Chapter 1

Caution: This Drama Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Reluctant, Heterosexual, Safe Sex, Oral Sex, Masturbation, Petting, Slow, Caution, .

Desc: Drama Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Can Texas Holdem bring two lonely souls together? Or will they lose on life's river card. You've got to know when to hold them....[Sorry, I had to go with the poker flow, but it's not 'the' story.] Note the CAUTION category. It is explained before the story starts.

It was obvious to all of the players that the dealer was getting a bit tired. He was starting to have difficulty shuffling the cards, and they could notice that he was checking his watch after every hand was completed. Robert Porter had also been checking his watch, and he knew that they would be playing at least another three hands of Texas Holdem before there would be a short break while the dealer was replaced, and a fresh deck was brought into use. He was looking forward to the break as well, as it would give him a chance to take a necessary trip to the bathroom.

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, and most of the people at their table had been there for at least a couple of hours. Robert himself had been there for over four hours, and knew that he would probably play for at least another hour before taking a supper break. It made no sense for him to leave too soon, now that he had gotten to the point where he was able to figure out most of the players styles and their 'tells' that were permitting him to have a bit of an advantage at the table.

They were playing $5 and $10 Limit Texas Holdem, which meant that the pot could get fairly sizable when up to three raises were made. The dealer would remove up to five dollars from each pot as the casino's share, or rake, which usually didn't make too much of a difference in the size of the pot, but still would cost the players a lot of money in an evening.

There was one female at the table, a pretty, dark haired woman he judged to be of about his own age of 30. She seemed to be pretty good at playing the game, but he had picked up one very valuable tell from her; he just hadn't had the opportunity to make use of it yet. He fully expected that the information he had filed away on her habit could either save or make him some money. Robert also noticed that she wasn't taking advantage of her good looks or figure, a surprising mistake in his mind.

From the size of the stack of chips in front of him he knew that he was likely ahead by at least $250 for his afternoon's work so far. That was about the result that he had hoped for, based on how past afternoons spent at the tables had gone for him. With still an hour to go before he planned to take a lengthier break, he was very hopeful of adding to his winnings.

The woman was sitting practically across from him and was immediately to the dealer's left. There were two other players between her seat and his, and they were both players that seemed to be losing more than they were winning. The remaining five players to his left were a mixed group. The two closest to him were both decent players, and it seemed that both of them were ahead a few chips. The next player was one of the bigger losers for the afternoon, one of those players that were necessary if the others were to make any money from the game.

The last two players, the ones closest to the dealer's right hand, seemed to be average players that were probably close to breaking even. Robert was hopeful that once he gained more information on their play he might be able to make a few dollars at their expense. A lot of people felt that playing poker was a fun experience, but Robert had learned that if you looked at it that way it was going to cost you some cash. He knew that he had to watch his opponents closely, so that he would have every advantage available when he made his bets.

Just as he had expected, the break occurred three hands later, and he was able to make a quick pit stop at the men's room. He hadn't been the only one to do that, but they all made it back in plenty of time for the start of the next hand. Robert was just about to sit down at the table when an old friend of his walked by and noticed him standing there.

"Lip! How the hell are you doing? I haven't seen you in at least a couple of years." The speaker was a man of his own age, and close to Robert's height of 6 feet. While Robert had sandy blond hair, his rapidly approaching friend had dark brown hair and was also notable for his rugged good looks. Good looks were not something that Robert had ever associated with himself, though, as his face, while otherwise normal, bore a very obvious scar from reconstructive surgery for a cleft lip and palate.

"Fred, it's good to see you! You're right, it's been too long." The two men shook hands before continuing their conversation. The surprise Robert felt at seeing his old friend made him speak more quickly than usual, and as a result his Hypernasality became very noticeable, as his words became overly nasal. It was as though he was "talking through his nose," and several of his fellow poker players quickly glanced up as he spoke.

"So, Lip, you're a poker player now. I hope you're not losing your shirt!" Fred was grinning as he said it, as he knew full well that Robert wasn't a person known for foolishly squandering his money.

"I play a little now and then, Fred. So far I've managed to keep my pickup and my condo. What are you up to these days?" As he regained control of his breathing and slowed down his speech his Hypernasality almost disappeared. The many months of training spent with a Speech Pathologist served him well, and in normal situations his speech sounded almost indistinguishable from anyone else's.

"Nothing new or different, really. I still work in the office at the paper mill. I guess I've been spending too much time with Sherry, my girlfriend. You know how it is, Lip; they don't like their guy spending time with his buddies." He laughed heartily at his little joke.

Robert joined him in his laughter before asking, "Are you staying here tonight, Fred? Maybe we could get together later for supper or a couple of drinks."

The smile disappeared from Fred's face as he said, "No, Lip, I'm not. Sherry is in the casino, playing the slot machines for a few minutes, and then we're headed back to Thunder Bay. She has to go to work in the morning. We only stopped in here for a few minutes on our way back from Minneapolis; we were there for a concert."

Robert could see that the dealer was just about ready to begin his first deal, so he said, "That's too bad, Fred. How about I give you a phone call later this week, and maybe we could get together for supper back home." He laughed before continuing, "I'll even spring for supper for your girlfriend if she wants to come along. It would give me a chance to meet her, and to tell her what you are really like."

"That sounds like a plan, Lip. Except for the last part; how about you just forget the war stories. She has enough things to give me a rough time about as it is." The two men shared a laugh before each gently slapped the other on the shoulder and Robert turned back to the table to retake his seat.

On the first deal the big blind was posted by the man two positions to Robert's right. When the player who was under the gun failed to make a bet, Robert raised the bet to $20 while holding an Ace and an 8. All of the rest of the players mucked their cards, leaving him with a gain of almost $15. He made the same play three more times during the next 12 hands, and in every case he collected the blinds minus the rake. It almost seemed as though the other players didn't like to take him on.

On the thirteenth hand he was in the small blind position, and received the Ace of Diamonds and King of Spades, the best cards that he had been dealt in a while. The third player on his left, the afternoon's big loser, called the big blind, and the woman across from him raised the bet to $20. The player to his immediate right called her raise, as did Robert with his Ace King. The player to his left folded the big blind, and the first caller threw in the extra $10 needed to call; there were going to be four of them in the hand.

Robert was paying close attention to the players who had decided to play this hand, and noticed immediately that the woman across from him was indicating that she had a good hand. The tell that he had noticed earlier was warning him that she had very good cards, and he knew that the other two players in the hand were prone to stay in hands waiting to see the flop with any kind of decent cards. He knew he would also have to wait for the flop to see whether he should stay in the hand himself.

The flop came up with a pair of Kings and an Ace, giving Robert a full house, Kings full of Aces. It was a great hand, and he quickly raised the initial $10 bet from the man on his right. The next player called, and the woman across from him calmly raised the bet another $10. The man to his right made the third raise, and the pot had grown by over $100 on that round of betting. He had been watching the woman closely, and realized that in spite of the fact that he had a rare great hand, it was a loser. After a momentary hesitation he folded the two cards and watched the dealer pull them into the pile of dead cards.

Robert carefully watched the remaining rounds of betting on the turn card and the river, confident as he watched the woman's play that he had made the right decision. The player to his right obviously felt he had the winning hand, as he kept raising her raises. He wasn't sure what the third man in the pot had, but he kept calling every bet. Robert had judged him in the earlier play as a rather undisciplined player, and truly, what cards he had were anyone's guess.

By the time the hand ended, the pot was almost $500, the best one of the afternoon. When the woman showed her pair of Aces, her Aces full easily beat the ace high flush held by the player to Robert's right, and the three Kings held by the remaining player. While the chips were being moved over in front of the woman, Robert said, "I'm sure glad I folded Big Slick."

The woman immediately reacted to his comment, saying, "I'm calling bullshit on that! There's no way you folded an Ace King after that flop." A couple of the other players made comments in agreement with her.

The dealer was just reaching for the pile of dead cards when Robert asked, "If no one objects, could you turn over some of those cards? You'll find the Ace of Diamonds and the King of Spades in there, and they should be together."

All of the other players nodded or voiced their agreement, so the dealer started turning over the cards. The fifth and sixth cards were the ones that Robert had folded, and seeing them displayed just as he had predicted created a buzz of conversation amongst the other players. The woman across from him was particularly amazed, and quickly said, "How could you know that I had you beat? It must have been just a good guess."

"It wasn't a guess. I knew you had me beat." He grinned at her before continuing, "You didn't say it in words, but you told me pretty clearly what you had." He spoke carefully, keeping the Hypernasality in check.

The buzz at the table subsided, and the woman was clearly a bit frustrated as she sat there, occasionally looking across at Robert, as though she would be able to figure out how he had managed to read her hand if she simply kept an eye on him. In response Robert simply smiled at her whenever he noticed that she was looking at him again.

For the next half-hour play continued normally, with Robert picking up the blinds a couple of times, as well as winning almost $200 on a set of Jacks. They were approaching the time for the next break when the player to Robert's right said to him, "I thought I heard your friend call you Lip. Was that right? Is that because of your ... scar? I hope you don't mind me asking."

Since neither of them was in the hand that was being played at that moment Robert replied, "I don't mind you asking. It's a nickname I've had since I was in grade school. One of the kids thought he'd give me a rough time about my scar with that nickname, but I didn't mind too much; I've been called worse. It has stuck with me ever since."

The man seemed satisfied with Robert's answer, and just nodded. As Robert turned back to the table, he noticed that the woman across from him had been listening to their conversation. Play continued for another 15 minutes or so until the next break started. Robert managed to break almost even over that period of time, collecting the blinds once in return for his obligation to post the blinds when they worked their way around to him. When the break finally began, he let everybody know that he was leaving and picked up his chips.

Robert was standing at the cashier's enclosure counting the nearly $500 he had received in trade for his chips. He had started with $150 in chips, so it wasn't a bad afternoon's work. He was about to turn away and head up to his room for a few minutes when a woman spoke up behind him.

"I'd really like to know how you knew I had a pair of Aces."

Robert turned in surprise, and saw the woman who had been sitting across from him was standing in the line behind him. He stepped out of her way so that she could approach the cashier and then replied, "I knew you had the nuts, even before the flop. That could only be a pair of aces, and when you showed me the same tell after the flop, I knew for sure you had me beat." He grinned at her when she turned momentarily from the conversation she was having with the cashier and gave him a look of exasperation.

In a moment she turned away from the cashier, her chips now converted into cash, and said, "I'd really like to know how you did that. How about if I buy you supper, and you can tell me what this supposed 'tell' is. I still think your probably bullshitting me." She was standing a few feet away from him as she spoke, and it was obvious that she was a little nervous.

Robert laughed at her suggestion before replying, "I bet you wouldn't want to give up your secret if the roles were reversed. What if we end up at the same table again? I'd have lost my edge." He wasn't used to speaking to strange women, especially attractive ones, and his Hypernasality made a return with his nervousness.

She was looking a little upset as she answered, "There isn't much chance of that. I only come down here every three or four weeks from Duluth. I heard you tell your friend you would see him in Thunder Bay, so really, how much chance is there that we would ever end up sitting at the same table again?" She was holding her purse tightly to her body, and it occurred to Robert that she appeared to be ready to run if he had stepped in her direction.

After noticing her reaction, Robert took a closer look at her. Her dark hair was longer than he had realized, as she had it tied up in the back. She was wearing a pair of black, loose fitting slacks and a knit sweater that fit very loosely and covered her from her wrists to her neck. She didn't seem to be wearing any makeup, and the total combination did little to emphasize her obvious good looks, or what seemed to be a decent figure. In an effort to present a more calming impression, he decided to try to soften his voice and made sure that he smiled before he spoke.

"You're probably right. I guess if I can't use what I've learned to make a buck from you, having you buy my supper would be a fair deal. I was planning to go up to my room to do a bit of work and freshen up before I go for supper. How about you drop by my room and let me know when you're ready to go down to the restaurant? I'm assuming you're staying here in the Casino Hotel."

She seemed to become even more nervous as he gave her his answer, but finally she said, "I ... I guess that would be okay. I wouldn't mind going up to my room to change before supper, anyway." She began walking toward the elevators and Robert joined her, making sure that he gave her some space as they walked.

As they strolled along on their way to the bank of elevators, passing row after row of slot machines, Robert said, "I guess you did fairly well this afternoon. That one pot alone should've made your day."

She quickly glanced at him before saying, "I did alright. I'm over $500 ahead for the day. How about you? You seemed to be cashing in quite a few chips."

"I'm ahead about $350 or so. That's enough to make me happy. I come down once or twice a month, usually for a weekend. I like to come down on Friday morning and go back late Sunday afternoon or on Monday morning." They had arrived at the elevators and one of them was waiting there with its doors open. Robert put his hand on the edge of the door to prevent it from trying to close unexpectedly and motioned for the woman to enter the elevator.

She quickly stepped into the empty elevator and took up a position with her back against the wall and beside the push button panel. "Which floor are you on?"

When he answered her question by saying that he was on the third floor, she continued, "I'm on the third floor too." They both stood there quietly while the elevator quickly raised them to the third floor. When the doors opened the woman swiftly stepped through and waited for Robert to join her.

"I heard your conversation with the man beside you at the table." She glanced at him quickly before continuing, "I don't think it's right that you have a nickname like that. That sounds like some sort of a cruel kid's name. What's your real name? My name is Annie, Annie Sargent."

Robert laughed and said, "It bothered me a lot at first, but I was pretty young then. It followed me through high school, but by then I was used to it and it didn't seem to matter any more. Generally I go by Robert. My name is Robert Porter. I'm pleased to meet you, Annie."

He extended his hand to her, and she seemed flustered at first before finally extending her hand and giving his a very brief shake. "Likewise, Robert."

They had been walking down the main hallway towards the junction of the East and West wings. Robert pointed to the right and said, "I'm down here, room 314. I have to do some work online with my laptop, probably no more than half an hour for that. I'd like to shower and change first, so how about you come by my room in about an hour."

Annie pointed to the left and said, "I'm down here. I'll come down to your room in about an hour then, and we can go for supper." They waved goodbye to each other and headed to their respective rooms.

As he walked down the hallway Robert thought to himself that it was strange that Annie had kept her hand in her purse the entire time that they had spent in the elevator and in the hallway. He finally decided that she most likely had her hand on her room key card, and didn't want to drop it.

Almost exactly 1 hour later, while Robert was busy on his laptop editing a file for one of his clients, there was a knock at his door. He quickly got up to go to the door and open it, and he found Annie standing there as expected. "Come on in for a few moments, Annie. I have a little bit of work to finish before I can go down for supper."

Annie was clearly flustered, and remained in the hallway as she said, "I can just wait here. I don't want to bother you."

Robert continued to hold the door open and said, "Don't be silly. I only have a small amount of work to do. There's no sense for you to be standing out there. I can't offer you a drink while you wait, but I can offer you a chair to sit down on at least."

After a few moments hesitation Annie stepped inside, quickly walking past Robert, and found herself an open area beside the bed where she turned and watched him. He motioned towards a chair on the opposite side of the bed, just past the chair that was arranged at the table where his laptop was situated.

"That's okay. I'll just stand here if you're not going to be long." She seemed nervous as she stood there, and once again her hand was in her purse.

Robert had changed into a pair of dress slacks and a short sleeved pale blue shirt. He noticed that Annie had changed into a long sleeved white blouse buttoned to her neck. She was now wearing a rather plain below-the-knee length black skirt as well, and it appeared she had restyled her hair.

He decided not to bother arguing with her, and instead he went back to his chair in front of the laptop. "I have a business designing and maintaining websites for businesses that don't want to be bothered with the details. Part of the deal is that I will make any of their desired or required changes on a same day basis. The sites are all on a pair of servers in my office, which is in my condo, and as long as I've got an Internet connection I can do whatever they require. I just have to rebuild this one file and then I'll be done."

He had been working as he spoke to her, and about the time that he finished the last spoken word he began the final build of his client's database. He turned to Annie and smiled while the rebuilding took place. "Just a few more seconds. I collect a monthly fee for these updates and rebuilds, and I can't really leave it too long if I want to fulfill my contract. I give them a free month if I fail to get things done within 24 hours, and I've only had to make good on that guarantee a couple of times."

His job was his main interest after poker, and he was naturally calm and in control as he spoke about it. There was no noticeable nasal quality to his speech as he described his work to her. A few seconds later the blue line crawling across the screen reached its end, and he said, "I'm done. We can get going now. I'm sorry that I wasn't ready when you arrived."

By this time she was looking slightly more relaxed and said, "That's okay. I am starting to get a little bit hungry though." She laughed nervously as she walked to the door, following behind Robert. He quickly opened the door and she hurried past him, stopping when she reached the center of the hallway. She appeared to be almost completely relaxed now, and Robert noticed that she finally removed her hand from her purse. He decided that it was perhaps just a habit of hers. Everyone had their habits, as he knew full well from his own history.

Their walk to the restaurant took them through the entire casino, but there wasn't much opportunity to speak as they made their way down the restricted walkways between the rows of slot machines. There was no such thing as a straight route across the casino; they were forced to zigzag their way past the noisy and flashy banks of electronic slot machines. They did manage to let each other know that neither one of them was very interested in playing the slots. Robert preferred the challenges of poker, with the requirement that one had to know the odds as well as the other players' habits and idiosyncrasies. He assumed that Annie's motivation would be the same as his.

When they reached the long hallway leading to the restaurant they were able to leave the noise and crowds of the casino behind them and were finally able to carry on a bit of conversation.

"It's certainly obvious that they feel they make most of their money from the slot machines," Annie said. "You can't go anywhere around here without being forced to walk past rows and rows of them. Once in a while I'll play one, if I'm trying to kill some time."

Robert was walking beside her and replied, "I have played the slots for a few minutes now and then, but only when the poker tables had no openings. I'd rather play poker online than sit in front of one of those slots."

Annie took a quick glance at him and said, "I've never played online for cash. I'm afraid that if I started, I might not want to quit. I usually just use a computer as a source of information. Obviously, with your job and your online poker, you're much more computer literate than I am."

They had reached the maƮtre d's station at the restaurant, and were quickly sidetracked from their conversation as they requested a booth. In just a few seconds they were being taken to their requested booth in the non-smoking area.

"Go ahead and order whatever you'd like, Robert. I don't think there's anything on the menu that's going to break my bank, and if you can tell me what it is about my play that lets you know when I've got Pocket Rockets, it will be worth it." She seemed much more relaxed now that they were sitting amongst the other diners, and smiled as she picked up the menu.

"I'll go easy on you, Annie. I'll have the regular cut of prime rib. It's really good here." He didn't even bother checking the menu before making that statement, as it was the meal he usually had when he visited the casino.

"That sounds good. It's something that I've never tried here, so I think I'll join you with the prime rib." She set her menu to the side and that was the signal for the waiter who was hovering near their table to come over and take their orders.

When the order had been taken and the menus collected, Robert said, "Well, I won't leave you wondering. Do you remember that nut flush you flopped about an hour after you sat down? I think you had the Ace and five of Diamonds."

Annie looked at him curiously as she nodded in agreement.

He continued, "That was the first hand that you had the nuts, and I noticed that you didn't check your stack of chips at all as you played the hand. Every other hand you were in you would often glance over at your stack, as though you were debating how many of the chips you could afford to lose if you're hand wasn't good enough. When you had that Ace five you knew that you were going to win that hand, and you never once looked at your chips. When you got that pair of aces you did the same thing. The only way that you could have the nuts on that hand, both before and after the flop, was if you had Ace Ace."

Annie looked at him in shock before saying, "I can't believe you picked up on that. You must be a real good student of human nature and how people act and react. I am really impressed."

Robert was looking across the restaurant as he said, "I've had lots of time to study people. I guess it's from watching their reactions to me. For years I've paid attention to how people handle being around me. When they noticed my lip they often work really hard at looking anywhere but back at me. The opposite extreme is that they can't seem to do anything but stare at me. There are also lots of reactions that fall in between those two extremes."

Annie didn't say anything right away so he continued, "Besides the scar there's also the sound of my voice. I know that I have a bit of a strange sounding voice because of the cleft lip and palate I was born with. I could probably have another operation to clear that up some more, or maybe I could see a speech pathologist again, but I've never bothered to follow up on that. Anyway, some people react oddly to my voice."

"I just can't hardly believe that you were able to pick up on that little quirk of mine. I've never been able to pick up clues that way on other people, beyond what I would call the obvious. There have been a few people who get noticeably excited with a good hand. It's easy to tell with them when they don't have such a great hand." She was shaking her head as she said this, and then continued, "I'm going to have to work hard at changing that habit." She laughed a little as she continued shaking her head.

"That shouldn't be too hard for you to do, now that you know about it. I don't have to worry about tells quite as much as you'd have to, because even at the poker table people react to my lip. For a lot of them, that's all they can see, so any tells I might have are missed. Other people don't seem to look at me as much as they do the others at the table, I guess in fear of upsetting me with their attention. You seem to fit into that category, by the way."

Annie was a bit flustered with that news, and said, "I'm sorry if I reacted poorly to your condition. I'm a nurse, and I see lots of people in situations where their appearance has been drastically affected." She got very quiet and appeared to be almost on the verge of tears as she continued, "It's very upsetting to me to learn that you have noticed me reacting that way. I really am sorry." She seemed to be deep in thought for a couple of moments before continuing, "I really should be more conscious of things like that: of all people, I should have been able to avoid that kind of reaction. After what I've been through, I feel a bit ashamed of myself."

Robert chuckled loudly before he said, "Don't beat yourself up about it. You're just being normal in your reactions, even though you are a nurse. I believe you just over corrected when you realized I have this condition. People that behave the way you do are for the most part trying to avoid acting like they're staring at me. I look at it as being the better of the two extremes." He laughed before saying, "I really mean it. I'm not offended at all. I've never known life any other way than with my scar, and I've adapted myself to it."

There was something else that he wanted to say to her, but he was a little unsure about how to phrase it. Finally he said, "There's something else I need to say about your poker play. You aren't taking advantage of your own good looks, like you should be doing." He noticed that she blushed a little when he said that, but he was determined to continue. "You should be wearing something a little more revealing than that bulky sweater you had on this afternoon."

He chuckled and continued, "You should be showing a bit of cleavage. Have you ever seen Jennifer Tilley on TV when she's playing poker? She knows how to distract the men at the table from watching for a tell."

It was Annie's turn to look at her hands while she spoke. "That's never going to happen. I've seen her on TV and I know what you're talking about, but like I said, it's not going to happen." She looked up at him and he could tell that the subject was closed as far as she was concerned. He thought she was making a mistake, but decided not to pursue the subject. It did seem more than a little strange to him that she would be so emphatic about it.

Annie then made an obvious attempt to change the subject. "You know, I'm really looking forward to this supper. I had a late breakfast, and then I skipped my lunch, so I am really ready for a good meal. I'm glad I offered you this deal. I'd probably be sitting here by myself again, having some meal that I've tried before, instead of trying their prime rib." She thought for a second before continuing with, "This is almost like a date, and I haven't been on one of those in over five years"

Robert looked at her curiously while he thought about what she had said. "I guess you could consider this a date, if you overlook the fact that you were actually bartering for information. However, I guess it would be nice if this was a date, because this would be my first date ever." He took a drink from his glass of water while Annie considered what he had just said.

"You can't be serious! What are you, around 30? You must have been on a date. I'm ready to call bullshit again." She was looking at him in some amazement, waiting for him to retract his statement.

He blushed a bit before looking down at the table and saying, "I'm not joking. I've been out as a single for meals and shows with other couples, but I've never been on anything that could be classed as a date." He looked back at her before continuing, "You don't need to be concerned about it. It's just something I've accepted over the years. I have more reason to be shocked about you not being on a date for five years. You are a beautiful woman, and I think you must be kidding me."

Annie wasn't quite sure what to say, so she finally replied, "Thank you, but believe me, I'm serious. Someday maybe I'll explain it to you. I just can't get over the fact that you say you've never been on a date. When I asked you for supper I didn't think I would be dining with a 30-year-old virgin." She laughed to lighten the mood.

Robert laughed as well and said, "I said I'd never been on a date, which is true. I never said anything about being a virgin."

She looked at him curiously and asked, "Well, that doesn't make much sense. How can you be one, but not the other?"

He didn't reply right away, but finally said, "To quote a phrase that I've just recently heard, someday maybe I'll explain it to you."

They were both thinking about his reply just as the waiter arrived with their meals. Conversation was soon forgotten as they decided that satisfying their appetites defeated their interest in more conversation. After they had both taken the edge off their hunger, light conversation did resume, but it was limited now to comments about the restaurant, their meal, and other dishes that they had enjoyed at the Grand Casino Hinckley Restaurant.

When both of them had finished their prime rib, the conversation turned to the prospect of having dessert as well. Annie was emphatic that she wouldn't be able to handle a dessert, but she finally did agree to split an order of Bread Pudding, a dessert that they were both familiar with from past visits to the restaurant, and which they both agreed was phenomenally tasty. Annie made a point of saying she would add it to the bill, and that he should consider this a bonus.

When their shared dessert was finished they each ordered a cup of coffee to sip while they let their meals settle. They were both complaining about being overly full now, but neither one would state that they shouldn't have ordered the dessert.

Before they left the table they exchanged email addresses and promised to be in touch after they had returned to their home towns. Both of them planned to spend the evening at a poker table, and agreed that it probably wouldn't be quite fair if they were to join the same table. Instead, each would find their own table to play at. Both of them planned to leave the next morning, Annie heading for Duluth, and Robert on his way back to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

They walked back together to the poker room, and waved goodbye to each other as each headed for their assigned table. Both of them were happy to have made a new friend, especially one with a shared interest in Texas Holdem poker.

For the rest of this story, you need to Log In or Register