“The next tour is at 2:00,” the man said.
The man sat on the other side of a glass counter. His name badge bore the honorable title of Manager, a job he took most seriously. Only the upper half of his body was visible, he was a slender man with small forearms that were covered with dark hair. His thin fingers danced over the keyboard as he worked through screens.
“And you can prepay for that tour now.”
Stepping forward, the woman rested her forearm on the counter. She led a group of women from several blocks away for a long promised historical tour. She too was slight with a magnificent bun on top of her head, adding several inches of height.
“We were told the tour started at 1:00,” she said, summoning her queen energy.
Her heart started to accelerate as she wondered if she wrote the time down wrong. It would not have been the first time. She was no stranger to nerves or numbers misbehaving.
The man pursed his lips and made a hmm…ing sound as he stared at the glowing screen.
“When I called last week, the person said they would waive the fees,” the woman said.
“Oh,” the man chortled, really,” he said with a tone that made it a statement, not a question.
The woman felt the slow creep of disappointment begin to build. He was not understanding, she was not paying for the tour that was starting in ten minutes.
“We were told it would be covered,” the woman repeated.
Four women stood behind her with eight eyes, watching her every move. They were used to let-downs and empty promises, things just not working out and the other shoe dropping, always.
It was already over.
“Let’s go,” one woman whispered.
The man behind the counter said, “I’m sorry, there is no note of that here.”
Disappointment crashed in around the group, powerful enough to wash them out the door and down the path, but expected and in that, the crush was manageable.
Except their leader wasn’t budging.
Brought out by the noise, a tall, red headed man emerged from a backroom.
“My group is here, right on time,” he announced with a smile.
“We spoke last week, right?” he asked as an afterthought.
“Yes, thank you,” the woman said.
“Y’all head over to the house and I’ll get everything unlocked.”
The woman flashed him the smile she saved for special occasions, like this one, when the nerdy knight with a lanyard saved the day and the museum tour.