With a minimum of fuss, he had Lily fed but the dishes were piled in the sink. Powdered formula was all over one counter and a section of the floor. His paperwork was spread out on the table, and Lily’s seat still sat on the table. Whenever he’d tried to clean up, she had required his attention. Now she was changed and happily lying on a blanket on the floor beside him in his father’s study.
The place was slowly becoming a place that Grant could tolerate. He was making it his own. The command his father had held over him was gradually ebbing away. Those days and ugly words would forever be with him but he now sat in his father’s chair and held the authority. Grant looked at Lily. He would prove himself worthy. “I promise you’ll always feel loved and supported.”
Why couldn’t his father have done that for him? What had happened to make his father be so hard on him? It was as if he’d expected perfection but only by his standards. Grant hadn’t been able to give him that. What had driven his father? Grant had never questioned before that something might have been behind his father’s expectations. He would have to give that some thought.
Sara called in the middle of the day to check on them.
“We’re doing just fine.” He spoke in a low voice.
“Why’re you whispering? Is something wrong?”
She didn’t think he could handle this. No, it was concern, not criticism. Sara would have never left Lily if she hadn’t thought he would take good care of her. “We’re just fine. Don’t worry about us.”
“Okay.” She didn’t sound convinced. “Do you want me to bring dinner?”
Dinner. He hadn’t thought about eating lunch, much less dinner. “Sure.” It sounded almost too casual to his own ears. He was afraid that if she didn’t buy takeout he wouldn’t get a meal. He certainly wasn’t going to prepare one himself. “Get whatever you want.”
“All right. Dad and I will see you in a few hours.”
From what he could tell, he owed Sara thousands of dollars for what she did each day.
For some reason Lily was fretful again that afternoon. Grant went through every maneuver he could think of to make her happy. He did what he had done that morning, along with pacing the foyer floor and jiggling her.
“Hush, sweetie,” he murmured as he held her close to his chest.
Nothing seemed to help. It hurt him to hear her cries of misery. Exhausted, he finally sat on the living-room couch, stretched out his legs, leaned his head back on the cushions, placed Lily belly to belly with him and rubbed her back. She made one last whimper and went to sleep. He joined her.
They were still in that position when Sara came home.
“So how did it go?” she asked with a grin as she looked down at them with a knowing gleam in her eyes.
“You can get an idea of how it went by looking at us. She was unhappy after eating, for some reason.”
“She may just have a little bit of a bellyache.”
He moved to sit straighter. “It didn’t seem like a little bit when she was fussing for an hour.”
Sara shrugged. “Sometimes that happens.”
“You have her all the time. By the way, I applaud you for what you do.” Grant caressed Lily’s back.
Sara chuckled. “Babies can be overwhelming.”
“That they can be.” He gathered the still sleeping Lily into his arms and placed a kiss on the top of her head. “But I still enjoyed the me-and-her time. So how did the house-hunting go?”
“Pretty well. We found one that Dad and I both like.”
“When you decide on one, let me know and I’ll have Leon take care of the purchase.”
“Thanks for talking to Dad. He seemed to be okay with us getting married so soon. You really sold him on the idea of love at first sight. I still don’t like lying to him, though.”
“He’s a smart man. He’ll understand.”
“I think you’ve done enough nannying for the day so why don’t you let me have Lily and I’ll put her to bed?” Sara reached down to take her.
Grant caught her hand and caressed the inside of her wrist. “We missed you today.”
She frowned down at their clasped hands. “Grant, we shouldn’t—”
His cell rang. She took Lily then he dug into his pocket for his phone.
“Smythe. Yes. Yes. I’m on my way.” He stood.
“I know. You’re needed at the hospital.” She made it a statement instead of a question.