Bucky started it all when he suggested that they all meet up in Las Vegas for a big weekend trip. He pointed out this would be the last time they would likely see each other for possibly years. He had just gotten orders for a new overseas posting starting in a couple of months, Peggy was planning to leave for Jakarta where her new assignment the State Department was and Sam would be starting his new job for the city as a social worker in New York soon.
Unlike his friends, Steve was working as a temp while he tried to establish himself as an artist. So he fretted about the cost, protesting that he was not particularly crazy about Las Vegas since he was not interested in gambling. Steve relented once Sam found a deal at Aria for a hotel room and airfare package and Peggy prodded him hard, reminding Steve that he had not had a vacation ever. After that, the plan for Vegas came together rather quickly.
On their first day at the casino, Peggy and Sam’s girlfriend Maya arranged to rent a cabana for the day. Then they campaigned to have Steve join them for the day. Peggy and Maya made the prospect of lazing by the pool sound more enticing than Sam and Bucky’s plan to explore the Strip. Sam teased them for wanting the hot guy with them at the pool.
“It’s a proven fact that we get better service when Steve’s around.” Peggy laughed. Then she patted Steve’s arm. “That’s because you’re such a nice guy. Although the view’s not bad at all.” Steve blushed at that.
After about an hour of lying in the sun and splashing in the pool, Steve started to feel hot and sticky. The growing crowd around the pool was getting to be oppressive. He remembered the misters in the cabana and decided to spend the day sketching in the cool of the cabana since it was so hot outside. After the letting his friends know his plans, he made the trip back to their room to retrieve his sketch pad and other supplies. But when he returned to their cabana, he found someone sleeping on the settee in the cabana.
Steve was not sure what to say. The someone asleep on the settee was a very attractive man who appeared to be in his late twenties. He was curled up much like a cat, his head tucked into the corner of the settee. He stirred a little and Steve noticed the play of lean muscles under his likely expensive shirt and pants. Steve found the whole scene rather arresting at first. Then he wondered what was going on, especially since Steve could smell alcohol on the stranger.
“Hey there,” Steve said, trying to wake the man up.
The man stirred even more. He lifted his head and blinked a few times. His sleepy, deep brown eyes were fringed with dark lashes. He shifted onto his back and threw his arm over his face. “What time is it?” he asked, slurring his words.
“Almost noon,” Steve replied.
The man swung his legs down and was now sitting up. He slung his arm on the back of the settee and rubbed a hand over his face. Then he looked at Steve appraisingly. Under the intense gaze, Steve felt naked, although he was wearing non-revealing swim trunks. The intruder sighed. “This is not my room, I gather?”
“Ah, no. This is my cabana, at the pool.”
“Sorry about that, gorgeous,” the man replied. His voice was rough and low. “Sorry that I’m in your cabana and that you’re not in my room.”
Steve blushed and had a funny feeling that he should not be finding this man as attractive as he did. Especially when the man stretched his back and arms and ran his hand through his dark, wavy hair. He stood up, a bit unsteady.
“Do you need help?” Steve offered before he could stop himself. He had no idea why he asked that.
The man smiled at him. “Not that I don’t appreciate your wonderful offer, blondie, but I can manage.”
“Um, okay,” Steve replied doubtfully.
“I’m Tony, by the way.”
Tony held out his hand for Steve to shake. Then with a megawatt smile, he asked suggestively, “Catch you later?”
Steve, who apparently had no control over his mouth, responded, “My friends and I are here for a few days.”
“Really now?” Tony said, leaning somewhat too close towards Steve. His beautiful brown eyes were very expressive and his lips were full, a dazed Steve thought. “My friends will be looking for me. See you around, gorgeous.” He gripped Steve’s bicep in farewell and then swanned out of the cabana.
Steve sat down on the settee, feeling a little breathless. He spent a few minutes wondering about Tony, where he came from, how he ended up in their cabana, and why he had this magnetic effect on him. Then Peggy and Maya came in from the pool and announced that they had ordered lunch to be delivered shortly. And Steve shook himself free from whatever spell he had been under.
“What is this, Operation Corrupt Steve?” Bucky asked the next day when he returned to their hotel room and saw Peggy making Steve try on different pairs of pants and shirts.
“We’re going to a nightclub tonight and Steve didn’t have anything appropriate,” Peggy replied. “I raided your and Sam’s bags and did a little shopping.” She tapped Steve’s side. “Turn around.”
Sheepishly, Steve turned around in front of the mirror. Peggy had found a silk navy blue shirt and borrowed Bucky’s charcoal pants, which mostly fit. “They’ll let you in with that,” she said admiringly. “Tie?”
Bucky snorted. “No one wears ties to these places. What’s wrong with board shorts and a t-shirt?”
“Where we are going they won’t let even Steve in if we’re not dressed correctly.” Peggy started sorting through a pile of shoes.
“Can I have Steve now?” Bucky asked. “Sam and I need him for the Sports Book.”
“As long you all return by seven to get dressed. We have dinner reservations at eight. I’ll have figured out the shoe situation, Steve, by then. And maybe the pants.” Peggy waved them out.
Steve knew Bucky better than anyone but he had no idea why Bucky could not figure out the finer points of baseball himself in order to place good bets. The three of them spent a great couple of hours at The Sports Book watching games and drinking beer. Then Sam pointed out that the women were waiting for them. As they were leaving, Steve glanced down the hall and saw in the distance Tony from yesterday. Dressed sharply, he was standing with a large group of people, waving a hand around as he was talking, likely telling a story or joke. Steve was a little intrigued. There might be more to Tony than falling asleep in random cabanas.
Ever a miracle worker, Peggy found appropriate shoes and a new pair of charcoal pants for Steve somewhere. After sorting them all out, Peggy pushed them out the room and on their way to the restaurant. Peggy was very keen on going to Marquee over at Cosmo and was worried that they would not be able to get in. Steve teased her all during dinner about it. Peggy had a plan. She and Maya were dressed in slinky short dresses and stilettos. She thought Sam was passable but Bucky was the weak link. Her hopes were pinned on Steve and his sweet smile (and hot body) to win her battle to get in. She had secured tickets earlier and still they had to line up in time to have a chance of getting in. Her calculations paid off -- they were waved in with little problem, even with Bucky’s iffy shoes.
The club was crowded and the music was loud and thumping. Peggy, Sam, and Maya immediately took off for the dance floor, leaving Bucky and Steve at a bar. Bucky wrangled drinks for them. Steve nursed his scotch for a while since the beer was catching up to him and he was starting to feel buzzed. Then Bucky elbowed Steve and pointed out a rather striking woman. Steve gave him a shove and wished him luck. Bucky flashed him a big smile, gave a thumbs up and waded out into the crowd in pursuit of his mystery lady.
Steve went off to find the rest of his friends and was soon completely lost. The club had multiple floors and rooms. And it was crowded on every floor. He tried texting and phoning, but no answer; not that he would have heard his phone go off or vibrate even they did call back. He wandered up to the rooftop pool area and found a place to sit. He felt a little down, not sure what to do. Granted he had lots of offers of company of all sorts, but he wanted to catch up to his friends. Steve ended up ordering another drink and pondering the mermaids in the pool.
Then someone clapped him on his shoulder. It was Tony, of all people. He flashed Steve his megawatt smile. “Hey, it’s my cabana friend,” Tony said. Well, shouted over the pounding bass. It was hard to hear. Tony sat down next to Steve.
Steve smiled back. He liked how Tony felt next to him. “Hi,” he shouted back.
Tony tucked in closer to Steve and put his arm around Steve’s lower back, resting his hand on Steve’s hip. He leaned into Steve and said, “Where are your friends?” He was so close to Steve that his goatee scratched his face as Tony spoke into Steve’s ear.
“Somewhere in the club.” A warm feeling settled in Steve’s stomach.
“Want to join me? I’ve got a table.”
Steve nodded and they stood up. Keeping his arm around Steve’s waist, Tony led him down to the third floor, where it was quieter and decorated like a library. Tony had a corner table and there were three very nice-looking women already seated there. Steve arched his eyebrow and Tony laughed at him. “I’m collecting friends tonight. Mine left me too.” The women, clearly appreciative of the newest addition to their party, made room for Steve.
A few rounds of drinks later, Steve found himself sitting closer to Tony. The original three women were now gone, replaced by three different women and two men. There was never-ending conversation about Las Vegas, the club, why Steve was there, movies, television and music. Steve found himself blushing more often than not but he decided to chalk it up to drinking a lot tonight. Tony’s arm was around his waist again and Steve was hesitant to touch him back. Tony was confusing him.
Tony smiled knowingly and gave him his waist a little squeeze. Steve went weak in the knees. He shifted to sit closer to Tony. Then Tony quietly asked Steve if he wanted to go somewhere less crowded. Steve nodded. “It’s been fun, ladies and gents, but I have urgent business elsewhere. My friend here has a curfew,” Tony said with suave charm. He extracted Steve from the table. Tony spoke to the waiter to settle the bill and waved to Steve.
Steve was in awe at how deftly Tony maneuvered them out of the club. Somehow the crowd parted around him, although Tony stopped on occasion to say hello, shake a hand, and take a cell phone picture. Finally they were outside the club, Tony still holding Steve’s hand. They began to make their way back towards Steve’s hotel.
In the quiet of the hallways, Steve’s head started to clear. He felt intoxicated by Tony. Tony never paused in talking. He talked about why he was in Las Vegas, what his friends were up to, and whatever came to him. Steve smiled the entire time. Tony’s hand was large and warm in Steve’s. And as they walked, Tony leaned in closer, almost leaning his head on Steve’s shoulder.
Steve wanted the walk back to the hotel to last forever but in all too short a time they were standing in front of Steve’s room. Tony announced, “This is where I kiss you, sweetheart,” and pulled Steve into a kiss. Steve completely surrendered, responding to Tony with enthusiasm. He wrapped his arms around Tony, catching the scent of his cologne. The kiss became hotter and wetter, especially when Tony moved one hand to rest on Steve’s waist, the other stroking and caressing over Steve’s back and down to his ass. Then Tony’s fingers slid under the waistband of Steve’s pants. He broke away from Steve’s mouth to kiss along Steve’s chin, jaw, and neck, eventually mouthing the sweet spot between neck and shoulder. Pausing afterwards, he looked up at Steve through his dark lashes and smiled lasciviously.
The bottom fell out of Steve’s stomach. Even though he had started thinking of what Tony might look like, naked, in his bed, Steve had to end it here. He was too close to drunk and Tony did not look entirely sober himself. Steve disentangled himself from Tony, earning a series of disappointed noises. “Um, thanks for a great evening, Tony.”
Experienced as he was, Tony sensed immediately that Steve was intent on putting an end to the evening’s activities. He tried to pull Steve into an embrace. “Come on, gorgeous, you won’t regret a thing. I’m totally worth it,” he purred.
Steve felt like the worst person in the world. “I’ve got to call it a night, Tony. I had too much to drink and --”
Tony laughed. “You could never tell, Steve, still look great.”
Steve actually felt himself blush. He pressed a chaste kiss to Tony’s forehead. “Thanks again.”
With obvious regret Tony patted his arm. “See you around, blondie.” He blew Steve a kiss as he turned to leave.
Steve watched him go before swiping his card to open the door. He knew he might regret turning Tony down, but he still had to live with himself. After all, he barely knew Tony. They had only just met and Steve was definitely not a one-night-stand kind of guy.
When it was time to check out, Steve and his friends, all a little worse for wear, gathered up their luggage and went down to the registration desk to settle the bill. Peggy wanted to know why they were not charged for their cabana. The desk clerk said that the cabana had been comped and they were not going to be charged for it.
For some reason, although mostly from embarrassment, Steve had decided not to tell his friends about finding Tony in the cabana. Or that he spent time at the nightclub with Tony. Bucky not catching up with them until early afternoon had distracted his friends from asking what Steve was up to after they left him behind. Steve was left to wonder if Tony had something to do with the cabana charge.
As the clerk worked through splitting up their charges and swiping credit cards, Steve looked around the lobby. A rather large entourage of people and luggage started to move through the lobby. Again it was Tony in the middle, flanked by a tall, redheaded woman with a tablet. Tony was dressed very fashionably in a designer suit and fancy sunglasses. His wild hair had been styled.
Maya elbowed Sam. “That’s Tony Stark.”
“Tony Stark?” Peggy asked, craning around trying to see the famous Tony Stark. “Someone at the club mentioned he was staying here.”
Steve freaked out quietly as he realized that his Tony was Tony Stark, the Tony Stark, CEO of Stark Industries, darling of the gossip pages and entertainment news shows. He really, really hoped that he was not blushing so that his friends would not ask questions that he did not know how to begin to answer.
Then Maya asked, “Oh, wasn’t he just in the news for being found in a hotel room with three lingerie models? The pictures were all over the internet and left nothing to the imagination.”
“Yeah, I saw that too.” Peggy shook her head. “He’s really very attractive. But I think you’d have to dip him in penicillin for six months before you slept with him.”
Steve looked over at Tony, now joking easily around with the people he was with. He was not sure how he felt now knowing who Tony was. His decision to turn Tony down was obviously a good one though, based on his friends’ comments.
Bucky poked him to say they were ready to go. And then they were off to McCarran International for sad goodbyes and long flights back to New York and other far-off places.