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Oz Drakos
Author: Mallory Monroe



Gloria Sinatra woke up in Oz’s bed. That wasn’t unusual. She spent the night at his place almost as much as she stayed at her own place. But more times than she cared to admit, it was equally not unusual for her to wake up in his bed alone.

And she didn’t wake up alone because it was 7 a.m. and he had already gone to work. It was 3 a.m. and he’d hadn’t come home yet. Which astounded her when she looked at the clock on the wall. 3 a.m. . She didn’t ask to get together with him. Their get together was his idea and he still hadn’t made it home?

She turned onto her back and looked up at the big beautiful ceiling in his big beautiful bedroom. Everything about Oz was big and beautiful. From his big personality that everybody gravitated to, all the way to his big, beautiful self. Oz was the man. And he knew it. The ladies knew it too. That was the problem.

She threw the coverings back and sat up on the side of the bed. She had been in Philly, visiting her family, when Oz insisted that as soon as she hit town she was to come straight to his place for dinner. He sent his private plane to pick her up in Philly, something he always did, but she usually went to her own home first, showered and changed, and then drove over to The Drakos where Oz lived. Which she insisted on doing again last night, just in case he pulled his usual Oz on her and she needed her own wheels to get away.

But she was hopeful when she arrived back in town. They were supposed to have dinner together at eight p.m. sharp, he said, and he was going to be the chef for the evening. Gloria was so excited when she arrived at his apartment that it felt like a new beginning to her. It felt as if they could finally turn a page in their super-slow-moving relationship and get on with the business of building a life together. Which was what she dearly wanted. But all it turned out to be was more of the same.

She kept her end of the bargain though. She was at his place before eight last night. But although Oz lived at his brother Alex’s hotel, and he worked downstairs in the casino he co-owned with his brother, he declared he couldn’t get away at eight. But he told her to stay put at his place and he promised to be home by eleven. Then he said he couldn’t get away again, but he’d be home for certain by midnight. Now it was three a.m. and he still hadn’t made it home. He still hadn’t been able to break away downstairs to make it those few feet upstairs to his waiting woman. It felt criminal to Gloria.

But not criminal on Oz’s part. Oh no! Oz was just being Oz. He was that same way when she met him, and he remained that way today. But it was criminal, to Gloria, on her part. She was allowing it. When he said he couldn’t make it upstairs at eight because of some fight in the casino or whatever reason he gave, she should have said okay, I’ll see you another time. But she didn’t. She stayed. She stayed when he promised to be home by eleven and didn’t show too. She stayed when he promised to be home by midnight and still wasn’t. That was on her. That was the criminal part. She stayed because he knew she would, and that was why he still wasn’t home. And she had nobody to blame but herself.

She got out of bed, put back on her clothes, grabbed her keys and her phone, and made her way downstairs. He could come home any time he pleased now, with no obligations the way he liked it. Glo was gone.

“Have a good rest of your morning, Miss Gloria,” said the elevator attendant as she stepped off into the lobby downstairs.

“Thanks, Herb,” she responded. She was well-known to The Drakos workers, hotel and casino alike. In her face, they called her Miss Gloria. Behind her back, they called her Oz’s Girl. Like she was a thing, not a person. Like she belonged to him. But did he ever belong to her?

When she stepped off of the elevator, she made her way toward the revolving exit doors inside the hotel’s lobby. But then she heard loud laughter coming from the casino, where one of the entrances was just off from the hotel’s lobby. She wondered what was so funny. Was it Oz? She didn’t plan on stopping anywhere near that casino, she was just that upset with him, but she went over to the entrance anyway, and looked in. And she was right. It was Oz.

The casino was still crowded for that time of morning, and was lively still too. Oz Drakos was over near the blackjack tables, with a crowd of men around him. And they were all laughing at some tall tale he was undoubtedly telling them, usually about his escapades when he still lived in Greece, and they were just soaking it up.

Gloria stared at Oz. Although he was in a sea of people, he was hard to miss. At six-three and with his muscular frame and his long, thick hair, he stood head-and-shoulders above most men. But not just in his physique did he stand above the rest. It was in his outsized personality. People gravitated to him like a moth to a flame. They just did. And Gloria accepted that fact even before they hooked up. She knew he had the kind of personality that wasn’t going to allow him to be at her beck and call twenty-four-seven. She knew that. She didn’t even want that. But to have to share him with the world far more times than she got to be with him? That she didn’t count on. Like not at all.

But there was Oz, she thought as she stared at him. There was the man she loved. He was laughing with some guys he probably just met, but was treating them as if they were his buddies from way back. He treated strangers very well. And there were the ladies, too, lurking near the back of the crowd, staring at Oz’s physique, especially that bundle between his legs, as if they were staring at a meal on a desert island. As if they were calculating in their minds just how in the world were they going to get their hooks in that side of beef.

The energy in that whole casino couldn’t compare to Oz’s energy in that one space in the back. But Gloria? She was tired. And saddened. Because he had all of that energy, and all of that time to laugh it up with strangers, while she had been alone upstairs waiting for him to give her some of that energy, and to give her some of his time and attention. And it felt pathetic to her.

That was why she didn’t go over to him and make a scene. She didn’t make scenes with men. They treated her like an afterthought all her life. And she allowed that treatment all her life.

She’d look like a fool objecting now.

She left. Even as Oz finally looked over and saw that she was standing there, and now leaving, but she kept going.

But it wasn’t a clean getaway. She had only just gotten outside of the lobby, under the portico as the valet, who knew her, too, hurried to retrieve her car, when Oz swept out, big personality and all, and came out calling her name.

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