I bit down hard on my anger, frustrated by her words. Why couldn’t she have told me yesterday" But I held my tongue because I wasn"t totally heartless. “I’m extremely sorry to hear that, Bron. Alexis will be devastated, as am I.”
“I’ll talk to her if you need me to.”
“Yes. You can ring her tonight at seven. Right now, though, I’ve got a client and a business to sort out, not to mention a six-year-old who’s standing and tapping her foot at me as we speak. I think she’s only shy with people except you and me.”
“Yes, and again, I’m truly sorry. I’ll call on the dot at seven.”
“Thanks, Bron. Talk then.”
Alexis looked up at me. “So, is Bron late for me today, Dada"”
“No, honey. She had to go see her mama.”
“Okay! How many minutes left until we go in Sammy, the SUV"”
“But that’s my age.” Her smile lit up her whole face as she said the words, making my heart skip a beat, just like it always did.
“Go and brush your teeth with Clara. I’ll put on my T-shirt, and we’ll go and see Linda at kindergarten.”
“Kay!” She whooshed down the hallway as she spoke to Clara, something about “swearing” and it being “not good.”
I dialed Rhonda. “Hey. I need you to reschedule Chan for tomorrow with Derringer. Send him a huge basket and get him into Cerro’s for a half day as well. Apologize profusely and get Derringer on it. I had my nanny up and leave the state.”
“No problem, Mr. Jacobs. Should I reschedule Clark for then too"”
“Yeah, I guess. No, actually. He can get pushed back until later in the week. I don’t think he’ll commit until Chan does anyway.” My breathing dropped back to nearly normal. I didn’t like it when things moved out of my control.
"Yes, sir. I"ll get it sorted."
"Thanks, Rhonda. Make sure Derringer is on it," I said, control of the situation now out of my capable hands once again. Shit. He"d better not fuck it up.
The ride to kindergarten had been enjoyable, with Alexis giving me the low-down on all of Clara’s thoughts. The ragdoll had been her best friend since Alice had died. She"d had a hard time opening up to other people lately, except for me and Bron. It had taken Lindy, her kindergarten teacher, lots of work to help her mix with the other children. She definitely wasn’t shy with me or Clara, but she didn’t take to just anyone, and that was why I needed to stay single"at least until the right one for Alexis came along.
God, I missed her mother. Alice had been the only one who would ever be right for Alexis, and she had also been my rock. She had always backed me 100 percent.
I was the best of the best at Ludo Holdings Incorporated, the internationally renowned Fortune 500 tech company I managed. It had been a dream of mine to run a billion-dollar company, but it had seemed like a pie-in-the-sky thing back in college. I had done everything I could to make myself stand out from the other men, and I"d sealed the deal by working my ass off and being better than the competition. My grades had been exceptional, and I"d made sure I was always groomed like a supermodel, wearing the best Armani suits and “thinking rich” like they suggested in so many titles set to groom real billionaire entrepreneurs. Alice had believed I could do it, even when the competition had been fiercer than fierce. It would be four years in June since I"d lost her.
As I pulled into the driveway, I thought about Mr. Chan. He’d be in the spa right now, hopefully thinking what a wonderful gift it was as opposed to thinking "that Jacobs guy is a lazy prick." That was what I’d be thinking if I were him.
Shit, Bron, you really did this at the worst time.
I needed to find someone Alexis would take to like she had Bron. To do that, Alexis would need to actually meet the candidates.
I walked into the apartment and opened my laptop. The elite nanny site was still in my browser bar. I"d saved it when Penny, the nanny before Bron, had left. All I needed now was to find someone “magical” who didn’t mind pretend-curling Clara’s hair or Alexis’s hair. I needed that someone with a great imagination who absolutely loved kids, my kid"someone Alexis would truly love spending time with.
My mind wandered back to the last time I"d done this. We"d had six nannies try out before Alexis had finally said yes to Bron. One had been “too tall” and another had been “too boring.” I would have loved to get into that brain of hers sometimes just to understand how it ticked. It was meticulous and fascinating, just like her mother"s. I already knew she didn"t like being around unhappy-looking women. That was the reason she loved Clara so much. “Clara’s always happy, even when she’s cross,” as Alexis would say.