Chapter 1

Emily checked herself once more in the mirror before she left for her job interview. “Hair’s good, make-up’s good, teeth are clean, suit isn’t wrinkled….” She took a deep breath. “Ok…I think I’m ready to go! Wish me luck!”

It wasn’t her first job interview since moving down to Atlanta, but she had yet to land a job and she was starting to get nervous. Rent was due in another week and she had been living off of Ramen noodles and cereal in order to make sure she had enough money to pay the bills until she got a job. “If I get hired, I’m buying myself a nice steak!” she told herself. Emily had worked as a nanny for three years now. She recently decided to move to Atlanta because she was ready for a change of scenery and hated to admit that she basically closed her eyes and pointed at a map to decide where she wanted to move to. It wasn’t that no one wanted to hire her as their nanny. Some had offered her a position, but she was careful who she wanted to work for. Emily needed to feel comfortable with the family dynamic and she wasn’t always secure with some of the families she had talked to. And after what she went through at her last job, she knew that listening to her instinct was the best thing she could do. There were also some families that wouldn’t pay her what she was looking for. Emily knew what she was worth, and she wouldn’t settle for anything less. She’s no Super Nanny, but she thought she was pretty damn good at what she did. Basically, she was raising people’s kids for them, and she felt that she deserved to be well compensated for that. Especially if they had teenagers around the family. That would sometimes make her want to double her salary.

Emily followed the directions the lady had given her over the phone and found herself in an incredible looking neighborhood. She had to stop at the gate and have them buzz her in. “Wow! If nothing else, at least I’ll probably get to go inside a really nice house!” she said to herself.

She finally found the house number after passing it the first time. She parked her car in the street and realized that her 1998 Pontiac Sunfire looked painfully out of place sitting there amongst the BMW, Lexus and Mercedes she saw parked across the street. She walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. She half expected a servant to answer the door but instead she was greeted by a very stunning woman with long, blonde hair. “Hi! You must be Emily!” she greeted. “Come on inside.”

“It’s very nice to meet you!” Emily said, shaking the woman’s hand as she stepped inside.

“My name is Leighanne and this is my husband Brian.”

“Nice to meet you Brian.” Emily said as she shook his hand. “Why does he look familiar?” she said to herself.

“Did you find us ok?” he asked.

“Yes, for the most part I got here without any problems. I just passed your house so I had to turn around.”

“Everyone does that their first time here. We sit back further than all the other houses, and all the trees make it hard to see the address. Heck, sometimes I even drive past my own house if I’m not paying attention!”

Emily laughed, at least glad that they seemed like laid back people instead of the stuck up rich people she might have expected.

“Why don’t we go into the kitchen and have a seat.” Leighanne suggested. Emily followed them in and took a seat across from them at the table.

“I’m sure you’ve already seen my resume, but I brought you a more detailed sheet of my work experience.” Emily gave them both their own copy of what she considered the long version of her resume.

Brian and Leighanne glanced over their copies and made some notes. “So you’ve been a nanny for three years?” he asked.

“Yes. I’ve usually gone straight from one family to another but since I’ve just moved to Atlanta it’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve last worked.”

“What made you move here?” Leighanne asked.

“The main reason was just that I needed a change of pace.”

“Do you plan on staying here?” she asked.

“I do, actually. I haven’t been here long but I love my neighborhood, I love the weather, and I love the fact that there are so many things do to! I moved from a small town in Ohio and it seemed like the only thing to do was see a movie or hang out at the local Wal-Mart.”

Brian laughed. “I can see how Atlanta would be a big change from that!”

“What was the reason you left your last job?” Leighanne asked.

Emily knew that question would be coming, but she certainly dreaded the answer. “Honestly, I got fired.” She saw the look of concern cross their faces. “But I feel I should explain why that was. I had the husband arrested.” The look of concern increased. “He was a very public figure. Publicity was everything in his position, but he should have thought of that before he beat up his kids. There were two of them, 3 and 6. I came to work one morning and found one suffering a broken arm that hadn’t been looked at yet and the other with severe bruises all over her back. I took them straight to the hospital and filed a report with the police. His wife fired me before she even posted his bail, but that didn’t matter to me because the kids were removed from his care and I knew that they were safe.” Brian and Leighanne looked unsure of her story. “I know it sounds like something you’d see on TV, but it was written up in several of the local newspapers. You can look up the article online.” Brian wrote down the names of the papers and the name of the man she had worked for.

“I hope you don’t feel offended if we do check on that.”

“Absolutely not! I want you to feel completely comfortable with leaving me in charge of your child. I wouldn’t work for a family who didn’t trust me. It just doesn’t work.”

“How did you get started as a nanny?” Brian asked.

“Well, I had been working as a piano teacher since I was 21 and one of the families I taught for was looking for childcare because they went on a lot of business trips, trying to get their own business off the ground. I really liked them so I offered to help them out temporarily but it worked so well for both of us that it became permanent. The kids already knew me and I was already familiar with their dynamics. When they moved away, I had found that being a nanny gave me what I was looking for and so I looked for a new family.”

“Do you still teach piano?”

“I haven’t picked up any students in Atlanta yet. I wanted to wait until I knew what type of schedule I would be keeping. I didn’t want to start working with a student and then have to leave them right away.”

“What about your students in Ohio?”

“I had 15 students when I left. I worked with my replacement for about a month. She would sit in on our lessons so that the kids could get to know her and she could get to know them. Then for the last two lessons, she actually did the teaching and I sat back and observed. I think everyone had a smooth transition.”

“Do you have any professional education in childcare?” Leighanne asked.

“I am a licensed childcare provider in the state of Georgia as well as Ohio. I have taken several classes as outlined in the paper I gave you.”

“What methods of discipline do you use?”

“Before I answer that, would you mind if I ask you what methods you currently use with your son?”

Brian and Leighanne looked a bit taken back. “I ask for two reasons. One being what happened at my last job and the other being that what I like to do is follow the structure set up by the parents. If there is already some kind of system in place that’s working I try and follow that.”

Brian looked a bit sheepish as he answered. “Baylee is still in her terrible two’s even though he’s three years old now and because we travel so much and keep a very hectic lifestyle, we don’t really have much of a discipline structure set up.” Leighanne looked like she might kill him.

“That’s understandable. If I may be honest, if he’s acting out it’s probably because of the lack of structure in his environment. I believe that consistency is everything when raising a child. Make your rules and be consistent in enforcing them. What I usually do is the time-out method. I designate a spot to be time-out, such as a step or a rug and this is where they sit. They get a warning first and if they still don’t listen, they go to the naughty spot. I have never spanked a child. I know that some parents do, but I personally don’t believe it’s necessary.”

“What was your most challenging child like?” Brian asked. He was mostly curious. He loved watching those nanny shows on television and was wondering if she ever had families like that.

“I had a 5 year old who was pretty violent when she was mad. She would kick and pinch and spit at me when I started working for them. Her favorite thing to do was to make messes. She’s pour her finger paints on the carpet smear them in. She threw her food, broke dishes. It was just like you see on TV.”

“How did you handle that?”

“Well, really just like what they do on those TV shows. I reinforced the rules and had to work to get her to stay in time-out, but after a few weeks she finally realized it wasn’t working anymore and she began to stop her behaviors. I also made it a point to listen to her when she was upset. Sometimes kids feel like they aren’t heard and that’s what makes them behave badly. They just want the attention. I will admit that it was the most exhausting month in my life!”

“Are you willing to travel? We are gone a lot and we’re hoping to find someone who would be able to go with us. Your travel would be paid of course, but you would need to be available year-round, holidays included.”

“I think I could work with that.”

“What type of salary would you be expecting?” he asked. Emily gave her number and Brian seemed surprised. He was expecting to pay much more than that. After all, this woman would be a part of their family. She would be a part of his only son’s upbringing.

“Would you like to meet Baylee?”

“I would love to!”

“He’s upstairs with my mom. Why don’t you follow me?”

Emily followed them upstairs to what appeared to be a playroom.

“Baylee, this is Miss Emily.”

Emily knelt down to him. “It’s nice to meet you Baylee!” She held out her hand for him to shake.

He studied her for a minute, unsure of this stranger before cautiously shaking her hand and saying, “Hi.”

“What’s that you’re playing?” Emily asked him.

Shyly and quietly he answered, “I’m playin’ with my vroom-vrooms.”

Emily followed his glance and determined that a vroom-vroom was a toy car. “Can you show me your favorite one?”

Baylee ran over and picked up a silver car. “I like this one.”

“That’s a very neat car!” Emily exclaimed.

“It looks like my Daddy’s car.”

Baylee was beginning to feel more comfortable with Emily and he led her by the hand to his play table and asked her if she would help him build a tower out of his blocks. Emily noticed that he loved to talk. Once he warmed up to her, he chatted almost non-stop. Eventually, he got tired of playing and announced, “Mommy I’m hungry!”

“Grandma’s downstairs making lunch, why don’t you go see what she’s got for you!” Baylee took off for the kitchen as Emily cleaned up the blocks and stood back up.

“He’s a really great kid.”

“Thank you!” they said together.

“Do you have any other questions for me?” she asked.

“Well, my last question was to ask you if you had any questions for us.” Leighanne responded.

“No, all of my questions got answered from spending time with Baylee. I usually just ask questions about what the kids are like, their personalities and things.”

“Great! Well it was very nice to meet you, thank you for coming out here.” Leighanne responded.

“Oh thank you for calling me!” Emily responded as they walked to the front door.

“We’ve interviewed a few other candidates but we expect to make our decision today and we will give you a call this evening with our decision.” Brian said.

“Ok, I look forward to hearing from you.” Emily shook both their hands as she left. Once she was inside her car, she said “God, if you get me the job with this family, I’ll forget all about that steak!” She really liked their family, especially Baylee.

Chapter 2

Once she was home, she picked up her phone just to make sure it was working. She changed into some comfortable clothes and picked up her latest knitting project while she watched TV. She suddenly remembered that she wanted to try and figure out why Brian looked familiar. She went over to her computer and Googled him. “Oh shit!” she exclaimed. “He’s a freaking Backstreet Boy! No wonder he looks so familiar! Damn! Working for a celebrity? No wonder they travel all the time!” She was still in awe when her phone rang. She forgot that she was expecting their call and sounded a bit distracted as she answered.

“Uh, is Emily there?” a male voice asked.

“Yes, this is Emily.”

“Emily this is Brian Littrell.”

“OH! Yes, I’m sorry, I was a bit distracted.” Even though she had already met him, she was suddenly nervous to be talking to him. He was, after all, a celebrity.

“Is this a good time?”

“Well, that depends on whether I got the job or not.” She said to herself.

“Yes, now is fine.”

“Well, Leighanne and I were really impressed with your interaction with Baylee. Believe it or not, he doesn’t usually warm up to new people that easily. We also checked all your references and everyone just raved about you. I also checked into that newspaper story. You got the mayor booted out of office?”

Emily laughed. “Well, I suppose that was a consequence to the situation, but I won’t lie, it felt really good when that happened.”

Brian chuckled. “Yeah, too bad that’s all that happened to him. Anyway, Leighanne and I felt very comfortable with you and we’d like to offer you the job if you’ll accept.”

“Well, would it be alright if I thought about it overnight?”

“Oh, sure that would be fine. Just give us a call in the morning; we’d like you to start right away if you accept.”

“Ok, I will let you know! Thank you so much!” Emily hung up the phone and let out a giddy screech. She knew she was going to take the job; she just liked to give the impression that she didn’t need them. She found that that little trick usually gave her more bargaining power. She kept her promise and didn’t order the steak, but she did allow herself a nice, juicy hamburger. When she went to bed, she pulled out a scrapbook full of baby pictures. She didn’t allow herself to look at them too often, but for some reason, tonight more than ever she wanted to see his face. She smiled as tears ran down her face as she remembered.

Emily woke up at seven o’clock in the morning and fixed herself breakfast. She couldn’t wait to call and accept the job, but she didn’t want to call too early. She waited until about 9:30 before she dialed.


“Hi, could I speak with Brian please?”

“Speaking.” She could hear Baylee screaming about something in the background.

“Brian, this is Emily. I was calling to let you know that I would love to accept the job.”

“Oh thank you so much! I was worried all night that you would turn us down!”

Emily smiled to herself. “He’s a great little boy; I think it’ll be a blast.”

“Listen, do you think you could stop by today? I’ve got some papers drawn up and we can go over salary and benefits and things like that.”

“Sure. When would be a good time?”

“Why don’t you come over for lunch? Say around 12:30?”

“That sounds just fine. I look forward to seeing you then.”

“Thanks again, Emily!”

Emily was about to hang up the phone when he said, “Wait! One more thing!”

“Sure.” She said.

“Well, this might sound a bit strange, but can you explain to me that time-out thing real quick?”

Emily laughed. Baylee was still throwing a fit in the background as she explained to him what to do. She was still laughing when she hung up the phone and realized that she felt excited and full of energy. She decided to take advantage of the gorgeous spring day and go for a jog before she got ready to go. When she came back, she headed straight to the shower to get ready.

She was about a mile from their house when her car started to overheat and stalled as she pulled over.

“FUCK FUCK SHIT DAMN FUCK!” she screamed. “You piece of crap, why now!!” She fought to regain her composure as she tried to figure out what to do. She had to be there like, now. She supposed she could walk but she would be late and she was not wearing walking shoes. She should call to have someone come pick her car up. She would have to call Brian’s house and reschedule for later that day.

She was pulling out her cell phone when a car pulled up next to her. “Great. Some freaky guy probably wants to rescue me.” She locked her car doors.

The window of the car went down and she saw Brian sitting in the driver’s seat. She felt humiliated but managed to smile at him. “Need some help?” he asked.

“The stupid thing over-heated. I was just about to call you to cancel our lunch!”

“Why don’t I give you a lift? We can have it taken in and looked at while we go over stuff, then I’ll drive you to pick it up.” He offered.

“Oh you don’t have to go to all that trouble!”

“It’s no trouble, really! You’re part of the family now. Come on, get in!”

Emily felt incredibly humiliated as she climbed into his luxurious car. “Thanks!” she said as she buckled in.

“Excuse the mess in the back. Baylee threw his cheerios this morning and I haven’t had time to clean it up.”

Emily just laughed. They pulled into his garage.

“Well, I guess we’ll start the tour in the garage today. We keep all the bikes and balls in here for when we play outside.” They walked in the door and she found herself in the kitchen.

“Look who I found stranded on the side of the road!” Brian exclaimed to Leighanne.

“Oh no! What happened?”

“Oh my car gave out on me! Do you have a phone book? I need to call and have it picked up.”

Brian showed her to the phone book. Once she had made all the arrangements, he took her on a tour of the house. “Well, this is our kitchen as you can see! Through here is our dining room.” The room was huge, with a very large table. “We have a lot of big dinner parties here. In here is our living room, the bathroom is here off the hallway. Back here is the den where our computer is. Baylee’s got a few games he can play but we try not to let him play too much. Over in here is the family room.” The ceiling was vaulted and there was a fireplace against one wall. There were two sets of French doors that led out to a large deck. Brian took her outside. “This is where we’re going to eat lunch.” He said as he showed her to the table outside. The deck led to a locked gate that was the entrance to a gorgeous pool area. “We keep this locked all the time. Baylee can swim but we don’t want him out here by himself.” Emily nodded. Off to the side he showed her a swing set and a basketball court. “The basketball is for me, and if you ask my wife she’ll say the swing is too!”

They went back inside and he showed her the basement where they had a large TV with theater seats in one room, and a game room with air hockey and a pool table in another. “This is where I get sent to play. She let me do whatever I wanted to the basement, but I had to give her control over the rest of the house.”

“Well, at least she gave you the basement!” Emily kidded.

They went to the second floor which seemed to have an endless amount of bedrooms. “Baylee’s is right next to ours. You’ve seen the playroom already.” They walked to the other end of the hall. “This is our guest suite.” They went into a room that was actually a series of rooms. It had its own sitting area, bedroom, and a private bathroom. “We’d actually like to offer you this room. Obviously, you don’t have to move in if you’re not interested but we figured with late hours and us being gone, you should have your own place to crash whenever you need to spend the night.”

“It’s very nice!” Emily commented.

They finished their tour and went back outside to join Leighanne and Baylee for lunch. “How did the time-out go?” Emily asked.

Brian cringed. “It was rough, but it worked.”

“It really does get easier the more times you use it, I promise.”

They ate their lunch and then got down to business.

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"Never Gone" is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

Copyright ©2006
All Rights Reserved
No part of this text may be copied or reprinted
without the author's permission.


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