Leading off, Ryan has Brought The Noise (and The Funk and, quite possibly, The House) at the LA Poker Classic, making it to the final 18 of Event #1 ($330 NLHE; 1100+ entrants), resuming this evening at 7. I'm sure he will appreciate your good vibes, congratulations and expressions of awe.
Second, here is where this starts.
"You had a set," she said, after a time. It was not a question. He didn't respond, barely moved, in fact, the slow rising and falling of his chest the only perceptible motion.
"I laid down aces, you know," she continued.
"I know," he managed with a hoarse croak. She half-turned toward him, her soft breath on his neck, fingers coming to rest on his bare thigh where she began to trace shimmering lines with her nails. His skin rose and chilled at her touch.
"I'm still not going to tell you what I had," he said.
Her room was sparse, a bed, an end table and a cluttered dresser, all mere outlines in the gray dark. Regardless, he knew their meaning.
"I knew you'd be good," she said.
"You know everything."
"About you, yes."
"You're not hard to read, Tom. I pegged you at the bar, right?"
"So tell me more."
"I don't think so."
"Typical man. All closed off."
"Not exactly. Wary..."
"Of me?" she fairly shrieked, offended.
"Of everybody. Guarded, leery, cautious..."
"What are you, a fucking thesaurus?"
"Just enriching my word power."
That quieted her for a minute. "No small feat," he thought to himself.
"Is this a poker thing?" she asked. "Never reveal to much?"
"No. It's a me thing. Just happens to fit with poker."
"That why you got divorced?"
"Who said I was divorced?"
"No, I didn't."
"You didn't say you weren't. At the bar."
"Are you married?"
"Why you fucker," she yelled, pushing herself up and punching him in the chest. He flinched from the blow and lifted his lids to see her face. The look there was less anger than surprise.
"Don't know as much as you thought, huh?" he asked, his mouth in a firm line.
"If you say so." He pulled is legs over the side of the bed, turning his back to her.
"Why'd you come here?" she asked.
"Isn't it obvious?"
"What about your wife?" The question came out like spit.
"Maybe she's part of the reason."
"Getting back at her?"
"No," he said, reaching for his pants and tugging them on. He stood and turned to her. "It was nice to touch a woman again," he said, sighing. "To feel a little passion."
She watched him quietly as he dressed. Several times, she started to say something, but nothing seemed to fit. She lay back down, her head propped in her hand and watched him go. He opened the door and paused.
"Suited paint," he said, not turning around.
"King-Jack. Of hearts. That's what I had when I check-raised you off your aces." And closed the door behind him.