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Alone Time

Angelica stretched her long legs across Kit's lap and finished her beer. "I hadn't realized how stressful it's been to have Jane in the house."

Kit grinned and stroked one of her legs. "She's awesome, but it is kinda like having your abuelita living here."

"No," Angelica said, setting the empty bottle down and plucking another one from the next six-pack. "It is not at all like having my abuelita living here. It's worse. She's a living fucking legend staying in my bedroom."

"Well, not for another couple of days," Kit said, extending his hand in mute request for another bottle. "I'm glad she's swapping back and forth to Lady Justice's, for your sanity at least."

"Oh my god, yes," she said, giving him a bottle and the bottle opener. "I love her, having her stay here has only made me more of a fangirl, but… but…"

"You want to be able to scream," Kit said, grinning smugly.

"Exactly, Jesus fuck," Angelica said.

"Jesus has nothing to do with our fucks," Kit said mock-primly.

"Okay, but some god does," Angelica said, letting her head fall back on the arm of the couch.

Kit rolled his eyes at her and drank. Angelica watched his throat move with each swallow, the lines of the muscles and veins under the brown skin, and her gaze trailed up along his sharp jawline to the perfect ear and the glossy black hair sweeping back from the temple, the high broad forehead with the thin white scar just showing before disappearing into the hairline. When she looked at his hand on the bottle, with long, lean, strong fingers, she felt herself starting to get warm.

"Tell me a story," she said, as she had on other nights, hungry for the sound of his voice, trying to hold off jumping his bones because it only made everything sweeter in the end.

Kit took another swig of his beer and grinned knowingly. "Well, there was this time in Vegas..."

Angelica swallowed a reflexive giggle.

"No, really," said Kit. "Ever been? Hell of a place, emphasis on the hell. I was just hanging out, you know? There was this showgirl..."

"Now I know you're shitting me," said Angelica, rolling her eyes.

"I'm hurt," said Kit, looking pleased. "Anyway, I was dating this nice girl, hanging out, staying away from the gambling... well, mostly..."

"Did you cheat? I know you cheated."

"I did not. It takes the fun out of it."

"You think cheating is fun."

"I only cheat when it's important," said Kit dismissively. "So there I was, and who turns up one night but Bob! I know him from way back -- friend isn't exactly the word, but it'll do -- and we go and get drunk and he makes a couple of bad decisions and I make a couple of bad decisions and we end up in jail."

"I get the feeling," Angelica complained, "that I'm missing out on the good bits of the story here."

"Well, I don't really remember what happened, but from hearsay it involved a police cruiser, spraypaint, and a tray of cold cuts."

"Cold cuts?"

"Shh, I'm getting to the good part. So there I am, rotting in a Nevada jail -- again -- and my sweet girl is going to be wondering what had happened to me! Bob they let out, he's got bail, but I don't. (He's a cheap bastard.) So I'm left sitting on my bum with this skinny half-trained kid who looks barely old enough to grow a beard rattling his keys on the bars."

"I've been there," said Angelica, a little more grimly than she intended.

"Nevada?" asked Kit.

"No, jail. Go on."

"So I look him up and down, and he's got a tattoo on his wrist -- clover, looks like -- and he's got a rabbit's foot on his keychain, and every time he walks past I get a whiff of bayberry and wintergreen. Oh, yeah, he got a job in Vegas to support his habit, if you know what I mean. So I sit down, not too far from the bars, not too near, and I start counting on my fingers and watching the clock, and every now and then I swear, real loud, FUCKING HELL, or DAMMIT ALL TO HELL, or whatever comes to mind."

"I'm intrigued," said Angelica.

"Well, it took a bit more to catch him. I went up to the bars, finally, and demanded to know if the clock was accurate 'to the second, man, to the second!' and when he told me that it was, I swore even louder. Then I said, 'Well, its not like it matters, when I'm stuck here, and someone else is raking in all my jackpots.'"

"Really," said Angelica over her bottle.

"And that caught him. He wanted to know. At first he tried to be standoffish, but as soon as I told him that I'd broken the code (they all think there's a system or a code) at 'one of the bigger' casinos and knew when one of their slot machines was going to pay out that evening, he was right up against the bars. Drooling. 'It's all rigged,' I moaned. 'And just once it was going to be in my favor! My own personal money tree!'"

Angelica raised an eyebrow.

"He wanted to know where and when. I shook my head. 'Nuh huh,' I said. 'Nothing doing. Like hell I'm going to let you go and get my jackpots when you haven't done a thing for me.'"

"Like let you out of jail," said Angelica.

"Which he did," said Kit smugly. "And gave me all the money in his wallet except for the twenty dollars I said he'd need to change into tokens to feed the one-armed bandit. And gave me a ride to the bus station."

"Bus station?"

"Yeah, I figured I would need to get out of town before the casino kicked him out and he figured out I'd directed him to the wrong one."

"What do you mean, the wrong one?" asked Angelica. "There wasn't a right one!"

"Oh, sure there was. That's where Bob was, the tricky little bastard."

"What?"

"Oh, the whole figuring out the system was all Bob's thing, not mine. I told you," Kit said, with a yawn that turned into a grin. "Cheating's boring."











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