Billionaires and Beach Bums(65)

By: Mia Caldwell

Before I can ask about her trip, the lights go down. We sit in the dark, holding hands, as normally awkward preteens leap across the stage in their fluttery costumes. We clap politely and wait patiently.

As the opening strains of “Teddy Bear's Picnic” play, Allison’s ballet class of two year olds tiptoes onto the stage. Kiera grabs my arm to stop my spontaneous clapping almost before it begins. But c’mon, that kid deserves a standing ovation before she starts! Look at her, smiling out into the auditorium like they all came to see her. Her light brown curls are pulled back into a bun, but stray ringlets have pulled free to frame her face. I just feel bad for all the other parents. They have to see, too, right? My little girl’s the star.

She starts scanning the crowd as she goes through their simple routine. When her eyes land on us, she stops dead to wave furiously. Kiera waggles her fingers back.

We sit through the rest of the show, which tragically doesn’t contain Allison. Well, I sit through it. Kiera sags to sleep against my shoulder. She just got in from Indonesia. We opened a surf resort in Sumbawa that’s been successful enough to need my lawyer’s attention. Luckily, I married her, so I get a pretty good rate.

This was probably her last trip away from us for a while, though. Our next kid--a son this time!--is due in four months. Kiera doesn’t want to travel for business in what she calls “the hippopotamus trimester.” If you ask me, she’s nuts, she got that big round belly but never waddled. But maybe I’m blind.

When the recital finally ends and Kiera wakes with a start, wiping the drool from my shoulder, we go to the backstage door to retrieve our ballerina.

“Mommy!” She flies right past me and into her mother’s arms. Fair enough, she hasn’t seen her in a week. “You’re home! Now we can go to Baruba!”

Kiera laughs. “Next week, baby. Next week we’ll all go to Aruba.” It’ll be a nice mid-winter vacation together and then we can hunker down to wait for the new kid’s arrival.

“I want to see hulahula girls!” Allison squirms to the ground and shakes her tiny hips back and forth the way the class of big girls--nine and ten year olds--had done in the recital.

“That’s Hawaii, Alli-saurus. Hula girls live in Hawaii.”

She scowls at me. “Den let’s go to Hawaii.”

“Not this time. But we will.” Her expression is still dark, so I try, “Hey, if we wait a little bit, you can teach your new brother the hula before you go. The hula girls will all be super impressed.”

She fixes me with a side-eye that looks way too much like her mother’s have you lost your damn mind? face. “Bruvvers don’t hula. It is for girls. Dat’s why it’s hula girls, Daddy.” She looks to her mother and rolls her eyes. Kiera shakes her head in sympathy.

Damn. This boy can’t be born soon enough. I’m outnumbered.

Knowing when to give up, I say “Who wants ice cream?”

“ME!!” my girls say together.

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