“Okay.” I place my hand on her back and walk with her up the stairs. Inside, Jenna has Christmas music playing, and there’s a loud racket coming from the kitchen. Eden and I walk in, and I don’t know what she thinks when she sees her mum in an apron, but man, my mind goes to places that are definitely rated R.
“I’m making cookies,” Jenna says as she takes out the various ingredients from the fridge and cupboards. “Why don’t you both sit at the island, and we’ll talk while I bake.”
“And then we can have a cookie when they’re ready?” I ask.
“Duh, Dad. Do you really think Mum would be able to keep us from getting them?”
I eye my daughter suspiciously and finally nod. “You have a point, Little One. Nothing can keep us Davises from freshly baked cookies.”
Jenna eyes the both of us while she mixes whatever she’s dumped into the bowl with a wooden spoon. Eden grabs a couple of drinks and puts one down in front of the chair I normally sit in. She then goes to the snack cupboard, but Jenna bats her hand away and tells her to sit down.
“Okay, Sweet Lips, what’s going on?”
Beside me, Eden mutters, “Gross.” I ignore her. It’s only recently that she’s had a problem with her mother and I showing affection. Jenna says it’s a teenager thing.
“Josie, Katelyn, and I had a group call today. Josie has rented a big house in Stowe, Vermont, and has invited us to spend Christmas with them.”
“Sounds good to me, when do we leave?” I ask.
“Wait. What?” Eden looks from me to her mum. “We always go to Hawaii for Christmas.”
“And this year we’re going to Vermont,” I tell her.
“That’s not fair.” She crosses her arms over her chest and huffs. “Every year we go to Hawaii so I can surf. I look forward to this trip all year long, and now you’re going to take it away without even asking if I’m okay with it?”
My jaw clenches, and I see red. The teenage years can’t go by fast enough for my liking. I don’t remember being this way with my father, but maybe I was.
“Eden,” Jenna says calmly. “It’s nice to change things up a bit, and we haven’t seen Josie and Liam in a while. We miss them. And I suspect you miss Paige. The house is beautiful. Josie is hoping everyone will be there. There’s a hot tub on the deck, and you can go skiing.”
“What about Quinn? Is he coming?” Eden asks.
Jenna shrugs. “Katelyn was going to talk to him and Nola later today. She isn’t sure if they already planned to go to South Carolina for the holidays.”
“So, it could just be Paige and me?”
“I mean, it’s possible. Josie is hoping Noah and Peyton will be there, at least for a couple of days.”
Eden sighs and dramatically drops her head to the counter. My eyes move from my daughter to my wife, and I shrug because I have no idea what to say. I get where Eden is coming from though. For a while now, we’ve spent the holidays on the beach. I’m not usually one for change either, but I do like the idea of spending time with my friends.
Jenna rubs her hand up and down Eden’s arm and tells her everything will work out. Eden clearly doesn’t believe her because she melodramatically stands up and tells us she’ll be in her room, undoubtedly planning our demise.
“You do remember she picks our old folks home, right?”
Jenna goes back to mixing the cookie batter and slaps my hand away when I try to reach for some dough. “She’s acting entitled, and I don’t like it.”
“She’s seventeen,” I remind her. “And spoiled.”
“Well, we knew that was going to happen when she ended up being the only child.” Jenna drops her eyes. That was the wrong thing to say. I get up and walk over to her, my arms wrapping around her waist from behind, and pull her to me. “I’m sorry, that was an insensitive thing to say.”
“It’s not. We can still try if you want?”
Jenna shakes her head. “Eden is almost an adult. I do not want to start over. I’ll just borrow Katelyn and Josie’s grandbabies.”
I step back and look at my wife. “Wait, is Peyton up the duff?”
Jenna laughs. “Not that I know of, but Katelyn and Josie are eagerly waiting.”