Waking up naked with your face between your girlfriend’s legs is the best way to start your morning in Vegas.
With your brother screaming at you from the other side of the covers? Not so much.
Amanda’s thighs make great pillows that muffle out my brother bellowing, “What the hell happened in here?” His outrage makes the mattress vibrate, like those beds in seedy motels on television shows. In a pinch, Declan’s yell is worth a quarter. Maybe fifty cents.
I sit up and scream back, “WHAT THE FUCK?”
Because that is a perfect example of executive mastery and grace under pressure.
It’s the morning after my brother’s wedding. I am in my hotel suite here at Litraeon, the Las Vegas Strip resort owned by my company, Anterdec. My girlfriend, Amanda, is with me. We’re both naked. We should be alone.
That needs to be rectified.
My head fills with metal shavings masquerading as lightning bolts that run through my veins. I flop back, eyes closed.
The world needs to stop spinning. Now.
I reach for Amanda. Her soft, creamy skin anchors me to the world. She’s mine again. Mine. All mine. She moans, the sound unrecognizable. It’s nothing like the little gasp I elicit during intimate moments. She sounds like Gloria Steinem at a Ted Cruz rally.
If I ignore Declan, he’ll go away. Maybe this is a nightmare.
I lift my arm to rub my eyes and ask Declan why the hell he’s barging in on Amanda and me. Who keyed him into my suite? Someone on our security team is getting fired. Besides, it’s the first day of his honeymoon. Doesn’t he have something better to do right now?
Something deep in my core stirs, a discontent that is both familiar and exasperating.
I start to rub my eyes in a weak attempt to wake up and—
Wait. What’s that weight on my left hand?
And when the hell did Declan start to look so much like my dad? My vision clears and there’s Dec, standing next to Shannon, who is watching Amanda with an intensity I’ve only seen in one other woman, ever.
“Is that a wedding ring on your left hand?” Declan shouts, like I’m Gollum and he’s Sauron. What ring? What the hell is he talking about?
I check my hands. Right hand clear. Left hand—
Uh, oh. How did that get there?
Amanda screams. My sister-in-law’s cat, Chuckles, is on the bed. He’s wearing a veterinarian’s surgical cone with the words “WILL SLEEP WITH PUSSY FOR FOOD” written in Sharpie.
The handwriting is familiar.
Chuckles claws Amanda, yielding a wild shriek from both. Declan gets the cat off her and she sits up and—
She’s Gollum, too. Yep.
My precious has the Ring.
Amanda starts saying something about a tuba, and then her friend Josh pops up from the floor. He looks like a really whiny ninja with no body fat. He’s fully dressed, fastidiously so.
I clear my throat and start to stand, ready to resume control over this mess. The stirring inside me has taken more breaths and awakens, assessing, observing. Time to exert authority over these people. The cacophony is too much. I can’t take it. They need to do exactly what I tell them, which means leave.
I’m naked. Damn.
Unlike my brother, I don’t believe in parading my junk for the world to see. Only people with something to prove need to do that.
You know. Like guys who aren’t CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
I clutch the covers. My stomach twists. I feel like a victim in a Dexter episode, except there’s been a mistake. Amanda’s pinning her head in place with her palms, and a weird ringing fills my head. Josh has his hand in the air, a strange glare of sunlight on—
Oh, shit. A ring.
What the hell happened last night?
Rainbows explode all over the other side of the bed. Rainbows and chocolate penises. A chocolate penis the size of a baseball bat is in the hands of a guy wearing a tie-dyed shirt and a head made of rainbow hair.
This is all a dream, right? The rainbow is wearing a wedding ring, but no underwear, and a sudden, cold clarity hits me as I look around the room.
I have a wedding ring.
Amanda has a wedding ring.
Josh has a wedding ring.
Rainbow chocolate-dong-holding dude has a wedding ring.
One of the hallmarks of my moving up the ranks so quickly at Anterdec has been my split-second decision-making ability, and my willingness to take business risks that scare the hell out of anyone else. Puzzle pieces fall in place in seconds when I observe, analyze and act. No wishy-washy wondering.
Intuition kicks in. Judgment is based on the gut. Decisions rest on data points and an ambiguous collection of—
Hold on. Sunlight passes over Amanda’s left hand.
“Who the hell is she married to?” I ask Declan, pointing at Amanda. Her skin is so luscious in this morning light. A lovely, healthy glow that reminds me of sunsets on the ocean.
Then I narrow my eyes and realize her breasts are orange.
Day-glo orange. They look like Donald Trump’s face. The nipples are paler than the rest, like eyes.
Shannon’s damn cat pees all over the really nice giant teddy bear I bought Amanda, prances over, and leaps into Declan’s arms. I want to ask how my brother trained the cat to do that, but Amanda’s screaming in my ear.
“Who am I married to? What? What kind of question is that?” she snaps. I liked her better when she moaned like Rachel Maddow interviewing the Zodiac Killer at a presidential primary.
“There are three men in here with wedding rings on!” I shout back. Only one of us should be her husband, of course. Me.