Sappho's Amulet Ch. 02bygystex©
CHAPTER TWO: Lucky at Cards
The limousine pulled up in front of the Luxor, and Julie got out to hold the door for me. I emerged from the car and instantly felt the eyes of all the surrounding women upon me. It was almost as if I could feel their desire, see myself through their eyes. I could particularly feel the presence of the pretty chauffeur next to me, and when she took my hand to help me out of the car, I sensed for a moment the same shock that had run through me and my two recent lovers, Sapphire and Nikki.
She did not withdraw her hand, but rather stood there, an eyebrow raised, a smile on her face that might have been amused or seductive. Her eyes were locked on mine, and I could feel a tangible tension in the air.
"Thanks for the ride," I said, to break the silence.
"Yes, of course," she replied evenly. "It was my pleasure."
A sudden, irresistible urge welled up within me, and I leaned forward and kissed her lips. They tasted like sweet honey, and she though she didn't respond she didn't pull away either. The world around us faded, and I felt myself slipping back into that haze of wonderful, all-encompassing lust that I had felt a moment before.
It was Julie who pulled away. Letting go of her made me physically ache, but I did so reluctantly. "Thank you for the ride," I said again.
"Anytime," she whispered.
I turned and walked across the pavement to the casino entrance. As I passed through the revolving doors, I looked back to see Julie wave at me with a sultry wink, then get back into the car and drive away.
* * * * *
Incredibly, after all the hot lesbian sex I'd had with Nikki and Sapphire, the thing that weighed on my mind as I entered the lobby was Julie's kiss. It had been so hot, so fiery, charged with power and lust... all I wanted was more.
Once again I could feel the women around me staring at me, wanting me, desiring me. If anything, it had become even stronger than before. Not only could I see the lust in their eyes, I could feel the tension in the air, the need that swept them as I walked by. It took me several minutes to realize that it wasn't just my own reactions I was sensing, it was theirs. Each time a woman caught sight of me, I could sense her sudden shock of instant attraction, followed by a brief moment of confusion, and then the hunger. It wasn't an intrusive or unwelcome feeling; I could ignore it the same way one ignores surrounding conversations, but for the moment I didn't want to. Feeling the needs of all these women increased my own, and sexual fire had become a drug to me; the more I had, the more I wanted.
After a while of just soaking in the admiration and desire of all the woman who saw me, and feeling the need for a breather, I looked for and found an empty chair at a poker table. The other players were all men, unfortunately, but some of them had wives or girlfriends who instantly turned their attention to me. It washed through me like a soothing buzz, as if I'd had a few glasses of wine. "Mind if I join the game?" I asked.
"By all means," the dealer replied. "The game is five-card draw. Five-dollar ante, hundred dollar limit on the raise."
"I'll take eight hundred in chips, plus five for the pot," I said, sliding the bulk of my remaining winnings over the table.
My first cards were decent enough. I held a pair of Jacks from the get-go, and the Ace of Spades. I didn't really know much about estimating odds, but it seemed like the sort of hand I should stick with at least until the draw.
The man to the dealer's left started the bet. "Fifty," he said, tossing a chip in.
"I'll see it," said the next.
"See it, raise it twenty."
"Make it an even hundred for the raise," said the man to my right, tossing in a total of $150 in chips. Bluffing.
His face was impassive, but I caught his intentions loud and clear. He was holding a worthless hand, I knew. "Call," I said, tossing in my chips.
"Dealer folds," the dealer said, putting his cards down. "Discards?"
I dropped my two worthless cards, noticing that the man to my right took no cards. He meant to see his bluff through. The new cards I got were no help.
The bet started at fifty, and the next man dropped out. The one after him took a moment, but I could sense that it was for show. He was fairly sure of his cards. "Fifty, and fifty more," he said eventually.
"Another hundred." That was the bluffer to my right.
"Your hundred, and a hundred more," I said, tossing in three chips. My pile was cut by more than half, but the pot was getting rich.
"Fold," said the next player.
I looked at the confident man, who was no longer so sure of himself. He put his cards down. "Fold," he sighed.
That left me and the bluffer, and he wasn't giving up easy. "Another hundred," he said with confidence.
"Your hundred, and a hundred more."
I had only a $50 chip left. I was about to turn in some more cash when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up, and saw a stunningly beautiful red-haired woman, tall and elegant, her eyes brilliant green, her dress black. Her hand felt warm and tingling on my bare shoulder, and for a moment I almost forgot where I was. Where had she come from? How had I not noticed her before?
Without a word, she dropped a fifty-dollar chip in front of me. I pushed it and my own remaining chip into the pot. "Call," I whispered, unable to find my voice in the presence of this goddess.
The man sighed and dropped his cards onto the table. "Just a pair of sevens," he said.
Still unable to speak, I simply showed my cards to the table.
He took it well, smiling. "Well, if one must lose, it's a pleasure to lose to a fine woman like yourself."
I smiled, thought my mind wasn't on the game or my winnings any more. Mechanically, I swept the pot into a small pile in front of me, leavinga five-dollar chip for the next round.
When I looked up, the red-haired beauty was gone.
* * * * *
"I'll see your two hundred, and raise you five."
As my winnings increased throughout the night, I moved to higher-limit tables. The group I was playing with now were professional gamblers all, I knew, but their trained poker faces were transparent glass to me. My sensitivity to their thoughts and feelings had increased as the night went on, and by now I was sitting on a fifty thousand dollar stake. It had even gotten to the point where I was occasionally losing on purpose, just to keep anyone from thinking I was cheating.
I had gained something of an entourage as well. I had noticed that pretty girls were gathering around some of the high-rollers, hoping to share the wealth, and the same thing was starting to happen to me. Three lovelies had followed me to my current table; Regina, a tall brunette in a cocktail dress; Kiko, a petite Asian woman with short-styled hair; and Shauna, a slim blonde in a tight blue sequined number. I imagined I must be presenting an intriguing image to the crowd, as it was unusual at least to see a woman attracting other women the way I was, but no one said anything.
Actually, they were helping me. When they touched me, I felt their own lusty desires, and while it was distracting it also seemed to increase my sensitivity.
"Your five hundred, and five hundred more."
I caught a sense of his hand. He thought it was a good one, but I was holding a full house, and somehow I didn't think he could beat that. "Call," I said.
He showed his cards. A straight to the queen, not good enough. Another large pot came into my lap.
"Not bad, honey," Shauna said, leaning close to me. "So, you feel like we've fleeced these boys enough?"
"Come on, one more round," Regina encouraged.
"You're hot tonight," Kiko agreed. "Go for it."
"Girls, girls," I admonished. "One more pot, and then we'll find some other way to entertain ourselves -" I stopped short, suddenly aware of an unpleasant presence at the table.
Sitting down across from me was a young man in a tuxedo, well-groomed and obviously affluent. But his mind was slimy, abhorrent to touch. As he took his seat, I felt a sudden loathing from Regina. It was the first negative emotion I'd felt from any woman, and it struck me to the core.
"Hello, darling," he said to her.
"You've got no business calling me that, creep," Regina replied with venom. She slipped closer to me and laid a hand across my shoulders, as if seeking comfort.
The "creep" raised an eyebrow at the action. "Regina, I had no idea your tastes had changed so much since our relationship went sour," he said smugly. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your new... friend?"
"No need," I said. "I'm Victoria. And you are?"
"DeFranco," he said with a would-be charming smile. "Lorenzo DeFranco."
"Well Frank, if you play cards half as well as you charm the ladies, I suggest you whip out your checkbook right now and just sign the balance of your account over to me."
I sensed Regina's satisfaction at my remark, as well as DeFranco's sharp spike of quickly controlled anger. "There's nothing more pathetic than a tourist who becomes overconfident after a single lucky evening," he said with a forced grin. "Still, if you wish to play for real stakes, I suggest we retire to another table. One with a less restrictive policy."
I tossed the dealer a hundred-dollar tip, and we got up to leave.
"Be careful," Regina whispered to me. I could feel her anxiety easily, as well as that from my other companions. Truth be told, I wondered if I was getting in over my head.
* * * * *
DeFranco's other table turned out to be in a private room, lavishly decorated, with its own bar and waitress. She caught my eye immediately, of course, but she managed to hide it well. A large man that I took to be DeFranco's bodyguard stood at the table.
"Surely you don't need your entire fan club," DeFranco said. "Regina considers herself to be enough woman for anyone, I assure you."
"Wasn't enough for you, was I?" she said with a sneer.
"My dear, surely Miss Victoria doesn't need to be burdened with your petty jealousies."
"And I don’t need to be bothered with your cliché smarminess either," I said. "Are we here to play cards, or toss clever insults at ex-lovers?" I turned my back, but felt his increasing irritation with me noneltheless. "Kiko, Shauna, it might be best if we called our evening short. I'll find you later, don't worry."
With obvious disappointment, they left.
"So, what shall we play?" I asked. "Oh, and I do hope you've arranged for a casino employee to deal the cards. I really just don't trust you to do the job."
DeFranco glared at me. "You take a lot of liberties, my dear," he growled.
"I'm not your dear, and I say what I want. If you can't handle an independent woman, that's your problem."
Careful, Regina thought.
I could tell my remarks were only making him angrier, but DeFranco simply chuckled. "You do have spirit, Miss Victoria. Very well, I'll have a dealer brought in." He snapped his fingers, and the waitress went to a phone on the wall.
"Perhaps I might take a moment with Regina while we're waiting?" I asked. "You know, girl talk."
"Of course, of course," he said, maintaining an air of unconcern. I could tell that he was hardly indifferent to the situation, however.
I led Regina to a high-backed sofa in one corner of the room, from where I was fairly certain we would not be overheard. I had gotten the idea from her mind that she had a bad history with this guy, but I wanted some details before going any further.
"Tell me who he is," I said to her.
"He's my ex-husband. He charmed me into his life a little while back and we got married here in Vegas last year. But that never stopped him from bringing other women into his bed, and when I got upset about it, he took a swing at me. I didn't go back to him after that. I got the marriage annulled, but he's never left me alone. I'm scared of him, Victoria. He's rich and he has mob connections. I think he's already killed one man I tried to hook up with after him, and if he thinks there's... anything between us... he might try to kill you too."
"Do you trust me, Regina?"
"Yes, I trust you."
"I think I can help you." I wasn't sure how, but ever since I'd put on the amulet I'd found a whole new confidence. "Let him think we are lovers. Stay close to me, and keep touching me. It might distract him." And, I thought, the increased sensitivity to his thoughts might give me an edge.
"That won't be hard," she said with a smile. "I know we just met a few hours ago, and I've never felt this way about a woman before, but there's something about you that's so... enticing."
Regina nodded, and moved in for the kiss. I felt her lips touch mine with that wonderful shock of pleasure, and she moaned softly and opened her mouth slightly, letting her tongue slip out and touch mine. The amulet glowed warmly on my chest.
Through the haze of Regina's building lust, I could sense the surprise and then the seething jealousy of her ex-husband, mixed in with the inevitable sexual reaction that one might expect a man to feel when he sees two women kiss. I pulled away before we went too far, as it was difficult to control my reactions, and I had a sudden urge to pull her dress down and feel her naked breasts against me.
We returned to the table, Regina close behind me.
"Girl talk?" DeFranco said with a raised eyebrow.
"What can I say, she's a great kisser," I replied.
The casino dealer came in at that moment, and I did an honest double-take. It was the same red-haired woman who had slipped me the extra fifty, and then vanished. She was dressed in the white shirt and black tie of a casino dealer now, but she could have been wearing greasy coveralls and it wouldn't have detracted from her marvelous beauty. Her eyes met mine as she strode into the room, and a shiver ran through me.
"What is your game of choice, Mr. DeFranco?" she asked as we all sat at the table. Her voice was simple and clear, though I felt it could be powerfully seductive if she so chose.
"The privilege of selecting the game I leave to Miss Victoria," DeFranco replied. Oddly, he hardly gave the lovely goddess a second glance.
"Poker," I said immediately. I needed a game where I had a psychological advantage – something like blackjack, where it all came down to the fall of the cards, would take away my edge. Suddenly I realized that while I could still sense DeFranco, I couldn't read the dealer at all. It was as if she weren't there.
"Five card draw?"
The dealer passed out cards to each of us. I held four hearts, but also a pair of kings. Keep them, or throw them? Hard to say.
"You may place the first bet," DeFranco said.
"Two thousand," I replied, tossing my chips on the table.
"Ten thousand," he said, increasing the pot. He hadn't even looked at his cards yet, so of course I couldn't determine the strength of his hand.
I began to worry – he could afford to play until he won, while I had limited resources. Was his strategy simply to force me to play my entire amount each time until he won? "You do realize that not all of us are independently wealthy. I only have fifty thousand in front of me."
"Perhaps you should have known better than to play out of your league."
Regina's hand tightened on my shoulder as I threw eight thousand in chips onto the table. "Call," I said.
"Discards?" asked the dealer.
"I'll take one," I said, gambling on the flush.
"No cards," DeFranco replied. He still hadn't looked at his hand.
The card I drew was the king of clubs, leaving me with only my original pair of kings. "Five thousand," I said, throwing my money in.
"Fifteen thousand," he replied. His cards remained face-down on the table.
I began to panic. Was it possible that he was on to me? Did he know that I could see into his mind? He certainly seemed confident. I could sense Regina's fear and distress, and it was distracting. I matched his bet. "Call," I said.
DeFranco turned over his cards one by one, revealing two pairs, threes and sevens. I tossed my hand down, and he swept the pot off the table with a smile. "Care to try your luck again?" he asked.
I turned to look at Regina. She was nervous, but I could tell she still believed in me. Trust me, I thought to her with all my will. Trust in me.
It might have been my imagination, but she seemed to nod slightly.
"I'll make you a deal," I said to DeFranco. "We'll play one more hand. You put up, say a quarter million dollars."
"And you'll put up your remaining pocket change?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"No," I replied. "I'll put up myself."
DeFranco sat back in his chair. "Really? You place a high value on your own body."
"Another hand of five-card draw," I said quietly. "Your money against... me. Should you win, I'll give myself to you willingly for the rest of the night until sunrise; you can do whatever you want to me, however you want. And just so you don't have to take anything sight unseen..."
I stood up and lowered the straps of my dress off my shoulders, then pulled it down over my breasts. They practically sprang free of the fabric, standing high and firm, the nipples hardening. The dress dropped to the floor, and I stepped out of it, leaving me in nothing but my heels.
"Tempting," DeFranco said, maintaining his outward calm. I could tell he was more than tempted, however. In addition, as I had hoped, Regina's desire for me sprang anew, and as I felt her sweet lust trickle through my emotions, my perception of the minds in the room deepened and clarified.
I sat down at the table once again, and Regina reclined against me. Her touch was welcome both as a powerful aphrodisiac and a further boost to my psychic sense.
"My bet is on the table," I said to DeFranco. "Yours?"
DeFranco snapped his fingers, and his bodyguard placed five plaques on the table, each for fifty thousand.
"The game is five-card-draw," the dealer said calmly, as if the stakes were no higher than a buck and a quarter. "Deuces are still wild." She passed the cards out one by one. I resisted the temptation to pick them up until they were all in front of me.
To my relief, DeFranco looked at his cards this time. I gathered he wasn't entirely pleased with his hand, but he was holding something of value. I looked at my own – the ace of clubs, the seven of spades, the eight of diamonds, the nine of diamonds, and the two of hearts. A possible straight, if I wanted to ditch the ace.
"Discards?" the dealer asked quietly.
"Two cards, please," DeFranco said, sliding them onto the table.
I thought for a moment, and dropped the seven, eight, and nine. "Three."
My new cards slid toward me, and I slipped them into my hand.
"One moment," DeFranco said.
I looked up.
"Why don't we make things more interesting," he said with a smirk. "I'll throw another quarter million on the table."
"And from me?" I asked.
"Oh, I don't want anything else from you," he said with a wave of his hand. "But, from Regina..."
Regina's breath caught in her throat. "No..." she whispered.
"I can't bet with what I don't have," I insisted. "I don't own Regina. Women aren't property, despite what you might think."
DeFranco shrugged. "Of course, if that is what you wish. But since I have raised the stakes, I'll expect you to cover that raise somehow... or fold."
I wasn't fooled. I could tell he meant to have her again, whether she went willingly or not. And I didn't know if I could protect her, even with the power of the amulet. I was under no illusion that its sexual draw appealed to him in the same way it did to the women I met – he had taken my bet only because I did have an objectively sexy body, and perhaps because he had always intended to try and raise the stakes the way he was now.