Rosie always refers to the Coleridge as a “she” rather than an “it.”
Should someone ask, which they never do, he would tell them it feels more personal that way. The Coleridge, after all, is more than just his home. He lives here, certainly—he’s lived here longer than almost anyone knows, for that matter, and quite definitely longer than anyone suspects—but the Coleridge is more than people coming and going, or even the people coming and staying. The Coleridge, Rosie tells them, is an Experience, capital E, and it is his duty to ensure that Experience is smooth and pleasant. Whether they are visiting her for the first time or the fifteenth, he wants them to feel welcomed. He lives and breathes this place, he will say—has done for years—and there is nothing he knows and loves so well as her. She is, he tells them, more than just a hotel. She’s more than just the family business.
The Coleridge is family.
Returning visitors always say that this is what they like best. The day visitors will remark on the ballrooms, of course, and rightly so. First time visitors usually leave with a smile, only to later realize they’ve accidentally walked off without returning the book they borrowed from the library. No matter, Rosie tells them if they call. They must need it more than the Coleridge does. She wouldn’t have let them take it otherwise. The visitors shake their heads in confusion at this as they hang up the phone. Later, they might realize they did need that book. If they do, Rosie knows, both will find their way back. The Coleridge has that effect.
It is Rosie’s enthusiasm for the Coleridge that stays with them the most, though, long after they have returned to their homes and their offices. He greets every guest with a broad smile and a shake of his even broader hand, and there is an almost omniscient air about him; he seems to know just what every room and every guest needs before they know it themselves. For those who return, this is what makes the Coleridge an Experience—capital E, of course—that they wish to repeat. It is Rosie’s love for the Coleridge and her guests that keeps them coming back time and again—that, they laugh, and the freshly brewed coffee.
But even Rosie can’t keep track of all the details this family involves.
Even Rosie can’t be in two places at once.
A young woman walks up the grand staircase, a large keyring in her hand. Her dark hair flips forward as she takes a turn, and she tucks it distractedly behind her ear. The last guests checked in finally turn out their light. Rosie sits on his heels in an empty hotel room, examining a small, rusted section of an old radiator. A lanky young man glances at his pocketwatch as he walks through the front doors. In the rooftop ballroom, Agatha wafts from one side to the other, her transparent face tipped toward the stars. A returning visitor slips out of the library with a borrowed paperback clutched in his hand. A journalist turns over in her sleep. The grandfather clock begins to toll 2am.
And on the third floor, a woman is being drowned in a bathtub.