Daddy, Daddy, and Me(4)

By: Sean Michael

“So how long have you had them?”

“Since March twenty-third. Three weeks. My sister, Jillian, she came for ten days at the beginning, but….” Jeff suddenly looked desperate. “My leave at work is short, and what if one of them gets sick? And potty training. He’s wet the bed since he came.”

Someone needed a nap. And it wasn’t Robin. Or Kimberley.

“Sounds like you really need a nanny. Good thing you put an ad in for one.” He gave Jeff a grin. “How many people have you seen?” Was he still in the running? How many of them could have displayed the hands-on skills he had right now? That had to put him in the running, right?

“Twelve.” Jeff sighed. “Ten people who told me I needed to give them to their grandparents, one who wanted to be my live-in lover, and one who lectured me on the evils of butter.”

Donny frowned. “People suck, man—how you decide to raise your children is your business, and dude, butter is awesome.” He thought he definitely had a chance here. For the first time since about his twentieth interview, he had hope that he might get the job. “I’ve got my degree in early childhood care, but no practical experience, unless you count being the coolest uncle to my sisters’ kids. I can start tomorrow—well, even today, I guess. What kind of hours are we talking?” If Jeff was a chef, he was going to work afternoons and evenings, right?

“I work from two in the afternoon to midnight, Tuesday through Saturday. I know that’s like a lot of hours for you, but I’ll provide room and board and a good salary. You’d have Sunday and Monday off, and….” Jeff trailed off. “Do you have references? I should probably ask for those.”

Oh, room and board—he wouldn’t have to bus it in every day, which was a relief if he was going to be here until after midnight on a regular basis. It meant he could bank most of his salary too.

“I do. I have written references in my bag, which I left in the hall, and you can call them too, if you want. It is a lot of hours, but if I’m living in, I’m saving transit time.” And money paying for his own place. “I’ve met the kids and like them, and they don’t seem allergic to me.”

“No. No, they don’t.” Jeff offered him another half smile. Robin was falling asleep in his snack, and the baby was sleeping again. “I’ve never done this before. She wasn’t supposed to die.”

Donny nodded. “Yeah, life has a way of throwing punches. I’d really like to take the job. I could stay the rest of the afternoon as a trial while you get some rest, if you want.”

“You don’t want to see your room or anything?”

“I’ll be honest with you, Jeff. I’ve been to a lot of interviews, and most of the time I barely make it past the first two minutes because I’m a guy. And if I do, well, then I tell them….” He took a deep breath, hoping like hell Jeff wasn’t a homophobic prick. “I tell them I’m gay, and they can’t get rid of me fast enough.”

“You’re family?” Jeff’s eyes went wide.

His own mouth dropped open at Jeff’s words, and then he grinned, nodded. “How about that?”

“I…. Seriously? Are you fucking with me, man?”

“Daddy Jeff! Bad word!”

Donny had to bite his lip, hard, to keep from laughing. “That was a bad word, wasn’t it?”

Robin nodded, then teared up. “Mommy says no bad words.”

Jeff’s eyes closed. “I hate four in the afternoon. He acts like it’s nap time, but then he won’t be able to sleep.”

Shifting his chair closer to Robin, Donny took the little boy’s hand in his. “Sometimes people forget they aren’t supposed to say bad words. That’s what Daddy Jeff did. He’ll try very hard not to say it again, okay?”

He got a solemn nod from Robin, the little boy still sniffling.

“You have any DVDS of the Teletubbies or anything like that? Something he can settle with and chill for forty minutes or so?” If Robin was resisting naps, he would still benefit from some quiet time.

“I bought a bunch of sh—stuff. They lost everything. It’s been crazy.”