Author's Note: Hi guys! I'm so glad you guys liked "Talk of Trophies." I never would have guessed that a simple conversation between Casey and Derek would be so entertaining. Some of you expressed interest in wanting to know what would happen next and so as a thank you and because I did manage to come up with a few ideas, I present you guys with this story. It's sort of a sequel in the sense that it does present what happened next. But the focus this time isn't necessarily on the subtext of their conversation because it was more fun for me to write this time being a lot more overt. I'm sorry if it's a little rushed, I wrote it in between my second job as a Michael Phelps fanatic. Also, please note that my knowledge of poker is very limited. I did some research but I wasn't always sure I was studying the right type of poker. I had no idea there were so many. I don't think it impedes the story in anyway but in case it does, please just go with it. I hope you enjoy it anyway. And remember, I very much appreciate reviews!

Disclaimer: Nope, I sadly still don't own Life With Derek

The Language of Card Sharks

Casey uncharacteristically shoved the door open and let her bags drop to the floor with a thud. And in true non-Casey-like behavior, she was prepared to leave them there; at least for a little while. She locked the door and was ready to drudge up the stairs to let herself soak in a nice, long, hot bath, when she happened to glance into the dining area. She paused and readied to strike at the cause of most of, and more importantly, her current state of frazzled nerves and recent sleepless nights.

"Der-ek!" came the high-pitched, enraged screech. "There you are you little… – you, you little….AHHH! I'm so angry I don't even know what you are!"

"Why, hello, Space Case," Derek answered with a smirk as she stomped her away over to where he was sitting around a card table with Sam and Ralph.

"Hi, Casey," Sam answered as he tossed a couple chips into the pot.

"What's up?" Ralph greeted her.

"You are not getting away this time," she announced once she reached them. "I have been trying to talk to you about the meaning of…" She paused looked nervously around at the other two boys. "Uh…well, you know what. And every time I try to talk to you, you run away and it's making me freak out because I don't know why you did…what you did. And –" She glanced around again searching for words and noticed the glaring absence of the dining table. "And why is the dining table and chairs missing?"

"Because, Spacey, we can't very well play poker without a poker table and the other table was in the way," Derek rebutted, pointedly ignoring her previous statements. He threw a couple of his own chips into the pot and announced, "I call."

Ralph tossed down his own cards and folded. "D says playing without the poker table cheapens the experience."

Casey looked at him like he'd just lost his mind. "Okay, but where is the table? You know, where we eat dinner?" She emphasized the last part hoping to appeal to what little sense she believed he possessed.

"Case, either sit down and play or shut up and go away. You're ruining the fun." She rolled her eyes at Derek's remarks while Sam threw down his cards face up revealing a pair of eights. Derek looked over his own hand before forming a slow smirk on his lips as he revealed his own cards to the group. "Hah! Pair of tens. Read 'em and weep Sammy boy."

Derek started collecting his winnings so Casey attempted to reason with who, in her and the general public's estimation, was the most sensible member of the trio.

"Sam, where's the dining table?" When his eyes quickly flew to Derek's, Casey repeated his name and fixed him with a stern look she usually reserved for chastising the bane of her existence.

"Relax, Case. I made sure they didn't break it." He squirmed a little under her gaze and quickly added, "Or the chairs."

"That really doesn't help but thanks, Sam. At least one of you had the sense to worry about the piece of furniture we eat off of." She turned her look on Derek, who decided it was his turn to roll his eyes.

Sam, aware that the heat was now off of him, decided to move the conversation away from the missing furniture.

"So, uh, Case, sounds like Derek's been giving you a hard time again." Derek quickly gave his best friend a look that spoke volumes about what he thought was obvious betrayal. Sam returned with his own take on his buddy's infamous smirk. Ralph sat blissfully oblivious to it all.

Casey stood and regrouped while the boys' game continued on, her presence all but forgotten. Finally, a good five minutes later where she managed to formulate, weigh out options, analyze and reanalyze, she came up with a new plan.

"Okay, fine," she announced triumphantly.

The boys paused briefly to acknowledge her, stunned to realize she was still standing there. Derek spoke for the trio.

"I think I speak for us all," he stated, indicating Sam, Ralph and himself, "when I say 'huh?'"

Not to be deterred, Casey defiantly tilted her chin up and laid out her plan. "I am going to play. We're going to reset the game. Start all over. And if I win, you tell me what I want to know."

She threw them a smirk she hoped came off as confident and slightly intimidating. Her confidence faltered slightly as Derek leaned forward with his own smirk firmly in place and shuffled the cards in a manner very reminiscent of a Las Vegas pit boss.

"So, you want to be dealt into the game?" he asked evenly. Casey wondered why it oddly sounded as though she'd agreed to bet her soul. She gulped then steeled herself. She wasn't about to be intimidated and especially not by Derek.

"Yes. Deal me in," she answered and took the empty seat next to Ralph and Sam, conveniently right across from Derek. She leveled him with a gaze that met his own as Sam redistributed the chips evenly.

Never changing his expression as he leaned back and assessed her, Derek calmly tilted his head to the left and spoke the words Casey knew were coming. "What's in it for me?"

"What's in it for you?" she repeated, buying herself some time as she racked her brain.

"Yeah. What's in it for me?" He leaned back forward and did a few more fancy shuffles which Casey knew was purely to scare her.

"What do you mean?" she asked innocently, still unable to come up with any consequences she could live with.

"Oh come on, Case. It's only fair," Derek drawled out as his fingers seamlessly worked the cards, cutting and slicing the deck.

"He does have you there, Case," Sam agreed, reluctantly.

"Yeah, D's gotta tell you what you want to know if you win," Ralph added. "So there's gotta be a prize for D if he wins."

"Which we both know I will," Derek finished in a flourish as he effortlessly dealt the cards.

"Unless I do, which I have every intention of doing," Casey argued and moved to take her cards. Derek's hand quickly stopped her.

"Not so fast Princess, the terms have to be decided on."

"Fine," Casey ground out, moving her hands back away from the cards. "Name your conditions."

"If, correction, when I win, you owe me…a favor." Casey blinked. She couldn't believe he was letting her off that easy. Wait, Casey's brain warned her, that was too easy.

And she was right. Derek wasn't finished.

"And when I say favor, I mean any favor. No matter how, no matter what, no matter when, no matter where or why. No questions asked." At her skeptical look, he added, "Those are my terms. Take 'em or leave 'em."

Casey looked around at the faces around her. Sam looked uncomfortable. He knew he was in the midst of a battlefield but had yet to find a polite, believable excuse to leave. And damn if his phone wasn't refusing to ring. Ralph was content. He had a bowl full of pretzels next to him and a full can of Pepsi. There were plenty more sodas in the kitchen, chilled and waiting for him in the fridge. He just hoped when they started fighting that they'd keep the yelling down. He had sensitive eardrums after all, probably from all that drumming. And then there was Derek, wearing that stupid, evil little grin. He was outright, openly challenging her and she wasn't about to take that lying down.

"Fine. I accept but for you to win, you actually have to win. You don't 'win' just because I lose," she stated.

"Uh, Space Case, doesn't you losing kinda mean I win?" Derek asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Not necessarily. Unless you losing automatically means I win as well."

"Come again?" he asked, no longer able to follow her logic.

"Der-ek!"

"Case-y!"

"Argh! Der-ek, there are four players." She waited until he nodded his agreement. "Meaning, there are four possible winners. Just because I lose, that doesn't mean that Sam or Ralph can't win."

"Oh," Derek replied exaggeratedly. "And no, that doesn't mean they can win."

"Der-ek! That's a horrible thing to say about your friends. I'm sure they are perfectly capable players."

"Case –" Sam started.

"Hah, not really," Ralph cut in, popping a handful of pretzels into his mouth. "D always wins. Emphasis on the 'always.'"

"Then why do you play?" she asked incredulously at his nonchalance.

"Well, all of us are too broke to play for money, so no loss there," Ralph reasoned. "Plus it's fun and plus there's free snacks." To demonstrate he offered her a pretzel which she quickly turned down.

"Yeah, and we don't really mind that Derek wins. It's not a big deal since me and Ralph aren't playing to win," Sam said, hoping this would soothe the "avenging crusader" look she'd gotten in her eyes.

"And today won't be any different. Just like they said Spacey, I always win."

Meeting his confident gaze, Casey snatched up her cards and declared, "Yeah well, not today. Not this time."

Letting out a snicker, Derek scooped up his own cards, quickly followed by Ralph and Sam.

"We'll see," he snarked, as he quickly started sorting his cards trying to decide on a hand. He was about to toss down three cards when Casey interrupted.

"Umm…before we 'start' start," she said sheepishly, "what are we playing? And how do we play it?"

Twenty minutes later, after an all out freak out from Casey, much pleading, begging, and intervention on Ralph and Sam's parts, the poker tutoring was underway. Sam (with Ralph interjecting his pearls of wisdom where he could) quickly explained the different hands and which were better than others, showing examples to give her a better understanding. Because Casey was Casey, this was taking longer and was more complicated than Sam had anticipated. But he soldiered on all the while Derek made various gestures from eye rolling to mock hanging himself and Casey stooped to Derek's level more often than she'd admit to. When Sam was done with the crash course and ready to move on to the more subtle, complex intricacies of the game, he handed the cards back to Derek to deal because really, you can't truly learn poker unless you play.

Though he was taking it better than expected, to say that Derek was doing it graciously would be a gross overstatement.

"I can't believe I have to teach you poker," he grumbled as he put the remainder of the deck down and picked up his own cards.

"Technically, you're not even going to teach me," Casey bit out. "Sam and Ralph are."

"Whatever, I still have to sit through it," he pouted. Casey threw him a look.

"No, you don't," she pointed out. "You're free to leave. We'll call you once we're done."

"Right. I'm going to let you run me out on my own Friday plans. Not likely."

As they got to the first round of bidding, Sam stopped and explained the process as best he could.

"Okay, so the point here is to figure out where you stand compared to where everyone else does." Casey thought about it for a moment.

"How do I do that? I mean, I never get to see my opponents' cards, right?"

"Yeah, not until the end," Ralph added, grabbing another handful of pretzels.

"Okay, so how?"

"You figure out, or try to anyhow, by betting."

"I thought we already did that?" she asked, nodding towards the chips already in the center of the table.

"No, that was posting. Basically it was buying your way into this hand."

Sam gauged that she at least was willing to accept that much so he moved on. "Okay, so, I'm okay with the cards I have. I'm not crazy about them but they're not horrible. So instead of folding, I'm going to call." He picked up two chips, showing her how much a call at this point was, and tossed them into the pot.

"Oh, I see. So next would be my turn and I like my cards so I'll call too?"

"You can," Sam agreed. "Or you can take the next step and test Ralph and Derek."

"Test Ralph and Derek?" Casey looked at her chips then up at Ralph and Derek. She failed to see how her chips had anything to do with them. "I don't get it."

Sam let out a heavy sigh. "Okay, umm…let's put it a different way then."

He thought about it a moment and realized, he didn't know any other way to put it.

"Okay," he began again. "So what you're trying to do is to figure out what they have. Right? Because then that helps you know if you're betting smart or badly."

"Right," she answered slowly. "I think. But how can I do that if I bet first. Oh, so you want me to pass so I can see them bet first?"

"Huh?" Sam answered but Casey happily went on.

"I pass. Hah!" she said happily, slapping a hand down on the table for effect. She then fixed Derek with a challenging stare.

Ralph, unsure exactly of what to do, simply grabbed his can of Pepsi and took a long swig. Casey beamed a smile and looked expectantly at Sam.

"Uhh…Case, ummm…I don't….I mean, you can't just…I mean, I guess I understand because I said…yeah, but that didn't…you shouldn't have…umm…" Completely at a loss for words, Sam just stopped.

"What? Sam, I didn't understand that."

"Exactly!" Derek exclaimed. Rounding her attention on him, she narrowed her eyes and hissed, "What?"

"You can't pass in poker. You 'fold,'" he explained.

"Fine," Casey rebutted haughtily. "I fold."

"Great, then you lose," he told her with a smile.

"What? How?"

"Casey," Sam said, snapping out of his stutter. "There's really only four things you can do. You call, you bet, you raise or you fold. Folding is basically like calling 'Uncle.' It means you give up and that means you lose."

"Oh," she exclaimed. "Then I take that back. I don't fold."

"Good," Sam replied.

"Uhh…then what should I do?"

"Well, like I said. You could call, which is what I did. Or you can bet."

"What about raising?"

"You can't do that yet."

Casey peered at her cards. She had a king of hearts, an ace of clubs, a three of diamonds and a pair of sixes. She looked over at Derek who was leaning back in his chair trying to look like he didn't care. But she knew better. He was watching for signs of weakness. She thought about it long and hard. Sam had whispered to her earlier that poker was a mind game more than anything. It explained why Derek was so good at it. Who better to mess with someone's head, get under their skin and coax them into lowering their defenses than Derek? But she was on to him. He was studying her, trying to read her next move and she wasn't going to let him.

Okay Casey, she told herself, stay calm. Stay cool. Don't let him see that you are completely confused.

Now sure that her face was absolutely impassive, Casey decided to call upon her acting abilities. Carefully picking up the same amount of chips that Sam had, she casually tossed them into the pot. "I call too."

Ralph quickly checked and Derek called and raised (surprise surprise).

Sam decided to fold and then it was Casey's turn again. Doing her best to use a "poker" face, Casey threw in a couple chips and called.

When it was Ralph's turn, he folded and used the opportunity to head to the kitchen for a new soda. Seizing the opportunity to leave, Sam joined.

"Well, Princess, looks like it's just you and me," Derek pointed out. Casey narrowed her eyes.

"Scared Derek?" she taunted, pulling on her reserves of bravado.

"No, I'm not scared." He quickly tossed his chips. "I raise."

Derek looked up and held her gaze. He licked his lips and quirked his lips into a crooked grin. "Your move."

Casey swallowed hard but kept her face impassive. She would not let Derek play her. Deciding to continue playing the move that had gotten her this far, she picked up her chips and was ready to call.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Derek warned.

"Why not?" she asked, taking the bait.

"Because if you call, then it's over," he explained.

"What do you mean?"

"If you call, I'll check and then we have to turn our cards over. You're going to have to trust that your cards are better than my cards. And I'm willing to bet that you're not that confident."

Casey seethed. How the heck had he known all that?

Seeming able to read her mind, Derek answered. "It's from your betting pattern. Or would be, if you knew what you were doing. It's what Sam was trying to tell you."

Casey felt like she should be defending herself here. "I –"

"You don't get it, do you?" It wasn't really a question.

"How do you know?"

"Casey, Casey, Casey. I was here for most of your sad poker lesson. Your debate on why you think hearts should be the highest ranked suit; why it was sexist that a pair of queens were trumped by a pair of kings; your conspiracy theory of a secret undermining of the literacy system by using A's but then skipping around to J's, K's, and Q's instead of B's, C's, and D's. I had a feeling you were over thinking instead of learning."

Casey sat quietly and pouted. Derek sighed loudly.

"Fine. One more practice round," he announced.

"Thank you," she told him gratefully.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. But this is my last concession."

"And you'll explain the betting part?" she pressed.

"And I'll explain the betting part."

He gathered up all the cards and reshuffled. He let Casey cut the deck then dealt out two hands. He suspected that Sam and Ralph had long snuck out the back door and were probably halfway home by now. The complete silence coming from the kitchen had confirmed his suspicion.

When they got to the first round of betting, Derek paused to give her her lesson.

"Okay, Case. This is where you set the pace for this hand."

"Okay," Casey replied.

"What you want to do is get a feel of where you opponents stand. You do this by how you bet." He paused as Casey nodded, letting him know she was following so far.

"Most people will want to bet big right off the bat if they have a good hand. People with a so-so hand will usually play safe. They'll 'check' or 'call.' And those with a bad hand usually fold right away."

"Well, that makes sense," Casey commented.

"Yeah, but this probably won't work on people who know what they're doing."

"Of course," she grumbled.

"This is where the art of the bluff comes in."

"Bluffing?"

"Yeah."

"Like, lying?" she asked uneasily.

"Not lying exactly."

"Then what is it, exactly?" Derek placed his bet on the table.

"It's more like, throwing them off track," Derek smirked. "Your move, Case."

Casey studied her hand then looked over at the pot. She didn't see any magical clue from his bet. Deciding to just go with it, Casey met his bet and raised it by a little bit.

"Okay, the next lesson. Throwing your enemy off track is almost useless if you can't use it to gain an advantage."

"Really, Derek?"

"What?" he demanded, daring her to tell him something was wrong with his theory.

"That sounds just so…so coldly calculating."

"Thanks."

"It wasn't a compliment. Why is this sounding so familiar?" Casey asked him, recalling their last conversation which actually had pre-empted this one.

"What do you mean?"

"This is starting to sound like the football conversation. Wars, strategies, enemies."

"Because Case," he began as he met her bet and raised again, "it all comes down to how well you play the game. The better a player you are, the more you are able to control the outcome. And as they say, 'to the victor go the spoils.'"

"I'm actually impressed you know that saying. Even more so that you used it correctly," she told him honestly. Suddenly getting an idea, Casey decided to go one more step. She met his bet and raised him significantly. It caught him off guard and she knew it. She decided to press her advantage.

"Okay, 'smart guy,' how does this apply to life?"

"What?"

"That's how you explained football to me and I got it. So, explain this to me the same way."

The wattage on Derek's smirk multiplied tenfold. Even Casey, who generally liked to consider herself immune to Derek's charm, had to admit that she felt a sudden desire to check the condition of her lipstick and hair.

"Okay, you asked for it." He paused and he decided where to start.

"Betting in poker is like getting a date." Casey immediately rolled her eyes.

"Hey," Derek said defensively, "you asked."

"True, I did," she reluctantly agreed. "Fine, go ahead."

"Thank you. So like I was saying, betting in poker is like getting a date. First, you bluff."

"The first step to dating is bluffing?" she asked incredulously.

"Yes. You might want to grab a pen and some paper and take notes."

"Puh-leeze! I can get a date," Casey snorted.

"Yeah and you must be proud of…all four of them."

"Der-ek!"

"Okay, okay. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, bluffing. Everybody knows the way to get someone's interest is to pretend you're not interested. That's why you bluff."

"Like if you like someone, you pretend you don't like them."

"Usually, yeah."

"Derek, that's so fourth grade."

"It's a universal truth. Besides, that's the basics. Remember, the rules change a bit if you're dealing with an experienced player."

"Such as yourself, I'm assuming?"

"Exactly. Pretending non-interest would be a little too obvious. Instead, I like to change up my strategies."

"Really?" Casey fought against showing her smug grin. This was exactly where she was hoping the conversation would go.

"Yeah. Sometimes it's non-interest. Sometimes I go with dislike. And sometimes I go with complete indifference."

"Dislike? Indifference?" Oddly, Casey felt her pulse quicken.

"Yup," Derek answered calmly, never taking his gaze away from hers.

"Why?"

"Because that takes us to step two. Bluffing is almost useless unless –"

" – it helps you gain an advantage. What would the advantage be in showing your crush dislike?"

"Just like in poker, your bluff should get some reaction from your opponent."

"So your dislike should get some reaction from your crush."

"Exactly. It's not always the answer you like, but it should help you decide your next move."

"I see." From the way he was looking at her, Casey couldn't help feeling as though Derek was doing a live demonstration. Was he bluffing her now to see her reaction? You're being ridiculous, she chided herself. Derek wouldn't do that. He doesn't see me like that…or does he?

No! Definitely no, she decided. I can't believe I even thought of it.

"Okay, so what's next? We're at the third round of betting, so I'm assuming there's a third step."

"It's the call."

"Like the move?"

"Exactly. You've made your bluff and gotten their attention. You've gotten your advantage and made your move. Or folded, if that was the case. So now it's showtime. You call them out. Make them show you what they have. However, when you at the point when you're no longer dealing with just another hand and you are ready to close the deal and end the game, then this is where you go in for the kill."

"The kill, huh?"

"In poker, the big move is the 'All In,'" he announced, shoving all his chips into the middle. "This forces your opponent to fold or go 'All In' too and brings about an automatic sudden death. If they're not willing to risk everything, they automatically lose the hand."

"What's the equivalent dating move?"

"Easy, Case. The date. Your crush either goes out with you or doesn't. But if they don't, they risk you moving on. So what's it going to be, Case? Are you in or out?"

Casey felt her mouth go dry. "Huh?"

"Poker, Spacey. Are you going 'All In' or not?"

"Oh," Casey stammered, willing her blush to subside. They had just been talking about the same thing, hadn't they? She forced her eyes to meet his. "All in."

She shoved her own chips into the pot. Derek quickly flipped his cards face up onto the table revealing three tens. Casey flipped hers up showing a pair of 7's and a pair of 4's.

"I win," Derek announced.

Casey felt uneasy under his gaze steady unwavering gaze. She felt heat in places she didn't care to mention and knew she couldn't blame it on the eighty-five degrees it was outside.

"Wait, you said that was just a practice round," she quickly blurted.

"Fine," Derek said easily as he scooped up the cards. "Final round. This one counts."

"Fine with me. Deal," she challenged him.

Derek dealt the cards then pushed the remaining deck aside.

"We play the cards we have. No drawing," he announced.

Casey forced herself to school her expressions and simply nodded at his decree. They each picked up their cards and Casey quickly felt a surge of excitement go through her. Miracle of miracle, she had three seven's. The game was so hers.

She locked eyes with him again. She let a knowing smile tug at the corner of her mouth.

"My bet?" she asked. Derek's face remained unreadable. His chocolate brown eyes bore into hers and she felt like he was invading her most inner thoughts. She felt her confidence waver ever so slightly until he deliberately lowered his eyes to check his cards and made gesture towards to table, signaling her to place her bet.

"All in," she announced, shoving her chips into the middle.

"Are you sure you want to do that?" His voice had taken on a honeyed tone and suddenly Casey knew exactly why so many girls fell for the Venturi charm.

"Scared, Venturi?" she asked.

Derek leaned back and assessed her. She felt his molten eyes look her over and she felt her knees buckle. She would have fallen had she not already been sitting.

"Yeah, okay," he said finally. "All in."

The cocky, shit eating smirk was back on his lips and Casey felt the sudden surge to shake the self-satisfaction out of him. She was amazed at how quickly he could make her feel desire (and yes, she'd begrudgingly admitted to herself that was what she was feeling) and anger.

"Ready to show your cards?"

He nodded and on the count of three they both flipped theirs over. Casey revealed her three sevens followed by a ten and a queen.

Derek revealed two sixes and two kings.

"Oh my god! I win! I so win," Casey cheered happily.

"So you do. Okay, princess, what do you want to know?"

"You know exactly what I want to know. The kiss on the head the night we talked about football. What was that all about?" Derek got up slowly and Casey feared he would leave without keeping his word to tell her.

"I kissed you on your head?" Derek asked.

"You know you did," she hissed in reply.

"Hmm…I must have missed." He a step towards Casey and was now looming over her. Casey was truly confused now.

"What do you mean you –" But before she could finish the question, Derek had tilted up her head and covered her lips with his.

When he finally pulled away, Casey was struck speechless. Derek used the opportunity to escape to his room, but not before pressing an object into her hands.

Casey needed to think. And she used a good five minutes to do so. She was so lost in thought it took her a good long while to realize exactly what it was Derek had shoved into her hand. A playing card.

She knew she would regret it but curiosity had gotten the better of her. She lifted the card up to face level and slowly flipped it over to reveal what value it was. King of spades. Derek had had a full house.

Derek had won.

"He's trying to drive me crazy." Casey concluded as she stood up. "That's it isn't it? He's trying to drive me crazy so they'll lock me up so he and Edwin can make some money renting my room out to Swedish bikini models."

"He won't get away with this," she muttered and she stormed up the stairs to his bedroom.

Derek was waiting for her. He'd in fact been counting down how long it would take for her to realize he'd won the game and had heard her muttered tirade. So he wasn't surprised when the door to his room was thrown wide open and Casey came storming in.

"Ah, Casey," Derek greeted brightly. "What brings you by today?"

She held up the card. "Why?"

"Uh-uh, not the rules we established," he reminded her as he got up from his bed and started moving towards her.

"But –"

"Nope. You lost so technically you don't get any questions. Actually, I was being quite generous in answering the first one you asked me despite your loss."

"What do you mean? You didn't answer anything. None of this makes any sense."

Derek appeared to contemplate it for a moment. "Should I use my favor to make things clearer for you?"

This time, his lips slammed on hers before words could form. When they finally pulled apart a few minutes later, smiled up at Derek.

"So you like me, huh?" she whispered against his lips.

"Kinda," Derek replied.

"Then why didn't you just tell me? God, Derek, I thought you were messing with my head. Like you were trying to drive me crazy or something."

"More like trying to have some fun at your expense." That earned him a swat on the shoulder which he laughed off. "Besides, Space Case, I don't even know any Swedish bikini models to rent your room out to. The last models I dated were from Norway but I think they have a place."

"Der-ek!"

"Sorry."

"You know, you never did tell me where the dining table is. Or the chairs. And you know we have to get them back before –"

"Case, you do realize kissing you wasn't the favor I had in mind."

"It wasn't?" she asked warily.

"No."

"Then what is the favor?"

"That you just shut up and enjoy it," he said, lowering his lips to hers again.

She pulled back just a little, "I think I can do that."

And this time, she kissed him as she wrapped her arms around his neck and let the king of spades fall gently to the floor.

--

Okay, so that was The Language of Card Sharks. I hope the poker inaccuracies weren't too bad and that you were still able to enjoy the story anyway. As always, please remember to review. It warms my heart to know you guys enjoy my stories!