Sitting at the roulette table in a crowded hotel casino, she wondered why she ever agreed to tag along on Linda’s corporate outing. But she knew it meant a lot to her gregarious friend, who was having the time of her life at the upscale resort casino, so she resolved that she would try her best to fit in.
“What are the odds of her winning twice in a row?” Caught off-guard, she turned to see a handsome man in a tuxedo standing next to her. “About as good as the rainforest making it through the next decade,” she quipped in her most upbeat voice.
“The rainforest?” he replied with a raised eyebrow, “what makes you say that?” Fearing that he may have detected a note of cynicism, she tried to recover, “Well, you know what they say, you can take the environmental scientist out of nature, but the environment will still be in her nature,” she smiled.
“Well,” he replied sounding intrigued and a bit amused, “most resort guests aren’t interested in that sort of thing, but we are in one of the most biologically diverse rainforest regions on the planet, and believe it or not there are some very rare plant species not far from the resort.” “Really?” she replied, “Are you from around here? Where are you staying?” “Uh…,I’m staying in the orchid room atthe jungle flora suite,” he answered, sounding a bit equivocal. “If you are really interested, I would be happy to show you some of the species I noticed on my hike yesterday,” he replied, eager to change the subject.
“I just don’t go for these corporate resort vacationers,” she thought to herself, “always trying to impress with their wealth.” But he was cute, and she had promised herself she would try to fit in, so she reluctantly agreed. “Meet me near the preserve tomorrow evening,” he said, handing her a crumpled piece of paper “the taxi driver will know where it is.” She looked down at the crude hand-drawn map he handed her and, when she turned around to inquire further, he was gone.
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