“She’s a pretty thing. Any chance I can hold her? I’ve always wanted a granddaughter,” Harold said.
Grant didn’t miss Sara’s wince. What had caused that?
“Let’s go in, Dad. You need to get off that leg and I need to get started with the packing.”
They walked toward a ground-level apartment. Sara pushed the door, already open, wider. Grant let her father enter first and then pushed Lily through in her stroller.
The apartment wasn’t large but despite the packing boxes he could tell it had been orderly and well kept.
“Grant, have a seat.” Harold indicated the sofa. Boxes were stacked here and there around the room.
The furniture looked comfortable but worn. Parking Lily beside it, Grant sat and Sara’s father took a seat in a recliner nearby.
“Dad, I told you I’d take care of the packing when I got here.”
“I know, baby girl, but I’m not an invalid. A nice couple was moving in down the way and they gave me their boxes.”
“Okay, I’m going to take a couple to my room and put some things in them that I’m particular about.” Sara headed down a short hallway. “Anything you missed that you’d like me to box up for you?”
“I have my personal stuff packed and marked. The other is to be stored.”
“Can I help you?” Grant asked.
“I’ve got it for now.” Sara looked from her father to Grant and back again with concern in her eyes before she left. She must be worried about Harold’s reaction to their marriage.
“Grant, I appreciate you giving me a place to stay on such short notice.”
“Not a problem,” Grant assured Harold.
“So, you take in people all the time?” Harold didn’t pull any punches.
Something told Grant that the older man saw more than he let on. “Sara told me about you having to move out. I have plenty of room. I take care of my family. She and you are that now.”
Harold nodded his head sagely. This man wasn’t being fooled.
“Sara says you’re a surgeon.”
Now, this was a subject Grant could warm to. “I am. I do liver transplants.”
“Keep you away from the house at night?”
Grant resisted the urge to squirm. What was Harold getting at? “It can. Why?”
“Sara isn’t a fan of staying by herself at night. She shouldn’t be alone in that great big house she’s been telling me about. Now I can keep her company.”
“Daddy!” Sara’s voice was high with reprimand as she came into the room with a box in her hands. “I’ve been just fine. Don’t be giving Grant a hard time.”
Why hadn’t she said something about being afraid? After her story about her mother he knew she didn’t like being alone, but he should have guessed that there was fear there. He wasn’t surprised the lights were ablaze when he came home at night. Not once had she let on she was scared.
He met Sara’s eyes. “I’ve not been home a few nights but I promise I’ll try to do better.”
Harold nodded. “How about me getting my hands on that cute little girl?”
Sara lifted Lily out of the stroller and placed her in Harold’s arms. He smiled down at Lily and bounced her up and down before giving his daughter a hard look. “You make sure the next one of these you have you keep. I need all the grandchildren I can get.”
Sara has a child?
A stricken look came over her face. She looked away. “Daddy, point out where the boxes are that you want to take to the house so I’ll know which ones to tell the movers about.”
“The ones in the hall.”
Sara went to them and marked them with a large black pen. Over the next hour she worked while Grant assisted when she would let him.
Harold brought up the subject of sports and he and Grant had a heated back and forth about a new baseball player in town. At noon they all shared a simple meal Grant had ordered in.
Soon afterward the movers arrived. Grant directed them to the boxes Sara had marked. Not long afterwards he said, “I think we need to get out of here. We’re just in the way.”
“I have a few more things to see about in the kitchen. Why don’t you change Lily and I’ll tell Dad we’re ready to go.”
Grant wasn’t excited about the prospect of the chore but he’d promised to do his part if she brought him along. With Lily in his arms, he went to the living room to fetch the diaper bag.