BUY ME - The Complete Series

By: Alexa Riley

The guy smiled at us and gave us instructions on when and where to pick up a package and bring it back. After he gave us the basic details, we made our way out.

We met up at the exchange spot, and I handed over an envelope the guy gave us. The dude in the truck handed us a small box, and we sure as fuck didn’t ask what it was. I took it, stuck it in my back pocket, and we got the fuck out of there.

When we got back to the casino, the guy with the accent and Don were waiting for us in the back of the kitchen. It was just the two of them, and it was intimidating as fuck. Justin and I were thirty minutes late for our shift, and seeing Don there wasn’t a good sign. I didn’t bother with excuses; I just started with an apology. “I’m sorry, Mr. Cortez. My brother and I got caught up on the way to work. It won’t happen again.”

“I come out back to find my good friend Mr. Florence having a smoke, and then the kitchen manager comes out to complain about two guys skipping a night shift. I’m guessing you’re those two guys.”

“Yes, sir. We were running late. I apologize. It won’t ever happen again.” I didn’t make eye contact with Mr. Florence. I didn’t mention the reason for being late, and I pretended like the big fucker wasn’t even in the room. And I absolutely didn’t mention the small box in my back pocket.

Don looked us both over, and then looked back to his friend and nodded. The two of them turned and left the kitchen without saying a word.

Justin looked over at me, and I shrugged. “Let’s get to work.”

Eight hours later it was nearly 9 a.m. and we were done. The graveyard shift sucked, but it’s Vegas and people never really sleep. So even first thing in the morning, the casinos are hopping.

As we made our way out of the kitchen, we spotted Mr. Florence at a table, having breakfast alone. I walked by, casually took the box out of my pocket, slipped it under his napkin, and kept on walking, never breaking my stride.

When we got back to the apartment, we both passed out, and didn’t talk about what happened. We had about six hours before our next shift, and we used the time to sleep.

Later that day, we headed back to the Gold Peacock for our next shift. When we walked to the back of the kitchen, Don was there, waiting on us.

“Mr. Cortez, what can we do for you?” I was nervous as shit because I had no idea what he was going to say.

He pulled out a fat manila envelope and handed it over to us. “Mr. Florence wanted to thank you for your discretion.”

I nodded my head in acknowledgement and passed the envelope to Justin. He put it in his bag, and neither of us said anything. When you grow up doing ‘favors’ for guys and running packages, you learn to keep your mouth shut, even when someone is talking to you. Let other people do the talking.

After a moment he smiled. “I’d like to talk to you both about a promotion if you’re interested in doing some work for me.”

It was the moment we’d been waiting for, and I was all ears. “Yes, sir, Mr. Cortez.”

“Call me Don.”

* * *

Thirteen years later Don helped us finance our first casino, and two years later we paid him back in full. We owe every opportunity to Don, and he’s like a father to us.

Don was the one who helped us become brothers legally and even gave us his own last name. We were like our own little makeshift family. He set up our attorney and filed the paperwork. Although we were adults, we still wanted it. We decided early on that we were a family and always would be. So we went through the process and changed our last name to Cortez. When that was complete, it felt like we’d sealed the deal and made one of the final steps we’d always planned on as kids. Don helped us become a family, and we were eternally grateful for that.

So when he called and said we had a problem in our casino, we listened.

Frank Johnson is a gambler, and not a very good one. He’s been lucky for a while, but it seems his luck isn’t going so good these days. He’s bouncing around from casino to casino, jumping in high roller games and betting big with money he doesn't have. Mostly he gets so sloppy, he can’t play his cards, so we cash him out and send him on his way. He hit the Gold Peacock twice this week, and when I check our cameras I see him down in our pit, making waves.

Our casino, The Cortez, is high end, and caters to an older crowd. We don’t have dance clubs or pool parties. We like to keep things classy. The Cortez is known for this and welcomes wealthy weekenders looking for a low key Vegas experience. If you’ve got money and don’t like flashy, chances are you’ve stayed with us.

Seeing Frank down in the pits isn’t good for the casino atmosphere or for business. I look over at Justin and we nod, deciding to handle this ourselves. Don said Frank used to be a friend, and he recently lost his wife, so he’s been floating him for a while. But it’s been happening for over two years, and the float isn’t in place anymore. When Don calls in your debts, it’s time to pay up or get out.

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