Alex ends up walking straight into Henry’s back because what sane person stops dead in their tracks, in the middle of a foyer, with an armful of groceries. He just about to tell him off, when Henry claps his hand over Alex’s mouth. Not wanting to give up that easy, he licks the inside of his palm in retaliation. Henry grimaces but is still very admirably committed. He then cocks his head to the side and Alex follows it to what might be the most horrifying thing he has even seen in his entire life.
Two of his daughter’s friends, Quinn and Corry, are dressed up, in what can only be described as, Alex and Henry cosplay.
Quinn is wearing a tie, her hair is mostly tied up into a bun apart from her bangs which have been curled to vaguely resemble Alex’s, and their kid’s bisexual pride flag is tied around her neck like an extremely fruity cape. Corry, one the other hand, has a plastic crown perched on his head and is holding a teacup in one hand and a half-eaten packet of jaffa cakes in the other; which suspiciously looks very similar to the one in their pantry.
Right in the center of the couch is Catalina looking terrorized and to top it all off, their emails are being proudly displayed on the 64 inch flat screen TV. They knew Cat and her friends were going to be having a powerpoint night, because apparently that’s something kids do now, but they were very very unaware of the fact that their emails would play any part in it.
Alex and Henry came to an understanding that their kids would read them at some point. Their oldest, Julian, had seemed to have that rather formative coming-of-age experience when he couldn’t look either of them in the eye; sometime during the 9th grade. So far Catalina was untainted. Until now.
Quinn stands up and clears her voice. Cat looks like she trying to murder her with her eyes.
“His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Whatever,” she says with a god awful Texan accent. Corry cackles and Cat now looks like she is the one wanting to get murder. Quinn still doesn’t miss a beat and continues, “Don’t make me learn your actual title.”
“Isn’t his full name at the very least, a dozen syllables,” Corry quips.
“Anyways,” she cracks her knuckles “Are you going to be at the Paris fund-raiser for rainforest conservation this weekend? Alex. First son of your former colony.”
The screen then transitions to a slide showing a few pictures of Paris and a diagram of the carbon cycle, like their 16 year old daughter is unaware of either of those two things.
Henry is pale-faced and looks like he’s about to intervene, when Alex stops him because as to everyone’s dismay; he's sort of intrigued. It’s like a car crash, grotesque and blood-curding, but he just can’t look away. Then Corry stands, retrieves a jaffa cake from the packet and starts gesticulating at the screen with it.
“Alex, First Son of off-brand England,” his accent his surprisingly not too terrible “First, you should know how terribly inappropriate it is for you to intentionally botch my title. I could have you made into a royal settee cushion for that kind of lèse-majesté.”
“Wow, that is an image. Would that be consider human taxidermy?” Cat asks flatly.
“The word you’re looking for, darling, is embalming. And I would let you know, you are not to interrupt a prince.” At this comment Cat chucks a throw pillow at him. He dodges, the pillow gets launched directly into the very expensive TV. Ouch. “Fortunately for you, I do not think you would complement my sitting room decor.”
“I would definitely impact your feng shui.”
“Secondly, no. I will not be attending the Paris fund-rasier; I have a previous engagement. You shall have to find someone else to accost in a cloakroom.”
Catalina Fox-Claremont-Diaz very literally screams at this. It could be a track in a horror movie.
She also pulls her knees to her chest, so that she in the fetal position, and starts rocking back in forth muttering something that sounds like, ‘Jesus fucking christ. I know enough old rich white men and secret service agents to get these people offed. Would it be considered murder if they psychologically tortured me beforehand? Alex is a lawyer, I could claim self defence.”
Corry is laughing so hard he’s clutching his stomach. Quinn is unceremoniously spread out on the floor wheezing. While they’re catching their breaths Cat reaches over to the laptop and starts to open her powerpoint which is graciously titled: fuck, marry, kill (Classic American Authors), from the thumbnail Alex can make out Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Henry looks a mix of proud and scared.
“Oh come on,” Corry whines “we’ve only gotten one tenth of the way through.”
“I’ll let you proceed if you give me a jaffa cake.”
“Fine.” With quite incredible grace he throws the biscuits directly into her mouth. She hums seemingly satisfied for now. He continues right where he left off, “Regards, His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales” and fucking bows.
Still on the floor, Quinn reads, “Huge Raging Headache Prince Henry of Who Cares. It is amazing you can sit down to write emails with that gigantic royal stick up your ass.” Corry looks like he about to make a joke about said royal stick up someone’s ass, but Cat is now wielding an iphone and looks just as willing to throw it through his skull; he doesn’t say anything. “I seem to remember you really enjoying being ‘accosted.” There’s a groaning sound, she treks on, “Everyone there is going to be boring anyway. What are you doing? Alex, First Son of Hating Fund-raisers.”
Alex is feeling akin to a Former First Son of Hating Children-Raising at this moment in time.
“Remind me, why am I friends with you guys again?”
“Because you love us … and we were the only people who weren’t weird about your parents in school.”
“That seems to be getting challenged currently.”
“Fuck you. Now I need to get back in character,” to do this Corry starts preening through the books on the nearby shelf “Alex, First Son of Shirking responsibilities. A royal stick is formally known as a ‘spepter’. Blah Blah Blah green washed royal virtue signaling. This part is boring.”
“Thank god. You’re sparing me now.”
“Only from the neoliberal propaganda, babe. We need to hurry up to the interesting parts,” he waggles his eyebrows. Cat tilts her head back and lets out a deeply unsatisfied noise.
“Horrible Revolting Heir, It’s recently comes to my attention you’re not quite as boring as I thought. Sometimes. Namely when you’re doing the thing with your tongue.” Quinn barely had the time to stand up again before ducking back to the ground because a pillow is being flug at her face. Cat is bright red. Her friends look extremely entertained.
“Y’all do understand these are my dads right. They tucked me in at night. They drive me to school everyday. You’ll have to face their wraith if they ever find out about this.” It takes every last bit of willpower Alex has left not burst their bubble then and there. “How would you feel if I started writing erotica about your parents.”
“I wouldn’t mind if I got the commission and this is hardly eroctica. Some of it is kinda romantic. We’re almost done.” The British accent is back, “ Alex, First Son of Inappropriately Timed Emails When I’m in Early Morning Meetings: Are you trying to get fresh with me. Regards, Handsome Royal Heretic.”
Cat is full on sulking. Corry waves his hand in front of her face to check if she is still really there. She flips him off. Somehow there is even more pillow throwing. Quinn adjusts her tie.
“His Royal Horniess, If I were trying to get fresh with you, you would know it. For example: I’ve been thinking about your mouth on me all week, and I was hoping I’d see you in Paris so I could put it to use.” Everyone is very glad this is no diagrams for this section of the powerpoint.
“I might just euthanasia myself. It’s quicker than murder ploting.”
“One, euthanasia is not a verb. Two, this is truly a wonderful demonstration of the stages of grief.”
“If this is what bargaining looks like, I’m worried for the acceptance part” Corry says mouth half full. He is now eating the jaffa cakes.
“I was also thinking you might know how to pick French cheeses. Not my areas of expertise. Alex, First Son of Cheese Shopping and Blow-” Catalina slams the laptop shut at the same time Henry makes a pointed cough. The kids are now wearing the same expression Alex had when he first saw them.