Falling for my Neighbor

By: Lila Younger

“Did you say that Macon Daniels is back?” I ask Sarah, trying not to sound too interested, even though the whole time my heart’s hammering in my chest.

She turns to me with a knowing smile.

“Bumped into him myself while he was moving in three doors down. He was holding his daughter and telling the guys where to put the boxes. She looks the spitting image of her daddy. When I asked where her mom was, he said they were divorced. Sounded pretty terse about it, so I think it must have been pretty bad,” she says, leaning in for the last part even though we were the only ones in the store.

I feel an irrational pang of jealousy that Sarah would be able to see him everyday, even though we lived down the street. Then I feel a rush of relief knowing that Macon isn’t with anyone. And then guilt comes in, because I can only imagine what that poor little girl of his is going through. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for sure.

“I can’t believe I didn’t hear about this,” mom mutters under her breath. “Why didn’t he go through me?”

“I think the house belongs to one of his relatives, or something like that. He’s just renting it from them for now.”

My mom fishes out a business card and hands it to Sarah.

“Here, give him this and let him know that I’d be happy to help him find a home for his little girl to grow up in. I know Summerdale better than anyone.”

That’s my mom for you. She’s a sharp businesswoman, full of ambition and determination. It’s super impressive to me actually, even if it does mean she’s pushing me to go into business school all the time. I mean, I can understand where she’s coming from. Back in her day, women were expected to get married and then stay home and pop out children. But she bucked all those stereotypes, and created a thriving business under her own name.

I just don’t know if I have that kind of fight in me. I don’t have that hunger for recognition and success that she does. I’m happy with a quiet, peaceful life, and I can’t wait to be a mom. I’ve always loved children, which is why I worked as a babysitter all through high school. Not that I would tell her of course. She’d be appalled I think.

“Actually,” Sarah says, breaking into my thoughts. “Macon did mention that he was looking for a babysitter for when his daughter while he works. Are you still doing that these days, Vanessa?”

My eyes widen. Getting to see him five days a week, every week? It sounds almost too good to be true.

“Sure,” I say with a smile. “I love working with kids.”

My mom frowns at me.

“What about your school?” she asks me.

“I’m taking a semester off to figure out what I want to do,” I remind her. “Please let him know I’d be happy to babysit for his daughter.”

Sarah smiles at me.

“You’ve got a great daughter here,” she says to my mom.

“Very great,” my mom echoes.

I can tell she’s not too pleased by the idea of babysitting every day, but she did tell me to try to find a part time job because it would look better than having a gap in my schooling. I guess she figured it would be something like creating my own business or building a startup, not babysitting.

Harvey finally comes out of his office, carrying my mom’s laptop.

“Good news, Claire,” he says. “I’ve managed to fix things I think. If it happens again, let me know, but I’m pretty confident I got it working again. Do you want me to walk through what happened?”

“Oh heavens no,” my mom says, waving her hand. “I wouldn’t understand any of it anyways. As long as it’s working, I’m happy.”

My mom pulls out her wallet and pays Harvey, then waves to Sarah.

“I’ve got a gorgeous little Cape Cod that won’t last for long,” my mom says urgently. “Tell Macon to call me.”

We head back out of the store, the bell ringing above us. I feel like I’m walking on air, I’m so happy. I just hope that Sarah does remember to tell Macon that I can babysit.

I just can’t believe it, I think. The one man I’ve ever been interested in has come back.

To this day, I can still remember how I met Macon Daniels. I was ten, awkward and gangly and clumsy. Someone gave me a Backstreet Boys CD for my birthday, and my friends and I became obsessed with boys overnight, arguing for hours over which one was the cutest.

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