Sara laughed out loud at his rant. “I tried to tell you.” When was the last time she had truly laughed? It was nice. Freeing. “Lily and I will wait over here on the steps while you put your expensive education to work.”
“Thanks a lot. The least you could do is offer to help.”
She made a move as if to hand Lily to him. “Do you want me to?”
Grant squared his shoulders. “And strip me of my manhood? Strapping in a car seat is the twenty-first-century equivalent of bringing home the meat.”
Laughing and still holding Lily, she made her way to the stoop to wait. Based on the first few meetings with Grant she wouldn’t have thought he could be so much fun. It didn’t take as long as she’d have imagined for him to get the seat in place. He did struggle some and said a few expletives that could burn a roof but the seat was finally secured.
“My hero,” Sara murmured as she placed Lily in the seat.
He glanced at her. “I heard that.”
They were headed down the drive when he asked, “Which way?”
He made a right. “So tell me about your dad,” Grant said as he made the turn.
“Well, he likes to read, work crossword puzzles and loves sports. He worked at a machine shop until he was hurt.”
“So what have you told him about us?”
Was there really an us? A marriage in name only didn’t constitute an us. “Just that we are getting married. Thankfully I didn’t have to explain much because he was so concerned about us having to move he didn’t ask many questions, but he will. I did say it was love at first sight.”
“And when he finds out the truth about the marriage?”
“He won’t like it but he’ll understand. He’s my greatest supporter.”
“That must have been a nice way to grow up.” His voice took on a regretful note.
The need to comfort him was strong but she wasn’t sure he would accept it. “It was. I’m sorry about what happened between you and your dad.”
With a shrug of a shoulder he muttered, “I’ve learned to move on.”
She was confident he hadn’t. It was much too raw when he talked about his father. Maybe it was best to change the subject. “So tell me about Lily’s mother. I saw her portrait over the mantel. She was beautiful and obviously much younger than your father.”
“She was. By twenty-five years.”
“Interesting. Where does a man meets someone so much younger than him?”
“When his son brings her home. Evelyn was my girlfriend.”
“Oh.” That was where the bitterness toward his father came from.
“Exactly.” He made the word sound like a piece of tile breaking.
“No wonder you’ve had such a hard time warming to Lily.” She paused then added, “And they left Lily to you?”
“Not exactly. They didn’t have time to make out a new will. I got her because there was no one else to take her.”
“So why’re you going to such lengths to keep her? Marrying someone you don’t know and buying a house? If the aunt and uncle are nice, maybe letting them adopt her would be best. You could always visit.” The second she’d said the words she knew she was wrong. That hadn’t worked out for her. She still missed Emily. She’d only been the surrogate mother, but that didn’t matter. Would Grant feel the same regret she did if he gave up Lily?
“Lily belongs with me. I’m her brother, her family.” His tone permitted no argument.
They lapsed into silence, broken only by her giving directions.
* * *
Grant had no idea why he’d told Sara about Evelyn. He hadn’t confessed that humiliation to anyone. What power did this woman have over him that he said and did things so out of character? What made him think she was any different than Evelyn?
Sara indicated an apartment complex entrance and he pulled in. She pointed right to the parking lot in front of a building. He drove into a slot.
As Sara unbuckled her seat-belt, ready to step out of the car, she said, “I’ll get Lily. You take out the stroller and grab the diaper bag.”
“Hold on a minute.”
Sara gave him a questioning look.
“I’ve been thinking that we might need to act like we’re in love in front of your father. You know, the typical touching and kissing that he would expect from a couple who’s so eager to get married.” If it had been any other situation Grant would have laughed at the horrified look on Sara’s face. “Come on, Sara. The idea can’t be that bad.”