I was in Las Vegas for a training session. It was completely ridiculous and ineffective. I had hoped I would find at least one or two allies of my age, but unfortunately I was locked in a room full of sagging faces and fading careers. I had already resigned myself to go along for the ride, as the trip was fully expensed.
Surprisingly I found a friend in the conventionally beautiful man whom I had chosen to sit alongside. I had quickly scanned the room upon entry to locate the most attractive person. It’s nice to be surrounded by beautiful things. He asked me to lunch, and I accepted. He proceeded to tell me all about his perfect Midwestern fantasy of a life, as I politely listened, trying to figure out how he was secretly a broken down emotional wreck and what sort of dirty thoughts floated behind his crystal eyes. Had any of them been about me? I could only hope. It’s nice to be wanted. Even more delicious to be desired by someone who could never have you.
We split the check in a business-like fashion and walked back to the session, which was proving to be more sleep inducing than any college lecture I had endured. As I approached my seat, I realized there was a tall figure seated in the previously empty chair between my new friend and I. My bag fell on top of the table and he looked up at me with these…eyes that hooked themselves to my insides. I knew this training session had taken a turn onto an all too familiar path, and I sure as hell wasn’t going back. I already knew what lie at the end of the road, and I couldn’t wait to reach my final destination.
His name was Justin, and all chances of delinquent higher learning were lost the moment his smile suffocated me. He was apparently a coworker of my newfound lunch buddy who had flown in late, which allowed to me assume much more than I should have. We spent the remainder of the afternoon giggling and breathing snarky comments from the sides of our mouths. By the time my two new gentleman friends were rushing to leave, I was playfully smitten. Justin slipped his business card into my hand, and leaned in close to let his hot breath invite me to watch the football game with them.
I walked back to my room with a girlish pep in my step. It was the first time I had stayed in a hotel by myself, and the spacious suite made me feel uncharacteristically adult. I carefully selected an outfit that said I was sexy without trying, and reapplied my makeup. Red lipstick wouldn’t hurt.
I took a cab to their nearby hotel, a newly erected oasis of wealth. After following some convoluted signs, I finally made my way to the sports bar to find my two acquaintances two beers deep with a homely girl in a poorly fitted business suit. I sat down and Justin immediately flagged the cocktail waitress down to order me a drink. I learned that this mousy girl was actually a hotel employee and the boys’ business contact. I very quickly realized that her thin lipped mouth had been transformed into a loudspeaker regurgitating all of her inane wedding details. I was immediately disinterested, and casually turned my attention to Justin.
I learned that Justin lived in Texas by way of Iowa, with a laid back California flair of unknown origins and he was thirty-one years old. We swapped college anecdotes, discussed music, and traded career resumes. By the time we were ready for dinner, I knew this seemingly fruitless two days were going to be worth it. They invited me to have dinner with them, announcing that I was their company allotted “client” meal. We drank, ate good food, and laughed while I pretended to be invested in the football games blaring from the walls.
I thanked them for the kindness they had shown me as we rose from the table and exited the restaurant. My older friend confessed that he was tired, said his goodbyes, and left for his room. I was left with Justin. Towering over me, he looked down, said that he wasn’t tired yet, and asked me for a drink.
The bar was fairly empty, considering it was a Monday evening. We ordered our drinks, sitting side by side as the sides of our legs grazed each other. Even though we were both wearing jeans, I swear I could feel the hairs on his legs tickle my calves. With our chaperone retired, the energy between us elevated, and gratuitous flirting ensued. The bottom of our beer bottles were drying up, and Justin suggested we play black jack. I told him my bank account had been very strict about not allowing any gambling this trip, but I was more than happy to watch him lose.
As we meandered the tables to find two spots, I walked one step behind allowing him to lead. We found a suitable table, and took our seats next to some undeniably seedy men, a motley crew of two young Hispanic boys and a much older Middle Eastern man. The combination of the whiskey warming our senses, and the questionable players sent us both into fits of belly aching, eye watering laughter. I leaned into him just a little too close, inhaling his scent and watching the blonde arm hair glint in the casino lighting. He had strong hands; I wanted them on me.
The mixed ethnic gang left the table, which made room for a man wearing a fake mustache, a woman’s top, and tropical straw hat.
“I lost a bet,” the man said dryly, as he saw our eyes widen. The remainder of our time at this table saw a dealer change, relentless sass from me to the poor man who lost the bet, and Justin winning back his money. After he cashed in his chips, he asked if I wanted to see his room.
To be continued…