The next morning, Leah woke almost an hour after her alarm went off. Her dream, drawn around a certain client of hers was so hot for her nerves, she woke up with a moan and didn’t dare close her eyes again. Definitely not a dream to share with Nano. She reached for her alarm clock and sat up with a start when she realized the time. Leah grabbed her toothbrush and jumped into the shower. God knows she needed one. Once that was over, she rolled her hair in a towel, then strolled into the kitchen in her bathrobe getting the coffee machine brewing while she went to change, except halfway crossing the hall, the doorbell rang. Leah almost tripped on her wet feet as she ran into her bedroom, cursing herself for not getting dressed before. She tore the towel off her head, cringing as some hair became tangled, and put on the nearest clothes she could find as she ran to answer the incessant doorbell.
Leah opened the door so only her face peaked out, and the two policemen on her steps couldn’t see what she was wearing. The detective, whom she knew, eyed her weirdly and she realized her stance looked suspicious from a policeman’s point of view and reluctantly forced herself to open the door more inviting.
“Helloo, Det. Velasquez!” Leah managed to say to the man who was a frequent customer of the bank.
“Mornin’ Miss Walters,” Antonio tried, suppressing the smile. “You know your shirt’s all wrong?”
Leah held the tag up close, as it was both inside out and back to front, and sheepishly chuckled.
Her friend did too.
“Sorry! I woke up late. What brings you here? Anything wrong at the bank?” The manager searched her mind for anything that could’ve happened last night, and didn’t like the answers she found.
“My partner and I are responding to a call from this neighborhood. Something happened last night around 7pm. Anything stand out to you?”
“Hmm, I got done after closing last night late with a client. I walked back home and, well...”
“Something wrong, Miss Walters?” Officer Bennett asked as he readied his notepad.
“There were some boys following me and cat calling me, so I ran home really fast. In heels, mind you.”
“Did you get a look at these boys?” Velasquez asked this time, his brows crushed down on his eyes and his mouth formed a frown that was a mix of worry and anger.
“Umm, the usual gang style. Hoodies and baseball caps.”
“Sounds about right,” noted Bennett to his superior, and Antonio seemed to relax, like he had nothing to worry about.
“Sorry?” Leah questioned with a brow arched up.
“The owner of the restaurant down the street reported some pretty wounded up hoodlums in the ally behind. You got yourself a guardian angel, Lee!” The detective’s tone became perkier as he aimed to make his friend worry less.
No no no no no no!
“Sounds so,” Leah forced a cheer on her voice. Was that what had come up last night? Oh Holy!
“This after hours client, did they see anything?” Officer Bennett routinely asked but Leah froze up, trying to come up with an answer.
“Umm, he left before I did, like is supposed to happen. I didn’t see him when I left.” Why oh why did she just lie to cops?! She had no loyalty to Mr. Evans. Did she?
“You okay, Lee?” Antonio asked worriedly.
“I’m-I’m fine. Just on edge from last night.” That was true.
“You workin’ today? Maybe you should call off.”
“Oh no, thanks! I’ll be fine after some tea,” it was definitely going to be coffee for her, but she wasn’t about to tell Tony that she would drown her jitteriness under some caffeine. “I’ll see you at the bank?” Leah subtly hinted for them to be on their way.
“Yeah, got some errands to run today. I’ll pick you up after work. Be driving by.”
“You don’t have t-” Leah protested.
“I’d listen to you, but Gabby’ll jail my ass if I don’t get you to come over for dinner. And I don’t want you walking alone at night.”
“That’s sweet of you. But I’m only coming over if we’re eating carnita lasagna tonight!”
“You got a deal, auntie dum-dum. Will be seeing you later!” Antonio addressed Leah with the name his kids had given her.
With the police as her excuse, Leah arrived late to work. She left her giddiness at the door and walked in as authoritatively as she could muster, though the flats didn’t help her 5′4" stature. Thank God she was getting her car back tomorrow. Leah took on more clients today, gave out more suckers to kids, and was unusually interested in listening to and taking part in conference calls, useless as they may have been.
On lunch break she called her grandma, checking in on her and sharing her own life story. Of course, Leah didn’t tell her about the guy, or the kiss, or that he possibly beat up some guys for her. What would Nano say? She’s falling for a client? Was that even ethical? Well, Nano wouldn’t ask that, but she still sought the answer to this question. Till then, Mr. Evans would only be a client. And of course, it doesn’t help that she see him every day.
Leah grew anxious around the time Gabriel usually came for his work, and tried to distract herself by walking around the bank and keeping busy with her employees and coworkers. But thirty minutes past, her co workers, especially her best friend, started to tease her.
“Maybe Mr. Cute Client found himself another bank manager!” Jen laughed, mistaking Leah’s worry.
“For today, I hope!” She didn’t want to see him today.
What would she say? She already kissed him for walking her home, what would she do with him for fighting off thugs for her?
An hour had gone and she’d thankfully forgotten about Ga- Mr. Evans. Leah went back to taking on calls and clients, and she didn’t pay attention to the briefcase as she escorted a well suited man to her office. She’d never seen him before, and she when she asked, he introduced himself as a finance manager at the company owned by Gabriel Evans. Mr. Weller, the manager, guided her through what she needed to do, though he wasn’t as charming as Gabriel and was state to the point. Weller couldn’t wait to get out of there, but before he left, he gave Leah a small box and asked to be excused before she opened it. When she walked him out though, it was rush hour, and she didn’t get any break time till closing time, which she wasn’t even aware of till Tony came in for her.
“Hey boss! You ready to go home?” The detective announced as he tapped the wooden cashier till Leah was standing by.
“Dear God, is it that time already? I was so busy, I forgot.”
“Need more time? I’ll wait in the car,” Tony offered.
“No no, I’m ready. Let me quickly grab some suckers for your little suckers, then we can go!”
Tony laughed at her joke and agreed to wait in the lobby.
Leah went into her office and quickly wrapped up everything. She got her coat on and grabbed her purse, but when she opened the drawer to get the dum dums, she froze at the sight of the first thing she saw. The box Mr. Evans had sent for her sat there unopened, glaring at her. Leah put her purse down and sat on her chair before she got the box in her lap. She anxiously opened the bow, but only found a white envelope under the lid. It was a letter.
I apologize for the last minute change up. Unfortunately I have deals to sign out of of state, and I won’t get to come in till next week. Till then, you will have to deal with Weller, and I must warn that he isn’t as charming as I tend to be, but he is the only one who can cover for me. But I will be seeing you Saturday night, I believe we have a chili competition to win. I’m sorry I won’t always get to walk you home, so here might be something I dearly hope you accept instead. I didn’t know which color you liked, so I just went with black.
Your Mr. C.E.O,
Chili competition! How could she have forgotten she’d agreed to a whole day with him! Right now, she couldn’t deal ten minutes with him, and he wasn’t even physically here! But hey! He’d cancelled on her last minute, so maybe she could do that too? But the fact remained that he had already made up for his absence by giving her something...black?
“You ready Lee?” Tony interrupted her thoughts. He’d grown tired of waiting outside and peeked in to see what was up.
“Huh?” Lee said, startled as she hid the box from his view.
“Sorry, I got distracted by some paperwork. I’m ready to go.” Leah stood up and shoved everything into her purse, candy and box included, and left her office to go home with Tony.
Oh holy shit!