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A Bet On Love

By JeryLyn Harrington All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Romance

Blurb

Life can pull some cruel and incredible punches. Even though, things can be bad and cause severe emotional stress, things can get even worse when you have to confront the emotional demons from your past.

Chapter One

Denise moved from the connecting doorway of her bedroom into the small, dimly lit room opposite. Her footsteps took her to the side of the small twin bed as they had every night before she went to sleep to check on the child in the room. She bent over the bed and pulled the light blanket up covering the small shoulders of the child lying in the bed. A smile crossed her lips just before she lowered her head and placed a kiss on the child’s forehead. She knelt by the bed, her hand pushing the raven black hair away from the child’s brow.

Denise took a deep breath, releasing it. Her son, Michael Charles Clayton, would turn three in just over two months and reminded her of her short, two-month marriage to Kenyon Clayton. She kissed the child’s forehead, once more, and was thankful for such a beautiful gift from an otherwise short-lived, but continuing marriage.

Mike carried the genes from his father, the raven black hair, and the deep gray eyes. And, when he matured, his face would be just as square as his father’s with the straight flared nose that rounded at the end with well-defined masculine lips. He had, as yet, to develop the stubbornness that Denise remembered had belonged to his father, but, there would be no doubts that same stubbornness and the way it presented itself would show, in time.

Denise looked down at the picture of the child as he lay sleeping in his bed and took in a deep breath and released it on a sigh as her thoughts took her down the same path with the same uneasy feelings about what she had done three years prior. She hadn’t told Kenyon about Mike when she had left him because there hadn’t been a reason to say anything because she hadn’t been sure she had been pregnant and, when she found out she was, Kenyon was no longer a part of her life.

Denise hadn’t or, so she believed, thought about her marriage to Kenyon in a long time. Her brows furrowed when the thought, ‘I’m still married to him’ raced through her mind. She raised her left hand and stared down at the simple gold band that Kenyon had put on her finger what seemed to be an age ago. But, that lapse in her memory changed three days before, when her mother forwarded a letter to her from a lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Denise rose from the side of the small bed and walked from the bedroom shutting the door to a crack before glancing back through to the child as he turned over in the bed. If what was in the letter had to take place, her dread concerning Kenyon’s reaction when she told him about Mike, if she had too, lodged in the back of her mind. Her bed was inviting as she walked over and lay down stretching her body down its length. She lay with her thoughts active on the contents of the letter and the sleep she knew she needed eluded her. The letter from the lawyer had informed her that Kenyon’s father, Jack Clayton, had died leaving her his third ownership in the casino that had been opened a little over three years. Denise gave a heavy sigh and turned over onto her side and repositioned her head into her pillow remembering the events that had brought Kenyon into her life, a much younger, and using her hindsight, she realized that it had been a more naive life.

Three Years Earlier

A smiling Denise Wizen stared into the mirror in her bathroom as the familiar and the unfamiliar image stared back with the sparkling, hazel green color and the gold flecks predominate in the eyes. She continued to stare at the image’s eyes with the long lashes and discovered, over the last several months, that most men considered them to be beautiful without their everyday covering of the eyeglass frames she wore.

Denise continued to smile at the reflection as she compared it with the so-called, normal image, she presented each day at work. She never wore her dark, chestnut brown hair down at the bank where she worked. It was always pinned to the top of her head in a bun to achieve an older, sever business look. Her hazel green eyes were always hidden behind the mock turtle-shell frames of her glasses. Almost all of her clothing was gray, brown or blue and these were always the colors she chose for her dress and jacket at work. She had always thought her position as senior loan officer at the bank required this dull, dreary, but business look.

Denise laughed as she shook her head tossing the shoulder length hair into disarray around her head and shoulders. She looked at the results of her head shake and, once again, the grinning smile showing her even white teeth spread across her face. The beautician had been correct; the feather-cut framed her face from the temples downward to lay on the front of her shoulders. But, the real change was the lighter, dark ash blond hair shade, used to high-light the darker chestnut color of her hair. That change, combined with a different hair style, made her feel like a different woman.

Her grinning smile dropped from her face as she ran her tongue over the unadorned, full width of her lips staring at her image. She thought about the new person she would become for the next two weeks. She would be this new, exciting, different woman while on vacation in Las Vegas before she came back to wed the senior vice president of the bank.

Denise walked into the bedroom glancing down smiling at the new suitcases she had purchased the day before. They were, now, packed and ready setting at the foot of her bed.

The smile faded as the thought invaded concerning the expense of the new wardrobe they contained. Immediately, the phrase ‘so what’ flashed through her mind? She had spent her entire adult life doing what she thought was the proper thing to do. Now, she could be different, an enjoyable different, even if it was only for the next two weeks. She would experience things she had been denied or had denied herself before she settled back into the routine of her new married life and the mundane routine of the bank.

Denise walked away from the full length mirror and sat down at her vanity looking at her new image. She allowed the image to flirt back at her from the mirror. Her momentary enjoyment faded along with her smile. She took in a breath and released it on a heavy sigh sitting back on the vanity stool as her thoughts returned to her past.

She had lost both of her parents in a car accident when she was eight and had been an only child. There had been no immediate family from either her father’s or her mother’s side to care for or comfort her. That child, Denise Mallory, had been passed from foster home to foster home until her twelfth birthday and then, she had entered George and Mary Wizen home and they had adopted her. After her adoption, Denise found that she was, now, a middle child among five other half brothers and sisters.

Denise dropped her eyes to the top of the vanity reaching for the night cream. As her fingers circled the outside of the jar, she looked up into the mirror with its image. A frown wrinkled her brow to be replaced with a smile. She had trouble becoming a part of the rather noisy, boisterous Wizen Household. But, with love and patience from her adoptive parents, plus a quick survival course from her older, adoptive sister on how to survive brothers, she had soon learned the mechanics for becoming a part of her new family.

Denise had graduated from high school and had left the Wizen Household in Vernon, Texas when she was eighteen and had enrolled at the junior college in Clarendon, Texas preferring to live near the campus on her own. Two years later, with hard work and many part time jobs, she had received her degree in accounting, with top honors. She had returned to Vernon to accept a position at the bank that had accepted her from her resume. At twenty-nine, she found herself in the enviable position as senior loan officer at the same bank.

Denise unscrewed the lid on the jar of night cream applying it to her face. The new haircut with the different shade of make-up the beautician recommended would make a different impression to those who knew her, especially, Richard Arnold Schmidt, her fiancée.

Richard had worked at the bank, for several years, prior to her employment and, even at forty-two, Denise still found Richard to be very attractive and, even though, he was rather subdued in his outlook on life, he would make a good husband.

Richard was only several inches taller than her 5 foot 6 inches. His full head of chocolate brown, neatly trimmed hair was in unison with his coffee brown eyes. His physical stature was sturdy due to the twice-weekly workout at his health club. She found that he preferred things to run in an orderly fashion with no surprises. When Denise first dated Richard, this one trait of his pleased her because she thought she was like him in this one respect.

With her promotion to senior loan officer, just over a year prior, Richard became very serious in his pursuit of her, asking her to marry him. A subdued smile crossed her lips as she remembered her agreement to his marriage proposal and, as her thought expanded, her smile disappeared and her thoughts returned to Richard and his proposal.

Several weeks after he proposed, their engagement was announced, and she was pleased with her life and what was taking place in it. It was only within the last several months she confronted doubts about her decision and it consequences in her life.

Denise’s smile returned as she remembered her promotion and that the bank had allowed her to hire her own assistant. Her smile widened with her first recollections of Clarisse Appleton, her new assistant. She was several years younger than Denise and was divorced with one child. At first, Denise was afraid of Clarisse’s age, but her resume prompted Denise to hire her. Clarisse more than met the qualifications of her resume and surpassed them with her job performance. It was the person Clarisse showed to Denise, once she was away from her job that made her doubt her decision concerning Richard and her marriage to him. She wondered, now, what their life together would be.

Denise became friends with Clarisse and they had lunch with each other regularly. Denise’s smile left her lips as she remembered how Clarisse had used these lunch dates to introduce her to several of her male friends outside the bank. The smile returned as she, also, recalled that, at these lunches, she walked away with offers for dates. Although she had shown mock anger with Clarisse, the younger woman had smiled, saying she had no way of stopping the men if they had found Denise attractive and had wanted to date her.

After several weeks of their comfortable companionship with each other, Clarisse talked her into wearing her hair down, and changing some of her somber dresses and slacks for more colorful ones. The effect was immediate in both customers and the employees in the bank some of the younger male employees. The next thing that changed was her glasses, and she exchanged those for disposable contact lens. It, now, seemed that all of Clarisse’s suggested changes plus the encounters with Clarisse’s male friends left her with questions concerning her rather blasé relationship with Richard.

These questions, along with their accompanying doubts, had taken root in her mind and she, now, found herself on a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to discover if there was another person under the prim, subdued woman she considered herself to be.

Denise’s grinning smile returned as she stared at the image looking back from the mirror. Could this woman looking back at her be this new person? She smiled at the image in the mirror as it smiled back at her. She studied the image finding the physical changes pleasant and her eyes sparkled as she found the changes not just pleasant and new, but, under all the pleasant and the new, lay the excitement about what all the pleasant and the new would bring.

Would Dee Mallory, the name she had chosen for her new self-image with the Las Vegas trip, be any different from Denise Wizen other than in appearance? She would have two weeks to be this new woman named Dee Mallory, and she intended to experience her in every detail and add a new dimension to her old self before she became Richard’s wife. Maybe the new experiences would add spice to her routine life with Richard once she returned from Las Vegas.

Denise replaced the lid on the night cream pushing it to the back of the vanity. She looked up at the image in the mirror and rubbed her finger across the bottom of her lips, her eyes resting on their fullness. She watched as the finger felt the tongue as it moistened the lip.

Denise sighed as her hand dropped to the vanity and she thought about Richard’s romantic gestures towards her. Richard’s kisses were pleasant, but something was missing. His kisses were less than exciting, requiring little if any response from her. Her encounters at the lunches with Clarisse started her to wonder what it would be like to kiss one or two of the men who asked her out for dates. These thoughts grew to where she compared Richard with these other men using very critical eyes wondering about her less than enthusiastic responses to him.

Denise pushed away from the vanity and walked over to the side of her bed. She put her hands up around her arms and squeezed them as her lips parted into a smiling grin. Her eyes closed as she willed the personality of Dee Mallory into her thoughts. Just before her eyes closed, she glanced over at her purse with the airline ticket inside. She took a breath and released it with only one thought, the next two weeks were for fun, many fun things with all the experiences from the fun with nothing to be denied.

Denise turned her back to the bed and fell down across it. A frown appeared as she remembered her and Richard’s rather heated conversation about the two weeks she would take alone. At first, he was astonished, then angry with her for wanting time for herself. She returned his anger, choosing not to explain her reasons for the trip just that she was taking it. He became understanding when she explained to him that there would be no marriage if she couldn’t have this time for herself.

Denise’s frown deepened. If Richard had loved her, for herself, why was he allowing her to take time away from their relationship? If she truly loved him why was she doing it? Maybe she would find the answers after her trip or during it. All she knew, now, was that she needed this time for herself. She needed the answers she hoped it would bring.

Her frown disappeared as she ran her hand up her arm realizing that Dee Mallory would be the catalyst for the future with or without Richard. She had her doubts about her life with Richard over these past months and those doubts had grown into her time off to go to Las Vegas to find what was missing. Richard had wanted a wife and, the more time she had spent thinking about his explanation for their engagement, maybe she had been convenient for his.

Her last thoughts, again, produced a frown, and it deepened, forming tiny lines at the corners of her eyes. Richard told her he had wanted to marry and that he had a certain reliable woman in mind and, after meeting her, he had chosen her. Not once did he mention he was in love with her and, now, she doubted that his chose of her as his wife was based in love. She didn’t have that much experience with men, but she doubted it could be. This trip would either take away her doubts or prove them true.

Denise rose from the bed returning to the vanity mirror and its image. As she looked at the image, her frown disappeared and her resolve hardened. She would have her two weeks in Las Vegas and fill a void within herself.

Denise’s hands dropped to the cloth belt holding her robe together, and she pulled it. The flaps fell apart exposing the fullness of her breasts. She pulled the robe away from her shoulders letting it fall to the floor at her feet. She stared at the image in the small mirror, but it gave her image back only to the waist. She frowned wanting to see a full image. She stepped over the robe and walked to the full-length mirror on her closet door.

Denise’s breasts, although small, were full with the nipples erect. Her twenty-six inch waist widened to full, firm thirty-seven inch hips. She ran her hands down the sides of her waist and turned sideways to study the flat, firm stomach area. She turned her body, full-length, to the mirror dropping her hands to her sides. She studied the over-all picture in the mirror shaking her head, from side-to-side, framing her face with her hair.

Denise studied her reflection and, as she ran her eyes down her body, her thoughts center on her needs. She had encountered love making as a teenager in high school, but had experienced no permanence in a relationship. Richard touched her with what she would call a man’s need for a woman, but, again, like his kisses, something was missing and she felt no real response towards him.

Denise turned from the mirror with nothing resolved concerning herself or Richard knowing she needed this trip to Las Vegas with her new identity as Dee Mallory. She walked over to the bed and turned the covers back and then she switched on the bedside lamp. She took a deep breath with her unresolved thoughts before walking back towards the door and the wall switch to turn the lights off. She saw her reflection as she passed the mirror on the vanity. The small, gold band with the diamond on her finger glinted back at her from the mirror. Her fingers traced the golden band, turning it on her finger. She removed the ring dropping it into the small, silver heart-shaped case on her vanity. Her resolve, again, hardened, and she knew that, as Dee Mallory, she wouldn’t be engaged.

Denise turned the lights off in the room and returned to the bed. Even though, Denise Wizen would always wear a nightgown to sleep; Dee Mallory would have to sleep in the nude. A very expressive smile pulled at her lips. She raised the bed’s sheet and looked down at her nudity wanting to be Dee Mallory for the next two weeks.

Denise pushed her legs, full-length, down and under the crisp sheets feeling the cotton fabric touching her skin with its soothing coolness. As she turned on her side to turn off the bedside lamp, the cotton fabric pulled across her breast causing the nipples to harden and stand erect. She took in a breath feeling the sensual sensation, but released the breath on a heavy sigh as she turned her face into the pillow anticipating her vacation in Las Vegas.

Denise stood looking down the long corridor at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport that led to the plane that would take her to Las Vegas. As she walked, a smile spread across her face as the men’s eyes would find her face and eyes and stare at the picture she presented to them.

The male ticket clerk’s words were very pleasant and professional as he asked, “May I see your ticket, please?” And his eyes searched her face as she placed her ticket in his hand.

Denise smiled up at him. “Of course.” She liked what she was encountering, so far, from the beginnings of her trip. Her attention re-focused when the attendant spoke.

“You’ll be seating in the front in the first-class section.” He smiled as he studied the beauty behind her eyes. “Your seat is half-way up on the right-hand side.” He handed her ticket back and made sure he felt the flesh of her hand and smiled.

Denise accepted the ticket and made her way down the ramp to the airplane. She found her seat and was ready to sit down when a younger man stopped behind her. She straightened and could feel his eyes on her back. She turned around with a smile on her face. “Give me a moment. I need to put my bag in the carriage overhead.”

“Allow me.” He swallowed as he looked into Denise’s hazel-green eyes and stared, for long moments. He could see the question as it appeared in her eyes the longer he stared. He caught himself and reached out to take the small bag from her extended hand. He placed it in the overhead carriage and waited as the woman sat down in her seat. He swallowed, again, staring down as the material of her skirt moved up her leg to expose the thigh.

Denise was more than aware of the effect she was having on the man as she watched him sit down beside her. “Thank you. It very nice of you to help.” She smiled as she saw the interest hit his eyes.

“My pleasure. My name is William Sawyer.” He raised his hand and waited as she put her hand into his.

“My name is...” Denise hesitated as she thought about what name to tell him. “I’m sorry allow me to start over. My name is Dee Mallory. It’s very nice to meet you William or do you shorten it to Bill?”

Bill held Denise’s hand as felt the warmth of the flesh and smiled. “I prefer Bill.” He felt the slight tug as she pulled her hand free from his. “I know you’re going to Las Vegas the same as me. Is your trip for pleasure or is it for business?”

Denise studied the more than apparent interest in Bill’s eyes as he stared over at her. This younger man couldn’t be over twenty-one or twenty-two and he was trying his absolute best to flirt with her. She had to choose what would happen with care. She had two weeks in front of her and this was one of the best start she could imagine. “I’m going for pleasure.” Her eyes dropped to his suit and tie and then she looked into his eyes. “And you?”

Bill smiled, but took a deep breath and released it on a sigh as he looked at the tease in her eyes. “My trip, I am, now, sorry to say, is for business.” He looked down at her hands and then back up into her eyes. “I don’t see a ring. Is it possible I could take you out one night in Vegas?”

Denise was startled, but hid her concern. This younger man wasn’t wasting any time trying to put in a claim on her time. Her smile widened as she moved her legs around to the side of her seat with the thigh still exposed. She smiled as Bill’s eyes rose to hers. “I prefer not to make any plans this early into my trip. I thank you for asking though.”

Denise sat back into the seat and heard the voice as it came over the intercom system of the plane telling everyone that the plane was, now, ready to depart. She could feel Bill’s eyes as they studied the side of her face as he pretended to look out the window as they taxied towards the runway. She could still feel his eyes as the plane sped down the runway and took to the air. She would enjoy this younger man’s company, but would make sure it would only be as long as the flight to Vegas.

Denise relaxed as the plane reached it assigned altitude. She could see Bill’s restless movements as he would look at her and then look away. She smiled at him every time she caught him looking over at her. She didn’t feel the least bit intimidated by the younger man’s attentions and rather enjoyed the power feeling that the new person as Dee gave her. Again, she wanted to feel this new feeling for the next two weeks before she had to return to be Richard’s wife. She was deep into her thoughts when she heard Bill ask her a question.

“Would you care for a drink, Dee? It would be my pleasure to buy you one.”

There was a longing behind the question and she could find no reason not to accept. “That’s very nice of you, Bill. Yes, please.” Her smile almost turned into a laugh when she looked at the school boy expression on Bill’s face with her copulation to his request. She would do her best not to give him any encouragement in the way of a romantic encounter. As she studied his profile as he talked with the attendant, it would be nice to see what he could offer in the way of excitement, but she preferred, whatever would happen, to be with an older man.

She accepted the drink and sat back listening to Bill as he told her about his job and how it was taking him to a meeting in Las Vegas. She was just as please when she heard the captain on the intercom saying they would arrive in Las Vegas in fifteen minutes. This was her excuse to let Bill down as easy as she could.

Denise looked out the window as the plane circled and she could see the many beautiful casinos with the accompanying hotels and looked forward to her two weeks for herself before the landing gear made it final thump before it landed on the runway and then into McCarran Airport. When the plane landed, Bill retrieved her bag from the overhead carriage and then, when they departed the plane, he insisted that he accompanied her to the luggage carousel for her other bags.

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