I was on the phone with Mom a lot over the last few weeks and once a month or so passed, I found myself calling Nick to talk about the job. He sounded younger than I expected, but he did only have a six-year-old. Nick also sounded surprisingly calm for a man that lost his wife as we discussed the details of the job.
He was the owner of the hotel chain, Rouge. They were in high-end areas and popular, meaning that he had to travel a lot. He was looking for a nanny to live on the third floor of the house. It offered a large bedroom, office, bathroom with all the amenities, and a small kitchenette. He told me that he didn’t buy it for those features and originally planned to change it up, but now was glad that he kept it this way. His daughter had a room on the second floor, in between the third and first floor where he had his own room. The salary was generous at four thousand dollars a month, something that made me smile. I could save money and put it into the account with the settlement that I had from Sean. I had access to all the house apart from his room as if I wanted to go in there. Nick had a chef come in a few times a week to cook ahead as well as a maid service so my focus would be his daughter. I could appreciate that.
I told him that all my loose ends were tied up in Boston, accepting the job. We’d been over all the details via email and phone calls, and he felt confident about me as much as I did about taking this job. “I’ll leave tomorrow and make my way there as soon as I can,” I told him, smiling at the idea of seeing my ocean again. His house overlooked one of the beaches that I frequented when I just wanted to walk along the sand, so beautiful and peaceful.
I ended the call with his acceptance, walking out to the living room as Lauren and a few friends looked at me expectantly. “I got the job. I am leaving tomorrow.” I felt some emotion as my eyes teared up and they stood to hug me. We’d been spending time together over the last couple of weeks, going to dinner and having girl nights at Lauren’s apartment, watching movies and drinking wine. I felt like I’d said the things I needed to and that we were all settled with one another, that I could move on.
We went for dessert at a quaint little bistro, sipping wine and toasting to my new life. I knew that it was going to be a late night, but I was fine with that, planning to get a big cup of coffee from my favorite shop on the way out. I was prepared to stay the night in a hotel if necessary since Nick told me that my safe arrival was the most important matter here. He had a sister staying with him for the moment, and she was open to staying another couple of weeks until I was settled in.
It sounded to me like Carmen had a lot of love around her and I hoped that I could add to that circle. She deserved it. I had looked Nick up on Facebook and was struck by her beautiful dark eyes and cinnamon-colored hair. Nick was handsome as well with dirty blonde hair and eyes the color of the ocean that his house overlooked, like Sean in a way yet so different. Nick exuded confidence in all his pictures as well as the kind of sexy presence only a mature man could have, something that made me blush. I was just divorced, and he was widowed! I just liked seeing how much he loved his daughter in the pictures of them all over the world, thinking how gorgeous his wife was as well. She looked a great deal like Carmen, and I wondered how they were both doing again.
We went back to the apartment, and I dragged myself to bed past two in the morning, smiling ear to ear. I loved my friends. I was going to miss them dearly, but we planned on trips back and forth to visit.
I was going home.
I ended up leaving the following morning before the sun rose. I hugged Lauren and cried the night before, leaving her to sleep as I loaded up my car. The city was beautiful in the morning as I left, giving it one last gaze out of my side window. It had always been a great looking place, but I think that I was always a bit homesick for Mendocino.
I enjoyed the drive, taking a lot of pictures along the way. I made a trip of it and stayed two nights in a hotel to catch up on sleep while I tried every coffee shop that I could on the way. I had fun with it and kept Mom up on where I was every single day, even sending her pictures in my down time.
I pulled into the long driveway of the majestic house that was going to be my new home. It was spacious and beautiful, and I admired the modern look of it as I parked to the left of the wide drive.
It wasn’t spacious. It was a mansion. I let my eyes drift to the third floor, seeing a lot of windows that I could open to the ocean air at night while I slept. It would be like having my own apartment up there, and the rest of the house was spread out as well. I cleared my throat and pressed my hands to my jeans before I got out of the car, ready to meet my new employer.
The door had opened before I reached it and a girl with blue eyes looked out at me. “Are you Celia?” She asked with a warm smile as I nodded. “Hi! I’m Rebecca, Nick’s sister. Come in.” She ushered me inside, and I followed as I looked around the house. It was one big open room on the first floor that consisted mainly of a kitchen and living room that had a ton of windows. It was bright and welcoming, and I grinned as she gave me a tour. “Nick is going to be back soon. He went to get Carmen at school.” She showed me the large den that was off the kitchen that offered a large flat screen and couch before leading me to the second floor where Carmen’s pink bedroom was. There was also another bedroom up there as well as a playroom that was clearly well used and offered some fantastic views. It was a good place for a child and Rebecca noticed me looking at the stairs that led to the third floor.
“It is magical up there. The views alone are stunning!” She grinned and led me over, and we climbed up to the third story where I looked around in wonder. “This view sold the house to Nick,” Rebecca said as she looked at me. I walked over to the windows in a small loft area currently serving as an office and took in the waves crashing against the sand just down the cliff the house sat on.
“Wow,” I murmured, staring at it as a smile formed on my lips. “This is so peaceful.”
“I wish that I lived here sometimes instead of Chicago,” the woman beside me said as I glanced at her. She was pretty and looked a lot like her brother.
“How are they doing?” I asked impulsively as she looked thoughtfully outside.
“They’re a strong pair,” she told me slowly as she nodded. “You’ll see.”
There was the sound of a door opening and voices from downstairs, surprising me in such a big house. I raised an eyebrow as she giggled and looked at me. “That’ll be Nick and Carmen. Prepare to be amazed.”
We made our way downstairs with Rebecca in the front, and I stood still as I watched a little girl run into her arms with a happy cry. She was more beautiful in person, and I smiled as I observed the exchange. I lifted my eyes to the man that came out of the den, taken by his good looks as Rebecca looked around. “You guys, Celia arrived while you were gone.” She found me still standing on the steps and gestured for me to come forward. “This is my brother Nick Chambers and his daughter Carmen. This is Celia, and she’s going to be taking care of you both.”
I cleared my throat and wondered how messy I looked from driving and walked forward, focusing on the little girl. She looked at me with full curiosity in her eyes as I smiled uncertainly at her. “Hello, Carmen. How are you doing?”
“I’m good,” she said shyly, very different from the girl that entered the house so loudly just a few moments earlier. “You’re pretty. You look a little like my mommy.” The words hit me hard as I thought to myself that her mom was far more beautiful, as well as reading her expression as she told me that.
“I…thank you,” I told her as I flushed a dark pink. I looked at Nick and Rebecca, both of whom were giving me apologetic eyes as I smiled assuringly at them. I looked back at Carmen, who was slowly smiling at me as I walked towards her dad. “Hello, Nick. Thank you for the opportunity here in this gorgeous house. It’s great to be back home.”
“You didn’t tell me she was a local,” Rebecca teased her brother as he glanced at me with a small smile. He knew a lot about me from emails and calls and kept it quiet. I liked that.
“I am. I have been living in Massachusetts for the past several years and was happy to come back here. You know the big city life, Rebecca. I miss this peace and slower way.” She laughed and nodded as Nick looked at her.
“I do envy you guys, but it would be hard to work at a Chicago paper if I didn’t live there,” she laughed as I looked at Nick again. “I think this will work out well.” Carmen was already easing closer to me, and I watched her quietly, the room going quiet as everybody focused on her.