“Why? The room fits you. Right down to the desk.”
Grant turned. He handed her the check then walked over to look at the bookshelf but at no book in particular. “This is where my father always called me on the carpet, so to speak.”
“Ah, I can see why it might not be your favorite room, then.”
“I was never good enough for him. My grades, girls I dated, the fact that I sided with my mother in the divorce, and the list goes on. Have you noticed that there are no pictures of me or my brother anywhere in this house? Particularly in here, his inner sanctum.” The words sounded bitter even to his ears.
“I didn’t know you had a brother.”
“Exactly. In this house...” he waved at the structure “...we don’t exist. He wiped us out of his life. Or at least let Evelyn do it.” Shaking his head, he concluded, “It doesn’t matter.”
“I think it does.” Sara came to stand beside him. Her hand rested on his arm for a second and was gone. That brief touch eased the tension in his shoulders a fraction. Trying to ignore that surprising effect, he almost missed her question.
“So where’s your brother?”
“He lives in some commune out west. I see him about once a year.”
“I always wanted a sibling.” She moved away. “At least you still have your mother and him.”
Grant missed her being close. He frowned. “Do you know why your mother left?”
Sara had her back to him. “No. My father was still at work when she decided to go. What she didn’t know was that he had to work overtime that day. It was late when he got home.” She fiddled with a statue of a golfer on the end table.
“So that’s why you don’t like staying by yourself.” Inexplicably angry, he growled, “She shouldn’t have done that.”
“I know. Leaving was bad enough but to leave me alone was worse.”
“Parents just have no idea sometimes what they are doing to their children.”
She paused a moment then said, “Well, we’re certainly a dysfunctional pair to be caring for a baby.”
For some reason Grant didn’t mind being classed with Sara. She made it all seem doable. “I would say we are. But Lily is going to have a better upbringing than I did.”
* * *
Later that evening Leon called to ask Grant to join him for a golf game on Saturday. Grant had to turn him down because of his obligation to care for Lily.
“So, have you made up your mind about a wife?” Leon asked.
“This isn’t something that you can drag your feet about. The sooner you look like a stable family man the better.”
“What am I supposed to do? Run out and just ask someone off the street to marry me?”
“Come on, Grant. I’ve never known you not to be able to find a woman when you wanted one.”
“For heaven’s sake, Leon. We’re talking about me getting married here.”
“I know. But we’re also talk about winning Lily’s custody case. They go hand in hand.”
Grant sighed. “I do have someone in mind.”
He spent the next few hours going through some of his father’s belongings and thinking about his conversation with Leon. He had to do something soon about securing a wife. He headed for the kitchen. Sara was there, preparing bottles for the next day. She already looked like the woman of the house as she worked efficiently. In fact, he couldn’t imagine a better one. Sara was great with Lily. Kept the house organized and running smoothly. Despite a couple of confrontational words between them, they got along rather well.
Maybe they could work out a deal...
SARA TURNED TO find Grant watching her from the door. Was something wrong? When she’d left him in the study he’d been a bit gloomy but otherwise fine. Now there was an odd look on his face, as if he was debating whether or not to say something.
“Sara, could you come and sit down for a minute?” He moved toward the table.
Trepidation grew in her. What could be going on? She wiped her hands on a dish towel and joined him.
He looked at her intently and finally asked, “Do you have a place to move to tomorrow?”
Whoa, she hadn’t expected that question. What had brought that on all of a sudden? She’d told him briefly about being evicted but he’d said nothing more until now. She hated this subject. It made her sound like she couldn’t handle her life. Still, she needed to answer honestly. “No. We’re going to a motel until I have a chance to find one.”