Las Vegas was possibly Maki's least favorite place on the planet. Constantly surrounded by hundreds of people at any given time and bombarded by the flashing lights and obnoxious sounds of countless slot machines was one step down from torture for the poor girl, and if she had a say in it, she would never be caught dead in Sin City. But that weekend, where she spent her time wasn't up to her to decide, as Kaito had convinced her that he really wanted to see the sights the strip had to offer for his birthday that year. Why he wanted to go to the gambling capital of the world with his horrendous luck was a mystery to her, but that afternoon found her walking down the crowded street at his side nonetheless. The pair were grateful that the early spring sun wasn't beating down on them too hard, because Maki didn't know how she'd handle sweating to death on top of everything else. As they walked, Kaito spouted mostly nonsense, talking about how much fun they were going to have and how he'd definitely cut back on the gambling, for sure this time.
After a pause during which she thought he was done rambling, he continued, "and then, once we're done for the night, we retire back to the Luxor to prepare for more fun tomorrow! I still don't know how you managed to get a room there, Maki Roll."
Maki's eyes glossed over as she put on her trademark death glare. "I have my methods," she said under her breath. In reality, she won discounted coupons by playing an online game that Kaito had pointed her to when he first expressed his interest in going, but she figured his wild imagination would probably make the story more interesting if she left it open to interpretation.
Kaito barked a laugh at her response. "Classic Maki Roll. I kind of wish there was a space themed casino we could stay at, but I guess the Egyptian one works too. Did you know some people think that aliens built the pyramids for the ancient Egyptians?"
"Please tell me you're not one of them," Maki said, maintaining her deadpan.
"Of course not!" Kaito snapped. "I may be dumb, but I ain't stupid. If aliens exist, there's no way they've made it to our neck of the woods yet. Neck of the stars? Eh. Hey, let's go in that casino!"
That suggestion started the process of the day slowly going downhill for Kaito. He ended up putting money in the first vaguely space-themed slot machine he saw and lost it all without winning back a cent. Maki watched the proceedings grimly, waiting for some sort of angry outburst from Kaito. What she got instead was a shrug as he took a stand. "I should have known that would happen."
"Explain," Maki said.
Kaito shook his head, patting the machine as he spoke. "It's a movie tie-in machine. Those never work when people who haven't seen the movie are around."
Maki raised an eyebrow at the logo of the insanely popular science fiction horror movie. "I find it hard to believe that you've never seen Alien."
"Of course I have!" Kaito pointed an accusatory finger at Maki. "But have you?"
The sight of his dramatic gesture caused Maki to give a knee-jerk, "do you want to die?" However, once she processed what he said, she conceded. "Right. I haven't seen it."
"See? It could sense that, and didn't give me anything because of it." Satisfied with the case he built, Kaito moved away from the machine and started walking through the casino, Maki right behind him. The next time he sat down was at the next casino, when he found a machine that had a bizarre, cartoon alien abduction game. "This one will definitely give me the luck streak I've been needing," he said.
Right before losing twenty bucks to the machine.
"Maybe you should stop," Maki told him as he heaved a deep sigh.
"No, this machine's just bogus," Kaito said confidently. "It must be stuck to a no-win setting or something. Isn't it a weird coincidence that not a single spin resulted in a win of any kind?"
"It's rigged, for sure. Let's move on." Kaito grabbed Maki's hand and started leading her through the casino again, headed for their next destination. They walked through a couple more casinos and eventually found themselves outside on the strip, just in time for a crowd to form around them.
"What's going on?" Maki asked, a slight panic starting to overcome her as people swarmed around them.
Instead of explaining with words, Kaito pointed at what everyone was craning to see. The couple had managed to stumble upon a certain set of famous fountains just in time for a show to start. The yellowing sky served as a gorgeous backdrop to the jets of water dancing through the air, the lights beneath them were just visible enough in the remaining daylight. Maki found herself entranced in the show and how the fountains synced with the cheesy romantic music so nicely. Though she'd never admit it out loud, watching it side-by-side with Kaito gave her butterflies in her stomach and reminded her of why she put up with him on a daily basis. Over the course of the song, she laced her fingers through his and held his hand tight, eventually leaning against his taller frame.
When the music faded and the water came to rest, she uttered a soft, "wow," and looked to see Kaito's reaction. To her amazement, he was stone-faced, seemingly unaffected by the show that had moved her so much. "Kaito?"
Kaito snapped back to reality, flashing Maki a grin. "Sorry, I was thinking about which machine I wanted to play next! I've got a great idea for a game plan."
"Come on Maki Roll, we're wasting daylight!" Kaito turned and made a beeline for the next casino, where he sat at the first machine he saw. This one wasn't particularly notable, except that it was sporting a steampunk fantasy theme, which was a stark contrast from the space machines he'd been seeking out so far.
A still slightly annoyed Maki watched him slide a bill into the machine, arms crossed. "I'm not sure I understand this plan of yours," she said.
"It's simple," Kaito explained with the same bravado and confidence he'd had all day. "The machines closest to the doors win more often. It's how they sucker people into coming in and playing their games. I'll just hunker down here and…"
To spare you the details and save a lot of time, we will be skipping to the part where he lost thirty dollars to the indifferent steampunk ladies.
"Damn it!" Kaito cried, slamming his fist on the console. "That's a loss of..."
He started counting on his fingers, but Maki saved him time and humiliation. "A lot. It's a loss of a lot."
"We can't stop, then!" Kaito shot to his feet and moved to the very next machine, which was a jungle machine; the gorilla on the logo staring sternly at the entrance to the casino. But as far as Maki was concerned, it might as well have been a toilet, so Kaito could just waste his money faster.
When the number denoting how much money was left in the machine reached a solid zero, Kaito simply stood up and moved to the very next machine. Maki could see his strained effort to keep his anger in check as he slid a bill into the dragon-themed machine. "Third time's the charm, right?" He said through his teeth.
Marvelously, the third time did seem to be the charm for his near-the-door plan, as the first spin gave him a free spin bonus, and the dragon on the screen roared as he won back every dollar he'd spent on the so far ill-fated plan. He still wasn't breaking even on the trip by any means, but if he cashed out after the bonus, he could pretend he hadn't sat at any of those three machines. When Maki told him this, he shook his head. "Nonsense, Maki Roll! I'm on a winning streak now, so I have to ride the wave until it stops! If this keeps up, maybe I can break even on this trip!"
He must have sat at that dragon machine for twenty minutes. Every once in a while he'd get a winning spin that would put him back at the point he was after the free spin bonus, but he would not only look that gift horse (gift dragon?) in the mouth, but stick his arm in as far as it could go, pushing his luck even further until he was spinning on max bet.
As sure as clockwork, that number too, dropped to zero, with no hope of winning back any of that money. Kaito had to be physically dragged away from the machine, punching at it and cursing his luck. "What do you think starting a fist fight with an animated dragon is going to do for you?" She asked in an attempt to calm him down.
"I need it to give my damn money back!" Kaito yelled. "I swear, I was one spin away from winning everything back!"
"Sure you were," Maki said flatly.
By that point, it was getting late enough for dinner, and the grumpy birthday boy spent the entire meal sulking and mumbling under his breath about how that damned dragon was gonna pay for its transgressions against the Luminary of the Stars. Considering Maki's reserved nature, it came as no surprise that this resulted in an almost completely silent meal between the couple.
After Maki covered the bill (for obvious reasons) and they were back on the strip, they needed a plan. "By the time we get back to where we're staying, I think we'll be ready for bed," Maki said, looking down the boulevard at the large, black structure that marked their home base for the weekend. "And that's provided we don't make any detours."
"So we start heading that way," Kaito said with a nod. "Sounds like a plan, Maki Roll!"
They found a distraction in the very next casino.
Kaito was talking about something Maki was ignoring, knowing he was mostly trying to cheer himself up with his rambling, but he stopped mid-sentence and froze in his tracks when his eyes landed on a specific machine. "Is that…?"
Not quite understanding the question, Maki shook her head. "I'm not calling you that."
"No, Maki, look. A Space Man!"
Sure enough, the cause of Kaito's sudden loss of reasoning was a slot machine given the name Moon Race. The screen was adorned with a lunar lander and an indifferent space suit staring out at passerby. "Oh good lord," Maki sighed.
"I have to play it, you know," Kaito said, sitting down and clapping his hands quickly. "Like, legally obligated to. And as Luminary of the Stars, I'm also legally obligated to win!"
This machine kept Kaito on the edge of his seat, giving him just enough winnings to stay at around the amount her put in, but never quite going high enough to justify cashing out. That is, until about twenty minutes in when it stopped paying out altogether and left Kaito with nothing once again.
"God damn it!" He yelled again, abusing another poor slot machine. That was the last thing either of them said until they arrived back at their hotel room. Once they were inside and the door was locked, a visibly angry Kaito kicked his shoes off and sat down hard on the huge, ornately made bed, arms crossed and a sneer on his face.
Maki didn't want to deal with an angry Kaito, so she stepped into the bathroom, ready to take a shower and cleanse herself of the sweat that she earned by walking up and down the strip all day. The warm water washed over her scarred skin, relaxing her down to her core, but just knowing that her roommate was in such a dour mood made her dread stepping out. "I hate when he's like this," she said to herself as she ran shampoo through her hair. "He shouldn't be acting like such a child, especially on his birthday, of all days..." When she was satisfied with her hair and the time came to lather her body in soap, an idea occurred to her. "I...suppose there is one way to cheer him up." The thought made her nervous, as they hadn't actually taken this step in their relationship yet, and the idea of being completely naked and almost helpless around him was daunting. Would it even cheer him up? He had expressed his desire to work toward that step in their relationship, so perhaps a hotel room in Las Vegas on his birthday was the perfect time to cross that line.
But was she ready for it? She looked down at her naked body, mind not daring to imagine how much she might need a second shower after what she had planned. Would he even be attracted to her body that was covered in scars from her dangerous line of work? She didn't actually doubt that he was, but in that moment, every little imperfection was a risk that her idea was going to fail and he was just going to get stuck in his shitty mood all night.
Finally, Maki took a deep breath and turned the shower off. As she dried herself, she psyched herself up every way she knew how—including running her hands over herself in ways that she knew would excite her.
Finally, she pushed open the bathroom door and stepped out, visibly nervous and wrapped in only a towel. Kaito had some sort of nature documentary on the TV, but he clearly wasn't too absorbed in it. "Kaito," she said, snapping him to reality.
"What's up Maki Roll?" He looked at her, but seemed to be unphased by her current state of dress.
When she spoke next, she tried to put on a seductive tone, but it ended coming out flat, saying, "you might not have gotten lucky tonight, but you can still get lucky tonight." Damn it, she didn't put the emphasis on the word she meant to put it on!
"No I can't," Kaito said in a dejected voice. "We left the casino floor like, half an hour ago."
Maki shook her head and let the towel slip down slightly, revealing her (albeit minor) cleavage. "No, I don't mean like that. I mean you can still get lucky...with me." With the final two words, she let the towel drop to the floor, unveiling her naked body to her boyfriend for the first time.
His eyes grew wide, and a smile graced his face. "...Oh, I get what you're saying," he said, some bravado coming back to him. Maki could feel her face heat up, but she nodded as she took a step closer to the bed. She would have been lying if she said she wasn't at least anticipating what was to come next after getting herself so worked up about it. In fact, with every step closer to the man she loved, she found her worries melting away, until she had about as much anxiety as she had clothing. She loved him, and in this moment, she wanted him. All she needed to do was reach the bed and let their instincts take them where they pleased…
"You're saying that if I use your money, I won't lose!"
"Thanks, Maki Roll!" In one fluid motion, Kaito sprung from the bed, grabbed a crisp twenty dollar bill from Maki's discarded wallet, and planted a kiss on her cheek, hands nowhere near the rest of her body. "Now put some clothes on so you can come down and watch me win!"
Without another word, he bolted from the room and let the door close behind him with a heavy thud. Maki merely stared, dumbfounded at the empty room in front of her.
"I'm going to kill him."
This isn't my first attempt at writing V3, but it's the first thing I'm posting, and it's in celebration of Kaito's birthday! Hope you enjoyed!