Inherited:One Nanny

By: Emma Darcy

CHAPTER ONE

A NANNY?

The question had niggled Beau Prescott on and off throughout the fourteen hour flight from Buenos Aires to Sydney. It had reared its tantalising head from the very first reading of his grandfather’s will, pertinently included with all the other official notices sent to him in the solicitor’s packet. Now that his journey home was almost over and he was about to get answers, it pushed once more to the forefront of his mind.

Why on earth had his grandfather employed a nanny for the last two years of his life? And why was she listed in the will as another responsibility to be inherited by Beau, along with the rest of the family retainers?

A nanny made no sense to him. There weren’t any children living in his grandfather’s household. None he knew of anyway. Certainly none had been named in the will. There seemed absolutely no point in including a nanny—whoever she was—amongst the staff who were to remain as his dependents for at least another year, if not for the rest of their lives.

It was different with the others. Beau was completely in sympathy with looking after Mrs. Featherfield who was virtually an institution as his grandfather’s housekeeper. Sedgewick, the butler, and Wallace, the chauffeur, had almost equal longevity. As for Mr. Polly, the head gardener, tipping him out of his beloved grounds was inconceivable. Each one of them deserved every consideration. But a nanny-come-lately without any children to mind?

Beau turned her name over in his mind...Margaret Stowe. Margaret sounded rather old-fashioned, spinsterish. For some reason he linked Stowe with stowaway. She could be a lame-dog nanny, fallen on hard times. His grandfather had a habit of taking in the occasional oddity, putting them on their feet again. But two years of largesse and an inclusion in the will seemed a bit much.

“We will be landing at Mascot on schedule,” the pilot announced. “The weather is fine, current temperature nineteen degrees Celsius. Forecast for today is...”

Beau looked out his window and felt his stomach curl, hit by a wave of grief he’d been holding at bay since he’d received the news of his grandfather’s death. The distinctive features of Sydney were spread out below, the predominance of red roofs, the harbour, the bridge, the opera house. This view had always meant coming home to him. But home had also meant Vivian Prescott, the man who’d taken in his orphaned eight-year-old grandson and given him the world as his playground.

Not so much of a grandfather as a grand person, Beau thought, keenly feeling the huge bite that had been taken so abruptly, so shockingly out of his life. Vivian Prescott had lived on a grand scale, had cultivated a grand approach to everything he’d done. His heart should have been grand enough to last a lot longer.

Vivian...now there was a name that would make most men cringe. The Prescott family had a history of bestowing eccentric names. Beau had often winced over his, but his grandfather...never! He’d rejoiced in having one he considered uniquely his. “It means life, my boy. And joie de vivre is what I’m about.”

He’d carried it with such panache, he’d made it perfectly acceptable, a natural extension of his highly individual personality, a positive expression of artistic flair and style, a provocative emphasis to the wickedly teasing twinkle in his ever-young eyes. It was almost impossible to believe he was actually gone and it hurt like hell not to have been there with him before he died.

A spurt of anger overlaid the grief. Damn it all! His grandfather had no business dying at eighty-six. He’d always boasted he’d live to a hundred, smoking his favourite cigars, drinking the best French champagne, a pretty woman hanging on each arm as he swanned through all the glittering charity events on his social calendar. He’d loved life too much to ever let go of it.

Beau heaved a sigh to relieve the tightness in his chest and told himself it was futile foolishness to feel cheated of more time with his grandfather. The fault was in his own complacency for letting almost three years go by without a visit home. It was all very well to excuse himself on the grounds of finding South America an explorer’s paradise. A trip home now and then wouldn’t have been a hardship. It simply had never occurred to him that the old man’s long run of good health might be failing.

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