It's Nice to be Naughty
Even the nicest girls have to be a little naughty sometimes. Though Sally Mae Frye has worked hard and played by the rules all her life, she wonders whether she's missed something along the way. She's already in her late thirties, and she's still single. She spends most of her time either working or dealing with her aging mother. And then she hires handsome, young Phil Winston. More
If you didn't know Sally Mae Frye was manager of the only small bank in Martha Falls, Maryland, you'd have thought she was the town librarian. Her dresses were either brown or gray or navy, usually a heavy wool or tweedy material and always hemmed exactly three inches below the knees, exposing broad calves and thick ankles. She wore either black or brown pumps with two-inch heels that came to a point at the base of her instep, creating a cloven-hoof look.
She was a soaring woman with large bones and had a tendency to stoop over when she walked down the street. Every morning, she pulled her long brown hair back into a neat little bun to show off two tasteful pearls in her earlobes. The only other piece of jewelry she ever wore (and only with the navy wool) was a silver circle pin on her right shoulder.
She was already thirty-seven-years old by then; it occurred to her she'd been missing something all her life, but she just couldn't pigeonhole what that was.
And then one cold, rainy morning in March, while she was sitting at her ex-receptionist's desk listening to voicemail and wondering what it would be like to wear thong underwear, she looked up and saw a young man standing in front of her. His short brown hair was damp and had begun to form ringlets at the tips; his black leather jacket dripped at the shoulders.
"I'd like to speak with the manager, please, ma'am" he said. His voice was deep but not loud.
Sally Mae smiled and folded her hands on top of the desk. She wondered when she'd actually become a ma'am. But she told him, "Well, you've come to the right place. That's me."
He tilted his head and reached out to shake her hand. "My name is Phil Winston, and I was wondering if you had any jobs open here at the bank."
She shook his hand. The first thing she noticed when she looked into his eyes was that the left was pale lavender and the right one deep blue. "Ah, well..."
"I just moved to town," he said, "and I live right across the street on top of the hardware store. My brother, Ted Winston, told me to stop in about a job. He banks here."
Sally Mae pressed her lips together. She'd known Ted Winston as a banking customer for a long time, but this guy didn't look anything like Ted. He was dark and cool and calm, where Ted was blond and so full of energy you had to wonder if he didn't have a problem with caffeine. "Do you have any banking experience?" she asked. After all, she did need a new receptionist. The most recent had up and quit to take a job working at the Food Circus for the employee discount.
"Ah, not exactly," he said, "I'm a student, and most of my experience has been working in the summer in landscaping with my brother, Ted. But I'm a fast learner, and I really need a job close to home. I don't drive. I'm an alcoholic, and I lost my license for one year. That's why I moved right into the heart of town, so I wouldn't need a car to get around."
Though he didn't look like someone who would work in a bank, with his slick leather jacket and his shiny black shirt with a wide collar, Sally Mae appreciated his complete honesty. Another young guy probably wouldn't have mentioned this alcoholic business at all. "Would you be interested in a full-time receptionist job?"
He smiled so wide his gums showed. "Well, yes, definitely."