tagRomanceNothing Left to Lose

Nothing Left to Lose


(A bit late for Valentine's Day, but then it never really is too late!)

Sharon and Effie sat in the break room at the Whitehorse Pike Wawa, sharing a bag of chips. Just then, there was a knock at the break room door. A cherubically beautiful woman with a round face, tawny skin, big brown eyes and curly silver hair stood in the doorway. The woman was dressed in a smart looking uniform had four bouquets of long stemmed, red roses. Each of the bouquets of roses were cunningly arranged with sprays of baby's breath and delicate fans of fern, wrapped in white tissue paper and red cellophane then lovingly tied in a big bow of red velvet ribbon. "I have a delivery for Sharon?"

Sharon looked at short, voluptuous woman then at the woman's jacket, which was embroidered with a name: 'Daniela.'

Sharon and Effie came to the door. There they saw a tall slightly effeminate looking young deliveryman with a pudgy smiling face, long un-kept, but still curly silver hair, placing similar bouquets of long stemmed red roses on top of the sandwich counter.

Sharon looked at Effie then at Daniela and murmured "I am Sharon_"

Daniela smiled indulgently as she placed the bouquets down on the table then held out a plastic, arrow shaped pen and her clipboard. "I am very pleased to meet you Sharon; sign here_"

Sharon looked at the little arrow shaped pen and hesitated, "Um, what is all of this and who you are_"

Daniela smiled, "All of this is a small symbol of the undying love of_ well, my goodness would you look at that: the manifest doesn't say; anyway, if you would kindly sign right next to your name?"

It began to dawn on Sharon that there were more bundles of flowers than two delivery people could carry. Sharon hesitated for another moment as the young deliveryman came to the doorway, "Um, I think that that's it; are we ready?"

Sharon read the name that was embroidered on the tall, somewhat un-kept young man's jacket: 'Dan Jr.'

Dan Jr. looked past Sharon to the break room table, "Ooh, chips! Hey are you gonna finish those?"

Daniela smoothly cut in, "We're almost ready; we can buy our own chips on the way out just as soon as Sharon signs for the delivery."

Dan Jr. took off his cap and looked at Sharon. He extended his hand, "The Sharon?"

Daniela rolled her eyes, "Of course this is The Sharon; try to keep up, at least read the delivery manifests occasionally!"

Dan Jr. shook Sharon's hand hesitantly, "I haven't seen the old man so happy in_"

Daniela quickly elbowed Dan Jr. in the gut to cut him off, "Yes, we have already established that someone is head over heels in love with Sharon. Now, I hate to rush you Sharon, but this is one of our busiest days of the year, so if you would please_"

Sharon took the clipboard and read the company name at the top: 'Dan Cupid's Floral Creations.' Then she scanned down the list of names, her own name appeared near the bottom of the page.

Suddenly, as Sharon was about to take the proffered pen from Daniela, Sharon heard Phillip, the store manager call out loudly.

"Oh, my God in heaven; what is this, a convenience store, or a funeral parlor? Who put these flowers all over my sandwich counter? How am I supposed to do any business with all of these_"

Dan Jr. quickly whipped out his own little red plastic arrow shaped pen and reached back, tapping Phillip on the chest. Dan Jr. winked to Sharon, "That one is on the house, now if this is going to take a while_"

Sharon motioned to the half eaten bag of potato chips on the table and Dan quickly moved to grab a handful.

Phillip stood half way in the vacated doorway looking dazed. Suddenly he seemed to come somewhat back to himself, "Um Sharon, Effie, have you seen Enrique?"

Effie replied slowly, "Enrique should be just finishin' restockin' de soda in de refrigerator by now."

Philip smiled enthusiastically and sighed, "Enrique!"

Dan Jr. munched and sighed, "Mmmm: Salt and Vinegar!"

Phillip trilled, "Would you send Enrique to my office please?" Then he sashayed back to his office and closed the door.

Daniela smiled, "_and you must be Effie." Daniela gently tapped Effie with her pen.

Effie blinked then squealed excitedly, "Oh! I HAVE GOT to go and call my NELSON!"

Sharon watched as Effie ran off like a schoolgirl to find her cell phone.

A voice came from just outside of the doorway, "Ekcuse me, deed I heerd somebody callin' for me?"

Daniela grimaced and impatiently whipped her pen out past the door jamb, tapping Enrique on the chest. "Enrique; Manager's office, right now; shut the door after yourself."

Enrique shuddered then smiled dreamily, "Ay dios mio! My Pheelep wants me!"

Daniela winked to Sharon as Enrique skipped the few steps to Philips office, "Now Sharon if you would please_"

Sharon took the pen and looked up at Daniela, "You are Daniela Cupid?"

Daniela corrected pleasantly, "Well 'Dan' is just an old title of respect and 'Cupidino;' is Italian; so if you would, please_"

Sharon let her hand hover over the empty line next to her name. "But 'Cupidino;' that doesn't actually sound_"

Daniela sighed, "It was originally from the Greek, but let's not worry about that for now_"

Sharon ruminated, "And if I sign_"

Daniela completed the thought, "_then you accept this shipment, which represents the undying love of your secret admirer, for only you."

Dan Jr. held another handful of chips in front of his mouth and chuckled, "Why are we beating around the bush here?"

Daniela smiled indulgently and intoned, "You're not helping; sometimes a woman simply can't be rushed!"

Dan Jr. wiped a greasy hand on his uniform and conceded, "True, but when I fall for one of them, I want a real goddess!" Dan Jr. flicked his hand towards the clipboard.

Sharon looked down and saw the name just below her own. "Kim Kardashian?"

Daniela looked at Dan Jr. reproachfully, "What would possess you to use the 'g'-word? Do you WANT for your Grand Mother to get her panties all up in a bunch again?"

Dan Jr. reasoned, "Well that's what the magazine_"

Daniela interrupted, "Never mind what the magazine said, do you really think that you have anything that even looks like a shot with the Kim Kardashian that they show in those magazines?"

Dan Jr. sulked, "Well if he can get someone like Sharon, I can get_"

Daniela scolded, "That's just the point: A real, honest lover doesn't want to 'get' someone like Sharon or like Kim. He offers his undying love and he hopes that his beloved will return her love to him!"

Sharon interrupted, "Um, I don't want to seem ungrateful, but if I could meet this 'secret admirer' first, so that I might give him my answer in person?"

Daniela looked truly taken aback, "Well of course Sharon, if you aren't certain_"

Sharon protested, "No, no, I just think that it would be best if met him and I told him in person."

Daniela beamed proudly, "Do you see this? This is the difference between the love of a real woman and some magazine editor's 'Flavor of the Month!'"

Daniela cupped Sharon's face and smiled warmly, "Of course Sharon; we will deliver the flowers to his room at Harrah's Resort. Just go to the bar at Harrah's tonight to meet him."

Dan Jr. got up and mumbled sullenly, "It could still happen_"

Daniela soothed, "Sure; sure it could. Now, why don't you go grab another bag of chips; we still have a long evening ahead of us!"

Sharon chuckled as she wiped down her work station. Sharon always enjoyed this part of her shift the best. Not only could she ignore the several late day customers and let the sandwich makers who were taking over for the evening shift worry about things for a half an hour, but she got to spend a little extra time with Effie. Then Sharon would go back home all alone to her studio apartment to wrap herself up in her snuggie and her fuzzy slippers then curl up with a good book.

Sharon pulled the bag from the first of the two trash cans and tied it. She shook her head: "Effie, you can't be serious! The last time that I even worried about Valentine's Day and 'Secret Admirers,' or any of that nonsense, I was just a girl!"

Effie paused and rested her knuckles on her hip while she raised an eyebrow, "Well, den it's 'bout time girl; time to put away those trashy 'Romance' novels of yours! You don't see none of us gettin' no younger. It be time to go out and get you some o' what you only read 'bout! Now, I want you to promise: tonight you will get all up in your nicest dress an' you will go to dat casino until dat handsome young man comes to buy you a drink!"

Sharon tied off the second bag and gently chided, "Oh, it's just that easy! I go out and pick up some stranger, while you go home and have a nice cozy evening in the arms of your husband Nelson!"

Effie playfully snapped her towel at Sharon "Don't you change de subject to what I do wit my Man! We are talkin' bout you_"

Sharon picked up the empty condiment pots and led the way to the walk-in refrigerator while she pursed her lips, "Effie, seriously, look at me: I'm forty-two, divorced, I make sandwiches for minimum wage, I can hardly afford my rent even when Rob sends my alimony checks on time! I can't afford to go out to a fancy club_ and besides, any single man who is going out tonight will be looking for a much younger, much more attractive woman_

Anyway, I'm free now, why would I want to complicate my life with a man?"

Effie followed Sharon into the refrigerator and let the door close as she scolded, "Sharon McGee! Don't you be talkin' bout bein' free an nobody bein' out there lookin' for you! An' I am tired of that man o' mine wondrin' who's busy lovin' you up!"

Effie glared in a mock warning. "I promise you girl: it will not go easy, if tonight of all nights, I have to share my man's attention wit some skinny little white girl like you! Now here is what you are gonna do_"

Sharon smiled as she changed gloves and started to retrieve the fresh condiment pots for the new shift. "Yes mother; I will go out tonight until some handsome stranger sweeps me off my feet and makes my life as wonderful as your great big teddy-bear, Nelson makes yours!"

Effie took out a pen and a twenty dollar bill; she wrote her name on the bill. She quickly folded the bill. "Dat's right! Plus, you will take no money but this_ an' Wednesday, you will give it back to me_"

Effie sniffed in answer to Sharon's look of disbelief. Then Effie hooked a finger in top of Sharon's Wawa issue polo shirt and stuffed the twenty dollar bill deep in-between Sharon's breasts, "Shut your mouth girl! Everybody knows dat pretty girls like us don't need to buy drinks for demselves! You jest hold on to dis an' Wednesday, you show me what you make of my investment!"

Sharon lingered in the lady's room just outside of Club Xhibition inside the Casino at Harrah's Resort: the most exciting, highest class club in perhaps the most wonderfully appointed Casino Resort in all of Atlantic City.

Sharon nervously took out her lipstick to touch up her lips. Then she took inventory again. Sharon saw small bags under her sparkling coal black eyes. She also noticed that her eyes were now marred by new crow's feet_ Sharon pouted as she looked at the worry lines that were growing deeper around her mouth where her dimples used to be.

Sharon shook out her curly black hair and saw that once again that her trusty, twenty years old little blue dress, hugged all of her curves; brazenly presenting her breasts like two ripe, succulent golden apples, swaddled seductively in blue lace straps and sequins; just as it had the night that she first met Rob.

Slightly annoyed, Sharon shoved the thought of her philandering Ex-husband out of her mind. She looked down past the mid thigh lace hem to what she knew to be her best feature, her smooth, shapely legs then she grimaced at the beginnings of the tiny telltale varicose veins and then the un-manicured fingers of her calloused hands_

Suddenly, a gaggle of girls, all at least twenty years Sharon's junior entered. Sharon noticed immediately how their orange-tinged spray tans all seemed to clash with the bright colors of their fashionable cocktail dresses.

Sharon frowned as the young floosies that weren't rocking unsteadily on their stiletto heels as they fussed with their overly poufed hair-dos, were busy slapping each other's rumps, or stuffing straying silicone enhanced boobs back into place.

The girls all stopped as one and looked dismissively at the middle-aged woman in the hopelessly outdated cocktail dress. They stifled their giggles and began making comments about all of the attractive, young, wealthy men that were vying for their attentions tonight. The girls all trooped off as one to the far end of the washroom, giggling and whispering as they began to freshen up their make up; getting themselves ready for "Round Two."

Sharon determinedly checked her look one last time. She pouted sexily then smiled to herself. She quickly put her lipstick away, fixed on her most confident smile and made for the exit. She strode out and instantly turned to walk her way around the circular hotel-casino lobby to the front entrance of the bar. She looked at the young couples dancing to the thumping, loud, unfamiliar music. They were drinking and laughing as Sharon passed rows of Club Xhibition's red and orange felt covered gaming tables.

Sharon passed the main entrance to the club, thinking: 'This is silly! I can't go in there; I'd look ridiculous; I'd be the oldest person in the place!'

Sharon kept on walking passed the circular club's gaming tables, towards the side entrance. She absently opened her clutch and grabbed the folded twenty dollar bill that Effie had given her. She thought: 'One drink. I'll just go into the side entrance, sit at the bar and buy myself a drink. I'll have one drink then I can go home!'

Sharon walked past the side entrance, watching the young men and women as they flirted, drank, danced and made their Valentine Eve hook-ups. Suddenly, Sharon bumped into a table and found herself wedged between two tall bar-chairs. She looked back at the club, put her twenty dollar bill onto the green felt covered bar and slid into a bar-stool.

A woman's voice gently snapped Sharon back to reality. "I'm sorry Ma'am, this is a Fifty dollar minimum table."

Sharon swiveled her head around and noticed the green blackjack layout and stared wide-eyed at the blackjack dealer.

During the uncomfortable silence, a man's hand reached over from Sharon's left and dropped two green twenty-five dollar chips into the circle in front of her then he snatched the twenty dollar bill away. A deep, calm, manly voice intoned: "It's all right Decima, the Lady would like to try her luck."

Sharon glanced at the dealer's name plate and immediately tried to shrink into the cushy seat. As Sharon stared at the chips, Decima started to deal the cards.

Sharon looked blankly at the ten-card and the six-card in front of her. She groaned softly and she realized that not only had she just lost Effie's money, but she didn't have any idea how to play this game!

The man asked as Decima finished dealing the hands: "May I buy a drink for you?"

Sharon bit her lip, tucked her head and nodded. She desperately grabbed the highball glass that stood on a napkin to her left and drank it all down. She immediately shut her eyes and fought to swallow down the Scotch and Soda.

The man hesitated for a moment then said: "Em, that will be two more please; Scotch and Soda."

After another uncomfortable silence, the man spoke again, "The Lady will stand; I'll take a hit here."

Sharon finally got a hold of herself and realized that stupidly, she had finished off the man's drink. She looked over at him for the first time and watched as the man, with the handsome face and the most distinguished salt and pepper hair, continued to play the three hands that he had in front and on either side of him. When he had finished, he turned back to Sharon and smiled a confident and friendly smile. He winked one light blue eye before he turned his gaze to the dealer hand.

The dealer flipped up a queen next to her five card and promptly dealt herself a nine card. The dealer declared: "Dealer breaks."

The dealer retrieved black chips and promptly paid the man two, one hundred dollar chips for each of his three hands. Then she took two green twenty-five dollar chips, adding them beside Sharon's two chips.

The man smiled and confided, "I think that we should leave it all up; what would you think?"

Sharon nodded dumbly as the man stacked his chips up on the three spots then waited politely. Sharon awkwardly stacked the four chips together in her circle.

The dealer efficiently dealt out the new hand.

Sharon looked down on her Ace-ten.

Sharon looked around to see the man smiling broadly as the dealer dealt herself a nine-card. The dealer called out "Blackjack!"

The dealer immediately retrieved one black and two green chips, placing them next to Sharon's one hundred dollar stack.

A waitress arrived with two drinks and the man gave her a green chip. Then the man calmly played out his hands and waited for the dealer to play out hers.

Sharon took her drink and nervously began to drink.

The dealer flipped up a seven then dealt herself a six.

The man breathed a sigh of relief as the dealer called out "Dealer breaks."

The man picked up his drink and smiled indulgently as Sharon finished her drink, "Er, um, hi, please call me George."

Sharon smiled, shook George's hand and murmured, "Sharon."

George looked at Sharon with a gentle concern, "Is everything all-right Sharon?"

Sharon breathed deeply, gathered her newfound courage and smiled winningly, "Why yes George; everything simply is wonderful!"

George stood and smiled warmly as he picked his drink up, "Well then Sharon, perhaps we might cash these chips in and go for a stroll, maybe go and get something to eat?"

The dealer politely noted, "I'm sorry Sir, I'll have to ask you to keep your drink at the table; or go to the club."

George put the drink back down and apologized to the dealer as Sharon placed her hand on Dan's arm. George looked into Sharon's dark, sparkling eyes.

Sharon smiled widely, "George, why don't we schtay for juscht one more hand?"

George looked uncertainly from Sharon to Decima, "Well, all right, if you would like to sit for another few moments_"

Sharon giddily stacked all of her chips into one stack in her circle as George reduced his three bets to one hand of fifty dollars.

Sharon watched as a ten-card then a seven-card were placed in front of her. She smiled to George, waiting for him to tell her what to do.

George smiled back weakly then he slid two more chips forward to his circle. "The Lady will stay. I'll double."

Sharon looked at the six-card and the five-card in front of Dan.

The dealer dealt George a three-card then she turned over a two-card next to her ten-card.

Sharon watched as the dealer dealt herself a four-card then a six-card.

The dealer called out, "Dealer Breaks."

George looked over to Sharon with a relieved look, as the dealer quickly paid out one hundred dollars to Dan and two hundred and fifty dollars to Sharon.

George suavely took two green chips and slid them to Decima, "Tip for the dealers. Thank you for fine evening. We'd like to color-in now."

Sharon impulsively picked up George's drink as Decima slid a single purple five hundred dollar chip to her. She quickly snatched the chip up and grabbed her clutch purse then she started to chug down the cool, reassuring drink.

As George quickly restacked his green and black chips, Sharon finished George's drink then happily watched George pick up a medium sized stack of purple chips.

George startled as he turned and watched Sharon put down his empty high-ball glass. Without missing another beat, George gently took Sharon's arm and firmly suggested, "Here why don't we go for that walk now Sharon? Have you seen the atrium and the pool club? It's much nicer and quieter than the bar at the club here. We might walk for a little while, or sit; we could even get ourselves something to eat while we talk and watch the people swim?"

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