“Ah, Nikola… I’m glad you could make it,” Julia Styles said, waving her into the expansive living room of the summer home.
As Niko scanned her surrounding, she saw both kids sitting on the couch fidgeting to themselves, looking as though they were wishing to be anywhere else doing just about anything else. She also saw a quite frumpy looking girl sitting posture-perfect in an arm chair next to the couch. She must have been the second nanny Mr. Styles was referring to, Niko was almost sure of it.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’ll get back to you…” Julia spoke, confusing Niko slightly until she noticed the Bluetooth device that was poised in her ear.
“Just let me call you back. Yeah. I’ll call you back in ten,” Julia said, clicking off her ear phone device.
“So, where were we?” Julia smiled politely, focusing on everyone in the room rather than on her cell phone.
“Please…” Julia said as she scooted Niko toward an available arm chair. Niko felt slightly awkward, but took the seat anyway.
“Kids, do you remember Nikola?” Julia asked them with an exaggerated smile on her face.
“Hi,” they both beamed back at Niko with smiling faces.
“Hi, Jackson. Hi, Avery. I’m super excited to be hanging out this summer. Are you guys ready to have fun?” Niko smiled back at them, trying to sound as enthusiastic as possible.
“YEAH!” They both shouted excitedly.
In all actuality, Niko was just as excited. The moment she met the children, she instantly loved them. And she was certain the summer was going to be a blast getting to hang out with them every day.
“Nikola, this is Mary, the second au pair I hired. You will both be sharing duties over the summer. Thank God. It would have been impossibly hard to only have one of you. Oh, I can’t even imagine. It would have been such a headache. I was actually contemplating three. But that’s another story,” Julia talked a mile a minute, seemingly to herself, and it made Niko wonder if she were always that self-centered.
Julia Styles was definitely something else. To Niko, she looked like she needed a stiff drink… or something else that was stiff. She silently wondered if Mr. Styles – or Harry, as he told her to call him – was giving it to her regularly. By the way she stood like she had a stick up her ass, and that uptight attitude of hers, Julia definitely seemed like a woman who could use a good go-around between sheets. And after really thinking about it, Niko’s eyebrows contorted slightly as she wondered why the hell Julia would ever turn down a man like Harry Styles. He had a body that was made for sex. And Niko would bet money that he was good.
“Will that work for you, Nikola? Nikola?” Julia asked impatiently.
“Huh?” Niko asked snapping out of her lust-filled fantasies about her new boss’ husband.
“I was just going over the schedule—oh, never mind. I’ll type it up and have it to you both by tomorrow,” Julia said, waving it off, just as her eyes snapped up toward the doorway.
“Oh, Harry, honey,” Julia said, waving her husband into the room.
Harry also had to be snapped out of his own, not-so admirable thoughts – thoughts of the beautiful new arrival to the estate. After he had the pleasure of meeting their new house guest, Harry took Niko’s belongings to the room Julia already assigned to her, and he wasn’t able to get the little blonde pixie out of his mind – not even for a second. She was absolutely alluring.
Harry’s vision fell away from Niko and landed on his wife who stood in the middle of the room wearing full business attire with her dark hair tied back tightly in a bun, despite the fact that she was on vacation. It really was a mark of her character, of who she was and how she was raised. She was a professional even when she didn’t need to be.
“Daddy!” Avery beamed at Harry as he walked toward her mother.
“Hello, love,” he said, smiling fondly down at one half of his pride and joy, and then at the other half sitting next to her – her brother.
“Harry, have you had a chance to meet Nikola?” Julia asked, grasping his arm lightly, holding out her other hand to present him to the young woman he just embarrassingly gawked at in the driveway.
It wasn’t lost on Harry when Julia’s hand fell away from his arm almost immediately, as if touching him was frowned upon.
“Yes. I had the pleasure of meeting her in the driveway,” he informed his wife with a pleasant smile, before sending a smirk to Niko.
Niko couldn’t help but smile back at Mr. Styles. Especially because the smile he sent her seemed like an inside joke just between the two of them – like they shared a secret no one else in the room knew about. And perhaps they did share a secret. Perhaps the little sneaking glances at one another in the driveway were enough for them to be inducted into some super-secret exclusive club for two. Niko was certain the fact that Mr. Styles had so blatantly checked out her ass as she walked into the house was the cementing factor in their wordless pact with one another. And it made her feel good.
“Good, good. Honey, could you show the girls to their rooms? I have to call the office back,” Julia said to her husband, not even waiting for an answer before dialing her phone.
“It would be my pleasure,” he said, rolling his eyes at his uppity wife.
“Kids, why don’t you go up to your rooms for now?” Julia said, immediately shooing her kids away.
“I’ll see you guy’s later, okay?” Niko said to the kids as they ambled off the couch before running out the door, their giggles answering her question for them.
“Come on, ladies. I will show you to your quarters,” Harry said, smiling particularly at Niko, completely giving into the fact that he took a firm interest in her. A fact that would sure as hell get him into loads of trouble if the wife ever caught on.
Niko walked next to Mr. Styles as they went through the house, Mary trailing somewhere behind them. She was in absolute awe at the architecture of the whole entire house – straight down to the crown molding and antique wall paper.
“This house is incredible,” Niko said, looking around, her eyes wide and bright.
“It’s something else,” Harry said, looking at her from the corner of his eye.
The house wasn’t the only thing Niko found incredible. Harry’s scent was intoxicating. It was a mix between his cologne and the natural musk of his body – his hot, sexy body. She almost couldn’t believe herself – fawning over a married man and all. But she just couldn’t help it.
The summer house was so big that the help had its very own wing in the house. And lucky for the two au pairs to each have their own living quarters. Niko’s room was rather spacious with a nice full sized bed, a decent closet, and even a desk and a sitting area. The white walls were slightly drab with nothing hung on them, but Niko was certain she would make the room feel like home in no time.
Mary had the room across the hallway which mirrored Niko’s in every way. They were to share a bathroom, which was sort of a drag, but they had their own entrance outdoors that they could come and go from as they pleased.
“So, girls…” Mr. Styles said, and almost immediately Mary flanked to his side. It wasn’t her being interested in him, no – not like Niko certainly was. It was more her being obedient – being the good little au pair.
Mary intrigued Niko. She was definitely different. You could tell just by meeting her once that she was religious, reserved, and very soft spoken. Her fashion style, which was conservative, made it seem like she grew up in a strict Catholic home. She looked like she had never been out in the sun and almost looked like she belonged in a convent. A real Virgin Mary. Niko almost snickered to herself thinking about how she herself was more along the lines of Mary Magdalene in comparison.
“We’re really excited to have you here. And if you need anything, please, don’t hesitate to ask,” Mr. Styles continued on with a light smile on his face.
“Thank you, sir,” Mary replied, nodding lightly.
“Please, call me Harry,” he corrected her.
“Harry,” Niko said quietly to herself before she even realized she said it. Harry looked up at her almost immediately with a cocked eyebrow and a smirk on his face.
“So, where are you from? New York? New Jersey?” Harry continued on, asking both of the girls.
“I grew up in Pennsylvania, sir. But I study in New York,” Mary answered quickly.
“Like, college?” Harry asked her.
“Yes, sir,” she nodded.
“That’s great. Niko?” Harry asked, catching Niko completely off guard.
“Oh, um. I’m from New York,” she answered with a small smile.
“Do you go to school?” He asked.
“Yep. NYU,” Niko nodded.
“NYU, wow. Good for you. What are you studying?” He asked, seemingly taking more of an interest in one and not the other.
“Marketing. Business Marketing,” Niko told him.
“Ambitious,” he said, seeming impressed, and Niko couldn’t help but feel flush with pride because of it.
“How old are you—ahem—both of you?” Harry asked, realizing he was playing favorites.
“Twenty-two, sir,” Mary said quietly.
“Same,” Niko told him, biting her lip lightly. Harry couldn’t help but find it entirely sexy.
“You’re both twenty-two, huh? Getting close to graduating?” He asked curiously, trying to shy his mind away from the dirty thoughts he kept having of the girl standing in front of him who was much, much too young to be thinking about in that way.
“I am working on my Bachelor’s degree, striving toward my Master’s,” Niko said proudly.
“Well, good for you. Seriously. That’s definitely impressive,” Harry nodded.
“And how old are you?” Niko asked boldly, causing Harry to let out a light chuckle, bashfully looking toward the ground.
“Much older,” he said as he looked up and smirked back at her.
“How much older?” She cocked her eyebrow.
“Try a decade—and then some,” he chuckled.
“Thirty-three?” Niko asked.
“Thirty-three this summer. I’m an old man,” he joked.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Niko said, her voice coming out with an air of seduction.
Harry could tell right away she was flirting. It was apparent. He could spot that eyebrow twitch a mile away. And no matter how many times he found himself looking at her, he would have been willing to bet she was looking back at him just as much. And something like that did not go unnoticed by his ravenous libido.
“Oh, yeah? What would you say then?” Harry flirted back, egging her on.
“Mature. Cultured. Developed,” she said, emphasizing the last word in the sexiest way possible, and Harry was entirely floored over it. He was certain a summer with her around was going to absolutely wreck him.
“Why thank you, Niko,” Harry said, giving her a pleased smile before his eyes wandered up her entire body – from her killer legs to her flat stomach to her amazing breast and then up to her beautiful face.
Niko cocked her eyebrow at Harry again, letting him know without words that she just caught him checking her out – again. But Harry wasn’t worried about any repercussions. He knew their mutual flirting was as fun for her as it was for him.
“Niko – what kind of name is that?” Harry asked curiously, changing the subject.
“It’s actually Nikola. Niko is just a nickname, I guess. It’s Greek, meaning ‘victory of the people’. In its actual origin it’s a boy’s name, but my mom loved it so much that she didn’t care,” she explained.
It was something Niko had to do often with a name like hers. Her explanation was well-rehearsed, because she explained it to so many people in her twenty-two years.
“Fascinating,” Harry told her sincerely.
“Yeah, super exciting,” she said with slight sarcasm in her words, causing Harry to chuckle.
The two of them were broken out of their one-on-one bonding time when they heard Mary lightly clear her throat. They were both quite startled, having forgotten she was even standing there.
“Well…” Harry said, clearing his throat as he took a step back from Niko, looking over at Mary sheepishly.
“I’ll uh… I’ll let you two get settled. And I’ll uh, see you for dinner,” Harry said just before he stepped around Mary and made his way down the hallway back toward the common areas of the house.
Harry felt slightly ashamed that Mary was witness to their blatant flirting. He could already picture her saying a prayer for her perverted boss, who was this close to some sort of emotional adultery, and the flirtatious young nanny who provoked him. Good God.
Once Mr. Styles made his exit, Niko almost immediately began unpacking her suitcase, but stopped abruptly when she saw Mary was still standing in her doorway.
“Uh, hi,” Niko stammered, feeling slightly uncomfortable with the girl staring at her.
“I look forward to working with you, Nikola,” Mary said politely.
“Yeah, you too,” Niko said, eyeing her. Mary nodded once before she spun on her heels, headed off to her own room.
“Weird,” Niko said under her breath, trying to shake off the awkward encounter as she began sifting through her belongings.
Niko happily unpacked as visions of Mr. Styles and his well-developed body invaded her mind. He was eye candy, indeed. She smiled as she thought of how excited her roommate Kelsey was going to be when she heard the new.
As Niko went through her toiletries, ready to bring them to the bathroom, she came across her little pink vibrator – definitely a girl’s best friend. She was now thankful she made the conscious decision to bring it along, because she was certain she was going to need it if Mr. Styles kept looking at her like that – and kept looking like that.
During dinner, Mary made the mistake of asking Julia something about what she did for a living – thus throwing Julia into a long-winded conversation about the deal she was working on. Harry’s brain seemed to shutdown whenever Julia began talking about her job. It was all the same, all so mundane.
“Jules, can we not talk about work right now, please. We have our new guests here,” Harry finally said to shut his wife up.
“Oh, right. Yes. So girls, tell us a little more about yourselves,” Julia said, looking between both of them. When neither of them spoke up right away, Julia picked one of them on a whim.
“Mary?” Julia asked with an expectant look on her face.
“I-I attend college at Saint Mary Magdalene in New Hampshire,” Mary began to explain. It made Niko snicker slightly to herself. Seriously, Saint Mary Magdalene College?
Mary went onto tell the family who she was, what she did, how she spent her time. But Harry wasn’t listening. As she began talking about where she went to school, he began to tune her out, because out of the corner of his eye he was watching Niko, who seemed to be trying her hardest to pay attention to the very uninteresting girl that was sitting across from her.
“And you, Nikola?” Harry asked, once he was sure Mary finished her life story.
Niko’s eyes shot up to his, and he immediately registered some kind of playfulness in them. She was amused that he was the one to speak up, and she was amused that he sat there with a smirk on his face as she began speaking.
“Well… I am twenty-two years old…” She started.
“Oh, she’s just a baby, Harry. Ten years younger than us,” Julia’s voice rang through the dining room, tearing Harry’s eyes away from Niko.
“Yeah, a baby,” he said awkwardly, giving his wife a small smile before focusing back on Niko.
“I’m working toward my Bachelor’s degree in Business, with an emphasis in Marketing. Uh, I have two older sisters. Jacey is twenty-eight and Hayley is twenty-six,” Niko continued after Julia interrupted.
“Hey, maybe her sisters remember your band, honey,” Julia interrupted her once again.
“Your band?” Niko smirked wildly at Harry.
Harry wasn’t going to go around bragging about his band or anything, but if she was willing to listen, it gave him free reign to do a little peacocking.
“Oh, yeah. He and his friend Louis were in a group that were pretty much it back in the day,” Julia smiled amusingly. Harry eyed his wife through his eyelashes, fully annoyed by her.
Julia loved teasing Harry about being in a boy-band, and it bothered him since it was his career that bought them their million dollar home in New Jersey, and that still managed to bring in income even though he’d been out of the spotlight for nearly seven years.
“You act like it was decades ago. It’s been less than ten years,” he said, trying as best he could to keep the annoyance out of his tone, but he was sure he it was unsuccessful.
“Tell me about it,” Niko said to Harry, her voice coming out soft and airy, ignoring Julia altogether. Harry’s entire body began to tingle as her earnest eyes watched him contently.
“It was just this thing I did with some buddies,” Harry said, feeling bashful for the first time in a long time.
“They were world renowned. You actually might still hear about them. Louis is still out there making music,” Julia went on to explain.
Harry’s annoyance came back with a vengeance toward his wife as she once again stole Niko’s attention.
“Oh, really?” Niko cooed, turning her eyes back to him.
“One Direction. They were One Direction,” Julia blurted out, causing Harry to scoff lightly. Apparently Julia wasn’t going to let him tell his own life story.
“No way!” Niko yelped, looking at him wide-eyed.
“You know of us?” He smirked widely at her, feeling completely elated that someone as young as she was remembered them.
“Oh my god. My sister Jacey was obsessed with you guys. Hayley liked you guys too, but not like Jacey. She was totally going to marry Louis,” she laughed.
“Louis, huh?” Harry chuckled, giving her a cock of his eyebrow.
“Totally,” Niko laughed.
“Last I heard, Louis’s wife’s name isn’t Jacey,” Harry told her with a smirk on his face.
“Sucks for Jacey then,” she shrugged with a laugh.
It amused Harry, probably more than it should have that she actually knew of his band. He was enjoying her company as they sat around the table eating dinner with the family. It had been a long time since he had a nice conversation with a woman. Julia left a lot to be desired.
“You never listened to us?” He asked Niko curiously.
“In passing. I was like, seven or eight. And I was more into sports than dreamy boys,” she said, batting her eyelashes at him dramatically. Harry laughed out loud, feeling young again.
“That’s what makes you beautiful...” She sang out softly, revealing that she knew the lyrics and melody of One Direction’s biggest hit to date.
“Are you sure you weren’t a fan?” He asked, cocking his eyebrow inquisitively at her.
“Sorry. I was out on the baseball diamond with all the neighborhood boys,” she shrugged, bouncing her eyebrows at him playfully.
“Daddy, I like your music,” Harry heard Avery’s tiny little voice and it snapped him out of his one-track mind, making him feel guilty that he just completely monopolized the conversation – among other things.
“I do too, dad,” Jackson piped in too.
“Thanks, guys. You’re the best,” Harry beamed at his children. No matter what, he knew his kids were his biggest fans.
After dinner, Harry and Julia gave the new nanny’s a crash course in bathing and bedtime with the kids. It was entirely chaotic and hectic, especially when Avery had a meltdown over her missing stuffed dog that no one could find for what seemed like forever. It was definitely a trying night and Harry breathed a sigh of relief once he and Julia were finally in their bedroom alone.
“Ugh. Sometimes these children make me so glad I got my tubes tied,” Julia grumbled as she started to remove her jewelry from the day.
Harry’s whole entire body froze with his wife’s words before his blood started boiling rapidly. First of all, it was a low blow to both him and the kids. And second of all—what the fuck?
“You what?” He choked out.
“Hmm?” She hummed, looking over at him like her words hadn’t held some sort of fucked up meaning.
“You got your tubes tied?” He looked at her, feeling as though he was about to come unhinged.
“Oh—” She said, realizing she just made a colossal mistake letting that one slip.
“What in the fuck, Julia?” Harry growled.
“Harry—be serious,” she scoffed.
“Be serious? What the fuck does that mean?” He shot at her as his anger encompassed him.
“After Avery, I—” She started before he cut her off.
“After Avery!? You got your tubes tied five years ago and didn’t think to tell me!? I’m your god damn husband!” He yelled, feeling the animosity and irritation boil over and seep all around his body.
“I told you one child, Harry! And then… and then I got pregnant again. I just… I…” She stammered. Harry’s head felt like it might explode as he stood there listening to his wife’s excuses, which only made her sound like the most selfish god damn person on the planet.
“We agreed on one child, but Avery—god, I can’t believe the way you—ohmygod,” he growled, unable to complete a full thought, let alone a sentence.
“What are you so mad about?” She scoffed with a snide attitude that only worked to piss Harry off further.
“If you don’t know what I am so mad about, then you don’t know me at all, Julia!” He yelled at her, his chest nearly heaving with anger.
There was a long, weighted silence between them, where Julia just stood against the dresser, biting at her lip and Harry just tried to control his breathing and temper.
“I got it at the same time I had the C-section with Avery. You were so wrapped up in the baby…” She said quietly.
“You are so god damn disrespectful,” Harry said through a clenched jaw as he shook his head lightly, feeling so much anger toward the woman he vowed to spend the rest of his life with. He was so mad, he felt like he couldn’t even be in the same room as her.
“I didn’t think you’d ever find out. I just… I didn’t mean for you to find out. It just slipped out,” she said, looking rather flustered.
“You still don’t fucking get it, Julia,” he shot at her, his fiery eyes burning into her.
“What!? What don’t I get? What don’t you get!? I don’t want any more kids!” She screamed at him, letting her own irritation out.
“I am your god damn husband, Julia! You aren’t supposed to keep things that are that life changing from me! What the fuck trust do we have left if we’re keeping secrets this fucking monstrous from each other!?” He screamed at her. He didn’t usually make it a habit to scream at the mother of his children, or any women for that matter, with that much anger and expletives, but Julia really did a number on him.
She stood silently staring at the floor, keeping her lips pursed tightly together.
“Fuck, Julia!” He growled, throwing his hands up.
With her complete indifference and disregard for his feelings, something inside of him snapped. And it broke Harry’s heart to realize it was last little thread that held their teetering, fragile relationship together. He knew he would never be able to look passed what she did. It was just too much.
Without another word, Harry stalked out of the bedroom – down the hallway, down the stairs. He ended up in the kitchen, grabbing the bottle of vodka he packed along in his luggage. He planned on drinking it casually – make a vodka tonic here and there. But it was definitely a night where he needed a friend and it was going to be that bottle of vodka.
The remainder of Harry’s night consisted of watching a lot of netflix in the pool house by himself, drinking nearly the entire bottle of vodka while drowning in the sorrowful mess that was his life.
And he was greeted with a lovely hangover in the morning.