Nanny & Wilkes
Disclaimer: Don't own anything. Based on Disney's Eloise & Eloise at the Plaza and Kay Thompson's Eloise books
Thank you very much to my beta reader! :-)
Wilkes was unlocking his apartment door on the sixteenth floor at the Plaza Hotel when Eloise came running down the passage. He stepped aside to prevent her from colliding into him at full speed. He greeted her with a friendly, "Good morning, Eloise. Have you finished your morning rounds?"
Eloise came to a halt next to Wilkes. She gave him a beaming smile. "Good morning, Sir Wilkes. Yes, and I have wonderful news! Maman told me yesterday. We are moving to France."
Sir Wilkes looked at Eloise in total astonishment. "Are you moving out of the Plaza?"
"Oh yes, in three weeks' time."
"In three weeks' time?"
"Isn't it absolutely marvelous? You don't look pleased at all. What's the matter, Sir Wilkes, aren't you excited? We are going to live in Paris in a huge apartment, and Maman said I can decorate my room any way I want. It's got to be pink!"
"Err, of course. I'm very happy for you, Eloise. What about Nanny?"
"What do you mean, what about Nanny?"
"Is she going with you?"
"Of course Nanny is coming with us. She cannot stay alone at the Plaza. I absolutely can not live without Nanny. She's my mostly companion, you know."
"Yes, you mentioned that."
"Tata, Sir Wilkes," Eloise shouted as she skipped merrily to her apartment door.
Wilkes' whole body felt numb. He could scarcely hold on to the newspaper and keys in his hands and once inside his apartment, he collapsed on his couch, forgetting to close his door. 'Did Nanny really want to move to France?'
He heard Eloise's frenzied knocking on their apartment door across the passage and Nanny's exasperated response from inside, "Aoww, Eloise,… I'm comin'!" He didn't even want to imagine how it would be if he couldn't hear her voice every day. There was a melodious huskiness to her voice that was so unique to her. How he loved her accent and her particular choice of words!
All his dreams for Nanny seemed to have been crushed within moments. He wanted to court her properly, as she deserved to be courted. He wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. He wanted to take her to dinner and to the theatre. He wanted to buy her flowers and he wanted to walk with her in Central Park. Most of all, he wanted to tell her how much he loved her, and he wanted to ask her to become his wife.
Although they had never expressed their love in words, he was so sure that Nanny felt the same way about him. In his mind's eye, he saw the tenderness in Nanny's eyes and her lovely smile as she looked at him. They had shared so many wonderful moments. Wilkes closed his eyes as he remembered how wonderful it had felt to hold her in his arms when they had danced with each other at the Debutante Ball. On Christmas Eve, she had surprised him by kissing him on the cheek. Wilkes touched his cheek, as if he could still feel her lips against his skin.
He had to talk to Nanny and even to Kay if necessary, but this simply wouldn't do. He simply could not, and would not, lose her. He would do whatever it took, but he simply could not allow her to disappear from his life.
After a whole day of helping Eloise packing her toys and marking the boxes, Nanny felt she needed fresh air. She had listened to Eloise's and Kay's lively chatter throughout the day and had tried her best to remain cheerful for their sake. Late in the afternoon, with the excuse to take Eloise's little dog, Weenie, out for his daily walk, Nanny finally got the chance to escape from the apartment.
By this time, the news had spread amongst the hotel staff that Nanny and Eloise were moving to France. They all felt a little sad that two of their favorite tenants were leaving the Plaza. Although Eloise had often succeeded in getting herself into trouble, the staff was very fond of her, and everybody had great affection for Nanny. Many of them had noticed that Nanny and Sir Wilkes really enjoyed each other's company and had speculated about a possible romance between the two. Max, the elevator operator had often kept the door open for Nanny when Sir Wilkes was in the elevator, or closed it rather quickly so that they could be alone (except for himself, of course). He understood the art of being almost invisible by turning his back towards the people in the elevator even though he noticed absolutely everything. It was therefore no surprise when Max noticed that Nanny was not quite her usual gracious self when she stepped into the elevator, with Weenie firmly stuck under her arm. She scarcely saw Max, as if she was totally lost in thought. He wondered if Sir Wilkes had anything to do with Nanny's current state of mind, but as usual, he turned towards the door and pressed the button for the ground floor, giving Nanny her privacy. Charlie, the doorman, was the second to notice that Nanny was not quite herself. She walked rawther quickly away from the Plaza in the direction of Central Park.
Nanny found her favorite bench in the park, put Weenie down on the pavement and sat down. She watched as the little dog sniffed around in the area close to her. Not having to pretend anymore, her eyes filled with tears. Kay's announcement that they were moving to France had come rawther unexpectedly and most certainly it was untimely. She felt torn between her loyalty and love for Kay and Eloise, and her love for Wilkes. Cross with herself for not being able to control her emotions, Nanny took out a handkerchief from her handbag and wiped her eyes and cheeks.
Nanny had fallen deeply in love. Romance was not something that she had been consciously looking for, but from the first time she had laid eyes on Sir Wilkes, she had known that he was special, that he had touched her heart. At first she had thought a relationship between herself and Wilkes could not succeed because Wilkes was of noble birth. It was a lesson she had learned the first time she had fallen in love, but as Wilkes' visits became more frequent, his station in life became less and less important.
Involuntarily, Nanny's thoughts turned to John Covington, her first love. His family had been against their relationship from the beginning. He had promised her that he didn't care what his family said and that he would marry her regardless of his family's standing. In the end, however, he had succumbed to his family's wishes and had broken off their engagement to marry a woman of nobility. At the time, Nanny had felt used and humiliated. But she had picked herself up and had gone on with her life as best she could.
She had started to work for Kay's mother shortly after that, and her life had changed in so many ways. Kay's mother had made her part of their lives and they had always regarded her as a member of the family. Nanny had looked after Kay as if she was her own daughter and later, when Kay had her own little girl, Nanny had started to look after Eloise. The arrangement suited everybody. Kay worked in the fashion industry and needed to travel extensively. As a result, Nanny had traveled throughout the world and had lived in many wonderful places. There had never been any question that Nanny would go with Kay and Eloise to any place on earth. Until now…
Nanny became aware of Weenie's excited howling, and he started running down the pavement. She was just about to run after the dog and call him back when Weenie stopped and wagged his tail frantically. It was Wilkes, and he was walking determinately in her direction.
"Nanny, here you are. Charlie told me I might find you here."
"Willy!" Nanny sat up straight, making the best effort to regain her self-control.
Wilkes noticed the redness in Nanny's eyes and he had to fight the urge to take her into his arms and kiss away all the unhappiness that was expressed in her face. At the same time, her sadness gave him hope. Could it be that Nanny didn't want to go, that she would rather stay here in New York, with him? Wilkes' heart lurched with the thought. "May I sit with you for a while?"
"Yes, please do." Nanny looked up at him, trying her best to smile.
Wilkes sat down next to Nanny. The longing to be with her, that he had felt constantly these past few days, was stilled for the moment. "I heard from Eloise that you were moving to France."
"Yes." Nanny bit her lower lip and looked away. She couldn't trust herself to look at him. The thickness in her throat threatened to overwhelm her and she struggled to fight back the tears.
Wilkes placed his hand against her cheek, and with his thumb under her chin, he turned her face towards him, forcing her to look at him. "The last thing that I wanted to do was to make this more difficult for you, but time is not on our side, and I have to tell you what is in my heart. But first, I want to know. Do you really want to go?"
Nanny looked down at her hands. "Yes… oh, I don't know. I just know that I will break Eloise's heart if I don't go. Her mother is not always there for her and she, well, she needs me."
Wilkes took both of Nanny's hands in his and pressed softly. He realized that there was no time for games. If there was to be any chance for the two of them, he had to tell her how he felt at that very moment. "Nanny, I need you, too. I love you, and I want to marry you."
Nanny's eyes flew up to Wilkes'. If circumstances were different, she would have grabbed him around the neck to express her utmost joy at the news, but at the moment Nanny could only stare at him, wordless, as if in shock.
Wilkes brought her hands to his lips and kissed them softly. In an unsteady husky voice, she managed to say, "I love you too, so, so, so much." She pulled her hands from Wilkes' grip, bent forward and put her face in her hands. "Oh, what am I going to do?"
"Nanny, all I want you to do is to think about us, about our future. I understand how difficult this must be for you, but will you do that?" Wilkes took away Nanny's hands from her face, and pulled her towards him. Oblivious of the passersby, he kissed her softly, giving her as much comfort as he possibly could. As they broke the kiss and Wilkes pulled Nanny against him, a feeling of calmness and contentment washed over Nanny. There was only one place where she could possibly belong, but before making any commitments, she first had to speak to Kay and Eloise.
Wilkes pulled Nanny from the bench and she gathered Weenie under her arm. Wilkes looked in her eyes and he could see that she was feeling better. A little of the old sparkle was back and she seemed to have regained her composure. He felt proud when she took his arm and they strolled back to the Plaza. His Nanny had finally admitted that she loved him, and he could only hope that she would find it in her heart to make the correct decision.