A/N: This will be different. Really different, but if it goes awhile, I'm sure it will get fluffy because we all know I can't help myself. I'm setting it up as a one-shot, if there's interest I'll do more. Apparently the fanfiction website is having an issue getting out alerts about stories right now. If you are interested, I am posting all of my work on my tumblr, davidcarner You're welcome to follow if it helps. Welcome to Aces, Charles.
A/N 2: If you see Sarah in the story, it's supposed to be Jenny, my brain just won't stop writing Sarah I apologize for any confusion.
Disclaimer: I don't own Chuck, Bobby's Room, Stu Unger, Scotty Nguyen, but I do own a copy of Supersystem.
Las Vegas, Fall 2003
Chris frickin' Moneymaker. Jenny sighed. You would have thought poker didn't exist before he came along. Now some amateur had finally won the World Series of Poker Main Event, people were everywhere. Most would think that would make her life easier, but the thing about amateurs you never really knew what they were going to do, and some of them needed to be a hero to beat the pro, and that's what she was now, a pro.
She huffed to herself. A pro, when she came to Vegas at seventeen after her father was arrested, she was afraid she'd have to be another type of pro. Luckily she managed to finagle her way to become a dealer. She ran a few cons on the side, but she began to watch the game as she dealt, and she learned, just like her father taught her. She began to try low buy-in cash games and found herself making money. It didn't take long until she made a name for herself in Vegas, and she was known as one of the best cash game players around, with a standing invite to Bobby's Room, THE ultimate cash game in Vegas.
Making that WSOP Main Event final table was a blessing, and a curse. Now everyone wanted to play her, but the big fish, they were a little wearier. It was one thing to use a false Texas accent (her dad was so wrong when he told her that would never work) and bat her eyes in shock as she kept winning hand after hand, it was another to be famous. No, coming in third at that final table had changed her life.
She looked down at her cards again and the board. She didn't like what she saw. She was sitting on pocket aces, hearts and spades, and thought she would slow-play her opponent. The flop had been horrendous. Seven, eight of diamonds, and the three of spades. If her opponent had the nine, six of diamonds, she knew she was a slight dog in the hand. He had bet, and she raised. He had studied her a long time, but she was quite sure it wasn't her he was studying, he was doing math in his head.
Jenny hated these players. Math could win you money and even tournaments, but long term, you just couldn't WIN. Not the big haul, not the big game on a consistent basis. She looked up at him, and he had a grin on his face that she couldn't quite figure out. She looked at the thing he fiddled with. She knew she shouldn't give away information, but she wanted to seem relaxed, and keep this hand going, so she did something she never did, she talked during a hand.
"Is that an iPod?" she asked. He looked at her, shocked.
"Yeah," he answered.
"Is it worth the money?" she asked. He gave her a smile, scrunching his nose.
"Oh, for your job, I think it would be a great investment," he said. "Want to listen to it?" She thought for a second, and shrugged. He took the ear bud out of his ear and handed to her, but paused. "I cleaned my ears," he said, sincerely. A laugh bubbled up inside of her. She took it and fiddled with it a second and music began to play. "I call," he said. Jenny sat there, and listened to Nina Simone's Feeling Good.
The King of Spades hit on the turn, and Jenny wanted to sigh. No straight or flushes had connected, but there were two flush draws out there. If her opponent had an Ace, King, or King Queen, he had hit his top pair, and was a serious dog in the hand. She studied how much was in front of him. It was a cash game and he could buy back in. She could move it all in and find herself up over $250,000.00 for the night. Of course if he called and she lost, she would be done for the night. She'd even have to drop down in the cash games and play the lower games to build back her bankroll. It was something she had to before and she was sure she'd have to do again, but right now she was sure she was winning. He flashed that smile at her again, and the thoughts of moving all in, vanished. She didn't want to run him off. What was she thinking, this was $250,000.00. She knew what it was, the money, the game, all of it, she could do it all on autopilot. She could lose everything here tonight, and within two weeks of grinding have her bankroll exactly where it needed to be to play in this high stakes game.
She was having fun, and she hadn't know when she had enjoyed herself more.
"You make those, Charles, Baby?" Scotty Nguyen asked, pointing toward the iPod. Scotty called everyone baby.
"No, and it's Chuck," he answered.
"Chuck?" Jenny asked, unable to help herself.
"My parents were sadists," Chuck replied, making the whole table laugh. Jenny moved half of her remaining chips and cash in, and Chuck blinked a few times and concentrated. "Call," he said. Jenny internally berated herself. He was supposed to move all-in. He looked down at his cards and looked at her, seemingly upset. Jenny couldn't figure out what was going on. The deuce of diamonds hit, and Chuck looked visibly upset. Jenny had been ready to check, thinking she was beat with the flush, and she would fold to any bet, but that look…he didn't like what he saw. He didn't like it at all, and Jenny knew she had won. She moved all-in, and the look on Chuck's face told her, that moved killed him.
"Call," he said softly, and turned his cards over. Jenny stared down at what the two cards she originally thought he had, the nine, six of diamonds. He had the flush. She had misread him. She looked back up at him. "Sorry," he said, and then it hit her, he meant it. He didn't want her to lose the money, what was wrong with him? Then it dawned on her. He had fallen for her. He was one of those. Love was for suckers, and he had fallen for her…and she could take advantage of that….why didn't she like that idea?
"Nicely played," she said, her facial expressions revealing nothing. Chuck nodded, and stood.
"I hate to be that guy," Chuck began.
"Nah, Baby, you won, you have to stay awhile," Scotty said.
"I told you that was my last hand," Chuck said. "I have to get back, any of you guys coming up to the Bike next month?" The Bicycle Hotel was one of the spots Chuck frequented in Los Angeles.
"If I am, I'll call you, Baby," Scotty said. Chuck turned to Jenny.
"You just want me to call you," Jenny said. Chuck's ears turned red, but he didn't deny it. She watched him go. She would call him, to get her money back, and figure out, how she had misread him. That's all it was, she had read the right emotion, and she just applied it wrong. She had already figured it out, so why was she nervous? Jenny Burton didn't get nervous. She'd rebuild her bankroll, take a trip to LA, and gut a whale. That thought used to make her excited, but today, today she was scared. She got up, left Bobby's Room, and headed outside. She looked at the night sky, and sighed.
"It really is beautiful out here at night," she heard a voice beside her say. Jenny turned and looked at him. "I get it, you're pissed at me for taking your money." She grinned and shook her head.
"I was planning on taking yours so what's the big deal?" she asked. "If you're worried about money, you shouldn't be in the game. Here's your iPod."
"Keep it," Chuck said, grinning. "I can afford another." She couldn't help herself, and gave him a punch in the arm. He gave her a look.
"Thanks," she said, and put the iPod in her pocket.
"Some say you're the best at reading people since Stu," Chuck said. Jenny gave him a look.
"Many people can read like Stu, the question is, do you have the stones to make the move?" Jenny asked.
"I guess we'll find out if you come to LA," Chuck said, and walked over to the car that pulled up. She watched Charles Bartowski, owner of Orion Industries, and multimillion dollar bachelor, open the door. He turned to her. "See you soon, Jenny Burton," and with that, he got in the car and rode away. She just watched him go, wondering exactly what he meant about that last comment, and wondering what she wanted it to mean.
A/N: There you go, an earworm that wouldn't go away. If there's interest, I'll keep going, if not, I got it out of my system. Take Care