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            “John?” Jodi whispers in my ear. “John?” she repeats, “We’re here, peaches. Time to wake up.”

            I’m confused but unconcerned as I awaken with my head nestled on the sweet perfume of Jodi’s bare shoulder. I blink twice, look at her, lift my head enough to turn it left and right, survey the monorail car before returning to Jodi’s eyes. “Hey, desert flower,” I whisper, reaching my hand up and wiping the drool off her bare skin. “Sorry,” I add, patting the wet spot where my mouth had been. “Guess we’re back at my place, huh?”

            “Yep,” she replies with a smile and a nod, ignoring the drool I’d unintentionally dribbled on her. “Las Vegas Boulevard, right outside the Hilton. Sleeping Beauty’s chambers await. Feel better or worse?”

            I blink two short, one long, three short and then nod. Inhaling deeply through my nose before exhaling through my mouth I use my incisors to gently bite her earlobe. “Better. I think. Definitely prefer waking up dazed and confused next to you than to grim certainty that I’m all alone. You holding up?”

          “Me?” she asks, surprised with the question. “I’m fine,” she adds as we stand. “Tired but not done in. Midnight’s pretty standard fare for me. You getting a second wind?”

          “Whoa. If I make it until ten that’s news worthy so I’m, what?” I say, checking my watch, “Five hours past my usual passed out sober bedtime. And what is this ‘second wind’ thing of which you speak, oh great desert flower?”

          Jodi snorts a single blast of polite, perfunctory laughter over my lame joke before raising her eyebrow and asking, “Passed out sober?” as we head down the stairs from the monorail. “What does that mean? And it’s just after midnight. Wouldn’t that make it just four hours past your bedtime?”

          “Ah! It would if I usually made it to ten o’clock but I’m really more of a just past nine kind of guy. And passed out sober is one of my stupid jokes. You know how people get passed out drunk? I get that way when my battery’s drained except I’m sober. When I’m done I’m done. Might as well be passed out,” I reply with a left shoulder shrug.

          “I see,” she says, nodding. “Do you need help making it up to your room or would you rather manage on your own?”

          I’m pleased that my feet do not stumble at her question as we walk but my tongue doesn’t do as well. “Uhh,” I reply wittily, “I’m, I’m, I’m sure I can make it on my own. Do you, do you want to come up or is it time for sayonara?”

          “Sayonara? No, but what of adieu? You said you were tired and I don’t want to presume? I’m still hoping to cook you some dinner tomorrow.”

           “Okay,” I say as we enter the Hilton’s lobby, “I’m pretty done in. I’d ask if you want a drink but I think I’d pass out at the bar. I’d, I’d like for you to come up but I don’t want you to expect too much. Not that I do! What I, what I mean is I’d be honored if you’d come up and just sit with me on the patio? I think we can see the moon from there? I, I don’t want you to go yet but I don’t want to pressure you in any way.”

          “Pressure me into what, John? I find you lovely and enticing, despite your awkward moral compass. Afraid I’ll corrupt you if we go up to your room?”

       “Corrupt? Not a chance. And enticing is a perfect description of you. And lovely. Could you, could you just come be with me for a bit? I. I really don’t want you to go yet.”

          “Okay,” she says with a right cheek only smile. “That would be nice. But you haven’t answered my question.”

          “I’m sorry?” I ask, confused. “I thought I did. I’d, I’d, I’d like you to come up and just be with me.”

          “Oh, yeah,” she said with a wink as she pushed the up elevator key, “I got that. What you haven’t answered is if you want me to cook you dinner tomorrow?”