Home > Just What I Needed(4)

Just What I Needed(4)
Author: Kylie Scott

“A makeover is always a worthwhile investment in time and resources,” answers Lena. “Trust us, Jude. Good hair and makeup paired with a great outfit can give your confidence a huge boost.”

Ev holds up a red halter neck gown. “This is seriously sexy.”

“Yeah, but what possible excuse can she make for hanging out at home in an evening gown?” Anne, the voice of reason, sits on the floor pushing a wooden toy train around for Jamesy. He’s adorable and delighted by all of the attention. Having someone to play with is basically peak happiness for a small child. It’s right up there with cuddles and cake.

“I haven’t shaved my legs in a while, either,” I say.

Anne nods somberly. “I can’t even reach mine. I assume they’re still there, but with this bump, seeing anything below my belly button is an issue.”

“Leg hair is not a problem. We can work with that.” Ev moves on to a pair of leather leggings. “These are very cool girl rock star. I say they have possibilities.”

“And they’re wipe clean,” says Anne. “Much more practical than you’d imagine. Just don’t be foolish like me and attempt to wear them in warm weather. Leather does not breathe.”

My own wardrobe was quickly deemed insufficient for the mission of winning me a man. A decision that was harsh but fair. Being a nanny is usually more about comfort and convenience than style. I have a fine selection of tees, sweaters, jeans, and leggings. My current position doesn’t really have a dress code. Not a bad thing. One job I heard of required you to wear baggy, boring clothing in the hope that the man of the house wouldn’t turn his wandering eye your way. I mean, it’s not like affairs between celebrities and nannies never happen. Google the topic. The rumors are rife. But that seemed a bit extreme to me.

Another contract I was offered detailed the need to fit in with both the child and their parents’ chosen aesthetic by wearing certain brands in specific colors when out in public. Which would be fine if the position included a clothing allowance. Which it did not. Some rich people are super demanding while being cheap.

“Maybe this was a bad idea,” I say, feeling the tiniest bit overwhelmed by just about everything.

“Don’t say that.” Ev adds a black cashmere vest to the keep pile. “A defeatist attitude will not be tolerated. Dean is great, and you want him, and we are going to help you get him. End of story.”

“Have you guys told her about you know what?” Anne tickles the baby’s bare foot. Jamesy waves his sock in the air and laughs his little heart out. There is nothing as pure and sweet as the sound of a baby laughing.

Meanwhile, Lena and Ev exchange glances, which isn’t weird or worrying at all.

“Told me about what?” I ask.

“It’s not a big deal,” says Ev. “I mean, it happened years ago.”

I say nothing and wait.

Lena grimaces and says, “I may have momentarily dated Dean. It was only for like five minutes, just before Jimmy and I got together.”

“Oh,” I say.

Here’s the thing, Lena Ferris is kind of gorgeous. Curvy with dark hair and wit and style for days. And I…I’m me. An expert at making faces to distract crying children. A veritable ninja when it comes to swaddling infants. And I dare anyone to outdo me in the task of persuading small, cranky children to get dressed. Once upon a time, I had outside interests. But that was a while back now. This whole dating idea is a disaster. Maybe I’m just not meant to be in a relationship. After all, what would Dean and I even talk about?

“This is not a negative,” says Ev. “It just means he has good taste in women and that we have some inside knowledge. Such as…”

Lena sits up straight. “We know he is not a dick to the women he dates.”

“A very good thing.”

Out of nowhere, Jamesy unleashes a noise best described as a yodel. So I do the polite thing and yodel back, earning myself a smile consisting of two small teeth and a truly remarkable amount of spit. Babies are such an even mixture of cute and gross.

“We should go over proposed topics of discussion,” says Evelyn. “You could ask him about his work and life. Draw him out like that.”

Lena continues sorting through the pile of clothes. “Most men do enjoy being the center of attention.”

“There will always be time to tell him about yourself later.”

Anne cocks her head. “Wait a minute. Which of you two wound up in a relationship because you pandered to the dude in question?”

“These are just some tips to see her through the start,” says Ev.

“Until she feels more comfortable,” agrees Lena.

Anne narrows her gaze on the two women. “Evelyn, the night you met David, you threw up multiple times. Including on him, from what I’ve heard. And Lena, I distinctly remember you telling Jimmy off the night I first met you.”

Ev sighs. “Why do people always talk about the puking?”

“To be fair,” says Lena, “those were both quite different and complicated situations.”

“But you were both being your own sweet selves. That’s the point I’m trying to make here.” Anne looks at her watch. “You can lose the face mask, Jude. Just out of interest, did they actually ask your permission before turning you into their own personal experimental dating Barbie doll?”

“Anne, you’re so salty,” says Lena with a raised brow. “This is quite unlike you.”

“Deal with it. My mood has been set to awful for days. Though that doesn’t mean I don’t also have a valid point.” Her shoulders sag tiredly. “Let’s just say I am having serious second thoughts about birthing a another child. Especially since said child is constantly pushing on my bladder and kicking all night, keeping me awake. Thank goodness this baby is due to get the heck out of me in four weeks.”

“To answer your question, it’s fine. I really do need the help.” I carefully peel the face mask thing off and pat my face dry with a hand towel. “All right, what’s next?”

At that, Lena’s eyes light up. “Now it’s time for your hair and makeup.”

 

* * * *

 

When Dean walks in the door at around eight, I’m ready. i.e. Primped to within an inch of my life with my hair in a slick ponytail and a natural-looking full face of makeup. I’m not going to lie, the high-heeled booties took some work. It’s been a while since I wore four-inch heels. To be honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever actually worn four-inch heels. I tend to top out at three. But the girls did a great job putting an outfit together for me. The leather leggings and white silk shirt look sublime. Nothing like how I usually dress, but impressive just the same. And what does reality have to do with impressing someone anyway? Nothing. That’s what. While anxiety continues to have me in its cold and clammy grip, I refuse to let it stop me.

“Hey,” he says, his eyes going wide. “You look nice.”

“Thanks.”

“Are you heading out?”

“No. I thought, I just…I was in the mood.” He waits for me to say more. But that’s all I have in me. “Yeah.”

“Okay.”

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