The Nanny and The Butler
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this.
I've seen stories about the nanny falling for the single father of the children but I figured I'd try a slightly different take on it.
In this story, some of the children have different parents and are in no way related to each other. Hopefully, it's clear as the story goes on.
The Olympus Apartments were basically where the rich came to roost.
The fifty story building contained countless apartments that could fit normal houses into just their living rooms. With a staggering view of Central Park and the skyline, getting a home there was more difficult than getting across the Sahara with one bottle of water. So, logically, the penthouse was the most sought after and expensive apartment in the place.
Zeus and Hera Grace snapped it up before other buyers could even blink. It wasn't that they even spent any time there; they were always on one side of the world or the other with their numerous companies. They lived out of hotel suites or beach homes; usually apart.
For their children, however, the Olympian apartment was home.
Jason Grace ran out onto the terrace on a cold evening, just as the sun was going down. He carefully leaned over the edge and looked down onto the far pavement below. He barely noticed his sister join him as he tried to pick out their butler standing somewhere on the street.
"Can you see him?" Katie Grace asked; her dark hair a complete contrast to her brother's blonde.
"No; do you think he put his jacket on in the elevator?"
Jason only tore his eyes away from street to glance back at his two adopted siblings who were hurrying to the edge. "No running on the terrace!" he ordered, causing his brother to scrunch his nose up.
"But you just ran out here!" Leo Grace stated but Jason just gave him a warning glance.
Hazel Grace bounced over to her siblings and peeked her head over the edge. "Bye Percy!" she called and waved, even though she had no idea who she was addressing.
The four Grace siblings continued to look for their butler, until Katie finally pointed him out just as he was stepping into a cab. Jason felt himself deflate slightly; the twelve year old would miss his friend even though he was only going across town for a week at home with his mom. He figured that Percy needed a break from them all; what nineteen year old could to spend every moment with a bunch of crazy kids? The only issue was the annoying nannies that he and his siblings would have to get rid of until Percy got back.
Jason turned to Leo, who was drumming his fingers across the stone railing of the terrace. "Have you got the info on the first nanny?"
Leo grinned and pulled out his phone from his pocket. Even though he was only nine, Leo could work computers and machines with ease. Pressing a few buttons, he handed the phone over to his brother to look at.
"She's allergic to strawberries," Jason noted, "She breaks out into an itchy rash..."
"I can work with that," Katie replied easily.
Hazel however just huffed and rested her head sideways on her folded arms. "Can't we keep one of them? It would be nice to have another girl around here."
Jason scowled. "These are not girls; these are robots send by our parents that try and make us behave when we don't want to. They are not our friends."
"Percy is our friend," Hazel argued.
Jason paused but then said, "Well Percy's different; he's cool and doesn't hit us when we're bad." He felt guilty when he saw his siblings flinch. They remembered the awful nanny they had had last year; they never saw her again after Percy spoke to some cops. But another nanny had showed up, just like always. And until their parents got the message, they would continue driving away them all away.
"Mom? I'm home!" Percy shouted as he shut the front door of his old apartment. He dropped his bag against the wall and followed the smell of freshly baked cookies into the small kitchen.
A smile came to his face when he saw Sally Jackson standing by the counter, arranging the last blue cookies onto a plate. She smiled widely at the sight of him and quickly brushed her hands free of flour to hug him. "Hey sweetheart!"
After she let go of him, Percy hopped up onto the counter and plucked a cookie from the pile. He tossed it between his hands when he realised how hot it was; his mom looking on with an amused face.
"Where's Paul?" he asked. "He's just gone to get some things for dinner and don't worry, I'll be the one cooking."
Percy nodded, taking in his mom and Paul's neat apartment. He hadn't been there in a while.
"I can't wait to have you home for the week," Sally said, walking to the fridge, "I know that you're only across town but you are always so busy at work."
"You mean those kids keep me busy. When I agreed to be a live-in butler for the Grace family, I did not expect their children to be so...themselves."
Sally nearly spilled the milk she was pouring for him with laughter. Percy finally took a bite and chewed through it before adding, "You know that I love them but they are a handful. I just wish one nanny-just one-would stick it out and stay. I need help with them."
Sally gave him the milk, picking up a cookie for herself. She leaned against the counter as she ate. "I know that you are overwhelmed Percy, but you have to think of those poor children. Their parents are never around; they never even hear from them. It can't be easy to be abandoned like that. You are the only stable love they have so of course they are going to cling to you."
Percy grabbed another cookie. "I understand that; but Mom...Katie is eleven ok? She's nearly a teenager and she is already starting to...ask questions."
Sally laughed again but Percy found nothing funny about it. "Mom! I am a nineteen year old man-I am not equipped to answer those questions. And Hazel is as sharp as a pin-even for seven. The boys need more than just me as well. I need a nanny to...nanny them."
Sally shook her head. "Well maybe the one who came this morning will stay."
"I doubt it; they've gone through eight in the last month."
Sally sighed, patting her son's knee. "Don't worry sweetheart; the right nanny will come along."
Percy snorted and finished the last of his cookie. "Either way, I just hope "the right nanny" can pick up after herself. She'll be living with me and I have enough cleaning to do with those four kids."
There was suddenly a noise by the window of the adjoining sitting room and Percy and Sally turned around to see Nico di Angelo climbing in by the fire escape. "Hey Sally, hey Percy," he greeted as his boots hit the wooden floor.
Sally smiled at him, holding up the plate of cookies. "Hello Nico. Help yourself-you know I hate how skinny you seem sometimes."
Nico happily took two cookies, standing by his friend's side as he ate. "It's about time you got a break from those kids," Nico said, "I was starting to think they never let you leave or something."
Percy rolled his eyes and replied dryly, "It is possible to actually like those kids you know; if you ever spent more than five minutes with them."
Nico shuddered and took a giant bite of his cookie. "Are you kidding? I remember helping you move into your quarters at that penthouse-those crazy kids were everywhere I turned!"
Percy frowned at him, causing Sally to reach for the blue cupcakes she'd made to diffuse any tension. Percy was very protective of the four young Grace children. "They all have names by the way."
Nico nodded, placing his hand at decreasing heights as he spoke; as if the children themselves were standing in front of him. "I know. The First One, the Smaller One, the Really Small One and the Smallest One."
Even Percy had to laugh about that.
"So what's this I hear about a nanny? Did one of them flirt with you-again?"
Percy scowled, biting into a cupcake. He was always like that when he went to his mom's; he ate more in five minutes than he usually did in a day. "We were just wondering if one of the nannies the kids see this week will stick around."
"What are the chances?"
"Pigs would have better luck trying to fly."
One week later
"Don't think of it as charity," Thalia protested, "Think of it as one friend doing a favour for another friend."
Annabeth didn't even look up from her dinner, choosing instead to chew furiously on a piece of chicken in her mouth. Luke, who was sitting across the table from her beside Thalia, was already finished his food and was staring at her. Her two best friends were presenting a united front which just pissed Annabeth off even more. She swallowed and let the fork rest on her plate with a click. "Look, thank you for trying to help me but I really don't want to work for Hermes' company. It may suit you two but not me."
Thalia and Luke exchanged glances but stayed silent as Luke picked up the empty plates and brought them to the sink. Annabeth sat back in her chair; they would probably try and convince her again tomorrow.
Ever since she had moved from San Francisco to New York a year ago, she had had trouble getting a job. She needed one to pay for architecture classes if she was going to get qualified. Thalia and Luke were good enough to let her stay with them in their apartment but clearly, they were getting frustrated with her lack of work; which was why they were insisting that she come and work for Luke's father, Hermes at one of his many companies.
The problem was that while that job opportunity was fine for Luke and Thalia, she did not want to be tied to Hermes' company. Once you joined one, people rarely left, choosing to climb the ladder there instead of go into another field. That wasn't what Annabeth wanted. So she was stuck looking for a job in a giant city with plenty of other people.
When Luke returned to the table, he joined hands with Thalia and met Annabeth's steely gaze. Wow, they both annoyed her sometimes.
It wasn't even them really; it was more the fact that they had their lives in almost perfect order while she was still trying to figure hers out. The problem came when they tried to lecture her; they may have been only a few years older but that did not make them her parents. She was nineteen years old; she did not need to be babysat.
"Annabeth, maybe you could just come to one interview; that's all we are asking," Luke suggested.
Annabeth looked at their hopeful gazes and felt guilt eat away at her gut. They really had been so good to her. So Annabeth sighed and nodded her head, much to her friends' happiness.
Luke and Thalia were going to watch a movie but Annabeth chose instead to spend the rest of the late afternoon, drawing in Central Park. Well, really what she drew were the buildings around the Park; they were stunning examples of architecture and she could fill many sketch books with drawings of them all.
So, after a quick trip on the Subway, Annabeth found herself on a bench, glancing up above the trees to one of the many buildings. An hour flew by without her noticing; it was only when the sun turned a bright orange colour on her paper, did she realise that it was getting late.
Annabeth reached beside her to put her sketch book away when she caught sight of someone curled up by a tree. The person was small with curly dark hair and they were crying. Annabeth quickly packed away her things, throwing her bag over her shoulder as she quietly approached the person, who was clearly a little girl.
"Are you alright?"
Eyes bright with tears snapped up to look at her and Annabeth saw that the girl was barely older than eight. She sniffed and wiped her nose on the sleeve of her coat. Annabeth gave her an encouraging smile as she crouched down to her level.
"Are you lost?" she asked and the girl nodded. Annabeth looked up and down the leafy path but there didn't seem to be anyone looking for the girl. "Well how about we go find a police officer and then we'll be able to find your family," Annabeth suggested, holding a hand out to the girl.
The girl frowned at her hand and then at her face. "I'm not supposed to go anywhere with strangers..." she mumbled.
Annabeth couldn't argue with her there; instead she stood up and took a good look around the park. "Well can you tell me who you came with? Or at least, your name? Mine's Annabeth."
The girl sniffed again before replying. "My name is Hazel Grace. The nanny brought me and my brothers and sister for a walk."
Annabeth raised an eyebrow at the word nanny, looking at the girl again. That name sounded awful familiar. Her tears seemed to have dried but she was still clearly upset.
Before Annabeth could do anything else, she heard a shrill voice practically screaming Hazel's name from down the path. Both girls turned to see a large woman, dressed in a pressed suit and practically dragging three other children behind her. The woman didn't even take any notice of Annabeth; she just pulled Hazel up from the ground by the arm.
"Where have you been?! I told you to stay with your sister and you just run off!"
Annabeth was shocked at this woman; her grip was tight on Hazel's arm and she seemed far angrier than she should have been. The oldest boy suddenly shook the woman off his sister; Hazel quickly wrapping her arms around his middle.
The boy scowled at the woman-clearly the nanny. "Don't touch her; you are scaring her."
The woman looked like she was about to lose it, her face a bright red. The other two children- a boy and a girl- edged behind their older brother. The nanny took a breath and threw her handbag over her shoulder, nearly hitting Annabeth in the face. Annabeth watched as the nanny pinched her thumb and index finger together, glaring at the children.
"In the last two days, I have been pranked, tricked and made a fool of. Now your sister runs off in the middle of Central Park! You are the worst children I have ever been put in charge of!"
The smaller boy peeked out from behind his brother's back and quipped, "Thank you."
The woman eyes practically bulged out of her head and the older girl pulled her brother back by his jumper. Without warning, the nanny growled out "I quit!" and then stormed off down the path.
Annabeth watched her go, her mouth slightly open. She turned back in time to see the siblings high-five each other with glee. Hazel saw her standing them, dumbfounded and she smiled.
"That's Annabeth," she said to her siblings, "She was really nice to me when I was lost."
The others finally took notice of her and while the younger two grinned, the oldest boy kept his face neutral. "Thank you for helping my sister," he said, "But we'll be going now."
He turned to led them away but stopped when Annabeth called them. "Are you crazy? I can't let you kids walk around New York on your own at this time of the evening," she said, pointing out the already set sun and the dark night.
The siblings sent each other glances but Hazel just bounced up and down on her feet as she spoke to her brother. "Oh, can we show her the house? She seems really nice and she draws and I want to show her my pictures!"
Surprisingly, her brother seemed to catch everything she said but he shook his head. "No Hazel." He turned to Annabeth, saying, "Look, we'll be fine; we live just a few minutes away."
Annabeth shrugged, "That doesn't matter; I highly doubt any of you are old enough to be walking around on your own."
"Percy says that too," the oldest girl mumbled to her brother but he just glared at her. Instead of shutting up, the girl smiled at Annabeth. "I'm Katie, this is Jason and Leo. You've met Hazel."
Hazel gave her an enthusiastic wave which Annabeth returned a little more calmly. Jason however, still had a frown etched into his face.
Annabeth stepped forward, and spoke quietly to him. "I realise that you want to look after your siblings but I can't in good conscience let you four walk home on your own. At least let me walk you to your building-for my sake."
Jason mulled this over for a moment but then nodded and spun around on his heel. He strode towards an exit of the park with Annabeth close behind him; Hazel and Leo had taken either one of her hands and they were chatting to her.
Katie walked by Jason's side, occasionally looking back at Annabeth. "She seems nice," she muttered but Jason only grunted.
Annabeth let Jason and Katie led the way, her mouth falling open slightly when she realised that they were strolling towards the Olympus Apartments. Easily the most stunning building she had ever drawn, places there were reserved for only the best-which seemed to include four misbehaving children. They crossed the road together and the door man in his green uniform opened the shiny front doors for them. He gave Annabeth a glance but said nothing. The children didn't object to her going further than she promised so Annabeth kept going.
The lobby was spacious with a large table in the middle with a giant vase of freshly cut flowers. The walls were a light blue and the long desk sat on the left side. The woman behind it just greeted the children as they passed. Annabeth was dragged into the elevators by Hazel and Leo, noting with wide eyes that Katie had taken out a key card, pushed it into a slot and tapped the P button. They lived in the penthouse.
She had barely wrapped her mind around that fact when the elevator stopped again three floors up to let on two boys. They were both around Katie's age and seemed to know her, judging from the wide smile the older one gave her.
"Hey Katie Grace, how's it going?" he asked as the doors shut.
Katie just scowled and bit out, "Stolls; it was much better before you showed up!"
The boys hardly had time to reply before they arrived at their floor. The other boy seemed to sense the danger radiating from Katie so he quickly dragged his still smiling friend from the elevator. Katie growled and seemed to grind her teeth.
"What was that about?" Annabeth couldn't help but ask. Katie opened her mouth to reply but Leo cut in.
"The suspiciously quiet one was Conner Stoll and the grinning one was his brother Travis. They live in the building and last Valentine's day, he put some chocolate in Katie's school bag as a gift. But then it melted and ruined all her books so now she hates him."
Katie whipped her head around to glare at her brother. "It was not a gift! He put it in there knowing it was going to melt!"
Leo just rolled his eyes and waited for their floor. It was only a moment later that the elevator dinged and the doors opened.
Instead of seeing a hallway with many doors either side, Annabeth stepped out into a cream corridor that stretched out to the left and right. The children stepped out as well but collided when Jason stopped abruptly. He was staring at an expensive looking suitcase that was sitting against the far wall.
"Father's home..." he mumbled and Annabeth was concerned when she realised that it sounded like a question.
The four children hurried off to the left, disappearing around a corridor. Annabeth was stuck between leaving right away and checking that everything was alright. By the sounds of it, their Father may have just returned from somewhere but the apartment had a chill to it. So Annabeth slowly walked after the children.
At the end of the corridor was a door but to the right was an archway. Annabeth turned to go under it only to be met by the sight that was living room. The entire back wall was glass, looking out over the city. A terrace with chairs, a table as well as many plants was outside it. The ceiling was high, mostly because there were stairs on the right side and the landing of the first floor could be seen. A large TV sat on the wall across from the windows with games consoles and Annabeth was pretty sure the large chest beside it was filled with DVDs and games. Two dark leather couches were in front of the TV with matching armchairs. A coffee table sat between them. To the left was a dining table, made of thick wood. The walls were a white colour with many pieces of artwork on them-but no family pictures, Annabeth couldn't help but notice.
It was only when she finished looking around the room did she see the tall man sitting on the couch. He was tapping away at his phone and dressing in a sharp suit. He was also taking no notice of his children who were standing right in front of him. Jason didn't seem bothered; he had already turned on the television. Katie seemed caught between glaring at her father and watching the TV. Leo and Hazel were still trying to get his attention however.
"...so that nanny is gone but we found a really nice lady to bring us home and that's her."
Annabeth came back to earth when she realised that Hazel was pointing at her. Zeus finally dragged his eyes away from his phone to stare at her.
"Uh...I was just making sure they got home ok. I'll be going now." Annabeth quickly turned on her heel and hurried towards the elevator. It had finally hit her; she had just walked into Zeus Grace's living room. That man and his wife were two of the richest people in the city; they were constantly in the papers at parties or events.
Annabeth felt herself skid to a stop when she heard the voice. Zeus had left the living room and was marching towards her. He halted, putting his phone away in his suit pocket. He stared down at her, his arms folded.
"Did you see what happened to their nanny?"
Annabeth tried not to frown as she replied, "Yes; she quit and left them alone in Central Park in the dark."
Zeus just hummed. "Yes, I'll have to send her things back to her home address. You are the one, however, that convinced my children to return home safely?"
Annabeth paused but then said, "Well, Jason was already taking them home but I wanted to escort them back-."
"For how much?"
The question seemed like a sharp slap in the face to Annabeth. She gapped for a moment but then held her head up and stared back at Zeus. "I don't want to be paid; I just wanted to make sure that four young kids got home alright. And I think it's about time that I did the same."
She was about to press the down button when she heard him asked, "Do you want to be?"
"Excuse me?" Annabeth was really losing patience with this man but he seemed completely serious.
Zeus glanced back down the hallway before speaking again. "My children are...a handful. They have a pattern of getting rid of nannies; in fact they chased away five in the past week. Since you are the first person I've met that has gotten them to do anything remotely like good behaviour. So, would you like a job here?"
Annabeth blinked a few times. He couldn't be serious. "You don't know the first thing about me?" she protested and Zeus just nodded.
"Don't worry; you would start work in, oh, two days I'd say and I would have you checked out before then. How much do you usually charge weekly?"
"I'm not a na-."
"Would $300 be a good start?"
Annabeth nearly choked on her own saliva.
Zeus took her shocked silence the wrong way and added, "Alright, how about $500 to start with and we can discuss a raise later on?"
Annabeth's brain was quickly adding up the numbers. With that kind of pay, she could afford classes, books, even her own apartment of she kept saving. And the kids didn't seem that bad, just...lost. She had seen that defiant look on Jason's face before; it had looked back at her in the mirror a lot in her younger years. Judging by what she had already seen, Zeus was not around very often and his wife Hera was nowhere to be seen. Would it be such a bad idea to take the job?
"Of course, you would be a live- in nanny with quarters here in the house. There is also a live-in butler but from what I am told, he has taken his vacation this week. He'll be back tomorrow while I will be heading to France; that's why I need a nanny on such short notice. The butler can probably handle them until you can start." Zeus kept looking at her with mild curiosity.
Annabeth stared back, slightly glaring. This man really though he could just snap his fingers and things would just happen. He was just going to jet off and leave his kids with a stranger. Well...better her than another crazy nanny and she could really use the money.
"Alright," Annabeth said evenly, "I'll take the job; as long as your children are alright with it."
Zeus barely paused before saying, "They'll be fine. Just send your details to this email."
He handed her a stiff business card and with that he turned on his heel and walked off through the door at the end of the corridor. As it swung shut, Annabeth could see that it led to a kitchen. Then she was suddenly left alone, in a corridor, with a high paying new job. "What the heck just happened?..." she mumbled.
A shadow appeared at the top of the corridor and Jason shuffled into her sight. He glanced back at the closed kitchen door but looked back at her. "So, you're the new nanny...after watching what we did to the other one?"
Annabeth shrugged, "Well, if she grabbed your sister like that all the time, I wouldn't blame you."
That seemed to shock Jason but he quickly got his face neutral again. "Look, don't worry about us alright? Father and Mother are never around; I'm used to it and one day the others will be too. We just can't stand nannies who decided what's best for us. So, when you realise that, we can all get along great until you decided to quit."
Annabeth kept her mouth shut, as much as she wanted to snap at this twelve year old kid bossing her around. There would be time to teach him how to talk to people later. Jason nodded at her and spoke just once before turning around and leaving. "By the way-the real only person that has ever gotten us to behave is Percy Jackson. And you are sure not him."
Annabeth watched him walk away before pressing the button and waiting for the elevator. Her trip back to Luke and Thalia's apartment was a blur; her mind was pretty much taken up with question after question. Who were these people to just hire anyone? What did the other kids think of it all? How did she go from escorting children home to getting a job as their nanny?
As she opened the door to the apartment, she saw Luke and Thalia curled up on the couch. They didn't seem to notice that she had been gone so long as they were so wrapped up in each other. She let her bag drop by the armchair and Thalia sent her a smile.
"Hey, did you get some good sketches?"
Annabeth nodded, a grin trying to appear on her face. "Yup and I got more than that. I found a new place to live."
That got both their attention. Luke did a comedic double take while Thalia seemed utterly confused.
"And how are going to pay for this new place?"
Annabeth felt familiar annoyance flare up but it quickly left. "It's a really long story that I will tell you both after a shower; all you need to know right now that I am moving in there two days from now."
She didn't even wait to see their reactions before walking into her bedroom and shutting the door. Collapsing onto the bed Annabeth stared up at her ceiling. There was every chance that she was making a mistake; she didn't even usually do this sort of thing. But she needed a job and a way to get out from under her friends' feet. She was just thankful that only had a few personal belongings; packing would not be an issue.
Pulling the business card out of her pocket, Annabeth tossed it onto her bedside table. She would send the email later; after her shower. As she grabbed a towel of the back of her chair, she knew that she still had many questions. But one stood out.
Who was Percy Jackson?
Clarisse knocked on the door, glancing up at the camera above her as she waited. A moment later, she heard a buzz and she pushed down the metal handle of the door to open it. She stepped into a simple room, with a desk, a number of computers and a woman.
Clarisse walked forward until she was standing beside the woman at the desk and she held out a folder. "I thought you would want to see this Athena," she said as her boss took the folder.
Athena opened it, examining the photos inside. "I see," she replied, "And what would my daughter be doing at the Olympus Apartments."
"Our sources tell me that she has just been employed as the new nanny for the Grace children. She ran into them at the park and Zeus offered her the job when she returned them to the penthouse. She starts work in two days."
Athena hummed and sat back in her chair.
"It seems quite a coincidence doesn't it? First, Annabeth stays with Hermes' son and his girlfriend and now she is employed by Zeus-all because of a 'run-in' in the park," Clarisse mused.
Athena, however, just shook her head. "No, Annabeth was friends with Luke and Thalia years before all of this started. I suspect the meeting in the park was also just luck; Zeus maybe rich and powerful but his children are remarkably head strong against him. However, I know that he is aware of Annabeth's relation to me; perhaps he saw her and took a chance to keep an eye on her."
Clarisse nodded, clasping her hands behind her back. "Either way, I doubt your daughter will be there for long; the Grace children are very talented at getting rid of those they dislike."
Clarisse would swear that she almost saw Athena smile.
"Yes; if they were any better I would have to hire them. On the other hand..." Athena glanced at the photo sitting on her desk; a smiling girl with blonde hair and grey eyes.
"...they have never met anyone as determined as Annabeth before."