Tales of food, sex and friendship




Seaon 6, Episode 2

April 24, 2012

Mia drained the last drop of champagne from her flute and set it on the table, sighing contentedly. “Another?”

“I’ll go,” Ana said, standing up. “You went last time.”

“Get snacks too,” Willow called after her.

The three of them were sitting the business class lounge waiting for their flight to be called. The lounge was fairly quiet, a couple of people plugged into their laptops desperately trying to finish off last minute reports, and a group of three guys who had been monopolising the space by the bar for ages. Willow, Mia and Ana had made a snap judgement that they were arrogant, misogynistic losers, which was confirmed as soon as Ana returned with the champagne glasses balanced in one hand and a plate of crackers and goats cheese in the other. She was fuming.

“That guy just said to me ‘great legs, what time do they open’.”

Mia and Willow turned around subtly to get a better look at the guy, feeling justified in their previously unfounded assumption of him.

“Oh my god. I know him,” said Willow, taking a bite of the luscious, creamy cheese. “I mean, I don’t know know him. But I recognise him. He’s that actor who was in that bad dance movie – about the girl who falls in love with the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. You know the one.”

She received blank stares from the others.

“Oh come on,” Willow exclaimed. “You know it. We watched it together. In the end they save the dance school and her parents finally accept him and they win the competition.”

“Willow, you’ve just described every dance movie ever made,” Mia said.

“Yeah, but this was the really bad one.”

“Oh, I remember that one,” Ana said. “It totally sucked. In fact, it might have been the worst movie I’ve ever seen.”

“I read that he only got cast in it because his mum is some big-time producer,” Willow said in a low voice.

“Well he couldn’t dance, act or sing,” said Ana, “so I suppose that explains it.”

“Shit,” Mia said, ducking. “Don’t look. He just caught me staring.”

Of course, Ana and Willow immediately swiveled around in their seats and stared directly at him. They saw him nudge his friends, pick up a fresh glass of champagne and saunter over to where the girls were sitting.

“I noticed you were staring at me,” he said, a playful grin on his face.

“We were looking out the window behind you,” said Ana. “There was a… er… plane that was interesting.”

Blake laughed. “It’s OK. You recognised me. I get it all the time.”

“No we didn’t,” said Ana stubbornly, crossing her arms across her chest. “Should we have recognised you? Are you famous?”

“I’m an actor,” he said.

“What have you been in?”

“Oh, a few big movies,” he said waving his hand dismissively.

Ana smirked. Obviously he realised how bad the dance movie had been too.

“I’m Blake,” he said, sitting down uninvited on the couch next to Ana. The two friends stood behind him, looking menacing.

“Ana,” she said reluctantly, shaking his hand with disdain.

“That’s Chuck,” he said pointing to one of the silent friends, “and that’s Norris. They’re my bodyguards.”

Mia suppressed laughter by faking a spontaneous coughing fit.

“Willow and Mia,” Ana said. “They make sure I don’t get accosted by losers at airports.”

Blake threw back his head an laughed. “Hard to get. I like that.”

Ana went red. “I’m not playing hard to get, I’m genuinely…”

She was cut off by an announcement over the loud speaker, asking Blake to come to the first class lounge.

“Meeting the pilot,” he said. “Apparently he’s a huge fan.”

Blake stood up and blew Ana a kiss, walking away before she got a chance to give him a piece of her mind.

“I swear,” she muttered, “if those… idiots… are sitting near us on the plane I am switching to economy.”

***

Ana craned her neck from her seat to see if she could see Blake and his ‘friends’. Thankfully she couldn’t. She let out a sigh of relief and settled back into the huge seat, closing her eyes and waiting for take-off.

“Excuse me.”

Ana opened her eyes.

“A gentleman in first class wondered if you and your friends would like to join them after take-off,” a pretty flight attendant said, almost apologetically.

Ana groaned.

“They wanted me to let you know you could be a good luck charm for their in-flight poker game.”

“Good luck charm?” Mia chipped in. “That’s outrageous! What makes them think that we want to sit there and watch a boring game of poker while they oggle…”

“We’re in,” Ana said, cutting her off. “On one condition.” She paused, a smile curling her lips. “That I can play.”

***

As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, the flight attendant led them upstairs to the first class private suites, where Blake and another couple of men in sharp suits were already seated at a round table. Their various entourages stood back, looking bored. Chuck and Norris were drinking beer and trying to get the attention of a very striking woman who was busily writing something on a laptop and ignoring them. Blake didn’t bother introducing anyone.

“So you want in,” he said coyly. “Have you ever played poker before?”

Ana cocked her head to one side and twisted a piece of hair around her finger. “It’s the game where you put bets and have to guess what other people have?”

Blake smirked and the other two men ducked their heads so she wouldn’t see the laughter in their eyes. They was going to enjoy taking her money.

“That’s the one, sweetheart,” Blake said. “It’s ten thousand buy in. Still interested?”

Ana nodded. “I don’t have the cash on me though.”

“Got a bank card?”

Ana paused and nodded again.

“She can do the transaction for you,” said Blake nodding towards the woman with the laptop.

“Willow, can I use your card,” Ana said quietly. “I don’t have enough in my account.”

“You’ve got to be joking,” Willow hissed. “Ten grand? No way!”

“Please,” she whispered. “I’ll pay you back. Promise.”

***

Willow and Mia watched horrified as Ana lost pile after pile of chips. The other players didn’t say much – preferring to sip their whiskey and play in silence – but the girls could see them smirking to themselves, wondering why such a pretty – but obviously stupid – woman would want to play poker against pros like themselves.

“I’m going to kill her,” Willow said though clenched teeth, glaring at Ana.

Ana looked up and gave Willow and almost imperceptible smile and a nod of the head.

“Your deal,” Blake said, giving Ana the cards.

The three men, Willow and Mia looked in obvious surprise on as Ana began to distribute the cards as efficiently and effectively as a Vegas dealer. Blake glanced at his hand and shoved a huge pile of chips into the centre of the table, smiling confidently. The other two men folded. Ana looked at her cards and pushed everything she had left into the centre, rapping the table with her knuckles. Call.

Blake turned his cards over, smiling. He had a full house. Ana frowned, and Blake started pulling the chips towards him.

“I don’t think so,” she said, slapping her cards down, face up. “Four of a kind.”

***

The rest of the game was fantastic. Ana ditched the ditzy schoolgirl persona and showed her true colours as a serious card shark. She won every single hand and fairly soon controlled the majority of the chips. Willow and Mia were laughing and high-fiving each other, watching on in delight as the three men squabbled, not understanding how this girl was getting the better of them.

“You’re a lying bitch,” Blake snarled. “You said you’d never played before.”

“No I didn’t,” said Ana, as she placed a straight flush face up. “And that, gentleman, is the game I believe.” She scooped up the huge pile of chips in front of her. “I’d like to cash out now.”

Blake scowled and downed the rest of his whiskey. He muttered something derogatory under his breath, but nodded towards the laptop woman, who handed Ana several wads of cash.

“Well Blake,” Ana said, standing up from the table. “I suppose you’ll need to call your mummy and see if she can get you cast in another truly terribly dance movie in order to pay for your losses tonight.”

Blake visibly brightened. “Ha! I knew you recognised me,” he shouted after Ana as the three girls left the cabin.

***

A few hours later they landed at Heathrow airport. Ana linked arms with her friends as they stepped out into an unseasonably sunny London morning.

“Well ladies,” she said. “Breakfast is on me.”