I rolled out of bed around one in the afternoon, splashed some cold water on my face, pulled on my swim trunks, and made my way out the door. When I got to the resort, I hung back until I found a group of college-aged guys heading toward the pool and fell in line with them until I got past the gate. Then, I picked an open chair and flopped down. Another day on the job.
“Can I get you something to drink, sir?” a beautiful waitress asked, casting a shadow over me.
“Oh,” I said sweetly, “I don’t know if I should. You see, my wife is still up in the room, and she wouldn’t be too pleased if she noticed a bunch of charges on our room. I’d better not.”
“Get him a drink,” the hefty middle-aged woman next to me called after her. “You can put that on Room 917’s tab.”
“That’s so kind,” I said, “but I couldn’t possibly let you buy me a drink.”
“When you look like that,” the woman said, looking me up and down, “you should get whatever you want. You look like a young David Beckham.”
“I get that a lot. Well, in that case,” I said to the waitress, batting my eyelashes, “I guess I could go for a daiquiri.”
“Certainly,” she said, scurrying away. She returned minutes later with a tall glass of the slushy drink. It was just what I needed to cool me down on this hot Los Vegas afternoon.
“Cheers, ladies,” I said, raising my drink.
“There’s more where that came from.” Her friend giggled.
I slipped my sunglasses on and surveyed the scene. According to Ben, the girl would be around the pool with her friends at that time. All I had to do was get my foot in the door, and then I’d be in.
When I spotted the girl from the photos lounging with her friends, I polished off my drink and headed to the bar.
“Could I get a bottle of champagne and some glasses?” I asked. “I’m in Room 917.”
I recalled the exact way the woman signed her bill and replicated the squiggle. It passed. I grabbed the chilled bottle and stemware and made my move.
“Hello, ladies,” I said to the four sunbathing women. “I heard that you’re celebrating a special event, and I thought you could use a bottle of champagne on me.”
“How did you know that?” the sunburned blonde asked skeptically.
“You told me last night,” I said, pointing at the lanky brunette.
“If I did, I guess I don’t remember it. That doesn’t surprise me, though.” She giggled.
“What’s your name?” the blonde asked.
“Joshua,” I said, flashing my signature pearly whites. “My friends call me Josh.”
“Where are you from?” she asked. “Is that a British accent I’m hearing?”
“Yeah,” I said coyly. “I’m originally from Manchester, but I’m working in London at the moment. I’m here with a few mates on holiday, but they can’t handle the sun, so I’ve been out by the pool while they’ve been hiding out in the dark casino.”
The four of them smiled. American girls love British accents. It would break their hearts if they found out that I was born and raised in rural Georgia.
“So, what are you lovely ladies doing tonight?” I asked.
“We’re only here for another night,” the brunette said, checking out the bottle. “I think the plan is to lose the rest of our money at the casinos.”
“Then I’ll be seeing you around,” I said, locking eyes with the girl whom I studied with Ben. I gave her a wink. She blushed under her giant sunglasses.
“Yes, tell your friends to meet up with us. We’ll be at the Blackjack table all night,” the blonde said, uncorking the bottle. “Thank you so much for the champagne. This bachelorette party just keeps getting better.”
“It’s my pleasure. See you soon.”
As I walked away, I could hear their giggling and whispers. From my experience, they would be waiting for my arrival all night. As I went back to the house, I laughed at how easy this would be. I knew Amanda was rich, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the other girls had some money to spare as well.
I had mastered the game. I found a target and went for it. The best targets were girls in their twenties who didn’t always get the attention from men that they wanted. Girls always came to Vegas in groups, so I had to pick the wounded antelope in the back of the pack.
Amanda was a prime example of this rule. She was pretty, but she was overshadowed by her friends. They were tall, skinny, and wore skimpy outfits. Come club time, men would flock around them, leaving little room for me. Amanda was short, a bit chubby, and dressed more modestly. She would be a tough nut to crack. I couldn’t wait to try.
For the most part, picking up women was simple. My good looks and fake accent helped, but just a little common sense with women helped me seal the deal every time. I had to be kind, friendly, and not too aggressive. No girl wants to invite a creep up into her hotel room. I had to play it cool.
First, there was Stephanie Janowitz. She was a college girl on spring break, looking to make it big with her stupid viral videos. This girl had way too much time and money on her hands. Ben spotted her draining money into the slot machines and hooked me up.
I chatted her up, seduced her at the bar, and she took me back to her room. After we had mediocre sex, I fed into her insecurities and told her how attractive she was. I mean, she wasn’t great looking, but I sensed she had a real need to be told she was beautiful. Then, I told her about how I came to Los Vegas to look for my missing mother, but I didn’t have enough money to hire the private investigator I needed to get her home safe.
Stephanie, drunk and infatuated with me, said that I could borrow some money from her parents’ bank account until a few paychecks cleared. I thanked her profusely and promised that I’d pay her back immediately.
I also promised that I’d join her for lunch before she went home. Those were two promises I had no intention of keeping. I withdrew $1,000 from the account and never turned back.
Then there was Jasmine. I don’t even remember her last name. She was a little older and a complete train wreck. Our friend Reece’s girlfriend, Abi, scoped her out. While working at the strip club, she saw Jasmine tossing money around like it was nothing. We liked those girls—the ones who hardly knew that anything was missing.
This job was one of my more enjoyable ones. Jasmine was a freak in the sheets, and I was glad I was around to participate. Over a few cocktails, Jasmine proceeded to tell me about her failing relationship with her husband. They were both big-time investment bankers who worked together.
Her story was that she was in Vegas on a girl’s weekend to get some time away from him to think about their relationship. She seemed to think that a little vacation from him would make things work between them again. You see, if she left the marriage, she would have to leave her job.
It took all of one minute of light kissing to get her back in her room. My wrist had bruises the next day from her dragging me up there. She totally rocked my world in the sack, and I rocked hers when I showed her the video that I had recorded of the entire act. I threatened to send the video to her husband and her employer if she didn’t fork over $5,000.
That kind of money was chump change to a girl like her, so I got the cash and split. Ben, Reese, and I made our living this way, and while it wasn’t necessarily the life that I had wanted for myself, it paid the bills. And if Ben was happy, then we were all happy.
There were tons of smaller jobs in between. Sometimes, we just had to distract a girl long enough to grab a handful of chips at the casino or slide a few bills out of a purse. Other times, we let newly divorced women treat us to a night of free casino buffets and drinks. Every little thing helped.
“Did you get it done?” Ben asked anxiously when I got back to our house.
I grabbed a questionably clean glass from the counter and filled it with water from the tap. “Yep, I’ll meet up with them later tonight at the casino.”
“Did Amanda seem like she was into you?”
“I think so. I think her friends were vibing me, too. They said they wanted to meet my friends. Do you want to come out with me? I bet we could get Reese to come, too.”
“Not if you did the accent. You know I’m not good with accents. I’m the brains of the operation. You’re the one who makes things happen.”
I bit my tongue at this comment. I had witnessed too many moments where Ben was short in the brains department.
“Speaking of which,” he continued, “I think it’s time for the big one.”
“I don’t like the sound of that,” I said, searching the cupboards for food. “I thought we agreed on a thousand, five thousand, tops.”
“I think she’s got a little more than that on hand,” he said. “All I’m saying is, this could be our biggest job yet, in terms of money and the size of the woman.”
I sniggered. “That’s fucked up, man. She’s pretty cute. If she takes me back to her room, I don’t think I would say no.”
“Well, that’s up to your discretion, as always,” Ben said, putting on his sunglasses.
“Where are you going?”
“I need to have a word with my bookie,” he said casually. “The old man is losing his marbles, and I need to sort things out with him.”
“Please don’t tell me you’re in some sort of trouble again,” I groaned. If Ben lost our shared income, then Reese and I were expected to make it up.
“Nothing like that,” he assured me. “With any luck, I won’t see you until tomorrow morning with a stack of cash in hand. Call me if you need any help.”
“Will do,” I said, watching him walk out the door and get into his grey SUV in the driveway.
One day, I knew I would get tired of this life and try to venture out on my own. This wasn’t the day, though.
It wasn’t like I really felt bad for what we did to people. On the surface, I knew that lying and stealing was wrong, but to these people, it hardly mattered. They all had more money than they knew what to do with. I reasoned that if they were just going to throw thousands away at the casino, then it wasn’t a big deal if I intercepted some of it.
Besides, if I ever felt a sliver of guilt, it went away once I listened to their stories. These women were all as morally deficient as I was in one way or another, so we were hardly stealing money from charities. Sometimes, I even fondled women whose boyfriends and husbands were sleeping in the next room. I felt little remorse.
I managed to find a few handfuls of stale chips and some instant noodles in the cupboard. I hoped that the night’s escapades would somehow involve food that I didn’t have to pay for.
Ben ran a pretty tight ship around here, as far as spending was concerned. As the self-elected leader of our crew, he took on the role of treasurer. All money collected from our jobs was given to him to pay for the house and shared things like utilities and food. Whatever was left was divided between Ben, Reese, and me. It didn’t always seem fair, especially when I was pulling in the most money, but that was the way it went. There was no use arguing.
I showered and changed into a pair of slacks and a button-down shirt. I wanted to look the part of a banker from London. I had learned that it was best to dress like I had a bit of money already. It made me seem a little more trustworthy.
I walked around the casino for a bit until I found the girls huddled together at the bar. It was only seven, but the girls were already rather drunk.
“It’s Josh!” the bride-to-be exclaimed. “Did you bring your friends?”
“Sadly, no,” I reported. “They decided to go to a strip club.”
“And you didn’t want to go with them?”
“Not really my style,” I said. “They might show up later. What have you all been up to?”
“Just having a few drinks to get the night started,” Amanda said. “Tanya’s already well on her way.” She giggled at her blonde friend.
“When you get married,” Tanya said, “you can get as drunk as you want to.”
“Does anyone fancy getting dinner?” I asked. “I don’t know about you, but I hate to drink on an empty stomach.”
“Oh, we’re all right,” Tanya said, “but maybe Amanda should go. She hasn’t had dinner yet.”
The girls had clearly discussed the possibility of Amanda hooking up with me, because they were all giggling and nudging her toward me. She looked embarrassed.
“Go on, Amanda,” they said. “Live a little.”
“Ok, fine.” She grinned. “Where shall we go, since my friends are so eager to ditch me?”
“There’s a nice-looking restaurant by the casino,” I said. “We can go for a quick bite, and then I’ll return you to your friends.”
“Behave,” she ordered the giggling girls before turning to follow me to the restaurant.
I took her down to this place that I had been before with another girl. It was pretty fancy, and I knew that she would love it.
“This looks nice,” she noted.
“Is it too much?” I asked. “We can always go to the buffet if you want.”
“No.” She smiled. “This is perfect.”
This is where the high-rollers dined. The place was lit almost entirely by candlelight from the little tea lights on each table. It was very romantic for a first date.
I suggested we order a bottle of wine for the table, so she chose a middle of the line Pinot Grigio. I ordered the lobster tail and she got filet mignon. I brought some cash with me, but I really hoped she’d end up picking up the tab.
“So your friend is getting married?” I asked, trying to make conversation.
“Yeah, Tanya. I’ve known her since we were kids. Our parents are friends.”
“Where are you from?”
“Texas,” she said, her southern drawl a dead giveaway.
“I’ve been to Texas,” I said. “It was a few years back. It was very hot, with lots of good food. There’s a lot of oil in that area, right?”
Her eyes lit up. “Yeah, my family actually works in oil.”
“Is that what you do?” I asked. “Work in the oil business?”
“My dad has me help him out with his wells from time to time,” she said, blushing. “Actually, I was looking to move away from home. Start a new career.”
“I actually went to school for fashion design and merchandising. I would love to own a store one day and maybe do some designing.”
“That’s cool,” I said. To be honest, I figured she’d tell me that she would live life as a socialite for the rest of her life.
“And what about you?” she asked. “What’s your story?’
I gave her my rehearsed story that I told any stranger. I told her about my very average life as a banker in London. I used so few details that no one could possibly refute my story. When people got caught in lies, it was because they improvised too many minute details. I had a system.
We talked for a little while longer as I made sure to keep her glass full at all times. We ended up getting dessert, just to make our time together stretch a bit longer. Amanda was a lot smarter than I gave her credit for. She was sweet, funny, and cool to talk to. I kept forgetting that I was there to do a job, not to get her to like me.
Luckily, she ended up paying for the meal, even after I pretended to insist that I pay.
“So,” I said. “Should we go find your friends?”
The job must have been wearing me down, because I didn’t want to take anything from her. We came from completely different backgrounds, but we shared a lot of similarities. We both had a love for adventure and the need to branch out from where we grew up and make something of ourselves.
“We could,” she said slowly, “or, we could go up to my room before the others get back.”
I couldn’t help but grin a wide, genuine grin. The wine must have gone to my head, because the thought of getting under the covers with Amanda was extremely enticing.
The second I suggested going back to my room, I regretted it. I was sweet, boring Amanda. I wasn’t the type to bring guys back to my place. I was the friend who cheered others on and waited at home for the stories when they went off on their sexual conquests.
It was just such a rare occurrence that I couldn’t possibly pass it up. In front of me was an unbelievably hot guy who was incredibly cool. I’d wanted to tear his clothes off from the minute he’d approached us at the pool in the afternoon. In a day, I’d go back to Texas, and he’d eventually go back to London, and we’d never see each other again. I needed to see where things were headed.
Much to my dismay, I wasn’t great with guys. I grew up in a community where my dad had a reputation for being a bit intimidating. When you are raised around oil in Texas, no one tries to fuck with the oil tycoon’s daughter. Dating was not available to me until I left for college.
I went to a university not far from where I grew up, so my family’s reputation followed me. In hindsight, I should have moved out east or somewhere, but I was nervous about being away from my friends and family. If people didn’t recognize me from sight, then once they heard my name called in class, they knew who I was.
Of course, there were some guys who wanted to go out with me because they knew who I was. This didn’t happen a lot, but when you’re a guy working on an art degree with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, you get desperate. I was pretty good at sniffing the gold diggers out, as few as there were.
Even then, I didn’t garner much interest when it came to men. As a very average looking girl, there wasn’t a lot about me to make me stand out. My friends, on the other hand, never had problems finding dates. Maybe I should have chosen friends based on how they would make me look in comparison.
Then, once I left college, I went back home. I didn’t want to, but I didn’t have a lot of options at the time. I took some design courses after I got my degree, but I had a hard time getting my designs out there. After a while, I just sort of gave up. My dad let me “work” for him, which involved very little work. I basically got paid for being at home and occasionally assisting him with business when necessary.
Since being back home, I got to watch my siblings and nearly all of my friends find love, get married, and start a family. I wanted all those things, but I needed to find the right guy first.
My problem was that I was too shy. I was a follower, not a leader. If I wanted to, I could totally walk up to a guy and get him to hook up with me. I was too afraid to do that, though. This all led me to be in my late twenties without any real experience with men. It was my biggest source of shame.
In the hotel room after meeting Josh for the first time, my friends basically demanded that I try to hook up with him. They said that I had waited long enough and that I needed to hook up with someone soon. I never wanted to disappoint anyone, so I reluctantly told them that I would try. They told me that I had better have good stories for them by tomorrow morning.
I was both excited and terrified to be taking such a hot guy back to my hotel room. I wasn’t sure if I could give him what he wanted. I did want to lose my virginity, but I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. Luckily, if I did manage to embarrass myself really badly, I wouldn’t have to see him again.
I had given up on the hope of losing it with someone special. I was getting to be too old for that. I figured once I finally met someone special, the first-time jitters would be out of my system and I’d be a little more experienced.
We made it to the elevator before we started kissing. There was no one in there with us, and we had fifteen floors to go.
I’m not even sure how it happened. We were just standing there one moment, and the next, we had slowly gravitated toward each other like magnets. By the time we hit the third floor, his hands were on my hips and my tongue was in his mouth.
I couldn’t help but wonder if he was using me. He was so incredibly nice to me from the second he approached us at the pool. In my experience, no stranger was that kind. We had basically gone on a romantic date within hours of meeting. Something felt a little off.
But with his body pressed against mine in the elevator, I didn’t care. He could be after my money, for all I cared. I didn’t want him to stop touching me.
We managed to break away from each other long enough for me to slip my key into the door. We stumbled in, and I dropped my purse on the table and kicked off my shoes.
“This is much nicer than my place,” he said, looking around the suite.
“Let’s go into my room,” I suggested. “In case my friends come back.”
Josh followed me into the separate bedroom, his finger tracing the long zipper on the back of my dress.
“Can I help you out of that?” he asked.
I flicked the lights off.
“Oh.” He sighed from behind me. His breath on my neck sent a shiver down my spine. “I’ve been imagining what you would look like under that dress since we were in the restaurant.”
“Really?” I scoffed. I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was letting some guy see all of me.
“Absolutely,” he said in his sexy British accent. “You’re such a natural beauty.”
I rolled my eyes, but he couldn’t see it in the dark.
He slid his hand down my back. “And you’ve got an ass that won’t quit.”
I laughed and turned to face him. I gently tugged at the bottom of his shirt. “You’re the one with the hot body,” I said. “Do you mind if I see a little more of it?”
The neon lights from the window illuminated his smile. “Of course.”
As he touched the top of my zipper, ready to release me from my dress, the door swung open, revealing a very surprised and very drunk Tanya.
“Oh, my God,” she gasped. “I’m sorry.”
She didn’t seem very sorry, judging by her laughter.
“Do you want to come down to the casino with us?” she slurred. “I already ran out of cash, so I had to come back up here to get my emergency money.”
“Doesn’t that defeat the point of emergency cash?” I said, getting annoyed at her presence.
“This is an emergency. I’m heating up at the craps table.”
I shook my head. She was not getting the hint that I wanted to be left alone.
“I might catch up with you later,” I said quietly. “I’ll have my phone if you need me.”
“Fine,” she said. “What’s the point of you having all of that money if you aren’t going to gamble with us?”
“I’ll see you later, Tanya,” I called after her.
I had killed the mood with my shared hotel room and stupid friends who were too drunk to remember why they sent me off in the first place.
“I’m so sorry about that,” I said, sitting down on the bed.
“It’s no problem,” he said, taking my hands into his. “If you’re interested,” he said, “I have a place for us to go that will be a little more private.”
“I had to check out of the casino because my friends went back to London, but I’m currently staying with my American friends in their house. I’ll have to double check, but I think they’ll all be away for the rest of the night.”
I hesitated for a moment. I never went to second locations with guys, especially if I didn’t have my girls with me. On the other hand, I was pretty annoyed at Tanya and the others, so I decided that this one time wouldn’t hurt.
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go.”
He smiled and took me by the hand. It felt like he wanted more than to just use me as a sex object. He was so kind to me, like he actually cared about me. He led me down to the parking garage and to a nice-looking car and opened the passenger door for me.
“It’s my friend’s car,” he explained. “He’s nice enough to let me borrow it. He works at a bar, so he’s out really late at night.”
I looked at the clock. It wasn’t even eleven. In Vegas, it might as well be the middle of the afternoon.
My rational mind told me that I should probably just hang back at the casino and watch my friends get extremely drunk. I could corral them back to bed in the wee hours of the morning, and we’d leave town soon after with raging hangovers.
But the adventurous side of me needed to be with Josh right now. I was in Los Vegas, and I rarely got opportunities to try new things like this. I had to go for it while I was able to.
I fastened my seatbelt and prepared myself for the ride of a lifetime.
Before I got in the car, I sent a quick text message to Ben and Reese.
Change of plans. I’m bringing Amanda back to our place. Try to stay away. If you have to come back, I’m London Josh right now, crashing with my American friends.
“All right,” I said, getting into the car. “I just texted the other guys to warn them that I had a friend over.”
“Hopefully, they have more chill than my friends do,” she said. “I’m so embarrassed.”
“Don’t be,” I said, placing my hand on her thigh. I started the car and headed toward the house. I hoped that everything was at least presentable in the house. We didn’t have a lot of things, but you’d be surprised at how messy things could get with three guys in one house.
Amanda was surprisingly quiet on the way back to my place. I was starting to get the feeling that she was a little nervous about coming home with me. I hoped she wouldn’t change her mind about hooking up with me. I was fully aroused back in her room, and I couldn’t bear the thought of going to bed alone tonight.
“Are you okay?” I asked, stroking her leg.
She nodded. “I was just thinking about what my friends are getting up to.”
“You don’t want to go back, do you?”
“No, not at all.” She smiled. “I want to be with you.”
I slid my hand up higher, pushing her dress up with it. When my hand reached her upper thigh, I could have sworn I felt her legs part just a fraction of an inch. I think she was into me.
Before I could get much further, we were already back at my place. I went inside first, looking for any evidence lying around that could contradict my story, but it was all clear.
“Nice place,” she mused, walking around the kitchen and living room.
“It’s not anything too special,” I said, “but it’s good enough for now. Do you want a glass of water?”
“Do you have anything harder?” she asked shyly.
I searched the cupboards and found a bottle of cheap vodka. I felt a little bad offering her something so nasty. I bet she wasn’t used to eating and drinking the same garbage that was a staple in my diet.
“Is this okay?” I asked.
She laughed. “Sure, it’ll take me back to my college years.”
I poured two cups and added a little lemonade to both. We drank the concoction, wincing as the vodka burned our throats.
That was all we needed to loosen our inhibitions. I grabbed her by the hand and pulled her into my bedroom. We started making out again, my hands resting on her beautiful behind. Her body reminded me of the marble statues found in so many casino lobbies. Unlike those knockoffs, Amanda was the real thing.
We crawled on top of the covers, and I pressed my mouth to her neck. She smelled so sweet.
“What do you like?” I murmured in her ear. “I want to make you feel good.”
She paused for a second. “I don’t—” she said before becoming silent again.
“Do you like it nice and slow, or do you like it rough?” I asked, feeling her out.
“I haven’t had sex before,” she said, nearly whispering.
I stopped, looking her in the eye. “You’re a virgin?”
She groaned and covered her face with her hands. “I’m sorry, I’ve ruined everything. There is nothing sexy about a twenty-six-year-old virgin.”
I licked my lips. I felt bad that she was upset, but she was cute when she was worried like this. We were basically the same age, but she was so innocent.
“On the contrary,” I said. “I’m really into it. If you still want to, I promise to be gentle.”
She looked at me in disbelief. “This isn’t some weird fetish of yours, is it?”
I laughed. “No, I’m not that kind of guy. I can tell you’re a cool girl, and I think you deserve to have a little bit of fun.”
“It’s not a big deal,” she said.
“Of course it is,” I replied. I was starting to feel a little guilty. Not only was I taking large sums of money from her, but I was also taking her virginity. I felt like I was reaching a new low. She wasn’t like the other women we scammed.
I ran out of the room and gathered a few things to make the experience better for her. I dug through my roommates’ drawers and closets before I had everything that we needed.
Back in the room, I lit the mismatched candles and scattered them on different surfaces. Then, I mounted my iPod on the speaker and played some soft music. Real panty-dropping kind of stuff. I set the condoms and extra lube on my nightstand.
“You don’t have to do all this for me,” she said.
“I guess I don’t, but I want to.”
“Okay,” she said, smiling again. “I know it’s obvious, but I’m really into you.”
“Good. I’m pretty into you myself. Now, where were we?”
I hovered over the top of her and kissed her again, sliding my hands behind her back to unzip her dress. I pulled it down her arms and past her feet.
“Damn,” I said, getting a good look at her lacy undergarments. They looked like something off the runway. “This is even better than I imagined.”
I could see her blush under the soft candlelight. “Your turn,” she said.
I stripped down and joined her back on the mattress, turning onto my side to face her. I didn’t want to wait any longer, but I knew I needed to take it slow. The anticipation was dizzying.