I step forward and give her a quick kiss on her forehead. She’s not embarrassed by my affection, especially in public, and I’m very thankful for that. “Thank you,” I tell her. “Now, let’s find you both the right things to wear. I don’t want you freezing out there.”
“Yeah, because I read it can get to be twenty below zero in Vermont, and people still go outside.” Eden shudders. “I don’t get it.”
“Me neither, but we’re going to have a lot of fun,” Jimmy says as he takes the pile of clothing I made for him into the dressing room.
On our way home, we stop at the mall. Always a fun time, said no one ever. When it’s Eden and me, it’s no big deal. But get Jimmy, the self-professed Twitter God, into a mall with middle-aged women who still scream like banshees when they spot him, and it’s a whole other scenario. At the beginning of our marriage, because Jimmy and I skipped the dating part, the fan encounters caused a lot of jealousy issues for me. Mostly because Jimmy was that guy—the one who wouldn’t think twice about going home with a fan or hooking up with someone he met on Twitter or the mall. Even after our marriage became public knowledge, women still came after him. It still bothers me, but I know Jimmy is faithful. He would never do anything to hurt, dishonor, or put me in a position where I question him.
There’s a surf shop in the mall which is our first stop. I find it funny that we even come in here because Eden’s sponsors make sure she has the best of everything. Secretly, I think she likes to look to see if there’s something she wants but won’t outright ask her dad to buy her. Or maybe it’s because the guy working is flirting with her.
“What am I witnessing here?” Jimmy asks.
“Nothing,” I tell him even though I know he knows what’s going on. He’s the biggest flirt to walk the streets of Los Angeles. Everyone, it doesn’t matter who you are, gets a smile. The truly lucky ones get a picture.
“That bloke is manhandling my daughter.”
I glance over to see what he’s fussing about. The kid, who is probably a year or two older than Eden is touching her, but he’s laughing when he does it, so I’m going to assume either she or he has told a joke.
“They’re talking, Jimmy.”
“He’s trying to talk her out of her bloody wet suit.”
I smirk. “Eden’s wearing jeans. Probably easier . . .” I don’t finish my sentence because I know he’ll fly off the handle.
“Not helping, Sweet Lips.”
Reaching for Jimmy’s hand, I tug him behind me, farther away from Eden. “Give her some privacy.”
“She’s a child.”
“She’s almost an adult, Jimmy. You have to let her grow up.”
“I tried,” he points out. “Don’t you remember a few years ago when she wanted to date that bloke from Australia, and he was like eighty?”
“Oh, Jimmy,” I say his name with a sigh. My hand cups his cheek, and I smile. “You’re going to give yourself a heart attack with all this worry. We have to trust Eden to make good choices. That guy from a couple of years ago was just a first crush, and it we
nt nowhere. He was too old for her, but he wasn’t eighty.”
“I know guys like him, trust me.”
His statement causes me to laugh. “Because you used to be like him, that’s why. You probably saw yourself in him, and that’s scary for everyone.” Jimmy growls and places his hand on hip. He squeezes a bit and then starts to tickle me.
“Stop it,” I say through gritted teeth. “We’re in public, and our daughter is right there.”
Jimmy comes closer and says into my ear, “When we get home—”
“Are you guys ready?” Eden interrupts us, causing Jimmy to pull away. He growls and mutters something unintelligible. I feel bad for him. Sometimes.
“See anything you like?” I ask Eden.
“Nah,” she says with a shake of her head. “Most of this stuff I had last year, and it’s just now hitting the market. Sort of lame.”
Jimmy sets his hand on Eden’s shoulder. She allows his hand to stay, which surprises me. Normally, she has a strict no touching policy in public. “Your sponsors take care of you,” he tells her. “It’s important that you return the favour.”
“By winning?” she questions.
He shakes his head. “Winning isn’t everything, Little One. It’s nice and it’s often expected, but your mum and I want you to be the best you can be. The wins will come, just as they have previously.”
“I know, Dad. I just want to be number one.”