General Fiction posted August 25, 2015 Chapters: 1 2 -3- 4 

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Alisha and Michael arrive to stay on Anthony's yacht

A chapter in the book Anthony

Welcome Aboard Part One

by alexisleech

From the previous chapter;
 If there had been a way of staying the night without giving the game away, Alisha would have jumped at the chance and returned to their secreted camper van and packed a case there and then, but she knew it was out of the question. However much their nomad existence of the last three months had worn her down, their need to appear solvent and respectable was necessary if Michael was going to find a decent game to play while they were in town.
     ‘Yes, tomorrow sounds good to me…’ she agreed, before nodding another thank you in Anthony’s direction
The day after the party, Alisha and Michael turned up in a taxi at 6:30 in the evening. As he watched them walk towards the yacht, Anthony raised his hand to wave a welcome and asked Ricky to help them with their luggage. Alisha, looking sophisticated and cool in a pair of white jeans and a turquoise, linen top, returned his wave with a smile. Michael, on the other hand, looked hot and flustered.
     ‘Welcome aboard!’ Anthony greeted as they walked up the gangway.
     Michael seemed to relax as soon as he took Anthony’s proffered hand. ‘I’m sorry we’re a bit later than expected,’ he apologised. ‘Today didn’t go to plan.’
     ‘Not a problem,’ Anthony told him. ‘Why don’t you guys get settled in, and we can meet back here for a drink before dinner when you’ve had a chance to freshen up. I still have some business to attend to anyway, so there’s no rush.’
     ‘That would be great. I can’t think of anything better than chilling out after a shower. I have to go out later though… Is that okay with you? Michael asked with an apologetic smile.
     ‘Of course… Are you going too, Alisha?' Anthony asked.
    She shook her head. ‘I was hoping it would be okay if I stayed here. Michael doesn’t need me tagging along. To be honest, I’ve had my fill of watching him play poker. I’d rather relax before having an early night.’
     Anthony was just about to suggest that she avail herself of the Jacuzzi on the aft deck if she wanted to relax after dinner, but decided it might not be appropriate if Michael wasn’t there. ‘I could do with an early night myself,’ he said instead. ‘The last of my guests didn’t leave until about four this morning, but I still woke up at eight. An early night sounds like a good plan.’
     Michael looked relieved, and after Ricky showed him and Alisha down to the guest suite, Anthony returned to his laptop in the lower lounge to send off a few more emails before calling it a day. By the time Michael and Alisha came up from their cabin nearly an hour later, he had also showered and changed.
     ‘Thank you again for inviting us to stay,’ Michael told him as soon as they sat down beside him at the dining table on the deck. ‘I didn’t want to say anything in front of the rest of your guests last night, but our accommodation was pretty shoddy. I’ve had a run of bad luck recently, so the pot is a bit depleted. Hopefully, I can rectify that tonight.’
     Anthony pulled out a chilled bottle of Anjou from the cooler in the centre of the table and held it over Alisha’s glass by way of a question. She nodded with a smile before he poured.
     ‘As I said last night, I’ll be glad of the company,’ he reiterated. ‘Apart from going to the Casino last Friday, I haven’t seen many people since I came back two weeks ago. Because I travel so much, nobody knows when I’m in town. That’s why I decided to hold the party last night. I thought I’d better remind everyone that I’m still alive and kicking!’
     Anthony held the bottle over Michael’s glass but he shook his hand in the air.
     ‘Not for me, thanks. I have to keep my wits about me tonight. I’ll just stick with water for now.’
     ‘Where are you playing?’ Anthony asked. He was usually up to speed if there was a decent game going on. As far as he knew, there was nothing until Thursday, and even then, it was a small time affair involving a few tourists who just fancied some fun. The stakes were never high enough for serious players under those kinds of circumstances; well at least not as far as he was concerned.
     ‘It’s at the house of a guy Called Anderson, Don Anderson. Apparently he’s fairly new in town, but he likes a good game. Rumour has it he has more money than sense, so I’d like to think I’m in with a chance to recoup some of my recent losses.’
     Anthony frowned back at him. The name Don Anderson didn’t ring any bells, although if the guy was new in town he might not have had the opportunity to meet him yet.  ‘You’re sure it’s a legitimate game?' he asked. ‘I mean, some of the big boys use new kids on the block to set up games whilst pretending to befriend them. I’ve seen it happen a few times. The host is usually some wealthy big shot who’s used for bait, and once the game gets started, they throw in the towel and the game carries on without them.’
     Although Michael looked momentarily concerned, he shrugged his shoulders as though he didn’t care. ‘Could be. I won’t know until I get there and suss out the action. I’m sure I’ll work it out if it’s a scam. You know how it is. If in doubt, get the hell out. That saying has stood me in good stead a few times, as it has you, I’m sure.’
    Anthony nodded in agreement. ‘It certainly has. Just being a good poker player isn’t enough to make you a winner these days. Intuition is your most valuable asset, especially when you’re playing with outsiders. How did you hear about the game in the first place?’
     A look passed between Alisha and Michael before he answered. ‘I heard about it when I was playing in Nice last week. There was a friend of this Anderson guy playing at one of the casinos and he suggested I might be interested.’
     Although he couldn’t put his finger on the reason why, Anthony suddenly felt uneasy…




After ten days of cutting grass and pulling weeds here in France, the weather has broken and given me some time to write. Yippee! Now all I need is a good enough internet connection to start posting!
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