Lucky
He never showered, his hair was always dirty, and his teeth were beginning to rot because of the nasty little habit he had of ingesting pure sugar – just spooning it straight from the package. Disgusting!
    She gave a long drawn-out sigh. She was depressed by Lennie leaving. They had spent hardly any time together, and she had harboured the hope that once they talked – really talked – he would help and advise her. In fact she had been counting on him to get her out of the mess she was in. She hadn’t told him about her mother, had not wanted to upset him on his first day in town. Now it was too late. He had thought she was screwing around. Ha! Who had the time, energy, or inclination? Her hours were spent between home, hospital, and the casino.
    She stared at Wayland and hated him. When they first met he had seemed like a gentle, easy-going, kind person. A touch eccentric, but he was an artist. He had shown her a portfolio of brilliant drawings. Since they were married he had not put pen to paper – let alone brush to easel.
    For gentle read weak; easy-going meant lazy; and kind equalled dumb. She snorted in disgust, and the baby started to cry. Wayland did not budge – naturally. Jess jumped up and scooped Simon from his basket. At least she had a gorgeous baby – the relationship had produced something of value.
    She walked slowly into the house and thought about dinner with Matt Traynor. Not an event she relished, but maybe if she found out the truth she could persuade him to rehire Lennie.
    Oh, if only she could! She needed a friend, and she needed him now.
    *   *   *
     
    So much for Eden. In a way Lennie was relieved because he really wasn’t prepared to talk to her. Best to get settled first, and then give her a call.
    While he was near a phone he decided he would check out his mother, maybe the boyfriend had moved on, one never knew with Alice. She had gotten herself an answering machine, and there she was in high spirits and gravelly voice saying – Hi-de-ho! This is Alice. I am out. Disappointed? Don’t be. Leave your name, your number, and (giggle, giggle) vital statistics. If your luck is in, I will call you back .
    Why did she make him cringe with embarrassment? Shouldn’t he have learned to accept her by now? He tried Joey Firello. Also out. Then he called the twins.
    Shirlee answered, screamed a greeting, and insisted he come by for breakfast immediately. It seemed like a good idea. Besides, he had nowhere else to go.

Chapter Ten
     
    In the morning Lucky felt great. She was back, the sun was shining, and she couldn’t imagine why she had been so uptight about Gino and the widow Martino the night before. It was nothing. It was a lay. Someone different. A constant parade of showgirls was enough to get anyone down.
    She grinned. Good old Gino. He still had it. She should be proud of him, not mad. And today they would get everything settled, it would be business as usual.
    In high spirits she leapt out of bed, did a few isometrics, then threw herself under an icy shower. For a split second she saw Marco’s smiling face – so handsome and dark . . .
    She forced the image away, and thought instead about the casual pick-up the night before. Fortunately he had not been hot to trot, because she would have regretted it in the morning. How dumb of her to have picked an employee – she hoped Matt had done as she asked and fired him.
    She stepped from the shower, shook drops of water from her glistening black hair, and slipped into a white towelling track suit. In Atlantic City she had run for the first time, and liked it. There was a jogging track on the grounds of the Magiriano, and she planned to use it.
    Downstairs early morning gamblers filled the Casino. The ping of the slot machines was a twenty-four-hour-sound. It reassured Lucky that all was in order. She stopped for an orange juice in the coffee shop, chatted with a couple of security guards, then made her way down to the gym where she

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