“I got the job!” Nikola Banks said as she bustled through her apartment door finding her roommate Kelsey sitting on the couch studying for her finals.
“No way!” Kelsey said, putting down her study manual, turning her attention on her excited friend.
“WAY!” Niko said, throwing her purse and keys down on the table.
“That’s awesome. I’m happy for you,” Kelsey said, smiling genuinely at Niko.
“Thanks,” Niko beamed back, feeling the excitement vibrating through her body.
On a whim, Niko applied for a nanny job that would take her clear across the country with a family on their summer vacation. The Styles family lived on the east coast, but took a trip to Malibu, California every year for the entire summer and Niko was chosen to be one of the nanny’s that would be taking care of the two young children – one boy and one girl. She didn’t really have much experience with children, other than babysitting her nieces and nephews here and there, but she thought the opportunity was just too good to pass up. And fortunately for her, the mother hired her on the spot.
“So what are they like?” Kelsey asked curiously.
“Well, there are two kids. A girl and a boy. The girl is five and the boy is seven—” Niko began to explain.
“What are the parents like?” Kelsey cocked her eyebrow.
“The mom is… nice?” Niko said, not entirely sure she even believed what she just said. Nice was definitely not the best describing word for the woman she met only an hour prior, but she didn’t want to just come out and say she was an uptight bitch.
“What does that mean?” Kelsey asked with a giggle.
“She’s a little… curt. She is really into her job. I mean, seriously. She interrupted the interview three times to take business calls, but whatever,” Niko said, shrugging it off, trying to give the lady the benefit of the doubt.
“What’s the dad like? Is he hot? I mean he’s only like thirty, right? That’s prime-time sexiness,” Kelsey asked, bouncing her eyebrows expectantly at Niko, causing her to laugh out loud.
“Jeez,” Niko chuckled.
“What? I need to know you’re going to have a good summer,” Kelsey smirked, cocking her eyebrow.
“I’m sure the level of fun I’m going to have isn’t going to have anything to do with Mr. Styles. I haven’t even met the guy. He wasn’t there,” Niko laughed out loud.
“I’m just saying, hopefully the guy is hot so you’ll have something to look at this summer,” Kelsey smirked suggestively at her friend.
“Yeah, because I’m sure there is a shortage of hot guys in Malibu, California,” Niko said as she rolled her eyes at her depraved roommate as she headed off to her bedroom to get ready for her evening class.
“So are you excited to be headed back to California?” Louis Tomlinson asked his best mate Harry as they sat at an outdoor café in New York City eating lunch together.
“Yeah. But I just wish Julia was a bit more excited about it,” Harry frowned, thinking about the fight he and his wife just got into before he left for his lunch date.
The company Julia worked for was going through some huge merger with another company, and with the way she talked about it, it was almost as if the whole thing was placed solely on her shoulders, even though Harry knew differently. She lived and breathed her career, making it nearly impossible for Harry and their two children – Jackson and Avery – to even spend any time with her. That was why their annual family summer vacation to California had Harry smiling a little brighter. That was, until the fight they had that morning about how Julia would need to transfer all her work across the country and how she felt it would be best to post-pone the trip indefinitely because of the merger. Harry left the house after putting his foot down, telling Julia to do what she needed to do to get ready, because the trip was happening whether she liked it or not.
“Is she still working non-stop on that deal?” Louis asked, giving him a look of sympathy.
“That’s all she does. Seriously. It’s like she barely leaves her office at work and when she’s home, she barely leaves the office there,” Harry scoffed, wiping his mouth on his napkin. Louis nodded in response as he took a bite of his own food.
“I mean, it’s been months since we’ve, you know… had sex. She’s always so exhausted and whenever I try, she always gets angry over it. And then it makes me angry. And it’s just a vicious cycle,” Harry sighed, feeling the tension and anger that built up inside of him over the last year or so.
“That’s rough,” Louis said, contorting his face into a look of pity.
What Harry really didn’t need was pity from Louis. All he needed was a little intimacy from his wife. Louis had no problem getting his wife to fork over the goods. But for some reason, it was a god damn war to get his dick any attention these days.
“Well, maybe this vacation will be good for you both. Maybe she’ll be able to relax a little and help you out in that sense,” Louis said, being the optimist he was.
“I mean, at this point, it can’t get any worse,” Harry sighed, shrugging his shoulders, hoping for the best.
After his quick lunch with Louis, Harry headed home to relieve Julia of kid duty. On the weekends, she always tended to really get into her work tasks in the time between lunch and dinner, so Harry knew she’d be itching to get a start on it the moment he stepped foot in the door.
“Oh, thank god,” Julia sighed once she saw Harry.
She looked entirely frazzled, having just spent a good chunk of the morning and part of the afternoon with the kids. She was a good mother, but sometimes Harry really wished she took on more of a nurturing role with them. But instead, she was so apathetic sometimes, as if she didn’t know how to show affection for the two little lives she had a hand in creating.
Julia wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of having children in the first place. It was a struggle to even get her to entertain the idea, with her my body is my temple way of thinking. But somehow Harry convinced her to have at least one – which brought their son Jackson into the world. When she got pregnant with Avery, it was a complete shock to both of them. Avery was Harry’s little miracle baby, because after Jackson, he got used to the fact that he was only ever going to be a father of one. But the world was always full of surprises.
Before Julia rushed off to whatever conference called she needed to connect to, Harry gave her a quick kiss on the cheek which seemed to go almost unnoticed, and only made him roll his eyes in the end. Nothing he did lately made any sort of a difference. He could never seem to break the shell of her cold exterior. She was all work and no play – such a contrast of the woman he married seven years before.
Harry took in a deep breath and let it out hard before shaking off the awkward embrace with his wife so he was able to focus wholly on his children, who happily greeted him the moment they saw him.
In the short few hours between the time Harry arrived home and the time dinner was ready, he managed to do two loads of laundry, craft an elaborate fort in the living room out of pillows and blankets with the kids, made lasagna for dinner, and did some packing for their summer vacation to California. All the while, Julia stayed holed up in the office ignoring her entire family.
Just before he finished making dinner, Harry decided to head upstairs to ask Julia to come down. There was a rule set in place long ago that Harry enforced quite seriously – no matter how busy you were with something you would always step away from it for dinner. Sometimes Julia fought it kicking and screaming, but Harry always made it a point to fight for that one thing to be able to give his children the opportunity to have a proper family gathering at least once from day to day.
Harry stood leaning against the doorway of the office with his arms crossed over his chest loosely, waiting for Julia to finish up the phone call she was on. When she finally clicked off her Bluetooth headset, she still didn’t notice him. But that wasn’t uncommon. She sort of learned how to unhinge herself from the outside world when she was in the office, with its floor to ceiling bookcases that housed hundreds of books and its large mahogany desk she had paperwork stacked all around her current work that was in front of her. She did well crafting her workspace to make it easier for her to work from home.
“Hey,” he said softly, finally making his presence known.
“Oh, Jesus! Harry!” She yelped, jumping slightly as she put her hand to her heart. It would have amused him if he wasn’t already so annoyed with her always shutting herself away.
“I’ve been standing here for five minutes,” he told her dryly, not moving an inch from his spot at the door.
“Well, jeez. You just about gave me a heart attack. I’m under enough stress as it is, having to gather up everything I need and tote is clear across the country,” she scoffed, taking an obvious dig at his plan to go through with their annual summer vacation to California.
He let it roll off of him, like he did with many things having to do with Julia. He learned long ago, if he let the things Julia said and did when she was in one of her moods get to him, it would make him into a very unhappy man.
“Speaking of, how did the interviews go today?” Harry asked, changing the subject.
Julia set up a series of interviews of nannies for the kids for the vacation because of the work she knew she would be doing while they were gone. It was the first year Harry ever allowed it because Julia so adamantly insisted on it. It turned into a very heated argument between the two of them before Harry finally just gave in to Julia’s wishes.
“Well…” She said looking up, giving him a look of distaste, which immediately made him wonder just how terrible their options were going to be. He didn’t really want to spend the summer with a bunch of obnoxious teenaged girls.
“What?” He asked, curious as to what she found wrong with the bunch.
“I hired two,” she told him, pursing her lips together.
“Well, that’s good,” he said, brightening up, happy he wouldn’t get stuck flipping through another stack of applications.
“I had my heart set on having three, but I guess two will suffice,” she said with that same look of distaste on her face.
“Two is plenty,” he told her sternly.
“Mm-hmm,” she hummed, rolling her eyes, as she dug through a stack of papers in front of her.
“Well, dinner is just about done. How about you break free of the ball and chain for a little bit and spend some time with your family,” he suggested.
“I’ll be down in a minute,” she said, shrugging him off as she continued to furiously dig through the papers.
“Yeah,” he breathed, pulling himself away from the door jamb before he made his way back downstairs to serve their meal.
Once dinner was finished, Harry bathed both of his children and tucked them into bed after not one, but two rounds of bedtime stories. To him, being a father was satisfaction enough in life. He had his time. Just after Harry turned sixteen, he auditioned for the X-Factor in the UK and got placed in a band called One Direction with some other lads – Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik. They made a name for themselves around the world, being labeled as the next Beatles and pretty much single-handedly brought back boy-band hysteria. Their song What Makes You Beautiful was their break through single and they continued to produce hit after hit even after Zayn left the band. Harry made his fortune, which gave him the ability to be a full-time dad to his kids once the band went on an indefinite hiatus.
When Jackson was born, he gave up his fast life. He didn’t need to party or go to the clubs or sell-out venue after venue with his band anymore to feel whole. All he needed was to hold his infant son in his arms and feel the best kind of joy he ever felt. He was a father. And a damn good one at that. His kids came first and foremost in his world.
His wife, unfortunately, had a different set of priorities.
Surprisingly enough, when Harry ambled into the bedroom that night, Julia was already in there, dressing in her silk pajamas. The sight of her nearly bare body, sent his entire system into overdrive. It had been too long since she actually came to bed at a decent hour. Harry stood there thinking to himself if he played it just right, sex might be in the cards for him. At least he hoped.
“Hey, you,” he cooed in a seductive tone as he crossed the room, keeping his eyes solely on her.
“Hi,” she said evenly, sliding her nighty down her lean body.
Harry couldn’t help but admire how incredibly sexy his wife’s body actually was. It was one of the things he first noticed about her when they met. She was absolutely gorgeous nearly a decade ago and she definitely still had it. In fact, in his opinion, she really only got better with age.
A shiver of excitement raced through his body as he watched her crawl up onto the mattress, throwing her legs under the covers of her side of their massive king bed. He wasted no time crossing the room to his closet to remove his own clothes, stepping into a pair of navy blue pajama pants before heading out to coax a little love making out of his wife.
Harry crawled up into the bed right next to Julia, not leaving much of a gap between the two of them as she took out her contacts and put on her black framed glasses. He slid his hand under the covers and ran it up and down her thigh a few times before she turned her head to look at him with no emotion on her face whatsoever, causing his stomach to drop immediately. He knew what that look meant. And it meant a brick fucking wall in the love-making department. But he decided to keep at it, just in case there was a sliver of a possibility he read her all wrong.
“You look amazing, love,” he told her as he lightly kissed her shoulder blade.
“Harry,” she sighed, slumping her back against the headboard.
“Just… shh,” he breathed against her skin as he let his hand fall down to her inner thigh.
“Baby…” She said, her voice coming out as more of an impatient whine.
Harry continued kissing up her neck until their lips met, determined to get her as into it as he was. And she even kissed him back too, which literally was enough to get him there. But when her hands came crashing against his chest to push him away, his entire libido crashed and burned.
“Not tonight, honey. It’s been a long day,” she told him curtly.
With his wife’s dismissal, Harry was certain his scoff could have been heard all the way down the hallway of their large, over-priced home. Her jaw dropped almost immediately as she narrowed her eyes looking over at her husband.
“I have been with the kids all damn day, while you were just out on the town with Louis. And work is just so stressful right now, Harry. You know that. I just… I’m exhausted,” she said, making up excuses while he looked at her with the most annoyed face he could possibly muster.
“You were hardly with the kids all day, Julia. I was with them when they woke up, I was with them this afternoon and the entire evening. Just because I want to spend a little time with Louis when he’s in town and count on you to take care of our kids when I do, doesn’t give you the right to use that god damn condescending tone with me,” Harry spat at her as he sat up, feeling the all too familiar feeling of annoyance beginning to fester inside of himself.
“Condescending tone?” She scoffed, rolling her eyes.
“It’s always the same damn excuses with you. I am so sick of hearing them, Julia!” He told her as his voice rose even further with his anger level.
“I’m not making excuses!” She shot back at him.
“Ha!” He laughed sardonically.
“You know what, Harry. I don’t have time for this. I need to wake up early for a conference call,” she said, huffing as she threw herself down on the bed with her back turned to him.
“Your priorities are fucked, lady,” he scoffed as he pushed the covers off of himself before stalking toward the bathroom and slamming the door behind him.
For the rest of the week, the tension didn’t ease at all in Harry and Julia’s relationship. If anything, it only got worse with the added responsibility of getting ready for the trip. Harry was just completely ready to leave the east coast and be back in the confines of California already. It was his very favorite place on earth, having lived there for nearly a decade prior to his marriage. It took a lot for Harry to leave the clutches of the City of Angels. But Julia got her dream job in New York and Harry made the compromise and sacrifice for her, which was a big hand in convincing her into conceiving Jackson.
Their summer vacations were another thing that was practically hell to convince Julia to do. And Harry seemed to pay dearly for it year after year, whether it be her snippy little comments about having to pack up her work and bring it cross-country, or the fact that she was the master of withholding sex of any kind. Harry lived through it all.
But as soon as he stepped foot onto Californian soil and his lungs breathed in the smoggy air he accustomed himself to a long time ago, his entire being began to relax. He’d been looking forward to the trip all year long. The house they rented out was about ten times bigger than what they needed, but that was all Julia. She grew up wealthy, so everything she did was in extravagance.
The first nanny, Mary, arrived the same morning the Styles’ did. She immediately jumped into helping the children unpack their belonging into their summer bedrooms. And even Harry had to admit, the thought of having a little extra help around for the summer wouldn’t be so bad.
Mary was exactly the type of girl Harry pictured his wife hiring for the summer. She was soft-spoken and reserved, and by the knee length skirt, cardigan sweater, and tiny cross pendant she wore around her neck, Harry was almost certain that Jesus was the only man in that girl’s life.
By early afternoon, Harry decided to take his first run down the Malibu coastline that their rental home sat adjacent to. Running was something he found always centered him. When he was having a bad day, taking a run always helped to cleanse him from all the chaos in his life. He wanted a fresh start in California. He wanted to put all of the fights he and Julia were having behind him. He wanted freedom from all of the things that were weighing him down back in New Jersey.
So he took off down the beach with his iPod serenading him, hoping for a little bit of peace.
Niko couldn’t even describe the feelings that were coursing through her as she prepared for the once in a lifetime trip. She just turned twenty-two and was enrolled in college at NYU. Money wasn’t tight, her family was pretty well off, but having the job was definitely an incredible opportunity for her. The mother of the family was a freaking CEO for some hoity-toity investment firm in New York. It wasn’t exactly the kind of work she saw herself getting into, but maybe it could get her foot in the door to something she did care for. It was all about connections, right? And besides, how many people got the chance to spend their entire summer in paradise with minimal responsibilities?
Excitement coursed through her as she took her first step outside of the LAX airport, her lungs pulling the salty air deep into her system, appreciating every single second of it. Niko was certain her summer was going to be amazing. She just knew it.
She took one last monumental breath, relishing in her freedom, before she turned to find the transportation Mrs. Styles promised would be waiting for her. As she took a look around at all the long awaited reunions and passengers arriving and departing, she managed to spot a hefty bald man with a sign reading Nikola Banks. She sighed happily, appreciating the fact that everything seemed to be going so smoothly for her. She had never been so far away from home, and if she were being honest, she spent a few sleepless nights anxiously worrying about every finite little detail about her trip. Thankfully for her, none of her fears had yet to be realized.
“I’m Nikola Banks,” she said, smiling politely at the driver.
“Right this way, miss,” he said, smiling back, taking hold of her luggage as he led her to an awaiting black town car that made her feel very important.
The driver even opened the door for her before loading all of her luggage into the trunk. With a smile, Niko slid smoothly into the back, the gray leather seats feeling cool on her bare legs. Excitement moved through her in waves as she looked around the pristinely cared for business car. The air conditioning was blasting throughout the cab, causing Niko to frown. She wanted nothing more than to feel the wind through her hair as they drove up the west coast.
“Could you please turn off the air conditioning?” Niko asked the man politely after he found his place in the driver seat.
“Miss?” He questioned.
“I’ve never been to California before. I’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean. Please,” she urged, a desperate look on her face. She watched as the man nodded once, obliging her wish.
“Thank you,” she said, clapping her hands together in an excited manner, pleased with herself as she pressed the little black button that opened the automatic window.
It was almost an hour long drive to the house, but Niko enjoyed every second of it, playing her California inspired playlist on her iPod. California here we coooooome…
As they pulled up into a long driveway, having reached their destination, Niko was blown away by the sheer size of the house she would be spending the entire summer living in. It was over-the-top ridiculously huge for a summer home. Was the family royalty or something?
“Is this it?” Niko asked the driver, mesmerized by the house’s mass.
“Yes, ma’am,” he nodded once, putting the car in park before jumping out of the driver side door to attend to opening hers.
“Holy crap,” Niko gaped at the house as the man took her hand to help her out of the car.
Once she was standing in the driveway, her wondering eyes pasted on the residence in front of her, she still could not believe the enormity of the house. She wasn’t even sure she had ever been in a house of its magnitude. Not even the driver informing her that he would gather her luggage from the car could rip her eyes away from the overwhelming structure. It was only when a dog came running up to her that she was broken out of her revelry. She wasn’t aware the family had any pets. It wasn’t mentioned in her interview. Her face flushed at the idea that she might not be in the right place. Did the driver get the directions wrong?
“Hey there, little buddy. You’re friendly, aren’t you?” Niko greeted the dog, squatting down to its level. He was some sort of a terrier mix, a miniature she immediately assumed. He looked a little older, like he was getting up there in years, but he was still unimaginably cute.
“He likes you,” Niko heard, causing her head to shoot up instantly.
She was left looking into the most penetratingly beautiful green eyes she ever saw. But then again green wasn’t exactly what she would call them. They were more like a gorgeous olive color. She also noticed when the sun hit them just right, they turned into more of a bright jade. It was mesmerizing.
When she realized she was staring, she let her eyes drop down the body of the man, who was probably in his late twenties, maybe early thirties. He had long brown hair pulled up into a bun. He had tattoos scattering his arms and his whole body was well-toned which she liked very much. She enjoyed the view mercilessly, checking out his rippling, but not too bulky biceps that stuck out perfectly from his sleeveless shirt. His whole body was glistening with the hint of sweat, leading her to believe he was just working out or running or something. She quietly wondered if perhaps the Styles’ had hired a male nanny. Or maybe he was the gardener, or the pool boy.
One summer fantasy after another flooded her head, and Niko knew the man standing in front of her fit them all perfectly.
As he gazed at the girl that seemingly just arrived on his doorstep, Harry couldn’t help but be stricken by her beauty. She was breathtaking, intoxicating, mouthwatering… He was entirely sure his mind could go on and on about what she was, but he knew it would be mildly inappropriate.
She had blonde flowing hair hanging just past her shoulders, sparkling blue-blue eyes, and a body he could lose himself in. He shook his head at the thought, realizing she must be in the wrong place and that it wasn’t fair of him to prey on her like that – even if it was just in his mind. Harry looked over to see the driver of the town car she came in unloading her luggage onto the driveway, and wondered if perhaps Julia temporarily went blind when she hired a girl like her. She was temptation at its finest, like the apple in the Garden of Eden. Not that he was much into infidelity or whatnot, but he definitely wasn’t opposed to looking – that was for sure.
“Zeus,” Harry said with a smile, giving a small nod toward the dog at the girl’s feet as she stood staring back at him.
“What?” Niko asked in a daze, prying her eyes from his body, focusing back up into his gorgeous olive eyes.
“The dog – his name is Zeus. He’s getting pretty old – I’ve had him for about eight years, but he’s a good dog,” Harry explained, smiling pleasantly at her. Niko nodded amusingly back at him, a small smirk dancing across her lips. She loved his British accent immensely.
“You must be… Niko? Am I saying that right?” Harry asked, taking a stab at the pronunciation, holding out his hand to shake hers. Her soft, petite hand slid smoothly into his as their eyes met once again, and Harry swore he saw something come to life in hers. Intrigue, perhaps?
“Yes, Niko Banks,” she replied, smiling slyly, adding, “and you?”
Niko watched as the man’s tongue darted quickly across his lips, wetting them in the process. She could not help but find it undeniably sexy. But then again, by definition that man was sex on legs.
“Oh, ha. Harry Styles. I’m Julia’s husband,” he introduced himself, finding it slightly amusing that it may have been the first time he ever had to introduce himself as Julia’s husband.
Most people still knew who he was. But it seemed pretty obvious that Niko might be just a little too young to know who he was in his former life. It was nearly a decade since he and his band mates were out conquering the hearts of millions of fangirls.
“Nice to meet you, Harry Styles,” Niko said, smiling brightly at him and he loved the sound of his name rolling off of her tongue.
The flirtatious looks she was sending were almost doing him and his deprived, raging libido in. He had to look away, to shake the girl out of his line of vision to even continue with the conversation.
“The other nanny is here already. Mary, I think. Have you met her?” Harry asked, trying to think of something other than the poor unsuspecting girl standing in front of him in the way he was already thinking about her.
“Nope,” Niko said, popping the ‘p’ against her lips.
“She’s… different,” Harry smirked at her, thinking about the awkward meeting he had with the first nanny. Niko gave him a curious look which made him chuckle a bit, causing him to shake his head.
“Never mind. Go on inside. Julia is waiting for you. I’ll take care of your luggage,” Harry laughed out loud, pointing back toward the house.
“Alright,” Niko smirked amusingly at the very attractive, very adorable house husband of one Julia Styles.
Her mind couldn’t help but cut to her roommate Kelsey’s words: hopefully he’s hot so you’ll have something to look at this summer. Oh, he was most definitely hot – ridiculously hot, in fact. And their playful banter and sexual tension was not lost on Niko as she made her way to the front door of the large estate.
Just before she found her way into the house, she turned to catch a very sly Mr. Styles checking out her assets. A sneaking smile pulled up Niko’s lips as Harry looked back at her bashfully, knowing he was just caught. With one last look and a flip of her hair, Niko disappeared through the front door, leaving Harry standing stunned out in the driveway with her luggage.
It was going to be a very interesting summer.