When the three of them were finally all in his truck together, Jordan asked, "How old were you when you learned to knit?"
More glad than she could ever say to have Calvin's sister as a buffer between them, Sarah said, "I couldn't have been more than four or five." There hadn't been any formal training, just years of sitting at her mother's and grandmother's knees, of being like any normal girl and wanting to do what they did.
Until the day she realized she wasn't like them, that she didn't fit in, that she wasn't girlie enough or good enough with her hands. She was good with numbers and logic. She wasn't soft and small and rounded. She was tall and lean and dark like her father.
"Sarah made me a scarf once."
She had to laugh as she said, "It was quite a Christmas present, wasn't it? Full of holes and pretty much the most putrid green yarn ever made."
He laughed too, with so much warmth that it stole through her, head to toe. "Actually, it was one of the best presents I ever got."
Deep, raw emotion was zinging through Sarah--just as it had the night before, and then this morning in Calvin's arms--when Jordan said, "So you weren't always really good at it?"
Sarah suddenly wondered if Jordan was asking her these questions because she didn't feel like she was good enough at something, or wasn't confident that she could learn how to get something right.
Boy, she was certainly coming to the right person for that.
"Honestly, I'm still not really good at it." Sarah shifted as far as she could beneath her seat belt to meet Jordan's eyes. "But if I wanted to, with enough practice and dedication and focus, I know I could get really good."
"So, the only reason you're not good at knitting is because you don't want to be good at it?"
It was the craziest thing, but she found herself saying, "You want to know the truth?" Calvin's eyes were still on the dark road, but Sarah could feel his focus on her now too, as both he and his sister waited for her answer. "I'm not good at knitting because I quit too young. I got frustrated, and instead of working through it, I told myself it was stupid. I told myself I didn't like it." But she had. She'd loved sitting with her mother and grandmother making simple hats while they made the more difficult mittens and booties for newborn babies. "And you know what I wish?"
"Yeah," Jordan said easily. "You wish you hadn't totally lied to yourself."
Sarah barely kept her mouth from falling open. "Pretty much."
Speaking of lies, Sarah couldn't stand keeping what she had done earlier that afternoon from Calvin another second. Thankfully, that was when Jordan put her earbuds in.
Still, even with his sister listening to music, Sarah wanted to be careful. How many times had she sat there listening in on her parents' conversations, hearing things she shouldn't have heard? Her mother offering to go to DC with Sarah for an extended trip but not really meaning it. Her father telling her to stay in Summer Lake.
"I filed the papers today." She waited for Calvin's reaction, for a telltale sign of his anger.
It killed her that she couldn't read him. "If I could have waited even one more day--"
"You wouldn't have made the deadline if you had."
Knowing he couldn't possibly have seen the final plans yet, she had to say, "I convinced my client to throw in a new football field too." Hoping to cut off the objections she was sure had to be coming, she quickly added, "I didn't do it to try and buy your support. I just thought it would really help the town."
He sighed then. "I appreciate you giving me a heads-up about the project, but the way I see it, there's the condos and politics and football fields. And then there's you and me. Just us, Sarah."
She'd been so clear with him about the fact that you and me wasn't going anywhere, wasn't going past one night of giving in to the need to hold each other for just a few precious hours. But for some reason, he seemed determined not to listen.
And for some reason, even though she knew better, his determination lit a light inside of her. One she was helpless to extinguish completely...even if there were a million reasons that she should.
Olive could see there was something different between her granddaughter and Calvin the second they walked in with his sister. Their bond was strong again, the air between them fairly crackling with electricity.
Jordan ran over first and hugged her--so young, so fresh, so happy because of all her brother had done to give her a good life.
Sarah put a basket of get-well cards onto a nearby table. "Grandma! It's so good to see you sitting up. You look great."
Over Sarah's shoulder, Olive kept her eagle eye on the project her daughter was knitting. "Denise," she rasped, "too tight."
Olive looked at Denise. "Give. Sarah. Finish."
Denise held up the barely begun project in her hands in clear confusion. "The Fair Isle? You want me to give it to Sarah?"
Olive nodded and Denise gave the full needles to a very bemused Sarah, who had watched their exchange in confusion.
"You," Olive said. "Make this."
Olive suddenly realized why she'd had to start another Fair Isle sweater--in the exact pattern she'd made for Carlos so long ago--on the day that her granddaughter had arrived in Summer Lake. She had thought it was because of the memories, because age and her dreams were taking her closer to him all the time. But now she knew the real reason.
The sweater was Olive's second chance at true love.
A chance that meant so much more because it wasn't for her this time. It was for Sarah.
Calvin was aware of Sarah's nerves during the drive home from the hospital. She didn't fidget. Instead, she was strangely still. Too still.
And then, they hit the only stop sign in town. Left to her house, right to his, and he still hadn't figured out a way to convince her to stay with them again. Not when he could practically see her building walls--complete with reinforcements--every minute they were together.
He was still racking his brain when Jordan asked, "Do you like spaghetti?"
Sarah practically jumped out of her seat. "Spaghetti?"
"Yeah, 'cause Calvin makes the best spaghetti in the world."
Sarah's mouth opened, closed, as she blinked between him and his sister. His beautiful, wonderful, brilliant sister.
"You're coming home with us again, right? Since your grandma and mom are in the hospital still?" Without waiting for Sarah to answer, Jordan added, "I was kind of hoping you could help me finish my scarf. There's a word for it, right? When you tie it all up at the end?"
Finally, Sarah found her voice. "Binding off. It's called binding off."
Calvin knew that was what she'd been planning to do with the two of them tonight. Bind them off. Tie everything up. So that she could walk away again.
Didn't she realize yet that he was going to fight like hell for her this time?
"So can you help me bind off my scarf? Because it would be super embarrassing if I gave it to Owen and it unraveled."
Sarah's eyebrows rose at the boy's name. She shot Calvin a quick look. "Don't worry. I promise Owen won't have a chance of unraveling your scarf."
Calvin wanted to just make the right turn, but he couldn't make the decision for Sarah. He couldn't let his sister make it for her either. "My house, Sarah? Or yours?"
She paused for long enough that he was afraid of what her answer would be. She was obviously warring with herself. "Your house." She smiled back at Jordan. "We've got a scarf to bind off." She didn't quite meet his eyes as she added, "And spaghetti to eat."
When they were all inside a couple of minutes later, Sarah stood awkwardly in the kitchen. "Can I help with dinner?"
"Nope. Go ahead and knit. I'll let you know when it's done."
He could see them from the stove, Sarah's dark head and Jordan's blond one, bent over their needles. He knew how easily his sister could get frustrated, was listening for telltale sounds just in case he needed to intervene, bu
t all that floated back to him were two soft voices and the click of needles.
He didn't mean to stare, but he couldn't help himself. Now that Jordan was working solo again, Sarah had turned her face to the side to look out the window at the moonlit lake.
He drank in her beautiful profile, his body tightening--his heart swelling--in anticipation of another night with her. He wanted to kneel beside her and take her face in his hands, tell her again he loved her, then kiss her until she was breathless and begging him to take her back to his bed.
But all that would have to wait for spaghetti and looking over homework.
And for him to figure out a way to convince her that being together wasn't a mistake.
He watched her reach into her bag and pull out a soft blue-and-white bundle. Olive's knitting passed on by Denise in the hospital. She unfolded a piece of paper and frowned at it, scanning the page as she read it over. She reached into her bag again and pulled out a mini laptop.