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Chapter 2

[KHALI]

"You seriously don't want to date that girl?" Steven, one of the Casino dealers and a friend of mine, asked me. He's always too friendly to any girl, but he's a womanizer, and this handsome blonde guy's face and charisma always get those girls on their knees. I just shook my head, ignoring his stupid questions.

"Dude, that's a hot chick right there! You're a jerk if you don't see she's hitting on you," he continued. He is adamant that I date all of the girls who have shown interest in me. For the love of God, promiscuity is not my thing.

"Steven, I don't have time for that; now, let's just get back to work, shall we?" I walked back to my place, leaving him standing by the poker table.

L Hotels and Casino is my kingdom, and this is where I have all of my fun, but guess what? Girls aren't invited to join in the fun. Cards, numbers, money, and alcohol are all enjoyable and thrilling to me. I enjoy girls, but I'm not the kind to fall in love with someone I met at the casino, because I've encountered people who come here for a little respite from their daily life, hoping to escape reality. I'm well aware of this because I've heard enough of their stories when they try to obtain information about me, but I've never provided any. All I do is listen to what they have to say. Plus, I'm not sure they'll understand my sexual preferences.

Aside from the girls, the majority of the folks are here to have a good time and play games. Some people win, while others lose. Those who have lost in the game usually return in the hopes of making amends. I've been working here for five years and have witnessed a lot. Illegal organizations, syndicates, politicians, and high-ranking government officials all converge here. Many people have developed a gambling addiction. To the extreme, one must sell his or her property and borrow money to return here and try again.

Playing in the casino requires tough decision-making; if you let your emotions and pride control you, you will almost certainly lose everything. You can still avoid bankruptcy or even win the game if you're clever and know when to stop and go.

When it's my schedule, the table is always full, which means it's going to be a long game with six decks of cards. Everyone had already placed their wagers, so I began to lay out the cards on the table. I usually make sure I don't lose attention when I'm playing since I hate making errors. It's amusing that all of the players are female. I wasn't surprised, but I did notice the brunette in the middle -a new face.

"Welcome to L Hotels and Casino, ma'am," I welcomed her. She was taken aback at first but soon responded with a nod. She's dressed in a black sleeveless garment that reveals her creamy skin. The neckline exposed a large portion of her cleavage, which I never failed to notice.

"New here?" I asked.

"Yeah," she answered briefly.

"Hey Khali, give me a winning card, baby," the girl next to the brunette said. It's Mich. She's been hitting on me ever since, and she's become a regular here. She's the Mayor's daughter, and she doesn't seem to mind how much money she spends. Her mother is Japanese, thus she inherited her mother's features. Her smile is adorable and charming, but it wasn't enough to make my heart skip a beat.

"Let's see, baby," I smirked, and she winked at me. I'm not interested in hooking up with any of the girls here, but that doesn't mean I'm not entertaining them. I still have to be kind and pleasant to them since they are high-rollers.

We've already started the game, and I'm noticing the brunette who has been drinking heavily and is also losing. Is she even capable of playing? She's almost drunk, which is one of the biggest mistakes a player can make. If you get intoxicated while playing, there's a good possibility you'll lose focus and lose your game.

"Ma'am, you're out of chips; I'm sorry; may I know your name?" I inquired.

"You're talking to me?" she said, which I find strange but entertaining at the same time.

"Yeah, I'm talking to you," I said, "do you still want to bet?"

"Of course!" she said, pulling out a thousand dollars and slamming it on the table. My brows furrowed. She seemed to be attempting to impress everyone with her wealth. I simply nodded and exchanged her cash for chips.

"Girl, you're already wasted; go home!" exclaimed another player on the right.

"No, you go home; I'm still having fun here," she snapped at the girl, and I find her attitude hilarious.

Any person would appreciate this brunette’s beauty. Her fluffy cheeks and alluring cat-like eyes were enticing enough to make me hesitate a little. Wait. Did I just use the word alluring? I simply ignored my thoughts and continued to watch her. Her clothing is sultry on her, and I can tell she isn't your average woman. Her long hair was precisely ponytailed, and she was wearing Chanel earrings. I find her threatening in a manner when I observe her more closely, yet this does not cause me to be concerned. Yes, of course. I'm Khali Luciano, and no one bothers me. Her lips were curled in displeasure at the girl who kept telling her to go home. Cute.

I began laying the cards on the table, and she got 11. I have 10. I put another card horizontally when she motioned to double down. The card is 9 of hearts, so she got a total of 20. I was about to flip my card when she raised her hand, so I came to a halt.

She challenged me, "Wanna bet? If that card is a low-value card, you'll be mine." 

My brows wrinkled in dissatisfaction. I thought she'd be different than the other girls, but I was mistaken.

"Hey, bitch! That's not fair! Khali is mine!" Mich shouted.

"Excuse me? She's never yours!" Another girl exclaimed. Security was on the lookout and had been briefed on the situation, but I told them to wait.

"Girls, calm down, please. Calm down!" I told them. The insults went on, and I'm glad they all stopped after I told them to. I returned my gaze to the young woman with feline-like eyes. Those eyes were hypnotic, but I'm not going to fall for it.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but we only bet chips here," I explained, but she raised her hand again, leading me to stop turning the card.

"How about if the card is a high-valued card, I'll give you a million dollars in cash," everyone gasped, but I wasn't impressed in the least. I sighed and considered accepting her offer, but I'd like to tweak the mechanics. She appears to be completely wasted, which I may utilize to my advantage. I'm confident that I can persuade her.

"How about you beat me in three rounds and see what happens," I grinned. She took a moment to consider her options. I was hoping she would take me up on my offer. There's a slim chance I'll win this round and even fewer odds that this card will be high-valued.

"Nah! Let's keep it simple: if I win this round, you're mine," she said again. I inwardly pursed my lips and slowly sucked in some air before violently exhaling. Fuck!

My card is 10. I'll consider myself lucky if I get an A or a low-value card, and then I'll just keep hitting until I reach 21. But if I do that, there's a high risk I'll get busted. I can't put my reputation on the line with this wager.

"No," I said emphatically. My patience was tested by her contemptuous snort and chuckle. My mouth was clenched as I found her chuckle both irritating and fascinating. She dared to make fun of me!

"So, you accept that you're not the best in this game?" she asked, and I succumbed.

"Khali, don't listen to her, just keep playing the game; can you call security?" Mich yelled, quickly losing patience. I clenched my teeth and prepared to flip the card, but fear kept me from doing so. I was sweating profusely, but I was determined to maintain my composure. I'm in a precarious situation right now. I exhaled deeply and closed my eyes. My reputation is at stake.

"OK, if I win this round, you're not allowed to come back here again; if you win, okay, I'll agree to your condition," I said.

"What? Are you crazy?" another girl exclaimed. Steven was probably laughing his ass off at the other table, which pissed me off.

"Yes! That's the kind of fun I'm looking for!" exclaimed the obnoxious kitten, and I took a deep breath before flipping the card. It's 7. As I exhaled out, my hands were trembling, and I felt like I had run a mile. No one has ever made me feel this way before. I swear, I'm going to make her pay. When I saw the card I flipped was 7, I let out an unintentional hiss and softly swore. I should've agreed to her first stipulation. In terms of card points: 7 is equal to 0. She didn't specify any conditions for getting a 0 value. Shit! I can see her grin from where I'm standing across the room.

"I presume you want to hit?" she teased. If only I could instead hit a kitten in the face. I took another card, secretly hoping for a 3 or 4 on it. I was gasping for air when I flipped it. I can hear the gasps and whines of the girls around me. I felt like my world crumbled into pieces.

"Fuck!" I got 6. I lost. I fucking lost.

She rose and placed a calling card on the table, saying, "So, you're mine now." I can only clench my hand, quietly wishing that this is all a nightmare and that I'll wake up tomorrow realizing that this girl with feline eyes and chubby cheeks is nothing more than a figment of my imagination. That's what I wished for, but it's real! Fucking real! A newbie had just humiliated me in front of these people.

"Call me tomorrow. Don’t try to run away. I can still find you," she said as she winked and blew me a kiss before walking away from the table.

"I can't believe this! I've been here a year, and that beginner got you in an hour?" Mich complained and stormed out. I rubbed my temples and closed my eyes.

"Sorry, girls! Khali is now taken!" Steven said alongside me, his arm swung around my shoulder, but I quickly pushed it away out of irritation. I despise it when others make fun of me. He just tapped my shoulder with a chuckle afterward.

Tell me, this is just a dream! Can someone fucking slap me in the face?! I can't believe this!

"This is so fucked up!"

Steven picked up the calling card from the table and began reading it aloud.

"Jane Terranova, CEO of JT Telecom. Wow! You've got yourself a young, gorgeous, blazing hot CEO!" he patted my shoulder once more, and I pushed him away. I wasn't impressed in the least. I don't care if she's the Prime Minister's daughter or the most renowned woman on the planet. All I care about is my reputation, which has now been tarnished.

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