Nanny for the Millionaire's Twins

By: Susan Meier

 “Like that walker thing?”

 “And a play yard and swings.”

 New guilt welled up in him. He was such an idiot. Couldn’t he at least have thought of some of this stuff? Was he that dumb that he couldn’t draw some commonsense conclusions?

 No. Actually, he wasn’t dumb as much as tired. So tired from being up most of the night every night for the past two weeks that he hadn’t been thinking straight.

 “If we get them what they need and even a few toys, we’ll be able to tire them out, and they’ll actually sleep for longer stretches of time.” She smiled tentatively. “They’re old enough that we might even be able to train them to sleep through the night.”

 He looked longingly at her. “Really?”

 She laughed and the soft sound hit him right in the gut. He told himself that was only because he wanted to be able to laugh again too. But she was pretty. Maybe even prettier than the women he used to date because she didn’t seem to be wearing makeup. She didn’t need it.

 “Yeah. So grab your wallet and I’ll get the diaper bag and we’ll make a quick run to the store.”

 Thinking only of a full night’s sleep, Chance buckled the kids in their car seats and headed for the mall on the outskirts of town. When they arrived, he flicked the switch signaling a turn into the mall parking lot, but Tory tapped his forearm and pointed at the discount department store.

 “Let’s go there. The quality is as good and you’ll spend less money.”

 He did as she asked but as they got the kids out of the SUV, he sneaked a peek across the backseat at her. Usually, most of the women he met flirted outrageously with him and were impressed by his money. This one barely tolerated him and was now showing him how to save rather than spend?

 Of course, she was an employee.

 She wasn’t interested in him as a man, or potential date, just as a boss.

 That gave him a tug of something he couldn’t quite identify. He suspected it was disappointment. But at this point he’d much rather have somebody good with the kids, than somebody to sleep with.

 He almost laughed. Having two babies to care for certainly changed a man’s priorities.

 Automatic doors welcomed them into the store. Tory instructed him to get a cart and put Sam in the baby seat. Then she got a cart and put Cindy in that baby seat. They strolled past the rows and rows of everything from clothes and underwear to home goods and gardening tools until they came to the baby section.

 She stopped her cart. “The most important things today are two walkers, two baby swings, a stroller for twins and one really strong play yard.”

 “Play yard?” She’d mentioned that before, but he didn’t know what it was.

 “Back in the day, moms called them playpens. We’ve gotten more politically correct and call them play yards now. It’s a square thing like a box with mesh walls that you put the babies in so that they can play together but not crawl around and get into trouble.”

 He said, “Ah,” and watched as she loaded a compact box into his cart. “I take it there’s going to be some assembly required.”

 She winced. “Unfortunately. Maybe we can call Robert?” she said, referring to the groundskeeper.

 He gaped at her. “I worked in construction for ten years before I started my own company, and even then I had to work with the crew sometimes.” For some unknown reason his chest puffed out with pride. “I think I can handle putting together a playpen.”

 “Play yard,” she corrected, as she loaded another big box into his cart.

 “Play yard.”

 Unexpected happiness stole over him, loosened his tight chest, relaxed his stiff muscles. Not only would he get a reasonable night’s sleep tonight, but his kids would be well cared for.

 Not that he was a bad dad. If effort alone counted, he was daddy of the year. But effort hadn’t counted. Otherwise, he’d have known about the walker, play yard and swing.

 He paid for the purchases and loaded them into his SUV as Tory put first Cindy, then Sam, into their car seats. She explained more about the walker as they drove home. When they arrived, she had him assemble the swings as she popped two jars of baby food and fed the kids, using highchairs his mother had bought for the kitchen.

 He had the swings together by the time she was done feeding and then cleaning up the kids, and they slid both inside. She wound what looked to be a music box for each one and voilà, suddenly both kids were swinging and happy.

 “Wow. That is amazing.”

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