He looked away. Maybe they would be, maybe they wouldn’t. Either way, Lily was his responsibility now. “I’d like to think so. I just want to make sure I do the right thing by her.”
“I’m sure you will.”
He didn’t miss the catch in her voice. “You can tell that I need help. I can’t see about Lily and be gone all the time.” He gestured helplessly. “You’ve already seen what it’s like for me.” Why did he feel the need to prove himself to this virtual stranger?
“I understand.” Somehow the sympathy in her voice made him feel better. Sara gave her complete attention to the wiggling child in front of her. “Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. All you can do is your best.”
What did she know about that? He liked the idea that in the end he might please his father by keeping Lily. To feel like for once his father was proud of him. His throat constricted. Surely he wasn’t looking for a dead man’s admiration. He would need to give that ugly idea additional thought.
“I have to change her.” Sara picked Lily up and headed out of the room.
If he didn’t get going he would be late to work. He wasn’t used to extra people in his world first thing in his morning. Not even women he dated were allowed to stay overnight at his apartment. Since his father’s death his life had been swirling out of control. He was responsible for a baby. Not just any baby but his sister. Now he had a perfect stranger sharing the same house as well.
* * *
Sara placed Lily in her baby swing, pleased the child was so easy to care for. If not for her fears of getting too close and the unpredictable Dr. Smythe, she might come to like this job. And that was what she was afraid of.
Then there were the moments...like last night when Grant had stood in the doorway half-naked in front of her as if that was all right, or when he’d left the house without a fare-thee-well this morning while she’d been upstairs with Lily that skirted close to arrogance. After all, they were strangers. His behavior made her question the wisdom of staying. Where did the man get off treating people the way he did? What had happened to common courtesy?
Once he returned she’d find out how long she was expected to stay and when she would be paid. She had to start looking for a place to live right away. Meanwhile, when she finished her job here she could decide if she wanted to return to hospice work or look for a different nursing position. Either way, she had her father to think about. Somehow she had to find him a nice safe home.
After lunch, Sara put Lily down for her nap. The child was a beauty. She looked like an angel sleeping. Sara walked away from the crib. Grant would have to find another nanny soon.
She went to the den she’d discovered at the back of the house. With its dark paneling, bookshelves, hardwood floors and overstuffed chairs and couch, it was a perfect place to curl up for some downtime. She settled into the corner of the couch, the baby monitor nearby and the TV on. It wasn’t long before her eyes slipped closed.
Heavy footsteps coming down the hall woke her, announcing that the doctor was home. She had just put her feet on the floor when he appeared in the doorway. From the entry, his look circled the room and came to rest on the desk. His expression was one she couldn’t quite put a name to but it came close to pain. He seemed to have forgotten that she was there. Where had his mind gone? After a few moments his attention focused on her.
“Let’s talk in the front room.” He didn’t give her time to answer before he turned and stalked back down the hallway.
What was wrong with him?
Dr. Smythe was pacing before the formal white brick fireplace when she entered the living room. As she sat on the edge of a chair, he turned and placed an arm on the mantel, looking down at her. Was he trying to intimidate her? It was too late for that.
He cleared his throat. “Again I want to apologize for the abrupt way I left yesterday but it couldn’t be helped.” There was a pause. He must have seen her skeptical lifted brows. “I had a patient waiting in the OR. I appreciate you coming to care for Lily on such short notice.”
“Dr. Smythe, Kim said you only needed me until something permanent could be arranged. How long do you think that will be?”
“Call me Grant. After all, we’ll be living in this house together...” he looked around with what she could only describe as disgust “...for a while. And I’m not sure how long I’ll need you.”
Living here longer than a few days? With him? Holding, feeding and caring for Lily? A breath caught in her throat. Panic filled her chest. She couldn’t get stuck doing this job. The greater the time she spent around Lily the more difficult it would be for her to let go. Sara was well aware of how she would react. It was her nature to get too close to people. And painfully aware of how difficult it was to give up a child.