Mercy loved September. She loved the warm, rich color of the light, the cooler nights, the new shoes and fall coats, the relative quiet on the streets as the kids went back to school, and the tourists—at least most of them—went home.
Her favorite restaurants and bars slowed down to busy instead of frantic, and Part Time Lovers did the opposite. She wasn’t sure why, but September through December were their busiest—and most intriguing—months. She thought it might be because of the longer nights, forcing people to realize that they were lonely.
But she always met the sexiest and most interesting people in Vancouver, partly because Jules usually went on vacation in September. Although, now that she thought about it, he’d shown no interest in doing so this year.
Mostly, she loved September because for many years it had been her lucky month.
She’d won $10,000 on the lottery on Labor Day one year, bought her condo, started Part Time Lovers. When she went to Hastings Racetrack in September, her horses won. She bought a new car every second September, and it was never a lemon. When she found a pair of shoes she loved, the store had it in her size and in the color she wanted. And they were always on sale.
Add to that the fact that she’d had the best weekend of her life on a quick getaway to Las Vegas, and September was the bomb.
Mercy tried not to think about that weekend too often; it just made the rest of her life seem sad in comparison. But sometimes, like this week with Jules moping over his computer screen, she couldn’t help herself.
That year—the year she thought of in italics as the Las Vegas Year—Jules had taken three weeks and gone to Miami to visit a friend. He’d come back glowing with the aftermath of great sex and sunshine, while she’d spent the three weeks glued to Part Time Lovers, dealing with the deluge of posts and the Biblical-style deluge from the skies outside.
The last three days of those weeks were the kicker. She’d called their Internet service provider no fewer than ten times to deal with glitches, had broken the heel of her favorite Bandolinis, ripped three pairs of expensive pantyhose to shreds, and cracked two nails crawling around underneath the desks trying to fix the Internet problems.
It had been the week from hell.
Once everything was fixed, she called their friendly neighborhood travel agent and booked a weekend in Las Vegas, leaving the day after Jules arrived home. Mercy had contemplated leaving the same day, but Dorothy had pointed out the possibility of Jules being delayed and Part Time Lovers being rudderless for who knew how long, so she’d settled for a flight on Friday afternoon—flying first class for the first time ever. She deserved it after the past three weeks.
When Jules arrived on Friday morning, she handed him the lengthy notes she’d made about the computer problems, said, “See you on Tuesday,” and walked out the door with her suitcase, her passport, and the few remaining shreds of her sanity.
The trip she booked was extravagant, far more so than usual, including a suite at the Bellagio. Dorothy tried to convince her to book tickets to Cirque du Soleil, but Mercy didn’t want to make any plans. She wanted to let the weekend unfold as it would.
She might go to the spa, have dinner at one of the great restaurants advertised on Bellagio’s Web site, do a little gambling. She loved roulette, the excitement of it, the immediate gratification, the connections made between the people standing around the table. She’d do that for sure.
The flight was on time, the limo waited at the airport, check-in was expecting her. Mercy wasn’t sure what Dorothy had said to the staff at the Bellagio, but they treated her like a VIP, and she wasn’t about to complain.
First stop? The spa for the complete package. Hair, nails, waxing, spray tan. Massage. Mud bath. Leaving almost eight hours later, Mercy felt like a million dollars, relaxed and looking forward to doing a big fat nothing for the rest of the weekend.
When she’d booked the trip, she’d imagined meeting some gorgeous guy, someone she could play with for the weekend. But having finally relaxed, she realized that the past few years since launching Part Time Lovers had been exhausting.
Not just work, not just the brutal pace of the start-up, but hopping from partner to partner. Oh, not that she didn’t enjoy it. She did. She loved sex, was at least slightly addicted to it. That was the reason she—and Jules, for that matter—were always ready to try something new.
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