Conveniently His(3)

By: Penny Jordan

They had talked. She had learned that he was a computer consultant working from an office in Cambridge; that he had his orphaned niece and nephew in his care and that he was the mildest and most unaggressive man she had ever come across.

She, in turn, had told him about her languages degree—gained much to the disapproval of her mother, who still believed that a young woman had no need to earn her own living but should simply use her time to find herself a suitable husband—her secretarial abilities, and the dull job she had working in her father’s office.

She had eventually sobered up enough to drive home and by the end of the next week she had forgotten Jonathan completely.

His letter to her offering her a job as his assistant had come totally out of the blue but, after discussing it with him, she had realised that here was the chance she needed so desperately to get herself out of the rut her life had become.

It was then that she realised that Jonathan was one of that elite band of graduates who had emerged from Cambridge in the late ’sixties and early ’seventies, fired by enthusiasm for the new computer age about to dawn, and that Jonathan was a world-renowned expert in his field.

Against her mother’s wishes she had accepted the job and on the strength of the generous salary he paid her she had found herself a pleasant flat in Cambridge.

She went into the hall and took the receiver from her mother, who moved away but not out of earshot. Her mother disapproved of Jonathan. Tall, and untidy with a shock of dark hair and mild, dark blue eyes which were always hidden behind the glasses he needed to wear, he was not like the bright, socially adept sons of her friends. Jonathan never indulged in social chit-chat—he didn’t know how to. He was vague and slightly clumsy, often giving the impression that he lived almost exclusively in a world of his own. Which in many ways he did, Sophy reflected, speaking his name into the receiver.

‘Ah, Sophy...thank goodness you’re there. It’s Louise...the children’s nanny. She’s left...and I have to fly to Brussels in the morning. Would you...?’

‘I’ll be there just as soon as I can,’ Sophy promised with alacrity, mentally sending a prayer of thanks up to her guardian angel.

Now she had a valid excuse for missing tonight’s dinner party and inevitable conversation about Chris.

‘What did he want?’ her mother questioned as Sophy replaced the receiver.

‘Louise, the nanny, has left. He wants me to look after the children for him, until he comes back from Brussels on Wednesday.’

‘But you’re his secretary,’ her mother expostulated. ‘He has no right to ring you here at weekends. You’re far too soft with him, Sophy. He’s only himself to blame... I’ve never met a more disorganised man. What he needs isn’t a secretary, it’s a wife...and what you need is a husband and children of your own,’ she added bitterly. ‘You’re getting far too attached to those know that, don’t you?’

Mentally acknowledging that her mother was more astute than she had thought, Sophy gave her a brief smile. ‘I like them, yes,’ she admitted evenly, ‘and Jon is my boss. I can hardly refuse his request you know, Mother.’

‘Of course you can. I wish you weren’t working for the man. I don’t like him. Why on earth doesn’t he do something about himself? He ought to tidy himself up a bit, buy some new clothes...’

Sophy hid a smile. ‘Because those sort of things aren’t important to him, Mother.’

‘But they should be important. Appearance is important.’

Maybe for more ordinary mortals, Sophy reflected as she went upstairs to re-pack the weekend bag she had brought with her when she had come home, but the rules that governed ordinary people did not apply to near geniuses and that was what Jon was. He was so involved with his computers that she doubted he was aware of anything else.

At thirty-four he epitomised the caricature of a slightly eccentric, confirmed bachelor totally involved in his work and oblivious to anything else.

Except the children. He was very caring and aware where they were concerned.

As she went back downstairs with her case she frowned slightly. Louise would be the third nanny he had lost in the two years she had worked with him and she was at a loss to understand why. The children were a lovable pair. David, ten, and Alexandra, eight, were lively, it was true, but intelligent and very giving. The house Jonathan lived in had been bought by him when his brother and sister-in-law died, and was a comfortable, if somewhat rambling, Victorian building on the outskirts of a small Fen village. It had a large garden, which was rather inadequately cared for by an ancient Fensman and the housework was done by a woman who came in from the village to clean twice a week. Jonathan was not an interfering or difficult man to work for.

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