Like Real People Do

After the combination of too much coffee and just the right amount of nerves results in her epically choking during the most important interview of her life, Cecily ends up jobless after graduation. Unsure of where to turn next, she jumps at the chance to join an agency which provides nannies to the rich and powerful. She figures it’s new and exciting and will take her out of her comfort zone and she’s not at all disappointed by her first assignment: taking care of the three year old twins of internationally renowned bassist Calum Hood. The trouble is that Calum is a single father who is determined to prove that he can conquer parenting on his own, despite the advice of those at his side. So as Cecily navigates the world of taking care of celebrity children, she sets out to show Calum just how much he needs her, but is surprised to find that in her quest to melt his heart, she ends up giving away her own.

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8. Navy Blue Robe

The one with the late night advice. 

The first thing I did when I got back to my room was start pacing. I wore out the hotel’s carpeted flooring as I made my way from the window to the door and back again multiple times, trying to figure out what the hell I should do next.

Maybe I should go back and confront Calum and clear the air, so that tomorrow was incredibly awkward. Or maybe I should just give him some space and let it blow over; take tomorrow off and hope that he’ll have forgotten about it by the time I got back.

The problem was that neither of those options resolved the fact that I could be jobless come morning. Because surely Calum would see me running away as a rejection and that didn’t bode well for my career as the world’s best nanny. I didn’t think of him as petty, but that didn’t mean he’d want to keep a constant reminder of rejection around. It wasn’t exactly good for morale and our relationship would most definitely go back to being tense.

I needed to vent and I needed to do so immediately.

Normally, in situations of crisis, I would call Leona, but seeing as it was nearly midnight in LA, she was already fast asleep in New York, I wasn’t sure that her sisterly love for me would forgive me waking her at three in the morning. So I sought the advice of someone much closer to the situation: Amy.

She knocked on my door about three minutes after I called to ask if we could talk, tying the ties of her hotel issued robe around her waist and looking none too pleased about being woken up as she stepped through the doorway.

“Okay,” she sighed, settling herself on the edge of my bed and looking up at me expectantly, “what’s the emergency?”

I instantly felt horrible because she looked as though I’d just woken her from the best sleep she’d ever had in her life. “I wouldn’t say it’s an emergency exactly…”

At least, it probably didn’t qualify as an emergency to anyone else, but I was internally freaking out.

“Cecily,” she hardened her glare, crossing her arms over her chest, “it’s the middle of the night and I have to be up in a few hours to make sure the travel arrangements to the next city are set in stone, so unless this is a life or death situation, I’d really like to get back to bed.”

“Oh…,” I blinked, my guilt turning into a flood, “well, that’s fine, then. You should go back to bed. I’m sorry for waking you.”

Being the perceptive person she was, Amy didn’t buy that there was really nothing on my mind, so her expression softened and her gaze became sympathetic. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” I insisted, “I told you, I’m just being melodramatic.”

“I’m here,” she shot back pointedly, “so you might as well just tell me.”

“It’s Calum…,” I replied slowly, not entirely sure how to begin.

But of course Amy would jump to the somewhat correct conclusion right away. “Something happened between the two of you?”

“Not exactly…,” I clarified, “we just sort of almost kissed.”

“Almost kissed?” she laughed, the tension leaving her posture as a sign of relief, “That’s what has you all stressed out?”

“Well, it sounds silly now,” I muttered, feeling a bit foolish.

“No, look, I get it,” she assured me, patting the space on the bed beside her to indicate I should sit, “it’s a weird situation. So what exactly did happen?”

I did as I was told, inhaling sharply before I continued, my words coming out sounding like one, long, strung together word. “He came back from the award show and we tucked the twins into bed and then he asked me if I wanted ice cream and we were just sitting on the couch talking and then he started leaning in.”

“Right,” she nodded when I finished, not even having to pause to comprehend everything I’d just said, “But you didn’t actually kiss?”

I shook my head. “I sort of bolted before we could get that far.”

“Gotcha.”

Crinkling my nose, I let out a soft sigh. “I’m so fired, aren’t I?”

“Why would you think that?” she asked, tilting her head to the side.

I furrowed my brows in confusion, wondering why she wouldn’t have the same train of thought. “I’m pretty sure the number one rule of being a nanny is not to get involved with your employer.”

She shrugged. “The agency might have some sort of code of conduct about that, but they can’t fire you over it. Since I hired you, I’m the only one who has the power to terminate your contract.”

“What about Calum?” I asked, thinking there had to be some sort of consequence, “I don’t know if he’s gonna want me around now.”

At least, I knew I wouldn’t want me around if the situation was reversed.

“He didn’t want you around when I hired you, either,” she reminded me, which I think was meant to make me feel better, but actually had the opposite effect, “He’s a big boy, so he’ll handle you being here like an adult. Besides, he has no say in the matter because, like I said, only I can fire you and I don’t have the time or energy to find a new nanny now.”

Well that was comforting. “So you’re keeping me around so you don’t have to go through the hassle of replacing me?”

“That,” she said, “and the twins love and trust you.”

Those words actually did make me feel better. Because at the end of the day, all that really mattered was that Audra and Finn wanted me around. Wrapping my arms around her shoulders, I squeezed them gently. “Thanks, Amy.”

The corners of her lips lifted into a smile as she patted my arm. “Are you gonna be okay tomorrow?”

“It might be a little awkward,” I admitted, lowering my arms to my side once more, wondering which route Calum would take in regards to acknowledging what happened: direct, denial, or avoidance. “But we’re adults, I’m sure we can handle it.”

“How very mature of you,” she smirked.

I matched the kink in her lips. “I try.”

She held her smile for a moment longer before her expression became serious, as did the tone of her voice. “Cecily, I know you didn’t ask, but can I give you some advice?”

“About what?”

“About Calum.”

Whatever she was going to say was serious, so naturally my response was a joke. “You gonna tell me he’s a bad boy who’s gonna break my heart or something?”

“No,” she shook her head, keeping her expression stern, “he’s a sweetheart and a great father.”

“Okay,” I said softly, deciding that maybe I should take this entire situation a bit more seriously, “then what is it?”

“Lauren leaving…,” she began, pausing as she attempted to find the right words, her gaze flooding with sadness as though she was reliving the moments as she spoke about them, “it changed him. He loved her with everything he had and when she walked out, she took a part of him with her. Calum might act cold and unaffected, but the truth is that his heart was snapped in about a billion pieces and he hasn’t really healed.”

Despite never having experienced that kind of heartbreak myself, I did understand that Calum must have been extremely upset. What I didn’t understand was why Amy thought that this was something I should know. “Why are you telling me this?”

“I’m telling you this,” she inhaled through her nose, rubbing her lips together and looking me straight in the eyes as she spoke, “because I think it’s only fair that you understand what you’re getting yourself into if you fall for Calum Hood.”

My lips parted to respond, despite the fact that I had no idea what to say, so I ended up gaping at her for a few moments before I finally strung together a sentence. “Who says I’m falling for him?”

She shot me a knowing look, not having to say anything to counter my question, so I sighed and resigned myself to the knowledge that Amy would probably always be able to see right through me. “I guess that’s fair. Are you speaking from experience?”

“He wishes,” she snorted, “He couldn’t handle me. No, I’m speaking as someone who watched his heart shatter and has watched him slowly pick up the pieces for the two years since and who doesn’t want to have to go through that again.”

My first instinct was to tell her that she was a fantastic friend, but then I realized what she was implying and blinked in confusion. “Wait, you think I’m gonna break his heart?”

It was a bit mind boggling, the idea that I had that kind of power over Calum. Especially since I wasn’t sure I did. For all I knew, I had completely misinterpreted the entire situation and last night, he was just leaning in to wipe some spare ice cream from my lips and I had run away and made everything uncomfortable.

“I don’t know,” she lifted one shoulder in a shrug, “Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe the two of you would have kissed and there would have been absolutely no chemistry. Or maybe it would have been amazing,” pausing, she reached out to grab my hand and squeeze it lightly, “All I’m saying is that once you go there, you can’t take it back and it’s not just your life that’s gonna change, it’s the lives of those kids as well. So before you make any sort of decision, make sure you understand what’s at stake. Because if Calum’s heart breaks again, I’m not sure it’ll ever be able to heal.”

I supposed that made sense. After all, Calum had told me that he thought he was going to spend the rest of his life with Lauren, so of course getting over wouldn’t be easy. And it would take time for him to open enough to trust someone new with his heart, which just made him all the more vulnerable and me all the more terrified.

I did have feelings for Calum. I couldn’t deny it and I was pretty sure that everyone knew, including Calum, despite me never saying it out loud, because I couldn’t seem to control the amount of blushing I did in his presence. But that didn’t mean I was ready for the responsibility of holding his heart, especially since I wasn’t sure how far I was into the falling process. I wasn’t to the edge of the cliff just yet, but I was definitely on my way there.

It wasn’t fair to lead him down that road if I wasn’t one hundred percent sure that it ended in happiness. And in the middle of all of it, I also needed to think about myself.

“And what about my heart?” I whispered, knowing Amy would have the answer to that as well.

“Protect it,” she said with a small smile, “Lord knows that if you give it to him, you’re never gonna get it back.”

That much I knew was true. You didn’t easily get over a guy like Calum. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Nodding, she softened her expression. “Just be smart.”

Smiling softly, I put my hand on top of hers in reassurance. “Will do.”

Her smile widened before she let out a soft laugh. “Need any more life advice, or can I go back to bed?”

“I think I’m good,” I replied as she wiggling her hands away from mine and pushed herself to her feet, “Thanks, Amy.”

Nodding, she headed towards the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Get some sleep.”

Once she had disappeared into the hallway, closing the door behind her, I fell back onto the bed and let out a dramatic sigh, thinking that tomorrow was definitely going to be one of the more uncomfortable days of my life. 

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