After putting ourselves back together, we exit the private room. On the other side of the curtain is one of the club bouncers, standing guard. He smiles knowingly at us, and I watch as Spence discreetly slips him a tip, a huge one I’m sure.
“Have a good evening, you two,” he says to us.
I look around, and Esmeralda is nowhere to be seen, I’d bet she’s pretty popular here.
“Likewise and thanks,” Spence replies, then we head back to the VIP area where our friends are waiting for us.
When we get back, three dancers are entertaining our group.
“What did we miss?” Spence asks loudly over all of the hooting and hollering.
“How was your private lap dance?” Victor asks us, large cigar in his mouth, stripper shaking her ass in his face.
“Better than expected,” Spence chuckles and winks at me conspiratorially, causing me to blush.
Spence finds a space on the sofa and pulls me down onto his lap.
“I’ll bet it was. I saw your dancer walking around here maybe ten minutes ago…” Lucas pipes up, grinning at us, “So I wonder what you did with all of that extra time.”
“None of your business,” I retort.
“Oh!” Chris exclaims, understanding, and then he bursts out laughing, along with everyone else, “That’s fucking awesome!”
Chris stands and walks over to us and raises his hand to Spence for a high five, which Spence reciprocates.
“Okay, okay, that’s enough,” I roll my eyes at them, but can’t help but smile.
I look around at my group of friends, and everyone seems to be having a great time. Chris and Lena, along with Victor and Nadia, are laughing and joking around as they wave dollar bills at the dancing girls. Casey and Deanna have Derrick sandwiched between them- that looks interesting. Then there’s Lucas and Sherrie, flirting in the corner seemingly oblivious, while a stripper gyrates in front of them. I know I said that I’m not going to worry about it, but I still don’t like the idea of those two screwing around with each other. Sherrie is my family, and it’s just too close to home to think of Lucas and her- together, even if it’s only for tonight.
“It’s still bothering you, isn’t it?” Spence says quietly in my ear.
“Huh?” I turn to face him.
“You’re watching Lucas and your cousin like a hawk. I understand if it bothers you, it would bother me too.”
Oh, I hadn’t realized I was staring at them so intently. Spence just always seems to know.
“Yeah, it’s bothering me,” I admit with a shrug.
“Do you want me to talk to him?” he offers.
“No, I should do it.”
“Well, you better do it soon,” he chuckles and gestures with his chin at them.
I turn and look at Lucas and Sherrie as Lucas brushes Sherrie’s hair off her shoulder and leans in to whisper in her ear. I watch as she nearly combusts. I can only imagine what he’s saying to her, but I can take a pretty good guess.
Around one o’clock in the morning, once we're all quite drunk and have received our fill of naked women, we decide to head back to the hotel and enjoy the suite a little more. As soon as we step foot back in the penthouse suite, I decide I need to talk to Lucas right away. So as everyone heads to the bar, I grab hold of his arm and pull him back. Lucas looks at me in question, and I look over his shoulder to see Spence smile at me knowingly and pull a curious Sherrie along with him to the bar.
“Lucas, can I talk to you outside?” I ask him.
“Sure,” he smiles a lopsided grin back at me, “but I’d bet I already know what you want to talk about.”
“Regardless… come,” I order, pulling on his shirt.
“Ooh, bossy,” he chuckles as he follows me out onto the balcony.
I close the door behind us and then turn to face him.
“Lucas, please. Please don’t fuck my cousin tonight,” I plead, getting right to the point.
“That’s pretty presumptuous, isn’t it?” he says with a smirk, and I roll my eyes at him.
“Oh come on, Lucas. That’s exactly, what you're planning to do,” I argue.
“How do you know your cousin would be into that?” he challenges.
“It’s you,” I say, and he snorts.
“Am I that good?”
“When you want to be, yes,” I nod.
“Yeah, I am, aren’t I?” he says smugly.
“You’re also an asshole,” I add, “anyway, I don’t feel comfortable with you sleeping with my twenty-one-year-old cousin.”
“She’s old enough to do whatever she wants,” he replies.
“Lucas! Come on, please,” I plead again.
“Well fuck, Roxanne. You just have to ruin all my fun, don’t you?” he complains.
“Choose another target.”
“Like who? Your other cousin, or Casey?”
“No, Casey would never fuck you again.”
“Is that a challenge?”
“No, it’s a fact,” I state, I hope its fact anyway.
Lucas pouts for a moment, then takes a deep breath and leans against the high glass railing that protects us from plummeting to the ground.
“Fine, Rox. I’ll back off,” he says, and then he looks at me from the corner of his eyes, “because we’re friends, right?”
“Right,” I answer him.
“So, as friends, can we talk about something else?” he asks me.
“Okay, what about?”
Lucas nervously clears his throat and turns to face me.
“Seth,” he says quietly, peeking through the glass at everyone else. Nobody appears to be looking at us.
“Seth? Why Lucas? I don’t want to talk about him,” I say, shaking my head.
“He’s… he’s not doing so well, Roxanne. The closer it gets to your wedding, the more destructive he’s becoming. Night after night, he’s been out drinking and fucking anything on two legs. I know I’m somewhat of a man-whore myself, but even I have standards,” he cringes.
“Why are you telling me this, Lucas? Do you think I’m just going to change my mind and go running back to Seth?”
“No, but maybe you could talk to him?”
“Wouldn’t that make it worse? There’s nothing that I could say to him that would make him feel better.”
“I’m worried about him. In all the time I’ve known him, he’s never done anything like this.”
“I don’t understand why, though, Lucas. Seth and I never spent all that much time together, so I don’t understand why he’s this torn up about me.”
“I guess there’s something about you. You’re the first girl to come around in nearly ten years that he allowed himself to become vulnerable with,” he informs me.
“I can’t do it, Lucas. I don’t think it’s a good idea, and Spence doesn’t want me around him,” I tell him.
“Why doesn’t Spence want you around him?”
“That’s between us.”
“Come on, Rox. Maybe it’ll give me some insight as to why Seth is acting the way he is so I can help him.”
Ugh! I hate to think of Seth self-destructing because of me. I don’t want him hurting himself.
“Okay. Seth came over to my house a while back and tried to seduce me, and Spence showed up. It turns out that Seth had heard you and Spence talking about Spence coming to my house after a meeting?”
“Oh right, when Spence came to my office and tore me a new one for releasing personal information,” Lucas nods.
“Yeah, why’d you give Seth my address anyway?”
“I didn’t think he’d use it for that reason. Seth never told me what happened.”
“Yeah, I know, you told me that before.”
“So then what happened?” he asks, getting back to the topic at hand.
“Spence showed up just as Seth was leaving, and long story short, Spence basically told him to fuck off, or he’d fuck him up in one way or another, and that’s when I found out that Seth had intentionally tried to have us get caught by Spence so that he’d call the wedding off.”
“Holy fuck! I didn’t think Seth would go to those lengths,” Lucas shakes his head in disbelief.
“Yeah, and then I told him he was a child and to grow up,” I add.
“Wow. Poor guy,” Lucas whispers.
“Poor guy? He tried to sabotage my relationship,” I retort.
“Well, now I have an idea why he’s acting so reckless. He’s doing the opposite of what you told him to do. Instead of growing up, he’s going in the other direction.”
“So, like I said, I don’t think that there’s anything I could do to make it better, Lucas.”
I look through the window now, and I see Spence watching us curiously.
“Are we being watched right now?” Lucas guesses.
Keeping his eyes glued to me, I just nod in response.
“Guess we better go back in there then,” he murmurs.
He turns to grab the door handle but stops and turns to me again.
“I still think you made the wrong choice. You should have picked Seth, and I don’t just mean now- over Spence. I mean the first time, instead of me,” Lucas’s words surprise me.
“I’ll admit the first time, was the wrong choice, but I don’t think it is now,” I reply.
“Yeah, well, if you had chosen the first time correctly, there wouldn’t be a- this time. If you chose right the first time, you’d be marrying Seth next week.”
Oh god, not this again. How many times must I hear this?
“You don’t know that, Lucas,” I shake my head slowly.
I just want this conversation to be over now. Lucas just nods and opens the door.
We head over to the bar. I go to Spence’s side, and he hands me a glass of champagne without saying anything to me. Lucas goes to stand next to Sherrie, but I notice that he looks a little stiff and uncomfortable now. She’s going to be disappointed, I’m sure, but oh well. It’s better this way.
“You know what would be fun and crazy right now?” Casey says, her cheeks are flushed, and she stumbles a little- she’s had a few too many.
“What would be fun and crazy?” Derrick chuckles, playfully elbowing her shoulder.
“Strip poker,” she giggles.
We all stop and stare at her, and she laughs.
“Oh, come on… it's Vegas! Anything goes, and you get to gamble.”
I look around the room and try to assess how awkward this could be. Derrick is Spence’s nephew, Lucas- my ex, my cousins.
“Uh…” I stutter.
“I’m into it, why the fuck not!” Lena exclaims.
Chris looks slightly surprised, but then he just shrugs.
“Hell, I’m in too,” he says.
“Count me in as well. I’m always up for a good game of poker, no matter the stakes,” Victor chimes in, “babe?” he looks to Nadia.
I’m not sure he would back out even if she weren’t into it, but she surprises us.
“I’ve got nothing to hide,” she smiles, “in.”
“That’s my girl,” Victor smiles and pulls her against him, “so how about you, girls?”
Victor turns to my cousins. Sherrie is blushing, but Deanna is nodding and smiling.
“Oh sure, why not?” Deanna says, looking at me, “I’m in Vegas. Why not get some good stories to go home with?”
“Sherrie?” Victor prods.
Sherrie looks over at Lucas, who is smirking like crazy but hasn’t said anything.
“Um…okay, I guess so,” Sherrie nods.
“Yeah, I’ll play,” Lucas says smoothly, winking at me.
“Seriously, you guys?” I ask them all.
I can’t believe this. I know we’ve all done some crazy stuff lately, but this?
“Oh come on, Auntie Roxanne, live a little,” Derrick teases.
“Stop calling me that!” I squeal and swat at his shoulder.
“You’re going to play, Derrick?” Spence asks his nephew.
“Sure,” Derrick shrugs.
“That just leaves you two,” Victor raises an eyebrow at us.
“I’m going to beat all of you. Prepare to show me your birthday suits,” Spence says smugly.
“What? You’re playing?” I ask him.
“Yeah, and so are you, my love,” he laughs.
“Okay, I think I’m going to need another drink,” I groan.
“On it!” Chris yells from behind the counter.
“Yay!” Casey claps her hands together and runs over to the stereo system and turns it on as the rest of us make our way to the massive dining table.
“I’ve got the cards,” Victor announces, pulling out two decks from one of the many drawers as if he knew exactly where they were.
“I’m dealing first round,” Casey orders, taking the cards from him as she comes back to the table and takes a seat.
“Isn’t this too many people?” I ask, grasping at straws, “I could sit out.”
“We make our own rules here,” Spence says, “so you stay put.”
“Yeah, Rox. Why so shy all of a sudden?” Lucas asks me. I can hear the teasing in his tone.
I frown at him, and he just laughs raucously.
“Just deal the damn cards,” I grumble.
I’ve never been any good at poker. That’s why I’m nervous, I know I’ll lose, and I don’t feel like getting naked in front of everybody.
“Can we set some limits, though?” Sherrie asks nervously, “Like, underwear stays on?”
“I second that!” I almost shout.
“Of course,” Spence assures her, “don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with, Sherrie.”
Sherrie smiles gratefully at Spence. I like this limit.
“Okay, Texas Hold’em,” Casey says as she starts dealing out the cards with a flourish I didn’t realize she could pull off.
Uh oh, I think we all might be in trouble here.
By the end of our game, there are only two clear winners. Casey and Spence. Casey got away with keeping her bra on, and Spence kept his pants on. Everyone else was stripped right down to their underwear, and nothing else, including me. Thankfully, my long hair did an okay job at keeping me covered, at least a little bit.
“Wow, Chris, have you been working out?” I compliment him.
I notice his usually lean frame has beefed up slightly, and he now has some nice muscle tone.
“I have. Thank you very much for noticing,” Chris states proudly, “I was tired of being a string bean.”
“I set him up with my personal trainer,” Spence tells me.
“Yeah, he’s one tough mother, but I’m getting the results,” Chris smiles and flexes his tattooed bicep.
Lena giggles and rubs his arm.
“I loved the string bean, but I could love the beefcake too,” she says, causing the rest of us to laugh.
“So, the games over. Can we put our clothes back on?” Deanna asks, her hands grasping her breasts firmly.
“Why bother?” Casey asks her suggestively.
I watch as Casey looks between Deanna and then Derrick, and then back again at Deanna.
“I think we’re going to turn in,” Nadia suddenly says, standing up, not trying to cover her body, which is of model perfection.
Victor looks her up and down, getting the hint.
“Yup, let’s get on that, shall we?” he chuckles, also standing, but stumbling a little as he does.
Without any more preamble, they wander off, and we hear a door close somewhere.
“I think I’m going to uh, head downstairs and see what kind of trouble I can get into,” Lucas announces, gathering up his clothes.
“You’re leaving?” Sherrie asks him, sounding surprised and disappointed.
Lucas looks at her and then at me. He sighs loudly then looks back at Sherrie again.
“Yeah, I'm sorry, babe,” he says without further explanation.
He quickly pulls his clothes on, then strides out of the room, and out of the suite.
“What the hell?” Sherrie murmurs.
“Hey girl, you’re better off, trust me,” Casey pipes up, having caught what’s going on.
Sherrie looks at me. I nod in agreement with Casey. Casey and I exchange a knowing look. Yes, we both know now, unfortunately. Even Lucas knows, he admitted it, which I still can’t believe — telling me that I chose wrong when I picked him over Seth. It takes a big man to admit when he’s been a real asshole.
“How many rooms are in here?” Sherrie suddenly asks Spence, changing the subject, and looking pouty.
“Five,” he tells her.
Sherrie nods once and then quickly stands and gathers her clothes, then storms off. We hear a door slam shut.
“She’s embarrassed,” Deanna says quietly.
“She dodged a bullet,” Casey informs her.
“Okay, I’m turning in too, I think,” Derrick says.
“Geez, everyone’s just turning in already?” Chris complains.
“It’s after four in the morning, Chris. I’m going to bed too, and you’d be smart to come with me,” Lena tells him, reaching down and squeezing his leg.
“Oh…” Chris grins and gets to his feet, “Night all. Let’s go, Lena!”
Chris grabs Lena’s hand and pulls her away, leaving just me, Spence, Derrick, Casey and Deanna. But not for long it seems.
“Goodnight Uncle Spence, Roxanne,”
Derrick smiles at us, and then he turns to look at Casey and Deanna…expectantly. Whaaaat?
Casey and Deanna both stand up and move to Derrick’s side. Spence and I just gape at them in shock, not knowing what to say.
“Goodnight,” Casey sings as the three of them walk off together, but she adds before we hear the door shut, “It’s Vegas, baby!”
Spence and I look at each other, our eyes nearly popping out of our heads, not quite believing what we just witnessed.
“Wow, it would seem your nephew is quite the charmer.”
“I never would have guessed it. Derrick's usually so quiet and reserved,” Spence chuckles.
“I’d bet that had more to do with Casey’s influence,” I guess.
“I guess she’s finally getting what she wants,” Spence acquiesces.
“Yeah, with your mini-me and my cousin. That’s not awkward at all,” I laugh.
“Just keeping it in the family.”
“Well, now that we’re on our own, what do you suggest we do?” I ask him.
“Well, it seems everyone else has the right idea. How about we have some fun of our own?”