“A month’s trial, how about that.”
“I don’t know.”
“Amy, I think you would do well here. You can start after the school run and finish before you need to pick them up or we can take turns to collect them. I usually finish at five, but being the boss, I can arrange it so we can take it in turns.”
“Eric, slow down. You don’t need to do that, you have done more than enough for us.”
“Amy, I know you want to do what is right for you and the girls, but I want you to know. Moving out should not be at the top of your list.”
“It should be.”
“It certainly shouldn’t.”
“Because my home is your home. But if you do decide to buy, or even rent a place. You’re going to need a deposit?”
“You’re right. I’m going to a deposit.”
“I can help with that.”
“No, I won’t allow it.”
“No, Eric. You have taken us into your home. That is more than enough.”
“Not after what my brother did.”
“That is not your fault, or your responsibility.”
“To me it is. My brother, the man I looked up to. The man who I had wanted to be just like, was a liar.”
Amy nodded, understanding exactly what he meant.
“He had everything, a beautiful wife,” he said, as she blushed.
“Don’t say that.”
“Why, it’s the truth.”
“Amy,” he took her hand and held it firmly. “I think you are very attractive and I can’t help the way you make me feel.”
“This, it’s not right.”
“I know,” he said dropping her hand. “I should never have said that, ignore it.”
“I can’t, this is a bad idea, all of it. The job, the house, I…”
“Take the job, at least until you find something else. Stay at mine until we find you somewhere else to go, somewhere suitable.”
“I don’t have much choice, do I?”
“No, you don’t. You can start tomorrow at nine if you like?”
“Okay, but I don’t think I should work that closely with you. Maybe I should do something else.”
“What about in the testing area?”
“I could do that.”
“I think it’s perfect too, just to remind you, that I do come down there now and again.”
“I know, and that will be fine,” she said. “Right now, I should go, leave you to it. I am sorry to ask, but could I possibly have a key to your house.”
“Sure, but I don’t have a spare on me, I will get one cut for you. If you like you could hang around for a little while and I’ll run you home in my lunch hour.”
“Thank you. Maybe I could stay; learn more about what the job is all about.”
“That is a good idea, I will take you back down, introduce you to the others.”
Amy nodded, suddenly feeling nervous and anxious.
As the door opened, the noise level hit her again as they entered. The sound of laughter, chatting and the toys being explored filled the area. The women were all watching them again as he led her towards the small office.
He pushed the door open and at a desk sat a woman, with blonde hair, her roots were dark brown, telling Amy she was not a natural blonde. She looked up and smiled as she saw Eric, but as she turned to look at Amy, her smile faded.
“Emily this is Amy; she will be starting tomorrow, officially. I thought she could be shown the ropes today.”
“You can leave her in my capable hands.”
“Good, I will check in later.”
He turned to leave and closed the door on his way out.
“Amy is it?”
“I don’t know what job Eric thinks I am going to give you here. He should know I have no position for you.”
“So you are saying?”
“That he is wrong, we don’t have a job for you.”
“I don’t understand, Eric said.”
“Eric said; let me explain something to you here. Eric may be the boss overall, but down here, in this department I call the shots. And I can tell you now; there is no job for you.”
“You can’t do that.”
“I can. I will deal with Eric; he should never have told the likes of you, a job was available.” She said. “Now you can leave the same way you came in.”
Amy opened her mouth to argue, but it seemed the woman had made up her mind. She walked out of the office, determined not to cry. She could not allow this woman to break her. Instead she ignored her and walked over to one of the areas that Eric had shown her earlier.
“Hi, I like that. What do you have there?” Amy asked, bending down to the child’s level. In her hand she had a small wooden boat. It had slots to place shapes in.
“Who are you?” the woman with the child asked.
“Sorry, I am Amy, I’m new.”
“So new you have no clue on how things work around here. You do realise you are meant to speak to me first, not the child.”
“Sorry, the woman in the office didn’t want to show me the ropes. I apologise.”
“It’s fine. It’s just there are rules.”
“Okay,” Amy said, extending her hand to the woman’s. “I am Amy, I have two little girls myself, and today is my first day.”
“Nice to meet you Amy, this is Freddie.”
“Nice to meet you Freddie, that looks like a fantastic toy, can I play too?”
He nodded, as Amy sat on the floor with the child, he handed her a piece which she attempted to place through a slot. The child giggled as she purposely failed to push it through.
“I think you better try Freddie.” She handed him the piece, which he expertly placed in the hole. “Wow you are an expert at these, clever boy.”
Amy left the little boy ten minutes later, and joined another area, this time introducing herself to the parent. One of the woman recalled her from the morning visit with Eric.
“Are you working here now?” Penny asked.
“How did you manage that one, or are you sleeping with your husband’s brother.”
“No I am not, why would you think that.”
“The way he was looking at you. Some of us have tried and got nowhere. If we’re honest we thought he was gay.”
“Yet you still kept on trying.”
“Can’t help it,” she said. “Tom and Eric were very much alike.”
“Is that right. Are you saying the women here flirted with him too?”
“I couldn’t say.”
“I can imagine you ladies did. Or are you trying to tell me he did more than just flirt?”
“I couldn’t say.”
“No, I bet you couldn’t,” she said, looking down at Penny’s daughter.
“No, I couldn’t.”
“I should have realised earlier,” she said, staring at her. “She looks just like them.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“You know what I am saying. I am really having my eyes opened wide today.”
“I should deny it, that Tom and I did nothing but flirt.”
“I should apologise, because it only happened once and…”
“I don’t care if it was once or a hundred times, and I should be angry with you, but as I am realising that he was not the man I thought I had married.”
“You were his wife?”
“I thought I was, turns out I was not married to him at all. We had the wedding, but he never divorced his first wife. It was one lie after the other and now this.”
“I am sorry, I could have lied and said Eric was her father.”
“Had you told me that, I may have believed you.”
She had no idea why she was telling her the truth, once she had started, the rest came tumbling out.
“It seems I had no idea who he was.”
“He was a jerk. That was what he was. I am sorry. I didn’t love him, I just enjoyed his company and…”
“I don’t want to know.”
Amy tilted her head and sighed heavily realising one more thing, their girls were related. A sudden thought occurred to her, did Tom provide for this child, or was the job her mother held, part of their deal?”
“Before you ask, I am not after a pay-out. Tom brought us a home and even made sure that I had a job here, forever, or at least until our daughter turns eighteen.”
“Sorry, but didn’t Tom make sure you were taken care of, in the event of…”
“I would have thought so, but in his will he left it to his wife and…”
“Wasn’t you, so is that why you’re working here?”
“You could say that.”
“At least you have a home and your kids have a roof over their head.”
“Yes, at least we have that,” she lied.
A bell rang and the children all stood, tided away the toys before dragging their parents to the door.
“It’s lunch time, the kids eat and then we go home. The children are only allowed to do half days; you will find that the afternoon children are more hyper. We used to do that shift, but…”
The office door opened and the blonde stormed across the floor. She stood before Amy, her face told her she was not happy.