Ezra Standish sighed as he closed his cell phone. This
was not good. Not good at all. It was only one evening, he supposed that
he could escort both of them, but threesomes invariably left someone out,
or at least not as included as the other two. He had hoped that one of his
acquaintances could accompany them, but none of them were available. Maybe
one of his friends and co-works from the Montecito could come.
He sighed again. Josiah was older than Beth and Ally both and they were of
the world enough not to appreciate the mans total and complete lack
of interest in the ways of the world as they knew it. Chris was busy that
night. Vin they would dismiss as a country bumpkin, no doubt finding him
amusing, but not to be taken seriously. Ezra both liked and respected the
former Texas Ranger too much to subject him to that. Nathan had a date with
Rain. JD they would see as an adorable child and treat as one. Again, Ezra
was not willing to risk that.
Penny for your thoughts? Buck Wilmington, the hotels head
Hospitality Host, asked as he poured himself a cup of coffee.
I was merely trying to ascertain who might be available to go with
me for an evening while Im entertaining two of my cousins that will
be in town overnight on Thursday, Ezra explained.
Im free, Id be happy to help you out, Buck offered.
Looking at him, Ezra did not see the offish leering grin that tended to come
on Bucks face at the idea of seeing a young lady. Instead it was the
serious face of a man offering to do a friend a favor.
No offense, Mr. Wilmington, but these are ladies of refinement; used
to only the best of manners and breeding, Ezra responded.
Ez, I do know how to conduct myself in civilized company, and my breeding
is as good as the next mans. Let me know if you want me to come,
Buck told him, bristling slightly, before heading out.
Great, Standish, way to offend, Ezra sighed. He had not meant
to hurt the large man, merely to explain why he was fairly certain that Buck
and his cousins would not appeal to one another. They would have little in
common with a man who, when off duty, wore jeans and t-shirts and preferred
rodeos and a ball game to ballet and the opera.
Taking a deep breath he went after his friend, and Buck was his friend. Before
he had come here he had not known what a friend was, and now he had six of
them. Not associates, not acquaintances, but friends, true ones that would
stand by him. He was not going to lose one of them over this!
Buck! Ezra called out, in the hallway leading to the main floor
lobby. Maude would be appalled at the idea of him behaving in such a way,
but right now he really could not have cared less.
The man turned and looked at him.
I had not meant to offend you. Please, I would love to have you accompany
us, Ezra told him.
Youre certain? I wouldnt want to embarrass you or
anything, Buck told him.
I would like nothing better, Buck, I assure you.
Buck looked at the southerner. Ezra rarely called anyone by their name, when
he did it was a sure sign that he really meant what he was saying.
All right then, what are we doing? I want to make sure that I dress
right for it, Buck smiled.
Ezra was once more amazed at Bucks ability to forgive people. He had
to have one of the biggest and most generous hearts ever created.
Dinner at Bellagios and then to the theater for Le Miserables.
Ill make certain to wear my good suit then, Buck smiled
at him and headed out.
Seeing as the closest he had ever seen to a suit on him was the dress shirt
and pants with a suit jacket that he wore to work, Ezra could only hope that
his good suit was indeed good. Either way, he would support and stand by
the man, just as Buck would him.
Ezra smiled as Buck came out to the car. His suit might
not be Armani, but it was indeed a most acceptable piece of haberdashery.
It was clearly not off the rack, and it fit him superbly.
Buck smiled as he got in the BMW. Ma always said a man should have
at least one really good suit because you never know when you might need
A truly wise woman, Ezra smiled back as he entered traffic. Beth
and Ally were as lovely as ever, and took as long as ever to get ready to
go out. His uncle had advised their gentlemen callers once when they had
unwisely complained about how long the girls were taking that they should
get watches that told them what day it was if they intended to take those
two out. He had gone to collect Buck while they finished their preparations.
It had been easier to tell Buck he would come get him than to try and guess
when a pair of southern belles might actually finish their ablutions and
be ready to go.
Beth had the same slender build as well as chestnut hair as Ezra. Beth was
taller, a little heavier and with hair that was a shade or two darker.
Buck, this is my cousin Ms. Elizabeth Michaels and her sister Alice
Michaels, Ezra introduced them, as they came out when the men pulled
up. He had always enjoyed staying with them when his mother would foist him
off on her sister, their mother, while she went looking for another con.
Unlike his other aunts, uncles, and cousins, they had treated him like an
equal and a member of the family.
Its very nice to meet you, call me Beth, please, she smiled.
Buck Wilmington, a pleasure to meet you, He returned the smile.
Im Ally, the younger woman said as they shook hands.
Im Buck, you look lovely, he complimented her, as he helped
her into the car.
Dinner proved to be an enjoyable affair. Buck was, as always enjoyable and
entertaining. Ezra had always known that Buck was far more intelligent then
he generally led one to think, but the gambler was struck dumb at the wide
range of his knowledge. There was almost nothing that the man could not hold
an intelligent conversation about.
Based on that evening you would never have known that Buck was not from a
blue blooded, social register family with the best of educations behind him.
Dropping Beth and Ally off after an enjoyable night at the theater, Ezra
drove Buck home.
I profoundly apologize, again, for my comments earlier this week,
Ezra told him.
Hell, Ez, just because I dont like to use drawing room manners,
as mom used to call them, everyday doesnt mean I dont have
them, Buck chuckled. Mom wanted to make sure I knew how to handle
any situation, said good manners were like a good suit, you never knew when
you might need them so make sure you have them.
A true gentleman shows his good breeding by his manners, and yours
my friend, are impeccable.
Mom used to say that you could put a race horse in a harness but it
wouldnt make him a mule, and you could put a racing saddle on a mule
but it wouldnt make him a race horse. All the good manners and breeding
in the world wont make a gentleman out of a jack ass anymore than slaving
away for food and rent and still barely getting by will turn a gentleman
into a jack ass.
Ezra laughed. It sounds as if your mother was well acquainted with
You could say that. She used to be one of those upper class types,
till a jack ass with good breeding left her pregnant with me and her family
tossed her out.
A jack ass indeed, and hardly worthy of such a woman, or her son,
Ezra informed him as he pulled up outside Bucks apartment building.
We did all right on our own, Buck assured him.
More than all right, Ezra smiled, wishing yet again that he could
go back in time and change that conversation. And yet, out of that blunder
had come an even closer connection to a dear friend.
Ezra watched as Buck entered the apartment building. Would his friends never
cease to amaze him and challenge the world as he knew it? Being a gentleman
was about more than manners and good breeding, it was who you were and how
you treated those around you. Buck Wilmington was a true gentleman.
The Las Vegas Chronicles