The little stranger Chapter 5
Now that Gemma had more or less been persuaded into taking on the job, Jake was happy enough keeping the whole business of Gemma coming to work for him, on an informal basis. As far as he was concerned, she was a friend doing him a big favour. “I really don’t want you think of me as your employer, it would be weird” he admitted with a concerned frown.
But Gemma had other ideas, and she refused to work under such terms. “Yes, it will be a bit strange in that aspect, I agree. But really its better if I sign up a contract and we do this properly, so then neither of us misunderstand each other when it comes to legal terms and my obligations.” she pointed out. “It's really better all around, if we do this properly, then no one can claim we are taking advantage of our friendship” she then reasoned.
“I suppose so,” Jake reluctantly agreed, still not overly keen, but seeing a Gemma’s point on the matter, “You don’t know how much I appreciate you doing this for me, despite what happened in the past. “I just hope I have the chance to make it up to you, and I can help you get your dream of jetting off to Australia.”
Even as he said it, deep down, he hoped she might change her mind on that plan. He still felt bad now he had learned what had happened, He found himself thinking how unfair it had been on Gemma that she had spent her teenage years looking out for her mother and younger brother when their father left, then when Gemma’s mother had found a new man and a new life she had just left her behind to fend for herself basically.
It also reminded him that he was no better. He had been so caught up with his fame, and his crazy marriage to Caroline and dealing with her, he had also left Gemma behind losing contact with her. Even though there had been times over the last five years he had thought about her, but never seriously went out of his way to find her either or find out what was going on in her life. So, it was the least he could do was to help her fulfil her dream, if that was what she really wanted. So, he offered her a very generous wage for her six-month contract and although she protested it was far too much, on this stance he refused to budge, and in the end, she had been forced to accept it.
It was a few weeks later, after talking with his Manager and his legal team, Jake had a six-month contract drawn up for Gemma to sign, included in the document was a strict confidentiality clause, which she happily agreed to sign, although Jake thought it was a bit much because he trusted Gemma one hundred percent, and he didn’t want her thinking otherwise. But she assured him she didn’t take it personally, and really preferred it this way to keep them all right.
Gemma did feel a bit guilty about abandoning her friends Brenda and Graham, especially when things were not looking so good for them with the day care nursery. But Brenda informed her she was relieved that Gemma had found work elsewhere, because she had been worried that she might be unable to give her a wage in the near future, the way things were going. So, it was a weight of her mind.
Whilst signing on the dotted line, and make her new job all official, Gemma found mostly dealing with Jake’s manager Laurence, and his lawyer Kenneth Jackson, as well as Jake’s personal assistant Maggie, who seemed intrigued by the fact that Gemma and Jake went way back, knowing each other from a fairly young age
“So, you have known Jake a long time?” Maggie enquired as sat across from her in Jake’s small office after going over the latest documents and to inform Gemma the date when she could officially start working for Jake.
“Yes, I guess I have. We grew up in the same area, went to the same schools, only it was when we were in secondary school together, we officially became good friends in our teens” she then explained.
“Really? What happened? Did the old teenage hormones kick in, and you took a shine to each other?” Maggie asked teasingly, making Gemma laugh
“Well no, it wasn’t exactly like that,” she admitted. “Actually, there was this other guy, Mark, who was showing an interest in me. Only I wasn’t too keen on him. But he kept pestering me to go out with him, and then because I kept refusing, he got a bit peed about it. One day outside the school gates, he was with a few of his friends and he started on me, being really horrible taunting me about my father walking out on us,” Gemma informed her, and paused for a moment looking a little perplexed,
“I have to say, I was upset that he could be such a creep; especially when just the day before, he was claiming how much he liked me. Anyway, I tried to walk away, and then he started to follow me, still being horrible and being egged on by his mates, who found it funny, the next thing I knew Jake seem to come out of nowhere, and told Mark to go away and leave me alone. “Gemma frowned as she tried to recall the rest, before continuing,
I can’t remember exactly what Mark said in return, but it was something insulting, and that’s when Jake took a swing at him, and knocked him on the ground”
“Oh dear,” Maggie remarked, “Those teenage hormones were going into overdrive.
“Yeah,” Gemma smiled, “Though at that time, I think Jake had all that anger in him for other reasons too. He had just lost his mother three months beforehand; she had died suddenly due to a massive stroke. I think that’s what made him act out a bit crazy afterwards.” she then explained, her expression becoming more sober
“I see,” Maggie replied understandingly
“Anyway,” Gemma continued her tale, “Mark’s mates were not too happy with Jake, and he was ready to take them all on, only I managed to pull him away, deciding three on one were not good odds. He ended up walking me home and we got talking more, and that was the real beginning of our friendship. I guess we found we something in common, he had recently lost his mother, and my father had disappeared out of my life. It brought us together in some small way, and then we started looking out for each other” Gemma finished
“That is kindda sweet,” Maggie smiled.
“I suppose it was,” Gemma agreed, also smiling
“I am surprised that you two never ended up together, you know, as a couple,” Maggie then remarked casually, but her eyes rested on Gemma intently to see her reaction.
Gemma just laughed again, shaking her head, “It wasn’t like that between us, for the little we did have in common, there was an awful lot where we had completely different outlooks in life. Jake was the rebellious one, who wanted to take on the world and everyone in it. Always feeling he had something to prove, wanting to make his mark. He had big ideas and big ambitions. Whilst I had my two feet planted firmly on the ground, always the sensible one, who had responsibilities for my family, and looking after them. I had no time for daydreaming and big idea’s, or just caring about myself and my wants” Gemma sad ruefully.
“I guess that’s what made us go our separate ways in the end. He followed his dream to be a famous musician and singer, and it took off. But in the process, he left me behind, because I remained taking care of my mother and my younger brother, and suddenly we then started moving in completely different worlds,” she realised looking a little wistfully
“Oh well, I guess it must be nice that you both got to meet up again now, and resume your friendship,” Maggie pointed out.
“Yes, I suppose it is, even though it's under these sad circumstances,” Gemma agreed, Since being around Fiona and the others close to Jake, she had picked up bits and pieces along the way, about how Jake had discovered he had become a father, after Caroline’s death, and she now realised now how hard this all had to be for him.
And she was starting to wonder if it was her peculiar destiny to come into his life every time he was going through a tough time?
Where it would all lead to this time around, she wasn’t sure. But now she had signed the contract to work for him and committed herself, there was no going back.
A week later, Gemma was moving her belongings out of her small one bedroom rented apartment, and moving into the room Jake had provided for her, which was just across the hall from Ellie’s nursery.
Jake wasn’t there at the house when she finally moved in. He was twenty miles away in the recording studio putting the final touches to his album, but his middle-aged housekeeper Eileen McKenzie was there to greet her, and make her welcome and show her to her room, complete with its own very nice spacious en suite bathroom.
"Mr Kavanagh told me to let you know that you are to feel free to make yourself at home, if you want to use the kitchen, or the heated swimming pool, he has out back” Eileen informed her
“I will hold him to that,” Gemma murmured with a small smile
“It will be lovely having the little one staying here, and you looking after her, the poor little mite has had a bit of a rough start, losing her mother and everything, She needs some stability after the upheaval of these last few weeks” Eileen then said, her tone filled with concern
“Yes, I couldn’t agree more,” Gemma replied, realising that despite Ellie’s disadvantage of losing her mother, she was now surrounded by people who cared about her welfare, which was a good thing, “I take it Ellie is in the nursery?”
“Yes, Mr Kavanagh’s sister Fiona was minding her at her place for a while, but she dropped her of this morning, and I have been keeping an eye on her. She just settled down for her afternoon nap.” Eileen explained
“Then I won’t disturb her yet, it will give me a chance to unpack and sort things out” Gemma realised.
“Well, if you need anything, just give me a shout. I am usually around till after three, then I head off home,” Eileen informed her.
“Thanks, I will,” Gemma replied, watching the stout little housekeeper turn to leave. She now glanced around her at her new surroundings.
The room was spacious enough with a very comfortable double bed, the walls were painted a pale lemon, whilst the blue curtains contrasted prettily with the walls. There were built in wardrobes along one wall and a set of oak wooden drawers in one corner.
Gemma decided she couldn’t complain, it was all very comfy and bright. She heaved her suitcase onto the bed and opened it, to get on with her unpacking.
Afterwards she decided to try out the shower and change her clothes, before going in to check on Ellie across the way in her nursery.
Gemma was having a quiet snoop around, to check where everything was, when she heard Ellie make a noise. She went over to the cot in the corner of the room. Ellie was now wide awake.
“Hey sweetie,” Gemma smiled down at her new charge. Ellie squirmed and let out a little wail, so Gemma picked her up, “Let's see if you need changed” she told her taking her over the special little mattress on the changing table across the room.
Getting on with the job of changing Ellie from her damp nappy, Gemma found herself thinking of Caroline.
Ellie was very like her mother, with the same dark eyes and dark hair.
Caroline had been in the same class as Caroline in secondary school. Up until she was fourteen, Caroline had always been very quiet and a bit of an introvert. But then, two years later, she started acting up. Skipping school, drinking, even then, there was rumours she had tried drugs, and suddenly she also acquired a very promiscuous reputation.
She had become wild and rebellious and didn’t seem to care what people thought of her.
Gemma had not been particularly overfriendly with Caroline, but whilst she was rounding up her classmates to drum up support for Jake and the band one afternoon, when they were doing a gig at the local community centre that weekend, she had also invited Caroline, who had informed her with almost disinterest that she might just come along for the laugh
It had never entered Gemma’s head that Jake and Caroline might end up being attracted to each other by the end of the night. Jake more so, than Caroline.
But Looking back on it now, Gemma could see why Jake had become interested in Caroline. She had been a free spirit a bit like himself, she didn’t give a damn about anyone or anything, and the more she tried to push Jake away, the more he had wanted her.
His determination had paid off in the end, she had become his wife. But from what Gemma had learned, it had not been a very happy union over the years.
Discovering that the marriage and the relationship seemed to be always on constant rocky ground, Gemma now wondered if Jake regretted getting involved with Caroline. Everyone had tried to warn him she would drag him down, but he had an obstinate side, so he always tended do the opposite of what people told him at times.
Thankfully he seemed to have calmed down a little now he was older, which was a good thing she realised.
“The last thing I need is dealing with you, and your dad acting a big child too.” she addressed Ellie as she finished changing her, “Or I will be asking for an even bigger pay rise.” she added with a chuckle of amusement.
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