Downtime in Las Vegas
Part 21-- Wild Ride
Dinner was a strange experience. Erin expected the day’s two kisses to form some sort of sexual tension between herself and the Wraiths, but instead it seemed like everything was settling into something warm and comfortable. There was still a small amount of macho posturing, but she figured that it would be impossible to completely stop their antics without knocking one or both of the pilots unconscious.
After the meal, they strolled along the walkways that connected the hotels, staring at the lights of the hotels farther down the strip. Well…she was staring at the lights, Ton and Face were absolutely fascinated by the roller coaster that slithered around the New York Hotel.
"Oh, pretty…" Loran sighed, enthralled as the cars clanged up the metal track. He caught hold of her arm and began dragging her towards the casino. "I want to ride it!"
"Great," Erin said slowly, watching the roller coaster hit the top of one of the inclines then plummet downward. Frightened screams echoed through the twilight. Her stomach seemed to fall downward with the clattering cars. "You ride, I’ll watch."
"It’ll be fun," Ton cajoled, giving her a gallant look as he escorted her down a stairway. She was so busy concentrating on not tripping over her own feet and Ton’s chivalry that she didn’t realize that they were outside, getting closer to the dreaded machine. When she finally looked up, realizing how close they were to the Wraiths’ target, she backpedaled, hoping to evade the pilots. Don’t make me get on that thing! She had never been on a roller coaster, but the dizzying heights they climbed to were enough to send her screaming away.
The tactic didn’t work. Face and Ton exchanged a look, caught her by both arms and began dragging her towards the entrance and the ride that seemed to be her destiny. Erin dug in her heels, cursing the fact that she had decided to wear sandals on her chocolate run instead of her cowboy boots. "Come on guys, I really don’t need to do this. You guys can go by yourselves and I’ll sigh over how brave you are."
Somehow they had managed to drag her from the walkway to the roller coaster. Just my luck, no line! Sithspawn! The Force is against me!
"Really guys I don’t need to…" Face and Ton seemed to read each others thoughts and simultaneously caught hold of the belt loops of her jeans and lifted her up and plopped her onto the seat of the roller coaster.
Ton slid onto the bench, blocking her escape. Face clambered over the seat behind her then over the back of her prison to settle in beside her. He gave her THE grin. If she weren’t so panicked, she would have been dazzled. Instead she gripped the bar in front of her as if her very life depended on it. His smile wavered and he patted her leg gently. "Don’t worry, Luv. There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s completely safe. Just a bit of speed and then it’s over."
Ton felt Erin tremble as she nodded vaguely at his Wing. "Erin, you’ll be fine. And I thought you liked speed."
"I do," her voice wavered then turned into a yelp as the ‘coaster rumbled forward a notch. "But not heights." She looked up…and up…and up…at the arch of track in front of the car. "Oh Sith…" she groaned, covering her eyes as the roller coaster clanked to life…
"Who would’ve thought…"
Ton shrugged helplessly, for once totally baffled. "I have to admit I didn’t expect this."
"…A pilot getting motion sick."
Face gave Erin a withering glare, then turned a shade of green that did NOT flatter his eyes and ran towards the restroom he had just recently vacated. Ton moved to follow his Wing, but Erin caught hold of his arm. "Don’t think you should, he’s a tad embarrassed right now."
"I’ll take care of him," Erin offered.
One golden brow arched up as he considered the redhead. "And why would it be less embarrassing for you to help Face than me?"
"Because I can sigh over his bravery and soothe his ego. With you, he’ll keep thinking ‘wait till the squad finds out…’" She grinned, "Anyway, when has Face been immune to a woman swooning over him?"
Ton thought a moment then smiled. "Never."
"So I’m the logical choice." She kissed his cheek. "Go back to the hotel and I’ll make sure he gets cleaned up and his ego humored." He gave her a thoughtful look. "Don’t worry. I’m a big girl. I have my cell phone so if there’s an emergency I can call you. Anyway, I’ll have Face to protect me."
"That’s what I’m afraid of," Ton muttered, knowing she was right. Face would be humiliated if his Wing watched him cough up his toenails because of a child’s ride. But that didn’t mean he had to like the plan, or the idea of Loran being alone with Erin. Not that he'd tell her or Face that…
He leaned down, brushing a soft kiss against her lips. "I’ll see you tonight. And be careful." Though he wasn’t sure what, or who, he wanted her to careful of.
When Face finally emerged from the restroom, he found Erin patiently waiting by the door, a plastic cup in one hand and a travel sized toothbrush and tube of toothpaste in the other. She smiled shyly and handed the toothbrush to him, "Thought you might want to clean up a little."
He nodded his thanks and returned to the restroom, wondering if he should just stay in the tiled cubicle. When he exited, Erin handed him the cup. "Flat Sprite."
"Uh…ok," he said slowly, looking at the clear liquid.
"It’s carbonated flavored water. Like Coke, but lemon flavored. When you drink it without the carbonation, it’s supposed to settle your stomach."
He took a tentative sip. Sweet but not too bad. And it was cold, which was settling his stomach more than whatever magical properties flat soda was supposed to have. "If you let it go flat, why not just drink water?"
Erin shrugged. "I have no idea. It’s just an old home remedy. It’s supposed to work, or it psyches you into thinking it will work."
They walked silently for a few moments, then she tentatively placed her hand in his free one; he gently squeezed her fingers as they headed back towards their hotel. "Thank you for making me go on the roller coaster."
"Why thank me? You were terrified."
"Yeah but I’m not now. One less thing to be afraid of." She sighed tiredly. "I spend too much time being afraid."
"We’re all afraid, Erin. What varies is how we deal with those fears."
She pulled away and stared at the lights, crossing her arms over her chest. She knew she looked childish but she didn’t care. "I already know I don’t deal well with my fears, ok? New subject."
Face touched her shoulder, his sigh sending tingles along her neck. "Ok. Do you want to go back to the hotel?"
"Should and want to are two different things. If you’re going to be a Wraith you’re going to have to learn that very important lesson."
I’m not going to be a Wraith. I can’t be a Wraith no matter how much I fantasize about it, Erin thought dully, wishing she could just stop thinking and enjoy the few days she had left with Ton and Face.
She turned to him and gave him a smile that was a little too bright. Face noticed the effort it took her to look cheerful but decided to let her have her privacy. "So do you want to go back to your room?" he persisted.
"We should," she answered again. But he noticed she didn’t sound as resolved as she had before. Actually there was something wistful in her tone as she stared at the lights.
Always so proper…unless you get her riled, Face barely kept himself from grinning at the thought. Her outburst in the lingerie shop had shown that there was a side to Erin that could be very exciting, If she ever lets go of that prim-and-proper attitude…Force help the lucky man that gets a chance to see that passion.
He studiously ignored any thoughts about being the one that could get to see her passion. Instead of focusing on those insistent thoughts, he tugged on Erin’s hand. "Come on, it’s still early. Let’s go exploring."
He expected her to protest, but instead she smiled, her eyes gray eyes shining with mischief. "How ‘bout we go to the Stratosphere. There’s a roller coaster on top of the tower…"
Loran felt his stomach lurch. "Do you realize you’re an evil, EVIL woman?"
She gave him a wicked grin. "Flattery will get you everywhere."
Before he could come up with a witty response, or more accurately, drag his mind away from the thoughts that accompanied the idea of ‘everywhere,’ Erin caught hold of his hand, dragging him off into the brightness of the Vegas night.
To be Continued...
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