Tyler watched the whorls and eddies of people wandering past the elevator bank, cataloguing them by the possibility they might delay the doors closing. He counted the seconds, standing far back in the car so it wouldn't be obvious he wasn't helping if someone rushed forward at the last might. He was willing to be rude, but not to seem so. His last trip from the lobby to the sixty-first floor had been interminable, stopping so often he'd wanted to go looking for the stairs.
The doors started to close and he drew in a breath for a relieved sigh. He would shower and change in time his boss and his boss's boss. His career was saved. This trip to Las Vegas, wedged too tightly between Friday and Monday, would be worth it.
A hand - five slender fingers tipped with bright pink polish appeared, commanding the doors to stop closing and they obeyed. Tyler dimly recognized the young woman who stepped inside as one of many who'd been gathered around and sometimes in the pool outside, adding to the jet lag and the general air of surreality that permeated this town until he lost all track of time.
The girl was mostly naked, her bikini covering little more than the law required and matching her nails. For a moment, they were two mostly naked people alone in an elevator. She seemed less interested in this fact than she was as she turned and backed into the opposite corner from Tyler.
A moment before he saw anyone else, Tyler realized the positioning meant she wasn't alone. Another young woman, dressed in a red two-piece, came and stood next to her, nearly hip to hip. Another followed, then a group of three, a pair, one more and ... Tyler lost count. There must be more than a dozen of them, all in swimsuits, some almost demure, others nearly obscene. Their arrival had delayed the trip enough that a half dozen more people piled in, pressing a seemingly random array of buttons like a deranged pack of Keno addicts. Outside, even more had gathered and it seemed like there was an endless supply of them. Tyler tried to will each one to back off and wait until one finally did, letting the doors slide closed and the car start to rise.
They all seemed to breathe in slow unison, all but touching. Tyler was surrounded three deep by women who collectively weren't wearing enough cloth to make a decent cocktail dress. He couldn't decide if he was a pervert or merely a creep for ogling them. In age, they had to be somewhere between too young and felony, but the distinction was still important.
Even the old Japanese couple arguing quietly less than a yard away couldn't prevent his spontaneous erection. Nor could the very large man who might be Mexican or Hawaiian, but looked like he came from somewhere warm. Tyler tried to squeeze farther back into the elevator, but he was already pressed into the corner, only the smallest possible space between himself and a girl with long, black hair, a small green bikini, and a tattoo of a monarch butterfly on her hip.
He wanted to scream when the elevator stopped on the third floor. A woman in the casino's colors stepped in and pressed the button marked "8" as everyone shifted to make room and butterfly girl closed that last inch of space between them.
Tyler's spine went rigid and he tried to draw his hips back. A moment later, he felt the girl stiffen up as well. When she looked back at him, her eyes were wide, but she must not have been overly distressed by what she saw because she turned away again, relaxing against him.