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Blue Since the Day We Parted

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“Sophie, you checked the contact list for the anniversary, right? Made sure I wasn’t missing anyone important?” Sophie’s mom was already in pre-event bustle mode, even though the tenth anniversary party was months away.

Sophie absentmindedly swiveled her chair as she watched her mom dig through a pile of papers on her desk. She stopped upon seeing her mom’s annoyed expression. “I did. Don’t worry, Mom. We’re good.”

“You checked in with the travel agency and the bureau, right? Made sure we’ll have enough support in case, y’know, someone wants this to be a repeat of last time.” Last time, in this case, was referring to the first tenth anniversary party of the hotel, and the reason that the hotel had been closed for almost thirty years before her mom had re-opened it.

“I did. The bureau’s sending a few agents, and the travel agency will be making sure we have plenty of security.”

“Ok, good. You’ve talked with the watchtowers? Made sure they’ll know what’s going on and direct people accordingly.”

“Yup. They’re even sending a supervisor from one of the watchtowers to coordinate communicate with the other watchtowers from here, since we’re going to be causing a ton of traffic.”

“Perfect. What about the event staff? Are we just going with the usual?”

“I actually wanted to check in with you about that. I know we usually do an ice sculpture for the centerpieces, but I found a company that does these big floral installations, and I thought it might not be a bad idea to do something like that instead. We’ve been trying to get people to understand that this isn’t the same event as last time, so I think that having the ballroom look different from last time would be a good, y’know, visual reminder.”

Sophie’s mom sighed. “I’m not thrilled about using someone new for such a big event, but it might be worth it. Anything to convince people that this isn’t going to be a repeat of last time.”

“At least it’s bringing in more business than it’s causing us to lose,” Sophie said, trying to be optimistic.

“From fucking thrill seekers and disaster tourists,” her mom said. “No, you’re right. If it’s going to happen regardless, we might as well be making money off of it. And—thank you. You’ve been doing a lot of the planning work, and that’s made things easier for me. You’ve been doing a great job.”

“Well, I learned from the best,” Sophie said, feeling a little guilty. She’d genuinely wanted to help out her mother, but she’d also had ulterior motives in volunteering to organize the event personnel.

All three of her mom’s former coworkers would be coming to the hotel for the anniversary: Kate Burnham with the bureau, Roger Kaplan as Watchtower liaison, and Bertie Renard as co-owner of the company that was going to be providing the floral installations.

In just a few months, Sophie would be meeting her other parent…. Whoever they were.