What Happens In Vegas…
"Oh my god." Christian took a deep breath, and started his mantra over again. "Oh my god oh my god oh my god."
"Stop it," Marco said, not looking up from the LCD display on his digital camera. "You're going to pass out."
"No, I," Christian paused, taking another deep breath in and realizing that he was starting to get head spins. "Ok so maybe you're right."
"I know I'm right," Marco said, grinning at his camera. "Now smile."
"What?" Christian turned to him only to be blinded twice by the flash.
"Isn't that amazing?" Marco said, looking at the picture he'd just taken. "No red eye."
"Right, whatever there are more important things to worry about," Christian rushed out; raising a hand to grab Marco by the arm but then changed his mind midair. He didn't really know Marco that well, only that they were supposed to be on the same tour bus that had pulled away fifteen minutes ago without them both.
"Like how many more pictures I can fit on my memory card," Marco eyed it, then lifted it high to take a picture of a hotel rising high above the street.
Christian snorted and dug in his pockets for change. "That is so much more important."
"I agree," Marco said. "So let's just find as many photographic opportunities as we can, and argue later over which aren't worth saving."
"God," Christian stepped away from Marco. "I don't—we aren't—we're lost."
Marco blinked, not really surprised just not expecting that conclusion. "We are?"
"Goddamnit, of all the people to get stranded with," Christian started.
"What?" Marco let his camera down, hanging by the strap around his neck. "You… we, I. You don't even know me."
"No, that's exactly it," Christian shoved his hands into his pockets and started walking in the direction of the Bellagio.
"At least we wouldn't get on each other's nerves as quickly," Marco jogged a few steps to catch up.
Christian glanced over at him. "How's that?"
"Obviously I am not going to blame you for missing the bus, because it is your fault and my fault equally," Marco said. "Also, I wouldn't try to withhold sexual favours or general amicability because really, you could just go and talk to someone else. We don't owe each other anything."
Marco paused and then continued. "Except for maybe making it back to the hotel eventually."
Christian rolled his eyes but silently agreed. Then remembered something he didn't want to let pass. "Sexual favours? General amicability?"
"Well, yeah," Marco shrugged. "It's not like I can go 'oh my god I hate that guy over there now I will not have sex with him or let him enjoy my company' because really, there are fifteen other people you can do either with. Even both, if you were so inclined."
"I'm not," Christian said. "And my name is Christian."
"Marco Garcia," Marco stopped and held out a hand.
Christian kept walking, ignoring the distance he was putting between the two of them.
It was a full minute before he turned around to find Marco again. After all, a semi-complete stranger was better than a complete one.
Marco was still standing there, thumbs pulling down his jean pockets. Christian waited, five feet between them, but Marco didn't move.
"I'm sorry, ok?" Christian said, crossing his arms over his chest.
He stared for a second, looking like he had no idea who Christian was. "And you are?"
Christian sighed and held out his hand. "Christian Oakley."
Marco eyed his hand and Christian couldn't help but think he would deserve it if Marco just walked past.
Instead he grinned and shook it warmly, taking it between both of his. "Pleasure."
"Likewise," Christian choked out, before prying his hand loose and putting it into his pockets protectively.
"So now what?" Marco asked, picking his camera up again. Christian narrowed his eyes and purposely looked away. It annoyed him.
"Find our way back to the hotel," he said, turning in the direction of the Motel 6.
"That's…" Marco trailed off, waiting until Christian turned around again.
"What?" Christian said, sounding frustrated. "What is it?"
"Just a little… well, boring, is all," Marco said, shrugging awkwardly but kept his ground.
"Did you have something better in mind?" Christian crossed his arms over his chest. "Some gambling? Getting drunk? See some strippers? Get mugged?"
"No, it's—nothing. It's nothing." Marco dropped his camera and walked past Christian, who stared after him.
In seconds Christian was in front of him, holding his arms to keep him still. "Don't lie to me."
"Sorry," Marco dropped his eyes, then stared at Christian's warm hands still on his arms. He didn't let go. Marco sighed and tried again. "No, I mean, we're here, right?"
"Yeah," Christian agreed cautiously.
"So we should do something while we're here." He shrugged and tried to break away.
Christian tightened his grip. "Why?"
"So, I dunno," Marco's eyes flickered up to meet Christian's dark ones before concentrating on his camera again. "So we don't look like complete losers."
Despite himself, Christian laughed. "Ones that got left behind?"
"Yeah. We could act like it was on purpose," Marco met Christian's gaze, now, growing confidence, "and then when everyone is sunburnt and bored about the wonderful historical things they've seen, we could brag on about…things."
"Where are you from?" Christian asked abruptly, dropping Marco's arms and heading back towards the casinos. Marco followed closely, almost too close but didn't answer.
Then he cleared his throat and spoke with the camera covering his face. "New Jersey."
Christian tried but he couldn't help the snort that escaped.
"What?" Marco spun the lens, voice muffled behind the viewfinder but his cheeks behind were going red.
Christian shook his head, still trying to keep a straight face but starting to fail miserably.
"There's nothing wrong with New Jersey," Marco protested, turning away towards a water fountain. He thought maybe it was the one from Ocean's Eleven, the one that was good.
"I—"Christian started to speak, coughed, and tried again. "I never said there was."
Marco levelled a glare at him, over his shoulder.
He sighed and folded his arms over his chest again, leaning against the ledge around the pool. Christian was still pleasantly amazed at all the concrete and glass.
Marco cleared his throat. "You really think there's nothing wrong with it?"
Christian blinked, then looked at Marco. "Is there supposed to be?"
"Well, you laughed," Marco said, dropping his eyes to the camera again, playing with the settings.
"I… it was just that. You don't." Christian shrugged, not sure how to finish.
"I don't what?" Marco set the camera down again, hands fluttering around it, unsure.
"You don't seem like the New Jersey type," Christian said, shaking his head to let shaggy hair fall in front of his eyes. "I mean, you sound British, or something. Not like you're from Jersey."
Marco paused, holding the comforting weight of the camera to his chest. "I grew up in Norway."
"Garcia?" Christian said, disbelieving. "Norwegian?"
Marco shrugged. "It happens."
"I guess," Christian traced a finger along the edge of the concrete. "I'm Canadian, myself."
"You don't seem like the Canadian type," Marco grinned, pushing off from the retaining wall and spinning around to face Christian and the fountain.
Christian scowled good-naturedly, giving him the finger even as Marco snapped another picture. "Aren't you going to find it odd to have all these pictures of some guy you just met?"
"Not really," Marco said, "I imagine I will remember it as the man I met on my vacation."
He was about to laugh it off when it occurred to him that Marco's voice was perfectly serious.
"Right," Christian settled with. "And what will people say to that?"
"Probably oh Marco," Marco said. "Actually, that's what they say most of the time."
Blinking, Christian stepped away from the wall and towards Marco. "Oh Marco you're full of shit? Oh Marco you do this all the time? Oh Marco you're such a flirt?"
Marco shook his head to all of them, taking a step back for every step Christian took closer.
"What is it then?" Christian grabbed Marco's shoulders again, holding him still as he drew in close, too close to Marco's ear. He whispered "Oh Marco?" and Marco's curls shivered too.
"Fuck," Marco said, closing his eyes.
"Well, that's it then," Christian said cheerfully, stepping away and towards the Strip. "Shall we?"
"Fuck," Marco repeated, finding his face much too hot to blame on sunburn.
"Okay, you pick," Christian said when Marco had caught up. "Bellagio, Mirage, Treasure Island, the Palms?"
"We're going there tomorrow," Marco said. "Why don't we do something really memorable?"
"Like what?" Christian eyed the casinos. "Gambling is about all we can do at this time of day."
"I dunno," Marco shrugged, trying to look casual. Somehow Christian had a suspicion he already had this planned.
"Meet Elvis," he continued. "Get a stripper. Lose some money. Get married."
Christian snorted. "Oh, those are great options."
"No, really," Marco protested. "I mean, I want to be able to tell someone I did something amazing in Vegas."
Smirking, Christian raised his eyebrows. "I thought things that happened in Vegas were supposed to stay in Vegas."
Marco paused, then spoke deliberately. "Not necessarily."
"Oh." Christian resumed walking.
"Yeah, if I got an STD I suppose I can't leave it here," Marco said thoughtfully.
Christian blinked in surprise. "Did you?"
Laughing, Marco shook his head. "No, I haven't had sex in months."
"Oh, but I—" he clued in. "Never mind."
"No, what?" Marco pressed, his right side close against Christian's left. He was casual and it looked accidental but felt beneficial.
"I... it's stupid," Christian deferred, his turn to eye the pavement.
"Christian," Marco said warningly, letting his hand brush against Christian's.
"I thought you were here with your girlfriend-wife-fiancée-lover-partner—" Christian rushed out.
"Sister," Marco finished.
Christian made a face. "That is so messed up."
Marco looked confused for a second before it dawned. "No, I mean, she's my sister."
"Oh." Christian took note of this. "Well, then, why, you…"
Marco sighed and forged ahead. "I've been dumped for just about a year and I'm not about to bring some guy in when my sister's sleeping in the bed next to mine."
"Well, no, I suppose not I can understand that—wait." Christian stopped, stepping in front of Marco and grabbing his arms again.
"What?" Marco said, growing old of the stop-start-continue but enjoying the rough feeling of calluses on his overabundant arm hair.
"Some guy?" Christian elaborated, not as affected by the arm hair as Marco.
"Uh, yes. You missed the subtle hints I put towards having sex with you?" Marco rolled his eyes; they hadn't been all that subtle.
"Apparently," Christian said with wonder.
"Well, there were several."
Christian blinked, thinking back. "I think I missed all of them, then."
Marco shook his head. "You poor thing."
Christian frowned. "Don't."
"I'm irritable," Christian's face looked the part.
"Really," Marco said, staring at his face in some fascination. He wondered what would happen if he poked it.
"Are you being sarcastic?" Christian glared, stepping back to cross his arms over his chest defensively.
Marco grinned. "Why, no."
"Shut up," Christian growled and turned away.
"Sorry," Marco said, but didn't mean it.
Christian scowled. "I can't handle this. You're being a smart ass and it's too fucking hot and my hair keeps frizzing and I can't even fall asleep cos the air conditioning in my room is too cold."
"Mine's not so bad," Marco pointed out suggestively.
Christian ignored him.
"Why don't you just turn it down?" Marco pointed out after his hint was ignored.
"I can't," Christian admitted.
"Or open a window?"
"Humidity makes me irritable."
"Maybe you should just have someone in to look at it."
Christian stared for a second. "That means letting someone in. what if they steal my stuff?"
"Then you buy overpriced touristy things," Marco said. "You worry far too much."
"I get by," Christian said.
"Pretty badly," Marco said, before choosing to change the subject. "Now, to memorize this trip."
"How?" Christian asked. "With your camera?"
"No, I have a plan," Marco said, grabbing Christian's hand and dragging him down the sidewalk.
"What?" Christian whined half-heartedly.
"Just follow me, come on," Marco said, not letting go.
Christian sighed but really didn't mind. He wouldn't mind following Marco all the way back to their one-and-a-half-star hotel and to his bed, and maybe even forgetting about the continental complimentary breakfast the next morning.
But instead Marco was headed straight for the South of Las Vegas Boulevard.
And when Christian woke up the next morning he had an arm around Marco's chest and for once the air conditioning in his hotel room wasn't freezing.
It was actually quite nice.