The doorbell rang at precisely 7am, signaling the arrival of Meghan Stewart, our babysitter. She lived across the street and two doors down and had been watching our kids on a semi-regular basis for the past three years, since she was fifteen. Cathy and I didn't need babysitting very often, since Cathy, my wife, was a stay-at-home mom, but whenever we did wish to go out for a night on the town or whenever there was a meeting or some other function that Cathy needed to attend while I was at work, Meghan was a godsend. Since she had never really been much of the outgoing type, she was almost always available in the evenings. In addition, she was reliable, sweet, and our two kids loved her to death. We'd always considered her trustworthy as well, at least until the last babysitting episode two weeks before.
That had been when Cathy and I had tried to spend an enjoyable evening by visiting the restaurant where I'd proposed to her ten years before. But, unfortunately, we'd ended up fighting about the same old stupid things. Why was I wasting my time at the District Attorney's office instead of going into corporate law, which paid better? Why was she spending our money like I had gone into corporate law? Round and round we'd gone, making our marital problems worse instead of better, until we'd come home thoroughly pissed at each other, me bracing to spend the night on the couch again, her trying to goad me into resuming the argument by making nasty remarks towards me in Meghan's presence. The discovery I made in the couch cushions while making up my bed for the night only served to add icing to that particularly bitter cake.
I hadn't told Cathy about what I'd found in the couch, nor did I intend to. She would have simply demanded that we never allow Meghan into our house again. Cathy, apart from being a frustrated social climber, was insanely jealous as well. She had always been somewhat cool towards Meghan, who, though she wasn't really gorgeous or anything, was cute and young, two things that threatened my wife's sense of safety more than anything. Nor had I mentioned it to Meghan yet. We hadn't needed a babysitter since then, and the discovery had occurred after she'd gone home that night. But I needed to mention it to her now, not to embarrass her or chastise her, but just to make sure that what apparently happened in my house that night would not happen again.
I opened the door and there she was on the front porch. She was eighteen, tall, her face cute, her body just on the border of what was considered chunky but still firmly on the right side of that particular line. She was full-figured, almost Amazonian, a body that seemed custom-made for playing softball or volleyball (both of which she had done in high school). Her hair was a dark, honey blonde. Currently it was pulled up in a loose ponytail. She was wearing a pair of baggy sweats and a long tee shirt. She looked sleepy.
"Hey, Steve," she greeted me, stifling a yawn. "I made it on time."
"Good morning, Meghan," I responded. I was dressed in my usual suit and tie, preparatory to heading in to the office. "Thanks for coming over so early. It really is a pain when they make me actually go to court."
And this was true. As a robbery and burglary specialist, it was rare indeed that I actually had to take someone to trial. Burglars and robbers were usually busted after being tied to multiple offenses and, when they were caught and charged, the evidence against them was usually overwhelming. Many were facing the prospect of doing some hard time, possibly even that dreaded third strike. As such, they were usually happy to take whatever plea bargain I offered. In this particular case, however, the young man I was prosecuting had a public defender that was almost as dumb as he was. Despite video evidence of him sticking up three convenience stores and two fast food establishments, and despite being caught with the gun that had been used in his possession and with his fingerprints all over it, they had elected to plead innocent and fight it out in court. Thus I had to go in early to prepare for jury selection, which was taking place that morning, and would have to stay late prepping for the actual trial, which would start first thing the next morning. Cathy was out of town attending a Mother's Against Drunk Driving conference in Seattle (MADD was but one of several organizations she volunteered with as a way of getting out of the house), so Meghan had agreed to come over 7am, get the kids off to school, and then come back that afternoon and watch them until I came home.
"What time will you be in?" she asked me. A standard question, of course, and one she certainly had a right to know, but I detected a little hint of something in her eyes.
"Hopefully by 9:30," I said. "Most certainly by ten."
She nodded, the little something beginning to look more and more like an actual gleam. "No problem," she told me. "I'll be able to get some reading done once I put them to bed."
Reading, my ass, I thought. Yes, I was definitely going to have to have this discussion with her. I took a deep breath. "Uh... Meghan?"
I wasn't quite sure how to begin. "Well... listen. You've been babysitting for us a long time now and you've always done a very good job and all and you've always been very respectful of our house."
"Well... thanks," she said, her gleam fading a little at my tone.
"You're welcome. But the reason I bring this up is because... well... after the last time you babysat for us... when we went out to dinner... uh... I found a... uh... a condom wrapper in the couch cushions."
The gleam dissolved like sugar in hot tea. Her face instantly flushed bright red. "A... a... a condom wrapper?" she stammered.
"Yeah," I said. "Trojan lubricated with reservoir tip, to be exact."
"I don't know how something like that could have happened," she blurted, her eyes looking everywhere but my face. "I mean... couldn't it be one of yours?"
"I had a vasectomy," I said. "And even before that, Cathy was on the pill. I haven't used a condom in more than ten years."
"But maybe... I mean isn't it possible that Cathy... you know..."
"Meghan, please," I said, holding up my hand. "Let's not go there. Cathy and I haven't been getting along terribly well lately, but I'm pretty sure she didn't have sex with someone on the couch and then leave the condom wrapper behind. You, on the other hand, have been dating that one boy... what's his name?"
"Carl," she said.
"And I know you told me your parents don't like him very much and won't let him come over to your house. Now none of that is any of my business and I'm not trying to make it my business, but I really have to insist that you don't allow your friends into my house, okay?"
She seemed near tears as she slowly nodded. "Okay," she said softly. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry," I told her. "Just promise me you won't bring people into my house anymore, okay? For any reason."
"I promise," she mumbled.
"Good," I said, giving her a smile. "Then on that note, I'll be heading out. I left the coffee on for you."
She bid me an embarrassed goodbye and a moment later I was out the door.
The day went by. We picked our jury in less than two hours since I didn't bother using any of my strikes — after all, even the most moronic or pre-conceived juror would have a tough time justifying an acquittal vote in this case. Once the jury was formed, the tedium began. I went back to the office and began going over every last detail of my case, piece by piece. I wasn't afraid of losing but I certainly didn't want to forget something vital or make a mistake that would cause me to look like an amateur. As I'd suspected, it took me until nearly nine that night to cover everything.
I drove home somewhat frazzled, tired but too keyed up to feel like getting some sleep just yet. A phone call from Cathy earlier in the day certainly hadn't helped my state of mind much. She had called my office long distance for no other reason than to pick a fight. She'd started in about leaving the kids with "that girl" for so long, which, of course, soon worked its way into the ever popular, "if you worked for a law firm instead of the county we'd be able to afford a real nanny".
I rode the argument out. If I had hung up on her she would have called back. If I'd refused to answer she would've called my secretary and harassed her instead, embarrassing me, herself, and my poor secretary in the process. She had done it before.
So it is not surprising that as I walked in my front door at 9:25, my brain was fixated on one thing and one thing only. I needed a drink.
Meghan was sitting on the couch when I came in, watching music videos on my plasma television. Thoughts of a drink were temporarily shoved to the side as I got a look at her. She was dressed in a pair of tight cotton shorts and a midriff-baring tee shirt. Her stomach was smooth and unlined, with a gold stud threaded through her belly button. Her shoes had been kicked off, leaving her feet bare, and she was sitting Indian-style, a position that allowed her shorts to creep upwards, revealing an enticing amount of upper thigh.
God, she's cute, I thought, feeling a wave of lust sweep over me as I took in her form. This was certainly not the first time I'd had such a feeling about her. On the contrary, I'd always enjoyed looking at her, particularly in the last year or so when she'd truly blossomed into a young woman. I had never been the least bit flirtatious with her, however. Despite my marital problems I was basically an honest, decent guy. I was far from lecherous, at least in the overt sense of the word.
.... There is more of this story ...