When Ariel and Andrina came home, the family tuned up their ears on Ariel's story. Ariel glowed as she told them her tale. She made sure to skip a few events that mentioned anything happening between her and Eric such as how warm and soft his hand felt when they shook hands. When she came to the part about the job offer, her sisters felt happy for her,but her father raised an eyebrow, and Flounder frowned.
"Wow! That's great, Ariel!" said Arista. The other sisters nodded in agreement.
"Thanks," Ariel smiled. Nobody noticed Flounder looking down at the ground with his arms crossed.
Triton does not seem to be happy about the news, either. She cannot be serious!
"A live-in nanny!" He exclaimed. "This is what the dinner party was about? Ariel, I thought you want to be a teacher; not a nanny!"
"I do-"Ariel began, but Triton interrupted her.
"I don't mind that you are babysitting his kid, but living in his house?"
"Daddy, I want to do this job! It is something that I can do while applying for an interviews," Ariel protested.
"I'm not sending you away to live with a man that I do not know!"
Before Ariel could say anything, Attina spoke up.
"Now father, Eric is a good man; he is a very respectable gentleman and he will not lay a finger on Ariel."
"Yes, we can assure you that he is harmless," Andrina added.
"Well, why does he need Ariel to live in his home, even after he comes home from work?" Triton questioned.
"Eric said he will be working at the office longer," said Ariel.
Adella spoke, "That is because he just got promoted-"
Andrina quickly placed her hands on Adella's mouth. "Shush! Adella!"
Adella mumbled 'sorry' although you can't hear it because of Andrina's hand. Ariel raised an eyebrow. Eric got promoted to what? She needs to ask Eric why his boss needed him more at his office.
"How many days are you going to be working?" Triton asked.
"Six days a week. I'll be free on every Sunday," Ariel answered.
"Are you sure you want to be his nanny?" Triton asked, cautiously. Ariel nodded without hesitation. This is really something she could do over the summer while apply for a teaching position. And if she doesn't receive a teaching position, she would always have the nanny job to fall back on.
"Yes," she said, as she smiled fondly of Eric and Melody. Melody was such a cutie pie; when she showed Ariel her toys in an enthusiastic manner. Eric was…wonderful; with his beautiful blue eyes and his strong jaw...
Triton sighed. He knew that his other daughters were right about Eric but he still doesn't know him. Trusting that they were right, he decided to give in.
"All right," he said, breaking Ariel out of her thoughts about the Barnes family. "You can live in his house as his live-in nanny," He concluded.
Ariel smiled as if Christmas just came. She jumped and embraced her father tightly.
"Oh thank you, Daddy!" She cried. Triton smiled at her enthusiasm.
"But I have one condition," he added, firmly. "You are not to let him touch you and don't sleep with him!"
"I won't," said Ariel. Geesh! Why couldn't her dad accept that she is a grown-up? And why would she sleep with Eric? The thought of doing it with him, made her blush. She quickly shook the thought out of her head. Later, the family retreated to their bedrooms. Ariel noticed Flounder staring at the carpet floor.
"Flounder what's wrong?" Ariel wondered.
"Nothing," Flounder mumbled.
"Are you sure?" Ariel tried again. She could tell that he didn't look happy.
"I'm fine, Ariel!" Flounder said really meanly. Ariel sighed. She wanted to know what Flounder was mad about. Before she could say anything, Triton called them to go to bed and no more talking. The two younger siblings end up retreating to their bedrooms.
Flounder climbed into bed with his father. He tried closing his eyes but they kept popping open. Something heavy was inside his heart and it was keeping him awake. Flounder knew he should be happy for her but he couldn't. Ariel is abandoning the family? How could she do this to him? Flounder never knew his mother because she died when he was an infant. Ariel and his sisters took care of him but Ariel was the one that took care of him of the most. He and Ariel would do everything together like playing soccer or flying kites. Ariel was also a good teacher to him because she helped him a lot with math. Now, this man and his daughter are taking Ariel away from him. He wished he said something he didn't because he wanted Ariel to be happy serving that Mr. pretty face and his dumb daughter. He didn't fall asleep until 4:00am.
The next morning, Eric woke up groggily from his sleep. It is time to start another day. He thought. He went to wake up Melody.
"Melody, Melody, wake up," said Eric softly, as he patted her shoulder. "It is time to go to school,"
"No!" said Melody as she turned her head away. "I don't want to go to school!" she mumbled into her pillow.
"Melody, come on! Quit fussing!" he said. He pulled the reluctant Melody out of her bed.
"Now get dressed, you're going to be late," Eric added. Melody grumbled and began to dress.
After dropping Melody off at school, Eric drove to work. Too bad luck was not on his side. The cars were moving very slowly and the streetlights were not switching their colors so soon.
"Oh, come on, stupid streetlight!" Eric scoffed. "Come on! Change to green already!"
Finally, after what it felt like for five minutes, the streetlight changed its color.
"It's about time!" said Eric, impatiently. Normally, Eric is very patient but he needed to be at work on time!
At 4:30pm, Eric stopped his Jeep in front of Melody's school. Today was such a hard day for him! First, his boss scolded him for being late. It was not his fault that the traffic was very heavy! Second, the new employee, Kuzco Lopez, blew spitballs at Eric's best friends, Adam Klueck and Aladdin Sadiq, when they were supposed to be working on their project. The boss came over to see the commotion and scolded Kuzco for messing around, although Kuzco doesn't seem to care.
"Hi, Daddy!" said Melody, as she jumped into his car.
"Hi, Melody," Eric replied, tiredly. He forced himself to stay awake as he drove to their house.
"How was school?"
It was all right," said Melody. Nothing interesting happened but at least, she managed to avoid the bullies this time. She was a little disappointed. Her dad was late, again. Ugh! Why can't he ever pick her up on time? Melody softened a little when she noticed her dad looking sour.
"Daddy?" Melody asked.
"Hmm?" Eric grunted, tiredly.
"Are you okay? You look sad,"
"I'm fine, kiddo. I just had a bad day at work," He answered, softly. And that was all Eric said. He didn't feel like talking anymore for the next fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile, Ariel was almost finishing packing her things in her boxes. Andrina and Flounder told her what she needed to bring. It is not that Ariel couldn't decide what to bring. It is just that since she doesn't own many stuff, it is hard to know what she should bring. The packing went fast because she didn't have much stuff to bring with her. All she packed in her two big cardboard boxes were her small amount of clothes and shoes, her socks and underwear, her toothbrush and toothpaste, and her hairbrush, along with her blankets and pillows. She needed a few hair ribbons thus she went to Alanas' beauty parlor shop called, "Hair and Cosmetics".
"Hey Alana," said Ariel, as she entered into the shop.
"Hey Ariel," said Alana. She just finished showing a customer where the lipstick aisle is.
"How is packing going? Do you need anything?" Alana asked.
"Packing is going well. I'm almost done; I just needed a few hair ribbons and some chap stick," Ariel answered. She is not crazy about makeup like Alana is but she needed a few things just to look nice for her first day of job. Alana directed her to the aisle that had ribbons and another one that shelved chapsticks.
"Thanks," said Ariel. She went to the ribbon aisle, first. As Ariel walked to the aisle, a girl came up next to Alana.
"Your sister is going to be a servant girl?" she mocked. She was a very tall girl with her hair in a ponytail. She was wearing a dark blue t-shirt and jeans that fit her so tightly that it looked like her legs were painted blue. She is Alana's best friend. Alana is best friends with Pearl, because Pearl was the first person that Alana befriended on her first day in America. Pearl's parents own the "Hair and Cosmetics." If it were not for Pearl, Alana would not have been working at the shop.
"She's not going to be servant girl, Pearl!" Alana glared. "Ariel is going to work as a nanny."
Ariel came back with a vanilla chapstick and a blue ribbon when she saw Pearl talking to Alana. Ariel shuddered. Pearl was a mean girl who always makes Ariel feel bad. Whenever, Ariel was eating a candy bar, Pearl would always say, "Watch your weight, darling, no man wants a fat girl!" A few times, whenever Ariel mentioned that she loves playing soccer with Flounder, Pearl would say, "soccer is for boys!" Ariel wondered if Pearl had ever heard of Mia Hamm. Before Ariel could sneak away and pay for the chapstick and ribbon, Pearl spotted her.
"Aww, Ariel!" said Pearl. Alana motioned Ariel to come over. Airel didn't want to but reluctantly did for the sake of being polite.
"Oh, hi Pearl," said Ariel, feeling uncomfortable.
"Alana was just telling me that you are going to be a servant girl at the Barnes,' " Pearl said in her sick syrupy-sweet voice. "What happened? Flunked your Basic Skills Test?"
Ariel glared. Why does Pearl enjoy putting her down?
"I got a job as a nanny; not a servant girl! No, I didn't fail the Basic Skills Test. I passed it!" Ariel retorted.
"Ah, pardon me," said Pearl, sticking her nose up in the air. "Well, whether a servant girl or a teacher, you are still low-class. Teachers and servant girls don't get paid very much," she added.
"Hey, teaching is not a low-class job!" Ariel barked. "I love teaching! It is something I dreamed of dreaming! For the last time, I'm Eric's nanny; not servant girl!"
"Oh, please-" Pearl said, throwing her hand in the mid-air at Ariel.
"Pearl!" a girl's voice called. "Come on, we are going to the mall!"
"Coming Jenny!" said Pearl. "Bye Alana, by loser!" Pearl left and Ariel sighed in relief.
"I'm sorry Ariel," Alana apologized.
"It's fine," mumbled Ariel. "Why does she keep putting me down for? She has no right keep me from teaching!"
"Don't worry, Ariel," said Alana. "She's just jealous."
After Ariel paid for her supplies, she gave Alana her a sisterly goodbye hug.
"I still can't believe you're leaving today!" Alana cried. "You are not supposed to leave the apartment at all!" Ariel put her hand on Alana's shoulder.
"Alana, relax! It's not like I'm getting married or anything!" Ariel enlightened.
"But it won't be the same," said Alana, sadly.
"Hey, I'll come and visit on Sunday, okay?" said Ariel.
"All right," said Alana. They gave each other a sisterly hug. Before Ariel left the store, Alana said one more thing to her.
"Come and visit my shop if you get lonely!" she called.
"I will!" Ariel answered back.
Finally, after finished packing, Ariel was all set. Triton offered to drive Ariel to Eric's house. The reason is because Triton wanted to see Eric for himself. He wanted to make sure that Eric is a safe guy to be around with.
They arrived at five-thirty. Ariel went up to knock on the door while Triton opened the trunk and took her two boxes out. Ariel knocked on the door. She waited until the door opened and saw a familiar face.
"Ariel!" a young, cute voice shouted.
Melody jumped on Ariel and hugged her around her waist, tightly. Ariel was surprised but giggled and hugged her back.
"Nice to see you again, Melody," said Ariel.
Eric quickly came downstairs when he heard the door opened. He was just brushing his teeth when he and Melody heard the door knocking. After brushing his teeth, he went downstairs to see if it was Ariel. His heart leaped when he saw Ariel. Okay, Eric. Remember, be civilized with her. Ariel noticed Eric approaching her outside of the doorway.
"Mr. Barnes! Good Afternoon!" said Ariel, showing her award-winning smile.
"Good afternoon Miss Benson," said Eric, smiling. His heart melted and his knees went weak at her smile.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Barnes," a new voice said. Eric turned from Ariel and next to her and his daughter was a large man with a long white beard. He was wearing a ponytail and dressed in dark blue jeans with a white t-shirt. Eric gulped. He looked like an angry Santa Claus!
"H-Hello, Mr. Benson," Eric stuttered. Ariel gave her father, a stop-scaring-him-look.
"Are you here to play, too?" Melody asked.
"No," Triton laughed. He bent down on his knees to the little girl's level. "I'm just helping her move her stuff in," He added.
Three adults and one kid carried two boxes into a guest room where Ariel will be sleeping. The guest room is between Melody's room and the bathroom. It is also across from Eric's bedroom. While Melody helped Ariel unpacked her stuff, Triton took Eric out in the hallway.
"Now that my daughter is living with you, we are going to set down a few rules," Triton said, sternly.
Eric looked scared at Triton's intimidating expression, but tried to stay cool. "Okay," he said. Triton began listing the rules.
"Rule number one: You are to treat her the way you want her to treat you. Rule number two: You will not strike her or push her. If she does something wrong, just send her to her room. Rule number three: The most important one of all. You will not sleep with her or I will murder you in your sleep. Is that clear?"
Eric nodded. "Yes sir. All due with respect, I assure you that I am not that kind of a guy."
"Good," said Triton.
After helping Ariel pack, Triton stood at the door, giving Ariel a hug.
"I'll miss you, honey," said Triton.
"I'll miss you too, Daddy," said Ariel. "Tell Flounder and the girls that I said goodbye and that I will miss them."
"I will," Triton answered as he hugged Ariel. "If you miss us, drop by on Sunday anytime,"
"I will," said Ariel. Triton hopped into his jeep. He and Ariel waved to each other as he drove away.
Later, Eric, Ariel, and Melody had Chinese ordered pizza since it was too late to cook dinner. While eating pizza, Melody took the pepperonis out because she only likes cheese pizza. After dinner, Melody wanted to play with Ariel.
"Come on, Ariel!" said Melody, grabbing Ariel's hand. "I want to show you my PS3!"
"Wait a minute, Melody," said Eric, stopping Melody. "I want to borrow Miss Benson for a second."
"Awwww, I want her to play with me!" Melody whined.
"Melody, you can show Miss Benson the PS3 tomorrow. Besides, it is time for your bedtime," Eric chuckled.
"Fine," Melody pouted. She handed Ariel to Eric and went upstairs to change for bed. Ariel and Eric went inside the kitchen and stood next to the refrigerator.
"So what do you want to talk to me about?" Ariel asked.
"I just want to tell you tomorrow's schedule," said Eric. "Are you listening?"
"Yes, Mr. Barnes," said Ariel.
"Take her to school at 8pm. After that, go grocery shopping and pick Melody up at 3pm. Come home and prepare dinner for seven. She can watch television or play PS3 but only after she finished her homework. Do you understand?" Eric asked.
"Yes Mr. Barnes, I understand," Ariel answered.
"Good. And if there is any trouble, just use my business card to call my office number or my cell phone number," Eric finished. "Do you still have my business card?"
Ariel dug through her purse, and pulled out Eric's business card to show that she still has it. Eric smiled. Good. She's right on target. I hope she turns out to be a good nanny.
Ariel climbed into her queen-size bed. She spread her arms and legs around on the mattress, feeling the comfortable soft fur. The bed was so comfortable that she didn't want to sit up. This is fantastic! She thought. I think I'm going to like it here! She closed her eyes and fell asleep dreaming of a certain man with black hair and blue eyes.