“Sounds wonderful. I’m going to wash up and be right back down.” He was out the door before she could mention she wanted to talk to him. She would do that after he ate.
Sara was just finishing the eggs when he returned. “Have a seat. Food’s coming up.”
He pulled a chair out from the table, sat, and stretched out his long legs, crossing his ankles before leaning back with his arms crossed on his chest. His gaze remained on her as she worked. A zing of awareness went through her.
Conscious of his attention as she brought his meal to him, her heart beat faster. He pulled his legs in and sat straighter when she reached him. He was a handsome man but, more importantly, she liked him. Grant was a man who had taken his baby sister in, a man who suffered for a patient and a man who could laugh at himself. He was someone she could enjoy being around for a long time. That was not a place she needed to go.
“Thank you. This is a nice treat.”
“Not a problem. Do you mind if I sit with you while you eat?”
“Of course not.”
Sara took a chair catty-corner to his. She watched as he forked food into his mouth and chewed then swallowed. That mouth had kissed her the night before. She resettled herself in the chair.
“Okay, Sara, what’s going on? I know it isn’t about Lily because you would have already told me.”
“I’m nervous about this wedding business. Are you sure you want to go through with it? It would take me awhile but I would pay you back. I would honor our business agreement.”
* * *
Sara’s statement hurt. They did have an arrangement but some part of Grant wished it could be more. Less matter-of-fact. It was like she’d turned off any emotion. She acted as if they were strangers who had never shared a kiss that had seared him to the soul. No matter how she argued they were strangers, he knew better.
“I can’t stand lying to all the people closest to us.”
He put a hand over hers, which rested on the table. Thankfully she didn’t pull away. “We’ll make it up to all of them after I have custody. I promise. I’ll make sure that your father understands that I insisted it be this way.”
Sara looked overwhelmed.
“Mother will have everything handled. The movers will see to your father. Hang in there with me.”
She nodded and removed her hand from under his, then stood. “Get some rest, Grant. I worry about you working so hard. Good night.”
Sara worried about him? When was the last time anyone had done that?
An hour later he was finishing up some work in his father’s office. Really, it was his now. The thought didn’t bring the pain he expected. It was slowly ebbing away. In its place was the dull throb of disappointment that he’d never have the chance for that true father/son relationship. What he would have to do now was build a solid father/daughter one with Lily. Based on the example he’d seen, could he? He would try. At least he knew what not to do.
As for he and Sara, he had no idea. She fenced herself away any time he came too close. If he created an entrance and stepped in, would she expect more than he was willing to give? Their kisses, which had been far too short for him, had confirmed in firework brilliance that there could be something exciting between them. When she’d stepped into his arms and he’d brought her close, the thought that this was how it should be had crossed his mind. Sara belonged with him and Lily. At least for the time being. They needed her. In more ways than one.
His work completed, Grant wandered through to the kitchen. Pulling out the ice cream, he scooped some into a bowl. Returning the container to the freezer, he took his bowl to the table.
A movement in the pool caught his attention. Sara was swimming, doing long lazy laps from one end to the other. The night was still cool but the pool was heated and steam rose around her. It gave her a mystical appeal.
He watched her as he ate. It wasn’t safe to swim by yourself so it was his duty to be her lifeguard. At least, that was the excuse he gave himself. After all, hadn’t he caught her looking at him when he’d been bathing Lily? It was only fair.
Finishing his ice cream, he placed the bowl in the sink. He couldn’t help but walk to the pool. Sara was just coming up the steps out of the water when he stepped on the swim deck.
She jerked to attention. “Ooh. You scared me.”
Just as lovely as ever. She wore a simple one-piece swimsuit that defined her curves to their best advantage.
“I didn’t mean to.” Grant couldn’t help but stare. If he didn’t know better he’d say he was starting to act like a lovesick puppy. “I came to the kitchen to get some ice cream and saw movement out here.” He’d never admit to watching her for as long as he had.