She couldn't look away from TV. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't look away. On the morning news broadcast on GCN, the face of the Joker captivated her as he unveiled his latest threats against Gotham City. After 2 years, he had escaped from Arkham Asylum. There was something about his scared, made-up face, and his shrill laughter that made her heart sink to the bottom of her stomach.
"Lyla! You're gonna be late for work!" cried her roommate, Jessica, from the kitchen, pulling her away from the trance of the Joker. Dressed in her black, feminine suit with a white under shirt, Lyla slipped on her heels and turned off the TV. As she hurried to the kitchen for her ritual morning bagel, Jessica appeared from the bathroom, still clad in her pajamas and bathrobe. "What were you doing in there?" she teased. "I thought you got up two hours ago. That's more than enough time for you to get ready."
"Sorry, I just…" Lyla began. How could she explain to her friend that she had been in her room obsessing over a mad man? "I just got caught up watching the news."
"Since when do you watch the news?" Jessica replied. "I thought you were an entertainment columnist, not a news person."
Jessica was right. Lyla Palmer had been working in the entertainment department at The Gotham Times for almost a year. After she moved to Gotham 2 years ago, she moved in with her college buddy, Jessica Perkins, in hopes of a making it as a big time journalist. Jessica used to date someone of worked for the Gotham Times; consequently, she hooked her friend up with an internship. The internship soon led to writing obituaries, which were never in short supply in Gotham. Obituaries soon turned into a few small film reviews. Then, a string of firings turned Lyla's small film reviews into her big break.
Although she was grateful for the opportunity, her goal was to write about real news; politics, murders, scandals. Lyla was hardly interested in the latest fashion trends or how was sleeping with who in Hollywood. Even though she was a great writer, two things stood in her way from writing for the news department of the Gotham Times. First, she hadn't been writing there long enough, not long enough to make an impression on the owner of the Gotham Times; Mr. Gary Turner. Mr. Turner, a thin, white haired man who thought all of Gotham revolved around him, had been the head of the paper for 15 years. He believed on running a tight ship; dirty desks, missed deadlines, and tardiness was unacceptable in his eyes. Mr. Tuner also believed on including family in business, which is why he made sure his niece, Deborah Cross, was in charge of the entertainment department. Deborah was the second hurtle Lyla had to jump in order to obtain a spot in the news section of the paper. Due to Deborah's habit of judging others before she meets them, she grew to hate Lyla and everything she had written. If it weren't for Mr. Tuner's faith in Lyla, Deborah would have made sure nothing she written would ever make it into the final draft. So, until Lyla could win over Deborah, she was forced to change focus from the latest mob crimes to fashion disasters one red carpet.
"I just got caught up, ok?" Lyla said to Jessica in an annoyed tone. Taking a bite out of her bagel, Lyla looked at the clock. Panicking, she shoved the rest of her breakfast into her mouth, grabbed her folder of papers and her cup of coffee, and headed out the door.
"Wait!" Jessica cried out after her. "Are we still on for Horror Movie Thursday tonight?"
"Yeah, I'll pick up Chinese on the way home." With those words, Lyla rushed out the door and headed towards the subway.
Lyla arrived 15 minutes late to work. She had never been late before, so she figured Mr. Tuner might let her off with a warning this one time. Still, she couldn't help but come up with a few excuses in her head so she could be prepared when he asked why she was so late. "Ok," she thought to herself, "I was stuck in morning traffic. No, my printer was running low on ink and it took twice as long to print my latest article. No, that's not good enough, either. Alright, I…"
Before she could finish her thought, Lyla bumped into someone walking on the opposite side of her; causing her body, along with her folder of papers and coffee, to crash to the floor. "Great," she thought. "Not only am I late, but I have just become the laughing-stalk of Gotham." She immediately sat herself up and began returning her papers to their proper place. Suddenly, as she reached for her plastic coffee mug, another hand came in contact with her own. The hand was soft, yet manly. Lyla's eyes feel upon the hand and migrated north to reveal the sleeve of an expensive, tailored suit. Her eyes continued to wander to his neck, chin, lips, nose, and then, his eyes. Lyla had never seen anyone so handsome. As she kept her stare on the stranger, she began to recognize the familiar face; the hand that was touching hers belonged to none other than billionaire Bruce Wayne.
"Are you alright?" Bruce asked. Lyla was unable to speak. After writing about his notorious scandals and seeing his face all over Gotham, she never imagined the native playboy to look so good in person. "Miss, are you alright?" he asked again.
"Yes," Lyla replied, coming to her senses. "I'm alright." She couldn't help but realize that he was staring at her the way she must have been staring at him. The two stood up without taking their eyes off each other.
"Um, I'm Bruce Wayne," he stuttered.
"Yes, I know," Lyla shyly responded. For a few seconds, no one dared to speak a word until Bruce finally broke the silence.
"Usually, during an introduction, you reply with your own name," her teased.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. Uh, I'm Lyla. Lyla Palmer."
"Lyla Palmer. So, Lyla, do you usually make this big of a commotion in the morning."
Lyla didn't know what to say. Her tongue became tied as he billionaire continued to flirt with her. Still taken aback by this chance meeting, she hardly noticed Mr. Tuner and Deborah Cross rushing in their direction. "What is going on here?" he shouted? As soon as she heard his voice, Lyla was immediately brought back down from Cloud 9. "Lyla, what happened?" he asked in a horrified voice. Before she could respond, Bruce began to take the blame for the accident.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Tuner," he said. "I was walking to the elevator, when I bumped into Ms. Palmer."
"Well, no harm done," said Deborah, flirtatiously. "Maybe next time, Ms. Palmer should watch where she is going." She eyed Lyla as she spoke those words.
"No, it was completely my fault. I apologize."
"Well," said Mr. Turner to the entire room. "Don't just stand there! Get back to work! Type! Do something!"
With that statement, the office became busy once again; except for Bruce and Lyla. He two still stood there staring at one another.
"Um, thank you, Mr. Wayne," she said.
"Please, call me Bruce."
"Bruce. Well, thank you, Bruce. How can I repay you?
"How about you go out to dinner with me on Saturday?"
She couldn't believe it. Did the most eligible bachelor in Gotham City just ask her out on a date? "I must have hit my head when I fell," she thought. Was she still dreaming? Even if she was, she knew she had to respond.
"Um…I…Yes!" she replied.
"Great! How about 7:30 at the Ballroom Restaurant?"
"That sounds great."
"Great," he said as he walked off.
Still staring at Bruce, Lyla felt as if she was flying. She had just made a date with a billionaire. Ignoring the coffee stain on her white undershirt, Lyla calmly walked to her desk, folder and coffee mug in hand. As she sat down, she reviewed the past hour. Lyla had gone from almost losing her job by running late to meeting the most handsome man she had ever seen. "Maybe," she thought, "this might not turn out to be a bad day after all."
"Lyla! Get in my office, NOW!!" screamed Deborah's voice over Lyla's intercom.
"Well, maybe it might."