It had been a case of extraordinary timing and luck when Ray applied for a television studio job after leaving the Air Base. His application had caught the eye of a certain executive who had once been his wife. She was now Mrs Rita Rowlandson. Make no mistake; they had been divorced from that brief marriage long ago; with virtually no contact since. Janet; her daughter had been raised bearing her second husband's name. Randolph Rowlandson had been a wonderful father too; until the old fool went and died. He'd been old enough to call Father when she'd married him. Non-the less Rita did have Randolph to thank for her success in Television. And now Rita had got a big break; a powerful position in the Network. Rita would be on the move in her network role and she had to shed some of the responsibility of Janet. Janet was coming up sixteen, although she looked younger; yet her intellect was advanced. She wasn't the brash Barbie Doll teenager type but more what people call a bookish or thoughtful kind of kid. So delegating some of her parenting role to a responsible person held no problems for Rita. And that's why Ray was the perfect candidate. Ray was still unattached and she new his background well. Once upon a time they'd been a pair of high school lovers; revelling in youth's blind faith of invincibility. Life was sweet until Rita fell pregnant at seventeen. It was Rita's idea Ray join the Air Force for a home on the Air Base estate. You could do plenty worse with a baby on the way. It had work out fine and within a couple of years Ray got promotion but posted overseas. Rita stayed put on the estate. She had the friendship of other moms and they organised themselves for nights out too. And so along came a sugar daddy called Randolph. Ray just got a Dear John letter and a divorce. It hadn't been something Rita was proud of later. So it would refresh Rita's conscience to include Ray now.
But Rita didn't want Janet's emotions dug up with parentage issues after so long. Ray would have to give his oath on that. And in the Regal Hotel lounge where Rita interviewed Ray for the post, he agreed to her terms and made his pledge. Ray was now in the private employ of his ex-wife Rita.
"Welcome to my home." greeted Rita as Ray entered the hallway of her smart home on his commencement. Margot pulled away abruptly turning to the daughter, " Janet my dear, this Mr Ray who will living in as your minder for a while. Lets all hope it works out." "Hello Mr Ray, I'm pleased to meet you. Mother has explained you will be like my knight in shining armour if I meet any dragons!" she laughed infectiously. Ray felt flummoxed. He had expected a sassy assed teenager, lots of lipstick, boobs and attitude. Janet had none of that. She came across as a calm and clever schoolgirl whose looks would perhaps flourish later. Bobbed brown hair framed her freckled face and sparkling dark brown eyes gazed into his. She was so slim and just five two high. Ray's groin tingled as he took her slender hand in his. "Nice to meet you young lady." He said modestly.
Rita then took him on a grand tour of the house and grounds and there was a lot to take in, as she was eager to point out, "There's plenty here to keep you occupied on the days she's at the private girls college. Oh and there's the cars in the garage too? Is your driver's license up to date? How are you in the kitchen? You'll have an open account for all expenses of course."
It wasn't long before they were in a working routine that suited Rita Rowlandson's executive demands. Rita soon became more detached from her home life. The Network absorbed her time and only on weekends were when Ray and Janet more likely to see her at home. Janet and Ray found their own niche in this order of things too. Janet welcomed the freedom from parental control that brought an empowerment she hadn't known before. Ray found the house and minder duties almost liberating; no financial responsibilities to fret over and a juicy Lucy to spice things up. But he would cover his duties meticulously and give Rita no room for complaint.
When Rita was home he would mostly busy himself in the garden or the garage to give Janet time with her mother. But Janet wasn't over eager for her Mom's company. In fact the girl seemed seek him out and watch what he was doing and asking him things. They became friends; because in a way they were both loners. At college Janet knew she lagged behind her contemporises in the sexy figure league. She had noticed how those with the breasts and curves clubbed together socially. Then there was the boyfriend count and who had dumped whom. She just didn't seem to figure in any of it. She'd be glad to finish with study altogether and do something stimulating like theatre.
But unexpectedly she'd found an unlikely buddy. Ray not only enjoyed her conversation but was also interested in what she thought and did. Janet couldn't remember it being like that with her father; but he was a lot older of course. Then it occurred to Janet that Ray was more like an older brother! She had sometimes wondered what it would be like to have a brother. Ray wasn't a lot taller then her. He was strong looking yet with kind eyes. He had shown her a new way to do her hair and it suited her. He said she needed to update her clothes. Ray it seemed, had landed on her shoreline; and she had found him as she'd trudged along the breaking waves. It was the first time she had felt like that over someone.
On her sixteenth birthday Ray had taken Janet downtown in the car to the big stores. First they had lunch in a small restaurant. To Janet it felt like her first date; being with a man on her own. The way he said things was stimulating her. She felt more responsive and feminine. His hand touched hers. "Well Janet if we're through here lets go and find a dress that you sparkle in!" Ray's eyes twinkled and for the first time, slipped his arm round her waist as they left.
.... There is more of this story ...