Saturday morning, Levi was sitting in the dining nook, paging through the local news on his tablet while he ate breakfast. Rebel was sitting beside him, watching intently; she knew he would let her lick the remnants of his eggs off the plate when he was finished.

The headlines were grim and getting worse every day. Plummeting Tourism Panics Mayor, Local Businesses. Utopia Militia Claims Credit for Church Fire. City Council Seats in Danger as Angry Citizens Demand Change.

He pinched the bridge of his nose. After college, he’d moved to Las Vegas because it was about as far away from suburban New Jersey as he could get, both physically and culturally. From the start, he’d fallen in love with the city’s vibrancy, its nonstop energy, the sense of change and possibility that hovered around every corner. But now the city he’d adopted as his own was teetering on the razor’s edge of self-destruction.

Levi dropped his hand at the sound of shuffling footsteps. Carlos trudged into the kitchen from the spare room, rumpled and bleary-eyed, his shoulders hunched. He stopped when he saw Levi.

“I didn’t think anyone would be up this early,” he said, bending over to pet Rebel as she rushed over to greet him.

“I’m always up early.” Levi eyed Carlos critically. Jasmine and Carlos had gone the traditional route of spending the night before their wedding apart, so after last night’s rehearsal dinner, Carlos had come home with Levi and Dominic while Jasmine had gone to her parents’ horse farm in Henderson.

Carlos looked like he’d slept two or three hours, max.

Levi pushed back his chair and stood. “There’s coffee in the French press. I’ll make you some breakfast—scrambled eggs and turkey sausage okay?”

“I can make—”

“You’re a guest. Besides, it’s your wedding day.”

Carlos smiled. “Okay, thanks.”

Levi put together a quick meal, then rejoined Carlos at the table. He picked up his own fork again, but paused when he noticed the gray tinge to Carlos’s golden-brown skin and the way Carlos was just pushing his eggs around on the plate.

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