Looking up from my desk to see Pam standing in my doorway, in her standard hands on hips pose, I asked, “Soo what?”
But seeing her reminded me I didn’t have my noontime chocolate fix and not seeing anything in her hands, besides her unfairly narrow hips, I narrowed my eyes to add, “And where’s my nom?”
Pam and I had our own shorthand form of communication, which in reality mostly consisted of eye twitches and hand gestures, with the occasional swear word thrown in for good measure.
“Under the Johnson file,” she replied, looking down at the mountain of paperwork littering my desk.
I couldn’t remember any recent casefiles with that name, but digging under half of what was once Sherwood Forest, I soon hit pay dirt.
Or rather a Mr. Goodbar.
Forgetting about her in the next moment thanks to my sugar fix, she reminded me of her presence by perching her ass on the corner of my desk and said, “Speaking of Johnsons, how’s it going with you and my brother?”
Thankfully the chocolates she always left me were of the miniature Hershey bar variety, so I’d already chewed and swallowed before I could choke on her question.
Had he said something to her about open doors?
Or worse, about open market kisses?
Instead of answering, I deflected by saying, “There is no Johnson casefile, is there?”
“I’m sure there is,” she smiled and added, “Somewhere in the records room. It’s a very common name. Speaking of names, have you figured out my brother’s yet?”
“I have not guessed your brother’s name,” I answered with a straight face.
And technically, I hadn’t, so it wasn’t a lie.
Nor had she read the nonexistent Neener-Neener Clause, Subsection Crybaby, so she had no reason to doubt me.
I don’t know what caused me to not tell her the truth. Maybe just to fuck with her.
It was the little things in life that got me by.
“Well, I know he’ll never guess yours, but his is pretty common,” she mused and then added meaningfully, “Like Johnson.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” I laughed. “I haven’t met any Johnsons lately either, nor do I have any idea if they have a first name or what it could be.”
But since I happened to know he was carrying around a flagpole of freedom, I figured it should be something patriotic.
Like Uncle Sam.
It would jive, since in the old war posters he was always pointing, with the slogan ‘I Want You!’
Pam only made a humming sound that could be anything from acknowledgment, to amusement, to outright disbelief. It was hard to tell.
Her hums were much like her resting bitch face. She could be expressing a multitude of emotions with one look. She had a very expressive face for using just a single expression.
But she seemed awfully invested in the state of my relationship in relation to her relation.
It made me suspicious and not just because that was my default setting at work.
But I wasn’t about to go into the details with her – for more than one reason – and even if I wanted to, there weren’t a lot of them to go into anyway.
After our ‘mutual word vomit’ conversation the rest of the night had gone pretty well, but neither one of us brought it up again. I think we’d come to a silent agreement to just be and see what happened.
While we’d both acknowledged there was something there – and we’d both acknowledged the unfair level of hotness he’d achieved, the sexy asshole – by not putting a label on it or actively pursuing it, it took a lot of the pressure off.
He’d likened it to a workplace romance, which I supposed it kind of was, but hadn’t thought of it in those terms until he’d said the words. With Maxine and the other seven hundred and fifty-two nannies, it hadn’t been a concern.
But having an office flirtation or two under my belt, I knew those things didn’t just happen overnight.
Unlike a bar hookup, which I knew a thing or two about too.
But it wasn’t until I’d gone to bed and replayed everything in my mind that I realized what made everything feel a little overwhelming – both good and bad – had a lot to do with the fact we lived together. It accelerated our friendship, for lack of a better word, in a way that wouldn’t have happened if we only saw each other in an office setting.
There was still some underlying tension between us after our talk, but it felt more anticipatory than awkward. It was nice.
Hearing him arguing all of his points in favor of pursuing a romantic relationship with me admittedly pressed my buttons.
Especially the buttons labeled ‘Adult’, as in the ‘Adult’ things he said he wanted to do with me.
I was a big fan of adult things.
I didn’t bust my ass to become a lawyer for nothing.
“Are you sure about that?” she asked – her nails, from the looks of it – since her eyes were busy inspecting their perfection before moving onto just her hands in general.
But before I could lay into her – in the most unsubtle of ways – my phone vibrated across my desk, making me pick it up and smile seeing the picture text I’d just received.
Lying on his back and enjoying the hell out of trying to reach Eric’s phone, it looked like Jason had taken his own selfie.
And my eyes may have glazed over a little wondering if Eric was doing pushups again.
My oh my, ‘Murica!
“Why are you smiling like that?” Pam asked and then recoiled a little, sounding disgusted when she added, “He’s not sending you dick pics, is he?”
“Is that something I should be worried about?” I laughed.
Worried. Hoped for.
The two were practically interchangeable.
And as payback – to either Eric or Pam, as the two were practically interchangeable at times – I quickly typed out Pam’s questions word for word and then sent them to Eric as soon as I was done.
Why should I be the only one to suffer?
She was his sister.
Once the text was sent, I pulled up the attachment he’d sent and showed her, saying, “He just sent me a progress report. Apparently Baby’s Got Back time is going well.”
I had hundreds of pictures of Jason on my phone, but I’d taken them all. None of the other nannies ever sent me any of him during the day. At most I would get a reminder from one them telling me that I was running low on diapers or wipes.
Jason could be a stinker.
In every sense of the word.
“That’s not the back he’s interested in,” she mumbled. “Trust me.”
Smirking at Eric’s, ‘I’m telling mom what she said,’ reply, I started typing another text back, while asking, “What are you saying, Pam?”
Me – Your sister is digging for info. The only thing slick about her is her nail polish.
Captain – Fire her.
“Nothing,” Pam denied, as innocently as the children she’d probably scared on her way into work that morning. “Nothing at all. Can’t I ask how the weekend went between my friend and my doofus brother?”
Me – No can do. She is the keeper of the chocolate.
Unlike that kiss at the farmer’s market, Pam holding onto my chocolate fix was a necessity or else I’d go through the whole damn bag in one day.
“Did you know he could speak French?” I asked her, still not answering her question, while staring at my phone, more so because I didn’t want her to see my eyes glaze over at the thought.
I’d nearly melted into a puddle in the diner booth from how hot he’d sounded.
“Is that what he told you?” she asked, back to sounding amused. “If he told you to, ‘Lie back and think of America,’ and then made a bunch of noises, while enjoying your Virginia ham, he was lying Sookie. I know it’s been a while for you, but that is not speaking French. But if he’s any good at eating ham, you at least got to experience a little French yourself. La petite mort.”
Still typing away every word coming out of her mouth, I fired it off and shook my head at her saying, “You did not just say that about your brother.”
Captain – She did NOT just say that to you!
Me – Have you met Pam? I’m surprised she’s not insisting on giving me her take on ‘Speaking French.’
Captain – That is NOT what I meant when I asked you to leave the door open…
Me – …?
Captain – ?????
Laughing, I put my phone down to get back to work.
And admittedly laughed some more, feeling it vibrating across my desk for the next ten minutes before I had to get back to court.
Getting home that night a little later than normal I was beat. The defense team had taken the weekend to go over how well our case against the defendant had gone the week prior and decided that their client would be better served by taking a plea deal.
One that took for-fucking-ever to iron out.
Which was why I was beat.
Walking in the door I was greeted by the heavenly scent of something cooking and I followed it to the kitchen, but found it – other than the oven – empty.
Checking the living room and finding it just as human free, I kicked off my shoes and climbed the stairs. Heading for Jason’s room, I was just passing by the bathroom when the door opened and Eric appeared.
Naked except for the towel he held over his not so little commando.
A hand towel.
Covering my eyes, I made some sort of ‘AAAHHHH’ sound before laughingly choking out, “Liar! You said boxer briefs!”
But now I knew what was under his suit.
His birthday suit.
And I also knew something else now.
That he was not Jewish.
Sounding equal parts embarrassed and amused, he declared, “I thought I heard a noise!”
It was the sound of my panties disintegrating.
Instead of revealing that little clit-bit, I kept my hands firmly in place over my eyes and giggled out, “And I tawt I taw a puddy tat!”
“I told you I wasn’t talking about that kind of door,” he said in a heated tone that was heating up every part of me.
“Yeah, well…I don’t think you were talking about bathroom doors either,” I laughed. “So don’t let that one hit you on the ass on your way back in.”
But what a glorious ass it was…
Taking one last look at her, cementing the image into my brain, I backed into the bathroom and shut the door.
I’d left it ajar so I would be able to hear the baby, while I took a quick shower because we’d had another minor diaper mishap.
In that he missed the diaper and happened to mark me as his territory by pissing down the front of my shirt, while I’d been changing him into his pajamas after his bath.
He thought he was funny.
Luckily for him, I did too.
But I definitely hadn’t expected to find Sookie in the hallway, nor had I meant to give her an eyeful.
And her eyes would have been a little fuller had I not managed to grab the hand towel hanging on the wall by the door at the last second.
Being in the military for so long, I’d lost any inhibitions I may have had when it came to being naked, thanks to barracks life and field showers. Which was at least partially to blame for why I hadn’t thought twice about opening the door without any clothes on.
Finding Sookie on the other side of it was fully to blame for why I hadn’t thought to go back into the bathroom and shut the door right away.
Seeing her sometimes made all of my common sense flee.
That kiss at the farmers market was all the proof I needed.
Speeding through my shower, I checked the baby’s room when I was done and saw he’d fallen asleep in the crib, so I went downstairs to get our dinner out of the oven.
Finding Sookie changed into a simple t-shirt and loose shorts combo, sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of the red wine I’d picked up earlier that day, she lifted her glass in a toast and smiled knowingly as she greeted me with, “Mazel tov.”
Feeling the heat rising up my neck – a trait that had only recently developed once I’d met her – I rolled my eyes and chuckled, “I didn’t do that on purpose.”
“Penicillin was an accident too,” she laughed. “And look how well that turned out.”
“What are you saying?” I asked in flirtatious tone, but moved towards the oven rather than over to her, which was where I really wanted to go.
Without missing a beat, she innocently replied, “That we’d all be up shit’s creek without the marvels of modern medicine.”
I only made a humming sound – both in acknowledgement and to call bullshit – which made her say, “That reminds me. Your sister is up to no good.”
“So the day ends in ‘Y’?” I smiled, pulling the baked manicotti out of the oven.
“She was very interested in how our weekend went,” she offered in a tone full of suspicion and then added, “You don’t think she’s somehow the puppet master behind you being here, do you?”
With the Christmas Incident of 1998 flashing behind my eyes, I shrugged with my reply of, “It’s a little known fact, but Pam is short for Pamanipulation.”
“I should’ve given her personnel file a more thorough review,” she said with narrowed eyes and a small upturn of her lips.
Then turning to face her, I said truthfully, “Would I put it past Pam to hire some thug off the street to scare your last nanny away, so she could then insert me into your life, thereby making us both do her bidding without us even knowing about it?”
Without waiting for a reply, I then answered my rhetorical question with, “No.”
But because I didn’t really want to see my sister get fired – no matter what evidence to the contrary could be found in our text history – I was quick to add, “But…Pam had no idea I would be showing up at her place that night. I surprised her.”
Chewing over my words, while I plated up our dinner, I set hers down in front of her, just as she said, “Oh well. I still don’t feel bad for leading her to believe certain falsehoods in regards to events that may or may not have transpired over the weekend.”
“Is that legalese for you lied to her?” I chuckled.
“Omitted,” she righteously huffed and then defended, “But she deserved it. From the way she kept going on and on, if I didn’t know better I would think she’s more interested in your Johnson than I am.”
Looking up at her through my lashes, my manicotti covered fork hovered in midair, while I said, “We’ll get back to Pam in a second because right now I would like to hear more about this interest you have in my…”
“Fuck my fucking mouth,” she growled out, interrupting me before I could finish my sentence.
And then she dropped her face into her hands when she realized what she’d just said.
The fact I burst out laughing could’ve had something to do with her realization.
And if my eyes happened to be focused on where I knew her lips to be, well then it couldn’t be helped.
I’d already had the realization much earlier that I would love to fuck her fucking mouth. Especially since I already knew what she would look like staring up at me from between my legs and I now had the firsthand knowledge of just how soft her lips were.
But knowing I shouldn’t say any of that out loud – and that I needed to stop thinking about it before a situation developed – I fucked with her in a different way by chiding, “Language.”
Her head snapped up a second later, hearing me quote Captain America from the second Avengers movie we’d watched the night before.
Yes I did it on purpose.
Just because she’d likened me to him didn’t mean I was as wholesome as he was.
And then because I could, I teasingly added, “You address your judge with that mouth?”
I knew the saying was ‘Kiss your mother with that mouth,’ but I’d noticed, other than a couple of pictures of the baby, she didn’t have any pictures of her family anywhere in the house.
There was a story there.
One that was possibly a sad one, which was why I’d rephrased the question.
“That’s playing dirty,” she grumbled and mumbled something that sounded like ‘sacrosanct’ before changing the subject by saying, “As I was saying…”
Smirking, I interrupted her with, “About your fascination with my…”
“Pam,” she interjected, with a glare, “Is up to something, which only brought my inherent evilness out to play with hers. Which is why I may have double-talked her into thinking I haven’t learned your real name yet.”
Then leaning forward, she added, “So you need to back me up.”
I would back her up alright.
Up against the wall, the countertop, or the back of the couch.
Whichever was closest when the time came would be fine with me.
Exhaling softly in an attempt to rid myself of the images I’d just conjured, my exhale was the only soft thing about me, when I eventually looked up at her and questioned, “You’re asking me to lie to my sister?”
“Absolutely,” she immediately nodded. “And feel free to make up anything about me that you think will annoy Pam because I’ve already started my list of what I’m going to tell her about you.”
“You’re asking me to fuck with my sister?” I clarified, fighting off the grin that wanted to take over my face.
Fucking with my sister was one of my favorite pastimes, but now she was too old for me to pull the heads off of her dolls.
Which was why she’d gotten a shoebox full of sand for her birthday.
Even sending her the shoes that had actually belonged in the box a week later had only moved the dial back the tiniest bit on her harpy setting.
Smiling back at me, she said, “Well you don’t have to get your Johnson all bent out of shape about it. I’m not asking you fly your Lannister flag or anything.”
“My what?” I asked, wondering what I would have to watch with her now.
Instead she only looked at me and said deliberately slowly, “Your john son.”
“You really are fascinated with it, aren’t you?” I chuckled.
Then ducking the balled up napkin she threw at me, she cajoled, “Come on. This is why you fought for our country. So people like me could manipulate your sister into believing whatever her dastardly plan is, it’s going horribly wrong. You know, for the good of mankind.”
Then putting her fork down, she sat up straighter in her chair and added in an unexpectedly somber and somewhat dramatic tone, “Mankind. That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it is fate that today is Pamanipulation Day, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution…but from Pam.”
Was she seriously giving me a Pam-ified version of the Independence Day speech?
Seeing her trying to fight off the smile that wanted to light up on her face, I knew I was really going to have to watch myself.
As it was, I was fighting off the urge to dive across the table and kiss the smirk off of her lips.
Improvising as she went, she kept going with, “And should we win the day, Pamanipulation Day will no longer be an American holiday because Pam has pissed off people all across the globe with her snarky comments left on the Daily Mail UK website. But it will be the day when the world declared in one voice, ‘We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without giving Pam a fright! We’re going to live on! If only to fuck with her! Today we celebrate Pamanipulation Day!”
Grinning with her wine glass held up towards me, I clinked it with my own and chuckled again hearing her repeated toast of, “Mazel tov.”
While she may have left the door open, I knew I still had some work to do on getting her walls to come down.
For the good of mankind.
Or for the good of this man, at least.
Because I was.
Only a man.
One that was growing more and more enamored with the woman in front of me.