Tom didn’t have the time for some broad to be making snap judgements about him and he was tired of the cursory glances he’d been receiving all day. It was obvious to anyone that he had been in a fight and every time they stared, he’d felt like asking them a whole host of sarcastic questions. He had felt irritable, impatient, and irksome; she was taking her time. He knew how suspicious he must have looked: his mug all bashed up, withdrawing his entire finances, and it only being the middle of a hot, Chicago city day. He’d glanced at his watch: nearly two. He had watched her as she fiddled with her computer, and as she stood up and walked over to her boss, and then as they proceeded to have a conversation, casually blinking over at him every so often. Tom sighed heavily and wished that he’d been born with the baby-faced looks of his younger brother; nobody ever suspected him of wrong doings. For all they know, he had thought, he’d been the victim of a horrendous mugging and he was trying to get to his money before the thieves did. Of course, this wasn’t the case but it wasn’t any of their business anyway.
Finally, Shannon had come back over, telling him that everything was okay and that he’d need to sign some papers. She had begun organising the paperwork, and Tom had glanced over at her boss who was still staring at him – keeping an eye on him. He had wondered again what his problem was, at the same time as the other man was thinking the same thing: worried about his employee, but even more so about the amount of money this rough-looking man was withdrawing. Tom felt as though he was being unfairly judged, all because of a few scrapes.
He had focused on the young woman instead: noting her beautiful, thick hair; her just-right curves; a warm and breezy smile; and eyes that made her look like she could never tell a lie. The beauty of an honest woman, he had mused, was something he’d always admired – his own looks making him look like a criminal, and today was no exception. He had momentarily looked down at his knuckles: bruised, dry, and damaged, before glancing over at her hands: manicured, dainty and diligently organising his finances.
Shannon had seen him looking and for a fleeting second, their eyes met before she said ‘I’m sorry sir, there seems to be a problem with the account.’ She had noticed his mood shift automatically – palpably. The atmosphere had become tense in the room, and she had nervously exchanged a look with her manager, who still kept his distance but wanted nothing more than for it to all kick off, so he could show his beautiful young employee is masculine prowess. Shannon felt as though she was caught between a rock and hard place: the potentially aggressive customer, or her idiot boss. Tom had just rolled his eyes and it became clear that the situation was not entirely a surprise to him; she felt relieved. He had casually glanced over his shoulder, as if he was checking for someone who might have been watching him, but there wasn’t anyone there. He’d paused for a few moments, assessing the situation and, then, he’d said “I demand to speak to the manager – what exactly is the problem here?” Shannon had felt relieved at this normal reaction as she had feared the worst – that his disposition might have reflected his looks. He had been assisted over to a private room to discuss the problem and she watched him go.
After the customer had left, her manager had come to check on her and Shannon knew that he was frantic to impress her. However, she was never one for being easily awestruck, but she had played her part well and assured him she was fine. After work, she had walked out with colleagues and headed home, walking through the dark, streetlight-lit roads of Chicago, stopping off at an ATM machine on the way. It hadn’t been until she had been home for some time that she eventually had opened her bag and poured out the contents: the many thousands of dollar bills floated out like leaves from the autumn trees. Shannon had sat there, watching as the money fell around her and she felt content; money was the only thing she could ever rely upon. She had smiled to herself; thinking how an honest face does not, an honest girl make. She’d then shut the curtains and begun counting her prize, whilst Tom, from earlier, had to go home to an expectant wife and explain why their life savings had vanished, feeling angry and confused.