“So there’s been a change of plans,” Casey giggles in my ear.
Casey, Lena, Nadia, and my favorite cousins from out of town, Deanna and Sherrie, who I haven’t seen in a long time, are in a huge stretch limo with me en route to my bachelorette party. Casey had wrapped a blindfold over my eyes for the trip, which I don’t fully understand since I know where we’re going for dinner.
“Come on, Case, can I take the blindfold off? I know where the restaurant is,” I complain.
“No can do baby. As Casey said, there’s been a change of plans,” Lena calls over the music that’s pumping through the speakers.
“Don’t feel bad darling, the rest of us don’t know what’s going on either,” Nadia says.
“Well, when the rest of you figure it out, don’t say anything,” Casey orders.
“How are you guys doing over there?” I ask my cousins, who have remained quiet.
Deanna and Sherrie had just arrived from Denver this morning, and don’t know anybody except Casey. They were a little overwhelmed by all the extravagance they were greeted to when they arrived at Spence’s place, along with their parents- my mom’s sister Donna and my uncle, Pete. Spence was adamant that out of town family stay with us since we have so much room at the house. I thought that was very kind of him, especially since we could just put everyone up in the hotel, but Spence felt it was better to have family stay with us.
The rest of my family will start trickling in this week. My parents came in from Galveston for the weekend to keep my Aunt and Uncle company tonight while the rest of us are out. Spence’s parents, whom I’ve only met once, will be flying in from Paris on Monday. When I met them, I didn’t get the impression that Spence was close to them. The relationship seemed a little stiff. Spence’s older sister and her family, who I’ve never met, flew in from California yesterday. They didn’t want to stay at the house, so they were put up in the penthouse of the hotel. Other than them, Spence doesn’t have a lot of close family.
“We’re doing just fine, Rox. So far this is the best party we’ve been to in a long time, and we’ve only seen the limo,” my twenty-three-year-old cousin, Deanna, says.
“Yeah, Red,” my other cousin Sherrie, who just turned twenty-one last week chimes in, calling me by the nickname they’ve had for me since we were kids, “there ain’t a lot of parties that require limousines where we live, so this is exciting. I can’t wait to post the pics!”
“Man, Sherrie, you post every little damn thing on that damn page of yours,” Deanna, complains.
“There may be some crazy shit going down tonight, so maybe we don’t post those pictures,” Lena tells them.
I hear them giggling in response.
“Oh, fuck! What kind of crazy shit are you talking about?” I ask.
“Just you wait and see, we’re almost there,” Casey tells me.
A few minutes later, I hear excited gasping and squeals coming from the girls, but Lena hushes them quickly.
“What? What is it? Come on,” I whine.
Nobody answers me, and I feel the car slow to a crawl and stop for a minute or so, then we start moving again. We drive for two minutes then stop again.
“Alright, Roxie, we’re here. Wait until you get a load of this,” Casey croons.
Oh man, what could it be? I am ushered out of the limo, and then Casey pulls off my blindfold. I find myself standing on the tarmac of what looks like the airport, in front of a private jet.
“What the fuck?” I gasp in surprise.
“Las Fucking Vegas, baby!” Lena, shouts with glee.
“Vegas? Holy hell!” Sherrie gasps, “I’m so glad my birthday was two weeks ago, just in time.”
“How is this possible?” I ask, rather stupidly.
Lena and Casey give me a funny look that says I shouldn’t be stupid. How else would this be possible? I’m marrying a billionaire, that’s how this is possible. As if on cue, I look up and see Spence, standing on the top of the steps at the jet door.
“Hey, beautiful,” he calls down to me, “get that gorgeous ass up here so we can get this show on the road.”
“Oh, my Gawd Roxanne. He is even better looking in person, ain’t he?” Deanna drawls.
“Lucky bitch,” Sherrie giggles, “you heard him. Let’s get up there.”
So we do. I start up the steps first, followed by all the girls. Spence greets me at the top and pulls me aside to plant a kiss on me while everyone files by us into the cabin.
“I’ve missed you today,” he murmurs.
“I’ve missed you too,” I tell him.
I haven’t seen him since he left early in the morning to run some errands. He had said he wouldn’t see me until we all met up later tonight. This is not what I was expecting.
“Shall we join the rest of them?” he suggests, and I nod happily.
I turn and walk into the cabin, and more familiar faces greet me. With Spence, are Chris, Victor, Lucas for some reason, and one other guy who looks to be around my age, who I don’t recognize. However, he looks an awful lot like a younger version of Spence. I’m looking at the unknown guy when Spence speaks up behind me.
“Roxanne, I’d like you to meet my nephew, Derrick.”
Derrick stands up and smiles broadly at me as he extends his hand out to shake mine.
“Derrick Finley. So nice to meet you, Roxanne, or shall I call you, Aunt Roxanne?” he chuckles.
“Likewise, and no,” I smile back at him, somewhat dumbstruck by the family resemblance.
He’s tall, and his teeth are perfect like Spence’s, with dark blond hair and handsome features, except whereas Spence’s eyes are a beautiful hazel color, Derricks are green.
“Wow, you sure look a lot alike,” I comment.
“You should see my mother, ” Derrick, chuckles.
We are interrupted by the pilot announcing that we are going to start taxiing out, so we all take our seats. I notice Casey and Deanna eyeing up Derrick, and I giggle to myself. Then I see Sherrie eyeing up Lucas, and he’s grinning back at her. Oh, I don’t think so, I’ll be nipping that one in the bud as soon as possible.
“What?” Spence asks, entwining his fingers with mine.
“Derrick better watch himself, he’s being hunted already,” I tell him.
Spence laughs in response, “I’m sure he’ll be just fine.”
“How old is he?” I ask.
“He’s twenty-eight,” Spence, replies.
“Only one year older than me,” I say.
“Yeah, my sister is nine years older than me,” he explains, then continues, “is it weird for you that my nephew is older than you?”
“No, not at all,” I tell him.
Spence breathes out deeply like he was concerned.
“Good,” he answers.
“So, when did you guys plan this?” I ask.
“This was all Chris’s idea. I thought it sounded like fun,” he tells me, "As your other best friend, he felt it his duty to make sure you got the party you wanted tonight."
“This is awesome.”
“So, you’re okay with us all partying together?”
“I think it’s great,” I assure him, and I mean it.
Once we’ve reached target altitude, an attractive flight attendant hands out glasses of champagne. Chris rises from his seat and raises his glass. “To Roxanne and Spence, may they get completely blasted tonight!” Chris announces.
“Here, here!” Victor chortles.
“Go easy on us guys,” I say.
“In your dreams,” Casey laughs.
I groan inwardly. This is going to be just nuts; I can feel it already.
“Just stay away from the tequila,” I say quietly to Spence so that nobody else can hear.
“Trust me, baby, I plan on it,” he nods.
I don’t want any drama tonight. I don’t see any happening, though, since I think we’ve had all the drama we could have. The only thing that worries me is the fact that Lucas is here, along with Casey, and Chris who hates him. I only hope they can all handle the same space tonight.
I get up from my seat and sit next to Sherrie. I lean against her and look at Lucas, who smiles at us.
“Lucas,” I say, “this is my cousin, Sherrie.”
“Nice to meet you, Sherrie,” Lucas says smoothly, looking a little surprised that I’m making this introduction. However, I’m not finished.
“Sherrie, this is Lucas, my ex-boyfriend,” I tell her, smiling at Lucas. His smile drops immediately.
“Ex-boyfriend?” Sherrie frowns, also looking disappointed.
“Seriously, Rox?” Lucas says, shaking his head at me.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t have you scamming on my family,” I retort.
“Let me guess… this wasn’t a peaceful breakup?” Sherrie asks.
“You could say that,” I tell her, "I'll let you decide how you want to proceed- At your own risk."
Then I get up and go to sit with Casey and Deanna, who are chatting quietly, both of them still stealing glances at Derrick, who is now sitting next to Spence.
“Hey, what are you two whispering about like teenagers?” I ask them like I don’t already know.
“We were just making a friendly wager,” Deanna says.
“Oh, what kind of wager?” I ask curiously.
“Well, we’ve made a wager as to who can score with that beautiful man, Derrick, over there, and have promised that whomever he doesn’t choose won’t be mad,” Casey explains.
I laugh out loud then quickly stop so not to draw everyone’s attention.
“You, guys are terrible. Poor unsuspecting Derrick,” I whisper at them.
Casey rubs her hands together and licks her lips, looking like a villain.
“Fresh meat,” she growls playfully.
“I have a funny feeling that I’m going to lose this battle,” Deanna chuckles, “but I’m still going to have some fun trying.”
The flight is pretty short, and soon we have arrived at our destination. There is a stretch Escalade waiting for us when we descend the stairs of the jet. The eleven of us climb in, and off we head towards the strip. This is my first time in Vegas, and when I lay eyes on all the bright lights, I’m instantly excited. Chris has already popped another bottle of champagne and is passing out glasses.
I’m squashed between Spence and Casey, Derrick is next to Casey and Deanna is on his other side. Victor is next to Spence, and Nadia is sitting on his lap. Chris, Lena, Lucas, and Sherrie are across from us. Despite my attempts to dissuade Sherrie, though, she’s still flirting with Lucas. I suppose I can’t blame her, though- A twenty-one-year-old girl from a small town in Colorado, riding around in a limo in Vegas with a billionaire and his posse, one of them being the sex-on-legs Lucas. He may be a total ass, but nobody can deny his attractiveness, it's one of his greatest weapons. I decide that I’m not going to worry about it too much; they can do what they want. Tonight is about having a good time, and I don’t want to be bothered by any drama.
“Uh oh, looks like someone has her eyes set on a certain someone,” Spence whispers in my ear, obviously noticing the flirtation going on across from us.
“Yeah, I tried to prevent it from going further, but I don’t think it worked,” I whisper back.
“What are you going to do about it?”
“Nothing, I’ve decided that I don’t care. I’ll let Sherrie have her fun if that's what she wants.”
“Even if it’s with Luke?”
“Sure. I don’t want to worry about it tonight. I want to relax and have a good time, no drama,” I say into his ear.
“That sounds like a good plan,” he whispers before raising his glass to make a toast.
“Hey everyone,” Spence says over the music, and everyone goes quiet to listen to him.
“I want to thank you all for being here tonight to celebrate with us. Roxanne and I are lucky to have such good friends surrounding us. Here’s to a great night, filled with fun, laughter, drinks and if we’re especially lucky…” he stops and winks at me, flashing his megawatt smile that causes me to want to rip his clothes off, “well, I’ll let you use your imagination on that last one.”
The limousine is, instantly, filled with cheers and glass clinking. Victor pulls out a couple of cigars from his jacket pocket.
“Oh no, you don’t, not in here,” Nadia, complains.
“Oh come on, Sweetcakes,” Victor, chortles.
“Um, I’m with Nadia actually,” I laugh.
“Seconded,” Casey chimes in.
“Okay, okay. I’ll wait until we’re outside then,” Victor consents, but then adds, “see? This is what happens when you let women attend a bachelor party.”
“Or maybe you guys are crashing my bachelorette party,” I retort.
“Relax, Vic. We’ve done it the other way before. I like this arrangement,” Spence tells him.
“Don’t worry, Victor. Us girls know how to have a good time too, but we don’t want to smell like your cigars,” Nadia assures him.
“Yeah, Nadia is right. Girls can get down and dirty with the guys too, give us a chance,” Casey says, then she grins pointedly at Derrick, who is just sitting quietly, listening to our conversation with an amused look on his handsome face.
I can’t get over how much he looks like his uncle. It's probably a good thing that Anya never had the chance to lay eyes on Derrick. She probably would have sold her soul to get to him.
“Are we getting down and dirty?” Spence asks, smiling at me.
“Maybe,” I smile back at him.
“Well then,” Derrick finally speaks up, “here’s to down and dirty.”
“Here, here,” Casey giggles and clinks her glass with his.
“Like I said,” Lena speaks up, “tonight’s going to be fucking epic.”
“Agreed,” Chris agrees.
Soon, we pull up in front of the hotel that we will be staying at tonight, The Manfredi Hotel Las Vegas. This one is not as tall as the one in Houston, but it’s just as modern, with an extra Vegas flashiness to it. A bellhop rushes over and opens the door to the limo, and we all file out. When he sees Spence step out of the limo, he looks instantly flustered.
“Good evening Mr. Manfredi, sir,” he says, bowing slightly.
“Good evening,” Spence replies, taking my hand as we all head into the lobby towards the front desk.
I’m busy looking around, taking in my surroundings, I spot the entrance into the hotel-casino, and it looks packed. It still astounds me sometimes to think that Spence owns all of this.
As Spence does his thing at the desk, I decide to hang back with everyone else.
“Shall we play a little blackjack?” Victor asks nobody in particular.
“Nightclub!” Lena nearly shouts in her excitement.
“Dinner first, let’s pace ourselves, people, it’s going to be a long night,” Casey laughs.
“Long night in the city that never sleeps, I can’t wait,” Chris says, clapping his hands together with a massive grin on his face.
“I agree, let’s start with dinner,” I say, “what time is it anyway?”
“It’s only…” Derrick says, looking at his watch, “quarter after six.”
“The night is young,” Lucas says as he drapes an arm over a blushing Sherrie’s shoulders.
I shake my head at him, and he smirks at me.
“I’ll need to get a couple of drinks into me soon,” Deanna announces, “I can tell you guys are an interesting bunch, and this is going to be an interesting night.”
“You got that right, sweetheart,” Victor laughs raucously.
“Don’t feel bad, I’m new to this as well,” Derrick says to Deanna.
“We’ll get you accustomed soon enough,” Casey tells him, flashing him a flirtatious smile.
“Looking forward to it,” he smiles back at her.
“Aren’t you from California? I’m sure it’s a lot crazier than us, Texan folk?” I tease Derrick.
“Yeah, you’re probably right about that,” he nods.
“So then nothing should shock you too much,” Chris says.
“Geez, you guys make it sound like we’re a bunch of crazy- hard partiers,” I say, then look at Derrick, “we are not that bad.”
“Aw shucks, that’s too bad,” Derrick, laughs, “I was looking forward to witnessing all the craziness.”
“Like I said,” Lucas says, “The night is still young.”