Widow

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Chapter 8

Shortly after 0900 the next morning, Ken walked into the Hamilton Bank for the very first time. He had no premonition that his entire life would change in the next few minutes.

The lobby was empty. Only one teller window was open. The teller, a woman, was reading a book.

Ken looked at her once. Then he looked a second time. She’s cute, really cute. I always thought there’s a difference between beautiful women and cute women. This one is definitely cute.

She had fastened her long brown hair into a ponytail. A light sprinkle of freckles gave her soft skin a happy look. Ken always liked a small smattering of freckles. Maybe it was because his mother had them.

The teller’s sparkling brown eyes twinkled over the freckles. An incredibly attractive pug nose peeked out from above two perfectly formed lips. I wonder what kissing them would be like? Her name tag read, Peggy Waldren.

Ken couldn’t tell about her figure because much of it was below the teller’s window ledge. There was nothing to stop him from speculating about it. Any figure under that cute of a face would have to be more than acceptable.

No doubt, she’s married, Ken surmised. However, examining an attractive married woman is perfectly legal. In fact it is a common pastime for most men. Especially unmarried men. As long as you just look.

Ken stepped up to the window. The first thing he looked at was her third finger, left hand. No rings!

Ken thought, if I ever saw a candidate for a ten minute date she is it.

Ken looked her squarely in the eyes.

“Good morning. How are you today?”

She looked up smiling. “Fantastic, and I expect to be better!”

“Wow, your enthusiasm matches your glowing appearance! I’m new in town. My name’s Ken Lister. I need to open a bank account.”

Peggy stared at him open mouthed. Holy smoke! A nice looking man is standing at my window! Sort of a rugged face with a generous mouth. His intense brown eyes radiated interest. Wow!

She’d been reading a book from her MBA class. She always tried to cram in some homework when no customer was at her window. For some reason, Peggy felt completely flustered by the fine-looking appearance of the man standing before her. What did he say?

“I’m sorry. I was doing some homework. I’m afraid I didn’t hear you.”

“You’re a student?”

“Yes I’m working for my MBA.”

Ken replied, “I’m impressed. Never stop learning is a good idea. I want to open an account. I’m new in town.”

Peggy handed him a new-account form. “Please complete the form and be sure to return it to this window.”

As he turned away Peggy wondered, why did I insist he return the form to my window? Technically, he could have taken it to any of the tellers. Somehow, I want more contact with him. Why?

In a few minutes, he returned. Peggy gave him her best smile as she reviewed the form.

Ken Lister; employed at the University, temporary address, a local motel. Permanent address will be 55 North Side Heights Lane. Served nine years with the Army, eight years of which were in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cell phone number, no local line yet.

“Everything looks to be in order, Mr. Lister. How much did you want to deposit to open your account?”

“I have a cashier’s check for $3,000 to start things off. If you’ll give me the wire-transfer numbers, I can send additional funds from the bank account I’m closing in Chicago. I just sold my mother’s house up there. I plan on buying a new house on North Side Heights Lane.”

He cleared his throat and leaned closer. “I’m going to need a loan for the house I plan to purchase. Can I arrange a mortgage with you or do I need to talk to someone in another department?”

Peggy smiled. “This bank isn’t that large. I can handle your loan application.”

She turned around walking to a table in the rear to obtain a mortgage application. As she did, Ken examined her figure. Slim waist, nice legs, curved hips. Her breasts were small but nicely proportioned. Peggy Waldren was one attractive woman!

“Here it is,” she said, handing him the mortgage application form. “You may want to fill this out at home. It’s pretty long. You can bring it back when you’re finished.

“Tomorrow?”

“Yes. Tomorrow will be fine.”

“Sounds like a plan. Will you be here tomorrow?

“Yes, the bank opens at 9:00.”

Ken took a deep breath. I’ve taken risks before, I guess I will again.

First he made sure no one else was in line at her teller window. Then he looked at her and hoped she could see the twinkle in his eyes. “Ms. Peggy, you have been so nice to me, I’m going to teach you the magic wink.”

She craned her head. “The magic wink?”

“When Mr. Wonderful comes by, if you give him the magic wink, you’ll definitely get his attention. Are you ready?”

“OK, I’m game. What’s the magic wink?”

He gave her a slight wink followed by a soft gentle kissing motion with his lips.

As he’d hoped, she burst out laughing.

“Well, do you think that would get his attention?” Ken asked.

Still laughing, she said, “Yes, I think it would. Although I’m not sure it would be the right kind of attention. Besides, I haven’t seen Mr. Wonderful around lately.”

“Don’t be too sure. The possibility exists…. that you just did!”

As he watched her face redden, he decided it was time to retreat. He returned to his car. Minutes later he began planning phase two of the effort to get to know Peggy Waldren. He returned to the motel, opened his computer and started typing.

Watching Ken Lister walk away Peggy thought, that was fun! He’s just plain nice……. His banter was a bit thick but it carried a certain degree of sincerity at the same time. Oh goodness! I never should have told him I haven’t found Mr. Wonderful. He’s going to think I’m on the make. He flustered me…….. more than a little bit.

The next day, when Ken returned to the bank he made certain he lined up in front of Peggy’s window.

“Good morning, Mr. Lister, and how are you this morning?”

“Absolutely wonderful. And you?”

“Couldn’t be better. Did you complete that loan application?”

“Yes ma’am.” He handed her the bulky form.

Peggy glanced over the documents. “Everything seems to be in order. I’ll present this to the loan committee. The amount of down payment you are providing makes this easy. We should have an answer for you by Monday afternoon. Will that be satisfactory?”

“Yes.”

Peggy noticed him hesitate. He blushed. e He He even stammered a little. Finally, he blurted out, “I’ve something else to ask you………..“Would you go out on a 10-minute date with me?”

“What did you say?”

“I asked you’d to go on a 10 minute date with me.”

The request left Peggy stunned…… “A 10 minute…... “What in the world is a 10 minute date?”

“You don’t know?”

She shook her head, causing her ponytail to bounce becomingly.

“Well, the rules are remarkably simple. I typed them out for you so you can review them before you accept.” He handed Peggy a piece of paper. She immediately began to read:

The Ten-Minute Date

Situation:

Two people, Mr. A and Ms. B, are barely acquainted. If either A or B wants to get to know the other better he (or she) asks for a 10-minute date.

What occurs on a 10-minute date?

Right after work, A and B agree to spend 10 minutes at the local coffee house or ice cream shop nearest to one of their places of employment. They go there together and order. After they are served, the stopwatch starts.

Rules:

A and B have exactly 10 minutes to ‘get to know’ one another.

At the end of 10 minutes, there are three options:

They can opt for 10 additional minutes (this is a one-time option only and cannot be extended).

They can leave each other after exchanging phone numbers.

They can leave each other without exchanging phone numbers.

Purpose:

A 10-minute date allows A and B to get to know a little about one another without risking an entire evening. After the 10-minute date, a phone call may come from either party requesting a regular date. Neither A nor B is under any obligation to continue the relationship. If the requested date is refused, both A and B agree not to pursue the other any further.

As Peggy began reading the rules of the 10-minute date, she noticed a bank customer standing in line right behind Ken. She indicated the customer’s presence with a nod of her head.

“Oh sorry,” Ken said, stepping out of the way.

Peggy felt her face flush as she waited on the customer. Before long, a second and then a third customer appeared. She looked over at Ken and shrugged.

Ken retreated to the table in the center of the bank lobby, trying to look busy. He wasn’t. Truth be known, he was scared to death. Why? I’d done this ten minute date thing a few times before. Why am I shaking in my boots this time?

To fill the time when Peggy was busy at her teller window, Ken decided to look around the building. It is my new bank, after all. He guessed it had been built in the 1960’s. From the outside it boasted a strong thick pair of Roman columns. The lobby featured a high ceiling and several tables stocked with deposit slips and other forms.

He glanced away from the teller windows, toward the receptionist’s desk at the far left. In front of that was a hallway leading to the back of the bank. He walked over. When he looked down the hall he saw a sign indicating restrooms. He decided to walk down the hall. To his left were a number of bank executives’ offices. That makes sense, he figured. All the offices would have at least one window. The bank president’s office was clearly marked. It was a corner office which surely had at least two windows.

The right side of the hall held a conference room, a large computer room, and several “Bull Pen” cubicles for minor employees. There was also a room marked “Safety Boxes.”

At the end of the hall was a door with a secure access, which Ken correctly assumed led to the employee parking lot. It had a self-locking bar across so it could be easily opened from the inside.

Having scoped all this out, he returned to watch Peggy deal with the last of her current crop of customers.

As Ken began to approach he realized she was still reading the 10-minute date rules, so he hesitated…….

The invitation for a 10 minute date left Peggy completely flustered. She engaged in a debate with herself. If this starts something, how will I deal with Ned?

On the other hand, this guy seems to be the Steady Eddie type. He’s fun and definitely different. He’s new in town. He needs to meet people. The University wouldn’t have hired him if he weren’t a person of good character.

She thought about how depressed she’d been lately. Maybe I need a diversion. I’m only risking 10 minutes. Why not?

Finally she looked up. Their eyes met. He had been watching her every move. He has an unmistakable air of confidence about him. I like that.

She motioned for him to return to the window. When he did she blurted out, “OK, I accept your 10 minute date. I get off work at 4:00. My car will be in the employees’ parking lot behind the bank. You can park there. Wait ’til I come out. She watched with intrigue his wide grin. Now get out of here, before I get fired!”

“4:00. I can hardly wait.”

After he left, Peggy shook her head. What have I done? This could turn out to be just awful. For 10 minutes, I am going to have to turn off what appears to be a very nice young man. I know it’s been two years but it is still too soon for me even think about jumping into a new relationship. What would Ned think?

A minute later Peggy’s trainer Joan came by. “Did you see that guy skip out of here? In all my years at the bank I have never seen anyone skip through the lobby. He was at your window, wasn’t he?”

“Yes,” She cautiously admitted.

“Well, what did you say to him?”

Peggy looked at her friend and shrugged. “I haven’t a clue.”

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