Monday, February 14, 2011

Alex was amazed every time they pulled up to the Ryan estate. The thought of her children inheriting half a billion dollars was mind boggling. She looked over at the man she married and wondered if he was adopted. There was nothing about him that said ‘rich’. It wasn’t often she got to see him dressed up she wanted to savor the moment. Rick usually ran around the house in t-shirts and torn jeans. She so loved the times like these.

“Why are you staring at me?” Rick asked.

“Just admiring how handsome you are.”

“I can live with that.” He reached over and brought her hand to his lips. “You are as beautiful as ever.”

Alyse and Brock started to giggle in the back seat.

“What’s so funny you two? Your Daddy loves your Mommy very, very much.”

Alex looked at him and smiled. “Me too.” Rick unhooked her seat belt, pulled her close and they shared a tender kiss. Alex trembled in his arms. “I’m glad I can still make you tremble like a school girl.”

“Always,” Alex said. She knew she’d never tire of the wonderful man she had married. Each day they shared was a precious gift.

Brock looked out the window and squealed. “Papa, papa.” Then Alyse joined in.

“I think they know where we are.”

“I hope they didn’t go overboard with the party. They’re only three,” Alex said. A horn honked and Alex jumped. Thane, Elena and their little brood pulled up beside them. Thane got out of the car and stared at the mansion. “Lucky bastard,” he muttered.

The four adults tried to calm the four overly excited children. The Ryan’s answered the door, as usual perfectly dressed and coiffed. After the last time with the twins, they seemed to have dressed more practically. It wasn’t easy getting grass stains out of silk.

“It’s so wonderful to see you all.” Shelby Ryan hugged Rick and Alyse. “You must be Thane,” she said. “I recognize you from your movies. Elena, it is so nice to finally meet you.” The group exchanged hugs and handshakes and wrangled the anxious children towards the hall where a half a dozen children were already playing.

Alex took Alyse aside. “Please be good for Mommy,” Alex pleaded. Alyse smiled and nodded. She hurried off to the other children.

“She’s going to be a heart-breaker like her mother,” Thane teased.

“She is a handful.”

Rick hugged Elena. “You are glowing,” he said.

Elena frowned at Alex.

“I know, isn’t she?” Thane patted her stomach. “We have number three on the way. I never thought I’d be saying that with a smile on my face.”

“Rick,” Elena growled.

“Hey, it wasn’t me this time.” He put his hands up in defense.

Thane kissed Elena’s neck. “I’m finally catching on to you. We’ve been going at it like rabbits, it was bound to happen again.”

Rick scowled and Elena smacked Thane in the stomach. “What and ouch, have the hormones started already.” Elena took an angry step towards him and he moved out of her reach.

Rick wanted to laugh but held back the urge and extended his hand to Thane instead. “Too much information, but congratulations.”

“When are you two having another?” Elena asked.

Rick and Alex said in unison. “We aren’t. We love them dearly, but were older than you two and our children are a handful.” It was a hard thing to admit to, but it was true, they were well behaved, intelligent kids who wanted to know about everything and had boundless energy.

“I’m hungry,” Elena said.

“I think I saw food over this way, honey.” Thane shot a frightened look over his shoulder and they went in search of food for his pregnant wife.

“I don’t know how she does it,” Rick said.

“I’m sure people say that about us all the time.”

“Hey, I’m a good husband,” Rick protested.

Alex threw her arms around him. “I think you’re a keeper. I’ve almost got you trained.”

Rick’s parents came into the room smiling proudly.

“I don’t like that look on their faces. It means they’ve done something outrageous."

“We got a big surprise for our birthday boy and girl.”

“Oh, no,” Rick muttered and hurried over to his parents. “What did you do? We said simple, remember?"

“Nothing major son,” Richard Sr. said. “Just a little petting zoo. The kids at this party except this kind of thing and Grand-kids are made for spoiling.”

Rick looked out the door and grunted. “My kids aren’t going to get used to this.” Rick knew they would probably disinherit him if they found out what he and Alex wanted to do with their fortune when they got it.

Thane and Elena and their little brood hurried over to the group.

An elephant trumpeted.

“Is that an elephant?” Thane asked. Richard Senior patted Thane on the back. “It’s just a little one.”

“Come on, children.” Richard Senior said. The children ran from all over the house and stood patiently and quietly to see what the surprise was. Richard threw open the door to a section of the back yard.

“They took me to the zoo once.”

“That’s nothing.” Thane said.

“They closed the zoo for a whole day. It was just us.”

“Wow, lucky bastard,” Thane muttered.

“I think we’re going to need more help.”

“Are those ponies?” Thane asked.

“Yes they are,” Rick sighed.

Rick knew there was no point in getting angry. His parents lived in a world that had always felt foreign and wrong to him but it was what they were used to. He would not allow Brock and Alyse to spend too much time in the world of great wealth and opulence. His children would not be set apart from the world. He wanted them to have dirty hands and callouses and see life was about work and sweat and sometimes going without even though you didn’t have to.

Alex steadied herself as a wave of nausea hit her. "Alex dear, are you all right you look a little pale?”

“I think so. It comes and goes.”

Shelby smiled. “You don’t think you could be pregnant again do you.”

“Alex that would be wonderful if we were pregnant at the same time again,” Elena said.

“It’s probably just the flu. But please don’t say anything to Rick.”

“Oh, of course not, dear. How about we go into the kitchen for some soda crackers and ginger ale. Maybe that will settle your stomach down. Not a word to the men until we know for sure.” Elena hugged Alex, then Shelby hugged her.

Rick walked into the room. “I was wondering where you all were.” He saw the look on their faces and frowned. “I know better than to ask what’s going on. You don’t want to miss this one-time event.” He looked to his mother, saying it for her benefit.

“Yes, Richard this is a once in a lifetime event.” She smiled, used to pacifying her son who hated their overindulgent lifestyle as he called it. She had given up arguing with him long ago. She was immensely proud of the man he had become and the life he had created for himself. What good was all their money if they couldn’t do something fun for the grand-kids?

Rick walked over to Alex and put his arm around her. “Are you okay, sweetheart?”

Alex smiled and nodded but Rick knew she wasn’t telling the truth. He would be watching the two kids and his wife today.

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