(@Vanyanka enters the casino, eager to make the most of this MTC Vegas meetup, despite some hurt feelings, and jealous members.)
Well, the wine-tasting meet-up at Aureole was a success. Those Wine Angels really know their stuff.
I wish all my little MTC angels could have made it. Hopefully, I’ll get to catch up with them soon. But for now, the rest of my night is slots! Or maybe another little daring rendezvous with Pablo is in order before we go
Jesus, this is why I keep my notifications off, this text just scared the shit out of me. Who is it this time? Oh, scrmcasey. I miss her. I wish she’d made it to the wine-tasting. I can’t believe she’s still mad at me for inviting everyone, but at least she’s talking to me. Even if it is about how upset DareAngel is that she couldn’t go. Even if I feel bad that she got stuck with the kids, after all, it wasn’t my fault! She acts like I did it on purpose. Like I could be that malicious. I mean, yeah a lot of things happened the past few months. So much looks like my fault, but I’m nice, I promise. I didn’t even mean to get mboone in trouble, or hurt Jenni’s feelings it was all just harmless fun. And poor Casey in the middle of it all, poor thing. But she’s always in the middle of it, isn’t she?
Speaking of mboone, I should look around to see if I can see him anywhere. I’m glad he could get that job here in Vegas. It was a big move, but I still feel horrible for getting him fired. And so stupid too, if his boss wasn’t peeking over his shoulder, it wouldn’t have mattered how saucy the text I sent was. Who fires someone over getting a sext during work hours? He didn’t send any, and now everyone on the forum blames me. I really should apologize in person.
There’s Jenni now, maybe she knows what floor he’s working, they seem to keep in touch.
“There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you! Jaded said you were coming here after the wine-tasting.”
“Yeah, I really feel like I should apologize to mboone at least in person, and fit some slots in.”
“I think he knows you’re sorry, and he’s really enjoying this job, he wanted me to help find you. He just moved a hot machine, thinks it could pay out well for you. Maybe he thinks it’ll help mend the hurt, let you know he doesn’t hold anything against you. He’s over by the bathrooms on the second floor, he’ll be turning it back on in about 15-20 minutes, he wanted to give you time.”
“Oh thank you so much Sweetie!” That really saves me some time. She leaned in for our usual parting kiss, I guess she forgives me too. Although if I were her or Casey, I wouldn’t have.
“I’ll have to catch up with you and let you know how the apology went.” That doesn’t taste like her usual lipgloss. The vanilla-floral scent I’m used to is gone, and I swear her lips taste like licorice. Like anise maybe, not so strong? It’s kind of nice, I’ll have to ask her what it is when we catch up, but right now I need to find mboone, and scratch my gambling itch.
Another text!? Why didn’t I turn my phone off before I started this mission of redemption? Pablo this time, I should take it. We have some plans to iron out.
What the hell? Get rid of me? Who does he think he is!? This calls for a drink, I should stop by the bar and see if Lucy is working, she’ll slip me a free one. And I can play a few of the tabletop games while I wait.
“Hey Vany! I was hoping I’d see you tonight, I wanted to see how things were going.” She’s so chipper, so sweet. Far too sweet for someone who knows mboone and I were texting behind her back. I’m glad. I have enough enemies around lately.
“I’ve been better, but your smile really is a great pick up.” I smile back, I have to keep this friend.
“The usual, or have you had enough wine?” She asks, winking like an actual old-timey bar man. That made me giggle for some reason, and it escapes my lips as I answer,
“Yeah, you know I can never have enough. Thanks.”
“Yeah, you were never one to get enough of anything. Or anyone.” Her chipper smile suddenly melted into a scowl. Shit. Is she mad at me still as well? They weren't even serious. Maybe they were.
But just as quickly as her smile had disappeared, it was back as she plopped my glass of rose in front of me. “The machine on the end seems like it’s due to pay out soon, if you want to play while you drink.”
“Yeah that sounds like a great idea, thanks.” I grabbed my glass and got the hell out of there, it seemed she suddenly wasn’t as happy to see me around.
I sat down in front of the machine, inserted my money, and pulled that arm. I know you can touch the screen on the new ones, but I love the feel and the excitement of the pull. Three pulls in, and I’ve hit payout, not a jackpot, but enough to get my heart racing. I grabbed a coin cup from the stack, and piled in my golden coins. Oh shit, I forgot, mboone! I have only a couple minutes now to catch him! I grabbed my coin cup, downed my weirdly tangy drink, and spun around to run to the elevators. Wait. Should I take the stairs? Back and forth I paced as made up my mind. The elevators open right near the bathrooms, they shouldn’t take too long! I turned abruptly, and as if she materialized BAM, right into DareAngel I hit. Both our coin cups spilled to the ground.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry Sweetie! But I’m so glad to see you, we really have some catching up to do after I go make amends with mboone!”
Busy on the floor scraping the majority of the coins into my cup, she answers, “Oh yes! I’ve been meaning to text you, but I got an opportunity to get out without the kids, so I had to take it!”
“Oh man, I wish you had made it to the wine-tasting then!” I tried to sound as upset about it as a felt, I really wanted her to know I was sorry.
“Oh no, no, I wouldn’t want to impose. We’ll have to shoot for something special next time.” The inflection on the word special was chilling. She was mad. Her face didn’t look as forgiving as her peppy tone. I really didn’t mean for her to think it was just the two of us. But I’ll have to deal with that later.
“Oh no, the coins, just take them, I don’t know how many I had in there!” Maybe giving her my winnings would help smooth things over.
She was back to smiling, “No, no I only had literally like seven in there, they’re all accounted for, I’m good!” God woman, please just take my money, I feel so horrible.
“No, I insist!” But as quickly as I ran into her, she was gone in the crowd. Why was she even here when she’s staying down the street at another casino? No time for that. I need to go.
I think that last glass of wine hit me harder than it should, good thing I’m taking the elevator. The doors opened just as I walked up, what luck I’m having tonight! The elevator music seems slow, or is it that my head? Did I drink too much? No time to worry about that, I need to find mboone.
The elevator came to a stop after what felt like forever. It couldn't have been though. I’m just a little buzzed. And there’s mboone and the machine, right in front of me! I run over there, maybe too ambitious for someone who’s been drinking all evening.
He’s rubbing some strange-looking oil to the lever. Why is he wearing gloves? “Oh there you are! Just in time! I’ve been expecting you to come up here.” I’ve never seen him smile that big. Maybe he does really forgive me!
“Yes, I just wanted to make sure I said in person how deeply sorry I am. If I had known that a saucy sext would have gotten you fired, I’d absolutely waited until you got home!” Please don’t hate me, please don’t hate me.
“It’s absolutely nothing to worry about, I love my new job and I love my new city. I really wanted to let you know how well I’m doing and that I forgive you. And maybe letting you know about this hot machine as an olive branch? To show I really mean it? I’m so glad Pablo let me know where you’d be playing. He thought it was a great idea too.” Still, with that exaggerated smile. Maybe this is him really very happy?
“Oh thank you! And it’s one that still has a lever, my favorite!” As I sit down in front of the machine, the wine really hits me. Hard. Wait, did he just say he was planning with Pablo? Or that he had just talked to him. Oh my god, I’m so confused.
“Yes, I knew you’d love that lever action, “ he chuckled, “I shined it up nice and clean just for you, go ahead, play, you deserve it.”
I pull the lever, the machine spins, it’s like crack to me sometimes. I turn around to thank him again and chat, but he’s gone. Wow, that’s so weird. I start piling coins from my cup into the machine, it starts spitting some back out. Ew, what the hell is on these? Why are they sticky, did something get in my cup? Who cares, the machine seems to take them fine, and I’m still winning. No huge payout, I’m still itchy.
Yes, itchy, very itchy. Oh my god, my fingers are on fire. And a rash? Why do I have a damn rash? My fingers are very quickly turning red. I can’t stop, this machine is paying me, and the high of the spins, and the dizziness of the wine is really getting to me. Wait, that wine tasted funny. Is that what’s wrong? Hell, Jenni’s lipgloss tasted funny too. Is it me? What’s wrong with me? Now my own mouth tastes funny. What’s going on? Everything is fuzzy, the edges turning black. Is this my punishment for hurting so many people before this trip? I’m trying to make amends, I promise. I’m so nice. I’m such a nice person, why is this happening to me? The spinning is gone. My mind is blank, dark. Everything is dark.