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Home > Shopping for a Billionaire's Fiancee (Shopping for a Billionaire #6)(13)

Shopping for a Billionaire's Fiancee (Shopping for a Billionaire #6)(13)
Author: Julia Kent

We walk on the sidewalk, a couple with a stroller walking past us, going in the opposite direction. Shannon peeks in the stroller’s top and makes a sound of gushy surprise, a little “Oh!” that indicates her ovaries are ready to hijack my sperm and put them in a half-nelson, pinning them to her uterine wall.

First things first. I still need to propose. But watching Jeffrey and Tyler make their ambling way down the road, the four city blocks like their own personal obstacle course, makes me think about kids. We want them. Shannon’s made it clear that she needs to have her career in order before she’ll consider having any, but I think she’s already softening.

Having kids will slow us down. First, I want to spend a few years taking her all over the world to cross items off my bucket list. We’ve never been to Paris, and Shannon has talked about wanting to see Machu Pichu. Can’t do that easily with a baby strapped to your front in one of those contraptions.

I could give a laundry list of all the various experiences we both want before we have kids, but instead I’ll just focus on the fact that Shannon is suddenly holding a screaming Tyler, whose nose has turned into Mt. Vesuvius, complete with red blood spurting all over Shannon’s shoulder and chest.

“What happened?” I bend down to check it out.

“Tyler tripped,” Jeffrey explains. Simple enough.

Shannon’s rocking him back and forth while he screams, “Wipe it off! Wipe it off!” as he smashes his palm into his bleeding nose. Every two seconds he does the same loop: wipe, look at it, scream “Wipe it off,” and then repeat.

“Hey, buddy. Hang on. Are you hurt?” I ask.

“NOT! NOT HURT!” Tyler likes to deny anything negative. Spill his juice? No, he didn’t. Get his feelings hurt? No, he didn’t. Bloody his nose? No, he didn’t. He’s great at denying reality like that. He could be the Fox News correspondent on climate change.

Shannon hands me her purse. “Can you find tissues in there?” Her purse is a bottomless pit of practical items you might need once in your life, seven tampons, two EpiPens, a few lipsticks, countless receipts, and one lottery ticket.

Finally, I find tissues and hand them off. “Lottery ticket?” I ask, incredulous.

She begins to gently wipe Tyler’s nose. “It can’t hurt to try,” she says in a sing-songy voice.

“I’m a billionaire,” I say slowly.

“Only on paper. I know how that goes. Steve was a ‘millionaire’.” She actually uses finger quotes. True, her ex-boyfriend, Steve, was a pompous windbag with the financial management skills of one of the real housewives of Beverly Hills. That prejudice does not apply to me.

“I am a real millionaire,” I remind her. “And damn close to being a billionaire. You need a lottery ticket like Taylor Swift needs Spotify. ”

Jeffrey overhears this. “You are? I’m gonna have a rich uncle? That ith tho cool! Do you have a helicopter?”

“Yes.”

“And a grey tie?”

Huh?

“Because Mom is always reading this book at home about a billionaire who wearth a grey tie. It’s on the cover of the book and everything.”

Oh, God.

“He has fifty tieth! Fifty! Why would a man need so many tieth?” Jeffrey’s lisp becomes more pronounced as he gets excited.

“Um...”

“Fifty! Fifty!” Tyler repeats, laughing. He has so much blood on his face he looks like he’s an extra in the movie Saw 27.

“Is there another tissue in my purse?” Shannon asks. I look. Nope.

She frowns, and I see the problem. As we both ignore Jeffrey’s innocent questions about Carol’s mommy porn, I realize Tyler looks like we just smashed his face against a cement wall. He can’t go out in public like this.

“You have a key to Carol’s apartment?” I ask, certain of the answer. Of course she does. Her family has no boundaries. They probably all share toothbrushes in a pinch.

She shakes her head sadly. “No.”

“No?”

“Mom does but I don’t.”

“Shit.”

“Shit,” repeats Tyler, perfectly. He, unlike his older brother, does not have a lisp.

It’s a warm August day, and I’m dressed for the canceled yoga class. Black polyester shirt, black shorts. Grabbing the hem of my shirt, I whip it over my head.

“While I love the view, what in God’s name are you doing?” Shannon whispers.

“Shirtless men aren’t exactly a rarity in August in Massachusetts,” I whisper back.

As if I’m approaching a spooked cat (because I pretty much am), I crouch down and lean on one knee. Tyler’s face is buried in Shannon’s chest. Her pale pink t-shirt now looks like a bad tie-dye job.

“Tyler? It’s okay. I just need to wipe the blood off your face.”

“You will NOT!” His eyes are wide and panicked, and I realize my error immediately. I might not know much about kids in general, but after a year and a half of spending holidays and occasional babysitting nights with Tyler and Jeffrey, I have a good sense of what to do.

Plus, I was a six-year-old boy once. There’s really only one way to proceed.

“Did I say blood?” I ask in an exaggerated way, like an actor on a kid’s television show. “You don’t have blood on your face, do you?”

“No blood,” Tyler says with suspicion. At least he’s stopped screaming.

“Of course you don’t have blood on your face,” I say, holding my bunched-up black shirt near his face. “But,” I whisper, pulling him in like I have a secret to share, “you do have poop on your face.”

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