“Girls, take a bow. We’ve arrived.” I announced in a charismatic tone. Entering the Vegas strip, the intense fatigue from all-day driving just evaporated. Vegas is the only place where everybody wants to escape from matters and be a little mischievous, playful, naughty, and glamorous.
Approaching the Bellagio—the hotel where we were going to stay, and a grand dazzling water fountain drew our attention. I took my foot off the gas pedal and slowed down the car to see water swaying and dancing to the music.
“Wow!” Sage exclaimed as she took a deep breath.
“Gets me every time,” Alice mentioned.
“Especially the one with a Titanic song,” I expressed.
“Oh yeah,” both Sage and Alice expressed simultaneously.
Vegas’s dry heat—scorching temperatures—didn’t bother me at all. I entered through a tall golden framed glass door, and the cool breeze embraced me as I set my foot in the air condition hotel lobby. The bold displays of multi-colored hand-blown glass flowers just captivate one's attention.
“Vegas, Baby!” A group of boys hollered, startling me while I was admiring the work of art.
“Ugh, boys!” I mumbled.
“Jess, over here.” Sage waved at me. The lobby was busy and a bit congested—lousy with tourists. Dodging the crowd, I made my way towards the check-in desk where Sage and Alice were waiting.
“Please follow me,” the manager led us to a secluded area to enter the VIP lounge to check-in. I didn’t even bother to read his name tag on his vest.
“Please help yourself while you wait.” He gestured his hand towards the snack bar, exhibited with food and wine.
“Ooh, chocolate covered strawberries!” Sage picked up a couple. Alice chose a red wine while I poured white wine in my glass.
The manager returned in about ten minutes with another man following behind him. He then handed each one of us a keycard to our penthouse suite.
“Jim will take you to your suits. Enjoy your stay, ladies.” With a smile, he departed.
“Let’s go and tour the place. They have decorated the whole place for the fourth of July.” I said while approaching the elevator.
“Maybe later, let’s change and dip in the pool,” Sage suggested.
I pouted in dismay. “Well, why don’t you guys go ahead and I’ll catch up with you guys.” I countered.
“Fine, but don’t be too long,” Alice instructed.
“I won’t,” I replied while fishing out my cell phone from my handbag. “Here, take this with you.” I handed my purse over to Alice. I wander around for the fourth of July ornamentation. They’ve, flag and hot air balloons hanging from above flourish with flowers in so many variations in the botanical garden, even a replica of the Liberty Bell adorned this garden. Every edge of this massive hotel was embellished with beautiful details. I captured them all on my phone.
In a short while, I realized that the girls were probably waiting for me in the suite. I stopped in the middle of the path, momentarily, to look back to see if I can see the direction to the main lobby and bang! I physically crashed into something hard and realized it was a person.
“Jesus!” I heard him cry.
The cell phone flew away from my hand, and my temper flared immediately.
“Are you blind?” There was a bitterness in his tone.
“No, but are you?” I fired back, as annoyed as he was. I glanced up at him once and then looked away to search for my lost phone.
“Are you okay?” He asked, lowering his voice into what sounded like a concerned tone.
“Where is my phone?” I mumbled to myself and noticed that he was holding his phone in a two-handed position. “You were texting while walking, weren’t you?” I glared at him. “Do you know that every year more than 1,500 people are treated in emergency rooms for cell phone-related incidents? And these statistics are based only on Ohio state.” I scowled.
He had an impassive expression on his face. “Are you the reporter from Ohio?”
“What? No.” I detested.
He found my phone and bent down to pick it up. “It’s still alive,” he handed it to me.
“You’re right.” he smiled, revealing his dimple despite the five o’clock shadow, still looked dapper in his suit. “And I’m sorry.”
“There you are!” I heard Sage’s voice. It appeared from behind. I pivoted on my heel and saw both Sage and Alice—unhappy. They’d have every right to be upset with me, for one—I was late, and second, they were in their swimming attire—ready for the pool.
“I’m sorry. I was on my way when I bumped into him.” I turned around, but he was gone. My eyes searched the surroundings, but he got lost in the crowd. I sighed.
“We shouldn’t have let you loose. See, now we are ready for the pool, and you’re not.” Alice complained.
“She’s here now. Let’s just go and have fun.” Sage’s suggestion didn’t quite fit in with Alice’s mood. “Without a bikini?” Her left brow shot up.
“It’s Vegas, nobody cares.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Well, I do. Just go and change.” Alice glared at me.
“Alright.” I surrendered.
Sage gave me directions to the elevators, which was not very far from where I was. I hopped in and rode up in an empty elevator car. It came to a smooth halt on my requested floor. I stepped out and followed the directions stated on the board hung neatly on the wall. Few steps later, I heard the elevator bell go ding—followed by soft footsteps. The hallway was long and quiet. Each door was widely distant from each other. Catching sight of a man walking behind me from the corner of my eye, I picked up my pace.
As I approached the suite, I glanced. The man was a few steps away from me. I hastily pulled my keycard from the back pocket and inserted it into the door lock. It failed to disengage the lock.
“Come on.” I gave another try—to validate my keycard—but it failed to do so.
“Do you need any help... with that?” The man offered.
His sudden approach frightened me. He was standing right behind me. To my surprise, he was the same guy I crashed into a while ago. My fearful blue eyes— dauntlessly staring into his clueless blue.
“No. Thanks. I got it.” I turned my back to him.
“It’s actually...” He spoke again.
But I cut him short before he could finish his sentence. “I told you, I don’t need your help.” I was refusing to look in his direction. I gave the keycard a few more tries, but it failed every single time. He never left but waited nearby—with a smug face.
“What are you still doing here?” I asked defensively.
“Waiting for you.”
I got frustrated. “Get out of my face, you....” As I pointed at him, the keycard fell from my hand.
He bent down to pick up my key card, “Oh, yes. You’ll need my help.” he said, and before I could comprehend, he had me against the wall, invading my personal space. It came with a drastic surprise to me. I felt threatened and uncomfortable.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I got mad. I almost had no room to move, and he was so close. I couldn’t believe this guy had such audacity to do something like this in the middle of the hotel corridor. ’How dare he? I thought.
“Back off, or I’ll scream,” I warned him.
His brows shot up. “Go ahead, scream, shout, yell.” He said with such confidence, considering himself to be so fearless.
“You don’t think I’ll, b-but I’ll.” My voice was shaky. I was prepared to rebel for a hit and run. So I went to strike my knee into his groin when he caught my leg in his hand. His grip was firm—perhaps too strong.
He shook his head and smirked. “Bad move, Luv.”
I was shocked, and just a little bit frightened now. He began to move his fingers, gliding along my thigh, leaving goosebumps on my skin. I felt the urge to spat his hand, but I didn’t. Instead, my fingers curled on his white shirt, under the expensive designer suit jacket. His lips parted, and he clicked his tongue when he breached the lower part of his body between my legs. I sucked in a deep breath. I’d never let anyone go far–this far, even with the guys I dated with, and he was a stranger. I felt violated. However, somehow I let his power take control over me. As if he had me under his spell.
“Do you feel that?” He murmured. His gaze intensified. I bit my lower lip to hold back my answer.
“God, you’re sexy, you know that? Of course, you know that.” He scoffed. My mind sort of fried for a second on that statement, but I liked that he thought I was sexy.
“I won’t give a fuck, even if you’ve got a boyfriend at this point,” he said with a hint of amusement. “Do you?”
“I don’t.” Words left my mouth without consent, and I cussed softly to myself.
It took me a moment to register, though he was in between my legs, he’d kept a formal space between our mortal parts. He had not touched me anywhere except my leg. He was careful with his action. He knew what exactly he was doing.
“Look–” I tried to say.
“I am.” He said sarcastically. I rolled my eyes at him—secretly admiring his comment.
“I need to go, and you barricading me is not helping at all.” I put my palm on his chest to push him away.
His body tensed on my firm press. He looked down at my hand.
“What are your plans for tonight?” He asked.
“L-let me go.” I requested. My palm was still resting on his chest, gently pushing him. I took a small step forward.
“Not so fast.” He came closer to me, and I backed up against the door—showing me the control was absolutely his. “Let me bring this to your attention. Before I get too carried away too far.” He looked down on my lips when he said that.
“When you collided with me, it was all your fault.”
‘How was that all my fault?’ I thought to myself.
“I was well aware of my surroundings while walking, but YOU suddenly decided to stop so abruptly, and you never even said sorry.” He continued.
I believed him, and for just a brief moment, I saw him as a tall, young, and handsome man rather than a creep. I blinked rapidly and lowered my eyelashes on his complaint, but ‘Damn, he was right.’
Being disappointed at the conclusion, I didn’t know what to say. But I managed to say. “I-I’m.. sorry.”
I realized that he was gazing at me. There was a watchfulness in his eyes–that intensified.
“What is your name?” He asked.
“Jessica,” I instantly answered, then I realized on time like this, I should have given him my fake name, but I couldn’t come up with any.
He smiled. “I’m Aaron.”
Something came to his mind, and he was thinking. He narrowed his eyes and said, “It’s so weird.”
“What is?” I asked curiously.
“Have we met before?” He asked as if he was searching for something within myself or maybe himself. Though the line was cliche, I certainly felt the same way and... ‘And I don’t know why I feel I can trust you.’
“I feel like I can talk to you about anything, something silly, share my secrets, or even confess my sins to you.” His words were so direct, like his action.
‘Sins?!’ Now he got me thinking deep.
He shook his head with a smile as if he was thinking of something, but kept his disappointments to himself. He took an easy step back, slowly releasing me but still holding that intense gaze. He then slipped his hand into the inner pokect of his suit jacket and produced a keycard. He inserted his card into the door lock and made it work. Everything became self-explanatory after, and I understood my mistake.
“You could have just told me that this was your suite,” I glared at him.
“And what? Stop a beautiful girl who desperately was trying to get into my suite. How could I?” He’d that cheeky grin plastered on his face.
With further ado, I started walking away from him.
“Hey, Jess,” he calls, and that sent a warm, pleasant sensation throughout my body. I looked back.
“Don’t you want your keycard back?” He waved it at me.
‘I’d completely forgotten all about it.’ I plucked the card from his fingers and smiled.
“Enjoy Vegas.” He flashed his dimple before cordially closing the door.
I quickly went to my suit and flopped on the bed, staring at the ceiling.
Yes, I’m used to getting a lot of attention from men and boys, but never had anyone executed so boldly—in such a provocative manner. Small as this incident was, this acquainted stranger indeed left a mark on my heart. This whole experience stayed with me for the rest of the day.
I sighed wearily but got up, changed for the swim, and went to the pool where Sage and Alice were waiting for me. The crowd at the pool was minimal and didn’t interfere with our fun course in the sun.
We spent some time in the water, then ate and had a few drinks. It was refreshing.