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I babysat because I was too young for a real job, even though I was only fifteen. And a half, so technically, I had to wait half a year in order to be qualified to work anywhere cool. So, instead of learning the proper way to fold clothing in department stores like all my friends, I was reduced to babysitting for my next door neighbors, the Fullmers.
The Fullmers were insanely rich, and very generous with my tips, which meant that I was probably making more than any of my friends, which made me happy. But believe me, I definitely had to work for my money.
Lucy and Jamie Fullmer were twins, and looked exactly alike. Lucy had black hair, blue eyes and a jumper on. Jamie looked exactly the same, but minus the jumper and add a pair of red overalls.
On August ninth, they had called me at two o’ clock in the morning because Mr. Fullmer had an emergency meeting and they needed a sitter. I grumbled my way out of bed and plopped my way over to their house.
Now, sitting here, blowing bubbles with the kids, I was finally waking up, and realizing what a terrible mistake I’d made. Babysitting two hyper six year olds without caffeine was a horrible idea.
“Sammy,” Jamie tugged on my hoodie sleeve and I looked down, into his big watery eyes.
“Yeah?” Lucy stuck the bubble wand in her mouth and I yanked it from her. She glared at me and continued tipping the bubble mix out of the bottle.
“I have to use the bathroom.”
“Okay.” I sighed, pulling back my hair in exasperation. “Can you wait a second? I don’t want to leave Lucy out here with that truck.” I said, motioning to the moving van that was backing into the house across from the Fullmers. They had an issue keeping the same neighbor because of all the noise their kids made. So I wasn’t surprised when I saw a For Sale sign pop up randomly one day in the house across the street’s lawn. Now it looked like someone was moving in. Someone with a black Chevy truck and a cowboy hat on.
Oh dear. I pulled myself off of the ground and gripped Jamie’s hand. “Come on, buddy. Time to go.”
“Lucy,” I said, as Jamie tugged on my arm. Hard. “Stay right here. And no more eating bubbles, okay?” I stuck the wand in my jeans pocket and she glared at me, but lowered her hands from her face. I led Jamie into the bathroom and leaned on the door outside until he opened it, letting out a gust of wind as well as the soapy smell of a kid who washes too long. Jamie was going to grown up a germaphobe, no doubt about it. He bustled around me whenever I made them lunch, scooping the crumbs out from under my bare feet.
The first couple times he did it, I tripped over him, but now I’m used to him being underneath me all the time.
When we got back outside, the guy in the Chevy with the cowboy hat was kneeling next to Lucy, blowing bubbles through the holes in his hands.
She was clapping her hands and laughing. “Excuse me?” I said, taking a forceful step forward and pulling Lucy up. The Fullmers had given me the stranger lecture.
“Yeah? Oh, sorry. You must be the babysitter.” The guy removed his huge hat, and smiled at me. Underneath the straw, his black hair was way too long and his eyes were too fringed with dark lashes to really make out the color. He brushed back his hair and stuck out his hand. “Names Connor.” He said, once I stropped gawking and finally took his hand gingerly in my own.
“”Samantha.” I said, removing my hand gently.
“Sorry. We were unpacking,” he motioned to the moving truck and continued, “and then my dog’s ball fell out, and rolled over here. And then Lucy asked me to blow bubbles with her.”
“I hope It’s okay.” Now he was looking at me like I might have a disability. He stood up, and brushed his hands off on his jeans. “I’ll leave now.”
“Wait!” I said, grabbing the sleeve of his flannel shirt, yanking him back slightly. The twins lost interest in us, and continued dumping bubbles all over the ground. “Connor, so how much of the town have you seen yet?”
Oh my goodness. Was I flirting? It was horrible. If I wasn’t the one speaking, I might have covered my eyes with terror. Connor looked amused too, and smiled, exposing slightly crooked white teeth.
“Oh, about the mile and a half of highway we took to get here.” He laughed, sitting down again , after he shook his hands loose from my death grip.
“Oh, so you’ve seen the whole town already?” I joked. I inwardly winced.
Me Cute Guy = Total Mess.
“I guess. Why, were you offering me a tour?”
“Sure.” I said. “There’s a really great place down the street that serves great ice cream. How about I buy you some?”
Connor grimaced and placed his cowboy hat back on his head, slightly crooked.
“That might not work.” He said. I scooted closer to him and made sure the twins were still occupied.
“Oh, you’re one of those guys that are into chivalry, then, huh? Well, I guess I could let you buy it. Are you going to open the door for me, too?”
Just my luck. I finally found a cute guy with style and taste who was funny and a gentleman.
I closed my eyes and pictured us: me and Connor. Connor and me. Images of us on the beach, walking in the mall hand in hand flashed through my mind. Connor and I walking to the Dairy Cow sneaking glances at each other, Connor laughing as my strawberry ice cream dribbled down my chin and splashed on my tank top. The entire crowd at the Dairy Cow would turn and look and think, “Who are those kids who are so cute together, and are so comfortable already?”
My mind had a thing about fantasies. Connor and me clothes shopping, riding horses while he placed his hat lovingly on my head while the other blonde girls fumed with anger at seeing me with Connor.
I, of course, was jumping to conclusions. I had no real reason to think that Connor even knew how to ride a horse. I was assuming of course. Besides, it just made him cuter. Lucy and Jamie’s squeals brought me back to where Connor’s lips were moving, sending minty warm air in the direction of my nostrils. I realized with a start that he was saying something.
“What?” I asked, feeling my pale cheeks turn pasty, “sorry. I was off in my own world.” Connor smiled and chuckled.
“Well, I was saying I was sorry to ruin your little fantasy about chivalrous men. But I really don’t think ice cream will work for me.” He said, sympathetically.
“Well, don’t get me wrong. If there was an opportunity for me to pick up a sword and defend your honor I would, but I’m lactose intolerant.” He said, waving around an invisible sword, making the swishing sounds.
“Oh…” I sputtered, feeling my cheeks turn redder than I’d thought humanly possible. “Well, see, that’s-well,-see-I-” I stopped, because Connor was grinning at me, popping up quickly, and offering me his hands, which were covered in small calluses. I hesitated, but took it in my own and he hauled me up and offered an exaggerated bow.
“But, I would be delighted to offer you all a Fla*Vor*Ice,” he said. Lucy and Jamie grinned and ran to us.
“Fla*Vor*Ice!” They chanted, hands in the air, covered in sticky bubble residue.
“Your treat?” I asked, nodding to the kids.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”