Still, she had to protect herself. They weren’t in a permanent relationship. She was terrified that if she let go and opened her heart she’d be far more shattered than she could handle when they parted ways. She cared for Lily but Grant had pushed his way past her defenses and made her want him in and out of bed. She’d told herself it would just be for a while last night, and now she dared to wish for forever. But that wasn’t going to happen.
Finishing her packing, she joined him on the porch. The driver was there, placing Grant’s bag in the golf cart. She was relieved to have a buffer between her and Grant. At least they wouldn’t be alone again until they were home. Home. Grant’s father’s house wasn’t her home, even though technically she’d be the mistress of the household.
Grant glanced at her. She hated that disappointed look in his eyes.
The driver came up the steps for her bag and went down again. Grant started to follow but she grabbed his hand. “I’m sorry. I’m just tired.”
He smiled at her and squeezed her hand. “We didn’t get much sleep. Don’t worry, we’ll figure this out together.” He didn’t release her hand as they stepped onto the cart.
That was the first time Grant had implied that they were really a couple. She glanced back at the cottage. It had been a perfect night and morning. If only the real world was not just around two more turns.
Her father, Grant’s mother and the nanny, with Lily in her arms, were all waiting beside two limousines in front of the lodge. They were all smiles and Sara managed to plaster one on as well. Grant helped her out of the cart.
Grant’s mother came forward to hug and air kiss him. Grant shook hands with Sara’s father.
“Nice to have you as part of the family,” her father said.
Sara winced. With each day that went by it would be harder to explain this to her father. Grant turned to his mother. “I wish we had more time, Mother, but our plane leaves at eleven so we need to be going.”
“I know. I’ll see you again soon.”
Sara stepped toward her. “Thank you, Ms. Smythe, everything was lovely.”
“It was a beautiful wedding, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was,” Sara agreed. If she and Grant had loved each other it would have been perfect.
“We have to go.” Grant ushered her to the front car while her father and the nanny took the other one.
When they were settled beside each other and the car was moving down the drive Sara asked, “Why aren’t my father and Lily riding with us?”
“I guess my mother thought we might want a few more moments alone.”
Sara didn’t comment on that.
Grant put his arm around her shoulders and she laid her head back. As conflicted as her emotions were, the feel of Grant’s strong chest beneath her cheek made her feel secure.
“Try to get some sleep on the way to the airport. We’ll be back to dealing with Lily after that.”
* * *
“Sara...” Grant’s voice woke her. “We’re at the terminal.” She’d slept the entire drive in his arms. What would it be like to do that always? She couldn’t think that way. It wasn’t healthy for her, Grant or Lily. She wouldn’t think about that. Instead, she’d concentrate on enjoying the now and deal with the future when it came.
They arrived home close to Lily’s bedtime. Grant had stopped on the way from the airport to pick up takeout for dinner. They sat around the table. Everyone she loved most in the world was there, with the exception of her father, who they had dropped off at his house.
Loved. She looked at Grant. She did love him. Why had she let that happen? Because she’d had no choice. Grant hadn’t given her one.
She left the table, using the excuse of putting Lily to bed.
“I’ll be along to help after I clean up here.” Grant pushed back his chair.
“I can take care of Lily. I’m sure you need to check in at the hospital.”
Grant studied her for a long moment then nodded. Did he understand that she needed some time to herself?
* * *
Grant wasn’t sure what had happened at the dinner table but something wasn’t right with Sara. He’d known the convenient marriage idea would be difficult for both of them but he hadn’t had another solution. He had pulled Sara in further than he’d intended and now he was having a hard time keeping emotional distance. In fact, he wasn’t going to let her run from him.