Yesterday morning, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a teenager talking to his or her mom. As these two were communicating in English, I realized it was not the German family that's staying down the hall. I decided to poke my head out and investigate.
I saw a mother and daughter enter one of the rooms next to James'. Before I could say anything - ask if they were return guests or maybe tell them about the blog - I got cornered by Don Lazar. He asked if I wanted to check out the boardwalk - persistent bugger he is - and I said no, I had plans, and quickly ducked into James' room.
He was still asleep, naked above the covers. I let out an involuntary "Oh god!" that shook him awake. To his credit, he didn't panic or even rush to cover himself as I averted my eyes, he just yawned and stretched "Oh, we're still chicks? Whatever. Let's get breakfast."
He made fun of me for staring at the floor, saying it wasn't like I'd never seen "a naked girl" before. I said no, but I respect other peoples' privacy. He sifted through his luggage for a set of underwear. "I didn't bring a lot, figured it might be helpful to travel light."
"Maybe we should see if there's a laundromat in town," I said, "I'd hate to think you plan on leaving Keisha your funky panties."
He responded by tossing a pair at me, narrowly missing my head. I tried to suppress a laugh and let him know how grossed out I truly was.
We found an all-day Breakfast and settled in. We got to talking, albeit he mostly stuffed his face with bacon. I was trying to get him to reflect on his experience as Keisha. One thing that this blog didn't really convey was that James and Trish - as Keisha and Robbie Haddad - were Canadians of Middle Eastern descent, which I'd think is pretty different from being a White American. For instance, I asked if maybe he shouldn't be eating bacon, and he noted that the Haddads were Christian, not Muslim, so why shouldn't he eat pork. Still, he talked a bit about what it was like being a person of color... in terms that I'm not sure I should repeat here, but he overall downplayed it, saying it was weirder just to be a chick, and that from day to day it seemed the same as being white. "Except black dudes asked me for my number a lot, but that could just be because I've got a huge ass."
See what I mean about not repeating him here?
Then I noticed someone coming through the door - Jane Li. She saw us and I gave a little nod of recognition, which brought her over. James raised an eyebrow, I guess becuase he didn't want to slip "into character," but these things happen.
She took a seat and said how weird it was that we kept running into each other, although maybe not since it's a pretty sleepy town despite the tourist season.
"Plus, that Inn is so weird," Jane said, "It's like it's off in its own little world within the town."
"So true," James said, "You could go crazy trying to find something to do around there."
"Kinda feels haunted, right?" Jane said.
James and I glanced at each other. I took a moment before saying "Did... you hear something?"
"No," Jane said, clearly confused, "It's just a weird old building."
"Right," we said, trying to shake the idea that anyone else might know something about the Inn.
We actually spent the rest of the day with Jane, although it was an odd dynamic, with us having to play the roles of Keisha and Sophie, regular people. I could swear James had a bit of a crush on her, asking about her trip to Europe, prying whether she had a boyfriend, what music she liked.
I brought it up later in private, and his defense was "Look, I'm just trying to be nice, she's about to become one of us, right?" I mean, sure. Innocent enough on the surface, but to the degree that I know James...
Jane wanted to hang out some more at night, but we still had our 11 PM curfew. I stammered out some explanation about getting too much sun. James said he'd be along soon, but didn't end up coming back to the Inn until 3 AM.
Perfectly innocent indeed.
The change wasn't triggered that night, but who knows what could have happened.