I got downstairs and Francesco was chatting with Joe. I had a plate of food for the doorman and the vampire looked at me with a smile. “You look like shit,” he said eloquently.
I laughed. “You have no idea. Can you just shadow walk me home please?”
He nodded. “My grandson could have done that.”
“If he’d known I didn’t feel up to dealing with more he would have,” I said. “Please?”
“Not a problem,” he said and we found a shadow and he took my elbow and we stepped into my apartment in the Night Life building.
“Thank you,” I said. “Tell Jin I’ll be there in a moment I need to freshen up.”
He nodded and I heard a hustle on the other side of the door even as I headed into my bathroom to reapply the eye liner and clean up any messes I’d made. But before I did any of that I sent Alex a text.
N: I’m sorry. If I didn’t schedule you they wouldn’t leave me alone. And we’d never get any time together.
N: I’ll send the kids over to visit after they get back from Rosie’s.
N: And I’m home safe. Francesco shadow walked. In case you care.
I tucked my phone into my back pocket and cleaned up before I headed into the small apartment that Jin set up as a meeting area. She was with an elderly lady who was not supernatural at all. I sat down. “Thank you Jin. Sorry for keeping you. I had a personal matter to deal with.”
Jin looked at me concerned and I waved her away after she handed me the paperwork. I glanced at the name. “Ms. Wadsworth, what kind of job do you think you are applying for?”
“As you can see from my references I’m an excellent Nanny.”
“I don’t need a Nanny, ma’am. I need someone to oversee their schooling.”
“Ms. Li was telling me about that you wanted to put them in public school, so it would be a matter of making sure they got there on time and the likes.”
“Again, I don’t need help with that.” I sighed. “One moment while I discuss something with Jin.”
I stepped outside and Jin was smirking at me. “Did Alex tell you to hire a nanny?” I asked.
She smiled. “Not exactly. He wanted to spend more time with you. So he asked me instead of looking for tutors to find help.”
“I can’t have human’s around my partially human family,” I said. “Drake cannot hide all the time I refuse to make him.”
Jin nodded. “I’m aware. Finish talking to her.”
I sighed. “Fine.”
I turned and went back inside. “I’m sorry about that.”
“I overheard you. What does the young Drake need to hide?” she asked.
“He’s half dragon. He has to hide his eyes in public because they are orange and lizard like and he’s too young to have contacts,” I said.
She smiled. “I can provide you with a charm that will do that for him.”
“Wicca?” I asked.
She gave me a bright smile. “Illusions are my strong point, But making charms is a secondary speciality – particularly for illusions.”
“The children don’t need a Nanny in a traditional sense.” I started tearing down her personal illusion now that I knew she was hiding something.
“Mr. Sétanta. Read my file.”
“No ma’am I’m not. Paper isn’t going to tell me what I want to know.”
“What do you want to know?” she asked.
I finished the last knot to her carefully crafted illusion and it fell around her. “First I want to know why you are hiding.” Or I should say him. He was very much unlike his prior self, tanned skin, clearly not from a white bread American as he claimed and certainly not an older woman who had years of experience under her.
“And not even wiccan,” I said out loud. “Real name.”
“Ricardo Perez. You can call me Ricky. And despite the teenage appearance I’m much older than I seem,” he said with a Spanish accent.
“Why did you try to hide what you were?” I asked.
“Most people when they find out I’m a demi-demon they look the other way.”
“Okay. So lying to me is bad first impression.”
He laughed. “Yeah. I know, but you wouldn’t look at my qualifications any other way.”
I called out, “Jin.” She stepped inside the door with a bright smile. “Why did you bring in Ms. Wadsworth?”
“Because her talents were useful in helping the young dragon. And all her references said she was an excellent cook, kept house well and never ever slept with their husbands.”
I smirked. “Was that one of Alex’s qualifiers?”
“He said no hot ones.” Jin smiled.
“So provided he’s not lying on the rest of it, if he those qualifications came about, would you still have asked him here?”
Jin nodded. “I do not believe Alex thought of hot men as a criteria when he was asking for Nannies, so yes.”
“Even though I like men and so does he?”
“Most men do not become Nannies,” Jin said.
“And that is the next question, Ricky, why did you want to become a Nanny.”
“Children believe in magic and are usually open to my gifts. I’m not evil I don’t corrupt them,” Ricky said out of automatic defence.
“I never said you did. I can understand your reasoning. And you have no problems working for a Venatori?”
“Any other Venatori wouldn’t be looking for a Nanny. And you are not any Venatori, I’ve lived in this City long enough to know exactly who I am aligning myself with.”
“And that doesn’t bother you?” I asked.
“We’ll give it a week. I live and die by my schedule Jin can give it you. Everything has a home, it needs to go back in it’s place don’t move things. I will know.” Jin was laughing. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing, Nox. I will tell him the same rules we all live by here. Your staff will function as well as can be expected as long as you can get by with the start up issues we will have as we all get to know one another,” Jin said softly.
“Okay. What’s next on my plate? Do I need to talk to any others?”
Jin shook her head. “No. I sent everyone home after I met Mr. Perez as Ms. Wadsworth. I will take him to meet Ant and Vin and then we will get him situated. The rest of the afternoon is yours as the council is settled in for the night. You might find that there are more late night things than you and Alex like.”
“I’m sure we’ll deal,” I said. I didn’t tell her that I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to be around for a while. And that broke my heart as I left Ricky and Jin alone and headed for my room. Vin was soon following me just like the good shadow he was.