It's Another Bonus

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A storm was brewing. A tornado, maybe a blizzard. A typhoon! No, Richard thought. It can't be. It's... it's...

"Cotton candy!"

The clown dancing by the pool hopped and hummed, passing around cones of pink and blue clouds to each child in sight. A school of them flocked to retrieve their dose of sugary delight, and it made Richard smile, even if he wasn't much of a fan of children's parties, or clowns. But the adult menu helped.

"Last week it was ballet, now she's telling me that she wants to take swimming lessons. I don't think I can keep up with her," Rose explained, sipping on a glass of white wine. "I only have two feet."

"Well, that's what Kit is for!" Mia pointed out. "To have more feet."

Kit shook his head. "I'm busy with football. Apparently I'm a football dad now. Soccer mum is what they call it across the pond, yeah? Football dad, then. That's what I've become."

"A grand title," Richard said. "Or football father. Sounds more poetic."

"Sounds like I'm fifty years old."

The round, wooden table was full of empty bottles, cans, and plates. It was different from the rest that were plastic, adorned with pink table cloths and gold stars. Miniature versions were scattered around, and chairs of similar sizes had been knocked over, either by the summer wind, or by clumsy little feet. The latter was the most probable.

"Waaah!" a young girl cried.

She was running towards the adult table, her brunette pigtails bouncing with each small step. Her cheeks and nose were red, tears running down her face. The cotton candy she had been handed a few moments prior was gone, nowhere to be seen. She bawled harder when she reached the group.

"Waaah!" she cried again. She was looking up at Rose, huffing and puffing as her sobs became heavy. "Au-Au-Auntie!"

"I didn't do nothing!" an older boy shouted from afar.

Rose pursed her lips together and sent him a glare. "Christopher, later." She scooted her chair back and picked up the toddler, rocking her back and forth. "Eloise, what happened?"

"Chw-Chwisper said my daddy not pwince!" she wailed. She faced Richard. "You pwince, wight, daddy?"

Richard laughed and stood up, taking his daughter into his own arms and cradling her, like how he used to when she was a baby. Though she was three already, he still saw her that way. His baby, the one who was growing up too fast.

He kissed her forehead and fixed the wrinkled skirt of her yellow dress. "Of course I am, love. And you're my princess."

"Guess who watched Cinderella for the first time the other day," Mia told Rose and Kit. "You should've seen her face when Richard popped up on screen. Completely mesmerized!"

Richard carried her away to a quiet corner, far from the crowd of noisy kids. Placing her down on the grass, he crouched to her level and wiped her wet face his hands, soothing her breathy hiccups.

"Shhh. It's okay, love. Christopher was only kidding. He didn't mean it," Richard whispered. "What happened to your cotton candy?"

Eloise sat on the ground, her chin low and grave. She was opening her palm at a pulsating rate, the sticky remnants of pink sugar caught between her fingers. Suddenly she looked up at her father.

"Clown scawy. I dwop it."

"Clowns scare me, too," Richard chuckled. "Do you want Daddy to get you another one?"

Take Me Away | Richard Madden [Completed; Editing]Where stories live. Discover now