The CEO’s Nurse

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Summary

RN Dawn Simms is returning from her shift when she encounters a little girl, the daughter of a CEO that lives in a condo next door. The little girl, Juniper, takes a liking to Dawn, surprising her father, Caelen Ramezes. As Dawn and Juniper grow closer, so do Dawn and Caelen. When Juniper’s mother makes a surprise visit, Dawn’s life is turned upside down. She must decide if Juniper and Caelen are worth fighting for.

Genre:
Romance
Author:
Nykki Ann
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

I

Softly singing to myself, I walked out the elevator on my floor. It was quiet. Only three people lived on it: me and a single father with his young daughter. I walked with a little skip in my step, excited to have a day off. Sometimes, it was exhausting being a nurse. But, to spend my life helping others, it was worth it to me. There’s nothing more I wanted to do than help other people.

I was ready for a hot bath and to relax on the couch with my dog, watching our favorite show. I had gotten so busy with work that I had the episodes recorded and I’d watch them whenever I had time. Nothing could ruin my plans.

I threw open the door to my condo, ready to start relaxing. As soon as the door was opened, a small figure darted past me. I sighed, throwing my stuff on the couch. So much for nothing ruining my plans.

Hearing a scream, I rushed down the hall, following the scream. I turned around the corner and saw my golden corgi jumping on a little girl. The little girl squealed enthusiastically as my dog licked her cheeks. The tension in my shoulders left me as I sighed. No one was in danger.

“Jade,” I called out. She stoped playing and turned to me, tail wagging rapidly. I finally got a look at the little girl. Jade was playing with my neighbor’s daughter. She sighed softly when Jade came by my side.

“Can I play with her?” she asked. Her voice was so soft, I almost missed her question. Her eyes were dull, gleaming with unshed tears. Who am I to deny a sad child? I nodded.

“Sure. Like me, Jade loves kids,” I replied. Her eyes it up, shining like emeralds. Her brown sugar curls bounced around as she resumed playing with Jade. I kept my eye on her as I looked around for her father. The hall was silent and empty, except for us. I sat down beside her, not willing to leave her alone.

“What’s your name? My name is Dawn,” I introduced, holding my hand out. She looked at my hand before smiling at me.

“I’m Juniper,” she grinned, shaking my hand lightly.

“Where’s your dad?” I asked her, wondering why she was by herself. She stopped petting Jade, tears welling in her eyes again.

“We were going to the park and get ice cream when he got a phone call,” she wailed, crumbling to the floor. My heart broke seeing her cry. I held my arms out. She crawled in my embrace. I held and comforted her until her sobs subsided. As she hiccupped in my arms, Jade sat by her feet and whimpered, softly nudging Jade’s feet with her little nose. Rapid footsteps thundered, growing louder as they approached us.

“Jun? Juni? Juniper?” a male called out. Juniper lifted her head from my chest.

“Daddy?” she hiccupped. The man stopped in front of us. Taking in his daughter’s red eyes and tear-stained face, he glared at me.

“What did you do?” he demanded, reaching for her. What did I do? You should be asking yourself that, sir. Jade growled lowly and Juniper clung to me tighter, reburying her head in my chest. He huffed and pried her from my arms. She screamed and kicked at him. I stood by and dusted myself off. Unable to calm her, he set Juniper down. Once her feet hit the floor, she ran back to me, clinging to my legs.

“I didn’t harm her if that’s what you’re thinking,” I began, leaning down to pick her up. She wrapped her arms around my neck. Rubbing comforting circles on her back, I continued, “When my dog ran out and I heard a scream, I came around the corner and saw her. She was sad, so I let her play with Jade.”

“Why was she crying?” he inquired, crossing his arms when Juniper rejected him again. His phone rang loudly in the pocket of his suit jacket. I felt the collar of my scrubs dampen. He pulled it out and after checking the number, declined the call.

“The answer to your question lies in the palm of your hand,” I answered. I didn’t realize how cryptic my response was until he furrowed his brows. Let me try again. Maybe he’ll understand it from a different perspective.

“My phone? That doesn’t make sense,” he said, glancing at his phone. “Why was she crying over my phone?”

“Imagine you’re a little kid, excited to spend time and play with your parent or parents, only for it to be delayed because of work. The sadness you’d feel is what she feels,” I elaborated. The fiery glare in his green eyes flickered out. His shoulders slumped and he ran a hand through his black, greying curls.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized, looking at me in a new light. It was my turn to be confused.

“What are you apologizing for? Being a protective father? That’s not something you should feel sorry for. After all, I am a stranger holding your daughter,” I noted, setting Juniper on the floor. She shyly ventured towards her father. He crouched down, reaching for her. Tentatively, she stepped into his arms.

“I’m sorry for my rudeness. Yes, you’re a stranger with my daughter, but you stayed with her and comforted her when you could’ve left her alone or kidnapped her,” he explained, rocking Juniper. When she kicked to be put down, he gently set her on the floor, watching her happily play with Jade.

“Do you see these scrubs? When I graduated nursing school, I took an oath to do no harm, especially not to a kid,” I pointed out, gesturing to myself. Do I look like I would harm a child?

“I see. How can I thank you?” he asked. I shook my head.

“There’s no need for that,” I denied. I don’t help people, expecting for something in return. I help people to ease their pain and suffering. Besides, I didn’t even know his name and he wanted to repay me?

“I’m Caelen,” he introduced, holding out a hand. “That’s Juniper.”

“Dawn,” I replied, shaking his hand.

“Are you sure there’s nothing I can do to repay you, Dawn?” he inquired again. And again, I shook my head.

“You really don’t need to,” I refused. He pursed his lips, head lifted as he contemplated another tactic. A glint appeared in his eyes. Before he could say or do what was on his mind, his phone rang again. He sighed, “Can you give me a second? I should take this.”

As he walked a short distance away, I turned my attention to Jade and Juniper. Both were energetic as if they just woke up, even though it was close to nightfall. I hoped they both sleep good night. I know I will. As I leaned against the wall by them, my hands reached towards my head, removing the scrunchie that held my auburn dreadlocks in a ponytail. As my locs fell from the restrictive hairstyle and reached mid-back, I felt tension leave my body, the discomforting pain I’d pushed aside was relieved.

“Sorry about that,” Caelen apologized again, returning. I waved him off.

“You seem to apologize a lot,” I noted.

“Lately, I’ve had a lot of things to apologize for,” he mused, staring into my coffee brown eyes. I hummed but didn’t respond. He observed me for a moment. I raised my eyebrow, wondering what he was looking for. The corners of his lips turned up, amused. He turned towards Juniper.

“Juniper,” he called out. She stopped playing with Jade and looked at her father. The excitement and elation she held dissipated as she looked at Caelen.

“Work?” she asked sadly. Caelen crouched down and nodded.

“I got to go, pumpkin. Your uncle should be coming in a moment,” he replied. Juniper’s eyes widened.

“No!” she yelled, stomping her foot. “I don’t want to stay with Uncle Trent. Can I stay with Dawn?”

They turned to me. I paused, my hand in my locs as I pushed them out of my face. I’m pretty sure I looked like a deer caught in headlights in the country. I surely felt like it. I wanted to run away.

“What about me?” I asked cautiously. Juniper ran to me, hugging my legs.

“Can I stay with you? Please?” she begged. I looked between her and Caelen, unsure of what to say. She lifted her head, her big emerald eyes boring into mine. Looking at her hopeful, heart-shaped face, I knew what my decision would be.

“If it’s okay with your dad,” I answered. She immediately released my legs and ran back to her father. She tugged on his arm, pleading with him to let her stay with me. Caelen looked taken aback as he stared at his daughter in shock before turning to me. Why?

“You know, I’m convinced you did something to her,” he commented, leaning against the wall opposite me. I tilted my head.

“What makes you think that?” I asked curiously.

“She’s not a people person. There’s very few people she’ll interact with. You’ve managed to make that list. The only person I can get her to stay with when I have to work is the only other person, besides myself, on that list,” he explained.

“Her? Juniper? Not a people person? I can’t see it. She has a lot of energy and seems so outgoing,” I said, looking at her. Caelen shrugged.

“Well, now that she’s attached herself to you, she won’t let you go easily. Are you sure you’re fine with her staying the night with you?” he asked. Something told me there was no going back after this. Was I really sure? Nevertheless, I nodded.

“It’s fine. She can stay,” I agreed. A flicker of relief crossed his face before it disappeared.

“I’ll get her overnight bag,” he said before they walked off. I was glad I was leaning against the wall. If not, I would’ve crumbed on the floor. What was I doing? I asked myself. The normal me wouldn’t make such a decision. I can’t take care of a kid. It’s only one night. You can do it for one night, I assured myself.

Jade watched sadly as her playmate left. She whined sadly.

“Come on, Jade,” I said. She stood up and walked alongside me as we walked back to our condo. When I opened the door, a figure darted into the kitchen. Jade growled, following them.

“Jade, calm down! It’s me!” they yelled. The familiar voice made me roll my eyes. I closed the door behind me and grabbed my things from the couch before entering the kitchen.

“What are you doing here, Kenzie?” I asked tiredly. The culprit, McKenzie, stood in the kitchen, backed against the sink as Jade stood in front of her growling.

“Jade,” I said firmly. She stopped growling but stayed in front of Kenzie.

“Kenzie, didn’t we talk about this? I didn’t give you a key to use at random,” I scolded. The teenager held her hands up in defense, her sienna brown eyes wide.

“I know, but I couldn’t stay. I had to get away,” she pleaded. A knock at the door distracted me. I pointed to her.

“We’ll talk about this later,” I said. She nodded. I walked back to the door and opened it. Caelen and Juniper stood on the other side. Juniper ran in while Caelen stayed at the door.

“Are you sure about this? I can call Trent and she can stay with them for the night,” he asked again, leaning against the doorframe. I opened the door wider.

“You can come in, you know,” I invited. He shook his head.

“Dawn, there’s a kid running around the condo,” Kenzie hollered from the kitchen. I threw my head back and sighed frustratedly.

“Company?” Caelen asked intrigued.

“Family,” I clarified. “Why do you keep asking me if I’m sure?”

“I know how my daughter is and can be. Like Is aid, there are few people she’ll interact with. Given the fact that you’ve made the list, she’s going to want to see you a lot,” he elaborated. I hummed.

“So, are you sure about this?” he asked again, crossing his arms. Even with the new information, my mind wasn’t changing.

“I’m sure, Caelen,” I assured him. He smiled. Not a half smile, a full smile, pearly white teeth gleaming and all.

“I guess we’ll be seeing more of each other then, Dawn,” he smirked before leaving. I watched him walk away, wondering what the glint in his eyes was about. Something told me this was going to be an interesting chapter of my life.
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