The Entertainment Capital of the World, Sin City, City of Lights.
Yes, I’m talking about the one and only Las Vegas.
Every year, millions of tourists from all over the world visit this place. The weather here is phenomenal and there are endless options for entertainment, shopping, and dining. In a nutshell, this city is spectacular. Even the workaholics quit work, come here and relish this city.
I was a huge Disney fan growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina. There isn’t a movie I haven’t seen, and I own nearly all of the Disney merchandise. To be honest, I’m a bit obsessed with Disney. I’ve always wanted to be a part of Disney in some way.
You wouldn’t believe what I did next. After finishing my bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, I squandered two years sending my résumé to the Walt Disney Company in the hopes that they would hire me. Even after two years, they still did not hire me.
So I decided to continue my studies while also working part-time. I continued my studies and became a Freelance Graphic Designer. However, I did not stop sending my résumé.
I awoke from a deep sleep one day to the sound of a buzz. I sluggishly picked up my phone.
1 New Email
When I opened Gmail, my eyes widened at what I saw:
Dear Raleigh C Watson,
I am delighted to extend an employment offer on behalf of the Walt Disney Company. As previously discussed, we’d like to welcome you aboard as a full-time, exempt Junior Character Designer and Illustrator. You will report to Sidney Ramos, Head Character Designer, and Illustrator, in your new position. If you accept our offer, we anticipate that your first day of employment will be Monday, February 14, 2022. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.
Someone familiar cheerfully called my name. I rose from my seat and looked back.
“Addison!? Mom!? Dad!? Benjamin!? "
A group of people stood there, grinning and waving at me. I dashed over to the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl with tanned skin. Addison, my best friend. I trapped her in a tight embrace.
“I thought you guys were busy,” Tears that I had been trying to hold back the entire time flowed down, uncontrollably.
“Well, how could we let you leave without saying goodbye?” Dad reached out and wiped away my tears with his thumb finger.
“Hey, girl. Cheer up. Vegas is not that far away. Only 5 hours travel time, right, Ben?” Addison said, trying to cheer me up.
Benjamin, my overprotective adoptive brother. We’re like real siblings. I’m going to miss him so much.
“Yeah, according to Google Maps, 5 hours and 10 minutes,” he said.
He reached out to me and hugged me tightly.
“I’m going to miss you, Ral!”
“Me too, brother.”
Then, we pulled out. I wish they could come with me to Las Vegas, but, Dad and Mom got work, Addie is in medical school and Ben frequently gets airsick, so, he prefers not to fly.
“Have you packed everything you need? Casuals? Hoodies? ID?” Mom asked me.
“Yeah, got everything. Wait, my aviators?!” Oh no, I forgot my aviator glasses.
“Then, what’s in your eyes?” Ben giggled.
I realized the aviators I was searching for were right on my eyes this whole time.
We broke into giggles.
“This is the final boarding call for all the passengers booked on flight 482A to Las Vegas. Please proceed to gate 3 immediately.”
“That one’s for me. So, time to say goodbye,” I grinned. They waved at me.
Then I walked away, checking back frequently to see if they were still there. I already miss them.
I cleared my mind. “Here I come, Las Vegas!”
I awoke from my slumber when I heard the landing announcement. As the passengers began to disembark, I grabbed my bags. I exited the plane with the others. Tourists flocked to the arrival gate. I passed through the arrival gate. I then noticed a young man with red hair my age standing nearby, holding a small board.
It said: RALEIGH C WATSON
I approached him. He could be waiting for me.
He asked, “Miss Raleigh Christine Watson?”
“Yeah, that’s me. But, I prefer Raleigh,” He smiled at me respectfully.
“Hello, Raleigh. Welcome to Walt Disney Studios. I’m Aaron Daniel and I will be assisting you throughout the time you’ll be working at Disney.”
“So, you’re my assistant?” I was surprised. Do I have an assistant?
“Yes, but why are you so surprised?” He gave me a friendly smile.
“Oh, Aaron, I thought you were my work buddy.”
“Ok, I’ll rephrase it, Assistant alias Work buddy.”
“All right, let’s go. I need to show you your penthouse and, if I have time, give you a quick tour of Las Vegas. Isn’t this your first time here?”
I agreed with a nod. We exited the airport by walking away. A luxurious car was waiting for us. Aaron opened the car door for me.
“Thank you,” I said as I got into the car.
He got into the car and gave the driver my penthouse address. I’ve never had this level of luxury before. All of this was new to me. To be honest, I’m a country girl at heart. Every weekend, Addison’s and my family would hunker down around the campfire and toast marshmallows. Addie and I would run through the woods and end the night stargazing. Those were the happiest times of my life.
Aaron began talking about Las Vegas. Almost everything there is to know about the City of Lights.
“Aaron, where are you from?”
He looked at me and said, “Me and my parents are all from Scotland. I moved to Vegas for school when I was 18 years old.”
Then he went on another rant about Vegas. I listened to him while looking out the window at skyscrapers and tall buildings passing by.
I looked for my phone. I was about to press the Snooze button. But, I reminded myself today is my first day of work and I gotta be early.
No more procrastinating. I said to myself.
I stood up and dashed over to finish my chores. I made my bed, brushed my teeth, showered, and ate a bowl of cereal. I stuffed my backpack with my résumé, job offer letter, and everything I needed. I’m so excited!!
I opened up my suitcase, trying to decide what to wear. For me, choosing an outfit won’t take much time. I prefer casual and comfortable clothing. I ended up wearing a zip-up hoodie over a white crew-neck T-shirt and black pants. My hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail.
After locking the door, I grabbed my backpack and walked out.
I took a stroll down the street. The sun shone brightly in Las Vegas. Early morning is the only time of day when you can see Vegas streets alone and sparse. There were a lot of people on the street, but nothing compared to the nights and evenings in Vegas. The entire city would be teeming with rustling and tussling.
As I walked forward, I took a look around.
I looked around to see where the noise was coming from. An elderly couple lay on the street, injured in a car accident, and a luxurious car was parked. I dashed over to the elderly couple and helped them get up.
The elderly couple was injured here and there and appeared concerned. They managed a smile and a pat on the back of my head.
“Thank you very much, honey!” The old woman expressed her gratitude.
“Miss…?” The old man inquired.
“Watson, but I prefer Raleigh, sir,” I said, slightly worried something bad would happen to them.
“Thank you very much, Miss Raleigh Watson.”
I heard someone impatiently banging on the car horn. I looked around to see the luxury car still there. And inside was a young man a couple of years older than me who was clearly frustrated. He appeared to be far too handsome for his age.
“Move away, I’ve to leave. Can’t you talk somewhere else?” He barked at me.
Wait, he almost killed the old couple and is now fleeing. This will not happen. I was so irritated by his arrogance; I stood directly in front of his car, blocking his path.
“Who do you think you are, huh? You almost killed this elderly couple and you’re trying to get away. That is not going to happen. You’ll pay for what you did!” I retaliated by yelling back at him.
He got out of the car and yelled at me, even louder, “I’ll get away. Whatever you say, I don’t care. Get the hell out of here! "
I approached him, clenching my fists and pulling his tie, threatening him, “Get them to the hospital right away or I’ll smash your beautiful face!”
On the contrary, he appeared surprised but not alarmed. A sly grin crept across his lips.
“All right, I’ll get them to the hospital.”
His sly expression abruptly changed to an empathizing and kind smile. He went up to the couple. I heard him apologize to the old couple like a gentleman. I helped the couple get in the car. He had a dangerous expression on his face as he looked at me.
“You’re going to pay for this, young lady!”
As the car drove away, I gritted my teeth.
What a jerk he is?!
After all snags and trouble, I reached Disney Animation Studios. I walked in and headed straight to the front desk.
" I received a call letter from here…”
A man in a suit in front of me, smiling warmly, cut me off, “I assume you are… Miss Watson, the new Junior Character Designer.”
“Yeah, I’d like to meet…” He cut me off once more. Oh, god. This is so annoying.
“Mr. Sidney Ramos,” he says. “Continue straight and take the fifth room on the left.”
“Thanks!” I greeted him, slightly annoyed. I looked for his office. A lady in a suit approached me as I sat on the couch outside the office waiting for him.
I think I’m supposed to, you know, stand up. I stood up and she looked at me.
“If I’m not mistaken, you’re Miss Watson, the new Character Designer under Sidney.”
“Yes, Madam,” I replied, a little nervously.
“Oh, there’s no need for such formality. Feel free to address me as Alexis. HR Head. I am delighted to collaborate with you. "
“The pleasure’s all mine…Alexis.”
“Waiting for Sidney? Oh, he’ll be here soon. Got up with some hospital case. "
We exchanged handshakes. She walked away, and I sat down.
I’m feeling quite nervous.
I was surprised to hear someone reprimand another person. I tried to figure out what they were saying because the sound was muffled. I’m aware that eavesdropping is illegal.
“Due to your tardiness, we lost our client!” A growl could be heard.
“It’s not my fault, sir. I…”
“No more excuses!”
Then, all of a sudden, an angry middle-aged man walked out the office. I pretended I didn’t hear anything they said, but he didn’t even look at me.
I knocked on the door.
“Yeah, come in,” The voice sounded familiar, and the person appeared to be frustrated.
I pushed open the door. I turned pale and was taken aback. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. But when I saw that sight, I knew I was going to be in big trouble.
Sidney Ramos, the jerk I yelled at a few minutes ago, stood there, as surprised as I was.
I awoke from my catnap when I heard someone clear their throat. My puffy eyes were rubbed and squeezed. I’ve had a lot on my plate these days, and aside from catnaps, I’ve barely gotten any rest. Our character design deadline was only two weeks away. It is for a new animated TV series that will premiere in April. Some of the character designs are still unfinished and we have to finish them. My first thought when I arrived in Las Vegas was to relax and tour around the city in my spare time, but the truth is that I won’t even have time to nap.
I took a look around-
“Amanda! Oh, I’m sorry. I just dozed off,” I made an awkward giggle at Amanda.
Amanda was dressed to the nines in a raincoat.
Unlike the usual weather in Vegas, it rained cats and dogs for days. Incredibly strange. Rain is uncommon in Las Vegas and if it does fall, it will be very light.
“Oh, it’s fine. You’ve earned a good nap. Can I leave now?"
“Yeah, of course,” I say, wishing I could ask her to stay and assist me with work. It is not my individual work, but rather the work of our group. But, I don’t want to cause trouble for others.
She waved as she walked towards the elevator, then turned to face me before entering.
“Ral, can you tell Mr. Ramos that I left for home?”
I gave her a thumbs up in agreement, and, then she walked away, leaving me to pick up my aviator glasses and continue working. I shouldn’t squander time. Time is valuable.
I finished my design and walked up to Mr. Ramos’ office a few hours later. It was past 11 a.m. and it was still raining outside. Working unpaid overtime. As I walked, I reflected on this. I rapped on his office door.
“Sir, this is Raleigh.”
“Yeah, Miss Watson. Please come in.”
I opened the door and entered his office. There in front of me was Mr. Ramos in a rotating chair. He looked handsome as always, but, tiredness had affected his beauty. He was absorbed in his work. He frequently grabbed his bottle and drank water from it. He looked up at me.
“Sir, the character design is finished,” I told him and handed him my drawing tablet.
He adjusted his reading glasses slightly and looked at the tablet. His eyes widened with awe. Oh, no. Is something wrong again?
“Alphonso Lira… This is…this is incredible. Mail me this, okay. "
I was taken aback. Is it meant to be a compliment? Shouldn’t I say thanks?
“Thank you very much, sir. Can I connect to your personal Wi-Fi? My internet service plan expired yesterday."
He gave me a friendly smile, “Of course. The password is… "
He paused for a long time and gulped hard before finally uttering two words.
I looked at him, puzzled, and gave him a you’ve- got-to-be-kidding-me look. But he was dead serious.
I typed in the password and connected to the Wi-Fi. I emailed him the design and then looked out the transparent glass wall at the rain. That was when I realized that I’m…we’re in big trouble.
“You would not believe what I saw.”
When he saw my panic, he got up and walked over to me.
“Wait, what the-?”
Our office’s ground floor had flooded. We’re trapped here. There is no way to get to the entrance.
“My brand-new Ford Explorer!?” He yelled, irritated.
“My Audi Q3!?” In distress, I yelled even louder. He has the means to purchase a new car. But that is not the case for me. This was a birthday present from my dad on my 18th birthday, and it holds a special place in my heart.
We have to wait until the rain stops and the water level lowers. He groaned and walked over to his chair.
“Please take a seat. You do not have to stand there until the rain stops. "
I walked over and sat in one of the client chairs set up in front of Mr. Ramos’ office table.
He turned off his laptop and plugged it in to charge it.
I was extremely sleepy. I managed not to sleep right in front of Mr. Ramos. This can only make him angrier. But I gradually became drowsy. Abruptly, the power was gone and the only light in the room was of the emergency lamp. I heard him mumble while I was unconscious.
I didn’t respond because I was too tired.
“Miss Raleigh Watson,” no response.
“Ral,” he says.
“Yeah?” I responded without even opening my eyes. I could feel his eyes on me.
In awe, I opened my eye and stared at him. Am I imagining all this?
“I’m sorry,” he repeated, emphasizing each word.
“Wait, what? Sidney Ramos, the renowned character designer and illustrator, apologizing to his subordinate Raleigh Watson? You are kidding me.” I remarked sarcastically.
He sat up straighter and continued, “I’m serious, Raleigh. I apologize for everything, including being harsh to you and making you overwork…” I could tell he was sincere by the tone of his voice.
“It’s fine,” I said, cutting him off.
He was taken aback by what I had said.
“Are you not upset with me?”
“Why do I have to be angry? It’s not my fault that everything happened. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone forgives them. I chose to forgive.”
He approached me, and I stood up. He engulfed me in a bear hug. Aww…it feels so good and warm. That was unexpected.
“May I be your friend?” As he patted my head, I could hear him mumble.
“Wait, did you just friend-zone me?” I gave him the most innocent puppy face I could muster. He yanked out, his brow furrowed in perplexity.
“I’m only joking, Sidney. We’d make good friends,” I chuckled, and he burst out laughing.
I shook hands with Sidney.
“Friends for life.” We chorused together. Then we sat on the chair, watching the rain and chit-chatting like good ol’ pals.
So, this is what people say. Enemies turned friends.