Waking Up in Vegas
It was over. He was officially divorced. A single man. A bachelor. Most men would be happy, but he wasn't. He felt more like a widower than anything. He felt like he needed to mourn this part of his life in order to move on, to get past it. So he did the only thing he could think of. He took a leave of absence, packed his bag, and headed to Las Vegas.
And that was the exact reason Mary Richards was on a plane to Nevada. She hand been singled out and unanimously voted to be the one to go after him. She would be the first to admit that she didn't put up much of a fight when they chose her. After all he would probably be more gentle and more open with her. At least that's what she was hoping.
When she arrived at the hotel she sent her suitcases up with the bellboy and headed to the bar to find Lou. And sure enough there he was. He was sitting at the bar, nursing what looked to be a martini. She took a deep breath, said a silent prayer and approached him. "Since when do you drink martinis?"
He wasn't all that surprised to see her. "Since I'm in this classy atmosphere. What took you so long to get here?" he asked. "I was expecting one of you to show up hours ago."
Mary sat down on the bar stool. "Well we had to vote on how was going to come."
"Vote?" he took a sip of his drink. "Something tells me you were volunteered more or less."
"Well someone had to come." she said. "It might as well have been me."
"That's a good attitude to have." he sighed. "Now here's the part where I thank you for coming, tell you how sweet you are, and send you back to Minneapolis on the next plane."
"That's where you're wrong." she said. "I'm not leaving until you agree to come back home with me."
He finished off his martini. "Well you're going to be here a while." he said. "Because I have no plans to leave."
"Fine." she shrugged. "But as long as you're going to be here, so am I."
"Look, Mary." he turned to face her. "I know why you're here, but I don't want to talk about it, that's why I'm here."
"I think you would feel better if you talked about it, Mr. Grant."
Mary was slightly annoyed. "Look, I flew all the way out here to get you. The plane had horrible turbulence, awful food, and I had to sit beside a mother with a crying baby. Now if you want to stay here, that's fine. But I'm going to stay here with you, nagging you until you talk to me so you might as well just give in now."
Lou was quiet for several long moments. "Okay." he finally said. "But under one condition."
He summoned the bartender over. "Could you bring me three martinis for the lady and another one for me?" he asked. "We're going to move over to the table in the corner."
"Yeah." he said, getting up. "If we're going to talk then I want to make sure we're on the same level. You want this to be fair, don't you, Mary?"
"Fine." she agreed, following him. "If you think that makes us even."
"Oh no, not even." he sat down. "But close."
Mary slide into the booth. "Are you really going to talk to me?" she asked. "I mean really talk to me about what's going on with you?"
"After you finish off your martinis." he said. "And you have to drink them nice and slow in order to have the right effect. Don't think of chugging them."
"Farthest thing from my mind." she assured him. "But after I fully expect you to talk to me, I'm going to hold you to it."
"I'll give you my word."
Mary had the first three martinis and then an additional two. And Lou opened up to her, just like he had promised. He told of about his fears and his failures and his disappointments. He told her how much he liked marriage and how he hated being alone. She did her best to comfort him, to reassure him, and to encourage him. This lead to more drinking. And an exploration of the casino.
It was almost midnight when Lou decided that he wanted to gamble. Blackjack was his pick and so far he was doing pretty well. "Let's play a little game." he told her. "If I win this next round then dinner is on you."
"Deal." she smiled. She didn't know rather it was the ambiance or the alcohol but she had never been more relaxed. Especially with him. "And if you lose?"
"I'll give you a raise."
Lou thought about it for a moment. "Twenty five bucks a week."
The dealer flipped the cards. "Blackjack."
Lou exhaled heavily. "Well, I guess you can't win them all." he said. "That was my last chip. What do you want to do now?"
"Are you really going to give me a raise?"
"Of course." he told her. "I'm a man of my word. Now, what should we do for the rest of the evening."
"I don't know." she replied. "Something fun and exciting, something we wouldn't normal do if we were at home in Minneapolis."
"I was afraid you were going to say that."
"Okay, okay." he said, in defeat. "We could gamble some more or maybe get a tattoo. We could have dinner, see a show."
"Oh, lets see a show." she smiled. "Something elaborate and tacky."
Lou wrapped his arm around her waist. "I know just the place."
~The Next Afternoon~
It was quickly approaching two o'clock in the afternoon. But if you didn't crash until four o'clock that morning it was night time. The room was completely silent until the shrill ringing of the telephone pierced the silence. And then it happened. Two sets of eyes opened, looked at each other, and promptly screamed. And the telephone was quickly forgotten.
Mary immediately sat up in bed, hugging the sheet as close to her body as she possible could. "What the hell?" she said, her head spinning. "What are you doing in here?"
"What do you mean what am I doing in here?" he asked. "This is my room."
Her mind was reeling. And she couldn't seem to remember much of the previous evenings events. "What happened?" she asked. "What did we do last night?"
"Uhh, I'm not sure." he replied. "We had some drinks, we did some gambling, and after that everything gets blurry."
"You remember more than I do." Mary started to get up and out of bed, but quickly noticed that she didn't have anything on underneath the sheet. She took a deep breath before she asked the question she already knew the answer to. "Are you naked?"
He pulled the comforter up around his waist. "You too, huh?"
"Oh, God." she breathed out, closing her eyes. "This is a nightmare."
"You could do a lot worse." he said, trying to get his bearings. "Look just because we're both naked and in bed together doesn't mean that anything happened."
Mary wrapped the sheet around her body and got up out of the bed. "I have the worse headache of my life." she said. "And I have no idea rather or not I slept with my boss. This really is a nightmare."
"Just relax, Mary." he said. "There's no reason to get upset."
She picked up a piece of paper off the dresser. She was so in shock that she had to read over it several times before it began to sink in. And even then she couldn't even breathe.
"What's the matter?"
Mary walked over to the bed and handed him the paper. "There's no reason to get upset?"
Lou read over the paper. "Okay." he said. "Now you can be upset."
"Oh, Mr. Grant." she exhaled heavily. "What do we do now."
"Well, I think we should start by taking a few deep breaths." he instructed. "And you should probably start calling me Lou. After all we are husband and wife now."
Lou laughed at the irony of the situation and Mary burst into tears.