Six million. This was the amount that Emily and Michael had won within the last few hours. The chips in front of them were stacked high. Their table was now crowded as people took notice and started to gather, wanting to ride Michael’s “lucky streak” and take home some winnings themselves.
“Excuse me,” a man said, wearing a gray suit and clear earpiece.
“Yes?” Michael answered.
“Could you please step away from the table and come with me? Don’t worry about your chips. The croupier will hold onto them for you.”
“Who are you? Why should we come with you?” Emily asked with a pinched expression.
“My name is Nick Sanders, I’m Bellagio’s head of security. Please just follow me. Everything is fine.”
The crowd around them had gone quiet, staring, and wondering what was going on.
“Let’s just go with him,” Michael whispered to Emily, knowing she liked to fight when she felt she was being treated unfairly. Michael always affectionately called her a pit bull.
Emily conceded. They followed Sanders through the hotel. He opened a small side door leading to a brightly lit corridor.
“Please, after you.”
He stood aside, allowing Emily and Michael to enter before him. They left the carefully orchestrated, shiny, glitzy, fake perfect world of the casino and entered a dull, naked corridor.
Sanders led them down the hall and through another door into a darkened room illuminated only by rows of monitors that displayed the gaming floor from every angle. Two men were sitting in front of the screens observing the gamblers, dealers, and everyone else on the floor, employees, and customers alike.
Sanders opened another door in the back of the room and ushered them inside. The office was furnished with a desk, a computer, and three chairs. The fluorescent light above them bounced off the grey walls, not allowing any dark areas in the small room.
Sanders sat down behind the desk and gestured to the two other chairs.
“Please sit down.”
He waited until Michael and Emily settled themselves in.
“I asked you to come with me because we noticed that you’re having a very lucky streak tonight. A little bit too lucky for my taste.”
“Are you saying we’re cheating?” Emily said, leaning forward in her chair, indignant.
“I’m not trying to say anything, Miss…?”
“It’s none of your business what my name is. And we’re not cheaters.”
“Well, ma’am, you have to admit that it’s highly unusual, not to mention highly unlikely, that the two of you managed to bet on the correct number every single time. I’ve seen it happen once, twice, even three times in a row. But thirteen times? Do you really think it’s luck alone that granted you thirteen wins in a row?” Sanders asked, his eyebrows raised.
“You can think whatever the hell you want, but we didn’t cheat,” Emily said with flaring nostrils.
“We’ve looked over the video footage multiple times, and yes, you’re right, we cannot prove you cheated. However, I can prohibit you from gambling in my casino.” Sanders locked eyes with Emily.
“Why?” Emily stared daggers at Sanders.
“It’s not worth it,” Michael said, trying to calm her down. “Let’s leave.”
Unlike Emily, Michael wasn’t angry with the security officer. Instead, he felt relieved that they were forced to leave the gambling tables. What happened at the roulette table scared him. His father’s words seemed now more present than ever.
Emily remained stubbornly silent, arms and legs crossed, glaring at Sanders.
“Emily, please, don’t let him destroy your birthday. Let’s just pack our bags and go.”
She looked at Michael before turning back to Sanders.
“Fine,” she snapped. “But I will be complaining to your manager about this, in addition to telling everyone that the Bellagio falsely accuses its guests of cheating.”
“While I’m sorry to hear this, we can’t stop you from doing so,” Sanders replied calmly. “Are you staying at our hotel?”
“Yes,” said Michael.
“Your room number, please?”
Sanders typed the information into his computer. “Mr. Michael Adams and Miss Emily Hart, correct?”
“Yes,” Michael said again.
“You are still welcome to stay at our hotel and use all of our amenities, of course. But as I mentioned earlier, both of you are now prohibited from gambling here.”
“We will be leaving first thing tomorrow morning,” Emily snapped. She stood up and turned to Michael. “Let’s go.”
“We will wire your winnings to your account in the next three business days.”
“Why can’t we just get it now?” Emily demanded.
Sanders leaned back in his chair, slightly amused. “Miss Hart, do you really want to walk around with six million in your purse?”
Even in her anger, Emily could see the reasoning.
After the door shut behind them, Sanders picked up his phone.
“PI Harris. How can I help you?” a deep voice answered on the second ring.
“Hey, Joe, it’s Nick. Nick Sanders from the Bellagio.”
“Nick, no way. How’re you?” Harris said cheerfully.
“So so, old friend. Looks like I need your services again. I have two guests that won quite big tonight, and I don’t think they stuck to the rules.”
“Sure, Nick, no problem. I’ll be at your hotel first thing in the morning.”