under the spray, see? Even full modern conveniences you think, as you repeatedly knock your head into the wall.
You glance in the bathroom mirror one more time, give yourself a doubtful once over and realize it’s as good as it’s going to get. You’ve already looked your worst, things can only get better right? You shut the lights off and head down to the lobby, better to find out now what they wanted than to prolong it.
There must have been a note left at the front desk, for when you ask for the manager, you are immediately led back to his office. A swift knock and you are admitted inside to find, both men, over looking items spread on the desk. At your entrance, they both look up, straighten up, and bow. Junsu comes forward with his hand extended, “Please, forgive our earlier mistake,” he looks back at the manager, “we should have called.”
You acknowledge his apology with a small bow of your own. “Please have a seat,” the manager states and pulls a chair out for you.
“What can I help you gentlemen with?” you begin.
Junsu has taken a seat to the side, letting the manager hold his position and discuss the manner. “I asked my staff to alert me if you received another ‘gift’. You received one yesterday, did you not?”
You look between the men, “I did.”
“Would you mind sharing with us the cards?” he asks politely.
You must have realized this is what the meeting was for as you had put the cards in your bag before your left your room. You take them out of your purse and hand them over the desk to the manager. Junsu rises from his seat to stand next to the manager as he translates them into Korean. He picks up each card, turns it over a few times, than places them back on the desk.
He resumes his seat and nods at the manager, obviously confirming an action they had discussed previously.
“We would like to give these to the police,” he starts, looking at you for permission. You nod and he continues, “As you are now aware, the owner here,” he nods to Junsu, “is not a stranger to stalkers, anti-fans, even obsessive fans.” You continue to simply nod.
“He is distressed that this would happen at his establishment, even though we do not know the reasons behind it.” The manager looks at you for input…
“I am not a stranger to stalkers either, as we discussed earlier this week. I have no wealth, no fame, no stunning beauty to catch the attention of such, or so I would have thought.”
Junsu does not speak fluent English; therefore the manager is translating so that he can fully understand the situation. He looks at you rather oddly for a moment, reminding you of the looks the cops at home gave.
“Would you mind telling us about your other stalker? We realize it might be painful, but it would help for us to fully proceed.”
“Proceed? Proceed with what?” You close your eyes, bone weary tiredness has settled in. “I am sorry, that this happened at your establishment, I mean no bad press to come to you.” You stand as if to leave, they stand also, “In fact, I had already made up my mind last night to find other lodging. You and your staff have treated me extremely well these last two months, I do not wish ill will here.”
Before you turn the door handle, a voice behind you speaks, “Please, sit back down.” You turn at Junsu’s voice, he is motioning to the chair you just left. “No one should be treated in such manner, I can help, please, sit back down.”
You stand there another moment, unsure, why would he want to help you? You are a stranger from another country. None of this has anything to do with him and even if the pervert sending you flowers is a guest here, you don’t feel that makes it his responsibility. However, you nod and make your way back to your chair.
“You don’t have to tell us everything, just enough to make sure what he has in mind will assist you,” the manager begins again.
You take a deep breath, why not? “A few years ago I started doing consulting. When I was away from home, different neighbors would help me out. A new neighbor moved in to the apartment building during one of my trips. Friends filled me in on who he was, what he did, neighbor stuff you know? I saw him around occasionally, he seemed to just pop up places, but not places he didn’t belong.” You had both men’s attention and that unsettled you almost as much as telling your story.
You close your eyes and start again, “After a trip, I brought the neighbor that helped me out a small present. They told me that the new neighbor had offered his assistance, had brought my mail in a few times, etc. They went with me to introduce myself, I mean, since he had been in my home, I wanted to meet him.” The manager gets up from his chair, reaches into the fridge behind him and places a bottle of water in your hands.
After a few swallows you start again. “It wasn’t anything big or even noticeable, it was more a feeling. A feeling, that someone had been in my apartment, even when I was home. Small things, that you’re never really sure if you moved or misplaced. It was confirmed when notes started showing up; next to me on the extra pillow, on my mirror in my bathroom, in my fridge.” You shift and drink more water, “I changed my locks, got a temporary alarm system, everything settled down for a couple of months.”
You can’t look at them anymore, the whole thing still made you feel dirty, shameful, like you had done something wrong, that it had all been your fault. A few of the policemen had treated it that way, telling you that wasn’t how stalking worked, that you must have done something, said something, insulted…
“That is good,” Junsu says, startling you from your thoughts. He speaks rapidly in Korean to the manager, who nods and leaves the office. The manager returns shortly with a set of keys and places them on the desk in front of you.
“It would be my honor if you would allow me to help you,” he begins and you just sort of stare at him in wonder. “The top floor is two penthouses, one for family, they come and go. The other is mine,” he reaches over, takes the keys from the desk and puts them in your hand. “I rarely use it, I have a home, it is merely convenience for me at times. I would like it for your use.”
You know your mouth didn’t drop open but your eyes must have been huge as you look down at the keys in your palm and you fully understand his meaning.
You shake your head, “No, I couldn’t. It is still your home, I can’t be there, what if you need it while I am here? I’m still here for another two months!” You move to hand the keys back but he folds your hand over them with his and holds it closed.
“Security is good, access only with key for elevator, stairs,” he looks over to the manager who nods. “Your name will be removed from the registry as if you are no longer a guest.” He leans in a little closer, looks deeper into your eyes, “You have suffered this before, you need not again. This will be good,” he states as he pats your hand and moves back to his seat.