Just standing outside of the Johnson’s family home, I knew that I was probably getting into more trouble than I was bargaining for. When I was invited inside the mini-mansion by a woman who appeared to be in her upper fifties, I couldn’t help but let out a soft gasp. My brown eyes first took in the winding-staircase, training my eyes to slowly move up to the high-ceiling and the massive chandelier twinkling and winking down at me.
“This way, Ms. Mya,” the woman said, giving me a dry stare.
I swallowed thickly and slowly followed her throughout the house, losing my way back to the front door in the process. She was a stout woman with graying black hair pulled into a bun. She wore an apron over her tan pans, flat shoes, and a pink shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I wondered if I would have to wear a bun in my hair too or if that was her choice.
Finally, we stopped inside a large kitchen. She patted a stool and I sat quickly, my eyes roaming over the graphite covered counter tops, the electric stove, massive fridge…
“So,” the woman faced me on the other side of the breakfast bar and held some papers in her hand. She pulled a pen out of her apron pocket and twirled it. “My name is Constance Dangerfield. I am the head maid and nanny here….but as you can see I am getting old and handling everything around here is getting difficult in my old age.”
I tried to look serious and professional when Ms. Dangerfield looked up from whatever papers she was looking over. She gave me a smile, and I relaxed ever-so slightly. “You’d mostly be in charge of taking on the nanny responsibilities with light cleaning duties that involves the child such as cleaning up after her and doing her laundry…but I’m sure you know all of that from the job description.”
“Yes,” I responded, recalling the ad they had posted online with the job’s list of duties and responsibilities. “I’d definitely be able to handle all of that,” I added, wanting to appear confident but hopefully not cocky, as my group-home mom had explained to me over the phone.
Ms. Dangerfield nodded. “I’ll be interviewing you before you can talk to Mr. Johnson. If I find you might be suitable for the position, I’ll refer you to him. Sound fair?”
I responded with my affirmative again and the interview started. She fired question after question at me about my background with children, why I was a good fit for the job, and what I would do in different scenarios involving the child. Ms. Dangerfield nodded throughout, jotting down my answers in her scrawly handwriting and not showing if she liked or hated my answers in her face at all.
“Wait right here, please,” Ms. Dangerfield said and exited the kitchen.
I breathed a sigh of relief that the influx of questions was finally over. I took the moment to slip my phone from my jeans pocket, which I had felt vibrate during the interview. I smiled when I saw a text message from
Ms. Kate, the woman who had taken care of me since I was fourteen years old, after my parents had died in a car accident. That was nine years ago and to this day I’m forever grateful to her, despite my initial reaction to being placed in a group-home. I was too old for anyone to want to adopt but too young to be out on my own. Not that I wanted either option. At that point, my head wasn’t exactly on straight.
‘How did the interview go?’ it read, so I decided to wait until it was completely over to give her my take on it.
Ms. Dangerfield reentered the kitchen just as I was slipping my phone back into my pocket, with a smile on her face and a man beside her, making my heart jump.
“Mr. Johnson, this is the young lady I was telling you about. Ms. Mya Kirks. Ms. Mya, Mr. Johnson,” Ms. Dangerfield introduced us. My eyebrows flew up and I hopped quickly off of the stool as the man in charge neared me to shake his hand.
“It’s very nice to meet you, sir,” I spat out. He smiled and told me that the pleasure was all his. Mr. Johnson was a handsome man with dark eyes that peeked behind square-rimmed glasses and brown hair that was cut short. He wore a black business suit and tie checkered with blue and black. He was tall, but not domineering.
“Please, seat,” he told me. I did and he took the former position across from me where Ms. Dangerfield had been. “Ms. Dangerfield tells me she’s quite impressed with you.”
I felt my cheeks heat and smiled to hide my sudden embarrassment, “I’m glad to hear that,” I admitted honestly.
“She also tells me that you lived in a group-home during your teenage years?”
My elation from the compliment Ms. Dangerfield had reportedly given me dropped at the mention of my background history. But Ms. Kate had always told me not to be ashamed of my past…that nothing that had happened was my fault. So I took a calming breath before looking him in the eyes and explaining my story a little more.
“Yes, my parents died in a car accident when I was thirteen,” I started slowly. It had been awhile since I had said it out-loud and the pain that accompanied the story never seemed to fade with time. “I went to live with my only other family, which was my grandmother, but she passed from natural causes a year later. That’s when I went to the group-home. No one adopted me so I stayed until I was eighteen and the program set me up with education, a job as a waitress while I worked on school, and an apartment in the neighborhood.”
Mr. Johnson nodded in understanding. “If you have an apartment by yourself, why would you want to be a live-in nanny?”
I took the time to think about it, fiddling with my fingers before looking at him with the little confidence I could muster, “I want to live with a real family. Ms. Kate and friends at the group-home will always be my family…but there’s something about taking care of children in their own home and environment that’s fulfilling.”
Mr. Johnson folded her arms and nodded, giving me a dashing smile. “Well, since you’ve told me so much about you it’s only fair that I tell you something about me and this household,” he said, “the reason we need a nanny is because I work so often. I love my business, which deals with technology, advertising and marketing. I also own other venues and they’re all very successful. In fact, my wife left me because she claims I loved my businesses more than I did her.”
He paused as if to let that sink in, and it certainly did. I fidgeted uncomfortably.
“It was certainly more than that though. She wanted to be a free bird and left our ten month year old daughter, Madison here. I know nothing about children, but I love my daughter and want the best care for her,” he looked at me pointedly.
“That’s a wonderful age,” I commented, “and I’m sorry about your situation.”
Mr. Johnson waved a hand, “its fine. I have my daughter here with me, which is more than what most men can say when they go through a breakup. I even have my son from a previous marriage here as well. But you don’t have to worry about him, he’s old enough to take care of himself. Right, David?”
My eyes followed Mr. Johnson’s over to the kitchen entrance, where a young guy about my age was moving past Ms. Dangerfield.
I thought my heart would stop right then and there.
Mr. Johnson’s son was beautiful. That’s the only way I can explain him. He seemed to be around my age, in his early twenties. He was about six feet and shared his father’s brown colored hair, except his was cut so that his bangs was on his forehead and low in the back. Blue eyes roamed over me as he strolled past in his light jeans and white t-shirt.
He snorted and went to the fridge, pulling out an apple and tossing it in the air before catching it and giving his dad a condescending stare.
“You’re going to hire someone so plain looking?”
Ms. Dangerfield sighed loudly.
Mr. Johnson groaned and ran a hand through his dark locks.
I felt my face heating in embarrassment and rage at the same time.
Yup. Totally got myself into more trouble than I bargained for.
This series is inspired loosely by the movie Nanny McPhee. The title comes from a quote in the movie: “There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. It’s rather sad, really, but there it is.”
I will be trying to update this story regularly, so please follow me and enjoy! Constructive criticism is always welcome. I know I’m very rusty and have a lot to learn. This is also my first time writing a story in first person.