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Hi, I'm the babysitter

Chapter 1

 

Chapter 1: Hi, I’m the Babysitter

 

^**^

 

     It was a crisp, clear day. The leaves turned colors of gold and red as the days grew chilly. A lone figure emerged from the school building. A rising breeze tugged at her raven locks. She turned up the collar of her jacket, wrapped her arms around herself, and shivered.

 

     "Who turned off the heat," she muttered to the empty air. "I miss summer."  She was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn't hear her name being called.

 

     "Kagome!" Someone grabbed the sleeve of her jacket. Kagome turned at the contact to look into chocolate brown eyes framed by long, dark hair.

 

     "Sango?  When did you get here?" Kagome pushed back the hair being whipped into her face by the wind.

 

     Sango laughed. "I've been calling your name for the last five minutes. You look like you're a million miles away." Her expression turned sly. "Thinking about Hojo?"

 

     "Get real, Sango," Kagome retorted. "Hojo and I broke up months ago. That guy has no backbone. It was like dating a jellyfish."

 

     "True,” Sango agreed.  “But a hot-looking jellyfish."  She looped her arm companionably around her friend's shoulders. "Seriously, Kagome, I need to ask you a favor."

 

     Kagome eyed Sango warily. It always meant trouble when Sango started acting so chummy. Like the time she insisted Kagome would look wicked cool with hot pink hair. The dye didn't come out for months. Still… they were best friends.

 

     "Sure, Sango. What do you want?" Kagome hoped she wouldn't regret this.

 

     "Kohaku is sick," Sango began. She smiled at Kagome's look of sympathy. "Nothing too serious, but he needs to stay in bed for a day or two."

 

     "Do you need company while you watch him?" Kagome asked.

 

     "No, I'll be fine. It's just that I've been trying to earn some extra money. I promised a friend of a friend that I would baby-sit tonight."

 

     Kagome was frantically shaking her head.

 

     "Come on, Kagome. It's just for a few hours," Sango pleaded.

 

     "No way, Sango. I'm horrible with kids."

 

     "But you take such good care of your little brother."

 

     "The little brat's just lucky I haven't strangled him yet."

 

     Sango clasped her hands in front of her and put on her pleading face. "Please? I'll owe you a really big one if you do this for me."

 

     Kagome wavered, torn by the desperation in Sango's voice. She looked into her friend's hopeful eyes and her resistance collapsed.

 

     "Okay," she said. "I'll do it. But just this once."

 

     Sango squealed and threw her arms around Kagome, squeezing the breath out of her. "Thanks, Kagome. You're the best!"

 

     Sango stepped back, suddenly all business. She held out a scrap of paper to Kagome.  "Here's the address and phone number. It's only a few blocks from here. You need to be there by 6:30 tonight. The kid should already have eaten. In bed by 8 and you can loaf around and watch TV until time to go home. Probably no later than 11."

 

     She hugged Kagome. "Gotta go, Kagome," she called over her shoulder as she jogged away. "Call me if you need any advice. Thanks again."

 

     Kagome stared after her friend's retreating back. She glanced at the paper. "Wait, Sango," she called. "You forgot to tell me the person's name." But Sango was already out of sight.

 

     "Oh, well. I guess I'll find out when I show up tonight."

 

^**^

 

     Kagome studied the writing on her little scrap of paper. She looked up at the house in front of her and back to the paper.

 

     "I guess this is the place," she said out loud. She shook her head. "I have got to quit talking to myself. People might get ideas."

 

     Kagome straightened her shoulders, marched up to the door, and rang the bell at exactly 6:20. The door opened. Kagome looked around and didn't see anyone. She glanced down and saw a cute little boy who couldn't be more than three or four. The boy stared at her solemnly with big violet eyes. Kagome put on her best kid-friendly smile.

 

     "Hi there, little one," she said. "Is your mommy or daddy home?"

 

     The child continued to stare at her. Kagome shifted uncomfortably. She was about to ask again when the door swung open all the way. Standing in the doorway was a very sexy, muscular, older version of the little boy. Right down to the black hair and violet eyes.  He gently pushed the child back into the house and took a protective stance in front of him.

 

     "Who are you?" the man asked bluntly. "What are you doing here?"

 

     Kagome took a step back, unprepared for such hostility. "Um, Sango couldn't make it tonight. She asked me to fill in for her."

 

     "So, what's wrong?" the man sneered. "She have a hot date?"

 

     Kagome felt her spine stiffening. Her eyes blazed with anger. "For your information, her little brother is sick. I'm helping out a friend."

 

     "Why can't the kid's parents watch him? I am not leaving my son with someone who obviously doesn't know what she is doing." The man crossed his arms and glared. The little boy peeped out from behind his father's leg.

 

     "Sango's parents are dead. She is the only family Kohaku has left." Kagome resisted the urge to smack him for being such an insensitive jerk. The little boy didn't need to see that kind of violence. "I have a certificate in CPR training and I am qualified to give emergency first aid if needed."

 

     The man backed down grudgingly. "I'm Inuyasha Takashi. You will call me Mr. Takashi. This is Shiro. Who are you?"

 

     Kagome stuck out her hand, which was ignored. "My name is Kagome Higurashi." She let her hand drop and decided to speak to Shiro instead. She crouched down to be on eye level with him.

 

     "Hi, Shiro. I'm going to be your sitter tonight. We're going to have lots of fun." She ignored a snort from Mr. Takashi. "How old are you?"

 

     Shiro came out from behind his father's leg. He looked at his hand and then held up three fingers. "I'm this many," he said in a clear voice.

 

     "No, Shiro," said Mr. Takashi. Kagome was surprised that his voice could sound so gentle. "You just had a birthday, remember?"

 

     Shiro thought and then held up four fingers. "I'm this many, Daddy?" he asked his father.

 

     "That's right. Now, can you remember what number that is?"

 

     Shiro scrunched up his little face. His face cleared and he turned to Kagome with a happy smile. Kagome's heart melted at the sweetness of it. "I'm four years old," he announced proudly.

 

     Mr. Takashi knelt down in front of his son. Kagome jumped up hastily to avoid getting knocked over.

 

     "You be a good boy for Miss Higurashi. Daddy has to go to his meeting." He kissed Shiro on the forehead. “Sleep tight and I'll see you in the morning."

 

     He straightened and turned to face Kagome. "There is a list of numbers by the phone, including my cell phone and beeper. Shiro needs to be in bed no later than 8:00. He can have one snack and one drink of water. He's allergic to peanuts. Read him a bedtime story only from the books in his room. You can watch TV if you keep the sound down and you can have one soda from the fridge. Don't use the phone unless it's an emergency. I don't want you chatting with your little friends instead of watching my son. Have I made myself clear, Miss Higurashi?"  He delivered each order with an expression of someone who felt that he was dealing with a person of less than average intelligence.

 

     "Crystal clear, Mr. Takashi," Kagome said through clenched teeth, refusing to let him irritate her.

 

     Mr. Takashi kissed Shiro one more time. He brushed past Kagome, bumping her hard with his briefcase as he passed. Kagome could have sworn she heard him snicker. Kagome and Shiro watched him get in his car and drive away. She sighed in relief and felt her tension dissolve. She held out her hand to Shiro. He took it without hesitation.

 

     "Come on, Shiro. Let's have some fun."

 

^**^

 

Food for thought:  I can please only one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow isn’t looking so good either.

copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004