Not Just the Nanny - By Christie Ridgway

Chapter One
The woman on the sofa beside Kayla James suddenly sat up straight and looked at her with round eyes. "I've got it. I've finally figured out why you've been turning down men and declining invitations.'ve broken the cardinal rule of nannies!"

Kayla ignored the flush racing over her face and focused on the bowl of pretzels sitting on the coffee table. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, yes, you do," Betsy Sherbourne said. Her long, dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she looked barely old enough to be a mother's helper, let alone a full-fledged fellow nanny. She wiggled, bouncing the ruby-colored cushions. "You know exactly what I'm talking about."

Kayla pulled the edges of her oversized flannel shirt together. There was a chill in the air tonight. "You're jumping to conclusions because I didn't feel like being the fourth in your blind double date last weekend."

"The fact is, you haven't gone anywhere in months," Betsy replied. "Your social life is limited to these weeknight, girls-only get-togethers we have with our friends from the nanny service."

Kayla latched on to the new topic like a lifeline. "Did I tell you that the others can't come tonight? Everybody had a conflict except Gwen, who should be here any minute," she said, naming the woman who owned and ran the We Our Nanny service which had placed both Kayla and Betsy with their current families.

"Yes, you told me," Betsy said. "And I won't let you change the subject."

"Look," Kayla responded, feeling a little desperate. "You know I'm busy with my job and school."

"Half of that's not an excuse you can use anymore."

Kayla sighed. Her friend was right. A couple months back she'd finally been awarded her college degree at the advanced age of almost twenty-seven. Since then, her friends had bombarded her with suggestions about how to fill her newfound free time. "I should have never let you guys throw me that graduation party," she grumbled.

"Yeah, and other than those brief hours when we whooped it up, when was the last time you took some time out for yourself?"

"Today. I went shopping. I bought bras." Kayla rummaged in the knitting basket beside her, withdrawing the almost-finished mitten she was working on. "What do you think?" she asked in a bright voice, still determined to distract her friend. "Is this large enough for Lee? He's big for eight."

"Bras?" Sounding skeptical, Betsy ignored the mention of Lee, one of the two children Kayla looked after. "What color bras?"

"What does color have to do with anything?"

There was pity in the other woman's gaze. "Kayla, swear to me you have more than white cotton in your lingerie drawer."

She felt her cheeks go hot again. "Do we really have to - "

"Okay." Betsy relented. "Just tell me about these bras, then."

"The bras. They..." Kayla sighed again. "Okay, fine. They were for Jane."

"Jane! Jane's first bras?"

Kayla nodded, hope kindling that this would be the topic to derail the original discussion, even though it was a risk to bring up the kids again, as the second cardinal rule of nannies was to never get too attached to the children. "Can you believe it? All her friends have them now. Time has sure flown."

"Yes." Betsy reached for a pretzel and eyed Kayla again. "And you've given Mick and his kids almost six undivided years of yours now."

Uh-oh. She was losing the battle once more. "I've not given it to them," Kayla said, aware she sounded defensive. "I've been employed by Mick to take care of his daughter and son." It had been ideal. As a firefighter, after his wife died in a car accident, Mick had needed an overnight, in-house adult when he was on a twenty-four-hour shift. His schedule, however, had enough off-duty time in it that Kayla could pursue her degree part-time. But now that she'd graduated, and now that the kids were getting older, eleven and eight, the people in her circle were starting to squawk about Kayla making some adjustments.

Heavy footsteps sounded on the stairs. "La-La," a voice called from above. Mick's voice, using the name that toddler Lee had used for Kayla when she'd first come to live with them.

Jumping to her feet, she strode to the bottom of the staircase, her expression determinedly blank in case her nosy friend was watching her too closely. "You rang, boss?" she asked, focusing on his descending shoes since no one would show inconvenient emotion staring at shoelaces. His feet stopped moving at the bottom Copyright 2016 - 2024