“Babe… have you talked to Esthie about her timeline for moving out?” Xavier Rivas asks his wife, careful not to make it seem to Isobel that he’s dying for his sister in law to move out. He is laying in bed wearing navy pajama pants with his bare feet hang off the edge of their bed while he reviews their family finances on his laptop. The reclaimed wood headboard behind his white pillow goes all the way up to the ceiling, with mason jar lighting fixtures on either side of the bed. The walls are painted sage green and the room remains otherwise empty, aside from their rustic gray nightstands and the wicker hamper Iso tosses her broccoli-stained denim shirt into.
“I don’t wanna talk about my sister right now, Babe,” she says before taking a sip of the red wine that Xavier had just poured for her on the nightstand. “But don’t let that stop you from telling me everything Dominick said at lunch today.”
Xavier laughs, spilling some of his red wine onto his small patch of chest hair. “Dude, your sister’s still obsessed with him, I don’t know why she doesn’t just figure out whatever she needs to figure out already.”
“Well, what does he think they need to figure out?” she asks.
“Bro, he’s not the one that woke up one day, dyed his hair purple and moved out on her after four years together. She’s the one that needs to figure things out.”
Annoyed by her husband’s oversimplification of the situation, Isobel rolls her eyes and takes another sip of her wine, one of the few indulgences she allows herself on weeknights. She likes having Esthie around so much that, for the moment, she’s willing to overlook the fact that he has a point. Their parents, retired college professors, visit often from their home in Naples, but she misses having them around and Esthie helps fill that void. Feeling exhausted from her day and not quite ready for her shower, Iso cuddles up to Xavier while he works on his spreadsheets.
Looking over his college loan payoff schedule, Xavier is trying to figure out how to make room in his young family’s monthly budget for the kids’ college funds. If somebody had told him when he was a senior in high school that he’d be contributing to four college tuitions while still in his twenties, he probably wouldn’t have went to college in the first place. The whole thing feels like a scam to him, but he wants his kids to have all the opportunities he had.
He runs his hand through his salt and pepper hair then rubs his brown eyes, which are swollen from lack of sleep. Xavier puts his arm around his wife and breathes in the sweet, calming energy that made him fall for her during their freshman year of college, when he would lay in bed with her all day ordering takeout and binge watching tv shows.
These days, Xavier feels lucky to get one full night’s sleep in a month. His career in luxury real estate requires a lot of networking and between that and his growing household, he’s happy when he’s able to unwind after a long day. Feeling like he can’t make sense of numbers anymore, he closes the spreadsheets and opens a listing for a sailboat he had bookmarked earlier that day. Xavier always dreamed of raising his family in Coconut Grove with aspirations of teaching his kids how to sail just down the road from their home.
“Check this out. This guy’s only asking a few grand. Tell me that’s not a beautiful boat.” Xavier flashes her a smile, hoping to bring her along on this journey.
“It’s gorgeous,” she says. “The only problem is that my kids aren’t getting on a boat without learning how to swim first,” she flashes a toothy smile back at him. “Just sayin’.”
“So that’ll be a few grand, plus…” Xavier look at his wife for an estimate. Iso places her wine glass on the nightstand and grabs the laptop. She searches for children’s swimming lessons in Miami and shows him the pricing.
Xavier laughs. “So I need to sell about a million dollars in real estate next year to make this happen, is what you’re saying.”
“Basically,” Isobel says. She kisses him on the side of the lips, making her way into their bathroom with her wine and bluetooth speaker, tossing her bra into the laundry basket on the way.
As soon as Xavier hears her turn on the shower, he closes the laptop he pulls his phone off the charger. He knows Iso would be upset if she finds out who he’s texting, but he can’t help himself.