Milllionaire Dad, Nanny Needed!

By: Susan Meier

Heartsick, Audra said, “Take your time.”

Julie left the room, and Audra sank into her chair, turned on her computer and was about to begin composing the e-mail to the Belles explaining that they couldn’t afford to pick up the tab for Julie’s wedding. But with Julie’s appreciation still hanging in the air, she couldn’t do it. The words simply wouldn’t come. The most she could write was a request for an emergency meeting in the conference room. She hit Send, then shifted over to a word-processing program to try to compose a few lines she could say in the meeting to tell the Belles they couldn’t afford Julie’s wedding.

Once again, she couldn’t think of a way to soften the blow of having to break a promise. So, instead of typing on her keyboard, Audra reached for her phone and tapped out the numbers for her mother’s cell phone.

“Are you busy?”

“Always,” her mother said with a laugh. “But you never call me at work, so you must have a problem that’s more important than the blueberry pies I’m baking.”

“I do.”

“What’s up?”

Worried that Julie would return in the middle of her story, Audra said, “I don’t have time to explain, but we’re out of money.”

Her mother gasped. “Wedding Belles is going bankrupt?”

“No, we have enough money to make it through the next few months if we’re careful. The problem is we promised our assistant a wedding. If we give her the wedding we’ve been planning, we’ll end up over our heads in debt. If we don’t, we have to go back on our word.”

“Oh, honey. That’s terrible.”

Audra glanced at the door. “I shouldn’t have called. Julie’s going to be back any second and I can’t talk in front of her. But I feel awful and I don’t know what to do. I can’t even think of a way to explain our problem in an e-mail to the Belles. I’m a mess!”

“Wow, for you to admit you can’t organize or plan yourself out of a situation, things must be bad. Dominic’s gone,” she said referring to Dominic Manelli, the youngest of the Manelli children, current CEO of Manelli Holdings, only resident of the family home and Mary Greene’s employer. “Left as if his feet were on fire. So why don’t you come over? I’ll make coffee. We’ll talk. Two heads are always better than one. Maybe together we could come up with something?”

The prospect of getting out of the office relieved some of Audra’s stress. Even thinking about staying in the same room with Julie while she entered invoices and chatted happily about her wedding sent a dagger through Audra’s heart. And her mother was smart. Analytical. That’s where Audra had gotten her own logical thinking ability. Maybe together they could figure a solution to this problem? Or if nothing else, maybe they could find a way to soften the blow, not just for Julie, but for the Belles who would be devastated at not being able to keep their promise.

“I’ll be over in about twenty minutes.”

“I should have pie for you by then.”

Audra laughed. Her mother always knew how to make her feel better. “Just make a crust and lots of chocolate pudding.”

Her mother chuckled. “Should I have whipped topping?”

“Yes!” She sighed. “Thanks, Mom.”

Audra hung up the phone and rose from her seat just as Julie entered the room. “Here’s your water.”

“Thanks.” Audra set the bottle on her desk, then pulled her practical coat from the closet and shrugged into it. “I need to go out. I’ll be gone for most of the morning. If anybody’s looking for me, they can reach me on my cell.”

Looking a bit perplexed, Julie said, “Okay.”

Audra slipped out of the office. In the corridors and on the stairs, she once again battled brides, bridesmaids and sparkly gowns to get to the door and out into the fat fluffy flakes falling on Boston.

Traffic prevented her from making it to the Manelli estate in twenty minutes as she’d hoped. Almost forty minutes had passed before the guard at the gate let her onto the property. The heavy snow that had been falling steadily clung to the lush evergreens that lined the long lane and the bare branches of stately oaks in the front yard, making the Manelli estate a winter wonderland. Audra drove around the circular driveway to the servants’ entrance, and was surprised to find a pretty blue Mercedes parked in front of the kitchen door.

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