I scanned the lobby of the Diamond Mine Hotel Casino in Atlantic City with growing disquiet. Dad promised to wait. If only we could get this whole trip behind us.
Laughter wafted from the casino. Lights and lush carpeting beckoned to those lingering in the cavernous, tiled expanse of the foyer. There should have been a sign over the archway: “Beware, those who enter here, the house always wins.”
I pulled my thoughts from the dire circumstances of my father’s financial future and returned to seek my father instead.
Cubic zirconia draped candelabras guarded the walls of the lobby. Uncomfortable silver gilt benches and frail tables huddled between them, overwhelmed by their glitter. The only other human in the room was the receptionist behind the front desk. She glowered at me as though I would palm one of the ostentatious baubles overflowing from the jeweled fruit bowls.
“Lose something, miss?”
“Yes, my father. He promised to wait for me here.”
“Perhaps he wandered into the casino to pass the time.”
Please, Lord, not that. The debt from his last excursion still smothered our lives.
The elevator chimed its arrival. I turned to watch the door with inane hope.
I glanced at the receptionist again. “Did you see him go toward the bathrooms?”
“I just came on duty, miss, and there was no one here when I arrived.”
The elevator doors opened and a massive security guard stepped out. Black suit, strapping shoulders, and a grim face, he looked the part more than the man who escorted me out of the manager’s office moments ago.
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