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Lady Luck

by Maria Vulfovitch about a year ago in addiction
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The Betting Shop

Stepping into the betting shop, the familiar scent of cheap carpet and despair didn't stand a chance to the renewed hope that had come to inhabit Jasper. He couldn't help but think that this was a sign. This was his chance to turn things around, why else would that had happened? Earlier in the day he had received an email from Laura in accounting informing him that payroll had made a mistake and that he had been paid £20,000 this month instead of his regular £2,000. She had apologised for the inconvenience and assured him that this would be corrected on Monday morning. It had always been easy for Jasper to see connections and patterns in anything that supported his urges. Gambling was one of them. Growing up in a family that ran a horse breeding business hadn't created the healthiest environment for his disposition, however even then, Jasper was convinced that it had all been for a reason.

He opened up his black notebook to go over the notes he had made earlier. Lauras email was sent just after lunch time and the rest of the day had been spent frantically scribbling his predictions for the upcoming races. As in a haze, he had snuck out of the office early to avoid getting dragged to the pub by his coworkers. Nothing could stand in the way of his plan. He was going to win big, finally be rid of his growing debt and start over. Clean slate. A fresh start. Rosie would take him back and see him in a new light; a winner. He would replace that watch of hers he had pawned last year. It would all be forgotten. He would get her an even nicer one, with diamonds. She would fall in love with him again once she saw who he truly was, who he was always meant to be.

Once inside, he was greeted with familiar faces who showed little surprise of seeing him despite the fact he hadn't stepped foot in that shop in over a year. The memory of last August made Jason briefly tense up as he couldn't avoid the flashing image of Rosies face when he had told her what he had done. He had expected her to burst out in tears and rage. Instead he had been met with an unbearable silence and serenity. It was like she had momentarily become a shell of herself. She was his everything. Jaspers mind drifted to a familiar place, a memory so distant it felt like fiction. Her freckled face and warm gaze had melted his cool demeanour the first time he had seen her. Despite everyone around her trying so hard to act all grown up and significant, there was a naiveté in her character that she couldn't have hid even if she tried. Not that she would ever had wanted to. That night, it was the face of a stranger that was looking back at him and in that moment he saw things clearly for the first time. This time his greatest loss had been her respect. Where there had once been devotion, now he could only see disgust.

The evening had turned into night, although one couldn't tell the time in the brightly lit room. There was no sign of the real world. Only hope lived here, reality was denied entry at the door. By 1am Jasper had won ninety thousand and now he was going for an even hundred. The deal he had made with himself to stop at fifty was long forgotten. He had set sail for a new horizon. Another hour passed and his new balance had dropped to forty-five thousand. If he could just make it back to ninety he would walk away. The euphoria he had felt coming in had been replaced by an unease that spread throughout his body. He had now dropped to twenty-three. How had he lost seventy thousand in the space of two hours? He kept telling himself that it is all part of the game, he would be back on top in no time. Sometime during the night he had made the decision to play poker. Now it was time to switch to Black Jack. He kept feeding the machine, it started out with single twenty pound notes and before he knew it he was betting a thousand at a time. The unease turned into panic, yet the couldn't stop himself feeding notes into the slot. In cold sweat and with shallow breaths he stumbled out of the shop. He felt like it had all been a dream. Faced with the bright rays of the rising sun, reality was waiting for him right where he had left her. As Jasper turned the corner, the flickering light of the sign in the off license window made his reflection unrecognisable. The grave man looking back at him was someone in disguise, hiding from the inevitable truth. With no recollection of how he had made his way back to the flat, he was woken up by the persisting sound of his ringtone. 14 missed calls. 18 text messages from sister. Perhaps today would be the day that he would finally fathom the courage to end it all.


About the author

Maria Vulfovitch

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