The Manny

By: A.T Brennan

Chapter One

Cameron Adams shielded his aqua eyes from the glaring California sun as he stared up at the house in front of him. He glanced down at the address he’d scribbled on the scrap of paper clutched in his other hand: 2236 Riviera Way. This was the house. This was where he was going to be working. He shoved the paper in his pocket and pulled in a deep breath as he started up the long walkway.

The house was actually more of a mansion if he wanted to get technical. It was at least four times as big as the house he’d grown up in and sat on a very large plot of land. The lawn was perfectly tended, and the front garden was lush and blooming, even the bushes were trimmed into neat geometric shapes.

The detached two-car garage looked brand new, the driveway had been recently tarred, and he was reminded of onyx as the sun shone down on the gleaming surface. He could see an older model hatchback wagon parked behind a very new, very shiny and very small silver convertible sports car. There was also a burgundy compact SUV in the driveway.

The house was beautiful. It was well cared for, and the owners obviously had money, but it looked as though it belonged to a corporate couple or a wealthy retired couple. It didn’t look like a house with children living in it.

Cameron walked up the steps and stared at the ornate lion’s head door knocker in the center of the oversized door as he fought back a laugh. The lion kind of looked like it was yawning at him. Instead of using the knocker he pushed the doorbell and wasn’t at all surprised to hear a designer doorbell.

After a moment the door opened, and again Cameron was sure that he was at the wrong house. The older, portly woman in front of him was wearing a brown dress with a white apron and had a dusting rag in her hand. Her graying brown hair was pulled back in a severe bun, but her brown eyes were warm and her face was rounded and mostly unlined despite her advanced age.

“Can I help you?” she asked as she gave Cameron a friendly smile.

“Hi,” he started almost cautiously, “my name is Cameron Adams. I’m from Domestic Support Services.”

“Oh, come in come in.” The woman stepped back and ushered him inside. “We’ve been expecting you.”

Cameron stepped inside the house and couldn’t help but stare as he looked around the front foyer. Everything was white and marble and gleaming. Hanging down from the second-floor ceiling over the staircase and the prominent focal point of the foyer, was the biggest and most elaborate crystal chandelier he’d ever seen.

The house was beautiful. It was incredible and it was breathtaking, but again he was sure there had been some sort of mistake. This was the home of a couple; there was no way kids lived here.

“I’m sorry,” he said to the woman. “I think there’s been some sort of mistake.”

“What to do you mean?” she asked, a patient smile on her face.

“I think the agency might have sent me to the wrong house. I’m not a housekeeper or a maid, although that is an offered service. I’m a nanny.”

“Of course you are.” The woman smiled. “The children are just at school right now. Mr. Meyers is in his study. I’ll go and fetch him. I know he wants to ask you a few questions.”

“Oh,” he said, stunned. “I’m sorry, it’s just that this house is so... pristine.”

The woman smiled knowingly. “I’m Mrs. Latham, the Meyers’ housekeeper. I’m here three times a week from ten until two.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” he said, still glancing around the house.

“Why don’t you have a seat in the sitting room and I’ll send Mr. Meyers down to you. It might be a few minutes. He’s working, and when he gets into it, he loses track of time.” She pointed to the room to the right. “Just make yourself comfortable,” she added before hurrying up the stairs.

Cautiously Cameron made his way to the room and stepped inside. He glanced around and shook his head. The carpet, silk furniture, marble fireplace, and lamps were all white. The tables were made of glass, and there were crystal figurines elegantly displayed in a mahogany cabinet against the wall. The only contrast in the entire room was the black baby grand piano in the corner, and as he looked around, he was sure that getting comfortable was not going to be an option. There was nothing comfortable about this house, and especially not in this room.