“Are you drunk?”
Lauren looked up at the sound of her friends voice and rolled her eyes as she sipped her cocktail and sighed quietly to herself. It was well after three in the morning and the blonde couldn’t sleep so she found herself down at the roulette table just to kill time. Normally she would have gone up to the high roller area but the casino was at a dull roar and it wasn’t crowded so she didn’t feel like going all the way up the other elevators to the private room.
“No more bets.”
The dealer swept his hand over the table indicating the betting was done for this spin and Lauren motioned for Tamsin to sit down as she waited to see what number hit.
Lauren gave the dealer a small smile as he looked at her with a friendly laugh. She’d had ten dollars on the number and the dealer quickly passed three hundred and fifty dollars to her for her win and nodded as she threw him a five dollar tip. Tamsin’s eyebrows went up in surprise as she sat down next to her friend. “You okay?”
Lauren shrugged slightly. “Just bored I guess.”
Tamsin looked around in confusion as she reached for Lauren’s drink and took a whiff. She shrugged before setting it down and looked at her friend with exasperation. “Bored. How can you be bored in this city?”
Lauren laughed lightly as she put a few more bets out on the table. “So how was the rest of the game?”
Tamsin shrugged and leaned back in the chair. “Okay I guess. That Kenzi chick has some balls though.”
Lauren raised an eyebrow and looked at her curiously. “Don’t tell me she got you again?”
Tamsin shook her head and ordered her own drink from the cocktail waitress who stopped by to check on Lauren. “No but she could stand to be knocked down a peg or two.”
Lauren laughed and looked at her with amusement. “Pot calling the kettle black?”
Tamsin scoffed and shook her head. “I’m fine where I’m at on my pedestal. Speaking of, what was that with Sloan earlier?”
Lauren shrugged again as she watched the ball spin around the roulette wheel. “It was poker.”
Tamsin’s eyebrow went up in surprise. “Seemed like a little more than that to me?”
Lauren frowned when the ball landed on the zero indicating she’d lost all her bets. “I think you’re making something out of nothing. But what do you know about her?”
Tamsin sighed and leaned forward in her seat a bit. When she’d first made friends with Lauren it was genuine and she’d been happy to meet someone who wasn’t thrown by the glitz and glamour of the bright lights of Las Vegas. Of course, having money opened many doors in this city, but it didn’t really seem to phase the doctor beyond having her fill of high stakes gambling. Lauren seemed down to earth and she legitimately had a good time with the doctor, even going as far as admitting to herself if she ever decided in the future that she was to settle down it would be with someone like Lauren. However, when Bo found out Tamsin had befriended the biggest target to grace Las Vegas Boulevard she suddenly found herself in their little game of cat and mouse.
“Uh well, she’s a local and has been on the poker circuit for a while now.”
Lauren raised an eyebrow and nodded as she placed a few more bets out. It was easy enough to figure out that piece of information and she waited for Tamsin to continue on.
“She’s kind of a wrong side of the tracks girl who turned her fortune around for herself ya know?”
Lauren made what sounded like a soft grunting noise as she looked at Tamsin carefully. “Not like you I suppose?”
Tamsin felt the sting of that statement and she sighed knowing Lauren was a bit annoyed at something. Tamsin figured it had to do with losing the money earlier that night so she didn’t think anything of it. Shrugging she played with her drink that had finally arrived. “I guess not. Anyway, she hooked up with Bo and they’ve been together ever since.”
Tamsin felt the acute signs of guilt wash over her as she downplayed Sloan’s notoriety in the city and, more importantly, her relationship with Bo. Since getting mixed up with the pair Tamsin had been on a short leash when it came to Lauren. Bo had done some digging and found out, with the help of daddy’s resources of course, that Tamsin’s family had been mixed up in some mob dealings back when Vegas was the wild west. It was through those ties that her family came to own the majority of the land that they did and Tamsin’s name still rattled some of the old timers to this day. The downside of that was that they’d also hidden a lot of assets in various ways throughout the city and one call to the IRS could land the only living heir to her family’s fortune in jail.
“And yet you run in the same circles as they do. Don’t really seem your type…”
Lauren was watching Tamsin closely and the other blonde scoffed as she looked back at Lauren with a steady gaze. “They’re not.”
Lauren raised her eyebrow. “So I repeat…why entertain them?”
Tamsin sighed and looked at Lauren with slight annoyance. “Keep your enemies close or whatever the saying is…”
Lauren pursed her lips and looked at Tamsin carefully as she could tell something was off about her friend that night. Normally snarky to a tee, Tamsin’s demeanor was puzzling Lauren but she had no idea what the reason could be. Lauren reached for her purse and pulled out a stack of bills. She looked at Tamsin with a raised eyebrow and a semi challenging smile. “Okay, I don’t know what your problem is tonight but I only see one logical way to handle this.” She held up the money and shook it slightly. “Red, you tell me the whole truth. Black, I let it go and we call it a night.”
Tamsin looked at her curiously. “And if it’s green?”
Lauren shrugged. “Won’t happen.” She looked at the dealer. “Money plays.”
Lauren set the stack of money down on red with a smile directed at Tamsin. This wasn’t really about the money or the gamble, she just wanted to loosen her friend up so she could possibly see what the problem was. Tamsin’s eyebrow went up in curiosity but she just nodded as the roulette dealer had called the pit boss over to monitor the spin. Lauren had just bet the table maximum, which really wasn’t that much considering Lauren normally dumped fifty thousand on a roulette table upstairs, and the pit boss just sighed and nodded for the dealer to go ahead and drop the ball in the wheel.
Tamsin watched the ball with some trepidation as she bit her lip hoping for the ball to hit black. She knew she could just as well lie to Lauren if needed but for some reason she had a hard time doing just that. Perhaps it was Lauren’s innocence or perhaps it was her good nature that really made it hard for Tamsin not to give in to Lauren whenever she was asked for something.
The pit boss also took an interest in the action of the blonde as that was a lot of money at stake for one roll. Not to say that people didn’t make outrageous bets simply because it was Vegas and they could, but five thousand dollars was a lot for him to have to shell over if the ball landed red. People normally bet the table maximums on blackjack and craps so it was unusual for him to see someone do this in roulette and he was hoping for the best.
Lauren didn’t even watch the ball as she studied the nervousness making itself known in Tamsin’s eyes. Being a decent poker player, the taller blonde did have a good façade but Lauren had been around the girl enough to know when she wasn’t being completely honest. She knew by the look in her eye when Tamsin was happy, sad, or angry but this…this was new. Lauren heard the ball bounce a few times and the look of relief that briefly washed over Tamsin’s face told the doctor all she needed to know.
The pit boss breathed a slight sigh of relief as the dealer reached over and picked up the stack of money Lauren had put on the table. The doctor just sighed as she stood up and motioned for Tamsin to walk with her away from the table. The pair headed silently towards the elevators and Lauren just frowned as she dug in her purse for her room key. She wasn’t in the mood for pleasantries as she was now pissed that Tamsin seemed to be keeping something from her.
Tamsin guided Lauren away from the elevators and towards a little café looking place that served coffee and pastries to its late night patrons. Tamsin motioned for Lauren to sit but the doctor looked at her with annoyance. “Look Tamsin, it’s late and I’m exhausted so unless there’s something you need then I’m just going to go to bed.”
Tamsin sighed. “They want you.”
Lauren looked slightly confused. “Excuse me?”
Tamsin looked up at her with a sad smile. “Bo and Sloan. They want you. Er, more specifically, your money.”
Lauren looked suspicious. “They have my money.”
Tamsin rolled her eyes in annoyance and motioned for Lauren to sit down. Normally she didn’t do this heroic grand gesture type of thing but today was different. Lauren sat down tentatively and waited for Tamsin to begin. “Look Lauren, everyone in this town knows that in the past few years you’ve made it a point to come and put a ton of money in play. Like everything else in this city money talks and so far you’ve managed to stay away from them and their circle of cronies. Rumor has it that Bo made it a mission to get you to her casino and, in doing so, prove she was the best host out there.”
Lauren felt her anger building slowly but didn’t outwardly react as she raised an eyebrow. “And Sloan?”
Tamsin bit her lips nervously. “Was the bait? It’s also known that you’ve taken an interest in poker lately so she was in the perfect position to help lure you over there.”
Now, this wasn’t a total lie but it wasn’t exactly the truth either. Sloan had no idea about Bo’s specific plans, only that they’d wanted to get the infamous Dr. Lauren Lewis over to Red Rock to see what she was all about. Sloan didn’t know that Bo blackmailed Tamsin into helping her, nor was she aware that Bo had secretly been working all the angles to get Lauren there for a while now. The high limit poker games had been Bo’s idea, something she started around the time Lauren made her second visit to the city, in hopes that eventually it would pay dividends in helping her gain Lauren’s interest.
When it came to getting what she wanted Bo Dennis had a ruthless streak to her that very few people ever saw. Her father was just as cutthroat in business and it seems in her case that the apple hadn’t fallen far from the tree. It was how Bo had gotten Tamsin’s help and even, to some extent, why Bo ended up with Sloan. The poker angle was the final piece of the puzzle for Bo and she knew once she’d cemented that relationship that there was nothing she wouldn’t be able to offer any high roller, including Lauren Lewis. When Bo had come over to Caesars that first night and met Lauren she’d admitted to herself that the blonde was gorgeous and found herself flirting subtly to see if it would be something she could use to her advantage. Surprisingly, Lauren hadn’t shown interest so when she did show interest in Sloan it was a bit of an ego bruise to the beautiful hostess.
Not to say that Bo was overly competitive, she simply wanted to be the best at whatever she did and not having Lauren visit her property was keeping her from attaining that level amongst her peers. Sloan and Tamsin were ploys to gain and hold Lauren’s interest and Bo had to admit, everything had worked out as far as she could tell. Not only had Lauren visited and liked what she saw, she knew it was enough for the blonde to return to her property and that would make Bo that much more respected among the affluent community as being someone who could handle their business.
Lauren internally seethed as she looked at Tamsin incredulously. “So it was all an act then? Bo…Sloan…you?”
Lauren tried to stand up but Tamsin’s hand on her forearm stopped her. “No. Well not all of it. I think Bo is at the center of all the madness but I can assure you doctor I had no ill intentions when I first met you.”
Lauren looked at her in annoyance once again. “And now?”
Tamsin shrugged. “I’ve paid my dues. I was only to get you over there and help convince you to stay should you have decided you weren’t interested. Didn’t need to do much though so you made my job pretty easy.”
Lauren looked at Tamsin sadly. “I just don’t understand Tamsin…if all they wanted was my money they could have had it. Why go through such an elaborate scheme?”
Tamsin shrugged. “Not sure. But Lauren, I meant what I said. It was never an act with me.”
Lauren gave her a small smile and nodded. “Okay Tamsin. I believe you.”
Tamsin looked at her with a small smile and nodded. “And to show you my sincerity I’m taking you out tomorrow, wherever you’d like to go.”
Lauren’s lip curled up into a smirk. “Oh I think we should visit Ms. Dennis again tomorrow. If she wants my money then she’ll have to deal with the swings just like everyone else right?”
Tamsin’s eyebrows went up slightly as she looked at her with a small smile. “And what did you have in mind?”
Lauren shrugged. “Let’s find out what it’s really like to gamble at her casino.”
The pair shared a smile and Lauren nodded to herself almost absentmindedly. She may naturally be a calm and controlled person but Lauren was human after all and when someone fucked with her she wasn’t above getting even. Never getting revenge as that wasn’t in her nature, but getting justice was. Throughout her career as a surgeon Lauren understood when it was time to be firm, time to be authoritative and time to be demanding. Right now was time for a combination of all of those and she was going to help Bo Dennis understand why she wasn’t to be trifled with.
Tamsin smirked and nodded. “Sounds like fun and I think I have someone who may be able to help.”
Lauren looked at Tamsin with interest as she reached in her back pocket. Tamsin threw the business card on the table and Lauren picked it up with surprise. “You got her number after she cleaned you out at the table?”
Tamsin shrugged. “What can I say, I’m a sucker for competition.”
Lauren laughed and nodded as she handed Kenzi’s card back to her friend. She glanced at her watch and saw that it was almost four in the morning so she decided to call it a night. After Tamsin walked her upstairs, and playfully offered to show Lauren just how sincere she could be the doctor kicked her friend out with plans to meet up tomorrow morning and head over to see Bo and Sloan. On the elevator ride down Tamsin reached into her pocket to pull out her phone. She punched a number in and a sleepy voice answered.
“t’s Tamsin…we’ll be at Red Rock tomorrow.”
The voice huffed loudly into the phone. “Okay.”
Tamsin hung up and sighed as she leaned back against the elevators. She hoped trusting Kenzi was the right thing to do but she had a feeling she was making the safe play here. Bo may have threatened her but after talking with Kenzi she realized the newcomer had more for her to be concerned about than Bo did. Her cooperation in helping with the ongoing investigation on Bo would prove to be useful in helping her resolve some of her more prominent financial issues her family may have burdened her with. Having assets and money was a good thing, unless the majority of those were obtained illegally and now the rightful owners wanted them back. Tamsin knew it wouldn’t solve all of her problems but working with the undercover agent from the Nevada Gaming Commission would sure make a lot of them disappear.