the old fogies get better and better.
Brent wondered if the two things were somehow connected. He quickly asked Nikki, "Can we swing by the shelter? I want to talk to Jacob."
Nikki smiled, "That's really sweet Brent. But you should know that they don't always stick around. Sometimes they only stay a night then move on."
"Well, I want to stop and check anyway."
"OK. Sure. It's only a few minutes away."
Father Hackett was apologetic. "Sorry Nikki, but Jacob left early this morning. And despite my best efforts, I couldn't get him to take the money."
Brent asked anxiously, "Did he say where he was going? Did you see which way he went?"
Father Hackett replied, "He only said it was time to go home."
Brent sighed, "OK. Thanks Father. Please keep the money to help with the shelter."
Father Hackett said, "Oh, I can't. Jacob made me promise to return it to you. He was quite insistent." He handed Brent the $100.
Brent felt bad about taking the money, but he felt even worse about Jacob. The old man was out there somewhere, wandering around in the cold. He wanted to do something but had no idea what.
Nikki pulled his arm and said, "Come on Brent. You've done all you can for him."
As they walked out of the shelter he asked her, "How do you do it? How can you come here and see these people and feel like you've done enough?"
Nikki sighed, "I do all that I can and sometimes more. But giving them every penny I have won't even come close to solving the problem. When you have worked with the homeless for a while you find that they don't expect you to suffer just because they are suffering. A lot of them don't really want any help at all, and the ones that do, don't usually want a handout. At the end of every day I ask myself, 'Did I help someone today?' And if the answer is yes, then I know I made a difference."
Brent realized Nikki was rationalizing. It was obviously her way of dealing with the frustration of not being able to fix something that seemed unfixable.
Nikki brightened, "I thought we were going to celebrate."
Brent shrugged, "OK. I guess you are right."
She smiled, "I know the perfect place."
Nikki drove to a little Italian restaurant just off the strip where she was obviously a regular. They were escorted right to a secluded little table away from the bustle of the main dining area. Once their order had been placed, they chatted idly, sipping wine while the chef prepared their meal. Nikki was an enchanting date, and Brent soon forgot about Jacob and the shelter. A couple hours later, his appetite sated and a little buzzed from the wine they walked out of the restaurant.
Brent's thoughts were thoroughly indecent as he pulled Nikki into a warm embrace and kissed her. He asked, "How can I ever thank you for all that you've done for me?"
Nikki kissed him back and than said, "I can think of a few ways..." She slid her hand down over his stiffening penis and said, "And I think I just found one." Then she giggled and pushed him away, "But not just yet. Let's go do something fun."
Brent gazed at the skyline and focused on a nearby casino, which just happened to be the same one where he lost all of his money only a day earlier. He felt a sudden rush of excitement and a bold, new confidence compelling him to try his luck. He nodded at the casino, "Want to try your luck?"
Nikki smiled, "Is that $100 burning a hole in your pocket?"
Brent laughed, "I guess it is." Then he said more seriously, "I really want another crack at that place."
Nikki smiled, "OK. But you are on your own. I never gamble."
Brent couldn't believe his ears, "You live in Vegas and you don't gamble?"
She snuggled up against him, "Nope. But I do like to watch. Let's just see how far you can play that $100."
* * *
Brent sat down at the very same Blackjack table, in the very same seat where he had lost $5000 only yesterday.