Lowe Wynters, Ricky’s dad. “Nice to meet you,” I responded.
“I was really hoping to be with Ethan at your interview the other day, but we thought it was best to let him do it on his own. You know, ease you in,” he explained.
I nodded. “It was a bit of a surprise to learn that it was seven kids, not two, but I’m excited. I loved reading your letter about Ricky. I can’t wait to meet him.”
Lowe beamed at the mention of his son’s name and my heart melted. “I can’t wait myself. I’m sure you two will get along great. He’s a wonderful kid.”
“Sounds like it. You know, I actually worked at the lego league when I was in high school. I loved seeing what those kids would come up with,” I said.
Lowe gasped. “Get out! That’s awesome. He just started, but he’s crazy about it. I love that there’s an option for kids like him. When I was in kindergarten, I was just the dork who loved legos.”
I nodded. “Trust me, I get it. I’m excited to see him in action.”
Lowe lifted his head and stuck his chest out. “He’s better than all the other kids. I know I’m biased, but I also think it’s true.”
“I’m certain it is,” I responded.
“If I may, you are quite beautiful,” Lowe said and I could instantly feel my face getting hot. “Between your intelligence and your looks, you must be beating them off.”
It felt bizarre getting such positive attention from one of my new kids’ fathers, but it felt good. I wanted more of having such handsome men compliment me. “Thank you,” I replied. “And, I don’t know, I tend to avoid social situations. I’m more of an academic. Dating always got in the way of my education, so I just didn’t.”
“So you’re single?” Lowe asked with a raised eyebrow. “I’m shocked.”
My skin tingled. He was so good-looking and hearing him say positive things about me was exciting. I placed him in the same category with Ethan as good-looking dads I had to stay on high alert while I was around them.
“Anyway,” Lowe continued. “Shall we go meet the others?”
“Yeah,” I said, steeling myself for what awaited me inside.
Lowe held out an arm for me to lead the way, and I started towards Ethan’s beautiful suburban home. When we got to the door, I reached up a hand to knock, but Lowe reached around me and opened the door. I wasn’t certain what was more distracting, the fact that Lowe was just entering someone else’s home, or the way his dusky cologne wafted around me, but I put all of it out of my mind and stepped into the foyer.
“Guys?” Lowe called out.
A litany of foot steps thundered through the home until one tiny person popped around the corner to the left. “Daddy!” It was a little boy with tan skin and black hair pulled back in a short ponytail. He looked just like his father.
“Hey!” Lowe knelt down and held his arms out just in time for Ricky to go barrelling into them. “How’s my little mechanic?” he asked.
Ricky smiled at his father. “I’m good. I built a race car in school today.”
“Did you?” Lowe said. “More race cars than I’ve ever built.” Ricky glowed in the light of his father’s compliment. Lowe stood up, carrying Ricky with him. He turned to face me and pointed. “I want you to meet someone. This is Jordan.”
Now was my moment to shine. If I knew nothing else, I knew how to impress a kid. I reached into my backpack and pulled out a little toy car. It was a green hot rod with red adornments. I handed it over to him and his face lit up.
“Hi, Ricky. I’m Jordan. I’m going to be your new nanny,” I said.
Ricky looked at his car with wide eyes. “Look daddy.”
Lowe nodded. “I know, wasn’t that nice? Can you say hi?”
Ricky looked back up at me. “Hi,” he murmured.
It wasn’t just that I wanted to butter him up with a gift, I was using my psych skills to forge a connection with the kids even before they knew it. Based only on what I had been told about the kids in the letters their parents wrote, I picked out a gift for each kid to let them know that I was interested in the things they were. Ricky was one of the kids that seemed like it was going to be easier to connect with, so his was simple, but a few of the other gifts had deeper meanings.
More people entered the room, and when I turned to face them, it was as if I’d been trampled by a herd of elephants. Gorgeous men and cute children were gathering around me like I had died and gone to heaven.