A/N: Holy crap, you guys. Blew my mind with 60 favorites and 113 follows. In a week.
Wow. Thank you!
"Thank you. Come again."
The customer gave her a smile before walking out of the store. Once the door shut, Marinette sighed in relief. Finally, the last of the customers were served, signaling the end of the rush. She walked to the back, out of sight from the front counter, and took a seat on a lone chair before grabbing her water bottle.
Her father looked up from his baking table. "All finished?"
"All clear," she confirmed before downing half of the bottle. "Thankfully. It was a mad house up there. And with it only being Maman and I—"
"Say no more," her father interrupted. "Makes me glad I was back here instead of up front."
Marinette nodded exasperatedly before finishing off her water bottle. Before she could return to the front, her phone vibrated in her pocket. She glanced at the screen then hit the answer button as quick as possible. "Hey, Alya."
"Girl, you better not mess this up."
At Alya's tone, Marinette immediately frowned. "What?"
"I got you a job."
Marinette quirked a brow. "Mind elaborating?"
"I know that you love your parents and that you'd do anything for them, but I also know how badly you want to get out of the bakery."
Marinette fidgeted. "That's not true, Alya."
"Girl," Alya said, her voice tense with warning "Just because you were passed over for that design job—which is an atrocity—doesn't mean that you should snub your nose at any other job. We both know your parents are angels in disguise, but I know you would much prefer finding a job of your own."
"Well, I mean, that is true," Marinette admitted, "but I don't want to get a job just to get a job. What would be the difference between this job and any other."
"It pays better, first off. It also gets you away from your parents since you live them. And while you love them, you are a twenty-six-year-old woman who is ready to prove she's self-sufficient again."
All good points Marinette couldn't refute. "So, what's the job?"
And all hope flatlined. "A nanny," Marinette deadpanned.
"I know it's not exactly a fashion designer," Alya said, "or any creative job, really. But, like I said, it pays more than you make at the bakery, is easier than dealing with customers on a day in-day out basis, gets you away—"
"Alya," Marinette interrupted, rubbing her eyes. "No."
"No. Why would you suggest me as a nanny?"
"Because this guy needs help," Alya said. "He's a single dad trying to raise a four-year-old girl while trying to manage a multi-million-dollar business. When I heard of his dilemma, there was only person I could think of that I could recommend in good conscious."
"And that was me?" Marinette skeptically asked.
Marinette sighed. "Alya. You do realize that your job allows you some of the best connections in the city—"
"This guy doesn't need another 'professional' nanny," Alya interrupted. "He's tried that already. They are dropping out like flies. What he needs is a person who will actually make sure his daughter is happy and taken care of. And that is why I suggested you."
Marinette bounced her heels against the floor as she processed the information.
"Will you just give it a shot?" Alya begged. "For me? For my friend who desperately needs it."
"But…" Marinette said, grasping at her last straws. "But what if I get hired by a design house? I've not stopped applying."
"Good," Alya said. "I would hunt you down and kick your rear end if you did. But I know that world; it sometimes takes a lot of time before a job will come. So, this would just be a good transition job until some idiot finally realizes you literally ran your own design business and hires you."
No matter how badly she wanted to disagree with that, Marinette couldn't. "Fine." She relented. "Fine! Whatever. I'll do it."
"You're the best!"
"Yeah, yeah," Marinette sighed. "So… I'd just have to watch the little girl?"
"Okay," Alya explained. Marinette could hear the winner's smile on her face. "It would be forty plus hours a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less depending on how much chaos this guy has to deal with at work. You'd babysit, clean house, and preferably start dinner as well."
"So basically, this guy wants a house wife."
"He needs one," Alya confirmed.
Slowly, the gears started whirring in Marinette's mind, and a frown marred her face. "You aren't trying to set me up, are you?"
There was a short pause. "No!" she cried. "Oh my gosh, Absolutely not! No. No. And no. The thought never crossed my mind. I swear."
Alya may be a decent actor, but the horror in her tone was evidence enough for Marinette that this was strictly a job.
"Trust me," Alya continued. "This is in no way, shape, or form a set-up. I may be trying to find a wife for this guy no matter how adamant he is to stay single, but I am not trying to find you a husband right now. I know you're not ready."
"Thank you for respecting that."
"Any good friend would, no matter how badly they want to see you happily married and settled with three little kids running around. Anyway," Alya said, changing the topic. "You should definitely take this job because my reputation is on the line and it will benefit all parties involved."
"And you're sure I would actually make a good candidate?"
"Believe me," Alya said, her tone daring Marinette to challenge her. "You would be a welcome change to the routine. All you have to do to keep the job is win over the little girl's heart. And considering you're you, that will be a piece of cake."
Marinette chewed her lip in debate, then let out a tense sigh. "Ok. So how do I contact this guy?"
"Oh, I already gave him your number."
"You what?" Marinette cried. "You gave him my number?"
"Before I could even think about if I wanted the job?"
"I knew I could talk you into it," Alya confidently countered. "Which I successfully did, so no worries."
"Don't take that tone with me. You'll thank me for it later."
Marinette rolled her eyes, mouthing are you kidding me? to no one in particular. "Wait." Marinette said, her mind clicking into high gear. "I don't know anything about this guy."
"Relax, girl," Alya said. "You'll be watching four-year-old Emma. She's really well-behaved for her age and truly a pleasure to be around. The guy's name is Adrien. He's a really good friend of mine, so you don't' have to worry about him. Got it? Okay. See ya later, girl. Keep me updated."
With that, the line died, and Marinette was left to stare at her phone. Adrien. Okay, so she'd get a call from Alya's friend Adri—
Marinette froze, her eyes wide as saucers. Alya only had one "really good" friend named Adrien.
Oh, wordy no.
"What was that about, Marinette?"
Marinette jumped at the sound of her father's voice. He looked up at her expectantly, kneading bread dough out of habit.
"Um…" she put her phone down. "That was Alya. She said she volunteered me for a job."
"Really?" he asked, an excited smile turning up the ends of his mustache. "What sort?"
"A nanny position."
"Yeah, that's what I said."
"Well, you could definitely do it," he encouraged.
She frowned, curling up on the chair. "You think I could? Are you certain that you and Maman—"
Her father dropped the dough on the counter with a large thump. "Marinette," he interrupted. "Don't you go worrying about your Maman and I. We can find help easy enough. This store functioned just fine without you when you were in school, or when you had a job you loved."
"Yeah, but I said I would only leave if I got a job that I wanted."
"But this job is a step closer to you being independent again. I'm not saying your mother and I are anxious to kick you out, but we want to see you living your own life again."
Marinette gave her papa a smile before rounding the table to give him a hug. "Thank you."
"You'll always be my little girl," he said. "I'll always want to see you taken care of, but I'm excited at the prospect of you standing on your own two feet again. And this job would be a step closer to that."
"It would," Marinette agreed. "But I still would want to live with you guys a little longer."
"Take all the time you need."
"Do you really think I'll be cut out for a nanny position, though?"
Her father chuckled. "I think it will be good for you to get out of the store. End of story. However," he father grinned down at her. "The store still needs you now."
A bell called both their attentions, signaling a customer. Papa grinned. "See?"
"I suppose you're right. Love you, Papa."
"Love you, too Marinette."
After giving her father one last squeeze, Marinette walked back out to the front. "Hello, how can I help you?"
t was half-past one by the time she got a phone call. It wasn't a familiar number, but she knew who it was. Nervously swallowing the food she'd just taken a bite of, she reached for the phone to answer it. "Hello?"
"Hi. Is this Marinette Kurtzburg?"
"This is she."
"Hello. My name is Adrien Agreste. My good friend, Alya Cesaire, suggested I call you regarding a nanny position."
Had Alya not prepared her beforehand, Marinette would have been completely blindsided by such a call. "Yes, she did call me to warn me you'd be giving me a call."
"Good," he said, sounding a bit relieved. "Then this isn't completely out of the blue. I suppose I should ask if you would be interested in such a position before I go any further."
Marinette took a breath. Was she? This was Chloe's kid, after all. Many a time, Alya had sworn up and down that Emma was nothing like her mother, but it was still a bit hard for Marinette to wrap her head around the fact that she'd be watching the daughter of the woman who bullied her throughout their school years. "I would be, but I'd like to hear all about it before I commit to anything."
"Fair enough. I'll be frank with you right now; if you decide to accept the job, I have a two-week trial basis that I may terminate you at any time if I see things aren't working out. I'll give you fair pay for that time, even if it isn't completed. I know it sounds strict, but my daughter is picky and so am I. Is that an acceptable stipulation for you?"
Marinette took a moment to think it over, slowly liking the idea more and more. "As long as you accept the fact it's a trial period for me, too. I don't know if Alya told you or not, but I'm not a certified nanny. The most credentials I have is babysitting the daughter of Ms. Chamack, the newscaster. I may not be well suited for this job."
"Alya actually did inform me you weren't an official nanny," he said. "But that is no problem for me considering that she swore you were more than capable and completely trustworthy. I respect Alya's high opinions."
In that case, Marinette hoped she wouldn't let her friend down.
"That being said, I fully understand and accept your own two-week condition. So, if that is settled and we both are understanding each other's terms, then I'll describe the job. My work schedule is hectic. I'm certain you've heard of my last name and my father's business. I do work for my father, handling the business side of his company. Depending on the season and time, my workload varies between thirty to fifty-hour work weeks. Sometimes, this seeps out into the weekends though I do try my best to avoid this. I'm able to tell weeks in advance what my work load will be—as in, whether the days will last seven or ten hours, for example—but I understand if inconsistent scheduling is a worry for you. Would that be an issue?"
Marinette frowned. "To clarify, you can nearly guarantee weekends off, correct?"
"Yes. If I ever work on the weekends and need someone to watch Emma, I might give you a call, which you would be completely allowed to turn down. However, I would pay you well should you ever accept."
Marinette could handle that. "All right. Those are acceptable terms. Please, continue."
"Normally, my schedule involves me starting at nine in the morning, so I'd like you here about fifteen minutes before then. More often than not, I work at my office in my father's design house, but there are days I work at home. It usually depends on the week and what duties I have. However, even when I am home, I can't always be watching Emma. So, your duties would consist of watching and caring for her. Furthermore, because my days can stretch to ten-hours, I don't always have time to pick up some household chores when I feel my time would be much better spent with my daughter."
Marinette had to hand it to him; that was the mark of a good father.
"So, making sure the house is vacuumed, dusted, and otherwise cleaned would also be on your list. They don't have to be done every day, but at least once to twice a week. Lastly, while I try to cook decent dinners for my daughter, I am not the best cook. In fact, there are times I wonder if I should even be in the kitchen. So, preparing—or at least mostly so—dinners would be on the list of duties as well.
"To recap, I'm asking you to watch Emma, clean around the house, and cook. Is that acceptable to you?"
Unless Emma was a chaotic child—which Alya swore she wasn't—or a picky eater, none of what he said would be an issue. "That sounds reasonable. And may I ask what the pay rate would be?"
He listed off a number that was way too tempting to turn down. They continued going back and forth for a while before Marinette gave confirmation that she would take the position.
"That's great. Do you have a pen and paper so I can give you my address?"
Marinette flipped open her nearby sketchbook, finding a clear corner to scribble something in. "All right."
She jotted down the address as well as the agreed upon time and date.
"I look forward to meeting you in person."
"I will see you then."
Marinette hung up after him. And sighed heavily.
"Who was that, Marinette?" her maman asked from the kitchen counter.
Marinette swallowed. "Um…it was a job interview."
Her maman's face lit up. "What for?"
"Not anything I applied for," Marinette said. "Alya set me up with a friend who is looking for a nanny for his daughter."
"That sounds very promising."
"It's Chloe's daughter."
"Oh." Her mother's expression fell a bit. "Well, in that case, I think you're the perfect person for the job."
Marinette's brow furrowed at the finality in her mother's tone. "What do you mean?"
"I mean," her mother said while she plated up some lunch for herself, "that you will have the opportunity to be a good influence in that girl's life so she won't end up at all like her mother."
"I hadn't even thought of that," Marinette admitted.
Her mother nodded. "I know Chloe was extremely cruel to you for years, but you knew enough about her to know she was spoiled rotten and raised without any motherly figure. While you wouldn't be her mother, you would be spending enough time with her to make an impression on her young life, depending on how long you would be her nanny."
As much as it pained Marinette to admit it, her mother was right on target. As always. "I'll remember that, Maman," Marinette said, finishing up her lunch and placing her plate in the sink. "I'll head back down to the bakery, now."
Before she could go, her mother stopped her. "I'm really happy for you, Marinette. I hope this works out."
"Even though I'm leaving you with an open position in your store?" she asked.
Her mother's expression softened as she took her daughter's cheeks in her hands. "I know the last year has been hard," she said. "But knowing that you are going out and getting a job of your own shows that you're healing and ready to stand on your own two feet again. While I love you and would do anything for you, I don't like seeing my wonderfully independent daughter so down and out. So, don't you dare worry about leaving the store. I'd much rather see you pursuing your own life again."
Marinette felt tears start welling in her eyes as she engulfed her mother in a hug. "You're the best, Maman."
Her maman patted her head affectionately as she returned Marinette's embrace. "Anything for you, my dear daughter. Anything for you."