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Looking for a babysitter for my six year old daughter in the evenings and nights. Willingness/ability to work on short notice preferred. No gender preference. If interested, contact by phone. Thank you. Bastien Devereaux.
seven devils around you
The short, concise note was posted on the front of his studio. Though he had a bulletin board for advertisements, he felt that this was an urgent matter - urgent enough to go in the front. When he had initially taken his night job, the calls to action were far more sporadic than they were now. Bastien suspected that word had spread about him being able to do the dirty work that lawyers couldn’t and now he was getting requests from multiple people. While he didn’t mind in the slightest because it meant more money for him, there was a problem: Essie.
It was already hard for Bastien to leave Essie alone even if he had put her to bed before he left, but now that he knew that it was going to be happening more often, he needed a babysitter. At least then he could tell Essie that he had a second job. He wouldn’t let her know before he found the right person for the job; she didn’t need to be burdened by that. Bastien had every intention of letting his daughter have the joyful, innocent life that he didn’t have the luxury of having, even if it meant that a little of his hard-earned money was going to someone else. It was all for Essie.
Between full days of dance classes and increasing nights of playing vigilante, he was slowly wearing himself down into complete exhaustion. Being half-demon helped to a certain extent but he was starting to see the dark circles under his eyes and even Essie had commented that he needed to get more sleep. But he couldn’t, not when he had to get up early to make her breakfast and lunch. She wasn’t going to be skipping a meal. Not a single one. Him? He could survive. He’d dealt with worse.
The plea had been stuck on the door for about a week and he’d had a few phone calls since then. He had met up with a couple of the callers but eventually decided that they just… weren’t right. He couldn’t explain it. Bastien just really wanted the right person and they hadn’t called yet. He would pray but there was no god that was going to listen to a wretched creature like him. Not even for Essie.
seven devils around you
At this time, Essie was upstairs and eating dinner while he cleaned the dance studio up. It was part of their nightly routine since he couldn’t afford a cleaner and had a reputation to keep if he wanted to ever pay off the loans on the studio, or earn enough money to support Essie and whatever path she chose for her future. The front door was left unlocked and slightly ajar to let some fresh air into the place. Bastien was pretty sure that he should be changing out the harsh chemical cleansers for something more friendly to mortal health but he was really trying to save every possible penny that he could. As long as the cleansers got the job done, he’d use them. It wasn’t like they could cause his death after all.
Ever paranoid, Bastien always positioned himself between Essie and the door. In this case, he was positioning himself between the door to the studio and the door that lead to the small apartment above. By the time Livia arrived, he had just about finished up with the majority of the cleaning and was wiping the mirrors down. As far as he could tell, Essie was still up in the apartment and not making a fuss - that was a good sign. Essie was a highly motivated kid and tended not to get into trouble like he did as a child. She took after Kris more than she took after him and that was one of the many reliefs that he felt as she grew older and started to find her place in the world. He wasn’t expecting the knock when he heard it and it caused the half demon to jump and tense, ears straining hard to catch any whisper of sound that might clue him in on his unexpected visitor. He didn’t have to wait long.
Tension melted away from his shoulders as he recognized the softer tone of a female voice - not that women were necessarily harmless, but significantly less likely to want to harm him. He was more used to seeing women rather than men around here, and his recent dealings with men were… not peaceful. There was a certain member of the police force though, but that was a thought for another time. Bastien dropped the rag and spray bottle and emerged from the studio to appear in the reception area, where he had his dancers leave their shoes and belongings in little lockers. He also placed a bench along the wall with the bulletin board and a haphazardly placed plant for decoration - one of Essie’s activities from school that she’d brought home. The decoration was sparse, but this wasn’t a hotel and therefore not important. A forearm on the doorframe that led to the studio and his hips swung so his weight rested mostly on one bare foot, the single father passed a quick glance over his visitor, finally convincing himself that she meant absolutely no harm to him or Essie.
Bastien cleared his throat, more than aware that he was a sorry sight with his sweat-dampened blonde hair, black shirt and almost skin-tight pants. He had no time to worry about that, though, and shifted his weight before he finally replied. “Um, yes. I–I wasn’t expecting company, sorry,” he replied, wrinkling his nose as he collected his thoughts. “Are you interested? Or are you here for someone else?” Bastien asked, trying to remember what exactly he wanted to know.
seven devils around you
Bastien waved the apology away. They could probably sit here apologizing about nothing for days - there always seemed to be something to apologize about in the world. With so much injustice, it was easy to find something to blame someone else for. “No, no. This is fine. I just wasn’t expecting company,” he insisted somewhat abashedly. So she was on her way home. Seeing that she was on foot, she probably didn’t live too far away from here. That was a good thing.
He watched her curiously, intending to gauge as much of her personality as he could since he had her in front of him. Bastien would have called any other potential candidate in for an interview if he thought that they could be a good match to take care of Essie so this was essentially skipping a step. He could always say no to her if he wanted to but any glimmer of hope was better than desolate darkness.
If anything, he was the person to know that looks were hardly a good indication of age. The thought brought a hint of a smile to his face. Most people would be surprised to hear how old he actually was. His visitor’s backtracking had him holding up a hand. “I’m not going to judge you.” Bastien promised. “This is probably going to sound selfish but, uh, I’m looking for someone that… won’t be juggling too many things around.” He elaborated. He really did like knowing that she didn’t have children of her own though - his experience with young mothers was generally unpleasant and he’d already had many offer to watch Essie for him. Bastien didn’t trust them enough to let them do so. They had a child of their own - he wanted them to put Essie first.
“I want to know that my girl is getting the attention she needs - from someone who can actually love her for who she is.” He explained. Like Livia, his childhood experience had been one of foster homes. He was honestly lucky to have ended up here. This would be his greatest act in honoring the person that got him here - by taking care of their daughter and raising her to be a wonderful person. “What kind of children have you worked with, miss?” Bastien asked, moving to take a seat on the bench and motioning for Livia to do so.
seven devils around you
No boyfriend, children or husband. But she hadn’t mentioned not having a job. This was actually more of a relief to Bastien than it would have been a red flag. He didn’t have that much money to spare and he certainly couldn’t be giving raises anytime soon. He felt better knowing that Livia had some other way of supporting herself and wasn’t completely dependent on him. Having one person depending on him full time was almost too much already.
The redhead seemed a little unsure as she sat down. Probably because it seemed a little more formal? Honestly, part of the reason Bastien wanted to sit was because he was tired. Dancing and dealing with people all day would do that to an introvert. Some sort of internal struggle seemed to be going on, mirrored by the small changes in expression. Did she have enough experience that she was trying to figure out the best situation to report? Or was she trying to make something up? Her words would tell him pretty soon.
An orphanage. Foster homes. He didn’t need to ask questions. He knew what that was like, except he’d been the aloof kid that was prone to being thrown out on account of his general unreliability. In hindsight, learning how to take care of smaller humans would probably have helped him out in the long run. Bastien’s answer was a sympathetic nod. By the lack of enthusiastic reassurance that she’d found a family, he hazarded a guess that she was like him: one of the failed cases.
“I guess that means you know what I’m looking for.” He affirmed. “I should have been more like you when I was being shuttled around foster homes. Instead of running off and doing my own thing. I was that kid.” But Bastien had also never dreamed that he’d one day find someone who liked him enough to have a child with him. “I hope you don’t mind, but my daughter can be a bit of a talker. And a bit of a handful. She’s very curious.” And honestly, she tended to get into a bit of trouble on her own but he wasn’t exactly going to tell her that quite yet.
Livia seemed sincere enough and Bastien liked to think that he was good at picking up bad intentions and she seemed honest. Honest enough that he was willing to let her be the first candidate to meet Essie. “If you’ve got some time, do you want to meet her?” He asked.
seven devils around you
Perfect? He didn’t care about perfect. “Perfect doesn’t exist.” Bastien replied, a hint of cynicism in his smile. What he didn’t say was the rest of that thought: perfect didn’t exist anymore. Perfection was always wiped out in this unforgiving world sooner rather than later - just like Kris had been. Perfection and survival didn’t mix. Besides, sometimes bad things just happened. It was easier not to care. Bastien knew that now. Still, that knowledge didn’t lessen the sting of his childhood rejections.
“What kid isn’t?”
That… that was true. Now that he worked with kids extensively, he was starting to figure that out. Make the children lose their fear of you and suddenly they’re curious about the most trivial things. It was slightly harrowing for someone like him but Bastien played the game of attention redirection well. Most children weren’t persistent enough to keep hounding someone about a specific topic.
A single nod was how Bastien acknowledged her response. Pets. Those were another thing that Essie wanted - but it wasn’t going to happen. A pet would be another mouth to feed and they didn’t have the money for that. He stood up slowly, feet protesting the shift of weight, and beckoned for Livia to follow him to the stairs hidden away in the corner. Halfway up the stairs, he suddenly remembered that he hadn’t introduced himself. He turned around, offering a hand sheepishly. “I’m Bastien, by the way.” He finally introduced himself. “I’m sorry this is all so… quick.” But what could he say? He was in desperate need of help.
“Essie!” He called before he opened the front door to the apartment. It was left unlocked only because he was in the studio. His supernatural senses and abilities would always enable him to get to the door before any intruder could and a locked door wouldn’t do much to deter anything that could get past his senses.
“Yeah dad?” He heard her call back. As he opened the door, he saw her eating dinner, homework out in front of her. Bastien smiled, pleased that she was doing the sensible thing.
“Can you introduce yourself to this nice, young lady here?” He asked, stepping aside and motioning for Livia to follow him into the apartment so that Essie could see her.
Not particularly subtle, Essie’s eyebrows rose as she eyed Livia, skepticism clear on her face as she then looked to Bastien. It was clear that she wanted to say something but instead slipped out of her chair and approached fearlessly. “Essie. Nice to meet you, miss.” She announced, holding a hand out assertively. @LIVIA A. OLWEN