Hot Single Dad(3)By: Mia Madison
The twins stop in their tracks, shocked at my reaction, and get off Holly. Katie looks like she might cry.
Holly blushes and gets up, pulling her T-shirt down over her stomach. “It’s okay. They weren’t doing any harm, were you, kiddos?” She wraps a comforting arm around each of them.
No, the only one having any problem with it was me, but none of them knows it. “I just thought you could do with a bit of peace to settle in. That’s all. I don’t want them wearing you out on your first day.”
I have to make amends. “Katie, why not put on Frozen? You can watch that until bedtime.”
“But you said…”
“Never mind what I said, you can watch it tonight.”
After having the thing on auto-repeat for months until I knew every word, every song by heart, I banned it until further notice, though I bet Iris has been letting them watch it.
Katie doesn’t need telling twice. The DVD is slotted into the TV in record time. And peace reigns once more. But for how long?
“What time do they have to go to bed?” Holly asks.
And that’s when I realize that soon it will be just her and me alone, and no kids to take my mind off how I feel about her.
It’s going to be a nightmare living here, being so close to Reid. Why didn’t I understand that when I jumped at his offer of a job?
I spend as long as I can bathing Katie and Jack and putting them to bed, reading stories, and tidying up the playroom.
“Are you hungry?” Reid asks me, when I come downstairs. “I’ll make you something after I say goodnight to the kids, if you like.”
“It’s okay; I already ate.” And even if I hadn’t, I’d have lost my appetite for sure. I thought I’d love being here but this is different from seeing Reid at our house or going to his place for the twins’ birthday parties or something.
It’s just him and me, for a start. I want him, but I can’t do anything about that. He would think I’m crazy just for imagining him and me together. A guy like that. Oozing sex. Owner of a multi-million-dollar business. He can have anyone he wants.
Since he divorced Mercia, the gossip columns have had a field day speculating about his next relationship. Not quite as much as they go on about her likely new lovers. But still, enough to know I’m not in the running.
I should just get it into my stupid head. He’s not going to look at me that way—his friend’s daughter. I’m just the babysitter, conveniently free for the summer, a replacement for Iris.
He goes upstairs to see his children, and my stomach is in knots. I flick between the channels on the huge state-of-the art TV. Do men like him who jet off here, there, and everywhere on business even watch TV? I imagine he’s busy making money most of the time. I suspect he’s even busier than Dad, who is always dealing with one legal case or another and has been a bit of a workaholic since Mom passed when I was nine.
Am I getting in Reid’s way? I could just go to my room. My heart sinks at the thought of sitting in there every night, lovely though the decor is, with him somewhere in the house avoiding me as much as I’m avoiding him.
But then he’s back with a bottle of wine and two glasses. “Would you like some?” he asks.
“Sure. Yes, please.” I grab the glass like a safety blanket, something to hold onto. My knuckles are tight around the stem.
“Don’t worry,” he says, taking the seat opposite me. “I’ll be at the office most evenings and leave you in peace. Then you can do what you want once the kids are in bed.”
“Do you always work so hard?”
“Most of the time.”
“Even in the summer?”
“Then too. But that’s a good point. We’re going to Villefranche next month. Iris was going to come with us, of course, so I hope you will come instead.”
“South of France. We have a place there on the hillside overlooking the Med.”
I want to ask about that “we.” Does he mean him and the kids or someone else? I want to know who else is going to be part of that “we” before I say yes. There’s no way I’m going to be able to watch him with some beauty in a bathing suit while I look after the kids. But I don’t know how to find out without asking.