CHAPTER 4-My Weekend
Wow, it’s a Friday and I get to spend the day with the kids. This hasn’t happened in so long that I can’t even remember when. The kids are so excited. Rory and Jesse want Chocolate chip pancakes and orange juice. OK. That sounds like something I can handle. After breakfast I took them to the park where I swear if I only had half their energy I could be superwoman. Oh wait, according to the Government I am superwoman. After the park we came home and had lunch. I have never seen two kids more excited that they didn’t have to go to daycare, and instead, they got to stay home with Mommy. I explained to them that we were going to move to a bigger and better house tomorrow so they had more room to play, and they absolutely loved that idea. The jumping up and down and excited yells almost broke my heart. How could I say no to a job that can give my kids everything I’ve wanted to give them for so long? And if I have to work with this man until I finish my degree in two years to make sure they stay happy and healthy then why am I even second guessing this? Oh yeah, because this man has a pull on me that no man ever has. If this is what it will take to make my kids happy, I’m going to take full advantage of every opportunity I can to do just that, and give them what they deserve, even if it means I’ll be uncomfortable.
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Promptly at 9 A.M. the car service was in front of the apartment as well as the movers. I opened the door to find three huge bulking men, nothing I couldn’t handle if I wanted to, which makes me wonder if they knew that, and a woman in her mid to late 40’s. She has a sincere smile and amazingly the kids take right to the bodyguards and the nanny. My bodyguard, the smaller of the three and I’m assuming because I can take care of myself as well, is named Justin. Jesse’s bodyguard, a big burly man that looks like he may be a body builder is pretty much a kid at heart and takes to Jesse right away, but he is also very receptive and cautious scanning the streets every three seconds or so, which I appreciate and believe he is good at his job. His name is Ben. Rory’s bodyguard is completely different. Andrew, the biggest of all, is obviously prior military, as are the other two, and a father himself. No man can look at a little girl that way and instantly be willing to give their life for them if they don’t have children of their own. Immediately, I like Logan’s choice in bodyguards which I try not to let bother me too much.
The Nanny I was still assessing. Her name is Becky, she holds degrees is early childhood education and as a pediatrician but for some reason has elected to be my nanny? It doesn’t make sense to me, and I plan on getting to the bottom of things, but right now, I plan on spending money that’s not mine, spoiling the hell out of my kids like they’ve never been able to be spoiled before, and then finally ending the day with seeing our new place. I’ll worry about the nanny and decorator tomorrow.
Our driver is also a woman, Cera. She’s a small woman with short brown hair and looks like a kid, definitely not old enough to be working for a company like Logan’s, especially as our chauffer. There’s something about her eyes though that catch my attention. She smiles and introduces herself to me and the kids, but even the kids look at me and shake their heads. Instead, they go back to their bodyguards. I shake her hand and introduce myself and give her a printed schedule of what our week will be like every day: Pick-up’s, Drop-off’s etc… She looks at it and files it away into a folder she has lodged between her seat and the center console, then, turns back to me. There’s something about her that’s not right. I’ve been to countries all over the world and faced all kinds of enemies, and this feeling is something I’m familiar with. There’s something wrong with Miss Cera, and I fully intend to find out what.
To my advantage, Logan hasn’t mentioned my past military career, so no one knows what I’m capable of, or the fact that I always carry and am an expert shot. Miss Cera has made my watch list in the 15 seconds I’ve known her. Not good for her, but I fully intend to find out what it is that’s irking me. Again, that’s a matter for later. My kids deserve my full, undivided attention and everything they’re about to get spoiled with.
We spent the day going from store to store; I’m sure looking awkward with 3 burly men and a petite woman tagging along. The kids got so many new clothes and toys you’d swear it was Christmas. I bought lots of new business suits, shoes and handbags for work, as well as a new briefcase and a dress that can’t exactly be used for work but it caught my attention and I couldn’t pass it up. Hell, it’s not my money.
After 6 hours I finally convinced the bodyguards and nanny to refer to me as Rain and not Ms. Harvey. After all, we’re going to be working with each other very closely for a while. I even got them to open up about their pasts over lunch. Justin, Ben, and Andrew are all three previous Devil Dogs (Marines) and Navy Seals.
Andrew got out for his family, which unfortunately didn’t go so well for him, because 2 weeks after being discharged his wife and children were the victims of a home invasion when he was at the market for his wife. All were killed instantly except his 3 year old daughter, which hung on in intensive care for 3 weeks before passing. The assailants were never caught. So, since he couldn’t protect his own family he vowed to protect others, and seeing as how he’s very good at what he does, and Logan pays well, he now has my Rory girl to protect. Honestly, it explains that look he has when he looks at her, and makes me feel better because I can tell he’d do anything to protect her.
Ben, on the other hand, got out strictly for the money. Logan approached him when he was nearing the end of his contract and offered him a position as a bodyguard. Ben has two little boys, 7 and 4, so it’s easy to see why the money was alluring, and less danger in a sense, not to mention he gets to spend more time closer to home, seeing his kids and spending time with one the same age as his own. Again, this information makes me feel more comfortable about him for protecting Jesse, because I know he’ll protect him like his own.
Justin is a completely different story. He has 2 kids with his ex, that she refuses to let him see, and he won’t fight her because no matter what, he still loves her and wants her to stay happy. She’s currently trying to get him to sign off on his kids. To be honest, he’s kind of her doormat, and his family’s, from what he tells me and I see. He also took the job for the money because the ex is money hungry, and he gives in and gives her practically everything he makes, instead of only what he’s supposed to pay. He doesn’t seem as dedicated to his job which would normally concern me, but the fact that I can handle myself in any situation lessens that concern. I’m sure whatever he’s lacking, I can more than make up for. Hell, after being a spy, posing as a prisoner of war four different times, 18 black ops missions, desert missions with little, to no ammo and water and my regular military police patrols, anything I encounter here should be a walk in the park right? My senses have always gotten me through, so far, so all I can do is keep trusting them.
Becky, is in her early 40’s, and was married once to a man that beat her and didn’t want her so much as out of the house, much less to finish her degree. He beat and raped her daily, which she tolerated because she thought that she had no other options, and was ashamed to tell anyone. Finally after her 9th miscarriage, she left him. As soon as he’d find out she was pregnant he’d beat her so bad she’d lose the baby, and no matter how hard she tried to hide it, he always found out. After that, she finished her 2 degrees and started working with kids, because she had always wanted them and eventually met another man. She fell in love with him instantly and thought he was the one. After being with him for a year and a half she found out he was also with someone else he was engaged too. It was an accident she ran into him that night with his fiancée, but Jason couldn’t stop her from running. She almost married this man and wondered how she was so stupid that she didn’t see the signs he was with someone else, much less engaged to someone else as well. So, instead of concentrating on the bad she put all her energies into working with kids. She was a pediatrician in the ER at night and a kindergarten teacher by day until Logan convinced her to come be my private nanny.
After lunch I treated all 4 of them to a new outfit and Becky and I to Bath & Body Works. They were all very skittish at first because they thought Logan wouldn’t appreciate it, but I explained that now all personnel go through me, that seemed to break the ice some. We even picked out some stuff for all of their kids. I immediately bonded with the bodyguards and the nanny, but there’s still something about Cera that’s bothering me. I’ve kept an eye on her throughout the entire day, because there’s something about her I don’t trust, and until I find out what that is I refuse to take my eyes off her.
By 8 P.M. the kids and I were completely worn out and had just finished dinner. We were on our way to go see our new place when our last ounce of energy sprang to life. We were in an area of town I’ve never been in and frankly it was easy to see why. There was no way I would ever be able to afford anything even remotely close to this area. After about another 10 minutes Cera pulled into the driveway of a 2 story brick Victorian house. I was stunned. We were quickly ushered out and into the house. On the way in, I noticed there was a gate in the front of the driveway that has to have a combination to get in, which I will know soon, and will be changed. I opened the door to the house and the kids took off up the stairs, along with their bodyguard right behind them. I followed them up slowly.
Once reaching the landing, I looked to my left and there were 3 humongous rooms. One was set up for Jesse, which he was already jumping on the bed in and playing in, while Ben stood in the doorway smiling and watching him. The room next to Jesse’s was Ben’s I learnt quickly, and the other room next to that was Jesse’s T.V./Playroom. At the top of the landing is a bathroom that was set up like something you’d find in a master suite, only bigger and better. It had 4 sinks, 4 separate stalls for toilets, 2 separate showers and 1 tub. To say I was more than impressed already was an understatement. Then to the right was the same setup only it was Rory’s princess room, Andrew’s beside that, and finally Rory’s T.V./Playroom on the other side.
At the bottom of the stairs was the front door directly in front of me, which was the most eloquent door I’ve ever seen. To the right of that was Becky’s room. It was a nice size suite. Almost as big as my old apartment, but I learnt that it also included her own bathroom, a walk-in closet and a separate room attached to it which is a classroom so she can tutor the kids. I really liked that idea.
The living room, family room, den, and kitchen were huge, as was another bathroom downstairs. Then we came to the master suite. It was enormous. I couldn’t believe this was my house, and it is actually my house, no one can take it from me, because on the dresser as I walked in the door I noticed a piece of paper. It was the deed to the house, in my name. I own this. Oh my god. There are enormous walk-in closets on 2 sides of a small hallway that leads to the master bath, which is amazing. A ceiling to floor length, wall to wall mirror on one wall, dual sinks on another, a walk in shower that could easily hold 8 people, and a tub that I could swim in. Wow! When this man wants to impress he sure does it in a big way. I approach another door only to find I have an office in my room. The office is the size of my apartment at home. Now, I see why Logan is sending a decorator; because I’m definitely going to need furniture to fill this place. Although, he already has the home office taken care of. There’s a note on the desk:
“Rain, I hope you like the new place and all the employees. Remember, You’re in charge! My decorator will be there tomorrow so get whatever you need to fill the house. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE COSTS LIKE I KNOW YOU’RE DOING NOW!!! Just enjoy it. After all you’ve been through in your life so far, this is the least you deserve. I’ll see you in a couple days.
I put the note down and wondered how this man knew me so well already when he just met me. Oh well, to hell with it. It’s been a long day so I go to empty out all the bags from the car and suddenly it hits me, where in the hell is Justin’s room? I turned to ask him but he was already coming out the door to help with the packages. After we finished I sent Cera home and immediately changed the combination to the gate with specific instructions that she is not to receive the combination, but to be buzzed in when necessary. Although the guys didn’t quite understand, I think they were starting to catch on that I wasn’t the normal client to guard.
I went up to put the kids to bed but Ben and Andrew were already doing just that. I liked that, but then I didn’t. I’m so used to doing everything on my own; I don’t know how I feel about other people doing my job. I simply smiled, thanked them, kissed the kids goodnight and went downstairs.
Once downstairs I had my question answered as to where Justin’s room was. There was another door in my room I didn’t see at first, and that is where his room is, attached to mine. I’m really not sure how I feel about that, but I guess I’ll take things one day at a time and see how things go before I start making decisions and changing things or people. Although, Cera is still on the top of that list to be replaced.
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Sunday. Promptly at 11 A.M. the buzzer for the front gate sounds and it’s the new decorator. After letting him in, I find he’s a very pleasant man, but definitely in the closet. It really is a shame that he feels he has to hide who he really is. With one gay brother I can spot a homosexual a mile away. I love being around them though. They’re always so cheery and happy. They definitely don’t fit the stereotypes everyone labels them with, but then again most people don’t. After spending 5 hours with Michael, we finally got everything situated and picked out, and after seeing the price tag for it all, I was so glad I wasn’t paying for anything. Then again, I can afford these things now. Hmmm….I wonder whether I will be paid weekly or salary, and what that is and how frequently. That’s definitely something I’ll have to talk to Logan about tomorrow.
And there it is, that strange pull at the pit of my stomach that’s starting to get deeper, when I don’t even know the man, and have no idea why the hell I feel this at the mere thought of him. I wonder how well this working situation is going to go.
About 6 P.M. the buzzer for the front gate goes off again, and it’s Cera. I buzzed her in and met her at the front door. I wonder what the hell she wants right now. When she parks in front of the door I notice there’s three other people in the car with her, and immediately all my senses are on edge. What can possibly be going on so soon and why wasn’t I informed she’d even be coming, much less bringing more people with her I don’t know? She stepped out of the SUV with a confidence that made me want to beat out of her for some reason. I don’t know what it is about her that’s sparking this aggression, but obviously something’s wrong.
After what seemed like an eternity, but was only a matter of a few milliseconds, the other three passengers step out.
An older gentleman, in his fifties possibly, definitely ex-military but gentle. He doesn’t spark any red flags. The next is a woman in her late sixties, kind of chubby with those big, rolling pin arms that tell you she’s a grandma and a cook. No red flags seem to spark for her either on my radar. The last is a young girl that looks like she may be about twenty tops. She’s small and shy, but definitely much more alert than the typical person. Again, no red flags go up on my radar.
I make these assessments so quickly in my head that I don’t think anyone noticed my hesitation, but then again, no one here knows my past, so they wouldn’t be expecting it. The only blip I have on my radar so far is Cera who is currently icing me down with her looks before she notices I’m still keeping track of her out of the corner of my eye. Finally, once she realizes she’s been noticed she makes the announcement of why she’s here and who the people she brought are.
“Ms. Harvey, This is your new Butler, Gary. He is a former Army Ranger and retired close quarters combatives instructor. He’ll be your butler and your children’s self-defense teacher, as well as yours. This is Hazel; she’s your cook, a grandmother of 12 and widower. Finally, this is Katie. She’s your housekeeper. She’s 20 and currently trying to finish her degree.”
I saw Hazel wince at the mention of being a widower, something Cera was oblivious to apparently. Katie seems intimidated by Cera in a way, but then again, she seems like she also has the same pent up aggression I have for her. Gary seems like he could care less and is only in this for the money, but still dedicated to doing his job to the best of his ability, something a Warrior doesn’t forget easily.
“Thank you Cera, I’ll see you at 8 A.M. tomorrow.”
Cera obviously wasn’t expecting me to dismiss her, and looked as if she was just slapped. She turned red, but remained calm and got back into the SUV and left. Gary, Hazel, and Katie seemed to find the show amusing since they were all three trying to stifle the smallest of grins they had on their faces.
Once Cera was gone and the gate was securely closed again I turned to the three standing there, waiting for directions, when I wasn’t quite sure what was going on myself.
“I’m sorry, you’ll have to excuse me, but I was unaware that I was having a butler, housekeeper, and cook sent over, so I’m a little unprepared as to what I’m supposed to do with you, much less what you’re supposed to do. Please, come in while we get this settled. It seems Logan, uh, Mr. Winters, forgot to mention some things to me.”
Once inside, it was Gary that spoke up first. ’No worries mam, we already have our instructions and we’ve already had our things brought over yesterday and set up in the servant’s quarters. If it’s okay with you, my job requirements are what Ms. Cera stated, but also a few more. I am also in charge of your security detail, as well as the children’s, any and all house requirements; lawn care, pool care, house maintenance, groceries etc..”
When I didn’t stop him he went on.
“Additionally, I have many files for you to look through that include all personnel of each company, the companies in general, your employees with full detailed background checks, financial information for all of the companies, as well as your banking information for the company and any other information you may need. I have included a copy of my qualifications as well, and I have all of this for you in paper, as well as on flash drives, for you to input the information on your new computer seeing as how the one you currently have needs to be gotten rid of, since it is unsecure and has many taps placed on it already just in the last 2 days. As far as the personal defense instructor for you and your children, that’s based solely upon your agreement. I will refuse a position before I teach anyone’s children something they don’t want them to know.”
“Although, pardon me for being so blunt, but something tells me they’re no amateurs already, and you don’t need any additional training.”
This made me smile. “Well Gary, it looks like you’re more perceptive than most of the people Mr. Winters has sent around me so far, including the bodyguards.”
At that moment Andrew, Ben and Justin stop to look at me, as well as Becky, Gary, Katie and Hazel. “I am a former Military Police Officer of an elite unit. There are only ten units like mine in the entire Military. Outwardly, we look just like every other MP unit, but what no one knows is our extracurricular activities, so to speak. We went into places where there could be valuable Intel before anyone else, including EOD if necessary. We would claim it off as we just got there first but in all actuality, we were sent in first for a reason. Leave no traces of Intel, leave no witnesses. We were trained in the same fields as Military Intelligence, Special Forces, Guerilla Warfare, EOD and even some spy work.”
Ben pops up now, “So basically, what you’re saying is, technically the only thing you need a bodyguard for is to have someone take a bullet for you, because you’re trained better than we ever were, or could have been?”
“Basically, Ben, yes, that’s correct. I’m sorry you weren’t informed but my entire record is sealed, and even Mr. Winters was unaware of it and is to the extent of it. I’m telling you this now because if we’re to be working together as closely as this job requires, then I feel you deserve to have full disclosure. I will still be having each of you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement though.”
This time it was Justin that spoke up. “Mr. Winters has already had us sign one. There should be a copy of one on your desk so you can see what all it entails. Although I have to say, only being around for the sole purpose of being a shield makes me feel so important.”
I laughed at that. It was the first time I had heard Justin sound so light and not so serious. “Does the NDA include the fact that what goes on when you’re with me you don’t disclose information to Mr. Winters as well?”
“Well, no, why would he put that in there?
“Exactly, my point when I say I will have you sign one for me as well. Just what you now know of my military past is something that can stir up a lot of trouble for the wrong people. Although, being former military yourselves, I don’t see that as a possibility, but better safe than sorry. I’ll have them ready in an hour.”
“Oh, Gary, just as an FYI there aren’t bugs on my computer. One thing I’m very good at is monitoring my electronics and setting up firewalls even the best hacker couldn’t get through.”
Gary looked astounded at first but quickly recovered.
Everyone seemed to be pacified with this and went their own ways throughout the house. Hazel immediately went straight to the kitchen and started cooking something. I wasn’t sure what, but it smelled delicious. I could tell just from the smell of it that she was definitely from the Virginia’s somewhere. She reminded me of my own Grandma.
Katie went right to cleaning the already immaculate house and Gary went somewhere I wasn’t sure yet. I have to admit, it was a little unnerving having other people know my house better than I do. Hell, I didn’t even know there was a servant’s quarters here much less a pool.
Rory and Jesse are already so attached to Ben and Andrew that I have no doubt they’ll be safe and they were the right choice for the kids. Jesse’s using Ben as a jungle gym currently and Rory has Andrew on the couch putting her play make-up on him, which he seems to be enjoying as much as her. I’ll admit, it is nice seeing them have a male role model in their life, even if it is a temporary one. They’re happy and deserve to be happy, and even though this is the first time they’ve really been around a man full time, they seem to love it.
It makes me choke up a little because I realize how much they’re missing not having a father. This in turn makes me wonder what I did and how much I messed up their lives by picking the wrong man and having him walk out on them.
I hear someone coming behind me but it doesn’t unnerve me like most people do, so I don’t react to it.
“Don’t worry. You didn’t mess their lives up and if anything, you’re doing more than the normal person to make sure they have everything they could ever want or need. I have never seen a more dedicated mother, ever, and just because you may have made some mistakes in the past doesn’t mean you can’t and aren’t fixing them now. It’s obvious to see that it’s that man’s loss.” It was Hazel.
“Speaking from experience?” I asked.
“Yes, unfortunately I am, and I didn’t have the opportunity to give my kids what you do now. I waited and mourned my loss instead of getting right up and taking charge, so they didn’t pay for my mistakes. I squandered away my entire savings. I paid my bills, don’t get me wrong, but I waited and didn’t work for nearly two years. I was broke, the three kids were hungry and we didn’t have much food left, we had no running water at that point, or electricity, and it finally hit me then. Finally, I got off my big butt and went to work as a baker for the local pastry shop. I started getting back on track, but the kids remember that and blame me for them not having better and being ridiculed by their friends. After they turned of age they left, and went on to school and I kept working. I was determined to never get myself back into that situation. Maybe, one day, they’ll forgive me for not being the stronger person you are.”
At that, she walked away after announcing dinner would be ready in half an hour. She made me think about a lot and realize how perceptive she is. Most people don’t see my regrets; they only see me as a cold hearted Bitch. If only people knew how often I cried at night from exhaustion and dread, from not being able to do better by my kids, from having to work so hard and feeling like I’m getting nowhere, or even just from being lonely, but not wanting to let anyone in and make the same mistakes I made the last time that nearly destroyed me. No, it’s better people perceive me as a cold hearted Bitch. Then, there’s no attachment, and I can get through business as efficiently and quickly as possible and get home to the kids.
After getting into my office I found stacks of files lining the walls and 72 flash drives on my desk. Also on my desk were nine other files, one for each of the new employees I have living with me full time, each with an NDA included in it. Somewhat efficient, but not to my standards. So I typed out my own version of an NDA and made 9 copies. Only 1 was slightly different. Cera’s NDA didn’t have a clause in it that the rest of the staff’s did.
*Clause 12: Under no circumstances will you talk about anything that goes on in this house or conversations with Cera, or leave her alone with the Children at any time. This is cause for immediate dismissal.
There, that should do it. Time for dinner. As I walk to the dining room I notice the table is only set for three although it can very well handle 20 people. This raises questions with me, so I go to the kitchen to ask Hazel why. She just looks at me puzzled. “Well, Mam, the staff usually eats in the kitchen, not with the family.”
“First off, since I have you all in here, my name is Rain as I told Ben, Andrew, Justin and Becky yesterday. Not Mam, Miss or whatever else you have. Secondly, if were living together and pretty much acting like a family, then we should eat as one. I understand this is unorthodox for all of you, but this is how I am. So, Hazel, where are the plates so I can finish setting the table?”
They all seemed a little surprised but as soon as I moved to start getting the plates everyone jumped and started getting things. Five minutes later we had the table set for everyone and all the food on the table. It was easy to see that the staff was a little uneasy with this but if they were to work for me they need to be more like family because I don’t much like the idea of having servants.
After dinner each member of the staff signed the new NDA and I filed those away. I start to head upstairs to give the kids a bath when I hear Rory squealing, and the squeal is one of fear. I know that sound and start sprinting head long, only to run smack into Andrew, even though he was closer and rounding the corner for Rory’s room, at the same time I was topping the landing. He must’ve known that squeal too. The only problem is, even though he was closer and has about one hundred pounds on me, I easily knock him outta my way and rush head long into Rory’s room with Andrew on my tail gasping.
“MOMMY! MOMMY! ANDREW! KILL IT! KILL IT! THERE!” There was a black spider climbing the wall of her room, and to be honest, is wasn’t very small, but then again, in Atlanta they rarely are. I’m a little afraid of spiders myself, but I will gladly get between my kids and one and kill it if it makes them feel safe. I started to move but before I could, Andrew leapt at it and hit it with such force I thought he was going to put a hole in the wall. “YAY! YAY! MY ANDREW SAVED ME AND KILLED THE BAD SPIDER!” Then she leapt off the bed towards Andrew. I thought she was going to fall short, but he caught her and spun her around before putting her on his shoulders and telling her he was always going to be around to save her. She liked that. The sweet way a two year old talks; it’s always heart melting.
After all the commotion, I gave the kids a bath and put them to bed and went to do the same for myself. Before I was able to head down stairs though, Andrew stopped me and asked me how I was able to knock him around so easily when he was much larger than me. I looked at him and laughed, “Andrew, size doesn’t always mean everything.” He watched as I walked down the stairs. I have A LOT to do starting tomorrow and wonder how I’m going to balance everything with the new responsibilities.