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Jessie's Girl was originally published in this anthology



Pan Pacific Auditorium 1957

JESSIE'S GIRL


9-6-11
Cover by Laura Shinn
On vacation in Las Vegas, Kathy goes to see an Elvis impersonator who bears a remarkable resemblance to the King. Could it be that the rumors are true, and that Elvis is still alive? But that was impossible. Elvis would be an old man now, and this man was young and virile.


Chapter 1

Las Vegas, Nevada
August, 2011

He called himself Jessie Garon Presley, and he was the most amazing Elvis look-a-like Kathy had ever seen. He had the same intense blue eyes, the same pouty lower lip, and he wore his thick black hair in the style Elvis had made famous back in the Fifties - sideburns and a ducktail. But instead of wearing the flashy, sequined jumpsuits Elvis had favored in his later years, Jessie wore a pair of slick black pants and a black silk shirt, open at the throat. A thick gold chain circled his neck. A gold ring with a diamond the size of a golf-ball winked on the middle finger of his right hand.

If she hadn’t known better, she would have sworn he really was Elvis, but the King had died of a heart attack thirty-four years ago. Of course, there were those who insisted Elvis was still alive, but even if that was true, he would be in his seventies by now, and the man on the stage couldn’t be more than thirty-three, about the same age Elvis had been when he did his Comeback Special in ’68. It was her favorite concert video and she watched it over and over again. That, and “ Aloha From Hawaii” .

Jessie Garon Presley did two shows a night at a new casino on the Strip. Kathy had wandered into the place her first night in town, seen his picture advertised in the lobby, and immediately bought a ticket for the first show. When it was over, she had hurried out and bought a ticket for the ten o’clock show, too. She had gone back every night for the last week, always staying for both shows.

She had always been an Elvis fan, probably because her mother had loved him so much. Kathy had scrapbooks full of pictures and newspaper articles, every record, every video, he had ever made. She had framed posters of the King on her walls, Elvis watches and beach towels, an Elvis telephone, Elvis trading cards and playing cards, Elvisopoly, The Rock-n-Roll Game of Fortune & Fame, Elvis collector plates and Elvis Barbie dolls, even a pair of Elvis socks her best friend had brought her from Graceland.

Kathy haunted antique stores and malls, looking for old magazines and newspapers, anything related to Elvis. If it had his name or his picture on it, she bought it. Her condo looked like a shrine. Her friends thought she was insane. But she wasn’t. Just in love. With a man who had died before she was born.

She leaned forward as Jessie began to sing “ Kentucky Rain” . It was one of her favorite songs.

He walked slowly back and forth along the front of the stage, his voice filled with emotion as he sang of a man looking for his lost love.
The room was utterly still, save for the sound of his voice, low and intimate as it caressed the crowd.

He sang all her favorite songs: “If I Can Dream” , Heartbreak Hotel” , “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” , “Little Sister” , “His Latest Flame” , “In The Ghetto” , “ Crying in the Chapel” , “The Wonder of You” , “If I Can Dream” . It was as if he had peeked into her head and found her favorite playlist.

Mesmerized, she gazed up at him, totally lost in the fantasy that he was really Elvis, that he would look out over the crowd and when his gaze met hers, he would walk down the stairs, sit at her table and sing to her, and her alone.

And even as the thought crossed her mind, it was happening.
He paused in the center of the stage, his gaze sweeping the crowd, settling on her face. Her heart skipped a beat as his gaze met hers; her pulse began to beat wildly as he descended the stairs.

The music changed and she recognized the strains of “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” as he walked toward her. She could barely hear the music over the pounding of her heart.

No, she thought, this can’t be happening. Not to me.
But it was. He had eyes only for her as he sat in the empty chair across from her. Something hot and sweet, like honey warmed by the sun, flowed between them. The sensation danced across her skin, bringing every cell and nerve-ending to life, arousing all her senses.

The spotlight focused on her table, bathing the two of them in a pale pink spot. Kathy’s breath caught in her throat when he covered her hand with his.

Her mouth went dry, her heart beating a mile a minute as he sang to her. Only her. Stay, she thought frantically. Stay with me forever.

His hand squeezed hers. His eyes, those sleepy, sexy Elvis eyes, gazed deep into her own, penetrating her heart and soul.

This can’t be real, she thought. I must be dreaming.

His thumb made lazy circles on the back of her hand while he sang to her. His gaze never left hers. They might have been alone in the room, in the world. She wished the song would never end, wished the moment would last forever, but, all too soon, the song ended and the room filled with applause.

Lifting her hand, he brushed his lips across her knuckles. Kathy gasped. The touch of his lips seemed to sear her skin, its heat traveling up her arm and settling deep in her heart. He smiled at her, a roguish smile, as if he knew exactly what effect he was having on her, and then he rose smoothly to his feet and sauntered back up on stage.

“Memories” was his closing number. It was her all-time favorite song. Hearing it always made her cry. Tonight was no exception. Tears welled in her eyes and trickled down her cheeks as she gazed up at him, hoping he knew somehow that she would never forget this night. Never forget him.

He looked down at her from the stage as he sang, and she knew this night would be her most cherished memory of all.

Kathy stood with everyone else, applauding wildly as he left the stage. Hating to see the night end, she stayed until the familiar “ Elvis has left the building” announcement came over the loudspeakers.

With a sigh, she left the theater. If only she could stay one more night, see one more show, but her flight left tomorrow afternoon at four, and Jessie never did matinees, not even on weekends.

The casino adjoining the theater was filled with noise - laughter, music, the sound of the roulette wheel, the rattle and whir of a thousand slot machines, the slap of cards at the Blackjack table, a squeal as someone won a jackpot.

She wasn’t much of a gambler, but it was her last night. What could it hurt to try her luck?

She exchanged a twenty dollar bill for twenty dollars in quarters, then found an old slot machine that still accepted coins. If she was going to play the slots, she wanted to play the kind of slots that Elvis would have played, not the new-fangled ones that accepted credits instead of cash.
Finding an unoccupied machine, she sat down and broke open the first roll of quarters. “ Here goes,” she muttered, and fed three coins into the machine.

There was a strange excitement in watching the wheels go round and round, a sense of anticipation as she waited for them to come to a stop and tell her if she had won or lost.

Three bars!

“I won!” she exclaimed as the coin tray filled with quarters. “I won,” she repeated, and wished she had someone to share her excitement.

A low, throaty chuckle sounded from behind her. Startled, she glanced over her shoulder, felt her eyes widen with surprise when she saw Jessie Garon Presley standing at her elbow.

“I won,” she murmured, unable to think of anything else to say.

Smiling a slow sexy smile, he drawled, “Honey, tonight you can’t lose.”