8.9

When the hotel loomed over them Jessie finally let go of his hand, darting ahead to the entrance. Sam caught up and opened the door for her, only for her to rush inside to stare at the fish tank in the reception desk. She followed one of the larger fishes as it swam around while he checked in.

“Jess, come on, let’s get up to our room so you can change.” He called to her before she could wander around the wrong side of the desk and she jumped up, returning to his side as he reached the elevator.

“They should let you catch the fishes, it’d be more fun that way.”

“But with an expert fisher like you they’d run out.” Sam hit the button for their floor and grimaced as the mood music started.

“I’d put them back.”

“Are you hungry? I’m a bit hungry. We could order room service.”

“Food is good.”

“Such words of wisdom deserve pizza.” They reached their floor and Jessie darted ahead again, stopping to stare at the fish tank just before their door.

“Can we get fish pizza?”

“I think I’ve had enough fish for a while.” Sam nudged her towards the door and she resisted a little, making a weird clicking noise. Another nudge got her moving reluctantly, “How about chicken?”

“Chicky-chicky chicken!” She jumped on the bed and sent several carefully folded towels sailing to the floor, as well as a pillow.

“Careful, Jess. There should be clothes in the dresser so you take a shower and change and I’ll order some food.”

She rolled off the bed and opened a few drawers in the dresser. They kept a few outfits here for visits and she found something she liked quickly, darting into the bathroom. As soon as he heard the water running Sam accessed the control panel by the door and ordered some food. A sideways glance at the box of paperwork had him adding some coffee to the order and tea for Jessie. He turned on the television, set himself up at the table in the corner of the room and was already reading when the food arrived.

Jessie reemerged as he feeding himself, wearing an oversized set of pajamas his mother had sworn she would grow into in no time. She rolled up her sleeves and grabbed some food, settling on the bed to watch the random show that was on. Sam looked up to see what he’d turned on and was relieved to see it was a harmless old slapstick movie.

As he gradually worked through the stack of papers Jessie moved from the bed to the couch in front of the television, back to the bed and then to the floor next to him. Her occasional giggle was all the assurance he needed and he didn’t look up until the movie ended. She’d eaten half of the food and he put the rest away for safekeeping.

“Are you done with your homework?” She moved back to the couch.

“It’s not homework, and I just have a few pages left.” He sat back down with some water and she turned her attention back to the television with a sigh. He signed the final page and stuck it all back in it’s plastic box, joining her on the couch, “Alright what is on now?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen it before.” Jessie leaned against him and he put his arm around her, “Looks like a scary movie.”

“Oh, maybe we should switch to something else…” He reached for the controls but she stopped him. The spooky music started to grow in intensity.

“I wanna see it though!”

“Jess-a-belle you’re a bit too young for-” Sam winced as he could see someone about to be shoved down some stairs by an unseen attacker.

“Misa, I’m not little anymore. I’m big enough to watch a scary movie!” She frowned at him and he sighed.

“I just don’t want you to get nightmares, and what if you sleepwalk?”

“I’m not gonna get nightmares, please?” She pulled out her best pleading eyes and he relented, sitting back.

“Alright but if you get nightmares it’s not on me.” She smiled and snuggled close, returning her attention to the movie. He could feel her tense and even jump a little as some strange creature started offing a bunch of horrible teenagers. At one point he looked down and she had her head buried in his side as someone was knocked into an electrified pool. She turned back once the music quieted down though and actually watched the rest of the movie.

At the end of the movie he turned the television off and Jessie yawned. She curled up on the far side of the bed as he cleaned up and changed, and turned to face him as he lay down.

“Well I think we may have to upgrade to two beds since you’re getting so big.” Sam got under the covers and found the one pillow she hadn’t claimed.

“We could get beds stacked on top of each other and I could be in the top one!”

“Or we could just get two regular beds…”

“Sure if you want to be boring.”

“You ready to sleep? No nightmares?”

“I’m fine, Misa. It was just a movie.”

“Okay, cause I’m turning the lights off now.” He hit the button and the room went pitch black. He could hear Jessie turn over again but she lay still after that and he drifted off to sleep.

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