WIP - next Chapter

This is part of chapter two of my current WIP.
I'd appreciate any comments.
Even better constructive critism.
Best of all would be comments if you like it.

Emma’s shift was only starting in an hour’s time, but she took a lift from Jack as she usually did on Mondays. Jack worked an extra hour each Monday and Friday to cover for a longer lunch when he was allowed to use the gym in the basement.

“Excuse me?”

Emma turned around and looked into Nadine’s beautiful eyes.

“Good morning, Nadine. It was Nadine wasn’t it?”

The girl’s face lit up. “Yes, but Mum always called me Naddie.”

“May I call you Naddie?”

Emma filled her glass with more orange juice. She always used the extra hour to enjoy a good breakfast at the hotel – thank goodness it was part of her arrangement. She studied the little girl, who was holding on to her oversized doll, which was wearing the same outfit as Nadine – pink t-shirt imprinted with ‘My beautiful Princess’, a denim skirt with a Barbie on it surrounded by lots of pink hearts in all sizes, pink shiny sandals and the brown hair done up in a pony tail.

“Where are your grandparents, Naddie?”

“Still in the room. Talking on the phone. Grandmother is always on the phone,” little Nadine added.

“Do you think you’re allowed to have a bit of breakfast with me?”

Nadine nodded overenthusiastically and sat down opposite Emma.

“Do they know where you are?”

The little head moved up and down and with her eyes wide open she said, “Told Grandpa.”

“I like your outfit,” Emma said while she took another glass and filled it with juice.

Nadine took one of the rolls. “Mum’s friend gave it to me for my birthday.”

“I take it you like Barbie.”

“Yes!” And that was literally the keyword to get Nadine started. She was bubbling with information about Barbie and which Barbie she had at home, which one she would like to have, about Ken and not to forget all the Barbie movies. Emma felt a bit overwhelmed by all these details but enjoyed listening to her new friend, when she all of sudden heard Teresa’s firm voice.


Nadine’s face suddenly lost its spark when she saw her grandmother.

“My apologies,” Teresa stopped in front of Emma. She hesitated. “Emma, wasn’t it?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“I do apologies for Nadine. I have no idea where she has her manners from ...”

“Ma’am, there’s no need to apologise. I really enjoyed her company.”

But Teresa had already grabbed Nadine by the wrist and pulled her off the seat. Then she turned to Emma again.

“Say Emma, I need someone to look after Nadine this afternoon. Who would be the best one to contact here in the hotel to organise this for me?”

Emma was a bit stumped by this question. She stared at Teresa Gibbs and was a bit intimidated by her. Mrs Gibbs glared like her old English teacher from fifth grade with the hair that probably used to be black and had now faded into grey tied up in a bun, her face reading like a map of time with every line a memory of her life, her grey eyes dulled with age, lifeless and hollow, and her mouth tight as if a nice word had never crossed these lips. Not to mention her clothes, which Emma thought, would be older than Emma herself.

 “Well I suppose the reception, which will be me in about fifteen minutes.”

“Can I leave that in your capable hands to organise this?”

“Well ... I suppose ... I mean ... that’s a new one for me, but I suppose, yes.”

Teresa grew impatient. “Emma, is that a yes or no?”

“It’s a yes ma’am,” Emma replied slightly embarrassed but yet with more confidence this time, even though she had no idea how to handle this request.

“Thanks, Emma. I would need someone between one and two-thirty.” And with that she left. Emma quickly gave a little wave to Nadine before she was out of her sight.

She finished her breakfast, returned her dishes to the kitchen and made her way to the reception area where she caught up with Jacqueline before she took over from her at the reception. It seemed like a quiet morning as she glanced over to the hotel lobby. The spacious entrance lit up with crystal chandeliers in contrast to the contemporary colours of the sand-coloured marble floor and the walnut panelling on the walls. Again, Emma gazed envious at the chocolate brown coloured furnishings which were according to Management strategically selected and arranged to allow a visual play of light and space. She loved that slogan. It had so many words, but really didn’t say anything at all.

Nightshifts at the reception were usually done by Jacqueline, who tried to study Business Management during the day.

 “Hey, Jacqui?”

Jacqui turned towards Emma. “Hmm?”

“How do I get a babysitter for this afternoon?”

Jacqui just stared at Emma and slowly lifted her eyebrows. “A babysitter?”

“Yes, for Room 502. They need a babysitter for their granddaughter.”

“Geez, Em, you’ve just given me a fright.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right – as if.”

Emma followed Jacqui as she went over to the office and reached for a drawer and removed a little folder.

“You should find all the details in here. But good luck. I’m not sure whether they can provide anybody on such short notice.”

“Great!” Emma said wryly.

Jacqui padded Emma’s arm. “You’ll be right. Jack should be here any minute and he can give you a hand.”

Emma took the folder and quickly flicked through it. “Thanks Jacqui,” she mumbled, but when she lifted her head she saw Jack standing in front of her – and almost dropped the folder it gave her such a fright.

“Geez, Jack! You’ve scared the crap out of me.”

“A hand with what?”

“I need a babysitter.”

Jack raised his eyebrows and a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “No worries. I look after you.”