A/N: Okay, so there are a few things you have to know about this story. First of all, Elizabeth has been aged slightly so that what happens in this story is feasible and not illegal. LOL Secondly, when Carly left after giving birth to Michael, in this storyline, she never came back. Robin is in Paris, Bobbie already knows that she's Carly's biological Mother, and, because Liz has been aged, she was never raped, never dated or loved Lucky, and is not friends with any of the "musketeers." Enjoy! Charlynn
Paging Mary Poppins
"I need a break," Jason Morgan announced gruffly, scrubbing a work worn hand over his tired face. "Send the rest of them away, and tell them to come back later."
"What rest of them? You've managed to go through every applicant in less than an hour, and we're nowhere closer to hiring a nanny for Michael," Johnny pointed out. "Do you want me to call Bobbie and see if she has any other suggestions, or maybe I could help you go over the resumes the interviewees have left behind so we could find one or two of them back to call back for a second shot?"
His boss's response was to leave the door open for him to walk through and to toss the manila folder of resumes in his lap after he had taken a seat on the couch. While the bodyguard flipped it open to peer inside, he watched out of the corner of his eye as his boss sat down in the chair across from him and dejectedly slumped against the soft material. The fact that he was sitting at all and forlornly at that told Johnny he was treading on thin ice, that the slightest provocation could send his employer over the edge into a very messy, very dangerous fit of rage. Seeing Jason in such a mood was rare; normally the man was cool and collected under pressure, so, deciding it was best to simply follow orders, he went straight to work.
"Okay, so applicant number one," he started, skimming the woman's credentials and work history, "Betsy Russell has been a nanny for various respected families for the past forty years, she comes highly recommended, and even has a degree in elementary education, so she would be great with Michael when he starts school." Looking up at his boss, Johnny's confusion was written plainly across his face. "What's wrong with this one?"
"Look at her age."
Doing as he was told, the bodyguard read the number off of the page. "She's 63. Who cares? You do know it's illegal to discriminate against applicants because of their age?"
"Look," Jason snapped, glaring at his employee, "you didn't see her walk. It was obvious she has bad knees, and, with the stairs, I can't risk her falling when she's carrying Michael."
"Don't you think that should be her decision to determine if she's capable of taking care of a child, of moving up and down a flight of stairs," he asked the mob lord hesitantly.
"Next applicant," his boss snapped.
"Mary Waters," Johnny read off the chart. "Once again, she comes highly recommended from her previous employers, she's not as old as the previous applicant, only in her late thirties, and, oh, man, this one can cook. I say we hire her."
"There's no we in this," his boss contradicted him, "and she has ties to the Quartermaines. She's their cook's daughter, and that's just too close for comfort. Next."
"Okay, applicant number three, Theresa Rodriguez, is a mother herself who raised….nine kids. Man, that's crazy! Could you imagine having nine kids running around a house all day long? I think I'd go insane."
"She's out," Jason dismissed the candidate.
"Why, I don't get it," the bodyguard questioned. "She's young enough, and she definitely has experience with children."
"Because she refuses to work for a man who is a single parent, whose child was born out of wedlock – her words, not mine."
"Alright, the fourth applicant is in their twenties, has previously worked at a daycare, and can speak several different languages fluently. Hey man," Johnny interjected his own opinion, "that's kind of cool. They could teach Michael to be bi-lingual. Let's see, this one's name is….Danny McClimans." His eyes flew up to meet those of his employer. "Dude, he's a manny!"
"And if you don't help me find someone," the older man threatened, "guess what your new title is going to be after you're demoted? So, if I were you, I'd keep your snide little comments to yourself."
"However, he's not an option," Jason continued, "and it's not because he's a guy. He was very upfront about the fact that he supports the idea of corporal punishment."
"He likes to smack kids around?"
"Just move on to the next applicant," the mob lord ordered.
"Interviewee number five, named Rita Nelson, used to be a school nurse. That should come in handy," the bodyguard pointed out trying to be helpful. "She's in her forties, so she's young enough, and she's not against also helping out with the cleaning."
"She smells bad."
"And Mrs. Nelson is out. What about this one," Johnny continued, turning to the resume of the sixth applicant. "Her name is Julianne Lipinski, she used to be employed as a governess, so you know she has the training, and she already lives in the building, so that's handy. Sure, she's 52, but I'm sure she's still capable of getting up and down stairs."
Jason adamantly shook his head no before explaining his objections. "She hit on me."
"Well isn't that just an added bonus," the bodyguard teased, smirking at his own joke, but his boss simply glared at him ending that discussion. Clearing his throat, the young doorman moved his eyes back to the manila folder to peer at the next candidate's resume. "Alright, next we have Edith Wharton who's a children's book author. Even you've got to admit that that's pretty cool." Looking up at his boss for a reaction, Johnny was greeted with a sour, cold, unmoving mask of no emotion. "Or not," he mumbled before continuing. "She's 39 and a mother herself with two kids both in college. What was wrong with this applicant?"
"She took the five minutes she was here to give me a lecture on the evils of racketeering."
"Moving on," the younger man announced, turning to the eighth interviewee. "Constance Philips, work experience includes working at a nursing home and with handicapped children, she's new in town so there's a good chance she won't have a predisposed inclination to judge you, and she's young enough to be mobile on stairs."
"She also has a record," Jason pointed out. "There was something about her that I just didn't trust, so I made a quick phone call to Benny and had him run a background check on her, and it turns out she was fired from her last two jobs for stealing medical supplies."
"What the hell is wrong with nannies today," the bodyguard exploded, tossing the folder aside. "Is it really that hard to find someone with a cheery disposition who is still qualified as a childcare provider? Where have all the Mary Poppins gone?"
Looking at his employee as if he had gone insane, the mob boss questioned, "what the hell are you talking about?"
"Never mind, it doesn't matter," Johnny muttered under his breath. "This is ridiculous," he groused, motioning towards the discarded pile of resumes he had carelessly pushed away. "No wonder you needed a break." Curious or perhaps he was a glutton for punishment, he inquired, "what was wrong with the other four people you interviewed?"
"One reeked of whisky, so, because it's only ten in the morning, I assumed she was an alcoholic. Another one tried to light a cigarette while she was sitting here, and there's no way I'm letting Michael around second hand smoke. The third wasn't comfortable with living here, so they declined the position, and the last one made Michael cry as soon as he saw her, so I figured that was a bad sign."
"This is hopeless," the bodyguard lamented, sympathizing with his employer. "You're never going to find a nanny."
"Well, if I don't," the older man proclaimed rationally, "you guys are just going to have to help me pick up some of the slack. When there's a meeting I have to go to, one of you will stay here with Michael. I'm sure between you, Max, and Francis you'll be able to take care of him when I can't."
"Why us," Johnny complained.
"Because of all the men, I trust the three of you the most," Jason answered, watching his employee closely. "Do you have a problem with that?"
"What, me, of course not, boss," the bodyguard lied through his teeth as he quickly made his way across the penthouse's living room and towards the door. "You know we all adore the little guy. In fact, I think I'll just step outside and call Max and Francis right now to let them know. Or, maybe that's them," he insisted when there was a light knock on the door. "I'll just….," he signaled towards the door, insinuating that he'd answer it.
"Yeah, you do that," Jason growled, his intense, exasperated gaze burning daggers into the younger man's back. "It's only your job," he grumbled as he stood up from the chair, tossed the folder of applicants in the trash, and moved to make his way upstairs to check on the sleeping baby he was attempting to find a nanny for. Intent upon his purpose, he tuned out Johnny's voice and that of the woman standing in the doorway, not even bothering to look at her.
"Hey boss," a hesitant Johnny called out to the retreating figure of his employer.
"Not now, O'Brien!"
"Maybe not, but I really think you're going to want to meet with this applicant. She's just your type…," he teased, unable to help himself, "of nanny. She's got all the right recommendations for the job, she's definitely fit, so you won't have to worry about her not being able to make it up the stairs, and I don't think it's even possible for her to have a single vice."
The mob lord could hear the innuendos laced in his bodyguard's words, but, as he turned around to yell at him, his eyes caught those of the petite wisp of a brunette standing in his doorway, her slight, feminine frame timid and unsure of itself while her wide, beautiful blue eyes searched his for a hint of warmth and reassurance. Despite himself, the anger he had been feeling towards his doorman disappeared, and it was replaced by a gentle, almost caring appearance as he motioned for the young woman to enter.
"Let her in, Johnny," he ordered, practically taking two steps at a time in his rush to reach her side. "And get her a cup of coffee before you go back to your station. It's cold out. I'm sure she could use something warm to drink."
"No," she blurted out, glancing between the two imposing men, "thank you, but no. I was so nervous about this morning, that I drank a whole pot at my Gram's before I stopped off at that little diner named Kelly's and picked up two more cups. I think if I have any more coffee I might jump out of my own skin." Turning back to the man who had been identified as the boss, she asked, "I'm talking too much already, aren't I? That's a problem I have: rambling. I don't mean to do it, but when I get nervous or I get excited, words just start bubbling up and, no matter what I do, I can't stop them from coming out of my mouth in one fast, incomprehensible stream of mumbles."
"Oh, I understand you perfectly," the bodyguard flirted with her, giving the shy young woman a devious wink and not noticing the lethal glares his boss was sending in his direction.
"Leave," Jason ordered him. Johnny knew that tone, and he knew not to argue with it, so, without another word or even a backwards glance at the latest nanny candidate, he slipped quietly out the door and left the two of them alone. "Sorry about that," he motioned towards his closed entrance that hid his cheeky employee from their view. "Since you don't want any coffee, can I get you something else, water perhaps?"
"No, I'm fine, really," she reassured him. "If you don't mind and if it's not too rude, I'd just rather skip the pleasantries and start the interview. The sooner we begin, the sooner you can tell me you're not interested in hiring me."
"Why do you say that," he questioned her.
"Well, as you'll see when you look at my resume, I don't have much experience with children, and, when I say not much I mean none."
"Neither did I," Jason responded easily, surprising himself when he offered her a slight smile of encouragement. "Before Michael, I'd never even held a baby before."
"That makes two of us," she laughed. He liked the sound of her feminine giggles. They were carefree, genuine, and rang of warmth and generosity. "I'm not even sure why I'm applying for this job," she confessed, "but my Gram said if anyone could get along with a kid, it would be me, so here I am."
"Why would she say that?"
The woman rolled her eyes in a self-deprecating manner, motioning towards the couch for his permission to sit. Once she had his consent, she explained while sitting down. "My family always tells me that I have the mentality of a child, that I've never grown up. They don't understand how I can sit for hours and draw in my sketchpad, how I can find Doug to be quality entertainment, or how I can survive solely on chicken noodle soup, peanut butter sandwiches, and brownies."
"You like to draw?"
"…and paint. I'm an artist," she revealed, playing nervously with her fingers, "or at least I want to be. That's actually another point against me: I'm a full time student at PCU, so you'd have to work around my class schedule which is different every semester, and I realize that could be a pain."
"Not really," he dismissed her concerns. "I'm here a lot during the day, and, if I'm not here, the guys can help out." Glancing down at her resume, he looked at her birth date. "Well, Miss Webber, I see that you're 21, so, what does that make you, a junior?"
"Actually, I'm only a sophomore. That's kind of why I'm here….in Port Charles. I'm originally from Colorado, and I was going to school out there, but I hated it. I was still living at home with my sister who's in med school, I had no freedom, no creative inspiration, and, eventually, I ended up dropping out. Not wanting me to give up on my dreams, my Gram asked me to come and stay with her. I moved out here last fall, and I'm going back to school this semester to try and finish my degree, but, although I love spending time with my Grandma, I really want to be out on my own, supporting myself." Pausing for a minute, she thought better of it and added. "Oh, and it's Elizabeth, please."
"Well, you'd have to live here, Elizabeth" Jason told her tentatively, knowing that the idea could turn her away from the job. "My hours are irregular, and sometimes I get called out late at night, and I want someone here with Michael, but you'd have your own room, your own bathroom, and this place is big enough, you could even have your own studio….to paint in if you wanted."
"Wait a second," she interrupted him, "are you telling me you're actually considering me for the job?"
"Yeah," he said simply. "You're in good health, so you'd be able to take care of a baby. You don't know the Quartermaines, you've shown no objections to me being a single parent, you appear to be clean, someone who doesn't drink and who doesn't smoke…"
"Used to," the young brunette cut him off. "When I was a teenager, I was a hellion in high heels, staying out late, smoking, drinking, skipping school, and I did it all to piss my parents off. However, when I figured out that I really didn't like the taste of cigarettes, that getting drunk made me sick, and that sleeping was a better way of spending my time than hanging out with a bunch of morons who annoyed me, I quit partying."
"That's another thing about you," he added, smirking at her, "your little habit of talking too much and rambling tells me more about you than your resume or a background check ever could. I won't have to worry about you lying to me, because you'd end up spilling the truth anyway. Plus," he continued, "the fact that you're certified in both CPR and first aide makes me feel that Michael would be safe with you."
"Well, when you're a Webber, those are two things you learn way before long division or cursive. My grandfather was and my Dad, Mom, and brother are all doctors, my grandmother is a nurse, and my sister is on her way to becoming a doctor, too. When I told them I wanted to be an artist, let's just say that I was sent in for a battery of tests to make sure that I wasn't suffering from a brain aneurysm or a mental disorder."
"And are you?"
"No brain aneurysm, but they're still on the fence about a mental disorder," she joked making the corners of his mouth turn up in an amused grin, something his men would have paid good money to see. Suddenly, a small cry sounded on the baby monitor sitting on the older man's desk. "Is that the little guy," she questioned, smiling at the thought. "Can I meet him?"
"That's exactly what I was going to suggest," Jason responded. "If Michael likes you, then the job is pretty much yours. Wait here while I go and get him?"
She nodded her head pleasantly while he quickly made his way up the stairs. Within a few minutes, he was back with a smiling newborn in his arms. "Elizabeth, I'd like you to meet Michael. He's normally hungry when he wakes up from his nap, so if he's slightly irritable, that's why."
"I don't blame him," she playfully cooed out as she delicately took the little boy from her potential employer's arms and cradled him gently against her chest. "I like to eat when I wake up, too. So Michael," she continued, switching her attention solely onto the small baby in her arms, "and I think it has to be Michael, no Mikey or Mike for you; we don't want any silly, immature nicknames, do you think you'd like to hang out with me everyday? We could go to the park to feed the ducks, sit on the docks and watch all the big boats sail by, play on the swings at the playground. I could teach you how to paint, you could force me to actually read a book or two, and maybe, together, we could learn how to do something really crazy like….how to cook."
As Jason watched her interact with the child he was quickly starting to think of as his son, he knew that, despite the fact she'd never changed a diaper, fed a baby, or given one a bath, she was going to be Michael's nanny if she agreed to take the job. He liked the way she talked to him as if he was just another adult and not an infant, how she seemed relaxed in the little boy's company, and, seeing the baby react to her, seeing him reach out to grasp her finger, made him realize that Michael felt comfortable with her, too.
"Do you want to feed him," the older man offered, bringing the petite beauty's eyes back to his. "It's really simple, and I'll show you how to do it while we discuss the details of the job."
"Does that mean…."
"It means that, if you still want it, the job's yours. However," the mob boss interjected, making her ecstatic smile fade, "there's something I have to warn you about." Handing her the partially full bottle of milk he had started feeding Michael before he had fallen asleep earlier, he motioned for her to sit down in the chair, showed her how to hold the baby, and then gave her the formula to feed the little guy. Sitting down on the couch across from her, he explained his cryptic statement. "I'm not just some rich guy who's offering you a job, I'm….
"I know who you are," she interjected in the middle of his confession. "You're Jason Morgan, local mob lord. You're a racketeer, drug dealer, murderer, kingpin, arms dealer, common criminal, money launderer, automatic gun toting thug, the Godfather of Port Charles, all according to the local press and the PCPD. You live behind bullet proof glass, you're surrounded by bodyguards 24/7, and you have more than one weapon hidden in your sock drawer, and I get that, if I work for you, I'll be putting myself at risk, but it's not as if I'm auditioning for the role of your enforcer; I'm just applying to be your kid's nanny. Trust me, I'm more at risk for hanging myself with my Skip-It from a bedpost because school became too much for me to handle than I am for taking care of your son. No one is going to target a poor, rather annoying, struggling artist when they come after you. That just doesn't make any sense. So quit this noble act and tell me when I start."
Standing up, Jason removed Michael from her arms and carefully placed him on his shoulder over a rag so he could burp him. Showing her to the door, he announced, "the men will be at your place tomorrow morning at six to help you pack."
"Alright, and, while they're at it, they might as well shuffle the sidewalks, clean the house, and do some laundry, because there's no way I'm getting up before nine."
"You're a nanny now, Elizabeth," he stated with a taunting lilt to his voice. "You better get used to the early hours. Baby's never sleep in."
Cocking her head at him with a quizzical expression on her face, she questioned, "was that an attempt at a joke?"
Frowning, he bellowed, "Johnny!" Within seconds, the bodyguard had the door open and was poking his head into the room.
"Show Miss Webber downstairs and have someone drive her home."
The young man nodded in compliance with his employer's order, and Jason moved to shut the door, blocking out the amused, childlike giggles of his recently hired nanny. He had a feeling the penthouse was not going to be as quiet as he was accustomed to it….nor as boring. Elizabeth Webber had just waltzed into his life, and it appeared as if she was there for good. For some reason beyond his comprehension or his patience to analyze it, the idea agreed with him and even made him smile….almost.