Chapter 41. Afterglow and Tables
Candles, perfumed smoke of a cedar-wick that crackled on the far table wafted through the room with two exhausted lovers relaxed in the soft light.
Tom still had his shirt half-on, he was too drunk to take it off with one arm when they got home, the white material stained from when he fell into a fountain. .
Kaylee kissed Tom’s chest as he slept. Six hours of dance and drink and then home to the penthouse pushed him over the edge of exhaustion more than once, he drank too many cups of coffee to keep going.
Now, with his shoes removed, he was in a deep sleep, despite where he lay his recovering arm.
Small marks on his chest would take a few days to heal where she had bitten him during a slow dance, but between the ice-cubes she dropped down his shirt and kissing, he was sleeping with his arms around her. The pain of his wounded arm forgotten as was the wound in both their hearts while their bodies recovered from the intense celebration.
They were friends and even if her promise had to take them each on a separate path in life, she knew in time that he would relax more.
‟You know,” Tom said quietly, little more than a whisper. ‟If this is what it is like getting annulled from you, I want to do this once a week, at least.”
Kaylee laughed quietly, the sun was going down and they were about to wake up.
‟There is a private gaming table with our names on it?” She asked.
‟Now you mention it.” Tom snuffled. ‟We do.”
‟You said you like to play blackjack?” She asked and pressed her body against his, she was still in her silk party clothes, too tired the night before to undress. She wanted to remember what it felt like and she wanted to touch every inch of him for as long as she could.
All too soon, this journey of passion and party would be over and she would go back to the life that she had planned since before puberty.
Artist, student, possibly even the wife of a congressman. Elected officials had a more complex life while trying to do their jobs.
Glenn often said they had to make hard choices that might make them unpopular with the voters. So the right thing was the thing that would get them removed from office.
It was a wonderful, great time build a life.
If it wasn’t for Tom and this past few weeks of wonder and passion. An exciting summer of build-up to the wedding and the first years together with Glenn.
She lightly touched Tom’s chest. He twitched with a slightly hysterical giggle. His body was still tingled from the intense excitement of the impromptu party and dances she made him do while he drank expensive wines until his words slurred.
His smooth and, now, hairless chest. Her skill with argument, convincing him on this last night of the thrill and fun to have every hair on his body removed, every strand of stray hair. His control impressed her while the attendant wax his underarms and toes.
Even if he did squeak a couple of times.
*Well, maybe not fun for him, but I enjoyed watching it.* She smiled, on the knife-edge of laughing out loud.
The rewards of his clean-to-the-Nth-degree-body made for better dance-floor teases. She loved his bare, hair free chest.
*He will never forget any of this, I hope he still loves me for having his hair ripped out!*
She knew she would never forget.
Kissing his chest, his twitching making her smile. She stood up and pulled him to the edge of the bed.
‟Oh? What now?” She shut him up with a kiss.
‟Let’s not waste anymore time! Let’s go party gamble for our un-wedding.” She smiled and opened her bag and pulled out a small black dress.
‟What? Do you have a wardrobe in that thing?” He yawned, and made a quiet yelp of pain. “My armpits are sore! Woman, you said this was painless.”
‟Melanie ’s design. Whenever we travel, we keep nice clothes in a kit, I have another one for formal, it is slightly larger with a full length black dress and heels. It fits in a dresser drawer, and I can put it in a bag or purse in a second. She has wanted to market it, but some problems with one seam or another not lining up and we keep getting creases in the wrong places.” She smiled while she pulled the dress up, pulled her hair out and tucked herself in. Buttoning up the up to the top of her cleavage. ‟We are going to try to roll dresses in the next design in special tubes made for packing. It takes less room and, in theory, does not cause creases.”
‟Quite the invention.” Tom smiled as he pulled on a red-silk shirt.
‟We had plans of being famous designers and do art-level clothing that could be inexpensive, and recyclable. We could keep it as haute couture, with a fraction of the price.”
‟What has stopped you?”
‟Lack of funding and time. Dad is an IT tech and mom teaches accounting. It’s just enough to help us go through college, even with scholarships.”
‟Yes,” Tom took a deep breath let it out slowly and shook his head. ‟This state charges more for education with a high cost of living that prevents many students from going to higher education. It is a weakness in this country. No investments in education on a higher level.”
‟Well, whatever, but I am going to finish what I have started and have my Master’s in fine arts.”
‟Okay, I’m ready. Do you want to go gamble?”
‟Yeah!” She cheered. “Woot!”
‟I don’t know if I want to take you downstairs, there won’t be any eyes not looking at you.” Tom said. ‟I may become jealous.”
‟Yeah, right. You have one quirk. You are the most laid-back man I know.”
‟The most laid on his back, anyway.” Tom laughed. ‟Okay, to the elevator.”
Kaylee walked carefully in her high-heels, wearing the shoes, she was as tall as Tom.
‟You are beautiful.” Tom whispered.
Kaylee felt her cheeks flush.
‟Thank you. I wanted you to enjoy this date.”
‟I have. I’m just sorry it has to end.”
‟Tom, I want to go home to Portland when we get back. Glenn is waiting for me there, he has asked the family about me. Melanie says that he is going to ask the question.”
‟The big question?”
‟I hope so, if he asks me to borrow my car, I’m going to punch him.” She raised her fist. “Hard.”
They both laughed awkwardly.
The door of the elevator opened and the couple entered.
A direct ride to down, over twenty floors, to the one room with limited access.
Tom handed over his room key, scanned by a security guard who nodded and then they were in.
‟Let’s go here, you said you like the old-style dollar machines?”
‟Oh yeah, you have no idea.” Kaylee laughed and imitated the clinking of silver dollars falling.
‟Okay,” Tom smiled. ‟Let’s go over here.”
At a cage, Tom chatted a girl who knew him by sight.
‟Hi Tom!” She smiled, a brilliant grin that looked natural. Kaylee felt a pang of jealousy when she leaned in and kissed Tom on the cheek.
‟Five-thousand singles for this young woman here.” Tom said. ‟She wants to play the dollar slots.”
‟Yes, sir. Very good choice.” She smiled again and began to tap on a computer touch screen. ‟And your usual starting stake?”
‟Yes, please.” Tom nodded. ‟And if she comes back, fill her order at a thousand-chip increments, she can carry those without tipping over.”
The stack of chips were the size of silver dollars of the Eisenhower era.
‟If you go over there, you can play the giant machine and still watch me. I’ll be here on the table with blackjack.” Tom pointed to the empty table in the middle of a large room with very few people walking about.
‟Wow!” Kaylee boggled. ‟I never knew this place even existed.”
Tom smiled and sat on the stool. He was the only person there.
‟I don’t think this one is open, hun.” Kaylee kissed him. “Maybe we can raise our hands to attract attention?”
‟It’ll be open, give it a half-minute.” His eyes reflected the confident tone in his voice.
Kaylee laughed and went to the one-armed bandit and dropped in a few of the chips that clanged all the way in. Her first pull she won twenty back that clanged in the tray under the two images of cherries and a golden number seven.
An hour later, Kaylee dropped in her last dollar chip. Biting her fingernails she pulled the lever, then the jackpot hit on a minor score.
She won all but two-hundred dollars back in chips. The sound clinked nonstop while machine stayed in dispense mode for five minutes.
Gathering up her Casino treasure in a bucket, she went to see how Tom was doing and found him right where she left him, but now he sat with five other gamblers, plus the dealer. In front of him was a minor stack of chips, she noted, and it seemed smaller than when she had left him, and the chips were different colors.
*Lower denominations.* She tried to look over his shoulder.
‟Tom?” Caressing his shoulder. ‟I’m ready to go see the rest of the town.”
‟Hi, babe. Just a minute. I’ll finish this hand and we can go look at things.”
‟How much are you betting?” She was unfamiliar with the chip colors.
‟A hundred.” Tom did not take his eyes off the dealer’s hands.
‟That’s a lot of money to put down on a single bet.” She said while the dealer went down the line of players. ‟I could have a lot of fun with a hundred dollars than to blow it on a bet. I thought you would bet the regular amount.”
‟It’s not a hundred dollars.” Tom said with a crooked smile.
‟What is it?” She blinked. “Credits?”
Kaylee felt like she had been hit with a snap-kick in the chest and lost her brain-power to speak, her mouth opened and her lips just twitched.
‟Oh my god?” Tom asked. While he nodded. With a jack and a duece showing, he drew a king and lost the bet. ‟Okay, thank you.”
He rolled a token towards the dealer.
‟Thank you.” The tuxedo clad dealer smiled at the five-hundred-dollar chip given to him.
‟Tom!” Kaylee was able to get the word out. ‟Tom, you lost a bet! That could have bought a nice car, even.”
‟It wasn’t one bet. That was my third loss in a row, that is why it was time to quit.”
‟Wut?” Kaylee got dizzy and grabbed at Tom’s sleeve and looked in his eyes.
‟I lost three bets in a row, it was time to leave.”
‟You lost a hundred-thousand dollars on one bet? You were betting… A. Hundred.” Kaylee couldn’t breathe. “Thousand. Dollars.”
‟Yes. I was there, I know it was a hundred-k bet.”
‟You lost three-hundred thousand?”
‟No, only one-seventy five.”
‟Oh. TOM!” She was about to blow a gasket. Suddenly, she was angry.
‟I’m still up two-hundred twenty thousand.” He shrugged and continued walking.
‟Holy crap!” Kaylee sat down on a stool.
“Well, are you hungry? Let’s go get food.” Tom smiled.
“Now I know why they want your money back.” She got up to follow Tom, her legs still a little shaky. Kaylee was not sure if it was from the shock, dancing or wine.
“They always do.” Tom laughed.