King:Las Vegas Bad Boys(10)

By: Frankie Love


“Fine.” McQueen smiles coyly. “We’ll hit it a different night, JoJo. Maybe you can come over and teach me some new moves.”

“We’ll see about that, won’t we?” she says, laughing, waving us off toward the locker rooms.

“What the hell was that?” I ask him, as I open the locker where my things are stashed.

“The hell was what?”

“Do you have a thing for JoJo?” I ask. “She’s not your type, at all.”

“What the fuck do you know about my type?”

“I know you usually go out with women you meet at your shows. Not girls like JoJo.”

McQueen is a male dancer and DDs aren’t even on his radar. He likes big, plastic, and usually more than one at a time.

“I’m just teasing JoJo, and she knows it.”

“Alright.” I shrug.

We split up to get showered. After I change quickly, I sling my bag over my shoulder. McQueen comes over, ready to go, and tosses me a bottle of water.

“You hear from Ace today?” I ask. “The game still on for tonight?

“Yeah, he and Emmy got home last night from Tahiti. Lucky bastard.”

We leave the gym, and head to our cars in the parking lot.

“What, you want to go to Tahiti? You should fucking go,” I tell him. Living in the moment is my motto.

“Naw, he’s lucky he has Emmy. I don’t know. Maybe I’m done being a fucking asshole in this town. Maybe it’s time to find myself a woman.”

“Like JoJo?” I ask, grinning.

“No. Not JoJo ... she’s too....”

“Confident?”

“Maybe,” McQueen admits, laughing. “I don’t know. What about you? You wanna go to Tahiti with a woman?”

“Actually, my father wants me to go to bloody England next week.”

“Really, bro?”

I fill him in on my father’s phone call, and I can see the wheels turning in McQueen’s dumbass brain.

“So what are you gonna do? Pretend you’re no longer a player? Fly home and convince them you deserve the billion dollar empire?”

“I don’t think I can pull that off. I mean, what? I buy a three-piece suit and drop the f-bombs? I don’t want to go home; it will only remind me of why I left.”

We get in our cars. We’ll meet up later for Ace’s monthly poker game.

Fuck. I gotta get my head in the game. It’s just I’m not entirely sure what game that is.





Claire


Getting dinner and drinks with Emmy and Tess is the sort of indulgence I rarely give myself. I want to go ... but Mom-guilt is a bitch.

“You sure, Mom?” I just put Sophia to bed. It’s a school night and seven o’clock means that girl is out for the count. Still, I feel bad leaving her here with my mom for something that isn’t necessary.

“Claire, go,” Mom says. “Sophia is sleeping, and you’re all tense, have been for weeks. I’m just going to have some boxed wine and watch Bravo. Not missing much here.” Mom opens the fridge and pours herself a glass of Pinot Grigio from the second shelf.

“It won’t be late or expensive. Emmy says she has comp tickets for us at the hotel’s new restaurant, Moxie, and then we’ll have drinks in her penthouse after. She has wedding pictures to show us.”

“Great,” Mom says. “And you look nice. Except, maybe....”

“Maybe what?”

“Maybe change your top. It’s a little ... frumpy. And the shoes, too.”

“Mom? Seriously?” I shake my head. I know my wardrobe isn’t up to par with the women she watches on Real Housewives, but it isn’t frumpy. I have on black boots, a black stretchy dress, and a jean jacket on top. Jean jackets are my lifesaver. They go with everything and they sell them at Target.

“I just think denim is a little casual, is all.”

I smile tightly. Mom is so clueless about well, everything. She has no grasp on the reality of me working paycheck to paycheck. How I can’t shop for Roberto Cavalli stilettos and designer dresses for dinner out with my girlfriends.

She’s amazing with Sophia. Beyond amazing. Mom being able to take care of her so I can work means so much. I just wish ... well, I wish an awful lot.

But specific wishes in regard to my mom? I guess when my dad died, ten years ago, Mom never considered looking for a job herself. She’s lived off his life insurance all this time, but now it’s nearly gone. And she’s never had a legit job in her life.

When I had Sophia she let me move in. I’ve always worked, and she’s always helped with my daughter. It was never on the table for me to stay home with my little girl and Mom to look for a job ... and maybe that’s fine. That’s my lot. I made the choice to have her when I was so young, and now I have to suck it up and deal.

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