Calista and Randy arrived back at their apartment at Cornerstone Condominiums from London Motors mid-afternoon.
“Let's just check in with your grandfather and make sure everything's okay with him and the baby, and then let's go to bed,” Randy suggested. “I'm exhausted.”
Just then, Berjes entered the room with a very grown-up looking Christopher.
He handed the child to Randy as Calista stood nearby, dumbstruck.
Berjes continued. “I wasn't expecting him to grow up, of course, but we had a fine time together, and I dressed him in one of those delightful outfits you brought back from Paris, dearest,” he assured Calista.
Calista took the boy from Randy. “Oh, look at Mommy's big boy!” she cried, turning him upside down to his delight.
“I thought you two would be back long before now,” Berjes said to Randy.
“Yeah, well, it was a tough first day at London Motors,” Randy said. “Sorry about that.”
“Oh, no problem,” Berjes said brightly. “My great-grandson and I always have a wonderful time together! But now it's bedtime for both of us,” he announced, taking the boy back from Calista and disappearing into the nursery.
Calista turned and faced her husband squarely. “Randy, it's just awful that we missed Christopher's birthday,” she said.
“It's one thing for you to be devoted to your business's success,” she continued. “As I am—to whatever you want. But it's entirely another thing to give our family short shrift in favor of that business.”
“Honey,” Randy sputtered, “Why do you think I'm doing all this--trying to make a success of the car dealership? So that Christopher doesn't ever have to worry about anything!”
“I realize you'll have to work long hours,” Calista replied.
“Calista, darling,” Randy reasoned, “London Motors is in an old industrial neighborhood. Many of the buildings are abandoned. There's no decent place there for a family to live.”
Calista then told her husband where she thought they could live.
“You're kidding!” he exclaimed.
Rebecka Louie was having a very good morning at her realty office.
She had gotten Rebecka Realty to Rank 9,
and, thanks to the business perks she'd chosen, she was now able find a mark among her potential customers, and to assess which real estate lot would most appeal to the mark. Her dazzling sales skills had even become more effective.
Upon closing a sale to Erik Alioto, Rebecka achieved her lifetime want of earning $100,000.
Just after Erik left, the phone rang.
“Hi, Calista! What can I do for you?” Rebecka asked.
“I'd like to have another look at that building across the street from Randy's car dealership,” Calista said.
“Why?” Rebecka asked, confused. “Isn't the old warehouse working out for London Motors?”
“No," she continued. "I'm looking for someplace for Randy and Christopher and Granddad and me to live, so that we can be closer to the dealership.”
Rebecka was silent for a moment.
“So...you're considering living in a former firearms factory?” she asked, trying not to sound too incredulous.
************Calista was almost ready to leave her apartment for the day when the phone rang. It was Meadow.
“Hey, Calista--how did opening day go at the car biz? I called yesterday, but your granddad said you and Randy hadn't come home all night. Is everything okay?” Meadow asked, sounding a tiny bit worried.
“Um, yeah,” Calista answered, “but today's a disaster!”
“I was just about to leave to meet Rebecka—to see a place to live—we really have to move—and Granddad's come down with the flu. Never a good thing for a bloke his age, and I feel quite guilty about it, because I think the two weeks he babysat Christopher while Randy and I were in Europe took quite a bit out of him. So now I really have no choice but to wake Christopher up and bring him with me, and that's bad idea, too, because he has the sniffles, and I'm worried about taking him out in public, but I don't know what else to do. There's no one in this apartment complex I could find to babysit. And because Granddad lives with us, I've never had to find a nanny.”
Calista sounded so desperate that Meadow's heart went out to her.
“and she said she could take care of Christopher today. I'm just about to head to the farmstand downtown, and it's not a big deal for me to have Marcus and Ophelia with me at work—they play so nicely together, and my customers think they're such charmers," she laughed.
“So, on my way to work, I can drop Nanny off at your apartment. She's totally on board with this—she likes a challenge.”
Calista didn't know what to say, other than “Thanks, Meadow—you're a lifesaver!”
Before she left her apartment, Calista dressed Christopher and helped him with the potty,
so that the elderly man could get the rest he needed to get over his illness.
Calista met Rebecka across the street from London Motors.
“Rebecka, you didn't sound that enthusiastic on the phone about showing me this place again,” observed Calista.
“Believe me,” Rebecka assured her, “I'd be thrilled if you guys bought this place and fixed it up. It's a historical building, and it's got great details.”
“The space really speaks to me though,” said Calista as they approached the ornate wrought iron front doors. “And the location certainly couldn't be more convenient for my family. Not to mention I'd finally have room for all my furniture and art and everything!”
“For instance,” Calista mused, “I can totally see putting a statue here, and a chess table, and a nice big seating area like Tosha and George have in their house, and maybe a fireplace....”
They walked toward the middle of the long, narrow first floor. “And there could be an amazing open kitchen right about here,” Calista added.
They continued to the back of the first floor, past a wrought-iron spiral staircase and an impressive black marble column, which supported the loft area where the factory's offices had been located.
“And there's enough room back here for a suite for Granddad, and another suite for Christopher.”
Rebecka, though she hadn't been a realtor for long, had gained enough experience to know just to keep her mouth shut when she had an artistic and creative client who was wandering through a property and imagining aloud what she could do with it.
The two women climbed up the back staircase, which was just a few feet from another entrance.
“And this would just be a monster master bedroom suite for Randy and me,” Calista observed once they'd climbed up to the loft. “I'd have enough room for my bass and my amp, and for my cauldron and my throne and my spellbook....”
“You know,” Rebecka said cautiously, trying to add value, “I don't know a lot of people who could make a home out of this humongous space.”
“But if anyone can, it's you,” she said to Calista.
Meanwhile, back at Cornerstone Condominiums, Berjes was awakened by the doorbell. 'Ah, the nanny is here at last,' he said to himself.
'I'll let the woman in and then I can resume the slumber I so desperately need.' He shuffled to the front door and opened it, to find Kendal Lawson.
'What an absolutely angelic creature!' Berjes thought to himself. He asked her in.
“I am Nanny Kendal,” she announced stiffly.
“I have spent a lifetime in domestic service and have many years of experience in childcare. I have been told you are ill, so please be assured that you may return to your bed for the day and that I will take care of all of your great-grandson's needs.”
Berjes was instantly smitten.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next week to see the Firearms Factory adapted for family living, Christopher's fashion statements, and Berjes's romantic pursuit of Nanny Kendal.