#4 No one should talk about a woman like that
Christopher Davids called. He wants to see me at his place in an hour. I can’t believe it. I’m pretty sure he called every single on of my previous employers yesterday – he seems like the kind of guy who wants to know exactly what he’s getting into. There is no way those assholes had anything good to say about me. No. Fucking. Way.
Does he truly want me to meet the kids, or is he going to tell me to my face there he thinks I’m utterly unfit to be a nanny?
I refuse be nervous, even though I am, and I pull a brush through my wild brown hair, trying to tame it. Even on my best days, I look like a mess, but I hardly even notice anymore. Maybe I should have put more effort in yesterday, but I happen to believe that my hair and outfit shouldn’t matter when it comes to caring for kids. Still, I put in a little more effort today.
And no, that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Christopher Davids is a hot single doctor. Nothing at all. I didn’t spend last night thinking of those cute blonde curls or the intense blue eyes looking into mine.
Nope. Not going there.
I ring the doorbell and am surprised when a kid opens the door. He looks like he’s about 5 years old and he’s grinning up at me, his dark hair as messy as mine and his eyes a light shade of green.
“Are you Abby?” he asks, looking up at me.
“Yes,” I say, dropping to my knees so I’m on his level. “Are you Davy?”
“Yes, I am,” he says proudly. “Chris said I could open the door, but only because he’s home. I’m not allowed to open the door when he’s not home. But he’s always home, so I’m always allowed, I think.” He frowns, confusing himself. “He said someone named Abby was coming.”
“And I’m Abby,” I tell him with a little smile. This is one cute kid. “How old are you, Davy?”
“I’m 5,” he says, beaming at me. “How old are you?”
“Wow, that’s old!”
I laugh. “Yeah, I’m ancient. Do you like climbing trees, Davy?”
He shakes his head. “They’re too high. I like swings.”
“I like swings too. Can I come in?”
Davy nods and I get up, walking in after him. He bounces into the living room, throwing himself at Christopher and announcing that he let me into the house all by himself. Christopher ruffles his hair with a fond smile. He gets up from the couch and shakes my hand. “Nice to see you again, Abigail.” He motions to the kitchen, where a kid with wide eyes and messy hair exactly like Davy’s is standing half-hidden behind the opened door of the fridge, staring at me.
“Hi Yoah!” I say cheerily, waving at him. “Nice to meet you. Could you hand me a bottle of water, since you’re standing near the fridge?”
There’s a moment where I feel like he might ignore me completely, but then the young boy grabs a bottle from the door and puts it on the kitchen island, backing away so I can get it without coming near him. Ah. He’s a survivor. It takes one to know one, I guess.
“Thank you,” I tell him, screwing the cap off the bottle and taken a swig. “I’m going to play in the yard with Davy. Are you coming too?”
Yoah thinks about it for a moment, his eyes moving from me to Christopher, then to Davy, and back to me. He nods, looking like he’s not quite sure if he’s making the right decision. When I turn back around to Christopher, I see he’s looking at me with surprise in his blue eyes.
“You’re going into the yard?” he asks, frowning.
“You want to see me with the kids, so… yeah.” I cock an eyebrow at him. “Or did you want me to do an indoor activity? I’m not really an indoor girl, but I do like a good boardgame.”
“Snakes and ladders,” a soft timid voice says from the kitchen.
“That’s a really good game,” I say, spinning around to Yoah with a grin. “Wanna play with me?”
There’s a fleeting look of happiness flickering in his eyes, but then it dies down and his guard is up again. “Maybe.”
“I’m not sure I have that game,” Christopher says, sounding sad. “I bought them lots of toys, but not a lot of boardgames.”
“That’s okay, I’ve got it, I’ll bring it next time,” I tell him, reaching out to touch his arm. He looks like he feels guilty just because he doesn’t have a game at his house. He shouldn’t feel that way. His arm feels more muscular than I expected, and I squeeze it just to make sure. Yep. He’s got nice arms. Our eyes lock and it’s impossible to look away from those blue depths.
“Are you coming back to play with us?” Davy asks, sounding excited.
“Maybe,” I say, dropping my hand from Christopher’s arm. He looks like I electrocuted him. “Let’s go outside, okay? Fresh air is always nice.”
The next half hour I spend chasing Davy around the yard while Yoah and Christopher watch us. Yoah looks like he wants to join in but is afraid to, and Christopher is hard to get a read on. He’s following our every move, making me feel self-conscious. Thank God I’m wearing a sports bra and a simple T-shirt with a high collar today, my boobs firmly in place and not bouncing around like they usually do.
When Davy gets thirsty, it’s Yoah who walks with him into the kitchen and gets him a bottle of water. It’s clear he’s used to taking care of his little brother, even though he’s only 9 himself. Poor kid. At the same time, I wish I had an older brother like him. Would have been nice when shit went downhill for me in my youth.
“Did you end up calling my old employers?” I ask Christopher softly, not able to contain my curiosity.
“Yes,” he says, his voice tight. “I did. And I want to say… I’m sorry.”
What did he just say? I turn so I can look at him. “You’re sorry? Does that mean you’re not hiring me? I though that you inviting me over to meet the kids meant that I had a shot, at the very least. I just spent half an hour playing with Davy, for crying out loud!”
“Oh, you’re hired,” he assures me, his eyes intent on mine. “If it’s up to me, you can start today.”
“Erm… okay…?” I’m happy to have a job and he seems like a decent guy – which will be a nice change of pace – but I’m confused what he’s saying exactly. “What are you sorry for?”
“For whatever those douchebags I talked to over the phone did to you,” he says in a low voice. “Only two of them sounded like genuinely nice people. The others not so much. One guy actually told me…” He shivers. “Never mind, I’m not going to repeat that to a lady. I decided after six calls to not take anything they said into account and just go with my gut. You’re hired.”
Never ever has someone told me that they can feel in their gut that I’m right for anything. I do wonder what all those assholes told him. I can only guess. I’m sure they’ve described me as easy, a slut, vindictive, a homewrecker, or even worse. I hope they at least told him that I am good with kids, and that I never actually slept with any of the dads. Okay… I slept with an uncle once, but that was by accident… sort of. And I didn’t get fired over that. I got fired when the dad tried to copy his older brother. His wife found him sneaking into my room at night. Not my fault, technically…
“Okay, I’ll move my stuff in today,” I tell Christopher, deciding not to linger on my old jobs any longer, even though I’m curious what made Christopher decide that his gut is right and all those dickheads he talked to over the phone aren’t.
My room is nice. Very nice. It’s smaller than the rooms I had with truly wealthy families, but I like it better than any other room I’ve ever stayed in. It’s the personal touches that get to me. There are flowers on the nightstand, there’s a drawing from Davy taped to the closet, and there is a list of phone numbers on the nightstand, listing everyone from Christopher himself to his parents, and from the hospital we works at to his friends, including Annabel and Aston.
“I put a lock on your door,” Christopher tells me as he leans against the doorframe, watching me take in the room. “After what your previous employers said… Obviously I’m never going to come into your room unannounced, but I thought you might like to be able to lock the door.”
That’s one of the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me, and I feel a little emotional when I look into Christopher’s kind blue eyes. He’s not like the people I used to work for. Not at all. I still can’t believe that after whatever my previous employers told him, he picked my side instead of figuring it must have been my own fault. I’m not used to people being on my side. It feels uncomfortable, and I’m not sure what to do with that.
“My bedroom has a lock as well, but I never use it,” he goes on. “Davy likes to sneak into bed with me most nights, and I want both kids to be able to come in when something is wrong. When I’ve got a night shift, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t lock your bedroom, so the kids can come get you if they have a nightmare or something. When I’m home, you’ve got the night off and you can go out or basically just do whatever you like, so you can lock the door then.”
He’s basically telling me he’s okay with me not trusting him, and that he gets it if I want to make sure he can’t sneak into my room when I’m asleep. That’s so… I don’t know what to say to him. I’m a little overwhelmed by so much thoughtfulness. It’s like he is anticipating my needs without me needing to voice them. And he’s right, having a lock means a lot to me. I don’t always get that luxury.
“Thanks,” I say after a long pause.
He smiles. “Of course. I’ve got a few more days off, so we’ll be home together this week. I’ll show you around the neighborhood tomorrow, we can talk about what chores you can do during the day, and the boys both have school, so you can come with me to drop them off so I can introduce you to their teachers.”
“Sounds good.” I’m used to figuring thing out on my own, and it’s a nice change to start a job this way instead of just getting handed a list of stuff to do and the kid’s schedules.
“Get settled in today,” he tells me, turning to the door. “Do you want to join us for dinner, or would you like to go out?”
“I can cook?” I suggest.
“You’re not working today, so I’m making you dinner,” Christopher decides. “Any allergies?”
I shake my head. “None that I know of.”
“Good.” He looks at me over his shoulder with a smile. “Feel free to roam the house. I’ll be downstairs with the kids.”
“Actually…” I put my suitcase on the bed, unzipping it. “I’ll have plenty of time to get settled in after dinner when the kids are in bed, right? I brought that game Yoah likes, snakes and ladders. Would it be okay if I go downstairs with you to play with him?”
Christopher looks surprised. “You really don’t have to go out of your way for them,” he says softly. “We agreed you won’t start working until tomorrow.”
I roll my eyes. “Playing a game with a cute kid isn’t work. That’s just my idea of a nice way to spend my afternoon.” I love board games and kids, so why the hell would I go sit in my room alone when there are two amazing kids downstairs?
“Well, sure,” Christopher says, smiling again. “Yoah is a tough nut to crack, so if this game gets him to engage with us, I think that would be great. Maybe we could all play?”
That’s how we end up playing snakes and ladders for a full hour, all four of us. Yoah doesn’t say much, but it’s obvious he’s having fun. He’s smiling and he laughs a few times when Davy gets frustrated when he has to go down a snake and gets further and further from the finish line. I notice that Christopher is cheating just like me, making sure one of kids wins each time. I don’t always do that – I believe they need to learn how to lose as well – but on our first day together I figure I can throw them a bone.
It’s easy being here, playing games with them. It’s almost like we’re a real family. Christopher is very affectionate with the kids, and I find it hard to believe this man has only been taking care of them for little over three weeks. They seem so in tune already. Well, not Yoah, but even he seems at ease right now, even smacking Christopher on his arm one time when he makes a bad joke. Yoah himself seems surprised at his own action and apologizes profusely, but Christopher just laughs and ruffles the boy’s hair, continuing the game.
I think I can get used to working here. So far, so good. Of course, I’m not going to get attached quite yet. Lots of jobs start out great. Who knows, maybe Christopher has a key to the lock on my door and is planning to use it. Or he’s going to make me clean the whole damn house every single day, wash his dirty underwear. Or he’s one of those guys who follows you everywhere, watching you bend over and rubbing his crotch while making grunting noises. Or perhaps he will just make me work every single night, turn out to be a tyrant. Probably not, but you can never be too careful around men.
Like all life’s lessons, I learned that the hard way.