Home > Newest Books > Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters #4.5)

Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters #4.5)
Author:Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

By the time we reach the seventh hole at the charity golf tournament, Maximoff is done. Boredom in his forest-green eyes, he rests his cheek against the golf cart seat, nearly slumped over.

“Same,” I tell him, picking out a club from my bag, my enthusiasm worn-out.

It’s not like I had much at the start. Not like Connor, who wagered a bet with my older brother before teeing off the first hole. Not like Ryke who curses beneath his breath with each stroke, pointing his titanium driver at Connor every time our friend outperforms him.

Which is 7 times out of 10.

But no one should confuse my lack of enthusiasm for apathy.

I know it’d be easy to—because in my early twenties, my angst could fill a goddamn ocean and float a shitty fleet of naval ships—but now, things are different.

I’m different. For better or for worse.

And one look at my three-year-old son—his soft cheek on the white seat, wearing tiny orange Vans, his dark brown hair combed neatly, his little legs hanging pitifully and lips puckered in a childlike pout—it’s all enough.

Regardless of what else follows.

I lean my shoulder on the golf cart and nudge his foot with my driver. Moffy lifts his head up to me.

I gape, widening my eyes. “He’s alive. Jesus Christ.”

His big woeful eyes might as well say, I’m miserable, Daddy. I thought only a sad Lily could crush my black heart, but seeing my son upset and downcast nearly obliterates it.

I try to remember that he’s a three-year-old. Lily and I put cooked carrots in front of him, and he acted like we served him pig intestines. One boring day isn’t the end of the world, but there’s this part of me—this place belonging to my childhood with Lily—that screams to give this kid better than boring, better than unhappy. Better than lonely.

Better than what we had.

I take a seat beside him. He doesn’t stir, but I hear his heavy sigh. I prop my foot on the golf cart dash and extend my arm across the back of the seat. “Golf isn’t my favorite thing either.”

Moffy mumbles, “Then why are we here?”

He asks a lot of questions, and I never thought I’d have to explain the world to anyone. Especially a toddler who digests my words like they’re Holy Scripture. And he has no comprehension of sarcasm.

Through the windshield, I watch Ryke tee off first. He concentrates on his swing, and Connor stands nearby just to give him a hard time. Ryke flips him off, but most of the other teams are too far ahead of us to see. Only event photographers straggle behind, and Ryke couldn’t care less if they capture him giving Connor the middle finger.

It’s not like he hasn’t done it before.

Gathering my thoughts, I focus back on Moffy. “We’re here because we’re really lucky—you, me, your mommy, your aunts and uncles—we all have a lot of toys and nice things, and we take time to give back.” We could just write a check and not come, but showing up to an event promotes the charity too, so we do both. “Do you want to help kids who might be sick or who don’t have as many toys as you?”

Moffy nods almost instantly, faster than I would have as a kid. He straightens up, the steering wheel too high and far away from his small body. He fiddles with his shoelaces. “Is-is that…why the bug people follow us? Because we have lots of toys?”

Bug people.

My stomach knots.

Bug people—it’s what Jane and Moffy have started calling paparazzi, who hide behind cameras. They see the fat lenses and blinding flashes as an appendage like a nose or a mouth, unable to spot an actual face.

Connor said it was ironic. They dehumanize us, and our children are beginning to dehumanize them.

Moffy waits for my answer.

I’m stumped for a second. I’ve never considered myself good with kids. I never aspired to be a father—I never aspired to be much of anything. But I’ve tried.

I’ve tried damned hard to be a decent dad. No. A great dad. Because my kid deserves nothing less than that.

I can’t tell a toddler the truth: hey, little man, we’re famous because Mommy is an heiress to a soda empire and someone told the press about her sex addiction. And it gets worse. That “someone” happens to be your uncle’s mother. Surprise.

I drop my arm onto his shoulders. “You know why they follow us?” My voice is edged like usual. I can’t help that, but he listens intently, waiting. And I say, “Because they love you and they love your cousins and your mommy.” Every goddamn word hurts.

The paparazzi tormented Daisy, caused Lily to fear leaving her house, and profited off of more false stories than true ones. But I can’t have my kid soulfully, gut-wrenchingly hating something that I know will always be there. If he believes they do what they do out of love, then maybe he won’t grow up bitter and resentful.

Usually Maximoff is loud spoken, but he mumbles under his breath again, “I wish Janie was here.”

This was a gentleman’s golf tournament, which meant that we couldn’t bring any of the girls, not even Connor’s daughter. No one was more irate than Ryke and Rose when they heard the gender stipulation. I think my left ear is still blown out from their volcanic fits of rage.

Together, with more time, I actually believe they could’ve changed the event rules. Those two people are damn impressive.

In a few years, I might tell my son the truth here: hey, bud, girls weren’t allowed because some white-collared prick said so.

Right now, all I say is, “Me too, bud.” I scan the flat greenery, a memory sparking and inching my lips higher. I nudge his arm with mine. “You know me and Mommy used to tag along on golf trips with our dads?”

He perks up. “Really?”

“Really. We were only a little older than you.” Christ, how young we were. The long-ago memory with Lily gives me an idea. “Come here.” I scoop Maximoff in my arms and then set him on the grass. I have to retie his shoes since he undid the laces.

Then I sift in my golf bag for another club. I find a red mini-putter for toddlers. I’ve let him putt all of my balls, but we’re not close to the hole yet. I switch my driver with a much shorter club and then lead Moffy away from the golf cart, positioning him on the trimmed green.

“Alright, little man, that right there is your light saber.” I kneel in front of my son, still taller but at a much better height for him. “You hold it like this.” I grip the club like a fucking sword. “Maximoff Hale, do you want to be a Jedi Knight?”

“Yeah!” A smile envelops his face. He bounces and tries to whack my club with his, his laughter filling me whole. He’s seen enough Star Wars cartoons to know about Jedi Knights and light sabers.

I pretend to struggle. “Jesus Christ, he’s going to disarm me. Storm Troopers?!” I check over my shoulder, both Connor and Ryke watching us. “Storm Troopers,” I pant like I’ve been running ten miles. “We’ve got a relentless Jedi. You better attack him.” I wipe nonexistent sweat off my forehead as Moffy clanks his club against mine.

Connor grins, and Ryke cups his hands to his mouth, calling out, “Get him, Moffy!”

What a goddamn brother.

I love that guy.

Not long after, Moffy pokes me in the chest with his plastic club, and I fall off my knees to my back.

“He got me,” I pant. “He got me.”

Moffy jumps on my stomach, and I actually wince for real. He shouts, “Jedi Knights always win!”

I prop myself on my elbows and give him a look. “How’d you get so smart?”

“Mommy,” he says proudly.

I laugh once into a smile, choked up for a second. Just overwhelmed by my love for Lily, and she’s not even here.

I hold out my fist, and Moffy bumps my knuckles with his. Then I pick him up as I stand and toss him over my shoulder. Moffy giggles, and I slide him down so he’s perched on my waist. Just as I carry my son to my brother, my phone rings.

I set Moffy on his feet and check my phone, stepping back. I let my cell ring to voicemail.