Baby Maker(4)

By: Jenny Jax

“Go ahead.” I continued my inspection; everything looked good, child-friendly and safe, and I wondered again who had called this in in the first place.

“Could you babysit for me?” he asked, screwing his face up. “I usually get one of the neighbors to do it, but if they’re calling this in…”

“Huh?” I raised my eyebrows at him.

“I’ll pay, of course,” he jumped in quickly. “Good money. And you can stay over in the guest room.”

Okay, now that was a tempting offer. It would save me the money on a hotel, and it meant I could continue the inspection without it coming across as though that was what I was doing.

“Why, what are you doing?” I asked suspiciously. This all seemed a little too good to be true, and I wasn’t sure why he wouldn’t just get in touch with Ella’s mom or a family friend or something and ask them to do it for him.

“I have work stuff,” he replied vaguely, waving his hand in the air between us. “It’s important, but I’ve had to cancel the last few times because of this little lady.”

He smiled as he glanced over at her, and I couldn’t fight the grin on my face as well.

“Um, I don’t see why not.” I shrugged. “As long as we’re clear that it’s in a professional capacity.”

“What else would it be?” He flashed me a smile, and I felt that flush work its way back up my neck once again. Come on, Mona, get it the fuck together.

“Uh, right.” I shook my head. This guy was making my brain bend. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to continue this inspection without him there, because he was seriously distracting. And I had to admit, I wanted to see more of him, too. Was that pathetic? It was probably a little pathetic. And he probably knew just how attracted to him I was—fuck, he was probably using that to his advantage, playing me like a freaking guitar so he got what he wanted out of me.

“I should have a free evening in a couple of weeks?” I suggested. That was when my apartment was getting fumigated, and I could use the free place to stay. He nodded at once, not an ounce of hesitation on his face.

“That sounds great.” He bowed his head towards me thankfully. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this.”

“Not a problem,” I replied, and stuck out my hand to him. “I guess I can shake your hand now.”

“I guess you can,” he replied, and took my hand between both of his. His skin was warm and soft, dizzyingly so, and I found myself staring down at the spots where our skin connected before we let go. I withdrew my hand quickly, and patted down my hair, pulling myself together. I had an inspection to complete.

“Do you mind if I head upstairs?” I asked, and he nodded.

“Be my guest.” He gestured up the stairs. “If you need anything, just shout. But I’m going to stay down here with Ella.”

I watched as he went to plant himself next to her, leaning back on his hands and staring intently at the cartoons on the TV, and I couldn’t help but smile to myself. Okay, this was going to be an interesting first job. I could tell.

Chapter Four

I paced up and down the hallway, watching my feet as they made their way up and down the polished wood floor. I was thinking about Ella, again, and what had happened that day a couple of weeks ago when Mona had first arrived.

I still couldn’t put the pieces together in my head—it just didn’t make any sense to me. I mean, I had gone downstairs for what, less than a minute? I still remembered planting a quick kiss on Ella’s head as I hurried down to grab my spanner to work on one of the parts I had laid out on the kitchen table. And when I came back, she was gone.

I had never felt anything like the fear I felt at that moment. I had been scared for myself before, scared for my friends—but never scared for my own daughter. I couldn’t think of a worse feeling in the world, and it kept me up at night, thinking about what could have happened if Mona hadn’t been there to calm her down and keep her still. Ella was a squirmy, energetic little thing at the best of times—so seeing her so completely still the way she was when I came out to find them was almost too much to bear. I knew something was wrong the moment I laid eyes on her, knew it was more than just her messing around. And when I saw the blood leaking from that wound in her head… I knew things would never be the same after that. I knew someone had hurt my little girl, terrified her beyond belief, and it scared the living shit out of me.

The worst part of it was that I still had no clue who it was. I had promised myself for months that I would set up security cameras around the house, but I had never gotten around to it. I could have kicked myself when I realized what had happened—whoever it was wouldn’t come back now, after they had been foiled. Or at least, after they knew that I was onto them. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was something to do with the club—and the thought of having to choose between them and her was sickening. I knew it would have to happen at some point, but I assumed it would be a decision I made, not one I was backed into out of necessity.