Falling for the Babysitter

By: Penny Wylder


Suddenly I have this strange feeling like I’m being watched. When I look up, Deacon is standing there, leaning against the door jam. I have no idea how long he’s been watching me.

I smile at him. “She’s a big fan of literature. She needs more books. I have a ton of them leftover from my childhood. I’d like to give them to her if that’s okay with you,” I say.

He has the strangest look on his face. So serious. He looks overwhelmed. Intense. I wonder if he had a bad day at work.

“Yeah, that’s fine,” he says.





2





Deacon




Seeing Remy sitting there, holding my child so lovingly, wakes something up inside of me. I want her—no, I need her. I never once felt this way about my ex, Karen. It took weeks of dating before I was even attracted to her, if I was being honest. At the time I lived alone in a big house and I just wanted someone to share it with. Somehow I convinced myself it was her, even though I suspected she wasn’t the one. I mean, who offers to suck a guy’s dick an hour after they meet? That’s what she did on our first date. It never occurred to me until it was too late that she was like that with every man she was with.

With Remy there was an instant connection when I saw her standing at the door. She has this inner light that radiates. The kind of smile that makes everyone else around her want to smile too. There’s something so innocent about her, and yet there’s no mistaking that she is all women. She brings out urges in me that I’ve never had before. I want her. I want her more than I’ve ever wanted anyone before. I need to claim her. She has to be mine.

I hadn’t noticed before, but after Sam said something, I’m starting to notice how she’s looking at me. I thought maybe there was a mutual spark there between us, but at first I thought it was just wishful thinking. Now I see that it’s more than just a friendly look between neighbors. When she was younger, I suspected she might’ve had a crush on me by the way she was always peeking over the hedges to watch me wash my car. But she was just a kid. I was younger then. I felt younger. After the divorce, things changed. Women look at me still, but when I look at them, I see Karen’s face. My ex-wife really did a number on me. She cheated. Slept with men I thought were friends. She went out every night and came home drunk in the early hours of the morning. Even when Bailey was colicky. I was at home with a sick baby, sometimes even winding up in the emergency room with our child while she was out having a good old time, not even bothering to answer my texts. Every time she came home she had a new excuse. Often saying her phone was dead, or she’d forgotten her phone in her car. This coming from a woman who never let it out of her sight. She forgot I knew her better than that. I knew she just couldn’t handle the pressure of motherhood, or the monogamy of marriage. I knew that before we got married, but somehow I’d convinced myself she could change.

Even though I try not to be, I’m jaded. It’s hard to let those past indiscretions go, no matter how hard I try to be bigger than that. After the divorce, I was certain I didn’t want anything more than a casual hookup once in a while, but there’s something different about Remy. I need to know if there’s something there.

“How did things go today?” I ask her.

She places Bailey back in her playpen, then looks up at me with a smile that lights me up from head to toe. “Perfect. It took a little while, but I think she’s warmed up to me.”

“Great,” I say. “The job is yours if you want it. Monday through Friday.”

“I would love it.” The way she says it, making eye contact, and softening her voice, causes chills to slide up my arms.

She starts to leave the room, sliding around me in the doorway, but I can’t let her leave. There’s this pull toward her that suffocates my good judgment. I should just let her go. Let this be nothing more than a babysitting job as it was intended.

I put my hands on her shoulders. She doesn’t try to escape from my grip. Instead, she looks up at me, open and curious. The hallway is dark, casting a shadow over her face, but I can see every single one of her lashes and the glimmer in her eyes. I lean over and smell her hair. Lavender and citrus. Clean, fresh. There’s nothing tainted about her. Not like there had been with my ex who always smelled faintly of cigarette smoke and male cologne; a scent that belongs to bars and clubs. Remy is nothing like her. I don’t know how I can say that for sure, but it’s a feeling I have that won’t let go.

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