James: First Meeting with Nico
James isn’t sure what he's expecting. In his mind there's this vague shape labeled “Nanny” and someone's going to come along and fit into it. He isn’t expecting a woman, so the shape is rather androgynous and sometimes has an umbrella, thanks to Bianca’s endless re-watching of Mary Poppins. What he's hoping for is simply comfortable. Someone a little warm and squishy.
What he gets is Nico. In retrospect, he has to admit that the name sounds suspiciously like it belongs to the kind of man you’d see oiled up and looking charming in a pair of short-shorts and a tan, but with the implication that he has more in his head than thoughts of where he's getting his next beer.
“Hi there.” Nico gives him a warm smile that fades with a resounding crash from upstairs and a long, drawn-out Daaaaadddy! from one of the kids. James’ head is spinning so fast he can’t tell which one. “Can I help you out here?”
“Please.” James shoves a tangle of towels, swimwear, and backpacks into Nico’s arms. “Snacks. In the kitchen.” He bolts upstairs toward the wailing.
As he dodges a guilty-looking Bianca and finds a whining Vali in the bathroom—the step-stool to the sink overturned—a little voice in the back of his head is muttering about how good it'll be to have a man around who can pull off the short-shorts.
James: First Kiss with Nico
James has never been able to resist showing off. He’s vain and he knows it. What helps is that Nico, it turns out, likes video games almost as much as the kids do. James is glad he thought to bring the last full bottle of wine upstairs with them, because he really needs to relax; he sloshes more into his glass and then Nico’s.
“This is very cool.” Nico lets go of the controller long enough to grab his wine, steering with his thumb while he takes a drink. “You’re trying to get me to spend my days off around the house, aren’t you?”
James puts the bottle down and picks up his own controller. It doesn’t take him more than three moves to go from idling on the sidelines to reducing Nico’s powercycle to fragments of light.
“I would never,” he says loftily, as the bits of Nico’s character rain down the screen. “I still need to get work done on those days.”
The words are out of his mouth before he can stop them, and when he looks over cautiously, Nico is just inches away. How did they get so close? Then James remembers that they’re sitting in the double papasan chair that slides everyone into a heap in the middle.
“I wouldn’t be any trouble,” Nico says solemnly.
“You’d be here,” James says. “It’s enough.” The words sound unkind so James demonstrates his dilemma, leaning in and brushing Nico’s mouth with his own. Yes, mere proximity is enough to make Nico a very welcome bit of trouble.