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Home > Shopping for a Billionaire's Fiancee (Shopping for a Billionaire #6)(14)

Shopping for a Billionaire's Fiancee (Shopping for a Billionaire #6)(14)
Author: Julia Kent

“Poopy?” Tyler asks. Shannon gives me a Really? look with an eye roll that must hurt.

Jeffrey starts giggling and comes closer to where the poop talk is. If you ever run out of topics to talk about with boys under the age of, oh, thirty-five, just talk about poop. It’s the universal language of immature males.

Fine. All males.

“Do you want poop on your face?” I ask Tyler.

“I don’t see poop,” Jeffrey says, frowning. “All I see is blood.”

Panic returns to Tyler’s eyes.

“It’s not blood,” Shannon says to Jeffrey, pulling him to her and whispering furiously in his ear. His face changes to an I get it now look.

“Tyler,” Jeffrey says excitedly, “you are covered in poop! It’s like you, like you...” He’s frowning, trying to come up with something wild and crazy.

He succeeds.

“It’s like you were eating poop!” Tyler and Jeffrey descend into giggles as Tyler says “We don’t eat poop!” eleven thousand times in a row.

Shannon gives me a disgusted look. I shrug. The kid’s not screaming anymore, is he? In fact, he’s howling with laughter. Still covered in blood, which makes him look like a mini Dexter, but—

I got this.

I totally got this whole Dad thing down.

You just talk about poop.

“I’ll let it go this time,” Shannon says as she snags my shirt from my hand and Tyler lets her wipe away the “poop” from his face, “but I don’t want to hear you talk about poop again.”

“But—”

“Poop comes from butts,” Jeffrey says, like it’s the best joke ever.

Jeffrey, Tyler, and I fall apart laughing, but Tyler lets her clean his face. Shannon has to lick my shirt here and there and wipe hard, but by the time she’s done he looks mostly okay, if a little pink.

She hands me my shirt. I unball it and put it on.

“You’re going to wear that?” Her nose crinkles in disgust.

“What? It’s got warrior paint on it.”

“It has poop on it!” Jeffrey declares as we get closer to the ice cream stand. No line today, which is a surprise for an August day.

“Poop shirt!” Tyler screams. Shannon walks ahead of us and puts in our standard order.

“Okay, guys, let’s stop with the poop talk. Auntie Shannon doesn’t like it,” I say as I pull them into a huddle. Tyler doesn’t seem to understand what I’m saying, and Jeffrey certainly does, his face crestfallen.

I take them over to the jungle gym and they play for a few minutes, Tyler begging for a push on the swing, Jeffrey climbing up a rope and ramp. Shannon appears with a tray of ice cream cups and we sit at a picnic table.

It’s like we’re normal. Like we’re a family. I can imagine having two boys like Jeffrey and Tyler and taking them out for a fun afternoon like this (minus the nosebleed).

Shannon distributes the ice cream and we dig in, muted by sweet cream and sprinkles on top.

Jeffrey starts giggling uncontrollably. Shannon and I look at him, perplexed. He points to Tyler.

Tyler’s chocolate ice cream is all over his face. The kid managed to get it in his hair and along the ridge of one ear.

Jeffrey is squealing with painful howls of laughter, and can manage only one, single word:

“Poop.”

I grind my jaw trying not to laugh, and Tyler repeats everything Jeffrey says.

“Poopy face,” Jeffrey sputters. Tyler repeats him twelve thousand times.

“This is all your fault,” Shannon hisses at me. “I do not ever want to hear you make poop the topic of conversation again.”

“What? It’s not my fault!” I put my hands up defensively. “It got Tyler to calm down.”

“It’s disgusting and you know better than to get two little boys started on poop jokes.”

“Poop is hilarious.”

“Poop is not a conversation topic!”

“I beg to differ.”

“No more poop talk. I am done with poop talk. I never, ever want to hear about poop again, as long as I live. I don’t talk about poop, and you don’t need to, either. Are we understood?”

She’ll regret those words.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Three days before the proposal...

“That,” Dad says as he hands the ring back to me and picks up his half-empty highball glass, “is a gorgeous ring. Still is after all these years. Your mother wore it well. Cost me a small fortune back then.” His pipe burns, half-abandoned, in a small ashtray. Smoking’s not allowed in Boston, but James McCormick insists the rules don’t apply to him when he’s the owner of the building.

His hand is steady as he lifts the glass to his mouth but he drinks it all in one long gulp.

And signals to the bartender for another.

We’re in the lounge at The Fort. Dad likes to pop in on his favorite property from time to time. There’s a soft spot in my heart for this place, too. After all, you don’t watch your future wife drop-kick a vibrator down fourteen floors into Boston traffic every day now, do you?

Ah, memories.

“I always thought Terry would be the first to marry,” he adds, looking mournfully at his empty glass. “He’s the oldest.”

“Terry is about as likely to marry as you are to date a fifty year old, Dad.” Terry’s a musician who travels all over the world and is just starting to dip his toe into investing in really fringe web concepts for music. Not only does Terry lack a permanent address or a permanent woman, he doesn’t even own a car. The guy is minimalism personified.

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