Disclaimer: Mine, except for the NHL and identifiable landmarks / brands / songs / &c. Plz to not sue.
Summary: A handsome, popular and very elligible hockey player wakes up in Vegas handcuffed to a woman he doesn't know—and married. What's a guy to do?
Author's Notes: This was originally a real person hockey fic (well, real person/OFC), but I decided to make it an original fic and play with it a bit.
1.) Viva Las Vegas
There's a thousand pretty women waitin' out there
And they're all livin' devil may care
And I'm just the devil with love to spare
Viva Las Vegas, viva Las Vegas
-- Elvis Presley, "Viva Las Vegas"
Intrusive sunlight stabbed into Vladimir Volkov's eyes and he threw his arm over his face, letting out a quiet groan. He yawned and stretched and pulled the bedsheets to his chin—they weren't the familiar 300 count that he had on his bed at home; nor were they the rough, scratchy foam rubber kind you found at a low-end hotel. They were nice and soft, almost silky. He rubbed them against his cheek and murmured, as he was slowly shaken out of the last vestiges of sleep.
Vladi opened one eye.
Something was not right here.
He sat up in bed and rubbed the sleep and grit out of his eyes, before looking around, taking in his surroundings.
There was an empty bucket on the floor, next to his side of the bed, and beside it were two empty bottles of Dom Perignon. A champagne glass lay on its side, its contents spilled into the carpet, leaving behind a sticky mess. He reached out one hand and placed it on the headboard, a large clamshell trussed up in gold and créme lamé. He traced a fingertip over the ornate gold medallion above the material-covered clamshell and went to slide out of bed.
Vladi found himself jerked back like a dog on a chain; something was holding him in place—or rather, someone.
He looked down at his arm and let out a soft gasp of surprise.
A gray metal handcuff was locked around his wrist. And that handcuff was attached to its twin. Which was currently being occupied by the wrist of a sleeping (or possibly unconscious) female.
The girl moaned and went to cover her face with her hands. Her wrist stayed locked in place and her eyelids fluttered open. She wrinkled her face in growing annoyance, tugging at her shackled wrist. The girl's eyes flew open and widened in shock when she saw Vladi beside her in the bed. She began to twist and turn in the bed, kicking the fancy silk sheets to the floor, her arm and legs flailing, her foot catching him flush in the jaw.
"Get away from me," she screamed, grappling for something on the nightstand next to her side. "I've got Mace!"
"I'm not going to hurt you," he sighed, remarkably calm, working his jaw. He gave a gentle tug on the handcuffs and the girl flopped back into bed. "We're kind of—in a pickle."
The girl scrunched her nose at him. "Pickle?" She looked down at her nightgown and picked at the ribbon holding the flimsy bodice together. She shot him a wary glance. "Who are you and why are you handcuffed to me?"
"My name is Vladimir Vladimirovich Volkov, and I must ask you the same question." He pulled his knees to his chest and rested his arm across them, scrubbing a hand through his hair.
She raised her eyebrows at him. "Vladimir Vladimirovich Volkov?" she asked, a hint of a smile playing at the corners of her mouth.
"Yes," he said, heaving a miserable sigh, "but you may call me Vladi. And you are - ?"
"Abby. Nice to meet you, Vladi." Abby gave his hand a shake before tugging on the handcuff, trying to wedge her hand free to no avail. "I have the worst headache ever. It feels like there's a little construction crew in there trying to get out."
"Me too," Vladi mused, tilting his head, watching on as she tried to wriggle her hand free. "Maybe there is a key somewhere in this hotel room."
Abby stopped struggling with the cuff and began sorting through the stuff on the nightstand, holding things up to the light before tossing them aside. "Aha!" Abby held up a small gold key and jiggled it into the lock, biting down on her tongue as she focused hard on the task at hand. "It's not working . . ."
"Here," he said, holding out a large hand. "Let me try." Abby handed him the key and he gave it a shot, before letting out a frustrated groan and tossing it aside. "It's not the right key. Do you see anymore keys on the table?"
Abby shook her head, snagging her bottom lip between her teeth. "Nope."
He sighed. "I kind of have to go to the bathroo—"
"Oh no you don't," Abby interrupted, holding up her hands. Vladi winced as the metal cuff cut into his wrist. "There's no way in ihell/i I'm going in there with you."
Vladi sighed again and shook his head, glancing down at his wrist, rubbing at the red, irritated skin.
How did I wind up in this position? Who is this woman and how did I ever end up handcuffed to her? he wondered, watching Abby as she leaned over to dig through the drawer under the nightstand. She wasn't exactly his type either; Vladi preferred his girls to be slender, slim-hipped, with piles of long hair he could tangle his fingers in.
And, well, young.
While Abby certainly was not a grandma, she wasn't a girl either. She was definitely older than he. She was indeed attractive, but that's where any similarities to any of Vladi's previous girlfriends ended. She had shoulder length brown hair and she wasn't even slim. She had large breasts and wide hips perfect for childbearing; she was the kind of woman his father would want him to marry! Vladi snorted to himself.
Abby looked up and scowled at him. "What's so funny?" She pushed her hair out of her face and pulled herself up, folding her legs underneath her frame. Abby flattened the gauzy pleated nightgown over her thighs primly.
"Nothing," he lied, quickly. "I was just wondering how we ever ended up in his situation."
"Me too, actually." Abby glanced about the room and set her mouth in a straight line. "There's a videotape on that table, by the balcony." She gestured with her shoulder and Vladi turned to look. Sure enough, a videocassette rested atop a manila folder.
He jumped to his feet, and Abby let out a scream. "Sorry, sorry." He hunched down his six-foot-five frame and waited for Abby to plant her feet on the floor. "This is very hard."
She rubbed her shoulder and jabbed her elbow into his side. "That hurt, asshole."
"Didn't do it on purpose," he muttered, lowering his voice to a whisper, "but next time I'll make an exception." He and Abby made their way over to the table and he picked up the tape, inspecting it.
"Let me see." She made a grab for it, but Vladi raised it out of her reach. "No fair! Let me see!"
"I'm still looking at it," he said.
"What's there to look at?" Abby asked, grabbing onto his arm, swiping at the tape.
"There's a label on it," he said, turning it over in his hand. "Volkov and Ross . . . Wedding."
Abby slugged him in the arm. "No! You're lying!"
"No, it's right here. In black and white." Vladi handed her the tape and rubbed his arm as she stared at it, her brow knotting and her lips pursing.
"Well, I must've been wasted, because I don't remember a goddamn thing." Abby let the tape fall from her fingers as she pressed a hand to her forehead, reminding him of those Southern belles he'd seen on TMC, when Ethan Conner, his teammate and the resident movie buff, made him sit through Gone With the Wind.
He bent down to retrieve the tape slowly, bracing his free hand on Abby's shoulder, ever mindful of his surgically repaired knee, and looked up at her. "I think we should watch it. Maybe it'll give us some clues."
"No shirt, Sherlock." Abby grabbed the tape and she and Vladi moved as one to the television set. Abby popped it in, pushed PLAY and stood back, crossing her arm over her waist and tapping her foot on the floor.
Vladi watched intently as a smaller, fuzzier, and very drunk version of himself slouched in front of a cheap altar, plastic flowers strewn about in some sort of canopy. A man in a priest's collar and a black Elvis wig stood beside him, holding a small Bible in his hands. The doors to the chapel opened and the camera swung in their direction, as Abby, equally as drunk, stumbled in on the arm of a large, beefy man in a white leather Elvis jumpsuit.
"Oh my God." Abby pressed her hands to her face. "I was given away by Elvis?"
Vladi turned his attention back to the TV.
". . . and by the power vested in me, by the state of Nevada, and by the Dancing Elvis Casino and Chapel, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
The Vladi on the TV screen pawed the white tulle veil away from the Abby on the TV screen's face and puckered his lips, as she cringed and tried to push him away.
"Kiss me. I'm Irish," said Vladi's television doppelganger.
Meanwhile, back in the hotel room of the giant gold clamshell and the mirrored ceiling and the pricey champagne and the expensive silk sheets, Vladi cringed. "Jesus."
Abby stabbed at the STOP button and jerked on his arm, viciously. "There's no way in Hell I'm spending one more minute chained to you! There has to be a way!" She looked around the room frantically, head swiveling. "I have to get out of here. I'm going to throw up!"
Abby ran for the bathroom, Vladi in tow, and fell to her knees in front of the toilet, as she heaved into the bowl. He bent over and pulled some toilet paper off the roll, holding it out to her.
"Thank you." She wiped her mouth, crumpled the Kleenex into a ball and threw it away, before sitting back on her haunches and throwing her head back. "Why me, God? What did I do to deserve this?"
"Hey! My mom says I'm a fine catch," Vladi insisted.
Abby's face contorted, and for a second, Vladi thought she might cry. Instead, she burst out laughing. "Oh, honey, that's adorable," she giggled, but Vladi had the distinct feeling she was mocking him.
Vladi sulked, jutting out his bottom lip in a petulant pout. "That's what she said."
Abby gave him a pat on the knee and grinned sunnily, her features brightening and her eyes crinkling in the corners. "I'm sure she did."
Vladi joined Abby against the wall and flicked his thumb at the rug, unhappily. "I say we find a chainsaw and hack off your arm and have done with it."
"My arm?" Abby exclaimed, her jaw dropping. "You're the big strong manly man! You cut off your arm!"
He scowled. "Then I don't know what to do."
"Wait a minute! We might not have to resort to chopping off body parts just yet," Abby said, patting him on the arm and winking. "I may have some paperclips in my purse. Maybe I can jimmy the lock!"
"Great idea! Let's go." Vladi got to his feet, forgetting their height difference, and almost pulled Abby's arm out of its socket—for the second time that morning. Or was it afternoon? He had no idea, and frankly, he didn't care. All he cared about was freeing himself from this woman.
The two of them raced back into the room and Abby spotted her purse resting on top of the hope chest at the end of the bed. She pulled Vladi along, and threw herself at the purse like a lineman after a quarterback, ripping it open and tearing through it.
"Aha! Found it!" Abby held the paperclip between her teeth and straightened it out before sliding it into the keyhole and wriggling it in the lock. Vladi stood beside her and prayed silently that her plan would work, and that he would soon be freed from this prison.
After a few more tense seconds, as Abby jimmied the lock, the handcuffs unlatched and fell to the floor. Abby let out a yell of triumph and pulled her arm to her chest, protectively, as if she felt like Vladi would come after it and try to reclaim it.
Vladi rubbed his aching wrist. "Thank God."
"Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I'm free at last." Abby went over to the set of drawers and began tossing her things into her carry-on bag, as Vladi took inventory of his belongings.
The three hundred dollars was in its place in the pocket of his corduroys; at least she wasn't a thief. His black leather jacket was folded neatly and waiting for him on top of the dresser and his shoes were on the floor next to said dresser. His gold wristwatch and a Ziplock of toiletries were sitting on his nightstand; everything looked to be in place.
"Well," Abby said, slinging the strap of her bag over her shoulder, pushing her hair out of her face, "if you leave me your address, I can have annulment papers to you first thing Monday morning." She checked her watch. "By the way, it's Saturday. Afternoon."
"Thanks," he said, scratching out his address on a scrap of hotel stationery. "Here you go."
Abby smiled and tucked the slip of paper into the pocket of her coat. "Well, nice knowin' ya, Mr. Volkov. Hope I never have to see you again!" Abby waved cheerily and left.
Vladi spotted the tape sitting on the bed and grabbed it, running after her. "Wait, what about the tape?" he called out, but she was already gone.
"Happy Training Camp, Vlad. This should, like, be a national holiday." His goalie Andy Everston clipped Vladimir in the jaw with his large waffle mit.
"Ow, careful, Andy. You might scramble my brains!" Vladi said, rubbing his cheek.
Andy grinned. "I don't think we have anything to worry about then, Vlad!" he teased.
Vladi glowered at the goalie. "Very funny, Andy."
"How'd you spend the lockout, Vlad?" asked the ever jovial Ethan Conner, stepping onto the bus that would take the players to Traverse City. Conner slid in next to Everston and pulled the goalie's mitt off his hand. "Let's play keepaway!"
"Hey! Give it back!" Andy grabbed for the mitt, but Conner swung it out of reach and he ended up grabbing only air.
"I went home to play in an exhibition match," he said, opening up his backpack and pulling out his laptop. "And then I went to Las Vegas and I won three hundred bucks!"
"Wow," mocked Conner, tossing Andy's waffle mitt to an open teammate at the front of the bus. "Way to go, Vladi."
"Shut up." Vladi opened up his email and scrolled past the miles of spam. One subject line stood out, and he scrunched his brow.
ATTENTION: URGENT. PLEASE READ.
He opened the email and began to read. 'Vladimir, I know I'm probably the last person you want to hear from, but I have some bad news. Or, good news, depending on whether you see the glass half empty or the glass half full . . .'
"You okay, Vlad? You look kind of - upset," Andy said, draping his arms over the back of the his seat, peering at Vladi from behind the headrest.
"I - It is nothing," he said, breathlessly. "Just some - interesting news. From back home." Vladi quickly powered down the machine and closed it, holding it on his lap.
He was still married to a woman he barely knew. And all he knew of her, he didn't really like.
And this wife was coming to see him in Traverse City.
It couldn't get much worse than this, could it?