Edit: I went through and fixed a few lines and grammar errors

AN: I know this is a lot shorter than most of my stuff if you want to know why read the AN at the end. Other than that disclaimer is on my profile. ~enjoy

Thoughts

"Speech"

-Setting-

The Hand of Fate

Has anybody ever told you fun it is to play poker? Have you ever gotten to sit around with some friends, pass out some cards, and play a few hands? It's always been one of my favorite things to do and like usual I've been losing.

"Vinnie you're up," I said.

The short lanky guy across from me looked to his hand then back up at me. In between two of his fingers was a crooked cigarette that helped to make the poorly lit room seem even darker. Vinnie flicked the cherry of his cigarette and put his face down on the table.

"Goddammit Jackie, stop rushing me," he replied.

Vinnie fingered the green velvet on the table for a few scarce seconds then told the group, "Ugh, I fold."

He put his cards towards the center of the table and took another drag from his cigarette. Three of the people in the room looked over to Vinnie's left as a rather fat man grumbled something about "Youngsters having no patience these days."

Vinnie smothered out the end of his cigarette in a nearby ashtray then called out "Come on Little Bear! We only got till eight."

Little Bear messed with the ring on his pinky and looked down at the cards in his hand. He pulled one from the left while saying, "Call."

The last person in the booth with us was almost the exact opposite of Little Bear, a skinny kid who looked more in place with a crowd of teenagers than us. I started to tap my ring finger on the table as small chimes were let out with each tap. Looking down a black wring came into view. The ring looked to be made out of some dark-colored metal with small white streaks going through it.

Etched into the dark metal were the words Family and Honor.

Little Bear turned to the kid almost trying to stare him down. I saw a slight twitch in Little Bear's brows as he checked the time on his watch. He always liked to be doing something, talking, eating, messing with his ring, checking the time; it could be anything as long as he had something to fiddle with.

The old-timers were weird like that.

I looked to little bear's counterpart as he stuttered, "Raise. C-Come on now, B-Big Bear's t-trying to bring h-home the big bucks!"

Unlike what most would think he's not nervous, at least I think he's not. According to Little bear, and part of his family, Big Bear got caught up in some kind of fight a few years back. Luckily he didn't have to go to the hospital, but, after his jaw's close encounter with a crowbar, he's never been able to speak straight since

Big Bear ruffled his suit with one hand and pushed forward four red chips with the other. I looked down at my measly two and thought Crap.

Big Bear noticed my distress and asked, "Y-You wan-wanna just s-split it?"

I sat up in our booth and disagreed "Nah, just put em down. I'm betting Tiny over there don't got anything."

Little Bear pursed his lips at my name-calling then chided me with, "You know that was only one time."

"One time? You mean the last six hands?" I interrupted.

The old man pulled at the tie going over his pinstripe suit and growled, "I don't know why I even come to these things anymore. You young-ins are gonna bleed me dry."

I gave him a cheeky smile and said "Come on Gramps you know love us. Hell, I got you that Frank Sinatra Record; that's gotta count for something right?"

Just as Little Bear was about to say something Vinnie interrupted us both by waving his left hand in the air. On it sat a ring very similar to my own; the only difference between the two was color. His was purple.

"Enough you two. Start fighting again and we'll be here all night. Put em down so can get outta here." interrupted Vinnie.

Big Bear nodded towards him and threw his five cards on the table.

The five black cards scattered onto the black velvet as I thought Two aces, not bad but not good enough.

I motioned over to Little Bear and he brought one of his enormous hands onto the table. The five cards he laid out were comical in comparison to his meaty hands. Immediately I could see Big Bear deflate as the last card came into view.

And that's game.

Big Bear's five cards consisted of three queens, a two, and a seven. Looking back down at my hand I let that cheeky smile come back full force. I started to layout each card as the anticipation in the room started to build. Little Bear's beady eyes narrowed as I put down the last card.

Laid out in perfect view of everyone at our table were four kings and an ace. Little Bear let out a groan and put one of his hands in the air. Just as quickly as the limb went up it came back down. The five cards below him scattered in the wind as he growled "A four of a kind? You gotta be kidding me!"

I raked a hand through my brown hair and told him, "Reed em and weep Old Timer. You gotta step up your game; you know what this means though?"

Vinnie started fumbling around in his suit for another cigarette as he asked: "What?"

"That this guy doesn't have to work while we're here!" I crowed.

The unlit cigarette in Vinnie's mouth fell as he gaped like a fish. He brought his eyes down to the chips I had left then blurted out, "No way...no way and hell man! We came here because of the new merchandise; you can't just pull out like that!"

I started counting out my chips then said, "Twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five...that's what we said right?"

Little Bear decided it was a good time to join back in.

"Yeah, whoever got the most would get to skip out," answered Little Bear.

Big Bear cracked a smile at our antics and asked me, "W-What're ya-you gonna do?"

Taking a second to check the time on my phone I explained "While you guys are out-" I took a second and peaked my head out of our booth. "-redistributing some prime real estate to it's 'rightful' owners I think I'll explore the city a little bit."

"And do what? This isn't like back home where you can get into your brand of fun," asked Vinnie.

At the mention of my type of 'fun', a small grimace appeared on Little Bear's face as he continued on with, "The last time you...you know what? I don't care. We're in Japan, not Cecily. Just don't die, and be back before we have to leave."

I thought back to the last time I had a night on the town. A couple of images of some of my boys running around drunk throwing flaming potatoes past through my mind. Good Times I thought.

Standing up from the table I said, "I'll see you all tomorrow, Family and Honor." as the two words left my lips the three men at the table let out a trio of voices that repeated, "Family and Honor."

I walked out of the booth thinking My Luck's looking up today. What's the worst that can happen?

About two hours later after a run-in with the police, a kidnapping, meeting MBI's black dog, and getting thrown through a wall I'd learn just that.

AN: Alright I'll start out with what this whole story actually is. This is mainly going to be me challenging myself to write some things that I'm not particularly good at. Those things being dialogue and romance. Don't get me wrong I still greatly enjoy writing stuff like this, but it's just more time-consuming. Because of that and my focus mainly being on my other series, the chapters on this are going to be a bit light. Normally I have around 8K or so words for my chapters and with this one, I have around 1.4K. The chapter-length for this story is going to fluctuate a lot, but it will still be a coherent story so don't worry. It will also be fun to pull out some of the characters and scenes that I've thrown around in my head and have never really put into action.

Other than that if you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to send me a message or leave a review. See you guys next time.

~ciao