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The House Always Wins - 21. Chapter 21


It was a little after eight when the pilot dropped us off on the roof of the hotel.

"So, did you enjoy today?" he asked, as we got into the elevator.

"Totally awesome," I replied, sending him a thankful look. "I wish we could've gone further, to Bryce Canyon."

He smiled, and activated the control that took us down to the suite.

"Maybe next time."

That sounded like a promise. I yawned, and leaned against the wall, and he snickered.

"I don't think you would've seen much of it, from the look of things; tired?"

"I guess it was all the excitement; that ‘copter is way cool! Can I take it to go to college?" I joked, covering my mouth for a second yawn. Sheez, alright already!

We arrived in the suite, and I kinda expected Olivia to be there, waiting for us, but she was nowhere to be seen; the living room was dark.

"We'll discuss that when the time comes," Michael laughed, flicking on the lights. "Hmm, it looks like my mother has gone out for the evening." He turned to face me. "So we have two options; go out to dinner or should I order something up?"

I opted for the latter. If I had to sit at a table, I feared I'd keel over into my plate.

"All right... what would you like to have?"

I shrugged. Anything was fine with me. "Make it something easy; I don't wanna work too hard."

He bowed as if he was a butler and went over to the bar, picking up the phone.

"One ‘something easy' coming up, sir."

I stifled another yawn; okay, enough was enough.

"I'm gonna go take a shower, ok?"

He indicated that he'd heard it and I left for the bedroom.


I emerged from the bedroom half an hour later, refreshed, dressed in a pair of black velvet lounge pants and a thin black cashmere sweater.

Until Michael, I never wore these kinds of threads, but in the past few days they had grown on me rapidly. There were a few items I was
secretly glad Michael had insisted on buying, especially the lounge pants; it feels like you are walking through heavy air, and if you combine it with a cashmere sweater, you feel like you've landed in the porn version of Aladdin. A peeking expedition in Michael's closet had told me that he had them as well, but in silk; that stuff gave me the willies, brrr.

Michael looked up from where he was sitting, on the sofa, and held up a controller for the Xbox.

"How the bloody hell does this work? I pressed every button on this idiotic thing and nothing happens."

"You wanna play?" I asked, hopeful.

He raised an eyebrow when I jumped over the back of the sofa and landed beside him, and then he narrowed his eyes at me.

"You're too eager. Are you going to try and get a pride boost? Think you can beat me, huh?"

"Oh yeah," I replied, sending him a toothy grin. "So try to keep up."

"Pffft... insolence! Show me how this thing works and I'll bloody kick your ass."

"Nope. That was my mistake with your mom. No explanations. Figure it out."

I spent the next minute in a one-armed headlock, squeaking out instructions the hard way.

He could be pretty funny if he wanted to be; I learned that much today. I saw a side I hadn't seen before; a relaxed one. Him holding me in the arm-lock was just that; him being relaxed and comfortable enough to do it, like you do with your friends. I liked Michael this way; he was a lot more pleasant to be around now.

"Foul," I murmured, when he let go, "I'm calling Homeland Security."

He snickered and I pushed the start button, catching him off guard.

"Hah! Idiot."

We spent the next hour racing and my pride was left intact, and even gained some of its old glory because I won four out of six.

Wow, those Brits can curse. And I thought we were orally well developed.

‘This control is clearly broken," he huffed, "I couldn't bank in the curves."

"Oh puh-lease. You're a sore loser is all."

"I most certainly am not; I'm losing something each day, these days," he said affably.

"Sure, like I believe that. The casino always wins."

"No, not always. But we'll see; maybe I'll get a shot at capturing something back." A corner of his mouth lifted up and he grinned warmly.

"Not today, you're not; I'm off to bed. I'm tired," I said, stifling a yawn. "Umm... Michael..."


I nudged him with my shoulder and he glanced sideways.

"Thanks for today. I really had a great time."

"You're welcome," he replied warmly, and I looked up.

He genuinely smiled and I thought for a moment, trying to decide if I should do it or not. Oh, what the hell...

I leaned towards him, and pressed my lips on his. I planned to do just that and then go, and he accepted the kiss. But when I withdrew, and looked him in his eyes and he smiled, I did it again, this time softly brushing my tongue over his lips. He opened slightly, and did the same. Then we both pulled back at the same time and he nodded once.

"Thank you."

"G'night," I answered, my shyness returning.

I quickly left the room.

andr0gene 2004-Present
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