EN: This chapter is a direct continuation from the last one, starting on the same day the last one ended.
A situation in which no progress is possible, especially because of disagreement; a deadlock
Elias waited in the kitchen for Tara to come downstairs.
This current situation was not something you could just gloss over, sweep under the rug and move on like nothing ever happened. No, far from it. This could get real ugly.
He’d have to let her go, find another nanny, who would probably be less than half as great as Tara was, if he was lucky, and then try to come up with a good explanation for Ewan. This was no basis for a proper nanny and employer relationship. All he could hope for now was that she would go with too much drama. She could really screw things up for him if she wanted to about this. Not to mention that she was less than half his age! Younger even than his own daughter Briar Rose!
‘Elias Cameron, you cradlerobbing dumbass!’ he told himself in his mind.
“Good morning, Mr. Cameron. How are you feeling?” Tara appeared in the kitchen in her usual pleasant and chipper ways.
“Oh – there you are! Good, we need to talk. And ‘Mr. Cameron’? That sounds like a farce now after all that happened, don’t you think?”
“Yesterday. I am truly very sorry about everything. More than I can say.”
“Oh, that! Don’t you worry about it. This is nothing. As a nanny you will eventually see your employer drunk. Part of the job. No biggie. At least you are kind of adorable as a drunk, not violent or grabby or insulting. Very talkative, but funny and a bit on the teary side.”
“I didn’t mean the drunk part, although I am really sorry about that too. I should never have done that, especially with a young child in the same house.”
“No argument from me there, but I am not one to judge. Oh, I get it now! You mean the being late and not answering my messages. Yeah, that really is a big no-no …”
“TARA! Stop … ugh …” Eli had been too loud and his head vibrated.
“I really don’t understand … ” Tara’s voice really made her sound like a child in trouble now.
“Just let’s not play coy here. I am in no condition for some cat and mouse game this morning. What happened between us last night is inexcusable, I accept full responsibility, but there is no way we can continue with this. Any part of it. I cannot believe I let that happen. But it did, and there is nothing I can do about it now, other than suggest the obvious.”
“Mr. Cameron, I am not following.”
“Again, don’t you think calling me Mr. Cameron after all that is a bit too ironic? Definitely gives this an even worse aftertaste!”
“We are supposed to address our employers only by their last names. Agency policy.”
“What does the agency policy say about sleeping with your employers?!”
“I do not know what is going on here Tara, or why you are playing the naive card, but this has to stop. Whatever you are thinking now, what happened last night was a one time regrettable slip-up. I will pay you twice of what I owe for overstaying yesterday, but this will be your final check. I’ll make something up for the agency putting the blame wholly on me, and will give you rave reviews since none of this was your fault.” Eli rattled down business-like.
“Wait a minute. You think we … oh my gawd, I do not know if I want to laugh or be embarrassed now! You are older than my dad. OMG. Ha ha ha ha!” Tara laughed a little.
“How is that amusing?” Eli got grumpier.
“We didn’t do what you think we did, Mr. Cameron. Not even close! You totally passed out on me in the living room, I tried to catch you and keep you upright but you are too heavy for me, all I could too was to make sure you don’t hit your head on the way down. When I managed to get you awake enough to walk upstairs with my help and finally had you in bed, you kept trying to get back up and check on Ewan. I really could not let that happen. Clearly you were in no shape to try anything weird, not even when I tried to take your expensive suit jacket off and you just started stripping down to your underwear. But in your defense, you did stop when I asked you to and you went right to bed, more obedient than most kids I have dealt with. As drunk as you were, you were a perfect gentleman, even in your boxers. Once I managed to get you into bed, you were asleep before your head hit the pillow. At that time I was super-tired, and just laid down in that huge bed too, the only way I saw to make sure I’d notice if you were to get back up, but still be able to get some rest in myself. I really thought you’d sleep in, and that I would wake up long before you, then you would have never known I was ever even in your room. So, I guess it is me who should apologize this time. That was definitely against agency policy, and if you want to fire me for it, I understand, but I truly mean it when I say the child’s welfare is paramount to me. I saw no other way to make sure I’d notice you getting up to go bother Ewan. That sweet boy really does not need to see his father in this state, very drunk, he adores you so and only really has you to look up to. And for the record, I slept fully clothed.”
“Oh shit! I thought … oh wow. No, I don’t want to fire you at all. You did everything right, I am still the moron here. I sincerely apologize! You know what Tara, can we try to just forget about that entire night, start with a clean slate and go from there?”
“Forget about what? All I know is is just got here, didn’t I? Yeah, we’re okay, Mr. Cameron, trust me, this was nothing. As long as you answer my texts or calls from now on, as far as I’m concerned we are golden! You are great to work for and Ewan is a sweetie! May I have some coffee too? And how about I take Ewan and his cousins to the zoo today to give you a break so you can nurse your hangover in peace without anybody knowing about it?”
“Thank you, Tara. Really, for everything. Please know this is unlike me and won’t happen again. I’ll get you as much coffee as you can handle. Oh, Tara? Sorry also about the seeing me in my boxers thing. That also should never have happened.” Eli blushed slightly.
“Ah, no worries. I make a living wiping butts and snotty noses, I can handle something I could also see if we ran into each other at the pool. It really is no problem. Promise.”
Eli nodded and smiled, as he got a cup out for her and poured.
His instincts had been right.
She was a keeper!
Several months later.
Eli smiled at the woman, who smiled right back, which encouraged him. He kissed her.
“Meagan, I have been meaning to talk with you. These past few months have been amazing. I don’t recall the last time I felt this great, the last time I had so much fun, I even learned Salsa dancing with you. I enjoy my time with you and can tell it’s mutual. So, why don’t we take another step forward with this relationship? Quit hiding, and make it official.”
“Eli! Let me stop you right there before this becomes awkward. I enjoy our time together too, very much.”
“Oh no, here comes the ‘but…’ kiss of death.”
“Yes, there is a ‘but’. Let me please explain, so you will hopefully understand me better. Let’s go sit on our bench, so not every passer-by has to be part of this. It’s tough enough as is.”
She pointed to a somewhat tucked away bench they knew too well, this was one of their hiding spots when they wanted to be affectionate away from the public eye.
“I really think you are a wonderful man, I count down the minutes to the next time we meet as soon as we say our goodbyes. I have achieved everything I said I wanted to in life, have a successful career, made something of myself. I am a senior executive in an all male construction company, which is a male-dominated field. It was never easy, had to work twice as hard for all I achieved, still I love my job. But – and here is the big problem – I do want a family too. I am thirtyfive now. I know women have children well into their forties nowadays, but I know my clock is ticking if I want to do this right. Find the man of my dreams, build a solid relationship, build a home, settle down and have a child, maybe two. All that in a bit of a time-lapse way, but still that takes years to build up to. I am running out of time fast if I don’t start laying the groundwork now.” Meagan spoke softly, but determined.
“How about a man that already comes with an instant family?” Eli felt he had to try, even though he already could guess the answer.
“I would not be opposed to being a step-mom, but I do want a child of my own, too. I want to experience all aspects of motherhood. Do you see where I am going with this, Eli, and where the problem lies? I seriously doubt you would be interested in going through all that again, after all the talks we had about your past. And I have been racking my brain about all of this for months now, but could not come up with a feasible solution.”
“No, I would not want to be a father again. Not after two marriages to the same woman that ended the exact same way each time, among other things with me feeling like an idiot and as a single father who does not have the time I would like to have to dedicate to my children because I also have a company to run, so I have to live with the knowledge that my kids hurt because they know full well their mother never really wanted them. You can’t just rub some dirt on something like that and walk it off. It definitely puts you off wanting to be a father in the first place.” Elias said plainly.
“There you go. I really REALLY like you, Eli, and I have dreaded this very talk for so long even though I know it is overdue. I hate this so much, because I care about you a lot more than I thought would be possible in only a few months. But this problem is a dealbreaker for both of us. Not to mention the issues that could arise in a work environment, were we to enter into a relationship publicly, and the awkwardness of introducing me to your family the moment they realize we have been seeing each other secretly for almost half a year now. Which is a bit of a turn off for me too, the fact that we have been sneaking around like we were doing something illegal, and that we can only ever tippy-toe to my apartment like cat burglars. I have never even seen your place at all for obvious reasons, which I fully understand, but that does not make it any better. Looking back, we both should have known that this is not going to work in our favor, but I guess neither of us expected us to get as emotionally involved as we have. You are wonderful, Eli, and I am happy with you, I want to do everything I can to make you happy, too. But I can’t. I want to shout about us from the rooftops, not keep hiding something as beautiful as we share as if it were doing something wrong. But we can’t.” Meagan sounded sincere and sad.
“Yeah, I get it. I feel the same way. I want you to meet my kids, my brother, my parents, all the great people in my life that are so important to me, and I want them to know the wonderful, amazing, beautiful woman you are. Maybe I could do marriage again, but only after several years of a relationship to make sure it works out this time. But I am pretty sure I cannot do another kid.”
“As they say ‘if it seems too good to be true …’. You and I, we definitely seem way too good to be true. If it weren’t for this impasse that neither of us can comfortably overcome without losing their true convictions, I care about you enough to use the “L” word. You and I both have had our share of past heartbreaks, we spoke about all that before, and neither of us is quick to use that word again, but with you I would without thinking twice, were it not for that problem.”
“I feel the same way about you, Meagan. But you are right, I cannot just change my mind, not after all I have been through for more than half my life and I know I have no right to ask you to change yours, knowing that there is a high chance you would never be truly happy with that decision. So, what is next for us? Can we still meet, just without the romantic aspect? I would really hate to have this be a total break-up now, even though we never even were official.” Eli said.
He knew she was right, he knew she wasn’t just trying to hurt him. He knew it would be so easy, if only he could give her that one thing that now separated them, but he couldn’t. When he gave Sarah the second chance he really believed everything would be better then. It wasn’t. That became clear after only a few months, but he already felt trapped and obligated due to her pregnancy again. Had it not been for Ewan-Leif, he would have divorced her after only three months that second time. He had abhorred Briar Rose not having a real mother and hurting because of it, now Ewan was going through the same thing. No more kids. Not even to keep Meagan.
“Well, we have to get along regardless, for work alone. We may not constantly interact, but there will be projects where my company consults yours or vice versa. And I would very much like to try to be friends – without the benefits part – with you beyond that. I hate this, Eli, really I do and I have been pondering it so much, wondering if I couldn’t just get over it all and be with you no matter what. But hearing you speak about your children makes me realize that I want that for myself too. This really seems to be a problem without solution.”
They sat next to each other in silence for a while, each trying to process the harsh truth.
“Eli?” Meagan’s voice was soft.
“Do you hate me now?”
“What? No, of course not! How could I? You are right, and I get it. I just wish things were different. I wish I could change. But I can’t. Not even for you and you mean everything to me.”
“Don’t ever change, Eli, not for me and not for anyone. You are absolutely perfect the way you are. I really wish your ex-wife had not broken your heart so badly, because if we did have a kid, man, that would be some great looking genius with unbound ambition!”
Both chuckled a little.
“Come here you!” Eli put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. Holding her like this felt like that terrible conversation preceeding it had been only a bad dream. Reality was that it had not been. Meagan was right, if it seemed too good to be true … and this was way too good to be at all. Fate had a way to not allow anything to be too perfect. What they had shared, as sneaky as it may have been, had been a slice of heaven.
After they parted ways, Eli steered the car to a remote spot and cried.
Fucking underlying circumstances.
-to be continued-