So I have a few WIPs I’ve been working on. And tonight I’ve decided to work on BAD BEAT. It’s been a few weeks since I touched it last, but I just booked a trip to Las Vegas, a place I’ve lived over 7 times in my life, and even confirming my trip had me wishing I was already there.
Anyway, BAD BEAT is a YA Thriller about a girl who’s a poker shark and get’s caught up in the high life when she wins way too much money at the casinos with her fake ID. I grew up playing poker. My granddad’s Sicilian blood runs through me strongly, and by age 5 I could play most card games.
I love it. It makes me feel alive when I’m at the card table. Anyway, since it’s Friday, and I’m missing cards, my grandparents, and my youth I decided to post the first 5 pages of my WIP. Feel free to lemme know what you think 🙂
I hate people who say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I bet you any amount of money the people who say that don’t live here. They weren’t born here. And sure as shit, they don’t keep whatever extreme moment that called for such a dumb saying here.
My fingers tap a rhythm on the cool metal table. The clink of my handcuffs keep time with my digits. It soothes me. I’m getting used to it.
“Could you tell me why you started playing poker, Ms. De Spirito?” The Las Vegas juvenile correction officer asking me questions tries to pull off looking like she cares. She’s horrible at it, but I’ll humor her. Every minute spent out of my cell is one less minute spent in it. I’ll take as many seconds as they’ll give me.
“Why do we breathe? Why is the sky blue?” I shake my head. They’ll never understand. “I can’t tell you why I started, or even when. I could probably play cards before I could fully walk. My dad always called me a natural. Said I had a talent for reading people. You see, a lot of people play statistics, numbers. They are very methodical about pot odds and how that determines what hand they’re playing and why.” My fingers speed up, building to a crescendo. With a final tap I bring my hands away and gently place them on my lap.
“And I’m not that kind of a person. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about pot odds. What I could tell you is how Big Bucks sitting to the left of me is holding a pocket pair of aces because his eye twitched when the board hit two kings and a five. He overbet to protect his hand and wouldn’t you know it, the little fella sitting next to him called it in about two seconds flat. That’s how I knew Shorty was holding the third king. The way he fingered his chips spoke louder than any pot odds could ever do. Made it pretty easy to throw down my jacks. Never was the kinda girl who liked two boys at once anyway.”
Officer Dean clears her throat. It looks like she’s trying to hide a smile, but I play nice and pretend I don’t see it.
“So, you don’t see anything wrong with the fact that you cheated multiple casinos out of one point four million dollars?”
Before I can stop myself, my hands shoot out of my lap and slap the table. I stand and look Officer Dean in the eye.
“I won that money fair and square.” I’m seething on the inside. It’s pointless, but I still try to calm myself by breathing slowly.
“Well, yes. You could say that under normal circumstances. But the fact remains. To gamble legally in the state of Nevada you must be twenty one or older. And you, my dear, are only seventeen.”
I sit down. The air rushes out of me until I’m deflated. Only seventeen.
“Thanks for the reminder.”
“Now, enough of the games. We both know underage gambling isn’t the main reason you’re sitting with me. Why don’t you start at the beginning? And tell me how you got to be here. I’ve got all the time in the world so there’s no point in stalling.”
“Stalling. Stalling? You think I’m stalling?” I wait for her to laugh, something. Anything. But she doesn’t even grin. Must not be a fan of Spongebob. Her loss.
“Fine. Well, it all started on the last week of school. You could say I was a fashion victim. Guess being overweight is a crime after all.”…
…The sound of my jeans ripping as I bend over should embarrass me. The fact that it’s happening in first period, only five minutes after the bell has rung, should probably have me melting in shame—wishing I was part of the horrid, orange and brown paisley carpet. I squeeze my legs together in the hopes that my white, “grandma” undies might have less of a chance to peek through. Carefully, I stand, and penguin-walk to the door.
Amidst the peals of laughter from my fellow oh-so-compassionate classmates I sketch a solute, and quickly hightail it out of class—Mr. Baldwin’s theory of the melting ice caps be damned. At least one good thing has come from this. The rip up my backside provides a much needed loosening along the whole waist area. Might as well go for glory. A sigh comes out of me as I give in, and undo the button to my jeans. It borderlines erotic. Yeah, soooo much better. I’m so busy looking down at the roll of fat now hanging slightly over my undone jeans it takes me a second to comprehend someone is talking.
“Hey, Sonja, you getting ready to enter a strip contest or what?”
Great. Not just someone.
“Oh. Hey there, Kai. How’d ya guess?” Without thinking, my fingers grasp the zipper and I begin to pull it down. A few flutters of my eyelashes, and a kiss blown in his direction, and we both break into laughter. I spin in a circle ballet dancers would be envious of—happily showing off my predicament.
“Ah, nice one. How in the world did you do that?” Kai raises his eyebrow.
“Well, I was trying to pull off this new parkour move. You know, show off for Billy. He’s really into girls that leap tall buildings and shit.” Silence greets me, so I continue on with my explanation. This time a measure of heat crosses my cheeks. “Or actually… I accidentally dropped my pencil when I got into class, and when I bent over to pick it up my jeans decided they were tired of being together. Think they wanted a break.”
Even though embarrassment courses through me I hold my head high, stare Kai straight in the eye, and dare him to laugh. To his credit he doesn’t even grin.
“Damn, Sonja, that’s booty.” The previously missing smile breaks through. “Haha. Get it? Booty?”
“Ugh. You so suck.” I shake my head.
“What are best friends for?” Kai wraps one wiry, muscled arm around my waist. As it touches each hill and valley that my body is comprised of I want to suck in my breath. Will his arm get stuck between the rolls? No such luck. Thank God for small favors.
His hand comes to a rest right on my hip. It’s in the place where a hipbone should be, but isn’t. Due to the extra padding my lovely body provides me any and all hints of bone structure are hidden. It’s like I’m supplying a pillow for his hand instead.
“Come on, songbird, let’s get you home.” Kai hooks a finger through my belt loop, and drags me down the hall.