What Happens in Vegas

First, we stopped into the Stardust Casino—decrepit, dirty-rugged, and nearing demolition—and dropped a thousand nickles in the slots. Then we dashed across the Strip to the Peppermill Lounge. With an interior so dimly lit, you feel like you’re hiding in plain site, the Peppermill is a place made for couples—and for couples who aren’t really couples. The latter is the kind of couple we were. She was 30. I was 42. We had met at a party in New York City; we had known each other a couple of weeks. She was destined, a gal from Indiana, for marriage to a nice young man. I was an older woman with a decidedly different future. But, for this one Vegas lark, cobbled together from a limited expense account and my father’s frequent flyer miles, she was just my type. Amid the chrome and the pink and blue neon lights, while a few old men sat on swivel seats and hit the buttons on the electronic poker machines built into the bar, we squeezed in between all the other pairs drinking and necking on the curved couches arranged around an open gas flame that blazed at the center of an electric blue fountain in the middle of the room. We sunk into the crimson pillows, and thigh to thigh, with sweet, bowl-shaped cocktails cupped in our hands, we fell in love for a weekend.