Her skin is pale, her rumpled cotton vest and panties whiter than the cream sheets she lies on.
She murmurs something in her sleep and rolls over, an exquisite bare thigh arching on top of the covers.
Her hair is dark black in contrast, a short bob framing her resting face. The cold winter air makes the tiny hairs on her arms stand on end.
Outside the window the world is a white sheet too. The first snowfall of the winter has arrived.
I sit on the end of the bed and stare at her. How lucky I am to have met her. Why did she stay with me? I can’t answer. She deserves better.
But I can’t change who I am. I scoop up the winnings from the bed where we slept on them. Crisp, new dollars fresh from our good run of luck at the Craps table last night.
I’m sure I can win more, double it. Then she’ll never have the excuse to leave me. She hasn’t agreed to it. We won it together.
I take one last look at that pale, pure body and creep out the door.
The roulette wheel awaits.
Win and have it all. Lose and I lose her too.
The snow is crisp and crunchy as I walk across the motel car park. 9 a.m. The casino will open in half an hour.
I should have asked her name before I left. I should realise she was the one who brought the good luck.
Without her, I know the chances are I’ll hit my usual losing streak.
I close the car door and rub my hands together, the engine takes three tries to start.