“What do you mean? They’ve never been overseas?”
“Not even Luke?”
“What about Fiji?”
“No, that’s overseas.”
“They don’t even have passports. Never been on a plane.”
“Wait, so not even to Hayman? Or Hamilton Island?”
“Marley dear, if you don’t have a nanny and you don’t take the kids with you, then how do you travel?”
“We don’t Brita.”
“Well, Jason works long hours and never has time off-“
“They can always manage time of for Tuscany dear.” Linda was inspecting her perfect manicure as she spoke.
“What about before he sold his software thingy?”
“Well, Brita before that-“
“They couldn’t afford it dear.”
“Linda, that’s not it – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we just didn’t get round to it. Not since Luke was born. I suppose we didn’t want to travel with a baby, upset his routine.”
“Wow.” Brita was genuinely fascinated. “It makes so much sense now. I’ll show you a few websites where you can buy Italian. Since you can’t actually go there. Oh, and we can get your colours done! I have a great personal shopper, she put me in contact with this amazing colour consultant, Skye – ”
“Thanks Brita, I’m fine.”
Caroline’s high pitched chirp sang across the café. I was eternally grateful for the change of subject I knew was about to come – Caroline never can resist talking about something other than Caroline.
“Sorry I’m late girls. Just had to book Madison in for hair extensions. This dancing thing has absolutely taken over our house. She has her dress rehearsal in a few weeks, she’ll need a tan, eyelash extensions – Marley, where do you get Layla’s done?”
“What? I don’t”
“But her lashes are so long, that can’t be natural!”
“Caroline, it is! I don’t put lash extensions on my 6 month old!”
“Oh. So mascara then?”
“Huh…” She looked at me suspiciously. “Well, anyway. I have so much news!”
Linda took great pains to look bored by Caroline’s enthusiasm. “News or gossip?”
“Oh please. Like there’s a difference. You know you love gossip.” Linda rolled her eyes, but we all knew Caroline was right, and she herself was in too good a mood to let Linda slow down her storytelling.
“So. The Dance mums are driving me crazy. They’re all super jealous that Madison got the lead.”
“Really? They’re jealous of Madison? She’s only nine!”
“No dear, they’re jealous of me. But what can they expect? I put in the hard yards with that girl. I watch So You Think You Can Dance every week. Religiously.” The only thing Caroline was religious about was her Prosecco. “We sit and analyse the dancers, we listen to the commentary, and when she practices, I channel those judges and imagine what they would say to her. Those women can’t claim to be true dance mothers. It’s not all fake tans and hair extensions you know. They don’t even watch reality TV!”
The group nodded solemnly in agreement.
“Anyway. We’ve planned a morning tea to raise funds for the dance school. It’s tradition that the lead’s mother holds a high tea to raise money for the production. You all MUST come.”
“Oh, what can I bring? Can I get nanny to whip up some red velvet cupcakes? With cream cheese icing?”
“No dear. Prosecco please. Champagne if you’re strapped. Don’t bother with cupcakes. Kristen has that under control. Though I think we’ll hire a caterer this time. Poor dear has been exhausted lately. She’s had her cousin stay over a few times. He seems to be wearing her out.” The other ladies didn’t notice the glint in Caroline’s eye, and chatted excitedly about the upcoming tasks.
As they talked, I turned to Caroline and smiled.
“I have to know. She has a cousin?”
“Oh of course not. 21 year olds have a habit of thinking the real grown-ups are stupid. Some gorgeous life saver she met in Lower Snobsville. He’s – well, you should come around for coffee more often. First thing in the morning as he tries to climb out the window. Usually shirtless. Silly girl. Don’t know why she’d think I would object.”
I smiled. “Look at you with your cheshire cat grin. You’re so Snobsville Marley!”
“Yes, well. I suppose there’s a little inner gossip in all of us.”
“Yes dear. Buried under a mountain of perfect hair and a whole lot of champagne.”