The devil of oz, p.1
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       The Devil Of Oz, p.1

           Jennifer Crowfoot
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The Devil Of Oz
The Devil Of Oz

  By Jennifer Crowfoot

  Copyright 2012. Jennifer Crowfoot

  Chapter One.

  Twenty eight year old Annabelle Nordstrom took a deep breath and pushing the revolving doors of the ugly, red-brick building open she walked outside. Today had been her final day working as a legal secretary for the prestigious Hale, Hale & Brown Law Firm and even though she’d known it was coming, she still felt a small twist in her stomach.

  “No regrets Annabelle,” she admonished herself as she walked past the tall potted palms bordering the paved area outside the entrance.

  She’d been here for five years and somewhere along the line -- without her even being aware of it -- the job had morphed from exciting, to plain old humdrum. She’d lost her enthusiasm and drive, and craved something different for her life. She’d wanted a complete change of career and scenery.

  There was no special man in her life at the moment to complicate things, only Percival. But as her cat he didn’t really count, he’d go wherever she did; which made making her decision a no-brainer really. Everyone she’d dated either turned out to be married – urgh – she gave them the flick as soon as she discovered their secret; closet-gay, but desperately trying to hide it, or conceited jerks who much preferred to admire their own bodies more than they did hers.

  There had been one bloke from work who’d been sweet on her; Alain Le Fras from accounts. She shivered despite the heat as she remembered him.

  He was a tall – at least six five – string-bean of a man with the curliest hair she’d ever seen, a tendency to dress in beige ill-fitting suits and beady eyes, like a snake. Every time she’d happened to glance up from her computer screen, he’d been staring at her from across the room, his mouth open like the village idiot and his brow cocked in a blatantly sexual invitation.

  Thank goodness he’d got the arse six months ago after he’d been caught diddling the books, or she’d still be swiping away his incessant and annoying attentions like a sticky fly. She still wasn’t sure how the Police hadn’t been involved. Maybe, she thought running her nail over her lip, management somehow covered it up?

  She shrugged, it wasn’t her concern anymore what they did or didn’t do, and smoothing her hands down her skirt she remembered her journey this past year which ultimately had brought her to this moment in time.

  After much thought, and carefully studying her options she’d decided that becoming a Nanny had to be as big a change as she could manage. She’d been doing her certificate III in Children’s Services for a year now. She could have done the two year course, but she’d wanted to finish sooner, rather than later.

  So for five days a week she’d driven the half-hour trip to the college for the evening-classes -- which she much preferred. Not that with her full-time job she really had much choice anyway.

  The classroom was less crowded, most did their course of a day. So, much to her delight, she didn’t have to put up with the bored wankers who didn’t really want to be there. The ones who just arsed around taking pleasure in disrupting the teacher and the other students.

  After diligently attending every class, and also gaining a Senior First Aid certificate – another must have -- in her free time, she’d finally received her official document last month. She’d celebrated this momentous occasion by taking herself out to ‘La Casa del Vesuvio’, a swanky Italian restaurant around the corner from her flat.

  She lit a smoke and drew on it as she remembered that night. Whoever had said two was company must have been a boring bastard she surmised, because she’d certainly enjoyed her solo meal.

  After having cleaned up her plateful of piping Osso Buco and risotto Milanese washed down with way too many glasses of Chianti, she’d settled her bill and stumbled home. After a woozy, half-arsed effort at removing her make-up she’d fallen into bed. That next morning, nursing a mother-of-a-headache which walking in stilettos on any hard surface exacerbated, she’d stepped into Mr Hale Snr’s office. Despite last minute reservations about her decision, and his objections to it, she’d stuck to her guns and handed in her notice.

  She hadn’t been able to escape today’s obligatory farewell party. She’d smiled politely at the beaming faces around her as she’d tucked her gift -- a pen with Good luck Anabell engraved on it -- into her bag. Finally, after all of the chocolate mud cake had been demolished, everyone exchanged noisy air-kisses and made ‘call me’ gestures to her with pinkies and thumbs crooked out. Smiling tightly, she’d nodded and brushed the sparkly, heart-shaped confetti off her clothes onto the floor to mingle with the rest of the day’s shit.

  That’ll give the cleaners something to bitch about when they come in, she thought, eyeing the cake crumbs, crushed savoury biscuits and twinkly sequins.

  Dropping her butt, she ground it out under the toe of her shoe. “Christ I hate summer,” she moaned as the sweat pooled under her arms and ran down her spine like Niagara Falls. The pen’s case bulged against the soft leather of her clutch and she rolled her eyes heavenward. She wasn’t really upset that they’d spelt her name wrong, the thought had been there and it didn’t matter in the scheme of things, because today was the start of her brand new life.

  Even now at -- she checked her watch , 6:00 pm -- the air was dry and stifling. It was like a blast furnace after the chilly, air-conditioned office from which she’d just come, and she groaned as she felt herself beginning to wilt like a dainty alpine flower.

  Her morning’s sexy coiffure – an elegant ballerina-bun with the obligatory side-wisps – sagged, and stray hairs tickled the back of her neck.

  Holding her hand over her eyes, she glanced up. It was a picture-perfect summer’s evening. The sky was an endless sapphire canvas with a few clouds peppering it here and there, and in the distance, a glint of silver, as the sun caught the body of a passing plane.

  Opening her purse she fished out her keys and with her heels clacking out staccato beats on the hot cement path she walked to her car. It was parked two blocks down and by the time she got to it, her mood had deteriorated along with the rest of her hairdo.

  Climbing in she started the ignition and sighed with pleasure as the aircon kicked in, blowing arctic-air in her face, cooling her and her temper. On the short drive to the one bedroom flat she shared with Percival, she thought about her new job, nanny to two outback children. She still wasn’t sure on all of the details, the lady on the phone had been rather vague. All she knew was that she was to start in one week’s time, and that her charges were aged three and six.

  Annabelle had only managed to discover the directions before the woman had hung up.

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