For the past three days, Clara Little had lived, breathed, and dreamed about the Wedding Pas de Deux from the classical ballet, The Sleeping Beauty. Today marked the day she would be flying off to London to perform in the World Stars of Ballet showcase as a last-minute fill in. Clara would be replacing the Bolshoi Ballet’s Prima Ballerina, Maria Tsukyskia. In the ballet world, everybody knew the name Maria Tsukyskia. It was an unexpected honor to even be considered, as a relative unknown, to step in for her.
After a long morning of traffic to get to LAX—one of Clara’s favorite places in the world—Clara finally arrived at the passenger drop-off location. If she had not been a classically-trained ballet dancer, Clara would have more than likely been a flight attendant like her best friend, Amanda Collins. Clara thanked Amanda for the ride and wished her luck on her own flight later that day. Amanda sped off to the employee parking lot.
Taking a moment to compose herself, Clara finished her coffee and then skipped along to the teal self-servicing ticket kiosks for Pacific Skyways. The caffeine gave her the extra jolt she needed after a typical stressful morning sitting in L.A. traffic. Clara followed the touchscreen instructions and verified her reservation information on the machine. This was starting to feel real! Clara’s heart pounded wildly against her chest. After all of her hard work, she was headed to Europe. The thrill of going on this trip almost matched the adrenaline Clara received every time she performed onstage.
Knowing she needed to verify her passport details, she searched through her purse for her passport and tried to scan it next. An angry red error message flashed on the screen and asked her to try scanning her passport again. Unsuccessful after three attempts, she gave up and walked over to the rather empty ticketing counter. Clara was not amused; she could feel the tension in her shoulders building. She released a deep breath.
She tilted her head to the left, then right to try to loosen up and relax her taut muscles. Is this really how I’m going to start my morning? Clara thought. Stay cool! Stay calm! Maybe it’s nothing. Just be the polite patron Amanda always tells you to be. Relax, Clara.
A set of five rather bored-looking agents for Pacific Skyways stood chatting as she waited by the stanchions, trying to get their attention. Normally she would be annoyed by the agents talking rather than doing their jobs, however, the extra bit of time allowed for Clara to shift some items around in her large travel purse. She stood up and slapped her hands against her thigh, keeping time counting, five, six, seven, eight! Clara moved her feet through The Sleeping Beauty choreography.
Finally, a full two minutes later, the agents noticed a small line had formed. They fled to their various stations and signaled the people in line over to them.
“Hi, I’m here to check in to flight 769 direct to London Heathrow, but the kiosk wasn’t able to read my passport for some reason,” Clara said to a yawning agent.
“May I see your passport please?” he asked. Clara handed it over. He opened her passport to the photo page, swiped it, and verified her information against the computer. Satisfied, the agent clicked away into a few screens and let out a low whistle. “Oh. 769. That flight has actually been delayed five hours due to mechanical reasons on the plane. Your newly scheduled time for departure is 1:00 p.m.”
A hint of panic took hold as Clara did the math. With the time change, this would put her in London at 9:00 a.m., and she needed to be checked in and ready for rehearsal for the showcase at 3 p.m. “I have to be in London by tomorrow, early afternoon. Do you have any flights or options for me to rebook or be rerouted through that get in earlier or around the same time as the original flight? Maybe through another city, like Paris or Amsterdam?”
Clara gripped the handle of her travel purse hard enough to turn her fingers white. She really, really didn’t want to take a chance something else would go wrong. What if they don’t let me dance if I can’t make it for rehearsal? I won’t let this happen. Clara tried hard to force all the negative thoughts out of her mind. Even with everything outside of her control, she would make whatever came her way work. Her pulse quickened.
The clerk typed away and responded in the negative. “Your flight to London Heathrow is completely full. Did you want to volunteer to take a later flight? Last night’s red eye was cancelled.” He stared at Clara with a blank expression.
“No. Like I mentioned earlier, I have to be in London on time.” There was simply nothing else available. She would have to wait out the delay. Clara huffed, frustrated by the clerk’s lack of sympathy.
The clerk flashed her an, ‘I’m sorry; I was just doing my job’ look and responded, “No problem. Here is your boarding pass. Your seat will be assigned at the gate. Do you want to check your bag today?”
She sighed and reluctantly glanced over to her small rolling bag knowing it would likely have to be checked anyway, especially if it was a full flight. She ensured her costume, pointe shoes, and other key items were in her purse and asked where she could find the strongest cup of coffee in the terminal. Clara now had a few hours of free time to kill at the airport. Maybe she could find a new book to go with her coffee.
Clara certainly hoped she wouldn’t have to miss the opportunity of a lifetime due to a stupid plane delay. She had a little extra time built into her schedule, but one could never be too certain. It was time to reset, refuel, and have her second cup of coffee of the day.
There was nothing better than the smell of roasting beans. I’m really gonna treat myself to something special today! Maybe a piece of pumpkin bread to go with a vanilla latte. Yum! It was exactly what she needed right then.
The line outside of Norma’s Coffee was long but moved efficiently. She passed the time by texting Amanda.
Clara: Where are you off to next?
Amanda: Zurich :) Can’t wait for the Swiss chocolates!
Clara: What time do you have to check in? Are you free to meet up?
Amanda: Already checked in with my purser. She’s doing the cabin inspection now. Wish you asked earlier! Plane is pushing back in 60. Pax are already lining up to board.
Clara: Bummer! Text me when you land. I’m off to Norma’s for my usual.
Amanda: Will do! Fly safe!
Clara smiled at Amanda’s use of airline lingo. It brought back fond memories of their nearly five years together as roommates in Seattle when Clara was a student at the Seattle Ballet Academy and Amanda a flight attendant trainee at the Pacific Skyways Headquarters. Many late-night study sessions over hot chocolate and lemon bars made Clara nearly fluent in aviation speak. Terms like push back and pax might mean nothing to the average person, however, to Clara it meant departure from the gate and passengers.
Reaching the front of the line, Clara changed gears and made the executive decision to switch her order to tea. She needed something soothing that would last a little longer than her coffee. She had a ten-and-a-half hour flight ahead of her. With her green tea soy vanilla latte in hand, things were starting to look up. She took her time strolling past the windows of the shops located inside the International Terminal. Clara loved people-watching and the feeling of being on the cusp of an adventure. LAX brought together people from all over the world and from every walk of life. It was a people-watcher’s paradise and sometimes better entertainment than television!
At the end of her walk, Clara was disappointed to find there wasn’t a bookstore available, yet she did stumble upon a small newsstand and picked up a copy of National Geographic. It was pricier than normal, but well worth the splurge to keep her entertained during the plane delay. A dancer didn’t typically take home a large paycheck.
Clara tucked her phone into the pocket of her travel purse and surveyed the concourse as she stepped out from the newsstand. Families rushed past with Disney attire. Businessmen in suits held phones up to their ears as they walked past, searching for a spot to charge their laptop computers while they munched on a fast breakfast.
I forgot to get my pumpkin bread at Norma’s! She was going to be starving by the time the delay was over. Why hadn’t she brought a snack? Clara did a 360 and ventured over to the snack area to search for something somewhat healthy.
Her attention turned to a tall man with sandy hair wearing a beautifully-tailored, expensive-looking, dark navy wool overcoat and tortoiseshell glasses. His eyes were glued to his phone; he barely looked up as he moved past Clara and scooped up an assortment of snacks at random. Clara nearly laughed aloud, noting he picked up a peanut butter and jelly cupcake, fruit cup, and bacon and cheese sliders.
This muffin has my name on it. Clara smiled, selecting the last muffin from the pastry case and wrapping it in a brown takeaway bag.
Clara approached the cashier. The sandy haired man stood ahead of her in line, his face slightly flushed as he fumbled with his pockets in search of his wallet to pay for his purchase. He finally placed his phone and snack selections down on the counter to pat down his pockets. The two men traveling with him had a hard time keeping straight faces as they stood off to the side.
Why didn’t they step in and assist him? Did they enjoy watching him struggle? A heavy believer in karma, Clara stepped up to the register next to him.
“How much does he owe?” she inquired.
“Eight bucks,” the annoyed clerk spat out.
The man’s phone rang, immediately stealing his attention. Clara doubted he even noticed her. Clara stared in disbelief that he would take the time to answer it instead of finishing his transaction first. By the time Clara had swiped her credit card and paid, the man had taken notice of her goodwill gesture. In a very posh, upper-class British accent, he muttered a hasty, “Thanks.” After scooping up his provisions, the group of men rushed from the newsstand and toward the terminals without a backward glance.
I thought the British were supposed to be more polite. Oh well. Clara glanced down at how she was dressed. She wore her favorite pair of black leggings and a comfortable, old, black and white polka dotted top with gray converse. Plus, her long, dark brown hair was swept up into a messy bun. She appeared much younger than her twenty-six years of age. Maybe if I were in a power suit I’d be able to hold the sandy-haired man’s attention. She paused. Nah, she’d never trade her tutu for a cubicle.
An hour and a half before boarding, right as Clara finished the last article in her magazine about ancient Greece, she heard her name being announced over the PA system near the departure gate.
“Ms. Clara Little, please see the gate agent at gate number 8 of the International A terminal for an important message. Again, Ms. Clara Little, please proceed to gate number 8 for an important message.”
Clara glanced at her watch, wondering why Pacific Skyways could possibly be paging her so early. She stood from her seat and stretched, gathered her belongings, and made her way down two gates to number 8. The gate area was full of two hundred or so anxious-looking passengers frustrated by the delay. She was certainly happy she didn’t have to be the one to assist all of them. As she walked up to the counter, Clara pulled out her passport to confirm her identity.
“Hi, I’m Clara Little. You paged me?”
The gate agent’s shoulders were rigid with tension and his forehead revealed a thin layer of perspiration. “We have some bad news for you. Unfortunately, due to overbooking this flight, we do not have enough business class seats available. We have had to move you into the economy cabin. We apologize for the inconvenience.” He looked visibly uncomfortable to have to give her the news.
“I mean, I understand, but is there a reason I’m the one getting bumped?” Clara inquired.
“Again, we apologize. We’ve had to relocate five of our business class passengers and almost all of our first class passengers. You were one of the last bookings in business class, so unfortunately you lost the lottery,” the agent explained.
“I’m already arriving late as it is. My business class ticket was booked on a full-fare basis. I don’t mean to be rude, but as a full-fare customer, doesn’t that entitle me to be accommodated in the business cabin?” Clara’s voice rose. The remain-calm mantra Clara usually practiced wasn’t going to work in a situation like this. Clara needed that business class seat. She’d expected to utilize the lay-flat seat to sleep on the plane to London. With the delay her schedule was tight and she would not have much time to rest before the performance.
“No, unless you want a later flight. We have other passengers on a full-fare basis. Management tells us what to do. My hands are tied. I do have a voucher you can use to pick up a meal from one of the restaurants here since we don’t have the business class meal available for you. It’s good for a value of fifteen dollars. You can also call our passenger service line to see if they can assist with a refund in the fare difference. I’m sorry.” The agent mopped his forehead and took a step back from the counter.
“Fine, I get it. Do you have a seat assignment for me?” Clara’s voice was flat and emotionless. The agent nodded and handed Clara her passport and boarding pass. Moving her purse from one shoulder to the other, Clara walked past another disgruntled passenger airing their frustrations in public and plopped down into the first empty chair she encountered. She would hate to be the agent stuck telling people their tickets were being downgraded. It was a good thing she didn’t work in customer service anymore like she had in Seattle.
This is such BS. All she wanted to do was sleep and mentally prep for the show. Now she was going to have to get up every hour or two just to keep her body from cramping too badly. Fifteen dollars wasn’t gonna even buy her a full meal. Just a sandwich and maybe a bottle of water. What a joke.
Clara really didn’t want to travel in such an ugly mood. Was Amanda able to access the on-board Wi-Fi and receive text messages yet? Amanda was good for gossip and getting her mind off of her problems. Clara shot off a text message to Amanda.
Clara: Just got downgraded to Economy :( Was told flight is ‘oversold’. Really angry over this. Any insider gossip you can find out for me? How are all the first class tickets gone? You always make me feel better. Work your magic.
Amanda: That sucks! I’m sorry! What’s the flight number again?
Clara: I’m on 769 to London.
Amanda: I know Becky on 769. Hold please.
Clara waited a few minutes until a ding went off, indicating a text message.
Amanda: OMG! You are sooooooooo lucky! There is a VVIP on that flight. I would kill to be working it.
Clara: What’s a VVIP?
Amanda: VVIP means celebrity, royalty, or millionaire. You won’t be able to know who it is :( They always use funny fake names like Les Ismore.
Clara: That must be why I’m getting bumped and the lack of first class seats.
Amanda: Yup! Becky just confirmed they needed the extra seats for security. Only the VVIP in first class. Still. I would loooooove to see who it is. Text me if it’s anyone you know (which I doubt). You sure you won’t get a social media account so you can be in the know?
Clara: Nice try, but no. My focus is ballet and this gig.
Amanda: Haha, okay! Gotta go. My purser is yelling at me to get off the phone cause we’re about to take off. Good luck and remember to get me a good seat. This girl is going straight from the Zurich plane to a plane bound for London to see you tonight.
Clara: Got it! Nosebleed seats it is!
By 11:30 a.m., Clara’s flight was ready to begin boarding.
A voice overhead announced, “Attention all passengers heading to London Heathrow on Pacific Skyways flight 769. We are ready to begin the boarding process. We ask that you please have your boarding pass and passport out and available, ready to be scanned by the gate agent.
We kindly ask you to remain seated until your zone is called.”
Her British man in the expensive navy overcoat, Mr. Boring from earlier, was still glued to his phone. Where had he come from? Clara swore he wasn’t at the gate when she had checked less than two minutes ago. How had he been able to bypass everyone else lined up in business class on such short notice? Was he Pacific Skyways’ most elite frequent flyer passenger? The group of suits traveling with him were more stoic than earlier and kept nervously glancing around the boarding area. Maybe they were as frustrated by the delay as the rest of the passengers.
The process was the same as any flight where the airline elite boarded with business class passengers, followed by the families and the lowly economy-class passengers. Passengers in economy rushed to try to be the first on the plane even if it may not have been their row being called. Clara watched the scene play out and patiently waited to board. Her bag was checked so she didn’t need to fight for a spot in the overhead bin. Her tutu would fit nicely on top of whatever bags were already there.
“We are in our final boarding call for passengers on Pacific Skyways flight 769 to London Heathrow. All confirmed and ticketed passengers should proceed to the gate at this time.”
As one of the last passengers on the plane, Clara glanced at her boarding pass. I’m in the exit row? Finally, something good today! Her seat was conveniently located right by where she boarded. The gate area was relatively empty; she had no wait on the jet bridge, walked straight up to her seat, and relaxed. The flight attendants would sit right across from her in the jump seat as the plane took off and landed. When they weren’t there, Clara was rewarded with a lot of extra legroom. Maybe this flight wouldn’t be too bad after all.
Flight attendants were the best source of gossip. As she absentmindedly flipped through her airline magazine and listened in, Clara’s ears perked up at the word royalty.
“Stinks for all the Z and J class pax who had to be moved for security. Nice that Leeds is onboard. He’s always super sweet. Wish I got to work in the Z class cabin today.”
The sounds of the engines roaring to life killed the rest of the conversation. While the flight attendants began their in-flight safety announcements, she processed the information she had just heard. The VVIP must be whoever Leeds was. Z class was code for first class, as she had learned from Amanda. J stood for business class.
Where had she seen that name before? Who was Leeds? Where was Amanda and phone access when she needed it? Should she try to get a sneak peek at the first-class cabin and claim she was lost? Would the VVIP’s security team throw her out or ask for the plane to make an emergency landing if they encountered her? Clara’s mind went through multiple options and scenarios as she considered if it was worth trying to satisfy her curiosity.
Clara laughed to herself as she entertained the idea of which passenger at boarding could be Leeds. One thing was for certain. It was not her navy suit man; he clearly was a workaholic with other priorities in life. If there is anyone that needs a vacation, it’s him.
Clara tried to nap intermittently throughout the flight, yet try as she might, she couldn’t get her body to obey. It was too wide awake, thanks to the extra coffee. Luckily, there were a lot of new and recently-released movies loaded onto the entertainment system. Becky, Amanda’s friend, stopped by from the business class cabin and checked in with Clara a few times throughout the ten-and-a-half-hour flight. Clara was sure to thank her and happy to take advantage of the leftover servings of chocolates and strawberries. The rest of the flight was uneventful.
The plane landed with no problems and taxied away to the gate. Flight 769 had made up time in the air, but it was still four and a half hours later than originally scheduled. After sitting for close to eleven hours, Clara was more than happy to be one of the first passengers off the plane. It hadn’t sunk in until this moment, Clara was in London! “I made it!” she exclaimed and happily bounded up the ramp. On land again, Clara stopped to refresh herself and followed the signs to passport control and immigration.
One by one, passengers lined up outside of baggage claim and stared at the machine, waiting for it to roar to life and deliver their suitcases to them. Clara waited; ten minutes passed, twenty minutes passed, then thirty minutes. Frustrated her bag was nowhere in sight, Clara searched for an airline representative.
“Excuse me, do you happen to know if there are any more bags being brought up from this flight?” Clara asked. “It’s been over half an hour.”
“Once the belt stops moving, that’s it for the flight. Go check with the luggage office. If it’s not in there, you are going to have to file a claim with the airline. I’ll be happy to show you where to go if you need it.” The attendant was a welcome change from the airport workers she had encountered at LAX. Clara sighed and nodded. She followed along at a slower pace, dejected.
“Cheer up love, things will get better. You just need a nice spot of tea once you get settled,” the attendant offered. The kind elderly worker made sure Clara was settled before heading back to her post near the baggage belt.
“Thank you. I’ve had a tough start to my trip,” she voiced aloud with a hint of fatigue. Once at the Pacific Skyways office, she learned her streak of bad luck continued to follow her. Tracing revealed her bag was probably still sitting somewhere at LAX. “Thank goodness I have my costume and shoes!” she said to no one in particular. Other items could be replaced, but her costume was her lifeline.
“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. I’ll go ahead and ensure that as soon as it arrives at Heathrow, we’ll send your trolly up to your hotel. Just leave your details here. As compensation, Pacific Skyways is going to go ahead and offer you a voucher for 100 Pounds to use for whatever you may need until it arrives. Are you heading to a hotel? Perhaps we can also cover the cost of your taxi,” one of the baggage office team workers said, sounding sympathetic.
Another kind soul! Were all of the London-based employees so cheerful? Their accents were certainly charming. “Thanks. I would really appreciate the cab fare. I’m a little jet-lagged right now and not thinking one hundred percent straight. Do you happen to know how long it might take my bag to reach me?” Absentmindedly, Clara’s thoughts drifted to her navy-coat man’s accent and his rich, soothing voice. I wonder what he’s up to. Where is his home?
The attendant finished filing Clara’s lost luggage report. With a grim smile, he answered, “It looks like the next flight from LAX to LHR is tomorrow. Sometimes it can take two days to reach you, but I will try to put a rush on it.”
“Thank you. I appreciate it.” She left the details for where she would be staying and made a beeline for the taxi stand outside the airport. The skies were gloomy, but a welcome change from southern California’s blue skies. A light mist came down and reminded Clara so much of Seattle. She smiled and took in the sound of British accents around her and her first glance at cars being driven on the opposite side of the road.
The taxi stand had a short queue of people ahead of her compared to the rest of the arrival area. If she squinted toward the very far end of the terminal, she saw several bright flashes going off with someone’s name being yelled. What the heck is that? Several tourists rushed from behind her toward the commotion at full speed. It was an amusing sight to see them try to maneuver around the crowds. If she hadn’t been so tired, Clara might have recognized the name Leeds being bounced around. She yawned and lifted her arms to crack her shoulders.
Clara’s focus was on getting to her home away from home for the next few days. Maybe her hotel would have her room ready and she would be able to catch a quick cat nap. Clara thanked her lucky stars that Amanda had trained her well in the art of carrying important items with her. Speaking of Amanda, Clara shot off a text to advise her she had arrived safely and was en route to her hotel. She rolled her eyes at the thought of Amanda wanting to go shopping in the airport before they even reached their hotel. The plan would be to meet up after the gala that evening for a late dinner.
London traffic was almost as bad as southern California. It was 9 a.m. London time, and the morning commute was still underway. “Is it always like this?” she curiously asked her London cab driver.
“Yes, miss. Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports. Even if traffic weren’t so bad, it always takes about an hour and a half to reach central London. We should arrive at your hotel about 10:30, or even as late as 11 a.m. Until then, I suggest you enjoy the ride,” he offered, glancing back at her in his rearview mirror.
She was expected at the Royal Opera House by 3 p.m. I’m in a cab. I’m on my way. There’s nothing else I can do now except relax. For the first time since finding out her flight was delayed hours before, Clara felt some of the building tension leave her body. A great weight had been lifted off of her shoulders.
The cars crawled from the airport onto the motorway, from one round-about to another. The landmarks they passed kept her attention as they entered the city limits. Since the taxi ride was being covered by the airline, Clara advised her driver to take the most scenic route possible to the hotel. Clara loved seeing so much history! “I could get used to this,” she told her taxi driver, who grinned and told her to enjoy her London adventure.
“This is Big Ben on your left, as the tourists call it. Its formal name is the Elizabeth Tower. Most Londoners set their watches to Big Ben. I suggest you do the same.” The driver pulled out to the right-hand lane to let Clara soak in the view of London’s most iconic landmarks. The cab passed the adjoining Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, sending chills of excitement up her body. “Would you like to have a go past Buckingham Palace before we reach your hotel?” he asked.
Clara gave him a resounding, “Yes!” as an answer. “Is the Thames River always so mucky?” Looking out the window, a dark brown slush matched the coloring of the Houses of Parliament. It wasn’t anything like she’d imagined.
The cab driver chuckled. “It really depends on the time of year. However, I doubt the Thames has been clean in a century or two. If you go down by the embankment, you may even see some of the Victorian-era rubbish such as tobacco ends.” He slowed the car once more. “I can’t turn in or get too close to it, but up ahead are the gilded gates of Buckingham Palace.”
Clara wasn’t paying much attention to his running commentary. “Wow,” she breathed out softly. The cab driver looked over to the back seat to note she was lost to a world of her own and remained silent. Viewing the gilded gold unicorn and lion on the gates of the formal entrance to the palace sent a jolt of energy up her arms. Butterflies fluttered in the pit of her stomach. “There are so many tourists, I wonder how the royals get in and out?” She took her eyes off the palace and looked over at Clarence House.
Tourists darted in front of the cabbie before the signal changed colors. The area was even more crowded than Heathrow airport. “Only the king and the Princess Royal tend to use the front entrance. The Prince of Wales is typically everywhere. The press love to follow his charades; he loves attention. Prince David is normally weary of the media. In fact, I believe the telly mentioned something about him returning home early. Do you know anything about the royals?” her driver inquired as they took one last turn around St. James’s Palace.
“My best friend Amanda knows a lot about them. I know the king is King Reginald. That’s the extent of my knowledge,” Clara offered. Before she could ask another question about the royal family, they arrived at Clara’s intended destination. The hotel was just five minutes from the palace. “Thank you so much for all of your help! You’ve really set the scene for my stay in London.” Clara waited for the cab to come to a stop.
The taxi pulled up to a beautiful Edwardian home that had been converted into a hotel. She opened the door and gave him the entire stipend Pacific Skyways gave to her.
“Thank you, miss. It’s been a real pleasure. Enjoy your stay in the U.K. I hope this is the first of many visits for you,” he offered.
With no luggage to worry about, Clara settled her travel purse on her shoulder and walked up the set of four steps into the lobby area. Here we go. Entering the foyer revealed rich, mahogany-colored walls, checkered-pattern floors, and portraits of the family who must have once lived in the home. Off to the right of the lobby, Clara smelled fresh floral arrangements and eyed two comfortable wingback chairs. Crystal chandeliers adorned the ceilings.
“Welcome to the Central London Hotel in Victoria. Can I be of assistance to you?” the doorman inquired, taking Clara’s large purse from her hands.
“Oh thanks! I’m here to check in. Where can I find the front desk?”
“Right over there, miss.” The attendant motioned for her to follow the hallway to the left into the lobby.
The lobby reception area mirrored the foyer. Clara’s eyes went straight to the high-polished black grand piano in the corner. I would love to dance in a room like this with a grand piano. I bet the sound quality beats our rehearsal piano of the L.A. Ballet Theater. Normally Clara would never have imagined staying in a hotel like this, but the sponsors of the Gala were paying for her room and had made the arrangements for her flight.
Now that she was safely to the Central London Hotel, the one thing Clara looked forward to was setting down her bag and lying down for a long nap. It was nearing noon; Clara’s body was severely confused by the time change and ready to let loose. Maybe I’ll even splurge for a nice long soak in the tub before rehearsal and order room service. The thought of pajamas, food, and a nap had Clara skipping to the front desk. All she needed to do was check in.