A/N: Hey, all! So, I have been writing this fanfaction like mad. There several other chapters already written, and several more in the works for future posts. I want to space my posts out, though, so give me... oh, maybe about a week before the next one. Of course, I could always move that date up if there is enough interest.
Again, I find myself at the mercy of my readers. Please, read and comment. Let me know what you think. Let me know what I did well, and what I can improve on. Let me know your opinions about everything! - Lily's character development, my chosen writing style, the plot I have laid out here. Your comments/ critisms / opinions are what I'm looking for in doing this. I want to improve, and I need your help to do that!
So I hope you enjoy, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Love, as always, Nicole
No Rules, Just Prices
Lily paused, brushing some dust off her shoulder. She had to use her whole palm to remove the blemish, applying a good amount of force to rub away the set-in powder. The dress had been sitting in the back of her closet for some time, waiting to wrap her skin in its cotton embrace when the right moment presented itself. Rusty loved the dress, and he loved it even more on her. She hadn't seen her husband in a while, however, so the dress had been exiled behind her winter clothing, but before the Christmas sweaters her aunt knitted her faithfully each year.
The plane sat idly in front of her on the tarmac, flashing lights signaling it was ready for take off. She hoisted her pack up on her shoulder, then sprung into a jog as the wind picked up around her. Her heels clicked against the blacktop, then clanged as she climbed the metal stairs to board the plane. Rusty was there, waiting for her by the door. He collected her pack first, tossing it aside so he could scoop her up in his arms as kiss her passionately.
She was only aware her father was there when he cleared his throat.
She turned to see Danny and Tess sitting across from each other, both smiling up at her. Lily hugged Tess first, bending down to extend an arm around her shoulders. She only half-hugged Danny, adding a kiss on the cheek before she took her seat next to Tess and Rusty sat next to Danny. They were placed away, forced to look at each other without being able to make physical contact. It was tactful planning on Rusty's part – no doubt the moment they got close enough, they would be all over each other.
"Is everyone coming?" Lily asked, only grazing eye contact with her husband as she
questioningly looked towards her father and his wife.
Danny smiled. "Are we intruding?"
Lily laughed, tossing her head back. "Oh, please. A week with Reuben is hardly a romantic getaway, Dad. I was only asking because I didn't expect you."
Rusty smiled at her, a smile that was meant for only Lily to notice. She blushed, shutting her eyes to prevent from giggling. She hadn't seen him in so long, and she had hoped to be alone with him on the plane. For reacquainting reasons.
Lily had grown used to being away from Rusty, and appreciated the feelings their separation made her feel when they came back together. Rusty was mostly busy running his hotel in California, Lily was in New York with her own business. After their wedding two years pervious, she had found herself itching to get back to her city. She returned, getting her own apartment for weekend visits. After a while, however, her stays became extended. Sometimes she would run jobs while she was there, dipping into Rusty's side job of offering her unique expertise to those willing to compensate her. Sometimes, she just enjoyed the hum of the city. The rhythm of New York reverberated through her, wrapping her in its atmosphere and rocking her to sleep at night. Weekends turned into a week. One week turned into two. Finally, she decided to make use of her time and knowledge. She bought a brownstone with the money left over from the Hollings job, and turned the bottom floor into an antique shop. With Tess's help as her official antique curator, her shop remained solvent. Which was more than Rusty could say about his hotel.
Rusty often disapproved of their separation, but he bit his tongue on the subject. No matter how much he wanted to be with Lily, he knew it was better to be apart. For both of them. Lily loved it in New York, and Rusty loved it in California – two completely different places. She was uncomfortable at the hotel, used to living in well-furnished, non-broken-down environments. His hotel was his baby, just like her antique shop. He understood, so he sucked it up. Besides, absence really did make the heart grow fonder. And the reunion sex wasn't bad either.
"It's Reuben's house. Who am I to say who he invited or not," Danny toyed. Tess turned to Lily and rolled her eyes dramatically.
"So that's a yes," Rusty clarified.
"I thought you weren't doing anymore jobs, Dad?"
"Who said anything about a job!"
"You did. Just when you said that everyone else was coming."
"I never said that. Rusty said that."
Lily frowned. "There's absolutely no good reason for a group of con artists to get together unless you need them to. Unless you need their expertise. Or unless you're planning on pulling a 180 and getting all of us together in one place so you can turn us all in. And I sincerely doubt the latter is the case since we all probably have more on you than…"
Danny held his hands in the air, palms out. "So now old friends can't get together for a weekend getaway?"
"Danny," Rusty interrupted, "just tell her."
"Yeah, Danny. Tell her," Tess added, cocking her head and crossing her arms.
Rusty chuckled. "Tess isn't very happy with him right now."
Lily joined in his laughter, sharing a meaningful look with him. A look that was telling her to meet him in the bathroom to join the mile high club. A look she was trying her hardest to ignore in front of her father. She blushed, tucking her eyes away to her lap. "So what is it this time, Dad? Another casino? A bank?"
Danny shook his head. "Hey, don't look at me. This is all Rusty."
Rusty added his own dramatic eye roll. "Fine, I'll tell her." He shifted in his seat, leaning forward, getting ready to share confidences. "We're not going to Reuben's for a week."
Lily lifted her eyebrows. "We're not?"
He smirked. "Well, we are. But we're only going to meet up with the rest of the guys. To discuss….possible plans. You ever heard of Fantasy Island?" Rusty heard what he said, realized it wasn't a very good question, and continued on before Lily could get some wise crack off about his sexual fantasies. "Of course you haven't, because it technically doesn't exist."
"Technically, being the key word," Danny added, Tess shooting him angered side-glances.
"But Reuben got this call the other day from a casino owner friend of his back east. An invitation."
"To…Fantasy Island?" Lily asked, her face scrunching together in skepticism. "Sounds like a scam to me. What the hell is Fantasy Island?"
Rusty smirked. "You know Fantasy Football or Fantasy Baseball and stuff like that? Well, it's kind of like that except more extreme. More… rich, if you will. Men and women with lots of disposable income go to this unheard of island, and throw around their money for whatever they want. And I mean whatever they want. There are no rules, just prices."
Lily paused, taking it all in and allowing it to slosh around in her thoughts for a while. "So how is that like Fantasy Football?"
Danny laughed. "Well, it is and it isn't. See, you participate in a draft when you first arrive to pick your concierge personnel while on the island. A team, if you will, that helps you spend your money. The more you spend, the more points you receive. The more points you have, the more bragging rights you get as the richest of the rich."
"Spending money is the sport," Rusty nodded.
"This sounds ridiculous," Lily responded, shaking her head in disbelief. Curls bounced around her face, and Rusty had to fight the urge to reach across and tuck them behind her ears. He clenched his hands into tight fists on his armrests, waiting.
"Completely absurd, right?" Tess agreed, uncrossing her arms and leaning forward in her seat. "It sounds like one giant joke, and a horrible, horrible idea."
Lily pointed at Tess, signaling that she agreed. Pursing her lips, she looked at Rusty and her father, sitting side by side staring at her with big, puppy dog eyes pleading with her. "Is this for real? Everything's on the up and up?"
Rusty shrugged. "Reuben got invited."
"Yeah, via phone call. Sketchy, much? And a lot of people know Reuben has a lot of money," Lily argued. "What if it is just a giant con? Another con conning the cons."
Danny leaned back, relaxing himself and hoping she would follow suit. "Well, then we go and do some reconnaissance until we're sure."
Lily copied her father's position, bringing her hand up to her face and perching her chin on her fingers. "Reuben was the one invited, Dad. How do you propose we go ourselves?"
Rusty snapped his fingers. "That, sweet heart, is phase one of my plan."
"So we already have a plan? You're already convinced?" Lily stopped, looked at Tess and rolled her eyes.
"They have a plan to investigate," Tess added, adding air quotes with her fingers.
"I'm not a fucking detective, Rusty. I'm a cat burglar. Although, I can see how you could get those two mixed up. They sound a lot alike." Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Tess's mouth give into a stretch of a smile. "And I thought the bank job last time was going to be your last job altogether, Dad? You were so dramatic about it."
"Well…" Danny traced circles on his armrest with his pointer finger. "Isadora's boarding school is proving to cost a little more than expected*…"
"AND those investments he made went sour."
Both Lily and Rusty looked at Danny. "Investments?" they asked in unison.
Danny shook his head. "It was just the one, Tess. And now is not the best time to have that particular conversation again."
"Dad… You okay? Financially? Is that why you're planning on this wild goose chase?"
Danny sighed, rolled his head back on his neck. "I'm fine, Lil. We're fine. It's not a big deal. Tess is just mad, that's all."
Tess opened her mouth to speak, but Danny shot her a glance that told her he didn't want to talk about it in front of his daughter. As annoyed as she was by the whole thing, she relinquished it for the time being.
* I've taken a creative liberty here, making Isadora's age older than logical mathematical prefaces would have the reader's believe. In my first Ocean's Fanfiction, I placed Isadora (the child of Tess and Danny, Lily's half-sister, that I created) as a toddler. Here, I decided it would work best if she were about pre-teen age. I opted for the inconsistency instead of having to go back and possibly change a majority of the preceding story.
"Well, then…. Oh, God. How's your hotel doing, Rusty?" Lily asked, now more concerned than before. "Are you…."
"No! It's fine, sweet heart. Well, it's not fine, but… it's the hotel. You know how it is. Just barely solvent, but otherwise okay in the end."
"Then why the hell with the mythical island?"
"Because," Rusty smiled, "it's fun."
"Fun? So you're basically going to make enemies of the wealthiest people in the world for fun? The whole deal with Terry Benedict wasn't enough for you? And that was just one guy." Lily's eyebrows bunched together on top of her nose. She looked to Tess for backup, but Tess has resigned herself to staring out the small circular window as the plane zoomed through the clouds. It was apparent that the only ones who seemed to be thinking clearly were the women on this plane, only one of them was willing to stand up any further for that sense of sanity. She looked back to Rusty, whose smile was present in his eyes. A boyish smile, a smile of someone who was guilty, but charming enough with to get away with anything.
Fun. What were they thinking?
"Are you serious about this, Rusty. I mean really. Fantasy Island?"
He nodded. "Just wait until you hear the plan I put together. I have safety nets installed, I promise."
"And what if this Fantasy Island is just an island with a top security prison on it, and the idea of all this money is just to lure in con artists and criminals like ourselves chasing a fantasy?"
"Well, then it's a good thing you look sexy in orange."
She couldn't help but laugh, shaking her head and making her curls bounce. Rusty couldn't hold himself back anymore. Her crossed the space between them, bent down in front of her, and took her hands in his. "Lily, I promise this is really something. If it makes you feel better, we can talk about it some more."
"No offense, babe, but the more we talk about it, it makes me even more skeptical by the second."
"Do you trust me?"
Lily looked at Danny, who was staring at Tess. Tess, who was still staring out the window, avoiding her husband's gaze. Even though both of them were so close, neither of them seemed to have any hint of what was going on in the next seat. Lily looked back to her own husband, on his knees in front of her with hope in his voice. "Of course."
"Then trust me on this one. If we pull off this job, I can pull together my hotel in California and still have more than enough to build and run one in New York."
"New York?" Her green eyes sparkled, making him smile even wider. Maybe their separation wouldn't have to be a life-long commitment after all. Maybe they could be together in the same place, coexisting with their separate projects to keep them from their previous fate. Maybe, just maybe, Fantasy Island could make her fantasies of the two of them come true. "Okay, Rusty," she finally said, leaning forward. Her lips touched his and parted with a smack. A very satisfying smack. "Let's go chase your fantasies. What, pray tell, does this plan of yours involve."
"Mostly just your specialty, sweet heart."
"Oh, but I have so many. Which one would you be thinking of?"