Scene 9: Public House Restaurant inside the Venetian Hotel
“Maybe he likes to wear women’s panties?” Ryan suggested. She pretended to be interested in her friends problems while chasing a fried pig ear around in her Ceasar salad.
“Oh that’s hysterical. I’m having a real problem here and your being a wise ass!”
Ryan had been listening to her friend Laurell’s complaints about her boyfriend for nearly thirty minutes and it was making her lose not only her appetite, but also her wine buzz. At that moment she realized she was done with the conversation. “Okay, you want me to tell you the truth?” She put her fork down and focused on Laurell’s face. Her green eyeballs locked onto Laurell’s blue. “Allen is a creep, he is definitely cheating on you and you’re an idiot for not dumping him a long time ago!”
Laurell sat their open mouthed like the seared trout she’d ordered for dinner. Ryan didn’t wait for her to regain the power of speech. She folded her napkin, placed a couple of twenty dollar bills on the table and left. She hadn’t driven to Public House but that was hardly a problem since she was on the strip and there were plenty of things within walking distance. Of course her apartment was a few miles away and not a reasonable distance to walk in pumps. Why did I wear these effing painful hooker shoes?
She got as far as Paris Hotel when the blister forming on her ankle became painful. An M series BMW pulled up and the valet handed keys to a dark haired man that looked too young to have paid for the car. He was wearing a grey button up shirt. He might have been handsome if he hadn’t had a large mustard stain on the very front of his nicely pressed shirt, and if she’d been in the mood to care.
He caught her staring at him and paused before getting in his car. Ryan was sure she didn’t know him, but he seemed to recognize her. Maybe he’d sat at one of her blackjack tables at Ceasar’s. To her surprise, the man began to walk toward her instead of getting in the car. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fucking fantastic.” She was in no mood to be hit on and figured that being openly rude was the clearest way to send that message.
The dark haired man ignored her sarcasm and continued to play concerned. He had a small scar forming on his left cheek she noticed, it looked fresh.
“It’s really not safe for a pretty girl to be walking the strip at night alone. There are some weird people in this town you know.”
She didn’t say anything and he gestured to the car.
“My car is right there.”
“And there is nothing weird about a good looking stranger trying to get a woman into his sports car?”
“So you think I’m good looking?” he raised his eyebrows up and down in a comical way.
Her mouth started to form a smile but she forced it into a frown with a little effort. Ryan attempted to take his measure but she didn’t have that “women’s intuition” bullshit. In fact she generally tended to assume that most people were good. That’s the very reason why Michael’s betrayal had been so shocking. If he tries anything I’ll just give him a spinning back fist right between the eyes. She’d recently become interested in women’s MMA and was full of red wine confidence. She also had some pepper spray on the key chain in her purse.
“Alright I guess I could use a ride.”
He offered her his arm, which she accepted and felt a small tingle in the middle of her back. “My names Voytek.”
Her brow wrinkled slightly at the sound of a name she’d never heard.
“I’m Betty Jean, it’s southern.”
He walked around to the passenger side of the door and opened it for her. No turning back now. She tried to tell herself to relax, that no one with a food stain on the front of their shirt could be dangerous.
He started the car. “So what were doing out here by yourself?”
“Hey, a girl has to eat you know.” She thought it safer to give him flip answers instead of telling him anything about herself.”
“So, are you a dancer?”
“Hell no!” Ryan was surprised by her own outburst since she’d just been implying she was a hooker. The traffic was heavy at this time of night and there were drunken pedestrians crossing at every light. It was going to be a long drive home.
“Look I’m sorry. It’s nice of you to give me a ride in your beautiful car, I’m just a bit on edge.”
“About being alone with a strange man you just met?” He smiled again but Ryan didn’t think their situation the least bit funny.
“Just so you know I’ve got a Tazer C2 in my purse and it will make you shit your pants. If you make the wrong move, your seats will be soiled before you can blink.”
Voytek laughed out loud. “And what do you think would happen, if you tazed me while I’m driving?”
She frowned, not having thought of the consequence. “I’ll wait until you’re at a red light.”
Voytek didn’t ask her any more questions until pulling up in front of her apartment. Ryan had managed to relax a little, feeling relatively sure he wasn’t going to try anything funny. When he turned off the cars engine she felt her hackles rise again. “Thanks for the ride,” she said again and hopped out of the car before he could do anything else.
“Hey Betty! Wait!”
“Would you like to go out with me sometime?” The question caught her completely by surprise and that was the only reason she didn’t immediately reject the idea.
“Now why would I want to do that?” She wanted to seem uninterested but he was cute, if a bit sloppy.
“Well like you said, a girls got to eat.”