A whirl of activity surrounded them. Clarisse jumped up and hugged first Grant and then Sara before she hurried away, saying something about seeing to the reception. Harold kissed his daughter and shook Grant’s hand. The nanny hovered nearby. Lily was making happy sounds. Sara stepped over and took Lily. Leon and Kim both offered their congratulations. A photographer continually clicked her camera. After a few minutes Grant took Lily from Sara and handed her back to the nanny.
“I can take care of her now,” Sara protested.
He said, loud enough for the others to hear, “I know you can but I’d like a few moments alone with my bride.”
Everyone, including the pastor, took the not-so-subtle hint and left, leaving him and Sara at the altar. Grant clasped her hand and led her to the nearest pew.
“I, for one, would like to sit. I’ve not been so scared since I opened my first patient.” He took a seat and she joined him.
Sara giggled. The sound carried like music in the chapel. The tension she’d worn on her face for the last two days had disappeared.
He cleared his throat, ordering his thoughts. “I know this was more than you bargained for when you took the nanny job, Sara. But I do want you to know what a beautiful bride you are. Thank you for your sacrifice.”
She gave him a small smile. “I’m not sure it’s any more than yours.”
“Well, that’s what we need to do, get into an argument before we leave the church.”
“Okay, no argument.” She craned her neck, leaving a long delicious amount of skin to tempt him. “This is the most beautiful place for a wedding.”
“I can’t take any credit for that. My mother saw to everything.”
She looked at him again. “Even the rings?”
He gave her a sheepish grin. “Well, not everything.”
Sara looked at her left hand. “You made a beautiful choice. I’ll enjoy wearing it. Of course, I’ll return it when this is all over.”
Grant felt like he’d been hit without seeing it coming. Over? “It’s yours to keep. It’s a gift.”
He didn’t want to have this conversation. “Enough about all that. I think we have a brunch to attend.”
Grant helped her stand and they walked out hand in hand. A cart decorated in white ribbons and bells awaited them. They returned to the lodge where everyone was gathered to greet them.
A buffet of breakfast food was laid out. Grant noted that Sara ate little but she seemed more talkative and happy than she’d been the day before. The situation wasn’t ideal but at least she wasn’t miserable. It wasn’t what he wanted from her but for now it was enough.
His mother came over to speak to them. “I know there isn’t any time for a honeymoon right now because of Grant’s schedule, but I made arrangements for you to use the honeymoon cottage this afternoon and tonight.”
She flitted away again.
“We hadn’t planned on that,” Sara whispered.
No they hadn’t discussed the honeymoon but he liked the idea of one. Sara to himself without her caring for Lily or concerned about her father. Maybe they could get to know each other better. He refused to let his thoughts go any further.
“I don’t know about you but I could use some peace and quiet, and a nap.”
She smiled. “You sure know how to show a girl a good time.”
He liked having the real Sara back. And he’d love to show her a good time. But he couldn’t push. No doubt she would run if he did.
Kim approached. “I’m going to say goodbye now. Leon’s going to take me to catch my plane. His leaves soon after mine. I’ll see you soon.” She and Sara hugged. “Bye, Mrs. Smythe.”
“Mrs. Smythe,” Sara whispered. “Sara Smythe.”
“Do you like it?”
“Sort of makes me sound important.”
Grant leaned close enough that his nose brushed her silky hair. “You are important to Lily and me.”
“I just hope I don’t disappoint you.”
He took her hand. “You couldn’t do that. Let’s get out of here and go take that nap.”
* * *
Once again Sara was enchanted by what would be her accommodations for the night. The honeymoon cottage was situated a half a mile from any of the other structures. It faced a pond with a stand of cattails at one end and a swing in front of the cottage. It resembled the one she and her father had stayed in but with white gingerbread trimming on the porch, matching the white of the wood siding. Trees surrounded it on three sides, giving it shade from the noonday sun and a sense of privacy.