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The Billionaire's Caregiver
From Agony To Ecstasy
People often think that a new beginning is something that happens when there is a tragedy. Plus size Shelby Watson, on the other hand, disagreesentirely. Sometimes, a new beginning can simply happen to someone, and not be some epiphany out of the ashes of what was once a mess.
Simply put, life happens, but starting over is never easy. Shelby sighed and stretched out her legs on the sofa. Tomorrow, she would start again. Never one to be defeated, she knew she could pull herself out of this “new mess” she was in.
There was something about the way her big toe poked through the worn socks that made her rethink that idea entirely.
“ You and me, Dobbs...she scooped up her puppy who had buried its head under the thick blanket. “All we really need is each other.” Dobbs was a Chihuahua mix. Shelby found him by the door of her apartment one day, and when she opened her apartment door, he ran right in, in front of her.
He had been there since. It may have been the forlorn look he had about him that Shelby found endearing, or just the fact that he was standing there soaked to the bone. Whatever it was, Shelby knew she couldn’t leave him out there, so let him stay.
The sound of banging caused Shelby to wince slightly. The pipes in this old building were always making some awful noise whenever someone was taking a shower. Shelby looked around at her efficiency apartment.
Clean and tidy it, was her home. She lived in the 3rd block of town. The lower the number indicated the worse sections of town. This was no exception. Her neighbors all consisted of drug dealers and prostitutes, though none unfriendly. Shelby would work early mornings and try to be home before dark. As long as she kept to herself nothing bad would happen to her…well less likely to, anyway.
All of the details of her life had changed now. The part-time morning job she had been able to find, she had lost. Nothing of her doing, simply a cut in positions at the senior home she was working at. They had pulled her aside that morning and given her the bad news.
“ Shelby, your work here has always been wonderful. I hope you realize this is not a reflection on the quality of your work. It's simply based on the financial needs of the company.” Dr. Brenner sighed and looked over at her as he delivered the news.
“ Many of the seniors are moving into better equipped facilities and they…well they already have staff there. He ran his thin bony fingers through is even thinner hair.
It was obvious to Shelby this wasn’t something he enjoyed doing and decided to help take the pressure off.
“ I understand Dr. Brenner. I really do. I just don’t know how I'm going to make it now.” Life had always been a series of ups and downs for Shelby, and this was just one more set back. She stood to stand and extended her hand to Dr. Brenner.
“ Thank you for helping me get things going here Dr. Brenner. The last three years have been wonderful. I hope you will let me use you for a reference.” He stood and methodically pumped her hand, covering the hands with his other one.
“ I really am sorry, Shelby.”
There was a sense of helplessness that Shelby felt when she headed home. Now, she and her pup gracefully sat on the old worn sofa she had gotten from the thrift store down the street. Shelby decided it was time to start sorting the factors of her life out. She jumped up and grabbed her notebook from the counter.
Determined, she created her spreadsheet, lists of bills, things to do, what not to do, etc. Balancing her checkbook, Shelby calculated that she was ok for the next three weeks, but when the rent was due, she would be in trouble. She walked into her kitchen and pulled some canned spaghetti from the cupboard, methodically putting them in a bowl and then the microwave.
This is not where she envisioned herself a few years ago. She had big plans to go back to college to get her graduate degree in nursing. She was barely scraping by, but she knew that her resilience was powerful and that she would make it through. The one thing she was sure of was that she would not cry about it but would just keep moving on.
The next day things seemed bleak. Shelby walked to the corner store and bought a newspaper and began sifting through the want ads looking for a job. She wasn’t above doing anything and would do whatever necessary to keep things going. Sitting on her foot, she took notice of anything related to her field first.
Under the dark header she saw an ad for a home health nurse. Perfect. She picked up the phone and called, but was greeted by a nasty voice.
“ Kayla I told you I can’t do this with you right now. You will just have to trust me. It's better this way.” Shelby winced at the explosion.
“ I’m sorry Sir. I think I may have the wrong number, I was calling about an ad.” As she began to cradle the phone back into the receiver, she heard him yell.
“ Wait yes, Oh God I'm an idiot. Miss…Miss?” He was obviously flustered.
“ I’m here.”
“ Good. I’m terribly sorry. Your number was just like someone else’s, and well… Ok, so yes, can you come out today? I need to wrap this up before I leave this weekend, and I have only gotten a few responses.”
Encouraged, Shelby shot up out of her chair. “Yes, of course I can, what time?”
“ Um, let me think.” She heard shuffling on the other end. “How about now?”
“ Now?” Shelby looked around mentally, figuring out what to wear." Sure, now is good. I just need an address.”
After getting all the necessary information, Shelby changed into a light grey dress and black boots. Shelby pulled her hair back and gathered up all of her references. As she started to walk out, she grabbed her purse and said a silent prayer.
“ Wish me luck Dobbs, this is for dinner tonight.”
Maneuvering her car down the highway was easy. Shelby loved road trips and had been into the town of Fauquier many times. Often considered the “rich” area, she never had much opportunity or reason to come this far out before.
Today was different. She had an interview, and hoped it would fix this mess she was in. Pulling down the long winding road into the countryside, Shelby admired the houses as she passed them. Most of them were old, and laced with gingerbread latticework. They looked warm and cozy. At the end of one street in particular, Shelby found the house she was looking for.
All she could do was stop the car and look up in awe. There is no way, she thought to herself. The magnificent mansion was on top of a ridge high above the roadway. There was a winding back entrance that was gated, and the front lawn was landscaped perfectly. Shelby glanced over at her car with it's rusted out fenders, and wondered if she really knew what she was doing.
With a sigh, she pushed her glasses back up and drove up the driveway. She pulled off to one side, straightening her dress as she stood and shut the door. She mentally prepared herself for whatever was on the other side of the door, took a deep breath, and knocked.
Billionaire, Michael had never been more frustrated in his life. He was handling the merger of two companies, trying to line up a meeting with his partner, and simultaneously trying to find someone who could come sit with his grandmother. At 40, Michael was all business with dark hair and eyes and didn’t have time for anything frivolous. His grandmother was his only soft spot. She had raised him, and her encouragement is what created the man he was now.
Suddenly ill, the doctors believed she had a stroke, and now she was in bed and unwilling to do anything. He glanced over at the clock. Where was this girl anyway? She seemed interested, but was probably another "no show." He started gathering up some paperwork just as there was a knock at the door.
Shelby waited patiently. When the door finally did open, she found herself stunned for a moment as she looked at the most handsome man she had ever met. Tall and dark, he was almost like a sculpture. Trying not to stare, she attempted to recover quickly.
“ Hello, I’m Shelby. We spoke on the phone.” She held out her hand to him.
Michael took her hand, shaking it lightly. He was not without his own reaction to her. Curvy and full of spunk, she had hair piled on top of her head. It was dark brown and a wonderful accent to her almond-colored eyes. She wore little makeup, and was a natural beauty.
“ I’m glad you’re here, though I thought you would have been here sooner.” Shelby frowned at the gruffness in his voice. He wasn’t as pleasant as she had hoped.
“ I’m sorry, I was coming from Manassas.” She tried not to take offense, as he was obviously very busy.
“ I see. I am looking for someone to care for my grandmother. Full-time and an occasional Saturday. I try to be here on weekends as often as I can, and she has another nurse as well. I need someone who can try to get her to do more, or at least want to. She had a stroke a month ago and the doctors think she should be fine to get out again, but she is simply laying there.” He paused to look her over.
“ This job requires a certain level of physical fitness. Are you sure this is something you’d be interested in and could effectively handle?”
Shelby felt the anger rise. “Mr. Jameson, I can assure you that I am very capable of taking care of your grandmother despite your opinion of my weight. Would it be possible for me to meet your grandmother? I think it’s always important to see how well I click with someone.”
“ Sure, that’s fine. She knows you’re coming. We can head upstairs in just a few moments. I’d like to ask a few more questions first, if that’s ok?”
“ Certainly.” Shelby relaxed slightly. The fact that this guy was an ass made the fact that he was gorgeous much easier to look past.
“ Ok so I see you are working with Everest Healthcare. Do you plan to continue to do that as well?”
“ If so, this may be a bad idea. I really need 100% attention for this. My grandmother is very important to me, and multitasking is something most people think they are good at, but sadly…” he looked her over once again, "are not."
Fuming, Shelby responded in clipped tones. “No, I am no longer there. I was let go recently.” Before she could elaborate, Michael interjected quickly.
“ Why? Was there some sort of horseplay or something? I won’t tolerate any of that at all, Miss Watson. I simply won’t. You do seem rather young, and I can understand if this is something that you don't feel you can handle.”
He stood up as if he was dismissing her entirely.
Panic set in but even that wasn’t enough to calm her anger. “Mr. Jameson, I have been working at this for a long time. I am not young, as you so nicely put it, and as a matter of fact, I'm 33. I love this type of work, and the reason I was let go was for budget cuts, not horseplay. Perhaps if you allowed people to answer your questions without simply writing them off, you would have more candidates for this position.”
Shelby stood to leave.
Fire and ice. That was all he could think of. She was adorable when she was mad. He could see how her nose slightly turned red as she had been giving him a piece of her mind and although not used to being talked to like that, he gained a new kind of respect for her.
“ Point taken, Miss Watson. Shall we go meet my grandmother?” He held the door to the hallway for her and allowed her to pass as he made his way up the stairs motioning for her to follow. Shelby was surprised she had even gotten this far. He was a real piece of work, this guy. Money did that to people, she thought, and could only assume that was it. Along the hallway there was artwork. Some bright, some dull, and some muted. It was a lot to take in. As they rounded the top of the stairs, Shelby looked down and couldn’t help but think that her meager apartment would fit in the foyer below.
Nancy Jameson was in good spirits. She wanted to do more, but her body just wouldn’t allow her to. Besides, when she is here like this, Michael comes around more. He was her only grandson and always had been her favorite.
She had three granddaughters, but they all had their own families, and were too busy to ever visit. Michael had always been special. He had dark coloring like his grandfather and was just as stubborn. She smiled warmly as Michael entered the room with a petite brunette in tow.
Nancy didn’t miss the sparks that flew from the young lady’s eyes as Michael made some comment on how he could show her how to use the elevator if need be.
“ Grandmother this is …I’m sorry what your name was again?” He did look guilty so Shelby took pity on him and extended her hand to Nancy.
“ Hello, my name is Shelby, how are you?”
“ Well I’m in this bed honey so not very good, I suppose.” She winked at Shelby and smiled wide.
“ My grandson feels like he needs to find someone to watch over me and make me do things I am not ready to do. I suppose that’s why you’re here my dear. Come over here and let me get a look at you.”