Secrets Behind Closed Doors
I started this novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)> I didn't make the 50k words goal like I was hoping to because other things came up. I have this story completely worked out in my head, I just need to find time to write it now!
“I’ve really missed having you home, Sydney. This is nice to have someone to cook breakfast for again.” Mom said as I walked into the kitchen half-awake.
I went for the coffee pot first before I answered her.
“Well, you have Dad here to make breakfast for.” I replied.
“Ah, he usually makes himself something and rushes off to school. I have some eggs and sausage here ready for you. I have to leave for work in ten minutes.”
“Thanks, Mom. I appreciate it.”
“Good luck today with your interview. I am sure you will do great.” She kissed me on the cheek and left the room.
My stomach felt like it dropped. Yes, the interview for my first real, adult job. I spent nearly an hour last night trying to decide what to wear. I still had no clue what to put on. Did I want to dress down to show them what I would wear when I was with the girls? On the other hand, did I want to dress professionally as if I was interviewing for an office job? After I ate, I went back upstairs. I finally decided on a nice pair of slacks that were black and a royal purple blouse. I put on the heart locket a friend of my Mom’s gave me as a gift Saturday. As for my hair, I pulled it back in a simple ponytail. I checked myself in the mirror one more time then headed out the door.
I read the directions that I had downloaded off the internet three times before I pulled out of the driveway. It wasn’t a far drive from my parent’s house in Montgomery to the Milton’s house in Indian Hill. Indian Hill was one of the riches parts of the Cincinnati area. Almost all of the houses located there were very secluded by lots of trees on the properties. This gave the area a mysterious feeling. Most of the houses there were also huge. Some I would consider mansions and others weren’t that much smaller.
I drove slowly up the road they lived on. I was sure I wouldn’t miss it because the houses are so spread out but I didn’t want to take a chance in case the doctor was watching out a window of the house. Like a typical Indian Hill house, it was partially hidden by a line of trees at the road and a few up the driveway. There was a mailbox where the driveway met the road. I doubled checked the number on my paper to the number on the box, took a deep breath, and turned into the driveway.
As soon as I passed the trees, huge yard opened up before me. There were a few toys in the grass but other then that the yard was well manicured. The house was slightly obscured by a tall tree near the curve of the driveway. The house was huge though. Varieties of trees were on either side. It was white with black shutters, which made it stick out from behind the trees.
I pulled up to the sidewalk that lead to the front door and turned the engine off. I took another deep breath and got out. I looked over top of the car to see a man standing in the doorway. He smiled and waved.
“Sydney?” he asked.
“Yes, I am Sydney. Are you Dr. Milton?” I asked.
"Yes. Come on in!”
I walked to him and he led me into the foyer of his home.
“Let’s go into the sun room and talk. Would you like something to drink?” he asked.
“Sure. Thank you.” I replied.
I was trying to concentrate on him and not my surroundings. In front of me was a large staircase leading up to my left was a beautiful room that had a twenty-foot ceiling. Against the back wall of that room was a fireplace with a stone chimney all the way up.
“Follow me please.” The doctor said breaking my thought.
He led me through a room on our right. It must have been a small sitting room because the only pieces of furniture in it were a small coffee table, two love seats, and two armchairs. He opened two French doors to a narrow room that had three walls of windows. On the far wall was another set of French doors that led out to a stone patio.
While I was admiring the view, the doctor went to an intercom on the wall and pushed a button.
“Claire, will you please bring some lemonade and cheese and crackers to the sunroom on the first floor?” he asked.
Sunroom on the first floor? There was another one somewhere else?
“Yes, sir. I will be there in a few minutes.” Claire said.
He turned and smiled at me.
“Your grounds are beautiful! How much land do you have here?” I asked.
“We have just shy of four acres here. This at one time was a farm then it was converted into a stable business for people in the area that wanted horses but had no place to store them. When we bought this place six years ago, we considered keeping the stable business but it was way to much work for a doctor.” He explained.
“Do you have horses now?” I asked.
“Not right now. When the twins get a little older, we might get a few.”
We were both silent for a minute. I had so many questions tumbling in my head but I didn’t want to seem rude. Claire came into the room to serve the drinks and snack.
“Sydney, this is Claire. She comes a few times a week to clean for us and help out where she can. Claire, this is Sydney. She is here to talk about being the girls’ nanny for the summer since Katherine is going to be working.”
“Nice to meet you, Sydney.” She extended her right hand to me. I took it and gave a firm shake.
“Nice to meet you as well.”
“I have worked for the Milton’s for several years now. I think you will really love them.” She said before she turned to leave.
“Please have a seat over here.” He motioned towards the wicker furniture set along the back wall.
“So, you just graduated from University of Cincinnati?” He asked after he poured our lemonade and took a long drink.
“Yes, just this past Saturday. I have a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education.” I said.
“What is you main career goal?” He said.
“I would ultimately like to be a kindergarten, first or second grade teacher. I did teacher’s aid work in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. I really enjoyed it.” I told him.
“Did I tell you I did my pre-med work at UC? Actually, it was only two years. I had an opportunity to go to Harvard Medical School right out of high school but I wanted to stay here for a girl.” He paused. He was staring at nothing, recounting his story.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I wasted two years here. I got excellent grades and luckily, Harvard still wanted me. The girl ended up transferring to OSU to chase some football jock.” He said.
I tried to think of something to say that would change the subject in case this was upsetting him.
“What kind of doctor are you?” was all I could think of.
“Oh, I do reconstructive and plastic surgery.” His face brightened some.
“Wow,” was all I could say.
“I became interested init when one of my mother’s friends accused her of sleeping with her husband. Her friend broke into our house and threw boiling water on my mother.”
“Oh my. I am so sorry to hear that.”
“She was mostly burned on her face, shoulders, and arms. She saw so many doctors. I was determined to help her.” He stirred the top of his lemonade with the tip of his finger.
“I practically wore myself into exhaustion to get through school. That was my only focus.” He said still stirring the lemonade.
“That sounds like what I just did to myself. Although I didn’t have the same motivation that you did.” I smiled weakly at him.
“Well, we should talk about the matter at hand instead of boring each other to tears.” He finally smiled at me.
“Yes, let’s get back on track.” I said.
“Ok, as I told you on the phone, you will be responsible for out five year old twin girls, Jordan and Morgan,” he raised his hand toward the wall to his right.
He was drawing my attention to a family portrait. The five of them made a beautiful family. The twins were obviously identical and resembled their mother. The three of them had matching straight caramel colored hair and big brown eyes. They all shared the same dimple on their right cheek. The other girl in the picture must be Sasha. She had red hair and a face full of freckles. Behind the four girls stood Dr. Milton. He stood proudly with perfect posture and perfect teeth.
“Sasha is usually involved in a lot of activities. I think she is going to add a few more this summer. So you don’t spend the summer in a car, I am going to hire a driver or have Claire do the running with her.” He paused to pour us more lemonade.
“I wouldn’t mind but whatever you want.” I said.
“The twins are a handful. It can be a challenge keeping them from being bored while Sasha is in dance or gymnastics or at an instrument lesson.” He explained.
“I’m sure with the age difference they all don’t have the same skill levels.”
“Yes, right. If everyone click s and gets along, I think it would be nice if you could come to live with us if that would be something you could feasibly do.” He said.
“I agree. I am staying with my parents for now. They don’t live to far from here but it may be easier for us all if I stay here.”
“Good, good. Now as far as compensation goes, your hours will vary. Katherine, my wife, some days she will be gone for ten hours, some days only three or four. Your pay will always be the same. I am offering fifteen dollars an hour or one hundred thirty five a day.” He stopped and looked at me. I did the math in my head quickly. This comes out to $675 a week. Wow! I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled.
“Your meals will be provided, you will have use of the mini-van or SUV when you have the girls, and weekends you are off unless we let you know by Thursday that we need you.” He explained further.
“Ok, that sounds fair,” I thought I sounded like a real idiot.
“Let’s go on a tour of the house and I will show you where your room will be.” He stood up.
Just as we were walking out of the sunroom to go in the foyer, the front door burst open.
“No! It’s my turn to help!” A little girl’s voice announced.
“You helped this morning and last night!” Another little girl’s voice called out.
“Girls, you both can help.” This was a woman’s voice.
The girls ran through the room with the high ceiling. The door closed. A woman stood there, her hand to her forehead. She inhaled deeply, then sighed it back out. She turned to her left, hung her keys and purse on the wall. She looked in the mirror in front of her, fluffed her hair a lttle, then she realized we were standing behind her.
“Oh, Keith. I thought you would be done by now,” She said. She turned to face us.
“We were just getting read for the grand tour. Katherine, this is Sydney. Sydney, this is Katherine, my beautiful wife.” Doctor Milton said.
Katherine blushed. She took a step towards me and extended her hand for a handshake.
“Hello, nice to meet you. Your house is beautiful from what I have seen so far.” I said to her.
“Why thank you! Are you interested in the position?” She asked.
“Yes, I am.”
“Let’s go see what the girls are up to in the kitchen before the house falls down around us.” Dr. Milton said.
He lead us through the living room and into the kitchen. Everywhere you looked in the kitchen, there was wood the color of honey. Wood floors, wood cabinets, wood beams on the ceiling, even the front doors of the refrigerator were wood.
The island in the middle of the kitchen housed a stovetop and small sink. On the wall behind the island were two ovens one on top of the other, side by side refrigerator doors, a drawer under these that I assumed was the freezer and a double sink.
“Hi, I am Jordan. Who are you?” asked the little girl sitting on a stool pulled up to the island.
“Hello, Jordan. I’m Sydney.” I held my hand out to shake hers.
She flashed a smile, shook my hand and went back to eating her salad.
“I’m Morgan!” a voice said from the other side of the island.
“Hello, Morgan.” I replied.
“Well, come out and see her, Morgan.” Dr. Milton said.
Morgan crawled around the corner. She giggled and Dr. Milton reached down to pick her up.
“Ok, Miss Smarty Pants” He said to her.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and laughed again.
“They are good girls. Full of energy, but good compared to most kids we know. Wait until we have a barbeque for our friends and you will see.” Dr. Milton said.
Katherine smiled at him then at me. She took Morgan from Dr. Milton and placed the little girl on a chair. Dr. Milton touched my elbow and said, “The tour.”
He guided me towards a set of doors.
“This is the formal dining area. The girls are not allowed in this room.” He said.
I poked my head in the door. It was a gorgeous set up. A long table that looked to seat twelve was in the middle of the room and a hutch was on one wall and an enormous window was on the back wall. I came out of the room, he closed the doors, and motioned for me to follow him.
“Through here is where we eat dinner every night or do family things like coloring or playing board games.”
This room was half the size of the formal dining area and looked like it was used a lot. There was a table in the middle with 8 chairs around it. A table with papers, crayons, paints, and other craft items was on the right hand wall and another enormous window was on the back wall. Through this window you could see the patio area.
“Through that door is the garage. Normally we are to park the cars in the garage or on this side of the house. The girls know as soon as they come in they are to sit here and remove their shoes and coats and put them in the right places.” He explained.
He pointed to a bench that had a plastic tub under it for shoes. There was a rack of coats hanging above the bench. I looked to my right and there were stairs leading down.
“Down here is where the fun stuff is.” He said smiling.
We descended the stairs to the basement area only this was a finished basement. To my right was a large open space. A bar was against the wall near us. It was surrounded by about ten stools. There was an area of 3 couches placed in front of a big screen TV. A fire place was near a corner of the room and along the far wall of the area was a play area set up. It look like Toys R Us had set up a mini version of the store in that part of the room.
I pivoted around, taking the whole room in. Movie posters and football memorabilia were all over the walls. I noticed a door near the stairs where we came in. I took a step towards it.
“And what’s in here? A hot tub room?” I teased.
Dr. Milton had a look of panic on his face. He moved quickly to the door and stood between me and it.
“No one is allowed in there. It is a…. studio of sorts and storage. The furnace and water heater are in there too.” His voice was somewhat shaky but I didn’t want to question him.
“Let’s go back upstairs, shall we.” He said and motioned his hands upward.
The vibe between us changed suddenly. I felt uncomfortable with him suddenly. He didn’t speak to me until we got to the top of the landing on the second floor.
“This is where all of the bedrooms are. Down here to the right is where mine and Katherine’s bedroom is located. In this room is a small workout area that the girls are not allowed in.”
I looked into the mini-gym. Enough equipment to get a good workout and a flat screen TV. Just like a real gym.
“This is the twin’s room. This is Sasha’s room. Here is their bathroom.” He said as we continued down the hall.
He seemed to be rushing now. We didn’t go into any of the rooms until the last two at the end of the hall.
“Through this door,” he turned the knob and stepped in, “Is the computer room for the girls.”
A computer room for the girls? In this room were three computers at three different desks around the room. There was a built in bookcase filled completely with books.
“You can share the computers or bring your own. Over here is the guest room or what will be your room should you except the position.”
I stepped into the room. A queen size bed was pushed against the wall but stretched out to the middle. A neutral floral patterned comforter and pillows were on the bed. A dresser and armoire were opposite each other.
“Your walk in closet, and bathroom are through that door. A small sunroom and balcony are out that door.” He explained.
This room and everything attached to it was nearly as big as the downstairs of my parent’s house.
“It looks a little plain now, but you can add some temporary decorations.” He said.
He still seemed aggravated from the shortness in his tone. I started worrying if I still had a shot at the position now.
“Dr. Milton, I have to ask you, are mad at me?” I inquired.
“Mad at you? Why would I be mad at you?”
“Well, you have been acting short with me since I asked about the door in the basement.” I said, dreading his answer.
“Oh, no. I am not mad. Just tired.” He said with a wave of his hand like he was shooing a fly away.”
“So what do you think, are you interested in joining us for the summer?” He asked.
I thought for a moment. Do I answer now and seem over eager or tell him I will think about it and call him later?
“Yes, I would like to give this a try.” I blurted out.
A big smile came across his face.
“Great, wonderful, I will call you later today and make arrangements.” He gave me a hug then.
I was frozen for a minute. I didn’t know what to do. I patted his back. How odd. A hug?
When he let me go finally, he walked with me down the stairs and out to my car.
“Talk to you later!” he said.
“Yes! Talk to you later.”
And I drove home.