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What Happens in Vegas
By Kamery Solomon
© Kamery Solomon, 2021
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I’d never really considered that to be true, but if the pounding in my head was directly tied to the city, I’d leave town right now. A drumline was marching around my skull, beating me half to death.
Groaning, I rolled over in bed, keeping my eyes shut tight against the bright light pressing on them. The movement made my stomach roll, a salty flavor spreading across my tongue in an instant. It was as if I’d just spent six months on board a ship and never got my sea legs. With a sudden lurch, I jumped from the warm covers and ran into the bathroom, sending my salutations to the porcelain god.
Thankfully, my suffering only lasted a few minutes. Brief recollections of earlier encounters with the toilet filtered through my memory, making me think I’d already repeated this sequence a couple times through the night. I wasn’t sure exactly how many or what the hell I’d drank that made me so sick. Quite honestly, I didn’t even remember most of what I’d done in the last twelve hours. Even trying to think of it made the headache worse.
Holding my aching head in one hand, I gingerly made my way back to the bed, eyes half-closed. A grateful sigh escaped my chapped lips as I rested back into its soft, white, pillow-covered goodness. Sleep was already tugging at me, promising relief from the onslaught of remorse struggling to break through my drunken haze. Staring at the beautiful chandelier hanging overhead, I let out a long breath and finally surrendered.
With a start, my eyes snapped back open, and I sat up, examining the room. Modern art pieces hung on the walls, a large, flatscreen television built over a low, wooden dresser. Floor to ceiling windows revealed a breathtaking balcony view of the Strip, new sunlight sparkling across the many-faceted buildings below. An egg-shaped chair hung from the ceiling, a few articles of clothing strung across its seat. On the other side of the space, a desk nestled into a cubby, my purse on top. Glancing toward the bathroom, I saw glass doors propped open in front of a pair of sinks. Another entryway led into the toilet.
Panicked, I laid back, pulling the blankets up to my chin. I had no recollection of where I was. It definitely wasn’t my little room in Treasure Island, though. I doubted I could even afford something like this. I’d have had to cash in all my savings, my retirement, and liquidated every asset I owned.
Anxiety growing by the second, I ran my left hand up into my long, brown hair. Confused, I tried to remember what happened last night.
Flashes of walking the Strip with my best friend, Chelsea, filled my mind. We’d bought those giant, alcoholic slushie drinks, wearing them like necklaces and play fighting with the crazy straws as long as our torsos.
As I forced my brain to put aside the hangover and focus, more images came back. We’d stopped to watch a few of the free, outside shows and then stumbled into The Mirage to watch the acrobatic show playing there. Tickets were sold out though, so then we’d. . . What?
I remembered Chelsea laughing so hard she fell out of her chair. There was someone else, though. A man? That was it. I’d met a man at a bar. It was in one of the fancy resorts, set up inside a giant chandelier. I must have had quite a bit more to drink while we were there because getting any kind of memory to surface was a struggle. The stranger in my mind was nothing more than a shadowy smudge whenever I attempted to picture his face.
Sighing, I rubbed a hand over my face, wincing at the bright sunlight. The only comfort I could find for the pain was the cool metal band around my finger brushing against my skin.
Starting, I ripped my hand from my face, eyes growing wide as I stared at the monster-sized diamond ring I was wearing.
Closing my eyes, I shook my hand vigorously, as if it were some hallucination that would disappear when I looked again.
Peeking through my eyelashes, I looked in horror at the rock sparkling in the morning light.
Another thought dawned on me.
Turning as my voice croaked out my dry throat, I looked at the other side of the bed, noticing a lump under the covers for the first time. The figure beneath was completely obscured, a slight breathing motion rustling the blankets.
The smallest memory of an Elvis impersonator officiating a wedding crept into my mind.
And I was pretty sure it had been mine.
It’s Chelsea, I thought to myself firmly, staring at the hidden figure. The two of you went a little wild and ended up here. Frozen, I continued to stare at the anonymous form, suddenly aware that I was stark naked. Those were my clothes in the egg-chair. It didn’t matter how drunk the two of us had been. There was no way that happened.
Fighting the urge to laugh or cry, maybe even both, I dared a poke at the sleeping person.
With a deep breath locked in my lungs, I stood and went to the end of the bed. Gripping the bottom of the sheets, I ripped them from the mattress, ready for the mystery to end.
My throat practically ripped open as the loudest scream I’d ever emitted roared into the air.
Startled, the man I’d been sleeping next to jumped to his feet in a panic. Turning around in circles, his own yells echoed with mine. When we finally locked eyes, silence fell between us.
Words caught in my throat as I stared at the Adonis of my lifetime. His tan skin rippled over perfect muscles, smooth and hair-free except for . . . Gaze turning to his face as I flushed, I took in the dark blond locks of hair brushing his temples. They had a slight curl to them, the sides shorter than the top, sleep tousled and making him look like a man to die for. Hazel eyes examined me with the same kind of confusion I was sure mine bore.
Suddenly, we both realized the other was naked.
Squealing, I pulled the sheets from the floor and wrapped them around my body. The stranger, unable to find anything else, grabbed one of the pillows off the bed and held it.
As our eyes locked again, the man became recognizable to me.
“Oh my god,” I moaned. “Alex? From the bar?”
He blinked, recognition filling his stare. “Sadie?”
I nodded, but something was still niggling in the back of my mind. I knew this guy from more than just last night. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, though.
“What happened?” Alex glanced around, eyes pausing on the various articles of clothing thrown around the room. “Aside from the obvious, I mean.”
Biting my lip, I stared around the space again. There was no question as to whether or not he and I had slept together. Aside from our clothes thrown everywhere, there were handprints—and other impressions—smudged along the windows and on the glass bathroom door. I also spied a couple condom wrappers among the mess.
Well, whatever we did to each other, at least we’d been safe about it.
Focusing, I let out a long breath, trying to recall more of our drunken affair.
“I remember drinking and. . . a wedding?”
His face scrunched together as he nodded, agreeing with me. “God damn it. Yeah, I seem to remember Elvis asking us to recite vows we made up on the spot.”
“That’s right, I’d forgotten about the vows.”
It was coming back, bit by bit. Not the exact conversations and where we’d gone, but it seemed a fair amount of things had occurred between meeting at the bar and getting married. We’d stumbled down the Strip together, watching more of the free shows. Played slots in a casino somewhere. I was fairly certain we’d gotten dollar tacos somewhere, too.
“Where did you say you were from?” I asked, looking over at him. His accent wasn’t thick, but was obviously foreign. It seemed like I’d asked him this already before, but I couldn’t recall his answer.
“Onillia,” he muttered, shoulders slumping.
“Oh.” The awkwardness in the air grew as we danced around the fact that we’d done something supremely cliché and downright stupid. Something else was tugging at my memory, too, but wasn’t quite ready to reveal itself yet.
“Phoenix,” I offered, struggling to connect the dots I was missing. “I don’t know if I told you or not.”
“You did,” he answered. “A primary school teacher, right?”
“Yeah.” “First grade. And you are—”
Suddenly, another memory of Alex formed in my mind. This one wasn’t even from Vegas, though. No, I’d recalled seeing his face on the cover of a couple magazines at the grocery store. He’d been on the news as well. Several of my friends back home followed his family on social media, too. The dots that had been evading me suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree.
“Oh my god!” Clapping a hand over my mouth, I stared at him with wide eyes.
His answering sigh made it obvious he knew he’d been recognized for who he truly was.
“You said something about keeping me safe from your parents,” I mumbled through my fingers, his words helping to dredge my memories.
“Bold of Drunk Me to assume I could.” He sat heavily on the edge of the bed, staring out the window, pillow still covering his privates. “My mom is going to kill me, if my dad doesn’t do it first.”
I didn’t answer, mind still reeling. How had I not recognized him in the bar? I couldn’t recall any point in the night where I realized who I was with. It was pretty impressive that whatever I’d had to drink had obscured the fact I was with a literal crown prince the entire night.
“You’re Prince Alexander of Onillia,” I whispered. “The most eligible bachelor in the world.”
He snorted. “Previously the most eligible bachelor.”
Pulling the sheets up to cover my face, I shook my head. “I am so sorry! I had no idea, I swear!” Uncovering my face, I frowned. “At least, I think I had no idea.”
He shrugged. “Takes two to tango, as they say.” Continuing to stare out the window, his brow furrowed. “Speaking of two, didn’t you have a friend with you?”
Panic surged through me as I remembered Chelsea again. Glancing around the room, I saw my purse on the desk. Going to it, I fished around for my phone, holding the sheets around me with one hand.
My eyebrows raised as I pulled the device into the open and the screen lit up for me. The notification bar was going crazy. Pings announcing a new comment or share from one of my social media accounts rolled in so fast I couldn’t even read what they said.
Unlocking it, I resisted the urge to run to the bathroom and vomit again as I saw what was playing on the screen.
“Alex—uh—Your Highness?” I turned the phone around, showing him the screen.
“Please don’t call me that,” he stated sourly, looking over his shoulder.
The color drained from his face, and he stood, dropping the pillow to the floor. “Is that. . ?”
“We live-streamed our wedding on my account!” I shrieked, body trembling as I realized what this meant.
The entire world knew. Already, the post had more than twenty-thousand shares and close to a million reactions. This wouldn’t be some situation we could quietly sweep under the rug and take care of.
No, it was going to be a very public affair. Drunk Me had made sure of that.
Alex froze for half a second, eyes glued to the screen, and then ran to the bathroom. As he puked his lungs out, I sagged against the desk, watching as comment after comment filled my feed.
What on Earth had we been thinking? No, scratch that—clearly, we had not been thinking. If we had, we wouldn’t be in the situation we were now. I supposed getting an annulment was still an option. However, literally the entire planet’s population would know about it, except maybe those who lived in the rainforest and refused outside contact.
Did they accept immigrants into their population, I wondered?
Aside from that, we’d obviously consummated our marriage. Wasn’t there some archaic law about needing a divorce instead of an annulment once that happened? I didn’t know for sure. It wasn’t like I wanted anything from him, though. Splitting up should be as easy as signing the paperwork, right? Or was his status going to make it a more in-depth process?
Either way, we were both in for a public image nightmare, I was sure.
Grinding my teeth, I glanced toward the bathroom, where the prince was still tossing his cookies. Rather than going straight into panic mode, I felt oddly calm. I dropped the sheets and pulled on my party clothes from the night before. Slipping the dark green dress over my head, I searched for my underwear, unable to find them anywhere.
“I swear to God, I will never drink again,” I muttered, rising from my hands and knees after an unsuccessful exam beneath the mattress.
A buzzing sounded from above, where I’d left my phone. As I stood, I picked it up, looking at who was calling. Seeing my best friend’s name on the screen lessened my anxiety a fraction, and I slid the answer button across the screen before holding it to my ear. “Chelsea?”
“Oh my god, Sadie! Where the hell are you? I woke up in some fancy suite, covered in glitter, and wearing a stripper’s underwear on my head!”
Her words came through both the phone and the closed bedroom door, causing me to let out a long breath. Hearing her voice was solidifying the realness of what was happening. Suddenly, I felt as if I were about to come apart at the seams. “I’m in the same suite,” I whispered. “I can hear you through the door.”
I walked to the entrance, watching as the locked handle began to jiggle.
“Really?” Chelsea’s voice was full of relief.
She hadn’t seen my account yet.
Unlocking the door, I opened it, revealing my best friend standing on the other side. She looked a lot like I felt, her black, sequined dress wrinkled and curly hair practically standing on end. Eyeliner was smudged beneath her eyes, and I could smell her breath without even trying.
“You look like death,” she said, dropping her phone to her side. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good,” I answered, my voice tense.
Chelsea knew me too well to be fooled, though. She looked around me, eyeing the suit pieces on the floor. “Looks like you had some fun with that guy from the bar last night. Where is he?”
She nodded, folding her arms, and met my stare again. We shared a tense moment, and then she started laughing, shrugging her shoulders. “This was not what I envisioned when I said you needed to get away and have some fun.”
I chuckled, agreeing with a nod. “Yeah, not even a little. Did you recognize him last night?”
She raised an eyebrow. “Who, the guy?”
I nodded again, looking over my shoulder as I slid out of the room and closed the door behind me.
Seeing the rest of the suite momentarily distracted me. Wherever we were, it was definitely a lot more upscale than the room I’d started the previous day in. A sitting area was arranged around another television set, followed by a long dining table and another sitting area on the other side. Contemporary art pieces decorated the walls, and a few statues and counter pieces filled in the rest of the space. A full-service kitchen was to my right, complete with fresh fruit and a champagne bottle on ice. The tops of chocolate-covered strawberries littered the rest of the counter. To my horror, my underwear was hanging from one of the cabinet handles.
Blushing, I hurried to them, pulling them off and balling them up in my hand.
“Wow.” Chelsea snickered, looking at the mess as she sauntered over. “You had a lot of fun. All I remember is coming home from the strip show and crashing.”
“We went to a strip show?”
Suddenly, the exit popped open, a few men in suits entering.
Yelping, Chelsea and I jumped together, staring at them with wide eyes.
The group strolled in like they owned the place, eyes sweeping the room. Then, splitting up, one went into what I assumed was the other bedroom. A second wandered into another open doorway.
“Hello,” the third said with a nod. His dark eyes glanced over me, tall form imposing a menacing presence. For a split second, he looked just as likely to pull out a gun and shoot us as he did to offer us a limo downstairs. Then, rough façade melting, he sighed, brushing a strand of his dark hair from his face and giving me a tight smile. “Sadie Miller?”
I swallowed hard, nodding as the door I’d just shut opened, revealing an Alex dressed in nothing but boxers and his button-up shirt from the night before. He’d left it open, showing those incredible abs he was carrying around.
“Sweet Jesus,” Chelsea muttered in awe, holding onto my bicep like she was about to faint from the sight.
“John,” Alex said in surprise, looking at the man who’d addressed me. “I thought it would take you a little longer to track us down.”
“I’ve been a member of your security detail for years,” the guard answered curtly, focusing his attention solely on Alex. “And not to be impolite, sir, but what the fuck?”