True to his word at the end of the bed sat a large brown sealed envelope. I picked it up, half afraid to reveal the contents. After the display at breakfast, his rules worried me. Still I opened it and pulled the thick document out.
Of course it was immaculate, I couldn’t expect anything else from such a prominent business man. I opened the first page, it detailed remuneration and holidays, I’d have 1 day off per week, Sundays. In fact it all seemed straight forward enough until I reached the list of rules.
1 - Molly is required to attend all extracurricular activities. Please do not deviate from these. Any extra “field trips” need to be approved by me.
2 - While your day off is to do with as you choose, please think carefully before indulging in ‘alcohol fuelled parties’ or the like. You will be returning to my premises, and I would prefer that sort of thing be kept away from Molly. Any raucous behaviour will not be tolerated
3 - While you’re under my roof, looking after my child I expect you to uphold my family values. No boyfriends, and certainly no sexual conduct under my roof.
4 - You will refer to me as Mr Coran at all times. I am your boss, not your friend.
5 - Table manners are a must, I am raising Molly as a lady. No idle chit chat at the dinner table.
Oh... now I understood.
6 - You will wear modest clothes, Long pants/skirts and modest shirts. If you have any tattoos they must be covered, and any visible piercings removed. Only Natural hair colours will be tolerable.
7 - I will provide a car for you, your own vehicle will be safely stored until your employment ends. You will be taking care of my child around and I require you to use the safest possible transportation.
8 - You will carry your work issued cellular phone at all times. It must remain charged.
9 - No religion of any kind to be discussed.
10 - You are here to look after my daughter, not be a substitute for her mother. You must abide by the rules I have set for her, and you and not take it upon yourself to alter these.
The rules went on, there were 30 in total, and beneath them, in bolded italic font read the line;
Any failure to follow the rules will result in your immediate dismissal.
I placed the contract down and took a deep breath, suddenly it seemed obvious why Dominic had gone through so many Nannies, and it wasn’t because of Molly. He wasn’t just a tyrant in the office, he was one at home as well. I couldn’t help but feel I was biting off more than I could chew, I knew this feeling, this claustrophobia from structure. It had been my life until my father had been caught running a Ponzi scheme... and then before he could pay for his crime he died. Things changed once he was gone. While I missed him from time to time, I had found freedom and I promised that no one would ever make me give it up.
A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts, I looked up and Dominic stood there, staring at me, he wasn’t dressed in his business suit like he had been yesterday when I had come over for the interview. Instead today he was wearing acid washed blue jeans that were slung low on his waist and a navy blue shirt that stuck to his body in all the right places. His casual attire caught me off guard, he looked almost normal... and a sexy kind of normal at that. I scolded myself silently for ogling, but I couldn’t help it, the man was gorgeous, on the outside at least.
“Ms Taylor, I see you found your way back alright. Have you signed the contract?” He voice was soft, but I could see he was attempting to keep a business atmosphere between us. At least he had his head straight, I on the other hand couldn’t get passed the way his shirt sleeves were like a second skin, outlining his muscles like perfection. I forced the thought from my mind and looked up at Dominic.
“Sorry sir, I’m still reading it, I should have it signed by tonight.” I replied with a terse smile. If I could bring myself to sign it at all. The pay was incredibly good, but I wasn’t sure if I could manage to give up my own freedom for three months just to get it. The only thing keeping me here was my Mother, and now Molly, because when I looked at her, I felt like I was looking at myself. I could see her spark, I could see how beautiful bright she was behind her baby blue eyes, but I knew that if she continued to be smothered by rules, eventually that spark would go out.
“I’ll be in my office, we can go over the car and phone details whenever you are ready, as long as you’re feeling alright?”
“I’m feeling fine.” I insisted “Do you not have work today sir?” I enquired.
“I took the day off Ms Taylor, I was up late last night. Someone clumsy injured themselves on my steps.” He smiled, but it was barely there.
I felt my face blush and I looked out the window. There was something about this man I didn’t get and probably never would. He was so serious and guarded, but he had flickers of humor I wished would last longer.
“I’ll come see you soon... About the car and phone I mean. I’ll unpack first. Thank you.”
“Alright Ms Taylor.”
Dominic left the doorway and I let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding. There was just something about him that had me constantly on the back foot, and it only been a day.
Once I was finished I walked down to the study. I knocked twice and waited in the lavish hallway. It was adorned with fancy expensive artwork, sculptures that could belong in museums and furniture that served almost no purpose apart from visual eye candy. It was beautiful, but it was missing a family touch.
Dominic opened the door, he ushered me in and pointed to the seat I’d sat in the day before.
“How are you finding the contract, may I ask?”
“I really haven’t read enough of it to know how I feel either way.”
Dominic nodded and say down on his plush black leather chair. I frowned though, remembering the three month term. “I have to ask why the term is only three months.”
Dominic shifted in his seat and nodded. “When this week is over it’s the summer holidays Ms Taylor. When school goes back Molly will be boarding at Bradstreet’s Girls School.”
I felt my jaw drop and my eyes widen, and I knew I should have reeled it in, rule number ten was ever present in my mind. My opinions and thoughts didn’t matter here, at least not to Mr Coran, CEO/tyrant of CoranCorp and home.
“You don’t agree?” He said bemused. “Bradstreet is a fine boarding school.”
“She’s seven.” I whispered, unable to stop my wayward tongue. Dominic’s jaw clenched.
“She’ll be eight when school restarts. She will be fine Ms Taylor, probably happier in fact.” Dominic whispered, his voice wavered as he finished speaking.
I shook my head and looked down, sending Molly away was the last thing they needed. They needed each other, they needed to build their relationship. She needed him.
“Do you have something to add?” he said, his tone darkening.
“No sir, I don’t.” I lied
“Good, let’s get on with this then.”
Dominic opened a drawer and pulled out another brown envelope. He held it out to me and smiled. “You’ll be using a Mercedes M class, fully modded with every possible safety feature. I’ll have your car taken to be stored. There is a gas card in the glove box, you can use this at your leisure.”
“A Mercedes?” I choked, I had been driving my old Toyota Camry since high school, it had seen its better days sure, but it had always done me well. Swapping for a luxury car seemed insane.
“As it says in the contract, I like to make sure everything is as safe as it can be.”
“Uh, thanks. I’ll look after it.” I replied.
“You’ll also find your cell phone. You must make sure you are contactable at all times. My phone number is already in there, as well as emergency numbers.”
I opened the envelope and tipped it until a set of keys, iPhone and accessories fell out on to my lap. I smiled and put everything back inside. “Thank you.”
“You and Harvey eat with us, dinner is at 5pm sharp.” He said standing. “You may leave now.”
I stood and left the study obeying his rules and orders as much as it pained me.
Later, once I had finished unpacking, I on the sitting on the bed reading the rest of the contract. Molly, who had returned from school came running in with her school bag.
“You’re really staying!” She grinned. “You’re my Nanny”
“Yes Molly, I am, how was school?”
“It was great, I drew a picture of the candle, all the kids wanted to see it.”
“I bet they did!”
“I also got a new book, it’s called Charlotte’s Web, do you want to read the first chapter with me?” She smiled opening her bag.
“Of course, Charlotte’s Web was one of my favorites growing up.”
I threw the contract to the end of the bed and pat the bed beside me. “Hop up.”
Molly smiled and climbed across the bed, she looked up at me and her eyes danced.
“Can you read first?” She asked.
I took the book and opened it to the first page. ”Where’s Papa going with that axe? Said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”
I was reading for five full minutes before I noticed there was a shadow in the door way. Molly was leaning against me, her eyes and soul and body fully enthralled in the book, I wasn’t sure she even knew he was there. I finished the chapter and looked over at the doorway.
“Mr Coran.” I murmured politely.
“Molly, you need to wash up and do your homework. Ms Taylor is still recovering.”
Molly sighed and slid off the bed. “Thank you for reading to me Flick.”
She left the room, dragging her bag behind her, much to the chagrin of her watching father. Once she was out of sight Dominic walked across the floor.
“She’s taken a liking to you already Ms Taylor.” He noted. “And that is the only reason I’m ignoring the fact you’ve disregarded my instruction to start work tomorrow.”
I frowned and stood up. “Excuse me?” I replied, I could hear the sass behind my words, but I didn’t care.
“I can tell you don’t like rules Ms Taylor, and that will be somewhat of a problem for me.”
I snickered and shook my head. “With all due respect, reading to Molly wasn’t me working. From what I’ve seen already she is a beautifully spirited little girl, I like her, which is more than I can say for you right now.”
He looked at me dumbfounded, I picked up the contract and pulled the ballpoint from my purse I signed it quickly and then handed it back to him. “There you go sir.” And with that I turned on my heel walking from the room, leaving him standing in it all alone.
I was surprised that he didn’t call me back in, for a man who commanded respect, to be treated with the bare minimum would probably have been tough to handle, but he didn’t. I walked into the kitchen where Mrs Sampson was preparing dinner.
“Mrs Sampson, can I help with anything?” I said softly. She looked up, almost visibly shocked.
“Ms Taylor, I... you should go rest. Mr Coran will not be happy with you working.”
“I’m the Nanny Mrs Sampson, not the cook, relax, he can’t reprimand me for this, and please call me Felicity.”
Mrs Sampson smiled back at me a happy glint hit the corner of her eyes and she pointed to a bowl of unpeeled potatoes. “You can peel the spuds if you like.” She handed me a peeler. “And you can call me Amelie.”
“Thank you Amelie.”
I began to peel the potatoes, while Amelie and I talked. She told me how she was a single mother with three teenage sons and how Dominic had taken pity on her when she was working as a low paid chef at a restaurant where he took clients. He had offered her a job on the spot and she had never looked back, but then his wife was gone and he changed, he became cold and distant.
“What did happen?” I whispered.
“No one really knows.” She murmured back. “They went on holiday, and he came back alone.”
Before I could say anything else, a throat clearing noise came from behind us. I knew instantly it was Dominic.
“Ms Taylor, can I see you in my study please.” He said, his voice low and angry.
I looked sideways at Amelie and smiled, but she looked as afraid as I probably should have felt.
I placed the peeler down and turned, following Dominic out of the kitchen. By the time we had reached his study, I had formulated at least ten sentences of rebuttal to whatever he might reprimand me for. But instead he smiled. “I’ve never met anyone like you Ms Taylor.”
“Is that a good thing?” I replied.
“I haven’t decided yet.” He said walking around to his desk. “I know you’re going to be trouble for me, but there is something about you I just cannot overlook.”
He sat down and picked up a glass with what looked to be whiskey. “Perhaps it’s that you injured yourself and I feel somewhat protective of you, or perhaps it is that no one has dared go against my wishes for such a long time I forgot what it felt like. Or perhaps it is a combination of the two.”
“Whiskey. Ms Taylor?” He said pointing to the bar in his study.
“No thank you sir.” I replied, the smell of whiskey was one of the only things I remembered about my father as sad as it was... and while most of my memories of him were vague, the only time he ever really entertained the thought of my existence was when he was drinking. “May I please leave?”
“You confound me Ms Taylor.” He said standing.
“It’s not intentional.”
“Of course it isn’t and besides, I didn’t say it wasn’t intriguing. You can go now. I’ll see you at dinner.”
I walked from the room feeling odd. My chat with Amelie had given me a different dimension to the person that was Dominic Coran, and just then in the study had given me another. He thought I was the intriguing one, where at every stop so far he had me wondering what the hell was happening.