Breaching the Contract(7)

By: Chantal Fernando


Silently fuming, I glance around and wonder which kids are his. He told me to take his car so they’d recognize it and said he’d called the school to pass a message to them saying someone who works for him will be there to pick them up. When a little boy walks up to me and just stares at me, I assume he’s Tristan’s kid. He has big green eyes, and I have no doubt he’s going to break hearts with those one day.

“Logan?” I ask, glancing down at him. He looks to be about six, maybe seven, and has one of those haircuts that requires him to flip his dark bangs back.

“Yes,” he says, squinting his eyes at me. “Who are you? I thought Dad was going to pick us up today.”

“He got busy with work and sent me instead,” I tell him, shifting on my feet. I’m not very good with kids. I don’t think I even know any kids, and conversing with one is a little awkward.

I wonder where their mother is, and why Tristan seems to be a full-time single dad. Maybe they share custody and he has them for a week and then they swap, or something.

“Where’s your sister?” I ask him, looking around. I want this to be over as soon as possible.

“She takes her time,” he says, opening the car door and throwing his bag in. “She chats with her friends and walks slowly.”

Great.

A few minutes later, a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl walks up to me, and going by the scowl on her face, she’s less impressed than Logan is that her father isn’t the one standing here right now. I notice that her eyes are just like Tristan’s. “I should have known Dad wouldn’t have made it,” she says, lifting her chin. She glances to the passenger seat, where she sees her brother sitting and throws her hands in the air. “That’s my seat. I’m the oldest!”

Great, the good old who-gets-to-sit-in-the-front-seat war kids have been having for generations, and now I get to experience it with random kids I just met.

“I’m sure you can sit in the back this one time,” I tell her, ushering her in. She gets in, but lets me know she’s not happy, with her deep sigh and cold demeanor.

I ignore her and get back into the driver’s seat. The car is now silent, and I’m feeling a little uncomfortable, so I turn on the radio and put Tristan’s address into the GPS. Apparently I have to stay there and babysit until he’s done with his client, and only then do I get to head back to work. Yay for me. I quickly glance at Logan in the seat next to me before bringing my gaze back to the road. Am I supposed to feed them? I remember always being super hungry after school when I was a kid. We didn’t have a lot of money—my dad was a single father and worked in a restaurant as a manager—but he always managed to put together something delicious for me to eat.

“Are you guys hungry?” I ask them, glancing at Laura in the rearview mirror.

“Anne makes us healthy snacks after school,” she tells me. “Usually a fruit platter, or something like that.”

“I like avocado,” Logan announces.

I blink slowly a few times. Anne must be their nanny. “Well Anne’s not here, so we’re going to have to make do.”

I pull into a McDonald’s drive-through, smirking when I see Logan’s face light up.

“You’re letting us have McDonald’s? Awesome.”

“Dad isn’t going to like this,” the little know-it-all inserts from behind me. “He says a healthy, balanced diet keeps your mind and body strong.”

“A burger every now and again won’t kill you,” I tell them.

I’m living proof of that.

I fucking love burgers, and any kind of junk food.

“Mom used to let us get burgers sometimes,” Laura says, her voice lowering with each word.

“Mom’s not here anymore,” Logan then says, breaking my heart.

Where is their mom?

I place my order for myself, then ask what they want, and order that. When the food’s ready, I pass Logan the big bag of food, which comes up to his chin. I look over at him, amused, and he flashes me a big grin.

Okay, he’s a bit cute.

When we get to Tristan’s house, my eyes widen and my jaw drops. It’s huge.

“I can’t wait to make partner,” I say out loud to myself, because I’m going to live in a massive house just like this one. I unlock the door and let the kids go in first, locking it behind me after I enter. I walk through the wide hallway, looking at the photos hanging on the light gray walls that lead me to the kitchen. I place the food on the counter and do a circle, turning and taking in everything.