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Chapter 1

Tim stood in shock, knocking over the chair he had been sitting on for the past hour.

"Holy shit!" he said, a bit too loudly.

Nervously he picked up the chair and went to check on the kids.

Tim signed a breath of relief when he found Brian and Kimberly sound asleep in their beds.

He always felt a rush of excitement when he snooped, but now he was nervous. As Tim walked back down the hallway, he feared something, or someone was going to catch him. As he stepped into the office, there it was, still on the computer screen. Looking around, he wondered if there were those nanny cams, hidden just to check on things.

Sitting down, Tim realized he was sweating.

"Shit," he said to himself. "Get yourself together."

Tim was good at hacking, and at covering his tracks. This computer had taken him just over thirty minutes to get through the password ... a bit longer than the average. Seeing what was in the files, Tim could understand why.

As he worked, cleaning up traces that he'd been there, he was in a battle as to what to do with the information.

Mr. Wright was a pretty nice guy. Always friendly. His two kids were cute as anything at one and two years old. His family had known them for about three years and had been at the funeral for his wife. That was a year ago. Tim had never known anyone who had died and this one was enough to tear anyone up. A doctor's mistake caused her to bleed out the night after giving birth.

Still ... Tim didn't know what to do with the information he now possessed. After all, his sister Cynthia usually babysat the two. This was just one of those odd chances that he got roped into being here tonight. Not that Mr. Wright went out often. Fact is, he rarely went out at all. Tim's mother had said it was depression from losing his wife.

When I pulled up, I smiled. There was a big difference between Tim and Cynthia's babysitting skills. Tim played with the kids a bit more, and that wore the two-year-old out. He also left just about every light on in the house. I raised my eyebrows just a touch when I noticed the office light on.

As I opened the front door, I saw Tim watching TV.

"How was it?"

"Great!" Tim said in forced enthusiasm. He wanted nothing more than to get out.

"They went down ok?"

"Just like you said they would. Not a sound since."

"Good. Good. Now ... how much..."

Tim was out the door in a flash and I walked upstairs. First checking on my two loves. They looked like angels ... well, when they were asleep! Then I walked further down the hall and stopped at the office.

"He was careless," I said as I shook my head.

Flipping off the light, I walked back to the other end of the hall and into the master bedroom. Sitting, I took off my shoes and sighed.

Tonight was a company get together. I hated those things, but had been convinced I needed to be there. It had come up suddenly. Because of that, Cynthia hadn't been available. Her brother knew the kids just as well, and they liked Tim.

Next week my best friend Todd was taking me out. Todd's wife kept track of things. She knew my wedding anniversary was next Tuesday. It would have been five years. While Todd would help make the evening pass, I would still go to sleep in an empty bed. Something I never thought would have been possible when I married the girl of my dreams.

As soon as their parents were out of the house, Saturday morning, Tim knocked on his sister's door.

"Come in."

"We need to talk."

Cynthia turned around on the chair, away from the computer and said, "Whatcha need?"

"Cynthia, this is serious."

Raising her eyebrows, as her brother never called her by her full name, she said, "What did you do now?"

"It's not me ... It's Mr. Wright. You can't baby sit for him any more."

"Yeah, right!"

"Cindy!" he said, the name she'd been called by friends for years

"Look, I have a job next Tuesday, what? You want me to call him and cancel? Or did you want the job yourself?" she said in a smart aleck tone.

"I don't want your job and you aren't going over there."

"Jeeze, Tim, what's wrong with you. What'd you do, go snooping and found his stash of girly rags?" she said with a laugh.

Tim's face got red, and Cynthia took it as though she'd just nailed it.

"Tim, all guys have those. Hell, Mr. Henderson has three subscriptions. He's never even suggested a thing to me. All guys like to look, right? Don't mean a thing."

"It's not that, it's worse. Much worse. I ... Ok. I snooped."

"What would I care if Mr. Wright was into bondage or something like that? All I do is take care of his kids. Damn, Tim, you remember last year. How the hell could I ever say no to taking care of them?"

"But Cindy, he..."


"He writes stories."

"Fuck! That's it? He's an author or something? So?"

"No, I mean yes. Remember last summer when we were trying to find the most outrageous site that didn't have pictures?"

"Uh, yeah ... I still log into that one. God some of those stories are fuckin' hot. I write to those authors and none of them know I'm jail bait! Well for another month that is." she said and started to giggle. Then suddenly she stopped and looked at her brother. "Wait ... oh shit! He's..."


"Which one?"

Tim shook his head.

"Tell me."


"Then I'm still baby sitting."

"You can't!"

"Tell me then."

"I can't."

"Yes, you can."


"Then get out of my room. I'm going Tuesday."

"Don't say I never warned you, shithead."

Monday evening I was sitting in my office. The kids were tucked safely in bed. Before I left for work, I'd started a program. Now I was looking at the results.

"Shit," I said and sighed. "It's no wonder he was nervous. Dumb shit."

I shook my head, wondering if Cynthia would call at the last minute and cancel on me. I needed to go out tomorrow. I knew it. If she did that, I was going to have to take the kids with me, and go. I couldn't spend the evening in the house alone.

It put me into a depressed mood and I used that to write one of the stories I was working on. When I stopped, at about ten, I read over what I'd written. Hell, it was good stuff. It was also fucking depressing. I would have to re-look at it another day. Can't make the readers want to go out and kill themselves.

I looked at my email and responded to a couple of them. Then I closed up everything, and turned off the light.

Across the street a light was still on. I never could remember whose room was whose. Was Cynthia on the right or was Tim?

I sighed as I thought I might well have lost some friends.

"Hell! Life sucks, sometimes."

Cynthia couldn't wait to get over to Mr. Wright's house. Her brother kept giving her the evil eye, but she ignored it. She knew he would never say a word to their parents. They both knew that if their parents got hold of a thread, the kids' world would unravel.

She saw him drive up from work, and knocked on the door about two minutes later.

"You're here early!" I said, shocked she was there at all.

"I thought you might need a bit of help, as this is a work night ... Are you ok?"

"Today's just a hard day."

"Yeah, I can imagine, school gets like that at times."

I tried to smile. Cynthia caught me on it.

"Not about work, is it?"


"Not some girl..." she hesitantly asked, then seeing my expression, said, "Oh, God! Forget I said that. Sorry."

I had a lump in my throat, and tears starting to form in my eyes.

"Today would have been our anniversary."

Cynthia clapped her hand to her mouth. I could see she was on the verge of tears.

"I'm so sorry."

"Yeah, well that's why my best friend is taking me out. His wife keeps track of these things, and knew this would be a hell of a day for me. Sorry, I shouldn't dump all this on you."

She was shaking her head as she said, "No, no. It's fine. I don't mind at all. You know I love your kids. It's almost unfair for me to take money for doing it..." then she grinned, "Almost."

I had to laugh at that.

"Thanks, Cyn. I mean Cynthia."

"Cyn ... I like that. Sounds kinda sexy. Cindy, like my friends call me sounds so ... kid-like. I like Cyn. Thanks Mr. Wright," then she grinned at me and added, "or if you call me Cyn, do I get to call you Brad?"

I gulped. "Ah..."

"Cyn, you can call me that."


"Maybe when we're alone, ok?"

"Yeah, maybe that would be better."

"So do I get to call you Brad then?"

"When we're alone, ok? I don't need your parents thinking..."

"Oh, don't worry. Mom thinks you're wonderful. Dad wonders how you do it. My brother..."

"Yes?" I asked cautiously.

"He's a dickhead. You call me whenever you want to go out. I'll make sure I'm available for you."


"You got a cell phone?"

"Doesn't everyone now?"

"My parents don't. I think they rode dinosaurs when they grew up!"

"Probably tell you that, too."

"Something like that. Now, where is it?"


"Your cell."

I produced it and watched as in less than a minute she had her number, special ring tone, and a picture she had me take of her programmed in.

"There, now call me."



"Umm, ok."

I pulled up her contact, and pressed 'send.'

Her phone rang and she answered, then hung up. I watched as she put me into a contact, added the same ring tone as I had for her, and then she took my picture.

"There. Now if you call me, I'll know it's you before I even answer it."

"I guess that's true for me as well, especially as I don't have anyone else with another ring tone."


"I never even thought about doing that."

"Maybe I need to teach you how to use your phone!"

"Yeah, I could see that."

It didn't take me long to get ready, as I wasn't chasing after my kids. Damn it was nice having someone looking after them.

I had to stop that line of thinking, several times. It was just going to get me depressed.

Coming down into the kitchen, Cynthia had both kids in their high chairs. She was making them dinner. I just had to smile. She made them laugh so much.

"You are too good for them, and a lot better company than I would have been. Thanks."

"You are going to be back on time? I do have school tomorrow."

"Yeah. Todd's wife would have my..."

Cynthia snorted as she tried not to laugh at me stopping as I realized what I was about to say.

"You don't think I hear worse at school?"

"I guess, but I'm supposed to be a good impression and all."

"Brad, we're alone. You call me Cyn. I call you Brad. We don't let that kind of stuff get in the way. Please, treat me like an adult, ok? It would be a nice change for me."

"Ok, but these two don't need to hear that kind of language, they'll pick it up fast enough without learning it from me."

"Fair enough. When's your friend showing up?"

"Soon, I think. I don't know where we're going, so I'm going to have him come in, so I can write it down."

"I have your cell."

"Yeah, and in a crowded bar, that won't mean squat."

"Ever heard of vibrate?"

I had to bite my tongue.

"I didn't mean those. I meant the phone," Cynthia said as she caught my look.

"I tried it once or twice," I said, answering her. "It scared the," I whispered, "crap," then returned to my normal voice, "out of me."

I introduced Todd to Cynthia. He took one look at her and said, "You sure you want to go out?"


Cynthia blushed.

"Don't let him bother you, he's been married too long," I said.

"You trying to say I don't know a pretty gal when I see one?" Todd asked me.

"We can go now," I said.

"He always acts this way when he's tongue tied, that only happens around the cute ones."

"Todd! Now!" I said, trying to get him out of the house as fast as I could.

Cynthia had a smile on her face as she watched us drive away. I know that, 'cause Todd told me that was how she looked, as she stared out the window.

I waited until we were on a straight stretch of the road before telling him she was in high school.

"You're shittin' me!" he said, as he glanced over at me swerving at the same time.

"Nope, and watch the road."


I wasn't about to tell him she was almost eighteen. He would have continued all night long about her. This way he would go onto something else.

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