ammi ammi - archy marshall

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12/31 | THE HAYDEN'S NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY
the hayden family is holding their annual new year's eve party in the terrace room of the plaza! only new york's finest (and the nannies, of course) are invited, so come and celebrate with your friends and families in your best clothes to enjoy a night of food, dancing, and mingling. there's a spacious dance-floor, a lounge, and a theatre for the kids (where everyone will also watch the ball drop at midnight). bonus: there's an open bar if you have a hard time getting through new year's without some liquid courage.

mentioned: alex, sam and a little bit of macky. kept a few characters out for the sake of later plots :~)


-


On December 31st, 1999, Katherine and her family spent the turn of the century on the edge of the world (or what may as well have been, to her eight year-old self). More realistically, it was a Cape Cod style Flinders beach house that her father’s boss had offered them for the summer - but she remembers the way the stars reflected in the black ocean, the way taking a step into the cool shallows felt to her like walking out into space. 

Connor called himself Neil Armstrong, taking high steps in slow motion and splashing water at his siblings. Ezra made some comment about how he was Armstrong because he was the first one born, which made Kat Buzz Aldrin and Connor “the third guy that nobody remembers”. Connor wasted no time tackling Ezra into the water, laughing as he and his brother resurfaced from beneath the night sky.

Her father set off fireworks in the sand. She and her brothers watched with wide eyes as they shot into the air like rockets, saw their reflections exploding into bursts of yellow light that were swallowed by the sea. The distant radio was playing her parents’ favourite hits through the decades, but was drowned out by the crackling of the bonfire, the crickets in the long grass, her family shouting the countdown to the sky. New Year’s had always been a family event for the Wilkes - which was lucky for Kat, because just earlier that day she had sworn that she would hate kids forever and ever.

“But you’re a kid,” Ezra pointed out.

“But I’m not mean,” Kat countered. “Other children are mean!” The revelation was one that Kat had every time she tripped and fell in front of a group of kids, which happened pretty regularly. 

“You can’t carry hate into the New Year, Kat,” her mother told her, running her hand through her daughter’s hair. “It’s like frowning when the wind changes - if you’re hateful when the year changes, you might stay like that forever.” 

Kat sighed, loud and exaggerated, flopping onto the couch dramatically as she usually did when her family threw homespun wisdom her way. It was always something - “the uglier food is, the better it tastes” (sometimes true); “just because you don’t know someone doesn’t mean you don’t know them” (whatever that meant). Her parents always had a piece of advice for every occasion, which was only sometimes annoying - that day, all she wanted was some sympathy and a bandaid for the graze on her knee. It turned out to be helpful, though, as it always did. She had forgiven the children who laughed at her by dinner time, and forgotten them altogether by midnight. 

Maybe if she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have taken the nannying job, and wouldn't be in the situation she was on December 31st, 2016.

◊ ◊ ◊

“Ew! Kat, what is that?”

Savannah Hastings’ voice pulled Kat from her daydream and placed her back in reality - a reality that was miles away (figuratively, literally) from the Flinders beach house. Savannah was pointing up at an oyster in the hand of Nicola Hayden, who seemed totally unfazed by the eleven year-old that had placed herself in the middle of a conversation she was having with a man that Kat knew to be the Haydens’ caterer - he seemed significantly more interested in what Savannah had to say.

“That’s an oyster, Sav,” Katherine explained patiently, putting a hand on the girl’s shoulder and trying to steer her away or at least pull her arm down (and coming up empty on both counts). 

“It looks disgusting!” Savannah screwed up her face and the night’s hostess gave up on talking to her caterer, who was staring down at the girl through tired eyes. Kat wondered how it must have felt to slave over a dinner for so many people, only to have it torn apart by an eleven year-old girl. She laughed nervously. 

“What are you talking about? They look great!” Lie. Savannah had turned on a whole tray of the things that did, admittedly, look disgusting. “I’m sure they taste great, too.” Lie. Oysters were one of Kat’s most hated foods. She tried hard (and failed, hard) not to visibly recoil as Savannah picked one up and held it out to her nanny. She glanced over at the chef - who was very much still there and had not vanished from existence as Kat had been hoping - and gingerly took the oyster from Savannah’s hand.

“You know, Sav,” Kat started, trying to buy herself some time, “My mum once told me the uglier food is, the better it tastes.” Sometimes true, but her mother’s words of wisdom contradicted each other every now and then (“oysters; hell in a shell”). She closed her eyes and tipped the oyster into her mouth, willing herself not to gag.

“Sorry to interrupt, I think I heard that Mr Hayden was still hoping to talk to you.”

Kat opened her eyes to see Samantha Fleming standing between herself and the chef. Both his and Savannah’s eyes were on the Haydens’ nanny, so Kat took the opportunity to quietly spit the oyster back into the shell. 

There was no bin or napkin in sight. Of course. For a second she considered putting it back on the tray and acting as if nothing had happened, but panicked and hastily placed it in her bag before Sam turned around to face her.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that,” Sam said, shaking her head. Kat hadn’t seen Sam all night, and didn’t want to think about how much work the Haydens would have had her doing. “Feel free to gag.” 

So Kat did.

“That thing was disgusting!” Kat spat in a voice that Savannah wouldn’t hear, though the girl had already lost interest and had turned back to the spread of lavish food. But the chef’s ego had been saved, somewhat, so things weren’t all bad. “You’re my saviour, seriously.” 

“Don’t mention it! You should’ve seen your face, though,” Sam joked. “You know, for an actress, you really weren’t convincing anyone.” Kat laughed (but not too hard, to avoid spilling the oyster that was sitting in her bag). Sam hurried off to deal with her own child-related crises. 

Katherine turned to Savannah, who was stacking up empty oyster shells into a tower, and was about to tell her to stop when Oliver kocked into her bag as he raced past in pursuit of one of the Bernard twins (or was it a Braddock?).

“I can’t believe you ate that, Kat. Was it gross?” Savannah asked. Katherine thought about the inside of her handbag that was undoubtedly coated in oyster, within half an hour of their arrival at the party.

“Nope!” she lied. Ultimately, she decided, it was better not to offload her personal aversion onto Savannah, who wandered off in the direction of her younger brother.

Using the sudden moment of peace to dump as much oyster as possible out of her bag (though the damage was irreversible), Kat noticed Mr Hastings had managed to get himself away from the crowds of the party, and was standing beside his two children. He was always busy at this kind of event, catching up with old clients and friends.

It was probably for the better tonight, though - he and Maude had been quietly fighting about their schedules all day, and Kat didn’t doubt that the air between them was still cold. While Lowan span Savannah and Oliver in the air, Maude stood on the other side of the hall in deep conversation with an associate of Haywood Arcade - whose founder, owner and artistic director was nowhere to be seen. Kat shot him a quick text.

To: Ezra Haywood
Still at the office?

As his architecture firm became more acclaimed, Ezra had less time away from work - considering how integral Maude was to her brother’s company, Kat was surprised that her employer had managed to find the time to attend. Kat’s text went unanswered, which she knew was confirmation enough. Ezra had RSVP'd to the party tonight, but Kat had suspected (rightly) that it was out of courtesy rather than commitment. Connor, on the other hand, would be spending New Year’s Eve at some party in Soho, and her parents had gone to Lake Placid. It felt strange that they weren’t all together.

◊ ◊ ◊

The next few hours were a whirlwind. No matter how hard Kat tried to keep a hold on Savannah, she always managed to disappear - more often than not wandering to the other side of the terrace and a few times to a totally different floor of the Plaza. 

Ollie was, as usual, easier to handle - until he caught sight of the Reynolds playing hide-and-seek with their nanny Alex, and decided to join in. Katherine searched the entire hall top to bottom for what felt like hours (but was, realistically, five minutes), but it was Alex that found him trying to blend in with the oversized plants on the balcony. Kat had never been gladder to see Alex when she brought him back inside.

“You should’ve seen my hiding spot, Kat,” Ollie started, but he was cut off by a groan.

“Who the f.uck is tracking soil across the carpet?” Katherine looked across to the balcony doors to see a cleaner scanning the party, and a trail of small muddy footprints weaving through the crowds, leading straight to Oliver. He looked down at his shoes and then back up at the nannies with the widest eyes Katherine had ever seen. Alex put her other hand over her heart.

“I won’t say a word,” she promised Ollie, who gave her a relieved ‘thank-you’ before Kat ushered him off to the bathroom to clean his shoes, grateful for their pact.

Eventually she managed to settle the two kids in for a movie in the theatre, and tracked down a glass of champagne. She was hoping to find a quiet seat and relax until midnight (or at least until the film was over), when Maude called her over. 

Her two bosses had yet to interact the whole evening, and the air between them was evidently still cold. Maude, who had been chatting with Eloise Bernard, asked her nanny to relay a message to her husband, even though Lowan was standing only a couple of metres away.

Katherine had seen the Bernards’ nanny, Mackenzie, a few times through the night - but noticing that she was, more often than not, cleaning up after or in pursuit of two or more children at any given time, Kat decided not to get in her way. Macky was a powerhouse, and always seemed organised  - Kat wished she could be so collected.  

She didn’t envy Macky, though, for having to deal with five wild children and their demanding parents all on her birthday. Kat had heard the news of a shattered vase at the hands of the Bernard children, and supposed that maybe relaying a few messages between the Hastings didn’t qualify for such a bad night.

◊ ◊ ◊

With twenty minutes to midnight, Kat found herself out on the balcony (steering clear of the plants to avoid Ollie’s mistake). The Plaza Hotel had a view of the entirety of central park and the towering buildings surrounding it - apartments and offices, mostly. Connor would be in one in the distance, dancing (maybe) and drinking (definitely). Ezra was in one too, Kat was sure, working hard to have everything organised and finalised for 2017. 

Last year, they were together on New Year’s - they bar hopped through Queens, and had ended up in Connecticut by morning. This year, their nights couldn’t be more different - Connor was surrounded by friends in a seedy little apartment; Ezra was alone in a huge dark office; Kat was a glorified babysitter in the lap of luxury.

In the distance, a few fireworks whistled into the air - no doubt the work of drunk partygoers who hadn’t bothered to check the time. They exploded with a crack and their sparks ambled lazily back to the ground, to which Katherine heard a ‘whoa’ behind her back and turned to see Oliver.

“Ollie! Where’s your sister?”

“Asleep in the theatre. Mum’s with her,” Ollie replied, treading to stand beside her. Kat quietly thanked god, thinking about how far Savannah could have wandered if no one was keeping an eye on her. Ollie held onto the balcony railing, standing on his tiptoes to get a better view. 

They stood in a silence that Kat knew Ollie would be comfortable with - he was fixated, his eyes wide with wonder and trained on the colourful explosions in the black sky. Kat wondered if he felt like he was standing on the edge of the world like she did on New Year’s ‘99, if the fireworks looked like rockets and the windows of the buildings all around them looked like stars. Maybe, she hoped, Connor and Ezra were both looking out their respective windows, watching the same fireworks she was (they weren’t - Ezra was finalising a blueprint, oblivious to the time; Connor was throwing up in an alleyway).

Eventually they wandered back inside, and raced to the theatre when they heard guests counting down to midnight. Savannah, who had been curled up next to Maude on a couch, was woken up by all the noise and quickly jumped up to join Ollie and the kids that were running around cheering as the ball dropped. Katherine gathered the kids’ coats and noticed Mr and Mrs Hastings let go of the night’s animosity with a kiss. She felt her phone buzz in her bag.

From: Ezra Haywood
happy new year’s, buzz. sorry i couldn’t make it tonight!

Smiling at the nickname, she put her phone back in her bag (and subtly wiped some oyster from her hand onto a couch). Kat gathered the kids and noted the charred carpet in the playroom as they were leaving, deciding that she could do worse than a few muddy footprints on the carpet and a bag coated in seafood.


-


wow finally got this up, hope its all understandable and the pacing's g etc. i tried to make it fit with the timelines in other people's stories as best as possible. sorry it got a bit long and reflective at points lmao

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7 comments

spacelava
Wrote one month ago
This was so beautifully written! ♡

nyri-is-a-paper-girl
Wrote one month ago
story up <3
 
TAGLIST | @faultstars @spacelava @followyourbliss @chrissykinz @min-t @elaineeeee @hayete @ingrid @huntxr @elizabeth-kate

hayete
Wrote one month ago
love this set!!
feel free to include camilla! her ex will be lingering about, so she'll mask her annoyance with short remarks and sarcasm to anyone who dare approach her as she grovels by the bar, drinking her way into the new year. eventually she'll end up on the dance floor with the kiddos.

faultstars
Wrote one month ago
feel free to include sam! she'll probably be splitting her time flirting with will at the bar and chasing after the hayden's kids c:

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THE NANNY DIARIES

THE NANNY DIARIES

(created on 11.17.16.)
 
• • •
 
AUDITIONS | closed
 
• • •
 
everyone has a calling in life. for some people, that calling is to be a heart surgeon. for others, it's to train as a ballerina, or to teach college students about the history of english literature. but to take care of bratty kids while their snobby parents party across manhattan or drink mimosas in the hamptons? now, that's not so much a calling as it is a convenience. a seemingly easy job for when you're down on your luck, not cut out for waitressing, and in need of a place to crash. new york's wealthiest and finest are always in need of someone to help raise their picture perfect families. the maids, the cooks, the drivers, and of course, the nannies. living on the outskirts of the life of luxury, the nannies see and hear all. the drama, the affairs, the fights – everything. though they're on the outside looking in, the nannies seem to know more about the inside than anyone.
 
the job may seem straightforward, but that's not always the case. sure, getting a free room in manhattan is a perk, but working within the suffocating circle of new york's elite is exhausting, to say the least. the parties are extravagant and messy and fancier than what most people are used to. the kids are spoiled and used to getting whatever they want, whenever they want it. the fathers are often workaholics and the mothers often prefer to spend their days shopping around saks fifth avenue rather than spending time with their children. when things go wrong, it's the nannies who are stuck trying to pick up the pieces and control the damage. it may not be the most glamorous of jobs, but for a young person struggling to get by in the big apple, things could be much worse.
 
besides, things aren't all bad when you have people in the same situation as you. that's where "the nanny diaries" come in. "the nanny diaries" is an online site where the nannies of manhattan can anonymously gossip, spread advice, support one another, and pass information around about the elite. the site primarily functions as a site where the nannies can connect with one another. however, "the nanny diaries" has an ugly side. many of the nannies can't resist a good piece of gossip, whether it concerns the wealthy families or another nanny. so be careful who you trust, because in the the world of manhattan's finest, no one is safe.
 
• • •
 
rules and guidelines | https://goo.gl/NhX3HP
 
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