I assessed the casino entrance with a grimace. It was the only option. Well, not quite, but there was no way I was asking the security guard to check the men’s room for me. He would give Dad a heart attack. I straightened my shoulders and entered.
Voices and harsh sounds washed over me. I flinched when a slot machine shrieked to life and announced the gambler’s winnings as it spewed coins into a bucket.
Friday evening crowds filtered through the expansive room in clusters. Their attention focused on the felt and wood tables lying like fertile islands in the sea of ebony carpeting. They promised riches if blessed by a whimsical lady named Luck.
Narrowing my eyes against the glittering mirrors and crystal, I searched for a familiar face. I spotted him over at the blackjack tables, a head of pure white hair between a dyed brunette and a pepper. Keeping my eyes on him, I worked my way through the crowd. I tried to recall if he had any money on him to lose.
He had promised to never do this again.
He looked up at me and smiled absently. His rheumy blue eyes lit like a child’s. “Ah, Willow, you finished already?” His fingers clutched and released the chips rhythmically.
“How far are you down?” I scanned the empty table.
I took a breath. If we were careful, we could recover from that. I could work extra hours at the bank.
“Dad, we need to go.”
“Just one more time, sweet.” He smiled. “I can make it back in one …”
I shook my head. “No, Dad, we need to leave.” My eyes fell on the security guard from the lobby. He was watching us. We needed to leave the casino area before someone recognized Dad.
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