Shasta and Leonardo are back in Twinbrooks, with Rowan this time. Leonardo has received the Merlin Award for Best Stage Magician, and the little family has decided to stay a while in their ‘pied à terre’ in the woods. Leonardo has been travelling since Rowan’s birth, and now he would like to have some quality time with his son and wife.
Rowan loves when his father tells him stories.
Shasta is a hopeless cook. And Rowan has to eat real food, no magic hokey pokey can make a child grow. But there’s nothing mentioned about not using magic to enhance the stove…
Mac and cheese. It’s probably not what’s needed to make Rowan grow, but it’s about the only thing Shasta manages to cook…
‘Come dance with me! Look Leonardo! He’ll soon make those girls swoon on the dance floor!’
Cute, but full of mischief. Rowan’s been playing in the bathroom – again.
Leonardo feels he can’t take it much longer. ‘Why can’t he go to sleep at 7 p.m.? Other kids do!’
‘Maybe it’s Mother’s gift?’
‘Well… Give me that stupid ragdoll!’
But Leonardo has to give it back, as Rowan lets out a bloodcurdling scream…
The nights are short as Rowan doesn’t care about sleeping late in the morning. He wakes up at five, and wants attention. After a week of sleepless nights, early mornings and mac and cheese, Leonardo decides they should go home to Monte Vista. And hire a nanny.
They leave the dark woods of Twinbrooks for the sunny hills of Monte Vista. Rowan screaming the whole way…
The di Grisogno Mansion is a typical Italian house, just a lot bigger!
At least Rowan’s not sleeping in their room. And Leonardo might be weary after the long journey, but he isn’t that tired…
In the morning they have a lazy Italian breakfast. Their Butler has prepared breakfast skewers with sweet Italian sausage, peppers, onions and pineapple. The smell of coffee and fresh ciabatta bread mingles with the smell of warm grass. Shasta is dunking her almond biscotti in a black espresso. They small talk about the coming afternoon. The agency they’ve contacted by mail is efficient and has already set up 12 girls for today. Shasta wants to do the interviewing, she thinks Leonardo will choose the first beautiful girl who smiles at him, instead of looking for other, more necessary qualities.
Leonardo takes Rowan for a long walk after lunch, so Shasta can interview the candidates without a screaming Rowan scaring them all away.
Shasta has interviewed 11 of the girls when Leonardo returns. He had to come back and tell her about his new trick – while he was walking around the park with Rowan he couldn’t help noticing how people were fascinated by the first butterflies.
‘… so I decided to use butterflies! Tada! Farfalle!’
Shasta gapes as Leonardo with a bold gesture makes the ceiling disintegrate into colorful butterflies.
…’ They both turn to stare at the young girl sitting on the couch. Shasta had completely forgotten she was still there.
‘Ahem, this is Signore Di Grisogno, Rowans father and my husband.’
‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, Signorina. Eh… I’ll go see what Egon’s up to. Arrivederci.’
With a vague gesture of his hand towards the girl, Leonardo rapidly walks outside again.
‘Janssen. Ellen Janssen.’ The girl looks expectantly at Shasta.
‘Can you tell me something about your work experience?’
‘Well, I’m 19. I graduated from ENGS last year and I’ve been working in Monte Vista with the Costa’s since graduating.’
Shasta looks at Ellen and rises one eyebrow.
Ellen continues. ‘I cared for a 5 year old boy and a 2 year old girl, 5 days per week. Duties included picking the children up from school and nursery respectively, arranging play dates for the girl, teaching her arts and crafts, taking trips to the park and helping the boy with any homework he may have. I prepared meals and tended to the children’s washing and ironing…’
‘What was your reason for leaving?’
‘The girl was to start school full-time and hours decreased significantly. Oh, and I also have a diploma in Pediatric First Aid – Safe & Sound Organization, a Certificate in Child Care and Education and I have an International Driver’s License – with a clean record.’
‘Good. What are your hobbies?’
‘Cycling, hiking, travelling, reading and running marathons.’
Running marathons? No less… Well, being in shape helps when you run after a child the whole day…
‘You know this is a live-in position? Monday to Saturday but we travel frequently, and we expect you to take care of Rowan on a 24/7 basis when my husband and I are away. We have staff, but I’d like you to prepare Rowans meals…’
‘There you are, Egon.’ Leonardo pets the fat cat. ‘That girl was ugly…’
‘Can I meet Rowan?’
‘Yes, go ahead.’ Shasta watches as Ellen takes the ragdoll from Rowan and plays with him. Rowan stares at Ellen, then he bursts out laughing. Shasta doesn’t believe her eyes.
‘You’re hired, Miss Janssen. Can you start tomorrow?’
‘I’d love to!’
‘It’s settled then. We look forward to working with you.’
Ellen Janssen seems almost too perfect to be true… But her look isn’t right. She doesn’t fit in an upper class family like ours…
Shasta pulls some strings and gets an appointment with Jayden James’s assistant the very next day.
So Shasta decided to relook her. Ellen was reluctant, but Shasta insisted – no relooking = no job! There are unwritten rules about nannies dress codes, and they don’t involve piercings, shaved heads or fishnet t-shirts. Tights jeans that show off thongs are definitely a NONO. Especially with Leonardo around!
‘Perfect! Except for the shoes… I said sensible shoes. And the skirt is unquestionably too short. I think I prefer trousers after all…’
‘Good morning little man! How are you today? Ready to explore the world? Let’s start with the kitchen…’
Rowan is happy, he doesn’t have to yell his head off to get attention with Ellen sleeping in the same room.
Ellen plays with Rowan…
… brings him his morning milk…
… cooks all his favorite meals…
… washes the dishes (it’s silver cutlery!)…
… cleans up after Rowan’s been playing in the bathroom – again…
… and takes him for long healthy walks…
‘Goodnight, Signore Di Grisogno. It’s time for me to put Rowan to bed. Say goodnight to your dad, Rowan.’
Where’s Shasta? She must be upstairs already…
Thanks to Ellen, the Di Grisogno’s life is back to normal again.
… and they finally get some sleep!
With Ellen taking care of Rowan from Monday to Saturday, Shasta and Leonardo finds themselves looking forward to the weekends with their son.
‘What about going to the beach? I’m sure Rowan would love to play in the ocean!’
Said and done. Leonardo spends quality time with his son…
… while Shasta spends quality time with herself – getting a nice tan to appeal to her husband… and whoever else might be around…
Part I – End of Chapter 30