Yeah, this was supposed to be up days ago...uh huh. People was getting in the way. haha. Anyways, thanks to MissG2020, BlueDolphin2011, Alazensupernuke, insert psuedonym, traban16, and DarkPhoenixSaga for the reviews! On the real, it is 5:53 am and I have not been to sleep yet. I am so serious. So, although I re-read it, spell checked it, grammar checked it...there's probably still mistakes. We al make mistakes so blah blah DON'T NAG.
I'm so tired. Ahhhh sleepytime...
Disclaimer: I don't own the Boondocks
Luck Be a Lady Pt II
"Hey. Does she look familiar to you?"
The man lifted his dark sunglasses to glance at his comrade, who was pointing towards a crowd gathered around a pool table that was being used as a blackjack one. He rolled his eyes, sliding his shades back over his eyes.
"That narrows it down."
His partner glared, whipping a photo out of his breast pocket. He nearly shoved it into the sarcastic man's face before grabbing his shoulder, steering him towards a particular focal point and pointing again.
The man frowned, his eyes narrowing as he glanced from the girl back to the photo. His frown quickly turned upside down and he reached into his pocket, withdrawing his cell phone.
"Ah. Arizona Godfrey." He began dialing a number, shaking his head. "Gotcha."
"Wow." Huey shook his head as he followed Arizona, who was shoving through the crowd as if she owned the place. It was as if being around a group of black people had brought out her inner nigga. "Aren't you conspicuous."
"Shut up." Arizona finally came to stop beside Caesar and Eden, who were cheering along with the rest of the crowd. Huey covered his ears, glaring.
He understood that people were excited and shit…but did they have to be so damn loud? Apparently he wasn't the only one who felt that way since the dealer, a short man with a bald patch on the top of his head, held up a hand. A series of hisses rang through the crowd before everyone was falling silent, watching his every move. After a few seconds of nothing he seemed to be satisfied, for he turned to the players and gave them a look.
Huey peeked over the person in front of him to see some Hispanic girl and the boy across from her nod earnestly. Another curly haired girl mumbled a quiet yes from where she stood at the end of the rectangular table, while Jazmine and the guy across from her exchanged reluctant looks. She looked liked she was resisting the urge to have a panic attack.
Which, knowing her, she probably was.
The barman nodded, grinning.
"Then let's start the final round."
"YEAHHH!" Everyone began cheering again as he began to deal out the cards, his movements so fluid and quick it was almost impossible to keep up with.
Almost…but not quite.
Since they were playing face up as opposed to handheld it made it much easier to keep track of cards. And he knew that if he was having a pretty easy time with it, Jazmine was probably doing it effortlessly.
While he counted the basic, normal way that she'd taught him, using running counts and switching to the occasional Zen Count or Red Seven strategy, Jazmine took different approaches. Her approaches consisted of keeping track of every. Single. Card. It was a method he himself had said was impossible until she'd proved with minimal effort how easy it was…well, how easy it was to her.
It was admittedly impressive. The girl who couldn't even pay attention to a TV show for longer than five minutes without being distracted could keep track of every last card in eight decks, side count, and use an advanced count while drinking a Pepsi all at the same time. She was like a computer; the only card game she'd ever lost, other than the dreaded dinner party one, was back in April when she'd taught him how to count cards in the first place.
And that was only because she'd let him win.
The only problem in this situation, Huey observed while observing the players, was that she wasn't the only master card counter. He could see the Hispanic girl discreetly studying the cards and weighing the options herself, both she and Jazmine wearing the same determined looks on their faces. The other three players looked, compared to them, virtually clueless. Especially when the first person to go, the guy across from the girl on Jazmine's right, spoke nervously.
The dealer tossed out another card, a ten of diamonds staring up at him from beside his three of clubs and four of spades. He made a face.
"Stop, you idiot," Huey mumbled under his breath. Caesar elbowed him, rolling his eyes.
"As much as it probably kills you to not be a smartass," he said loudly to be heard over the noise. "We're supposed to be helping Jazzy, not him!"
"Jazmine doesn't need our help." Huey glanced back towards the boy. "Now, that guy…"
Sure enough, the boy gulped.
Half the crowd groaned.
"YOU BIG DUMMY!" someone shrieked, causing a burst of laughter to ring through. Sure enough, when the dealer shot his next card towards him, it was an eight of spades. The boy groaned, banging his fists on the side of the table.
"Tough luck, kid." The dealer shook his head, jabbing his thumb behind him. "Oh, well. Sucks to be you."
"Boo!" A few people chorused while he trudged away, his head hanging. Arizona let out a low whistle.
"These people," she commented while the next man got his turn. "are brutal."
"Shoot, they right!" Eden shook her head. "Even I knew that was a stupid move."
"Maybe he was nervous," Cherry Anne tried, shrugging. Ray snorted.
"If he was that nervous he shoulda been more cautious-"
"Shut up! Damn!" Huey rolled his eyes, turning towards the table as the next guy groaned; he's also gone over. "What is wrong with these people?"
"Uh, they play right, that's what's wrong!" Arizona snapped her fingers. "They're not math geniuses or proficient counters like you and princess over there." She snorted. "The girl about started hyperventilating-"
"Oh, that's nothing." Caesar waved his hand. "She had an anxiety attack in our public speaking class last semester because she had to give a speech on childhood pornography and Riley replaced her slideshow with pictures of Gucci Mane and Kim Kardashian's sex tape."
"I like Gucci Mane…" Ray commented. Huey shook his head.
"And what is that supposed to mean?" Ray's eyes narrowed. Huey sighed.
"You're really not worth my energy right now…well, you're not worth my energy at any point. But especially not now." He ignored the way Caesar lifted his fist to his mouth, trying not to laugh, and how Arizona and Eden exchanged amused glances. "So, once again, shut. Up." He glanced back to the table in time to see the girl before Jazmine stop at sixteen. His eyes narrowed.
The count was low, and he could tell by the way that Jazmine's eyebrows were furrowed that she knew that too. She glanced down at her own five of clubs and six of hearts, her eyes flickering towards the dealer, who was waiting patiently. Beside her, the Hispanic girl was smirking.
Man. That girl seemed to hate her.
"Somebody want to fill me in on why the girl with the long hair looks like she wants to smack Jazmine around with a pool stick?" Huey asked, leaning over and hissing in Caesar's ear. His best friend blinked at him in surprise.
"You didn't hear?"
Huey rolled his eyes. "Obviously not-"
"Alright, man! Dang!" The dreadhead shook his head before nodding towards the game. "That girl would be the single person in Jazmine Dubois blackjack history to defeat her. And apparently she's trying to go for a second win."
"Wait." Huey's eyebrows scrunched up. "That's Piper Levine?"
"That is indeed Piper Levine."
"Damn." Huey buried his hands in his pockets, letting out a low whistle. "This is the strangest fucking vacation ever-"
"Hit." Jazmine's voice, surprisingly clear, made him cease his talking as he turned back in to what was going on around them. The dealer nodded, shooting her another card.
A three of hearts. Huey and Jazmine groaned in unison, even though he was a good twenty feet away from her. Caesar gave him a confused look.
"What's that mean?" he asked. Huey shook his head.
"In casino blackjack," he explained, noticing how Eden, Arizona , Ray and Cherry Anne were all leaning towards him to hear. "The object's to beat the dealer. Lower cards are better for them while higher cards are an advantage to the player. Even though they're all against each other and this isn't a casino it's not much different."
"Why are lower cards bad though?" Eden asked.
"It's not that they're bad, it's just that-"
"Ack!" Arizona shook her head, holding up a hand. "I had no idea you were a nerd type." She made a gagging sound. "You must be a Gemini."
Huey's eyebrow rose. "…I was definitely born in December-"
"Blah blah who cares, moving on!" Eden shook her head, glancing back towards Jazmine just in time to see her lift her head again.
The next card to come rest beside her others was a three of diamonds. She shook her head, rubbing her palm across her forehead.
"Seventeen." Ray blinked. "Can she win with seventeen?"
"You can win with anything that isn't over twenty one, as long as no one passes you." Huey gave him a look. "I thought you knew how to play?"
"I do!" Ray looked frustrated. "I meant if she stopped now could-"
"It's the final round." Arizona gestured to Piper, whose smile seemed to grow wider the longer Jazmine hesitated. "If she stops at seventeen, that hoebag is going to probably pass her and win. If she keeps going she's probably going to bust but she'd still have a chance." She shrugged. "I think princess should go for it."
"But if the count thingy's low or whatever, maybe that Piper chick will bust too!" Eden pointed out. "So if she stops at seventeen and the other girl goes and gets over she could still win!"
"Yeah, but what are the odds of that happening?" Cherry Anne pointed out. "She's their "Lady Luck" for a reason."
Ray groaned. "Damn! She's going to lose us our money-"
"Yes. Please." Huey rolled his eyes. "Say that in front of her. Go ahead and upset her so I can have a reason to kick your-"
"Chill, man!" Caesar shook his shoulder, taking Huey's attention off the annoying boy and putting it back on Jazmine, who was giving the dealer a look. She took a deep breath.
"YEE!" someone shouted, a few people clapping while others booed. She shook her head, staring over to Piper, who was calmly examining her nails. Ray groaned and Eden's shoulders slumped.
"Well. There it goes." She lifted a hand, sighing. "It was worth a try-"
"It ain't over till it's over, pumpkin head!" Arizona smacked her younger sister upside the back of the head, rolling her eyes. "Have I taught you nothing?" The six of them turned towards the table again, watching as Piper straightened and gestured towards the dealer.
The dealer gave her the next card, a six of clubs sliding beside her nine of diamonds and two of spades. She already had seventeen. Huey shook his head.
Yup. Jazmine was done for.
Piper's cool brown eyes glanced over her cards. Her eyes flickered towards Jazmine's hand. She looked back to her own. And then, she lifted her head, her demeanor never changing.
A loud, collective gasp shot through the crowd. Jazmine's own head whipped up and she stared at the girl with wide, deer-caught-in-headlight eyes.
"Stand." Piper shrugged casually, flipping her hair over her shoulders. Huey blinked. Beside him, Caesar's jaw had dropped, Ray and Cherry Anne were gaping at each other, and Eden's own eyes were big. Only Arizona remained unfazed, her hand on her hip. She smirked.
"For the first time in our bar's history, we have a tie!" the dealer shouted, causing everyone to begin cheering. Ray's expression turned hopeful.
"You think that means they get to split the money?"
Huey closed his eyes and shook his head, keeping all the mean comments he wanted to just throw at the moron to himself. Arizona smacked her lips.
"You, cousin, are one naïve fool."
Ray blinked. "Huh?"
"There's no way they'd make it that easy." Caesar shook his head. "Nah."
"And so, for the first time in our Blackjack tournament's history-" His voice suddenly fell a good two octaves, his gaze sweeping over the crowd. "-we go into Sudden Death."
Piper grinned at Jazmine, who glared back. That's when Huey realized that Piper hadn't stopped because she didn't want to risk going over…
She'd stopped because she wanted to tie. She'd wanted to have to go through a tiebreaker, just like when she and Jazmine were younger. She was from a wealthy family in Delaware, so the money was probably only a bonus to the feeling she got whenever winning. And now she wanted to get a rematch against the girl from Illinois who she'd already beaten years before.
That girl was either insane or a genius. Huey figured that since she was challenging his girlfriend, it would be a safer bet to go with the first option.
Either way, things were about to get a lot more interesting.
"CINDY? ARE YOU GIRLS OKAY?"
"Oh, my god. Mr. T, yes." Cindy gingerly rubbed the ear that Jazmine's father had just screamed into, putting her phone to her other one and shaking her head. "We're fine." She sighed and glanced beside her to Riley, who was bobbing his head to his earphones. They were both now sitting on the front of Huey's car, Brandon still perched on Jazmine's trunk with his guitar. "How is everything?"
"It's all clear here!"
She gave the phone a skeptical look. Jazmine's dad sounded too cheerful. "Are you and mamasita still going to that marriage counselor?"
"Yes, honey." He sounded annoyed, the way he always did whenever anyone, especially someone who wasn't Jazmine, reminded him of he and his wife's marital problems. "And is the car still in one piece?"
"You about there yet?"
"Actually…" Cindy put a hand on her hip, thinking. "We're taking the…scenic route."
There was a pause. "Scenic route?"
"Yeah!" Cindy hoped she didn't sound too guilty. "You see, we finally met up with the boys. And I don't know, we're passing through pretty interesting states. And they have lots of history and tourist attractions and other…educational…purposes."
"Hmm." Tom at least seemed to be convinced. "Well, I'm glad you're remembering to keep your minds sharp during the summer. It'll get you ahead in the fall!"
He was so much easier to sway than Mrs. Dubois.
"So, no alcohol?"
"No, Mr. Dubois."
"No jail time?"
Uh oh. "Nope!"
God, she was such a liar. The volume on the phone must have been loud since Riley looked at her, his facial expression showing that he was struggling not to laugh. She smacked his arm, making him glare.
"Well!" Tom sounded happy. "That's wonderful…so, where's my baby girl?"
"Uh-" At that particular moment a series of loud cheers rang from inside the bar and she covered the mouthpiece with her hand. "You know, she's in the shower, so-"
"Well, that's fine." Tom's voice suddenly got wary. "By herself, right?"
Oh, god. "Yes Mr. Dubois."
Please. Jazmine, like her father, could be ridiculously prudish. She had just gotten to the point where she could wear a bikini in public without being completely mortified. She couldn't even stand Cindy seeing her naked. The thought of some boy, regardless of whoit was, getting away with it was enough to make someone bust a spleen from laughing so hard. She managed to keep her internal organs intact while Tom spoke again, his voice much more cheery.
"Great! I'm glad you girls are okay. Remember, no night driving, okay?"
"No talking to strangers."
"Especially strange boys."
"Okay, Mr. Dubois."
"And make sure to pass that message on to Jazmine for me?"
"Alright, big T." Geez, the girl got into one bad relationship and suddenly everyone wanted to give her crap about it. "Thanks for the advice. You're the best. Ever."
"Okay, then!" Tom chirped, completely missing his daughter's best friend's sarcasm. "You five have fun!"
"Okay!" Cindy let her smile drop off her face as she hung up the phone, sighing and turning to stare at the still smirking Riley.
"I ain' even say nothin! Damn!" Riley stuck his earphones back in, shaking his head and mumbling under his breath. "All up on a nigga's nuts…"
"I'm guessing that was Jazmine's dad?" Brandon spoke up from a few yards away. Cindy nodded, balancing her feet on the back bumper of the car and resting her elbows on her knees.
"You know…" Brandon set the musical instrument aside, giving Cindy a pensive look. "I couldn't help but notice that Jazmine's folks call your phone more than your own folks do." When Cindy didn't say anything in response he shrugged. "Am I right?"
Cindy snorted. "It is what it is."
"Dem bitches don' love her," Riley said casually, burping loudly. Cindy smacked him in the back of the head. "Ow!" He rubbed the spot angrily. "See, when ya'll niggas give me dat irreversible brain damage an shit ya'll gon be wishin' you won't smacking niggas an shit-"
"No, I'll be wondering why it took so long to happen." Cindy shook her head, leaning past Riley's form to meet Brandon's gaze. "But yes, this asshole basically summed it up."
Brandon looked skeptical. "You don't seem like someone whose parents couldn't love them."
"She don seem like an abusive psychopath either, but dat's what she is…ow!"
"It's no big deal." Cindy shook her hand, shaking her head. "You get used to it."
Brandon looked reluctant. "Really?" When she nodded he made a face. "That doesn't seem like something someone can just get over. I mean, people accept it for what it is." He nodded. "But that doesn't mean you ever get over it."
"What is dis shit, therapy?"
"Let's see." Brandon's tone was filled with sarcasm. "Everyone else is inside watching Jazmine hopefully win us enough cash to make it out the poorhouse. We are on the outskirts of Pittsburgh with nothing but a six pack and some street lights. What do you propose we do?"
Riley blinked at him before sucking his teeth, turning away.
"Nigga ain' gotta be all smart bout it…"
"It doesn't bother me." Brandon glanced back at Cindy. "I mean…I guess it does sometimes. Like…" She sat up, flipping her hair over her shoulders. It was weird having someone to talk to but it was nice. "I'm not home too often. I sleep there and that's about it. No one's ever really there anyway so it doesn't even matter. Any other time I'm at Jazmine's or school or hanging out…I don't ever have to worry about being alone."
"Well." Brandon's tone was thoughtful. "You're single now. And you're angry at your best friend-"
"I'm not angry at her." Cindy's eyes narrowed. "She's…pissed at me, and I deserve it. But she's still my best friend." She shrugged. "We'll get over this. We always get over drama like this-"
"Do you like being alone?"
Cindy blinked. "…What?"
"Do you," Brandon repeated dully. "Like being alone?" When Cindy continued to look at him as if he'd lost his mind he lifted a hand. "No one is ever around at your house so you're always at Jazmine's. If you're not there you're with others. You're never by yourself." He watched Cindy revel in his words. "All I'm saying is that if you can't learn to enjoy your own company, how are you going to react when one day you really do have to be alone?"
Cindy's eyes narrowed. "Why would I have to be alone?"
Brandon rolled his eyes. "Let's say your parents aren't around, you just broke up with your boyfriend, and your best friend is mad at you." Cindy shifted uncomfortably. "Let's say all this happens and you're not surrounded by people on a road trip, but back home in Illinois. All your other friends are off on vacations or having their own life." He shrugged. "Being alone isn't always avoidable."
"Pssh. Dat bitch betta get a puppy-"
"Why are we even talking about this?" Cindy suddenly snapped, causing both guys to look her way. She folded her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes. "Talkin' like you know me. Pssh." She scowled. "You don't know shit about me. You don't understand."
Brandon blinked at her, then shrugged again and picked up his guitar.
"Whatever." He sighed. "At this point I don't think anyone gets you." He didn't notice the look of surprise that flashed over the blond's face. "And if you keep acting the way you do, people will stop trying."
He resumed his guitar playing, Cindy shaking her head and staring up at the moon as the three of them fell into silence.
It was as if history were repeating itself.
The hiss was low enough to be missed by the still crowd surrounding them but loud enough for her to catch. She looked across the table to the smirking girl, across the unbelievably large stack of money which was stacked neatly in the middle of the table. She shook her head.
"No." Her voice was much more confident than she felt and Piper tipped back her head and laughed, as if she knew this.
Since Jazmine was sure the girl was the spawn of Satan, she probably did know.
People always told her that her downfall was getting emotional over everything, but it was pretty difficult not to get upset having to face the girl who had beaten her to shame in the one and only game of blackjack she'd ever lost. Alright, it was just a card game, but she was a perfectionist! She could see herself losing a spelling bee; after all, she could barely put things in alphabetical order without having to sing the alphabet a good dozen times. And, while she actually had a decent singing voice, she wasn't trying to have to sing in order to spell…
Wait, why was she thinking about this? She had a girl's ass to kick! Jazmine sighed, massaging her temples. Piper could sense her inner distress since she sat up straighter, grinning.
"I sure hope you don't cry like last time."
'Don't let her inside your head.' She took a deep breath, managing to lift her head as the dealer finished shuffling the cards, giving them both smirks before launching out cards as if they were hotcakes. Jazmine quickly spotted the queen of hearts and the six of spades that slid in front of Piper before her own five of clubs and three of hearts was stopping in front of her. She wanted to bang her head against the table.
What the hell was with the low cards? The dealer nodded towards Piper, who examined her cards and nodded.
The next card to fly towards her was a three of diamonds. There were a few low whistles that went out through the practically silent bar and she shrugged, burying her hands in her pockets.
The dealer glanced towards Jazmine and she pressed her lips together, sighing before giving him a look.
The dealer slid her another card. Both she and Piper leaned forward to stare down at it, their eyes widening. It was an ace.
They both had nineteen. They'd tied.
"Stand!" Jazmine quickly said, letting out a sigh of relief as everyone began cheering all over again. She glanced towards Piper, who shot her a dirty look.
"That," she mumbled, flipping her glossy hair. "was lucky."
"Woo! You go Jazzy gurl!" Jazmine heard someone shout over the rest of the applause. She lifted her head, staring around the crowd until she noticed Eden jumping up and down, waving her hands and laughing. Beside her Arizona was laughing while Caesar was shaking his head. "You do the damn thing!"
"You know," Piper said mildly, her cool gaze falling on Jazmine. "You can still manage to not look like such a failure by just giving up now. You ain't gonna win." She shrugged. "No one ever does."
Jazmine forced herself to avert her gaze, her eyes automatically falling on Huey, who was standing beside Caesar. He was staring back, his expression much calmer than the others. She swallowed before signaling to the dealer, who raised his eyebrows.
"Can I have a minute, please?"
He shuffled through the cards before shrugging and shaking back his sleeve to check his watch. "One minute and one minute only, kid." When she stared at him he rolled his eyes, snapping his fingers. "What you waiting for? Go!"
Jazmine shook her head, scurrying from around the pool table and pushing through the throng of people, most who had started singing along with the music that was blaring through the speakers.
"ALL THE GIRLS STANDING IN THE LINE FOR THE BATHROOM! ALL THE GIRLS STANDING IN THE LINE FOR THE BATHROOM!"
"What the hell are you doing?" Huey asked as she stopped in front of him, swallowing heavily. She quickly grabbed his shoulders, shaking him.
"What do I do?" she wailed, pointing behind her towards the pool table. "Huey, I can't do this!"
"Have you lost your mind?" He shook her off, rolling his eyes. "Of course you can."
Jazmine stomped her foot, her fists clenching. "How do you know?"
"Look." He massaged his temples, obviously annoyed by the selection of music and those who insisted on singing it. "If you have no problem beating my ass on a daily basis then you shouldn't be stressing over some girl who you'll probably never even see again after tonight."
"I wasn't even supposed to see her tonight!"
"Thirty seconds!" Jazmine heard the barman yell. Huey blinked at her before shrugging.
"Well, shit happens, Jazmine." He gestured to her. "Shit happens, and you don't expect it, but you suck it up and get over it. Because that's what life's about. And a blackjack game isn't going to make or break you."
"Just…forget the winning." He rested his hands on her shoulders. "Forget the winning and forget how you'll feel if you lose, and just don't think about any of that. It doesn't matter." He paused. "Well, it does. We really need to make it to DC, so we're kind of banking on you-"
"Well, it's true! But just don't acknowledge that." He tapped her forehead. "It's all numbers. It's probability and statistics. All the things you told me months ago still apply. So don't play like you just want something to gain." He turned her around, lightly shoving her towards the table. She frowned, turning around again.
"So what do I play like?"
Huey looked like he was trying not to laugh at her, his typical reaction to whenever she was panicking over something he considered insignificant.
"Play like you have nothing to lose."
Jazmine made a face before slowly turning around again, shaking her head and walking back to the table. She fell back into her place as the dealer reached for the cards again. Piper looked bored.
"Can you just let me beat you already?"
Jazmine glanced back towards Huey, who was shaking his head. She sighed, shrugging and offering Piper a smile. The girl's eyebrow lifted.
"Whatever." She straightened as the dealer looked to the both of them. "If you say so."
"You ladies ready?" he asked. Piper and Jazmine nodded and he began shuffling again as the crowd around them quieted down. Well, almost.
"YOU GOT SOMETHIN BOYS CAN'T DENY-"
"HERE'S A HINT, IT'S LIKE APPLE PIE-"
"Ray, shut the fuck up!" There was a loud, exasperated sigh. "Damn!"
Jazmine snorted, glancing towards Piper, who was staring at the dealer with narrowed eyes. He quickly tossed out two cards, a king of clubs and a ten of spades. Piper grinned as the crowd began murmuring and shrugged towards Jazmine in an "Oh, well" type of movement.
"I guess that's how it goes sometimes. I think," she said loudly, glancing back towards the barman. "I'll just go ahead and stand."
"Woo!" A few people cheered. She put her hands on her hips and turned towards her opponent.
"Think you can beat twenty?"
Jazmine glanced down at her own cards, which were a nine of clubs and a nine of hearts. She examined them before lifting her head to stare past the smug girl to the dealer. She slowly grinned.
There was a hush that fell over the crowd and the barman's eyebrows lifted in response. Piper's own brown irises narrowed.
"What are you doing?" she mumbled snidely as the barman reached over, sliding her two cards away from each other before dealing out a card to her first card. Jazmine looked down at the nine of diamonds, blinking before glancing at him again.
"No fucking way-" Piper started, before a familiar voice from the crowd was cutting her off.
"Nuh uh, bitch!" A few people laughed as Arizona flipped her hair over her shoulders, making a face. "You ain't makin no rules…show her, princess!"
Jazmine snorted, shaking her head as the dealer once again separated the cards so that three different hands sat in front of her. He placed down another card beside the first nine, which turned out to be an ace of spades. She grinned as the room erupted into cheers, at least until the barman placed down a card beside the second nine.
A two of clubs. Jazmine clapped her hands, beaming up at the dealer.
He nodded, flipping up another card and letting it fall beside the two. A ten of hearts landed beside it and the bar burst into cheers again, people actually jumping up and down in excitement. A large group of people wandered over from the bar, their heads poking past people's shoulders as they looked on curiously. Beside Jazmine, Piper's fists were clenched, her eyes hard.
"She got twenty and twenty one! She got twenty and twenty one!" Near the front Ray was shaking his head. "She wins!"
"No, dumbass," Jazmine vaguely heard Huey say. "She has three separate hands. She has to win all of them to beat her." As the noise became even louder the barman waved his hands, glaring.
"Aye! Shut all that goddamn noise up!" Everyone fell silent again, the crowd seeming to press in tighter as he prepared to deal her final hand. In the corner of her eye Jazmine noticed Piper fold her arms over her chest, glaring daggers at the girl. She folded her own hands in front of her, tuning everything out to focus solely on the dealer, who placed down a four of spades beside her last nine. Jazmine nodded.
He withdrew another card, placing it beside that one. It was a two of hearts. She bit her lip.
The next card was an ace of clubs. There was a loud cluster of groans that filled the room, at least until someone decided to yell "It only counts as one!" and causing everyone to begin cheering again. The barman didn't even bother trying to stop them at that point as he dealt another card, tossing a two of diamonds beside the others.
"Seventeen." Piper grinned. "We always seem to come back to that number, don't we?"
Jazmine ignored her, staring at the cards. She leaned forward, examining them for a few more seconds before looking back at her excited rival.
"You're right." She smirked, her voice barely audible over all the chanting and yelling. "Only, this time I'm going to beat your ass." The smile vanished from Piper's face as she turned to the barman. "Hit."
The entire bar seemed to hold its breath as the barman nodded formally, withdrawing another card. It seemed to float down to the surface of the pool table in slow motion, everyone in the place nearly climbing over one another to see it as the card fell to rest on the others…
…And the entire place seemed to explode as the four of spades stared up at the mulatto. Jazmine let out an earsplitting shriek of her own, covering her mouth in shock while Piper let out an angry scream, spinning on her heel and stomping away from the table. The clapping was thunderous, the shouting louder than before as Eden, Ray and Caesar rushed over, pumping their fists in the air.
"USA! USA!" Ray yelled stupidly, grinning. Eden jumped up and down, letting out a cheer and wrapping her arms around a still shocked Jazmine.
"You handled that girl like a G, son!" she laughed as Caesar shoved her out the way, giving his friend a hug and shaking her like a carton of milk. He let her go, and Jazmine barely had time to react before the barman was grabbing her arm, yanking her so hard towards the center of the crowd that she almost flew through the air. He cleared his throat, waving his hand and taking a good minute to get everyone's attention.
"Ladies and gentlemen!" he roared, everyone falling silent. He lifted Jazmine's arm as if she'd won a boxing match, shaking her wrist. "The winner of Fat Head's one hundred and seventh All-stars blackjack tournament! Our new Lady Luck-" He waved Jazmine's hand. "Ms. Gracie Stewart!"
Everyone began cheering again, the barman dropping Jazmine's hand and reaching into his breast pocket and…
…withdrawing a check, which he promptly handed to the dazed winner.
"Congratulations, sweetie." He pat Jazmine's shoulder, watching as her eyes scanned the check. They widened to the size of dinner plates.
"Oh, my god." She looked up from the check, her eyes sweeping over the entire scene. She grinned and glanced towards Arizona, who had sided up to her and was handing her a beer.
"A deal's a deal, Princess!" She pat her so hard on the back she nearly fell over. "You deserve it!"
"This," Jazmine said faintly, shaking her head. "Is the best day of my life."
Arizona stared at her, shaking her head; around them, the celebrating went on.
"Yeaaaahhh…alright, sweetie." She wrapped an arm around Jazmine's shoulders, leading her back to the table so they could claim the rest of their winnings. "In that case, you've got a lot more living to do."
Thanks for reading. Really. I'm so tired my typing isn't even enthusiastic. LAWDY LAWDY...