Chapter 18: The Casino & The Coconut Shrimp (Part 3)

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At last, Part 3! Let's get to it!

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After they'd been dancing for a few songs, Kim draped her arms wearily around Brandon's neck and leaned in close. "Can we take a break?" Kim yelled over the music. "I'm starving. Mama needs a snack."

Brandon smiled and nodded and pulled her off to the side of the dance floor. Kim scanned the room, looking from waiter to waiter for something interesting.

"What do you want, can I get you anything?" Brandon asked.

"No, I just swear one of these dudes was walking around with a tray of coconut shrimp and it looked so good. I'll find him."

"Why don't I grab us some drinks," Brandon offered. "What do you want?"

"Just water," Kim said. "And for you to hurry back."

"Done and done," Brandon said. He gave Kim's arm a squeeze and walked off towards the bar.

Kim reached out and tapped the shoulder of a nearby waiter. When he turned she saw that his eyes were weirdly lop-sided, one noticeably lower on his face than the other. It was slightly disconcerting but her hunger kept her focused. "Heyyy, sorry to bother you! Is there coconut shrimp somewhere? I thought I saw someone walking around with some."

The waiter nodded in the affirmative and pointed to another waiter who was hovering over by the fountain. He was turned away so Kim couldn't see his face, but he was clearly an older man, with olive skin and a dark plume of hair.

"Thanks, I'll grab him!" Kim said, running off.

Before she got to the fountain the shrimp waiter had starting walking off again. He was spritely for an older guy. Kim kept her eyes trained on him, fearful that she would lose him in the crowd. He was hunched over with age, but she was able to maintain line of sight with him due to his interesting hair, which was shaved close on the sides but swept up in a gloriously swoopy pompadour atop his head. Even so, he was walking very quickly through the crowd and Kim struggled to keep up in her heels.

"Hey!" she yelled. "I need coconut shrimp over here!" but her pleas were lost in the music and laughter of the party.

They had left the casino floor now and were in the quieter hallways leading back to the hotel and kitchen. Kim quickened her pace to try to catch him. Maybe he was out of shrimp and just headed back to refill his tray? In which case Kim wanted him to know in no uncertain terms that she was first in line when he came back out.

"Hey excuse me!" Kim called again, but the waiter seemed to step up his pace again, heading for the kitchen doors even faster, maybe even pointedly ignoring her at this point.

"HEY!" Kim yelled again, doing her best to not kill herself running in her Jimmy Choos. The waiter was almost to the kitchen doors but she was going to make it. She was going to catch him. She was going to get her coconut shrimp and it was going to be amazing and then she was going to meet back up with Brandon and everything about this perfect night would remain perfect.

She was almost close enough to grab the waiter's collar when suddenly a man came out from a side hallway, stepping directly in front of Kim, blocking her way. She tried to get around him but he moved in front of her again. She watched in disbelief as the waiter cleared the swinging kitchen doors and disappeared.

"Dang it, my shrimp!" Kim huffed, stomping her foot in frustration. She cast an angry glare up to see who would dare stand between her and the snack she desired.

"Oh! It's you!" Kim said, shocked to see Cassio towering over her with his ever-present smile.

"We meet again, yes?" Cassio said, showing too many teeth.

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