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The New Au Pair
The second new story, just the first chapter. Please tell me which of the three I’m posting you like
The New Au Pair
“Zip me up please, darling.”
Steve did as he was asked, zipping up his wife’s dress and admiring the curve of her back as he did so. She had recovered her figure quickly after Ben’s birth, albeit with the help of a lot of hard work in the gym, and she had kept it that way. It had been Susie‘s body that had, after all, attracted Steve in the first place. He had been working out one Saturday morning in the gym, when a blonde vision in Lycra strutted past him, trailing Dior Poison in her wake. From that moment his mind was set, she was going to be his. Susie, however, was no bimbo, and she played Steve all the way to the altar.
They were married within six months of that first meeting and a year after that Benjamin was born. Susie took a sabbatical from the law firm where she was a partner to look after the baby for the first six months. Steve was a writer, so he worked out of his home office, and they enjoyed a blissful few months together with their new baby. When Susie returned to work after her sabbatical, they agreed to have an au pair to help look after the baby and the house.
Steve was fine with this, anticipating a succession of dreamy looking teenage girls looking after his every need. However, Susie had been an au pair herself and was acutely aware of the effect a beautiful young girl might have on the dynamics of the household. So, she made sure that agency she used would be well aware of her requirements for, let’s say, more homely girls. Steve wasn’t too upset, he reasoned he was able to focus on his writing better with fewer distractions. Besides, he loved Susie and had no intention to stray.
Susie gave Ben a hug before turning to Steve. ‘Don’t forget you’re picking up the new au pair from the airport this morning.‘
Steve sighed, he hadn’t forgotten, but he had reached a critical part of his latest book, and would rather have stayed at home to do some writing. Susie‘s latest handpicked au pair, a rather plain looking farmer‘s daughter from Germany, had broken her leg falling off a tractor the previous week. The agency was apologetic, but at this short notice all they could offer was a 19-year-old male au pair from Italy. Susie was happy enough, telling Steve that she wished more boys would do something like this. Steve wasn’t so sure, but there wasn’t much either of them could do about it. He had to get the novel finished and his agent was already on his back asking when it would be ready. Susie was in the middle of a big case and she couldn’t afford to take time off to look after Benjamin.
“No, there’s no problem, his flights not due in until 11.”
“OK, sweetie, I’ll see you this evening, have fun.” Susie kissed him and headed out to her car for the drive to the station. From the proceeds of his previous novel and the sale of the film rights, they had been able to buy a detached house in the countryside near Brighton, on England’s south coast. Susie caught the train to London every day to her office and sometimes had to work late or travel on business. Steve looked at his watch and decided to get going, he could have breakfast somewhere on the way and still be in time to meet the flight.
Ben was now three and a half, and a lively little boy. Steve took his hand, and they walked out to his car where Steve strapped him into the c***d seat. With Ben singing to himself in the back, Steve set off to Gatwick airport. It was a smooth drive, and even with a stop for breakfast, they were at the airport in plenty of time to meet the flight. The two of them played little games of I Spy as they waited until the arrivals board clicked over to show the passengers from Florence were about to come through.
Steve looked at the photo on his phone which the agency had sent through. It was a bit fuzzy and Steve hoped he would be able to recognise Paolo when he came through. He had made a small sign like the taxi drivers have, with Paolo Ferrari written in red. Ben was by now getting a little tetchy and Steve bent down to ask him to behave when a voice said “Signor Adams?”
Steve looked up and was dazzled by a light which created a halo around the head of the figure standing in front of him. Steve shaded his eyes and for a moment thought, there’s been a mistake, this is a girl. Ben distracted him by shyly sliding behind his legs, and it took Steve a moment to disentangle himself and to get a good look at the figure. He instantly realised it wasn’t a girl, but a boy with long wavy dark hair and a face for which the only word Steve could find was pretty.
“Hi, yes, I’m Steve Adams, and this shy little monster hiding behind me is Benjamin. You must be Paolo, yes?”
“Si, Signor, I’m sorry, I mean yes, Mr Adams, my name is Paolo and I’m so pleased to be here.”
“We’re pleased to see you too, Paolo, and it‘s Steve, please. Not Mr Adams.”
Ben was pulling on his hand and Steve said, “Ben, say hi to Paolo, he’s here to help look after you.”
Paolo went down on his knees to Ben‘s height and said, “Hi, Ben, I hope we have many good times together.” He pulled from his bag a small, red toy car. Paolo held it out to Ben, “I brought this for you, Ben.” Ben looked wide eyed at the car and then up to his father. Steve smiled, “You can take it, Ben, it’s for you from Paolo.” Ben reached out and gently took the toy from Paolo.
“Do you know what car this is, Ben?” Asked Paolo. Ben shook his head. “It’s a Ferrari. It’s the same as my name.” Ben’s eyes grew even larger. “We don’t make the cars, it’s my name though.” Paolo put his hand out to shake Ben’s hand, and grinning widely now, He shook Paolo‘s hand.
Steve took hold of Paolo’s large suitcase and said, “Do you want to hold Paolo’s hand, Ben?” The little boy solemnly nodded his head, and with Steve leading the way, the little group headed off to the car park. Steve stood on the travelator whilst Ben ran, dragging Paolo along with him. Steve watched and smiled as Ben seemed to have taken to Paolo almost at once. It struck him as he watched the two from the back that Paolo, with his wavy hair and slender figure, could be mistaken for a girl from the back. The two of them stood at the end of the travelator waiting for Steve, Ben giggling and Paolo smiling at Steve as he approached. Steve thought, God, he’s not just pretty, he’s beautiful.
Paolo had been nervous as he walked through customs and into the arrivals area. The agency had only given him brief details of the family he was meeting. He knew there was a small boy, and the father was a writer and the mother a lawyer. His own father was a lawyer too, and his mother a stay at home mama for the five c***dren. She had cried at the airport as he left, and his father had warned him sternly to bring credit to the family. His four younger sisters had waved madly to him until he disappeared from their sight. He was excited and a little frightened at the same time. What if something had gone wrong and there was nobody to meet him at the airport? What would happen if they didn’t like him or made him sleep in a cupboard?
He was relieved to see a man with a small boy holding a sign with his name on it. The father was looking down at the boy as Paolo approached and it was only when he said Signor Adams that the man looked up and seemed to be surprised to see Paolo. The small boy was sweet, hiding behind his father‘s legs until Paolo knelt down to his level and said hello, a trick he had learnt with his sisters‘ friends. c***dren seemed to like you more if you went to their level. The boy‘s name was Ben, and he held his hand on the travelator, dragging him along to the end. He liked Ben straightaway, perhaps because he only had sisters, he had missed a little brother to look after.
Paolo looked back at Steve and smiled. The man was younger than he had thought at first. He had a picture in his mind that all writers were fat and middle aged, with beards and smelled of cigarettes. Steve was none of those things; the same height as Paolo, slim, clean shaven and floppy hair which he kept brushing back from his forehead. Paolo liked the way he looked and thought this might be a nice family to live with.
Steve found the car in the car park where Ben insisted that Paolo put him into the car seat before they set off. Steve was relieved that Ben had made friends with Paolo so quickly, he hadn‘t related well to one of the au pairs, to the extent that they had to ask the agency to swap her for another girl. He didn’t need another drama like that. Once clear of the airport, Steve asked Paolo about his family. Paolo told him about his four smaller sisters, how they lived with his grandmother in an old family villa in a village in the Tuscan hills. and how he wanted to spend some time abroad before he went to study art history at university in Florence. Paolo‘s English was good, with the sweetest Italian accent.
Steve glanced at him from time to time and again thought how good looking Paolo was. If he looked like this, God knows his sisters would be gorgeous. Paolo seemed oblivious to Steve‘s glances, spending his time looking at the countryside as it sped past the window. When the agency had suggested a male au pair, this was certainly not what Steve had imagined him to be.
Paolo was fascinated by the countryside they passed through. It looked soft, green and lush, totally unlike the harsher more angular countryside he was used to. He thought he might like to paint here and was glad he had brought his sketching materials with him. Ben was singing a song in the back, but Paolo couldn’t understand the words. He looked back at Ben a few times and the boy giggled when Paolo winked at him. He answered Steve‘s questions as they drove and he could see Steve glancing at him from the corner of his eye. Paolo drew his hair back and secured it with a scrunchie to put it into a ponytail which was nice sometimes.
They left the motorway, turning into a series of side roads, until they pulled up in front of the house. Paolo was impressed, it was large and on its own in what looked to be a large garden. It seemed to gleam in the sunshine and was a far cry from the shabby villa his family owned.
“Well, here it is, Paolo, welcome to our house.”
“It looks very nice Mr Ad.., mi scusi, I mean Steve.”
“Come on let’s get you inside and settled in and we can have some late lunch if you’re hungry.”
Paolo was famished, he hadn‘t eaten since breakfast as the food on the flight was inedible. Steve retrieved his case from the car whilst Ben grabbed his hand and pulled him off to show him the garden. Steve thought that Susie may have been right, it was good for Ben to have another male figure around, especially at this age. Steve shouted for Ben to bring Paolo inside and the two of them appeared a few minutes later.
“I’ve taken your case upstairs to your room, Paolo. So, Ben do you want to lead us up to Paolo‘s room?”
Ben led the way upstairs, whooping like a Red Indian with Paolo following and Steve last in line. Therefore, Steve had no option but to look at Paolo‘s bum in the tight jeans he was wearing. Unnervingly, a little frisson shot through Steve as he watched Paolo wiggle his way up the stairs. Ben burst open the door to the room and ran inside.
“This is your room, Paolo, it’s a bit girly, though.” shouted Ben.
Steve laughed, “I’m sorry about that, Paolo. We‘ve had girl au pairs so far and I haven’t had time to redecorate the room.”
Paolo looked around and was relieved; it was a large room with a double bed, a writing desk, a TV on the wall, and a sofa as well. Two antique wardrobes stood against one wall opposite a large window with sunlight streaming through. It was a little feminine, with flowered wallpaper and soft pastel tones everywhere, but that didn’t matter to Paolo.
“There’s a bathroom through the door over there,” said Steve, “it’s small, but I think it’s ok.”
“Oh signor Steve, it’s fantastico, una bella camera. I mean, it’s a lovely room.”
Steve smiled and said, “OK, let’s go downstairs and have some food.”
They went back down to the kitchen and Steve told Ben to take Paolo on a tour of the house. Ben grabbed Paolo‘s hand and went hurtling out the back door.
“We‘ve got a pool, Paolo come see.”
“Ben, remember, stay out of the pool.” Steve shouted at their backs as they disappeared through the door. Steve put out some cold meats, including an Italian salami he had picked up yesterday, some salad and fresh bread. He put out juice and squash for Ben and some bottled water. He made a couple of Nutella sandwiches for Ben as a treat, Susie would be mad if she knew. The two boys reappeared, and they all sat at the table to eat.
“I hope this is OK, Paolo, we can sort out some things for you if you prefer something else as we go along.”
“No this is fine, Signor Steve, I come to live here to feel part of the family, and I want to share what you like.”
They ate lunch with Ben keeping up a constant chatter and Paolo smiling and laughing with the small boy.
“He’s taken a shine to you, Paolo.”
“Si, I like him too. I have four young sisters and they are lovely, but they can be faticoso, tiring, I think. It is different with Ben.”
They finished lunch and Steve put everything away, saying to Paolo. “I need to get back to my writing, so can you entertain Ben for a while?”
“Si, but can I unpack first?”
“Sure, Paolo. Ben, can you go the playroom while Paolo unpacks?”
The boy shot off and Paolo went off to unpack. Steve retreated to his writing room, sat down in front of his laptop and tried to focus on his next chapter. He stared at the screen, trying to put himself into the mind of his character. Steve knew where he wanted to take this chapter, but the words would not come. He wrote a few paragraphs and then deleted them as they weren’t right. He stared at the screen, but his thoughts kept drifting back to Paolo. Ben wasn’t the only one on whom Paolo had made an impression.
He decided to make a cup of tea and wandered through to the kitchen. He thought he should call in on Ben to see what he was up to. He peeked in the playroom to find Ben on the floor playing quietly with his Lego, about the only thing that would keep him quiet. Paolo was sitting on a chair facing away from him and Steve could see he was sketching something on an art pad. Steve was intrigued and walked over to Paolo, who, suddenly realising Steve was there, jumped up.
“I’m sorry, Signor Steve, I was just drawing, Ben seemed so happy with his toy, do you mind?”
“No, of course not, Paolo. Take the opportunity when he’s quiet, it won’t last long. May I see?”
Shyly, Paolo opened the pad and showed the page to Steve. “It’s not very good, I think. I like drawing people, but sometimes my fingers don’t work so good.”
Steve looked at the pencil sketch and he was astounded at how Paolo had caught the essence of Ben. He had sketched the boy quietly playing with his toy and had managed to capture the stillness, along with the inherent energy that Ben seemed to bring to everything.
“Paolo, I think this is very good, you‘ve caught him beautifully.”
Paolo ducked his head and blushed at the compliment. Steve thought how much like a girl he looked at that moment. “Grazie, Signor Steve.”
Ben suddenly became interested and came to look, “It’s me, Dad. Paolo‘s drawn me.”
“Do you want to keep it Ben?” asked Paolo.
“Can I? Can I, Dad?”
Steve laughed, ‘If Paolo lets you, then yes, of course.”
Paolo carefully removed the sheet and handed it to Ben, who took it and gave Paolo a big hug.
“Paolo, you‘re the best.”
“Ben, what do you say to Paolo?”
“Oh thank you, Paolo. How do you say that where you’re from?”
“We say Grazie, Ben.”
Ben tried to say it a couple of times, causing Steve and Paolo to smile.
“That’s very good, Ben.‘”said Paolo, “maybe I can teach you some more Italian”
“Tell you what, Ben. Can we put it on the fridge, so Mum can see it tonight, and then you can take it up to your room?”
Steve took the drawing and said to Paolo, “By the way, please help yourself to stuff from the fridge if you want a drink or a snack. You don’t need to ask. I forgot to mention, there’s one big rule with the swimming pool, it’s not deep but Ben should not be left on his own out there. He knows it, but he can get excited and forget. He loves the pool so he may want to go out later on.”
“Si, I will make sure, signor Steve.”
Steve returned to the writing room and finally managed to get a start on the chapter. It was going well until he heard Ben laughing and shrieking in the pool. He closed the window and that cut off the noise, but by then the mood was broken, and he thought he might as well pack it in for the day and start again fresh tomorrow. Steve wandered through to the lounge from where he could see Ben and Paolo splashing around in the pool. Ben was wearing his inflatable arm bands and was splashing water over Paolo, who was pretending to be scared. They went on like this for a few minutes and then Steve saw Paolo ask Ben to get out of the pool so they could dry off. Ben was reluctant, but he allowed Paolo to lift him onto the poolside. Paolo then put his arms on the side of the pool and with a gymnast‘s graceful movement, jumped up onto the side.
For one stunned moment Steve thought he was naked, but he was wearing a very small pair of light coloured Speedos. Standing on the side of the pool, Steve watched as Paolo leant his head back and shook his hair to get rid of some of the water. He bent one knee and arched his back as he pushed his hands up through his hair. The sunlight glistened on his wet body and Steve was transfixed, watching him as he shook out his hair. He bent forward to let his long hair fall down and as he did so, his Speedos tightened across his buttocks, which produced in Steve his second unexpected shiver of the day.
Steve had no idea why he was feeling like this. He had never been attracted to men, yet this boy was having such an effect on him. Paolo was drying Ben with a big pool towel when he spotted his father through the lounge window and shouted to him to come out and join in. Paolo looked up and smiled as he saw Steve watching them and Steve felt his heart jump at the sight.
Ben had asked to go in the pool and as Steve had said it was OK as long as Ben wasn’t on his own, Paolo agreed. Ben fetched his swimming costume and his armbands from his room and Paolo retrieved his Speedos from his case. He hesitated as they were very small, but that was the fashion in Italy and he didn’t have anything else. So, he slipped them on and checked his look in the mirror in his room. They were very tight and showed his package off, but so be it. Paolo didn’t think it would be a problem here in the house. He ran downstairs to find Ben, and they both headed out to the pool. Ben jumped in straight away and started splashing around. Paolo followed him in and the water was surprisingly warm. Ben was splashing water everywhere, and Paolo pretended to be scared, which made the boy shriek with joy. Eventually, he thought Ben was getting a little too wild, so he told him they had to get dry. He lifted Ben out of the pool and quickly followed him.
As he jumped out of the pool Paolo spotted Steve watching through the window, and he suddenly remembered all those little looks Steve had given him today. He giggled to himself and thought, maybe I‘ll give him a little show. He knew how to show off his body and it excited him a little to think that Steve would be watching him as he posed by the pool.
When Ben spotted his father, and shouted to him to come out, Paolo turned and smiled broadly at Steve who was still watching them through the window. By the look on Steve‘s face, Paolo knew he had been watching him, and he immediately regretted what he had done. He scolded himself, you must not do that here, you must not play games. This is your first day and you will be here with this family for six months. You must stop it.
Paolo finished drying Ben on the towel and took him indoors to get dressed. Steve made his way through to the kitchen and started preparing the dinner. With Susie working in London, Steve was the cook in the household, at least during the week. They might have a lunch or dinner out sometime as a family, but it wasn’t very often. Steve had bought some lemon sole fillets and was going to breadcrumb and shallow fry them, with some fresh vegetables and parmentier potatoes. He shouted up the stairs to Paolo, who came down with his hair pulled back and wearing a white t-shirt with a pair of loose shorts.
“Si, Signore, do you need something?‘
“Just wanted to check about dinner, do you eat fish, Paolo?”
“Si, Signore, I love fish. Can I help?”
“Thank you, yes, could you prepare the vegetables please?‘
They worked together in the kitchen and it was obvious to Steve that Paolo was very capably doing the prep for the vegetables.
“Do you cook at home Paolo?‘
“Si, I mean yes, my mama taught me, she says that everyone should cook not just the girls. I can cook something for you sometime?”
“Yes, we would love that.”
At that moment, Steve heard the front door open as Susie arrived home. She came through into the kitchen and kissed Steve before noticing Paolo who was hidden behind the fridge door at the time. Steve watched her face as Paolo came out from behind the door and said, “Buona sera, Signora. It is so nice to meet you.”
He saw her eyes widen slightly as she saw him, the tip of her tongue peeked through her lips and there was a moment’s hesitation before she said, “I’m delighted to meet you Paolo, welcome to our home.” She shook his hand just as Ben charged into the room, “Mummy, mummy, Paolo‘s done a drawing of me, look.” He dragged her over to the fridge where Susie removed the magnet holding the paper in place and brought it over to where they stood.
“Gosh, this is great Paolo, you’ve caught him exactly.”
“Grazie, Signora, I enjoyed drawing him, he is so full of life.”
“Paolo, please call me Susie, although Signora does sound terribly romantic.”
He blushed and Susie laughed, “Sorry, Paolo, I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”
Susie had recovered now; it had been a shock when he suddenly appeared from behind the fridge door. She didn’t think she could ever remember seeing a more beautiful boy before. His hair, even held back by a scrunchie, looked fabulous and his face was flawless and perfectly proportioned. He was slender, moved with a dancer‘s grace and his eyes sparkled as he laughed at something Ben was doing. He reminded her of a Botticelli painting she had seen once. What was it? That’s funny she thought, it was the Birth of Venus she was thinking of.
She had specified plain looking girls, but this boy was angelic; if he had been a girl, she probably would have sent her straight back. Still, she thought it wouldn’t do any harm to have some eye candy around the place. No disrespect to Steve, she thought, he was still the hunk she had picked out in the gym. She had never told him that their first meeting was no accident, she had targeted him and set out to get him, but Paolo was in another league.
Ben grabbed Paolo, “Will you help me build my Lego Death Star please?”
Susie said, “Ten minutes, Ben and then we eat, OK?”
“I will bring him through in ten minutes.” Said Paolo as the two of them went off to the playroom.
“Wow,” said Susie, fanning her face with her hand, “Whatever I expected, it wasn’t that. He’s fucking gorgeous.”
“Wow, indeed, and Ben likes him, he‘s taken to him straight away. And that drawing, I‘m hopeless about art, but that looks seriously competent.”
“If he goes to Brighton, there’ll be girls queuing up along the sea front to drop their knickers for him.” Susie said with only a hint of jealousy. Not just the girls thought Steve, but he kept that to himself.
Dinner passed off quietly, Paolo was gently grilled by Susie in her lawyer mode about himself, his family and where he lived. She ended by asking if he had called them yet, and he said no. Susie did the mother thing and told him to call them now, to settle their minds.
Steve said they would put Ben to bed now so that he could make the call in private.
“Night, night, Paolo,” yawned Ben, “can we learn more Italian tomorrow?”
“Si, Ben, a domani, see you tomorrow.”
As they walked Ben up the stairs, they heard Paolo saying “Ciao Mama.”
Having tucked Ben in and read him a story, they returned downstairs to find Paolo sitting at the table with a sad look on his face.
“Everything OK, Paolo?” Asked Susie.
“Si, but I am a little sad, my sisters say they miss me already.”
“I think it will take a little time, but you can always talk to them on the phone.”
“Yes, I think you are right. If it’s OK, I would like to go to my room, it’s been a long day.”
“Of course, Paolo, see you in the morning.”
Steve and Susie didn’t stay long downstairs, and when they got up to bed their lovemaking was more intense and passionate than it had been for some time. What they didn’t know, was that as they fucked each other, each had a vision of Paolo in their minds.
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