Valentine's at the Casino


marcie_icon.gif evan_icon.gif

Scene Title Valentine's at the Casino
Synopsis Evan and Marcie's Valentine's Evening poker game leads to more …
Date February 14, 2011

The Corinthian

The Corinthian takes its name from a classical order of Greek and Roman architecture, and nowhere in the building is its influence more apparent than on the casino floor, which is supported by slender fluted columns elaborately decorated with scrolls and acanthus leaves. They match the white marble floors and compliment the pale gold colour that the ceiling and room accents have been painted while allowing for most of the attention to rest on what people come here for: the gambling.

Slot machines, roulette tables, blackjack and baccarat are all common fare, but there are also private poker rooms off the main floor with soundproof windows looking in to allow bystander observation while simultaneously providing the occupants with the quiet required for concentration. Pai gow, played with a set of Chinese dominoes, and sic bo can also be found at the Corinthian, catering to New York City's large Asian population.

Metal catwalks in the ceiling above the casino floor are patrolled by surveillance personnel and allow security to look down through one-way glass on the proceedings at the card tables or around brightly-lit clusters of chiming slot machines.

As the curfew drags on into the middle of yet another month, there are two basic choices of what to do after it falls: be at home, or be somewhere comfortable enough to stay the night. (Or be a cop. Or risk being tracked down by the cops— okay, four things.) The group huddled around the poker table has decided to go with option two.

"Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, huh?" one of the players offers, as another runs out of chips and stalks off in disgust.

"Well, if he was that smart," Evan pipes up in response, "he would've figured out I only had a pair of threes that last hand. "You know the saying— a fool and his money are soon parted. If you ask me, it might as well be us doing the parting as anyone else." As he talks, he idly rearranges his own piles of chips with one hand, the other resting atop his latest set of cards.

Marcie Whitcomb walks up to the poker table and slides into the seat that was recently vacated. She nods politely to the others and waits for the hand to be finished so she can be dealt in.

"Hey," the guy on the other side says, before she's even finished sitting down. He's got smarmy written all over him— but once again, his money's as good as anyone else's. And a lot of it, too; the busted flush doesn't quite clean him out, but it puts him a lot closer to the brink.

Having gotten out early and relatively unscathed, the man with the red beard reaches forward to deal the next round. "Seven-card stud, deuces wild. Hi, I'm Evan, and you are?" he adds, as a series of twenty-dollar chips are anted in turn.

Marcie gives a strained smile to the smarmy guy, but doesn't return his greeting. So this is what I've come to; hanging out with these creeps on Valentine's Day. But it's better than being alone. I can see why they're single … Her thought isn't very kind, but it does happen to be mostly accurate.

"Marcie," Marcie says, as she tosses her ante into the pile. This time, her smile is more friendly. This guy isn't so bad …

Despite the presence of OMG AN ACTUAL REAL WOMAN at the table, Smarmy only pushes the conversation a little further before giving the hell up. The others don't really bat an eye, resuming their side conversation. Mostly along the lines of 'goddammit now we got nothing to watch except freakin' tennis'.

The game proceeds; fortunes rise and fall; complimentary drinks and snacks are handed out, anything to keep the players at the table and the casino getting its cut. Not that they have any choice until morning anyway, but it'll keep them coming back after that as well.

Eventually, another round comes down where four different players all think they're the one in the driver's seat, and the bets keep ramping up a little higher with each new round of betting. Someone is going to be done at the end of this one. Evan narrows his eyes at the man directly across from him… he's bluffing, he thinks to himself, he's biting the inside of his lip again. By all rights, the telltale gesture should be imperceptible to everyone except the one making it.

As Evan's power activates, Marcie raises her eyebrows. He's looking at this guy and checking for … weaknesses? That can't be fair. She doesn't know exactly how Evan's ability works, but if it activated as he started staring at the man in the blue shirt, she figures the two are linked. And he's not folding. Blue Shirt must not have it. Marcie, in turn, narrows her eyes at Evan. After a moment, she says, "Check."

The tricky part now for Evan is not to give away that he knows anything special— unaware that one of the players has already caught on. Blue Shirt tosses in a couple more chips; Evan acts annoyed - "I probably shouldn't, but… call" - and follows suit. At this, the guy biting his lip only grows more concerned, one foot tapping under the table. Sure enough, his hand turns out to be crap, and it's his turn to vacate the premises while Evan rakes in a fresh couple of stacks. And with more than one of the bets running up against table stakes, there's a nice little pile for Marcie as well.

Marcie continues to watch Evan, though she begins to do so covertly. She has a lot of practice at hiding what she knows about the Evolved around her, and this helps at the poker table. If only I knew what weakness Evan saw in the blue shirt guy. But she can't emulate what she can't see.

"I raise," she says, as she puts another $20 into the pot. She's hoping Evan will use his ability again, so she can better learn how to exploit it. It's not like he can do anything about it. At least not without announcing to everyone that he's been cheating.

Marcie's not the only one running up the bets this round; the booze is taking its toll, not to mention simple fatigue, and the players would rather win or lose in a hurry than drag out an even struggle. Before long, it's down to just the two of them and another man with gray around the temples, who decides to cut his losses and go upstairs to crash. "I guess that means we both win," Evan offers, afterward. "Buy you a drink?"

Marcie nods, "Sure." She walks with Evan to the bar. She's been keeping pretty sober, sipping a cocktail or two over the course of the evening. She doesn't believe in mixing heavy drinking with gambling, and can't understand why so many others do. If money is at stake, she wants her wits about her.

As they reach the bar, she smiles and says, "So, you made out pretty well."

Evan is only a round or two ahead of her. In a way, he's lucky; too many rounds, and he just dozes off. So many others turn the equation around - they get drunk and then decide to blow through their bankroll - which, of course, the casino likes just fine.

"So did you," he points out. "I count cards a little— what's your secret? I noticed some of them checking out your rack, but they weren't that bad about it. Definitely seen worse."

Marcie laughs. "So have I." Then she shrugs. "I guess I just read people." Some more than others, she can't help thinking.

Pleasantly oblivious - or at least with a veneer of pleasantry laid over his recent troubles - Evan leans sideways against the bar. "Do you, now. What'd you get on me?" Not enough to knock him out of the betting pool, but that still leaves a lot of possibilities open.

Marcie considers Even for a moment. She keeps her tone light, even though she's speaking what could be considered heavy words. "You want to win, and you're not above going to a morally gray area to do it. And you've got secrets." She grins. "How'd I do?"

"There's a lot of morally gray in the world. I don't particularly like it… but hey, if you're going to come to a place like this, you should know there'll be risks."

Evan's smile doesn't fade, exactly, but it does shift just a little bit as he considers Marcie's other comment: what it implies about her, and what he'd like to say about it. Because he suspects he knows which secret she's alluding to. Which probably means— Hmm, but he might be misunderstanding. Best to play it coy. "And there are a lot of people with secrets, too— you've got some of your own, haven't you?"

"Wouldn't you like to know," Marcie mirrors Evan's coy attitude. "Think you could teach me how to count cards? I'm not sure I have the head for it, though."

Actually, he does have a head for figures, and it is kind of important; reading people isn't much help if you have no idea whether your own hand is going anywhere or not. But that may or may not be what she's really interested in. "I could try, but it'd take a while. They'd probably try to kick us out if we tried to do it here." Let's see where she decides to take that one.

Marcie chuckles. "Some other time, then. How 'bout that drink?"

"Or some other place," Evan counters, and motions to the bartender to get his attention, opting for a screwdriver this round. Nice and simple. "Have any plans for the rest of the evening, or just seeing where you end up?"

Marcie motions to the bartender that she'll have the same. "No plans," she says, definitely flirting. "You got any ideas?"

Evan tilts his head to one side. He's still got questions about this woman - important ones - but this line of conversation seems as good a way as any of getting them answered. Eventually. "Well, I've got a room upstairs, I wasn't planning to stay down here all night. Done that before, always regretted it in the morning. Or there's the sports lounge," he adds, nodding toward another section of the building nearby. "Bit crowded, though."

"Let's head upstairs," Marcie says, with a smile. "Easier to talk." She takes a drink from her glass. It's obvious that he's implying they do more than just talk in his hotel room, but she's not going to throw herself at him.

"Oh, definitely. Quieter there." No one listening in. Not that he expects anyone else to pay them much attention, but you never know; some people are just busybodies, or much worse.

The room is like pretty much any other room in the place; the only sign that Evan has been here earlier in the day is a duffel bag sitting in one corner. "So," he says, easing the door closed and turning to face her, eyes searching her face anew. She didn't have to admit that she twigged to anything, but where does she intend to go with it?

Your move, Marcie.

"So," Marcie repeats. She returns his gaze.

Evan doesn't say anything right away; the last couple rounds of drinks have taken their toll, and it takes him a second to work through his thoughts. Does she really want to talk, or— other things? Or both? Are her thoughts on a wildly different track from his own?

Well, she seems friendly enough. "You… know what I can do, then," he finally says. "It doesn't bother you?"

Marcie's expression goes from friendly and a bit flirty to rather puzzled. "What?" She had been sure that she'd managed to swing the conversation away from powers and toward … other interests, but now she isn't so sure. But she's not going to tell this complete stranger secrets that can get her thrown in jail.

She chuckles. "If you're talking about being able to count cards, no, it doesn't bother me." Just play innocent, Marcie. Hopefully that'll allay his suspicion.

It would be so much simpler if either of them could read thoughts - he's probably just as much in danger of jail time as she is - but they're stuck dealing with what they've got. And maybe it's better if he stops trying to overthink the situation. "…you're not really that interested in talking, are you?" Evan murmurs, taking a step closer. A hand reaches for Marcie's, slowly enough to give her plenty of time to respond how she likes.

Marcie lets Evan take her hand, and takes a step closer herself. She smiles up at him. "No, not that interested in talking," she murmurs back. As their hands touch, Marcie gets a real understanding of how Evan's ability works for the first time. But, at this point, she has other things on her mind.

Mmm. Definitely better. Evan closes the remaining distance— and reaches out with his other hand to hit the light switch.

Pitch black. Silhouettes. And silence— at first.

Marcie wakes up to sun streaming through the windows. She's in a strange bed, and it takes her a few seconds to remember where she is. She looks over to see Evan laying beside her. Evan's hotel room at the Corinthian. Right. Possibly not her greatest decision. Is Valentine's Day in some stranger's bed really better than Valentine's Day at some stranger's poker table? It's a moot point, now.

Marcie sits up and begins looking for her clothes. She needs coffee.

A few minutes later, Evan stirs, rolling over onto his back. Ugh, it's too bright, and he's badly dehydrated. But? Totally worth it. Eventually, he sits up and rubs his eyes. "Morning," he mumbles, heading into the bathroom to pour himself a glass of water.

By this point, Marcie has found her clothes and is pulling on her pants. "'Morning," she replies. She didn't have all that much to drink last night, and she doesn't have a hangover. Not much of one, anyway. "I'm gonna make some coffee." She pulls on her shirt and heads over to the room's little coffee maker, just big enough for two cups.

Walking back out, Evan wanders around and picks up his own clothes piece by piece. How did that get over there? It will forever remain a mystery. More or less dressed once again, he dumps the sheet back on the bed. "Coffee's good. How're you feeling?" He's sticking to the simple questions for now. Well, simpler.

"A little fuzzy. I need my morning caffeine," she chuckles. "You doing alright? You look a little worse for wear."

"Boozamahol will do that. I've had worse days." Evan steals a quick kiss - because hell, why not? - before reaching up to grab the other cup. "So… um. Is this a thing?" He can't think of a good way to ask this question, just going with some random words instead.

Marcie doesn't answer right away. Attacking the big questions before my morning coffee. Ok. How do I feel about this guy? The truth is, she doesn't really know him. He's decent in bed. He uses Evolved abilities to cheat at cards. That's not really enough to base a relationship off of. And he doesn't know her at all.

She takes the coffee pot and pours the first few sips of coffee into her cup before replacing it on its holder so it can catch more drips of caffeinated goodness. She drinks it down, scalding her throat, in a good way. "I don't see how we can have a 'thing'. All I know about you is your first name."

Waiting for the second cup's worth to be ready, Evan walks over and flops into a chair. "I guess you're right. What I mean is… do you want to know more, see if anything comes of it? Or were you just wanting to have a fun night and move on?"

Marcie takes another sip of coffee. "Honestly, I wasn't thinking about the future last night. It seemed like a good idea at the time." She shrugs. "Now … I guess all we can do is see where things go. Which do you prefer?"

The corners of Evan's mouth turn up. "It did." Ah, and the coffee's up; the getting up and the pouring and the cream and sugar buys him another minute or so to think it over. "Yeah, that sounds good. I mean, I definitely like you so far, but… I've been through that before, and had it fall apart on me." He sits down again, setting the mug on the table now that it's no longer in danger of spilling.

"So, what now?" Marcie asks. She doesn't really want to do question and answer time, but she has a feeling Evan does. He's wanted to play question and answer since last night. Well, there's nothing for it now.

He does, but at the same time, Evan remembers how far he didn't get with it last night. And if Marcie wanted to - ahem - screw him over, she could have called the cops on him while he was asleep. Or before they went upstairs in the first place. The big questions can afford to wait a little longer. "How about we plan to meet up again— Friday night, say? I usually get a little swamped around the middle of the week."

Marcie smiles. "Sounds good," she says. "I should get going, but I'll see you Friday." She scribbles her name and number onto a piece of hotel stationary. "Call me later in the week and we can figure out the details."

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