Finding Elvis Ch. 01byWine_Maker©
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Chapter One: A Rude Awakening
I hated not knowing how I'd gotten someplace, but that's how I woke up in a Vegas shower. My name is Shauna Hawkins, or as I preferred, Hawk, and I'm a Lieutenant in the Homicide Division of the Houston Police Department in Texas. Not that I was in Houston, or in uniform, when I woke up, mind you. Closing my eyes, I tried to remember what I could.
I remembered coming to Vegas last week for a vacation my captain had "suggested," and I found the place was all it was cracked up to be, and a lot less than what I expected. Vegas was a huge contrast between high class and low life. Anything you wanted you could get, and it showed. Bright, fast and decadent: I loved it all and did it all, without doing anything illegal.
This vacation wasn't just your normal trip. The last week had been hell back in Houston. Ted Stansbury, Lisa Davis and I met, which was great, though it was in the worst possible way. Someone had tried to kill Lisa, and had killed her best friend, blowing up Lisa's car in front of both Lisa and Ted. I turned Ted and Lisa's budding relationship into a threesome when I poked my nose into the mix. The last few days had involved running for our lives and finding killers. I still wasn't sure how one white separatist group could infiltrate so many levels of the local governments back home without someone noticing. To my mind, there had to be more people still at work that hadn't been uncovered yet, but thankfully it wasn't my job to look into that mess. The Texas Rangers would get to sort that out.
We'd hit all the big casinos and the famous Strip. Party-goers thronged the streets having a grand time. We didn't do anything very strenuous for a couple of days so that Ted could get back up to speed. He'd been pretty banged up in the mess down in Houston last week. Then we decided to have a big night out on the town and see what we could find to do while getting totally trashed but without getting arrested.
Perhaps it wasn't the best idea we'd ever had. At least, that was my thought as I sat in the shower. I felt like I had been run over by a truck and the bathroom reeked of worship to the porcelain god. Actually, I smelled that way, too. I groaned and pulled myself to my feet slowly. I was mostly dressed but my shoes and underwear were missing. My dress was messy, but mostly intact. I licked my lips and tasted pussy, so I must have gotten lucky. Lisa, I assume. Inside, I felt very, very moist. Ted must have really given me a good ride.
I shook my head. It was still very strange how I, a life-long lesbian, had fallen even this far for a man. Life was stranger than fiction, I guess. As a lesbian, I had been with women, but never a man. Ted had changed that. Not that I was more interested in that than a fine woman like Lisa. It was just that my horizons had been expanded. While we were fighting and running for our lives, we grew closer and it just clicked. Her more than him, I admit, but I was developing a growing relationship with both of them. Mostly Lisa, but Ted to a lesser degree, had managed to attract me enough to overcome my ingrained aversion to men, and that still left me unbalanced. What I couldn't lose sight of was that I was simply a guest in their relationship. I could tell that they loved each other and the desire to find a woman of my own was again starting to poke at my surface thoughts, conflicting with the desire to keep getting closer to them. I hadn't felt that way since my last steady left me to start a family three years ago. Whatever happened, I didn't want to spoil our friendship and this didn't feel serious.
As I climbed to my feet, I started to wonder why I was in the shower, but then shrugged. It was anyone's guess. I stripped slowly and carefully, holding onto the wall to keep the room from spinning. Turning on the water, I soaked my pounding head and scrubbed the worst of the stench off of me. I thought I had learned this lesson in college; hangovers should be avoided at all costs. I had only the very vaguest of memories of last night. Lots of drinking and walking (staggering really) up and down streets. Various clubs, cabs and throbbing music. And... I rubbed my head. And Lisa in a white dress. I bolted upright in the shower. A wedding dress! Why was I remembering Lisa in a wedding dress?
Still soapy, I turned off the water and slid into a robe before going into the main room. One of the two beds was still neatly made and the other was torn all to hell. Multiple limbs lay about the bed, tangled in the sheets. A woman's hand was on top with a gold ring on her wedding finger. Shit.
"Lisa. Ted. Wake up." I called out in a voice that made my head pound. Groans came from under the covers. I grabbed the duvet and flipped it back. Ted and Lisa were both partially naked and tangled together. She lay on top of him, her long blonde hair spread over his muscular torso. Ted had a ring on his finger, too. Double shit.
"Wake up." I shook them and they groaned. "I'm not kidding. Wake up." Nada. I pulled a mostly empty bottle of champagne from an ice bucket and set it down. Then I dumped the ice water on them. That did the trick. With screams, yells, and creative curses, both scrambled out of bed.
"What the hell was that about, Hawk?" Lisa moaned, grabbing her head. Ted didn't even try to speak, he just held his head as though it would fall off.
"Look at your hands. Both of you."
Lisa looked at her hands and focused in on the ring with a bit of confusion. "Where the hell did that come from?" Ted didn't seem to grasp the meaning of the ring either.
"I don't know, but I remember seeing you in a wedding dress last night," I said. "Did we visit one of those speedy chapels?"
Lisa blinked at me owlishly. "I don't know," she said. "I don't really remember much after we started clubbing. God, my head's pounding. I've never had so much to drink."
I reached into the bed and picked up a used condom, with the end split, and tossed it into the trash. "Ted? How about you tell us what happened last night?" I asked.
He pulled himself together, though he was still staring at the ring. "I don't remember, either." He looked at Lisa. "Did we get married?"
Lisa picked up a towel and scrubbed her face. "I dunno, but I think the real question is who got married?" Ted and I looked at her, confused, until she grabbed my hand and put it in front of my face.
I stared at the same style gold ring as they wore, snuggled onto my own ring finger. Triple shit!
"Hold it," Ted said. "Let's not get carried away, okay?" He scrubbed his face with his hands. "I need to shower and then I need to eat. Then we can figure out what we did last night. Care to join me, Lisa?"
Lisa waved him on. "Go ahead. I need to sit down and think. I'll shower in a few minutes." She dropped onto the edge of the bed.
I sat down beside her and put my hand on her knee. "Lisa, this doesn't mean anything. I don't care if this is Vegas, you can't get married if you're drunk off your ass."
She looked up at me, her face a mask of uncertainty. "But, Hawk, I can see myself marrying Ted. I know it hasn't been very long since I met him, but I feel like I've known him forever. Even if I was drunk when it happened." She looked down at my hand. "And if I did, I don't know that I would want to back out, but what if it was you? I know you like Ted, but I can't see you marrying him. Not enough estrogen."
I laughed and instantly regretted it as my head began throbbing again. "Ohhh, jeeze. Yeah, I'm afraid as much as I like him, or you for that matter, it wouldn't happen. You're too in love with each other and I'm not that into men, even if it is fun with Ted. In my heart I know that if I ever fall in love again it will be with a woman. I just don't have the same kind of emotional connection with men. That's what comes from a lifetime of loving women. I like Ted, but I don't love him. You do." Inside, I examined the emotions our relationship brought up and was satisfied I was right. I didn't love Ted. I didn't even love Lisa. Well, I loved them as friends, but that was different. I was comfortable with them.
Lisa looked relieved, though she tried to hide it. I could see that she didn't want or need someone mucking up her relationship with Ted, and I had no intention of doing that to them. Sexual relationships formed in stressful situations usually don't last, but I wanted to keep the friendship, no matter how long we continued to have sex as a threesome.
"Don't stress, Kid. If it happened, I'll have it annulled faster than the Houston Texans can lose a football game," I said with a grin. "It's better odds on you and Ted getting married than me and him." I stood up and began gathering my remaining clothes. I found my shoes and underwear beside the bed and got them all together. The shoes went into the closet, the clothes into a trash bag for washing. I stood for a moment, looking at myself in the mirror. I saw long black hair and a body that was slim and muscular to the point of being more girlish than womanly. For the millionth time I wished I had bigger tits and then grinned. Where I would put them when I wasn't using them?
Lisa padded into the bathroom to clean up with Ted, and to talk privately about the situation. That was okay. I was a guest in their relationship and they had every right to be worried about this marriage thing.
I had best start getting to the bottom of this. We had been toasted last night so there would no doubt be a wealth of clues around to help us sort out where we had been. God knows I'd investigated enough crimes to know just how big a trail drunks tend to leave behind, no matter how clever they think they are. We hadn't been trying to hide anything, I'm sure, so I should be able to reconstruct our trail.
Searching around the room, as well as purses and wallets, turned up several items of interest: a memory stick for a computer (of which we had none), a matchbook from a club ironically named Memory Lane, and a receipt from Zales for three wedding bands. I whistled at the cost and the fact that the purchase had taken place at two in the morning. An all-night Zales? Only in Vegas. I set the evidence on the dresser and took a few minutes to ring up room service.
"Front desk," a young sounding man said.
"Hi, this is room 236. Do you folks have a morning after kit?" I asked.
I could hear a whisper of humor in his response. "As in a hangover remedy? As a matter of fact, we do. Water, aspirin and vitamin C. I'll have some brought up, if you like. Breakfast, too? Something light?"
"Make it for three, cure and food. Thanks." I hung up and went into the bathroom, making enough noise so I wouldn't be spying on them. It turned out that they were already toweling off.
"I ordered something for the pain and a light breakfast we can either eat or not. Ted, look, I realize that I'm a third wheel in this triangle and I don't want to lose our friendship."
He held up his hand and covered my lips. "You don't need to say anything, we'll sort this out. I like you, but I love Lisa. If it starts to be a problem, we can step back to just being friends, right? You can, too, and we won't be upset. Right, Lisa?"
With a sigh of relief, she nodded emphatically. "I have to admit that I feel really uncomfortable -- hell, worried -- with the idea that you two might have gotten married." Lisa held up a hand to silence my attempt at speech. "I know that it doesn't seem likely, but I want to be honest."
I nodded. "I can appreciate that. Say the word and I back off and we get platonic, okay? I need to finish my shower. I'll be out when I feel human again, so start eating without me."
As they went back into the main room to dress, I dropped my robe and stepped into the shower, turning the water up to the hottest temperature I could tolerate. I stood under the pelting heat, letting my mind clear.
Ted was right. This wasn't a life-ending crisis for any of us, but I was disturbed that I might have ever been drunk enough to get married to a man at all. That pointed out to me that I needed to re-evaluate who I was and what I really wanted out of life. I didn't give my word to anything lightly even when I was drunk. I had never felt so comfortable or relaxed around a hetero couple like this before. I had to be very careful if we were to get out of this as friends if, or when, we tired of the physical pleasures. This was complex and I had better keep my eye on the ball.
When I finally couldn't take the heat any more, I turned the temperature down and gave myself another good soapy scrubbing. Considering what I had looked like when I woke up, I decided to wash my hair, too. It would take a while to dry, but I bet people would appreciate me not smelling like stale booze and worse. Once I was done, I wrapped my hair in a towel and dried off. I slipped my robe back on and went into the bedroom.
Room service had put in an appearance while I was out. Toast, eggs and juice were set out on the table and both of my lovers were already eating. A large glass of water and some pills were set beside my plate. I sat down and swallowed the pills and drank my water. I didn't know if I could finish all of my breakfast, but I had to eat something.
Ted looked a bit more human than Lisa did, or than I felt for that matter. He looked at me over his toast. "I thought our sleuthing if days were over. Guess I thought wrong. So, Hawk, what do we do first?"
"The first thing we do," I said, sopping up my egg yolk with toast, "is not get carried away. I'm sure that nothing irrevocable happened. We just need to figure out where we went and what we did.
Lisa nodded. "And then what?"
"Then, I track us down. We have some clues to work with already." I gestured to the receipt for the rings and memory card. "I looked through our purses and your wallet. Nothing convenient, like a license. We'll need a computer to look at the memory card. Since I can't imagine we found a computer to haul around, it's probably from a camera. Pictures should clear this up even more. I bet the front desk can point us in the right direction."
Ted looked at the clock on the dresser. "This town is awake all the time, but the people that were out late might not be up for a while. And don't forget we have to fly back to Houston tomorrow. So, that really doesn't leave us a lot of time to find answers."
"Yeah, but let's give it a try before we give up," I said. "Eat up so we can get moving."
We finished eating and dressed for a walk around town. I snagged up the receipt and memory card. When we made it to the posh lobby, I waved the card at the desk clerk. "Morning, Sport. I need to check this card for pictures. Can you point me to where I can get a computer to read it?"
He politely pointed out into the street. "Turn left and go up two blocks, Miss. There is a CVS Pharmacy that has a machine that reads them and lets you print the pictures you want."
"Thanks!" With that, I led the trio out and into the street. The traffic was light and the foot traffic was even lighter.
"Looks like this town sleeps in," Lisa said, smiling at the doorman.
"Yes, Ma'am. This place won't get rolling until dinnertime." He tipped his hat to us.
"Excuse me, who would have been on the door last night, late. Say a couple of hours before dawn?" I asked.
"That'd be Tim Weatherspoon, ma'am. He'll be back on shift again tonight at midnight."
The air wasn't nearly as thick as the stuff we breathe in Houston, so the walk was rather enjoyable. Ted and Lisa had their arms around each other and I walked beside them. The CVS was impossible to miss. We strolled inside and to the photo department. As advertised there was a machine to check the card for pictures.
I slid the card into the machine and it brought up thumbnails of about two dozen pictures. Damned if it didn't look like a wedding to me. I had it print them all so we could look at them more closely.
Ted and Lisa crowded around as the pictures began printing.
"Oh, shit," Lisa said, seeing herself in a wedding gown. "Where the hell did I find a wedding gown in the middle of the night? And what did I do with it? It's not in the room."
Ted looked at another picture incredulously. "Is the minister dressed like Elvis? We were married by The King?"
When all the pictures were printed, it sure looked like a wedding to me. Ted and Lisa's. I let out the breath that I'd secretly been holding. Ring aside, it looked like I hadn't gotten hitched after all. Whew! That should make Lisa feel a lot better.
"Yeah, it sure looks that way," I said grinning. "I think I was the bridesmaid. I told you, Lisa, I'm going to find some nice woman to bowl over. Ted is your man, and yours alone. You want your ring back, Ted? Polygamy is illegal, you know."
Ted rolled his eyes. "Keep it as a keepsake and when you do find that nice, quiet woman I'll laugh my ass off."
Lisa slapped his arm. "That's not funny, Ted!"
He raised his hands in self-defense. "Okay! I take it back! I'll just laugh the next time she gets sideswiped by something she never saw coming." Then he laughed. "Well, now what? The jewelry store or shall we start interviewing Elvises?"
"The jewelry store might be easier. We may have to come back tonight to catch someone that saw us."
We paid for the prints and made our way back to the hotel. The desk clerk called us a cab and we drove to the address on the receipt. Ted had the cab wait for us. The store was a swanky place. A man in an expensive suit met us at the door.
"Hello, my name is Charles. How may I help you?"
"Yeah," I said. "I need to know which salesperson helped us with a purchase we made last night." I handed him the receipt.
Charles looked it over and handed it back. "That looks like Carl Daniels' employee number. Is there a problem?"
I smiled. "You could say that. My friends apparently got married and don't remember it. We're trying to trace our movements last night and we may have mentioned it to him. When does he come back on shift?"
He smiled, but it was restrained. "Actually, this isn't the first time I've heard a story like this. A number of people come in under the influence and purchase wedding rings. What's odd is that it looks like you bought three rings." He quirked an eyebrow. "Care to enlighten me about that?"
"Yeah, well, I don't really know. Ask me when I figure it out." I responded.
"Of course. Come with me. I'll check the schedule to see when Carl's back on shift while we take care of this."
He checked a clipboard behind the counter and nodded. "It looks like Carl clocked out at eight am and will be back tonight at midnight. I'll call him after he has had some sleep and see if I can get you an answer before then. Do you have a number where I can reach you?"
"Call and leave a message for us at our hotel," Ted said and gave him the number. "Leave a message for Ted Stansbury."
"Of course, Mister Stansbury. Is there anything else I can assist you with?"
"Do you know of any chapels where people get married by Elvis?" Ted asked.
Charles tilted his head back and laughed. "This is Las Vegas, Mister Stansbury. There are hundreds of them scattered across the city. Can you be more specific?"
Ted slid the pictures across to him and the man examined them before shaking his head. "I wish I could help you, but I'm afraid I don't know the gentleman. He does look like The King, though. The thin King."
Ted scowled, but he didn't really mean it. "Thanks for your help."