“Liam, you have to come to Vegas with us; it wouldn’t be the same without you,” Jackson begged as he raised his glass to his lips, downing the entire amber-colored drink in one swallow.
I lifted my bottle of beer to my lips and looked over Jackson’s shoulder while taking a drink, eyeing the blonde beauty passing behind him. With my eyes locked on her, I spoke, “I don’t know Jackson, I’ve got a lot of work to do around here, and there’s some land I’ve been eyeing. Not to mention, I don’t want to miss out on all the hot-looking ladies that have been visiting here lately. It’s that time of year, you know...”
Jackson’s head turned when he noticed my eyes were focused elsewhere instead of on him. He must have seen who caught my eye because he had a shit-eating grin on his face when he turned back around. “You do know that Vegas will have plenty of hot-looking ladies around. Besides, that blonde you’re eyeing just walked over to her man. Come on, man, it’ll be fun. It’ll be the one time you can go out, have fun, and where you won’t have to worry about anyone knowing who you are. Remember what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Yeah, famous last words.
“I haven’t been to Vegas in nine years. Not since Curtis drugged me into the Coyote Ugly bar on my twenty-first birthday, and he had the bartenders pouring liquor from a bottle down my throat. Not only did I drink that entire bottle of who knows what, but whatever it was, it got me drunker than shit, and it had me making an ass out of myself when I got on the stage and stripped all my clothes off, giving the bar crowd my version of what a Chippendale stripper does. I’m not so sure I’d like to show my face there again.”
He laughed. “Oh God, I remember that,” he paused for a second with a look on his face as if he was thinking hard about something, then stared at his bottle of beer while rolling it back and forth between the palm of his hands. “That night got us into a lot of trouble, especially after we ran into your girl—”
He had to bring her up, didn’t he? “Let’s not go there, alright?”
“Dude, when are you ever going to get over her? It’s been nine fucking years. Anytime someone brings up her name, you get all worked up, and for what reason? She wasn’t who she said she was. Get over it already. Go fishing, because we all know there’s plenty of fish in the sea. You never know; you may finally catch the one that’s worth keeping.”
As much as I knew he was right, I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of knowing I knew he was. I picked up my beer and took a long pull off the bottle while looking away from him. I’ve moved on, and I’ve been with many women since Kylie. I’ve just chosen not to give my heart to another woman so that she could do a repeat of what Kylie had done. I looked away from Jackson and back over to the blonde who caught my eye earlier. “She’s not with that guy; another woman is sitting on his lap,” I said, finishing the last of my beer.
Jackson gave me a look of disappointment, and as our waitress walked closer to us, he raised his arm, waving for her attention. “Two more beers please, and if you could find me a hammer, I’d also like for you to bring it to me. I need to knock some sense into my asshole friend over here,” he groaned. “Also, bring us a couple of snakebites when you bring us our beers.”
“Snakebites?” I asked, surprised. “And a hammer? You really want to fuck me up, don’t you?”
“You’re damn right I do,” he growled as he leaned forward. “You’re going to Vegas with us, and if you refuse to go, I’ll figure out a way to knock your sorry ass out. I’ll get you on that damn plane one way or another.”
“You can leave for two days; it’s not going to kill you. It’ll be two days of fun. You never know; you might find that one woman who will turn that black heart of yours back to red.”
I laughed. “Black heart? I have a heart; I just refuse to give it to another woman. Besides, why would I look for love in Vegas when I can do that here? In Hawaii. There’s no way I’m getting myself involved in a long-distance relationship, no fucking way...”
“You’re meeting and sleeping with women that come from all over the world, anyway. So, here’s my question for you, and I would be forever grateful if you could think about it. What would be so different from you going to Vegas and meeting a woman there, then it would be here?”
The waitress came back with our drinks, and as she set my beer in front of me, I immediately snatched it and spoke as I lifted the bottle to my lips, “There’s no difference. It’s just that I hate Vegas and all the women who roam the strip. They’re all fucking snakes.” I took a long drink of my beer, set the bottle down, then my body shivered as I stared at the snakebite shot Jackson insisted we have. A concoction of Yukon Jack mixed with lime juice. “You’re not expecting me to drink this shit, are you?”
He grinned while reaching for his shot and pushing mine closer to me, then he picked up and raised his glass. “You’re damn fucking right I am. Pick up your shot pussy. Toast with me, and then I want you to drink the mother fucker.”
I sighed while picking up the glass, closed my eyes for a second, then shook my head as I remembered how the shot tasted. Believe me; they’re nasty. I opened my eyes and groaned as I spoke, “Cheers, asshole. And just so I can get you to shut that mouth of yours, I’ll fucking go to Vegas with you and the guys. I’m sure you’ll all need a babysitter in that town, anyway.”
He smiled as he had just won the lottery, clinked his glass to mine, and slammed the nasty concoction like it was candy.
“Great, I’ll let the guys know,” he laughed as he set his glass down. “We won’t need a babysitter. We’ll just be grown men, having the night of their lives without anyone telling us we can’t.”
I downed the shot, then scrunched up my nose and cupped the front of my neck after feeling the burning sensation go down my esophagus. The liquor finally made its way into my stomach, warmed my insides, then I heavily exhaled with hopes to get the nasty taste out of my mouth.
“I’m only going because I can’t listen to you beg anymore,” I said hoarsely, still feeling my throat burn. “But I want you to know if anything happens to go wrong while we’re there, and you guys end up doing stupid shit like in the movie The Hangover, I’m leaving your stupid asses and finding the first flight back home.”
He laughed like it was no big thing. I, on the other hand, knew better. With him leaving his bride-to-be for the weekend, while she and her bridesmaids were going wherever they were, he knew he was free to act like a teenager one last time, without his bride-to-be telling him he couldn’t. I finished my beer, laid cash on the table, then set my empty beer bottle on top of it.
“I’ll go home and pack. But before I do any packing, I’m going to talk to that blonde.”
I stared at the screen of my laptop, debating on hitting the purchase button for my flight to Vegas after memories of when I was last there roamed through my mind. We were having a blast the entire weekend until the last night we were there, and we ran into the one person I wished we hadn’t, Kylie.
I picked up my coffee, drinking it while looking at the screen. Damn you, Jackson, I groaned while setting my coffee down, knowing if I didn’t purchase the round-trip tickets to Vegas, Jackson would have my ass. Jackson and I have been friends since we were toddlers, and we’ve done everything together our entire lives. It wouldn’t be right if the best man didn’t show up for his best friend’s bachelor party. Not only would it not be right, but it would also be wrong.
I sighed while hitting the purchase button, then reached for my wallet, pulled out my credit card, then entered all the necessary information needed.
He fucking owes me for this.
After receiving the purchase confirmation, I clicked out of the screen, then pulled up the property I had been looking at for some time. A smile crept up my face after seeing it was still available. It was the perfect land in the ideal spot where I knew it would make me lots of money.
As I stared at the property located right off the ocean, I envisioned the resort I wanted to build and how perfect it would be to offer outdoor weddings out on the beach. It wasn’t a big deal to me, but I liked what kind of money it brought in at my other resort. I just know this location would be even better.
I stood while closing the screen to my laptop, then headed out of the office. On my way out, I called the architect, hoping to meet him at the property to explain precisely how I want it to look and then to have him design it so I can be absolutely sure this was what I wanted to spend my money on.
I walked the property, then stopped and stood at the edge of the land, looking out to the ocean and watching the rolling waves come in. I was lost in thought when John, the architect, stood beside me, asking, “Nice day out, isn’t it?”
“It is,” I responded, turning and shaking his hand. “Thanks for coming out on such short notice. I may be jumping the gun on this, but I’d like to see how it’ll look before I buy the land.”
His brows dipped as the sun shined into his eyes, but I also noticed curiosity displaying on his face. “Aren’t you afraid of the land selling in the meantime?”
I shook my head while pursing my lips. “Not at all. It’s been for sale for over a year. I’m not too worried.”
I turned towards the ocean and pointed, explaining how I wanted it to look for a wedding, with a pool on the other side leading to the ocean. Then I turned to the other side, pointing while explaining how I wanted to keep an area of palm trees and to have the resort built around them.
After explaining all my ideas, he smiled and nodded as he rested his clipboard against his hip. “I know exactly what you’re looking for. I’ll get right on it, draw out all your ideas, and then I’ll have a model made, showing exactly how it’ll look. I’ll give you a call when it’s complete, and then we’ll go from there.”
I reached for his hand, smiling. “Thank you. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.”
I looked at my watch and groaned. The night before, I may have told Jackson I was leaving the bar to go home and pack, but I never did. Instead, I tried working my magical charm on the blonde I was eyeing. Only, to find out later in the night, she was married, and after I got home to relieve the swelling, the movie I thought would help fix my situation turned out to be fake porn, and I fell asleep from the boredom—falling asleep with a hard-on, anyway.
I went home, packed, showered, and then called Uber to take my sorry ass to the airport. I still couldn’t believe I was going back to the one place I thought I’d never step foot in again. Hopefully, I’m not recognized. As I walked towards the terminal and walked past a bar, I heard some guys laughing, hooting, and hollering and stopped to look inside after recognizing Curtis’s voice.
“Liam!” Curtis yelled, waving for me to come in.
I smiled and walked towards the drunkards. “I see you’re all starting early,” I said when I approached. “You couldn’t wait to start until we got there?”
“Hell no, why would we do that? Especially when we’re women free for the weekend.” Jackson replied. “Were you able to get on the same fight as us?” he asked, turning and waving to get the bartender’s attention.
“Yes, unfortunately, I was able to get on the same flight, lucky me.”
“Get my friend here a drink, please.”
“I’ll take a water, thanks,” I countered.
“Don’t you dare get him a glass of water. If he wants to be a pussy, get him a Pina Colada, then add one of those fancy umbrellas in it,” Jackson said, chuckling.
That’s all I needed was one of those and rolled my eyes as I looked at the bartender. “I’ll take a glass of beer.” I looked over at the guys and pointed to my watch. “You do realize we have to start boarding in fifteen minutes.”
“We know. Just have a drink and relax; we’ll make the flight,” Jackson responded.
As I stood at the bar with the guys, talking and drinking a beer I didn’t need, I was able to lighten up a little. I may be dreading Jackson’s choice of destination, but for some strange reason, I felt it would be a weekend I’d enjoy. I may think it’s the money pit of the world, but if I were, to be honest with myself, I’m actually looking forward to playing a little blackjack and winning as much money I can from whichever casino we’re to end up at.
Once we got on the plane and were seated in our seats, I looked at my surroundings and smiled, happy to see I was away from the guys. I was lucky to score a seat in first-class. In contrast, they were sitting in coach, and I needed a little rest before we landed, knowing once we arrived in Vegas, we wouldn’t be going sightseeing or hopping from casino to casino to gamble; it would be hitting every damn bar we pass.
After landing, I surprised the guys with a limo pickup, which then drove us to the Bellagio to check-in—surprising them once again. Earlier, while I was waiting for the architect to arrive, I canceled the guys’ room reservations, swapping them for the presidential suite. All paid for by me.
Why I’m doing this is beyond me.
While the guys excitedly checked out the room, acting like little kids, I headed over to the sunken in full-service bar in the room and made myself a drink. God knows I’ll need the stiff drink I’m about to drink. I was just lifting my mixed drink to my lips when the guys came over and sat on the other side of the bar. “Where’s ours?” Curtis asked, grinning.
I waved my hand, showing them to come around the bar, and grinned. “Have whatever you want; it’s fully stocked and ready for you drunkards’ to drink it all and for you all to make an ass out of yourselves once we leave this room.”
“Just think what kind of fun we could have if we were all single,” Ace said.
“I’m single,” I reminded with a grin, knowing where he was going. I chuckled, brought my drink up to my lips, and grinned an evil grin as I looked at Ace. “Sucks to be you guys. I’m the only one in this group who’ll be able to go out prowling for that one lucky prey to bring up to this luxurious room and to have a little fun.”
“Alright, Casanova. How much do you want to bet that’ll never happen? As a matter of fact, just last night, you mentioned you didn’t have any intentions to look and hook up with any women while we’re here, claiming they’re all snakes,” Jackson reminded before taking a pull off the bottle of whiskey.
I reached into my back pocket, pulled out my wallet, then looked to see how much cash I had on me. “I’ll take you on that bet. Thousand-dollars work for you?”
Jackson grinned. “It’s on Casanova,” he said as he laid cash on top of the bar. “Throw your money down onto mine,” he insisted.
I laid the cash on top of his, then gave him a playful shove. “You got yourself a bet.”