“What the hell is she doing here?” His voice is lethally quiet, just for us to hear.
“Oh relax,” Lillian smiles. “Don’t scare off my new Executive Liaison on her first day.”
I want to slink down in my seat and keep going until I find China.
“My Executive Liasion.” Lillian repeats. “Juliet is one of the brightest interns this hotel has ever had. She must be, or you wouldn’t have given her so much… responsibility. I had to snatch her up.”
I feel his stare, and I don’t know if it’s worse to look, or continue to study the wood grain on the table.
“Moving on.” Dom finally announces. The rest of the people in the room pay attention. “I’ve come to a decision. We’re going to handle the Prescott problem by doing exactly what we’ve been doing.”
“So, nothing?” Xander looks annoyed.
“Keeping our dignity, Xander. Something you know nothing about.” Dom stares his brother down. “There’s nothing to gain by engaging in a smear war with Prescott. We’ll continue excellent guest service and—”
“Boring.” Xander leans back in his seat and props his feet on the table. “We need to fight back. The hotel is overdue for a redesign, and new publicity. The world needs to see us as a classic luxury hotel with a modern twist. You know, spice it up.”
A low murmur fills the room. I agree, which makes me feel guilty, too. My still heart lies with Dominic, but my loyalty is to the future of The Rexford. And I won’t have a job if the hotel implodes before I get a chance to make a difference.
Dom’s jaw sets like stone. “What do you have in mind? Letting some celebrity trash the place for some spicy press?”
Xander’s face lights up. “Exactly! Front page news. Better yet, let the paparazzi catch a congressman in bed with his eighteen-year-old golf caddy. Prime publicity, right there.”
Dominic stiffens. “Exactly what I expect from you. I’m in charge, and we won’t be capitalizing on sleazy press.”
Xander slides a look to Lillian. “Actually, we’re in charge. Between Lillian and I, we have the controlling shares.”
Dom takes a step back, as if his brother had physically punched him.
Lillian clears her throat. “I agree. Not with sleazy press, of course, but with a new strategy. Juliet, what do you think?”
There’s silence. Me?
“Her opinions don’t matter,” Dom grinds out between gritted teeth.
“I disagree. The best press this hotel has had in years was from the gala event she planned. Go on, Juliet.” Lillian looks at me expectantly.
I take a deep breath, trying to ignore the anger in Dom’s eyes. “Guests have commented on the outdated décor. A redesign can be subtle but powerful. A fresh advertising campaign will target the younger, wealthy demographic we’ve been missing. There’s a way to stay true to the Rexford’s history,” I add quickly, “but make some changes for good. The point is to give the press a new story, a reason to write about us. Business as usual isn’t a good story, but a great new design will be.”
I stop, waiting for Dom’s reaction. He doesn’t move for a moment, his expression unreadable. Then he gets up from his seat and simply walks out. It’s a more powerful statement than any words he could have spoken.
Xander leans over. “Don’t worry. He’ll come around.”