I met up with Fletcher again last night. More people have checked in to the Inn - by his count, a family of three and a young couple.
"None of them look like they've been here before," he said, "They underpacked and they looked, well, genuinely upbeat about being in Maine. You know, there's a beaten-down, antsy look people who return get. Just waiting to get it over with."
"It's the weekend, so I'd expect you to be back in your own skin by Monday morning. We'll probably see our last five friends show up tonight or tomorrow morning. How was your date last night?"
I scowled, "It wasn't a date."
"Hook-up then. Whatever. You banged, didn't you?"
"Keep it down." I felt awkward discussing this.
"Ah, come on. She looks like she like it rough."
"Now you're just being misogynistic. Besides," I admitted, "I had a bit of a stamina problem."
He laughed, "Alia, you dog! I can't believe you fuckin' did it! That's awesome. I'm impressed. Congrats." He put out his hand and I shook it reluctantly. I told him I felt like a hypocrite, after all my lecturing to Tori.
He dismissed this idea. "We're nobody, here. Between identities. There ain't any Alia right now, there ain't even really a Rob. You're just a dude who did what any other guy would've done in the same situation. Lucky guy."
Sam didn't appear again. I considered going by her room before crashing, but ended up just staying in my own. It's been raining again.
In the hallway this morning, I ran into the dad of the family of three Fletcher had mentioned. I asked him if he was enjoying his trip. He said yeah, but they weren't going to be here long, they were going to head down to Boston on Sunday.
A mild panic struck me. 13 people have to be in the inn at once, right? It doesn't just release the new bodies to the 13 closest humans, I mean, if they're not close enough... the particularities of this whole curse still elude me. But it seems clear that if these three bodies aren't at the inn with the rest of us, this whole transformation is going to be messed up.
This morning, another woman showed up. We're that much closer. I've got my fingers crossed.
A couple of points:
First, because inn reservations are made in two week blocks, that family is penciled in for the entire two weeks even though they plan to check out after only a few nights. That means that they could check back in or extend their stay if weather or other factors forces a change in their travel plans.
Second, the inn management has been known to rent out vacant rooms to last minute replacements. This is how detective Conrad Mancini got a room for the night and ended up becoming Jessica Brooks.
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