Chapter 7

“Oh, Kevin, I see you’ve met Emily!” Brian came running over to them. “She’s our new nanny, just started this week. You’ll love her.”

Kevin gave her a sheepish look and shook her hand. “It’s nice to meet you Emily.” Emily remained her ticked off, annoyed face as she returned the shake. “I’ve got to get on stage, excuse me.” Kevin said.

“I’m sorry Emily. Kevin is a very protective uncle. He must have thought you were some predator or something.” Brian tried to explain.

“Yeah, I guess I do look the type….”

“Well, you can’t ever be too sure in this life.”

“I know. It’s nice that he cares. No one else is going to try and haul me away, are they?” she asked, thinking of the hundreds of staff people that must be around here, not knowing who she is.

“I’ll make sure word gets out this afternoon so you won’t have any problems. I’ve got to get up there, looks like we’re ready to roll.”

Brian went back onstage and hooked up his microphone for sound checks as AJ came in.

“Brian, who’s the chick down there talking to Baylee?” he asked, looking over at Emily.

Brian sighed. “Listen up everyone. Meet Emily. She’s our new nanny. Not a kidnapper or a crazy person. Be nice to her!” Emily gave a shy wave and glanced up at Kevin who smiled at her.

“Daddy, her name is Miss Emily. Remember, you said I had to be polite and call her Miss. Emily?”

The guys turned their backs, trying to conceal their laughter. “Thank you, Baylee. This is Miss. Emily.” Brian corrected himself.

“Baylee, why don’t you come up here and help me sing?” Howie asked.

“Ok!” Baylee ran up the steps.

Emily sat back and watched the rehearsal. She made sure to watch that Baylee wasn’t getting in the way, but he was surprisingly able to keep himself out of trouble up there. She watched some of the other guys up there. Nick looked really tired. Howie looked pretty excited to be there. Kevin was trying not to look at her. Brian looked completely in his element. And AJ looked….sexy. She was having a hard time keeping her eyes off of him and got completely caught when he looked over at her. He gave her a sly smile and a wink and went back to what he was doing.

Emily didn’t get it. AJ was completely not the type she usually would be attracted to, at least judging from looks alone. She didn’t like tattoos or facial hair, and the whole substance abuse thing was normally a turn-off as well. There was just something about him. Those eyes. He was one of those people who could look at you, say nothing, and yet you’d feel like you just had a complete conversation. Yes, it was definitely the eyes. Not to mention the dance moves. She wouldn’t even let her mind wander into that territory. She could not be attracted to a friend of her boss. That just couldn’t happen. She sighed as she turned her attention back to Baylee, who was now helping the drummer play.

When they took a break, the guys all came up to introduce themselves to her. Kevin came up and apologized again, and this time, Emily let it go. AJ was the last one over. He took a seat next to her, wiping his face off with a sweat towel. “So what do you think so far?” he asked.

Her heart skipped a beat. He was looking at her with those eyes and it was making her nervous. “Oh, it’s like a whirlwind, isn’t it? I can hardly keep up with everything and I’m just the nanny!”

AJ laughed. “You’ll get the hang of it. It’s always the same thing, different town. You’ll get the routine picked up pretty quickly.”

Emily smiled. “I hope so! Is he getting in the way up there?” she asked, gesturing to Baylee.

“Baylee? Not at all! We love having him up there. I think he lightens the mood and keeps us from getting stressed out.”

“He seems to be having a great time.”

“Well, I’d better get myself back up there before I get into trouble! It was nice meeting you!” he smiled at her.

“Nice to meet you too!” she smiled back.

“Oh and hey, if you don’t have to be on Baylee-duty tonight, some of us are going out for a very late dinner after the show if you care to join us.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, thanks.” She doubted she’d be able to go, and wasn’t really sure if she should anyway. Wouldn’t that be like, on the job fraternization? She was here to do one thing: take care of Baylee.

Chapter 8

Leighanne came and found them and showed Emily where they usually hung around backstage. She could hear the fans starting to come inside and was surprised just how loud it got out there.

“Ever been to a concert like this before?” she asked.

“Not since I was in high school. I think I forgot how obnoxious I was back then.” Emily laughed.

“Maybe passionate is a better word.” Leighanne suggested.

“Yeah, that puts a better spin on it. What happens after the concert?”

“Well, we usually get ourselves to the van before they do the encore. After the last song, the guys are rushed out and taken to the hotel, hopefully before the mob can catch up to us. Then from there, it’s basically free-time. Usually there are a few groups of people going out to do stuff. I think tonight Brian and I are going to stay in with Baylee so you’re free to go out if you want.”

“You don’t have to stay in! I’m supposed to be the one to stay in so you can go out and have fun!”

“Don’t worry, we will, probably tomorrow night but we try and set aside one night every few days to do something as a family. We don’t want Baylee to feel abandoned every night while his parents are out partying the night away!”

“Well, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you change your mind.”

“Emily, go out and have fun! Just because you’re here to work doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy yourself every once in awhile.”

“If you’re sure, then I think I just might do that. AJ was saying something about going out to eat afterwards.”

“His crowd is usually the most fun one. The band usually goes out together; some of the crew goes out together. AJ usually goes out with Kevin and Brian and I. Lately he tries to keep it a smaller thing, so that he isn’t tempted by the bars and things. I’ll have him give you a call.”

After the show, they hurried into their hotel and into the elevators. “You sure you don’t want to go out tonight?” Emily asked.

“I’m so tired, I don’t even think I could stay awake long enough to.” Brian said.

“Ok. Then I’ll see you in the morning!”

“Have fun! Leighanne said, as they went into their room. Emily was walking down the hall when she heard Baylee throwing a fit about something, and was suddenly relieved to have the night off.

She had just turned on the TV, planning on watching a movie or something when her phone rang. “Hello?”

“Hi, is Emily there?” a raspy voice asked.

“Yes, this is Emily.”

“Oh, hi Emily! This is AJ.”

She was surprised. She thought he was just being nice. She hadn’t really expected him to call. “Hey. Great show tonight.”

“Thanks. Listen, Leigh told me you were interested in going out to dinner. You still free?”

“Yeah, but I think I’ll just stay in. I don’t want to intrude.” They all knew each other so well; she knew she’d be an outsider.

“You’re not intruding. Listen, it’s just me, Kevin, and his wife Kristin. I hate odd numbers, so you have to come!”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. What room are you in, we’ll swing by and pick you up in 10 minutes.”

Emily gave him her room number and raced into the bathroom to get ready. She found that it was hard to touch up her makeup with shaking hands, so she decided to abandon the effort before she completely ruined it.

She was ready to go when she heard a knock on her door. Double checking to make sure she had her phone and her key, she opened the door and was greeted by AJ.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“Yeah, I think so.”

“You remember Kevin?” AJ smirked.

Emily smiled at Kevin. “I believe we’ve met.”

“I really am sorry about that; I guess I’m just a bit jaded and overprotective.”

“I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. You were just watching out for your nephew.”

“This is my wife, Kristin. She’s joining us for a few days. Kristin, this is Emily.”

“Excuse me Kevin; I believe that’s Miss. Emily.” AJ interjected with a grin.

Emily shook Kristin’s hand, laughing. “It’s nice to meet you, and you can all call me Emily, just don’t let Baylee hear you or you’ll get into trouble.” They headed into the elevator when Emily noticed that they were being escorted by a few rather large and mean looking men.

AJ noticed Emily watching the men. “Security. They go with us everywhere.”

“Oh, right. Of course. Where are we going, anyway?”

“This real small Italian restaurant that I go to every time I’m in the city. It’s family run and I swear it’s better than most Italian food I ate in Italy.” AJ answered.

“I hope you like Italian!” Kristin said.

“God, I’m so hungry right now I’d eat just about anything short of sea food.” Emily answered.

“You don’t eat sea food?” AJ asked.

“No, I can’t stand it.” Emily was used to this reaction. She had a few odd tastes in food. Or rather, in food she didn’t like.

“Just the kind in shells or all fish?”

“All fish.”

“Even fish sticks?” AJ was apparently not ready to let this drop.

“AJ man, she doesn’t like fish! Leave her alone.” Kevin laughed as he looked at Emily’s very red face.

“It’s just that, you know, most people will at least eat fish sticks.”

“AJ, I hate to break it to you, but I hate fish sticks the most.”

“Man, just when I thought you were normal.” He winked at her.

“Well, you wouldn’t know normal if it bit you on the ass, would you?” Emily replied.

“Normal is a state of mind.” AJ responded.

Kevin laughed. “I think you’ve met your match tonight, AJ.”

Chapter 9

They arrived at the restaurant and were quickly escorted to the back corner booth. The security guards took the table next to them so they could keep an eye on the place. They quickly ordered, and their food was brought out within minutes.

“Oh my God, this is the best sauce I’ve ever had!” Emily exclaimed.

“I told you!” AJ smiled. “Here, do you want to try mine? It’s pretty good.” He had a strange look on his face that made Emily unsure of whether she did or not, but not wanting to be rude, she accepted.

She immediately knew why he wanted her to try his food. She made a horrible face and picked up her drink, nearly downing her whole glass of water and then filling her mouth back up with a breadstick. “I told you I don’t like fish!”

“AJ, you gave her fish, man?” Kristin asked.

“Well, you know, I couldn’t really taste it and I thought I’d be able to trick her into eating it, then she’s say how good it was and I’d be like, HAH, there’s fish in it! Didn’t quite go that way though. I’m sorry.”

“Dammit AJ, I’m allergic! My throat’s probably going to close off or something!”

AJ’s face went white and Kevin looked up, very concerned as if he was waiting for her to stop breathing right then and there. “You just said you didn’t like it, you didn’t say you were allergic! Shit! What should I do? Call 911 or something?”

Emily couldn’t take it anymore. She started laughing. Kevin and Kristin caught on immediately.

“What? What’s wrong? Why are you laughing? Is this like, a reaction symptom or something?”

“AJ, man, she was kidding.” Kevin explained.

AJ turned and looked at Emily. For a minute she thought he was pissed, until his face broke out into a huge grin and he started laughing. “Welcome to the family, Emily.” He said. “Very well played.” He reached over the table and shook her hand.

The rest of their dinner went on comparatively uneventful except for the fact that every time Emily and AJ would look at each other, she would start laughing, remembering his panic-stricken face. They ordered dessert and sat talking as they sipped their coffee. “So tell us about yourself, Emily.” AJ insisted. “You’re from Atlanta?”

“Actually no, I’m from Ohio. I moved to Atlanta about a month ago.”

“Really? What brought you down south?” Kevin asked.

“I needed a change.”

“Some asshole break your heart?” AJ asked.

“No, I didn’t move because of a break-up, I just wanted to go somewhere else for a change.”

“Did you work as a nanny there as well?” Kristin asked.

“For a few years I did. I’ve only been a nanny for about three years.”

“Oh, what did you do before that? School?”

“Well, yes, I did go to college, but before I became a nanny I was a piano teacher.”

“Oh really? Did you study music in college?” Kevin asked.

“I sure did. I have a degree in Music Business, but I found that I loved teaching so much that I just kept on doing that.”

“So how did you go from piano teacher to nanny?”

“Well, I was teaching for a family and they needed a temporary nanny until they found someone, and I offered and I loved it so much that I became their permanent one until they moved away. Then I realized that I enjoyed doing it so much that I looked for a new family to work for.”

“Do you still teach?” AJ asked. “Because Kevin could really use some lessons.”

Kevin poked AJ with his elbow. “I was teaching in Ohio, I didn’t take any students in Atlanta because I wanted to see what my schedule would be like with my new family. Turns out that was a good thing because I won’t really have time to teach except for Baylee, and now apparently Kevin.” Emily winked.

“Do you regret not teaching?” Kristin asked.

“No, I don’t. I look at this job as the experience of a lifetime.”

“So what other kinds of things do you like to do?” AJ asked. “Besides eat fish?”

“Oh, I have a lot of hobbies. My latest craze is knitting. So far I can make scarves, hats, and bags. I’m thinking of trying socks next.”

“I love knitting!” Kristen exclaimed. “We should get together and work on our projects whenever you’re not busy with the little one!”

“That would be great!”

They finished up dinner and headed back to the hotel. It was pretty late and Emily had no idea how they still had so much energy.

“Man, I’m beat and all I did today was baby-sit!”

“It’s the adrenaline from the show. It gets you all high for a few hours. I’m about ready to crash myself.” Kevin admitted.

“Well, thanks for dinner. I had a good time.” Emily said as she unlocked her door.

“I hope you can come out with us again soon!” Kristin said. “It’s good to have another female around. There’s way too much testosterone around here.”

“Well, next time I have the night off, I’ll come find you!”

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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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