They were cutting things close, but the goal, as always, was to keep the guests from becoming alarmed. I dangled my fingers in the water, swirling them and watching the orange and white fish rise to the surface, thinking to find food. Ripples danced across the koi pond beneath the marble pillars and dome just outside my private villa. I’d read the weather reports, watched the cone of uncertainty drift further away and then come closer to Par Impar. Closing my eyes, I reminded myself that I was the goddess of good fortune. I brought the luck to this place and since I planned to remain in residence, I had nothing to fear. Neither did anyone staying within these walls.
“Excuse me.” Minerva’s voice drifted across the pool. “Your senior staff is here for their briefing.”
I rose and arranged my skirts, slipping my feet back into my low slingback shoes. “Thank you for letting me know. You have the list?”
She handed it to me, and I accepted it from her french manicured fingers. “Great. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
She smiled, a pretty blush coloring her cheeks and her eyelashes flitted down. I suspected she had a bit of a crush on me, though had remained professional at all times. “They’re waiting in the Starfish room.”
“Let’s go then. I don’t want to keep them waiting.” I strode inside, taking the side hall that led to the series of conference and banquet rooms that were often rented out by weddings and parties. All were named after sea life. The Starfish room was a long, narrow room in the center of the hallway, perfect for intimate parties or small gatherings. It’d also act as our HQ during the storm.
My senior staff looked at the door as I entered, standing as one. I paused for a moment to nod at each in turn. Javier, a tall man with silver at his temples, handled the grounds and topiaries. Juliet, a willowy woman with a magical touch, tended to the aquariums and sea life therein. Samuel handed the building. Grace led our medical and support team, while Audrey supervised a marvelous hospitality team, including the kitchens.
“Good afternoon,” I said, motioning for them to sit. “I’m one of you for the duration. Our first and primary goal is to keep our guests happy and safe. Several have left. I noticed occupancy is down to about fifty percent, and I don’t blame them for changing vacation plans. We’ve also had about twenty-five percent cancellations. There will be more as the airlines begin to suspend service to Nassau. Our second goal, of course, are the animals within our care. And yes, I want to ensure our staff and their families are taken care of.”
I paused for a moment to consult the paper Minerva had handed to me and now was passing out to those in the room.
“The forecast now has Dorian passing by our island Sunday afternoon as a major hurricane. We made big improvements over the last few years, so I have no concerns about Par Impar. Samuel, you will begin closing our storm shutters immediately and ensuring our generators are at the ready with appropriate fuel. Javier, please have your team take down all umbrellas and beach furniture, as well as remove the outdoor bars. Juliet, you’ll supervise the protection of the outdoor aquariums. Grace, you’ll keep me posted on your supplies and facilities. And Audrey, the extra food and water will be arriving tomorrow. I’d also like status reports. Any questions?”
Heads shook around the table.
“Good. Let’s go with every eight-hour updates for the next forty-eight hours, then I’ll want every four-hour updates until impact. I won’t keep you, except Juliet, a moment, please, before you go.”
“Yes, ma’am.” She waited in her chair as the rest of my staff stood and left.
I trusted them implicitly. All of them were competent, more than, and very good at their jobs.
“I won’t keep you long, Juliet. I’ll cover the koi pond near my villa personally. In fact, I’ll spend a little more time with my beauties and then I’ll tuck them in. Please let me know if you need anything. I’m not above lending a hand.”
“I will. Thank you. If you’ll excuse me…”
“Of course. I know your charges await your tender care.” I smiled as Juliet hurried from the room.
Minerva waited by the door. I went to her. “Your job is going to be the most important. You will need to be my eyes and ears. Walk among the guests. You will ferry messages to me, of course. I suspect this room will be my headquarters. I’ll have bedding and supplies brought here for us. Can you ensure that we have what we need to set up a command center?”
“Of course. I’ll take care of that immediately.”
I touched her shoulder, imparting a bit of luck, because I saw how she and Juliet glanced at each other. “You’re the best. I’ll go change into something more practical and dive in to ensure we’re ready. We’ve been through worse.”
“Yes, we have.” If her laugh held a trace of nervousness, well, I didn’t blame her.