The alarm went off twice before Leah Walters got up to snooze it. The red numbers said it was an hour till she had to go to work, but Leah woke up with a lazy stretch and dallied to the bathroom. With a toothbrush stuffed in her mouth, Leah went across the short hall to the kitchen to get her coffee machine started. Her short hair was already dry from her night shower, now it was only just a matter of picking clothes.
After a ten minute search of her closet, she decided on a black dress that was a little above her knees, and picked a pair strapped sandals that worked with it. The belts on the dress were pretty heavy, so she simply went with a gold bracelet. It was fall’s cooler days, and she would have gotten chills if she walked the ten minutes to work, on heels, but thankfully she had a car.
It was fun to have your house so close to work, especially if you were new in town, but that meant she also took it for granted. Her coworkers who lived an hour away were at work before her. It didn’t help that she was the new boss, her tardiness was beginning to make an impression on her employees. In her home town, Leah was always punctual, mostly in part that her grandmother woke her up at 6 saying it was 8. Leah had worked at the Minnesota branch of United Financials for 8 years before they decided to move her up to manager in the Meridian branch.
Disposable items were a blessing; who had time to wash all those dirty dishes? and this was coming from a single woman who lived alone. Leah prepared her coffee in a disposable coffee cup and left her house in a pair of ballet flats, her heels swinging by the strap in her other hand. Her old car was parked on the street; it was a downtown street, and they didn’t really have garages. The coffee went up on the roof as she dug her purse for the keys, and the first time, she forgot the cup outside. Leah had turned the engine on by the time she realized her coffee was on the roof, and chuckled at her own stupidity as she got out and picked up the cup.
The drive to work was fast, it was only 10 minutes at most, and she’d made it just before the rail crossing guards came down behind her. She parked in the spot outside her office window while her employees had parked across the entrance. She glanced at the open curtains as she put on lipstick in the mirror of the sun shade, smacking her lips to make sure it stayed. Leah switched her flats for the black sandal heels, stowing the first pair in the feet of the passenger seat. She got out the door and came around the other side to bring out her bag, but as she leaned in the car, someone bumped her behind and she toppled into the car.
“You’re lucky I wasn’t holding my coffee!” She whined over her shoulder to her best friend Jen, who also worked at the bank.
“You know, I live like 50 minutes away, and I’m still before you!” Jen reminded as she helped her boss collect her things. For someone who lived 10 minutes away, Leah was very disorganized; half her files were spilled on the passenger seat.
“I need a new alarm clock,” Leah casually said as she swung her paper filled back onto her shoulder.
“What you need is to be more organized.”
“Sure sure, I’ll start on it tomorrow. Now come on, let’s go make people’s dreams.”
You dream it, we make it.
That’s the motto of United Financials bank. Mondays were the busiest day of the week, with the bank having been closed on the weekends. Which meant Tuesdays were relatively quiet. The second day of the week brought in all the people who’d consciously skipped Monday to avoid the rush. Tuesday was also when more of the elderly came in. Since their age didn’t permit them long travels, they usually happened to live nearby, in Leah’s neighborhood. They’d lived in the area for quite the while, and were always vary of the newcomers, and Leah was the newest resident in a long time. For whatever reason, Leah was always drawn to old people, probably because she lived with her grandmother her whole life. But the people here also had a hand. They’d been very welcoming of her, and always asked how she was adjusting whenever they stopped by. The traffic died around 10:30, the lunch rush was gonna start at 12. So with the down time, manager Leah Walters attended to maintenance duties that would’ve been impossible with full waiting lines. She balance the registers and the vaults, counted the money at the tills with her subordinates by hand, and generally did all the duties of bank manager which she wouldn’t be able to do in a busy hour.
She was helping a teller balance her register when he walked in. Leah took a minute to detail him: he was wearing black jeans, a black button up shirt that was tucked in at the bottom and lose on the top, all covered by a black blazer.
His hair was wet combed back, and the serious look on his face caused wrinkles around his eyes. He was holding a pretty briefcase, the ones you see in movies that holds a lot of bundled cash.
Mr. Suit took his sweet time looking around, but didn’t walk up to the till, which slightly unnerved the bank manager.
Leah excused herself from her coworker and smoothed out her pencil skirt dress before moving to greet the client.
“Hi, welcome to United Financials. Can I help you with something?”
Mr. Suit finally looked up at her, and after giving her a quick up and down, he smiled, which made the creases of his eyes wrinkle again.
“Well if you couldn’t, neither of us would be here.”
Leah laughed, slightly leaning over her fingers intertwined in front of her stomach.
“That’s certainly true,”
The man tucked his chin under a bit, with a chuckle, then looked back up at her.
“You’re a new face around here.”
“I am!” Leah coiled back her torso, as if impressed.
“Moved here just some weeks ago. Leah Walters, I’m the new bank manager.” She finally extended her hand for a shake.
Mr. Suit took her hand and gave it a proper shake.
“Impressive! You don’t look like you’re 52 years old.” He pulled on her hand, leaning his head in closer.
“What’s your secret?”
“My secret,” Leah whispered, “is that because I just turned 28 this year.” She laughed and distanced herself, walking him into the building.
“I’ve been working at this bank for 9 years; started from teller, now I’m manager.”
Mr. Suit pouted his lip, seemingly impressed by her career advancement.
“Not bad! Gabriel Evans, bank regular. Actually, I’m the manager’s regular. My deposits are a bit,” he raised his briefcase, “heavy.”
“Alright, we’ll go sit in my office.”
She ushered him into her office and onto the guest chair, then walked around the table to her seat.
“Let me just pull up your stuff heere. So Mr. Evans, what is it that you do that you have such heavy deposits?” She asked the computer, but he answered.
“I am the C.E.O of my own company,” he told her, putting the brief on the table, which had his company name emblemed across the center.
“Wow! That’s a pretty big shot!” It was her turn to be impressed.
As Leah conducted her business with Gabriel, her coworkers sneaked a peak once in awhile, watching their boss playfully laugh as she worked with her client. They all quickly returned their attention to their work as Leah began to walk the man out.
“Been around the town a lot?” Gabriel asked, his hand on the small of her back.
“Not too much. Still settling in,” She crossed her arms.
Gabriel made a lazy nod.
“Of course! If you’re ever free, I’d love to welcome you to town.”
“How will you ever find me?” Leah asked, her hands clasped behind her back as she walked him to the front door. Her hands scraped past his as he let go.
His phone rang, and he tapped the mute button after looking at the name on the touch screen.
“I can run a company, I’m sure I can run down a phone number.” He laughed, “If not, I certainly know where you work!” He waved his hand, referring to the building they were standing in.
“Have a good evening, Miss Walters.”
He nodded to her with a smile, and then was out the door.
Jennifer came up behind her as Leah kept staring at the door.
“I think I just met him,” she said aloud, acknowledging her presence. It was like one of those superstitious feelings; a premonition; a chill down her spine.
“Honey, I don’t think I’d ever forget meeting a face like that.” Jen teased about his good looks.
“No, not like that. I mean, I just met him, him.”
“Oh!” Jen said leaning in, intrigued.
“Then the best of luck to ya, sister.”
She walked back to her post, and after one last look at the door, Leah too turned back in as business began to pick up for the evening rush hour.