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FOURTEEN
Joe found Beth and Brian, clad in their pajamas, sitting on the king-sized braiding the strands of red flowers Joe had brought up to their room into garlands. Brian’s attention on his weaving was so unwavering that he startled slightly when his father sat on the far corner of the bed to more easily access the large suitcase that lay unopened on the floor.

“Look, Pabbi,” Brian declared as he plucked Mr. Velveteen from his lap and hoisted him into the air, “I make crown for Mr. Velveteen!”

“It makes him look positively regal,” Joseph declared. “A crown fit for Sveinn Björnsson!”

“Who?” Beth asked.

Joe sighed, shaking his head. “The last king and first Prime Minister in Iceland? Goodness, don’t they teach you children anything in school anymore?” he asked with a wry smile.

“Nothing important, that’s for sure,” Beth said with a wink. “Heck,” she added, “I’m studying chronologically as I go. I didn’t even know the Defense of Iceland was the US’s first military operation of World War Two and that we did it five months prior to Pearl Harbor before I moved here.”

“Your country is quite parochial in many ways,” Joe replied, his eyebrow raised in droll disapproval. “And what is this ‘we?’ Are you royal too?”

“Funny. Still an American, though I am making progress on that dual citizenship thing now that it’s an option.”

“And making very good progress,” he replied. “Now, I’m a bit confused. Are we going to breakfast, because I for one am rather hungry?”

“Well, yeah,” Beth replied, brow knit, “why would you have to ask?”

“Because you’re wearing pajamas?”

She laughed. “We’re coming back up to sleep after we eat; why wouldn’t we go to breakfast in our PJs? Get dressed and we’ll head downstairs.”

“You expect me to go to the hotel lobby in my- what did you call them? -my ‘PJ’s?’ Is this some Puerto Vallarta fashion trend?”

“Hey, lighten up,” she said, tossing him a garland of flowers for his head. “And hurry up! We’re hungry, right Bry?”

“I hungry,” Brian concurred.

“And sleepy?” Joe asked, sighing and shaking his head as he grabbed pajamas from his suitcase.

“No,” Brian said emphatically mimicking his father’s head shake, “I no nap.”

“Wonderful,” Joe said, slipping into the pajamas and grabbing flipflops for his feet. “This could be interesting,” he said with a sigh before adamantly adding, “I’m wearing a robe!”

“Well, yeah!” Beth said, “If we’re wearing crowns on our heads it’s only appropriate that we wear robes too.”

“‘Robe too?’ I’m afraid our own little Robespierre here may be leading his own Reign of Terror when we try to get him to nap after breakfast,” Joe declared, gently tackling his son and rolling with him on the bed.