It took him a moment before his hands slowly circled the whimpering baby’s chest. Lily’s feet dangled.
Didn’t he know how to handle a baby? It didn’t matter. He was going to have to hold Lily at least for a few minutes.
GRANT HAD AVOIDED moments like this since he’d been given guardianship of Lily. Handling her made him think that this could have been his child. Instead it was his father’s. The father Grant had never measured up to or been good enough for, except where his girlfriend had been concerned. And his father had stolen her.
Lily whined. He pulled her to his chest and patted her back. She quieted. He was thankful and fairly sure the others in the waiting room were too. He observed Lily’s bright eyes surrounded by her peach-colored skin. A soft coo bubbled from his half-sister’s lips. Her hand found his pinky finger and circled it.
He may have had a poor relationship with his father and stepmother but he wouldn’t betray this tiny being, as he had been. He was obligated to her, to give her what he hadn’t had from their father. Even if Evelyn’s family won custody, Lily would have his support. She would grow up knowing she had a brother she could depend on. Someone who believed in her.
“You must be a wonderful father,” commented a woman with graying hair, interrupting his thoughts. She sat beside a young mother. “Your wife is lucky.”
“I’m...” He didn’t say any more. It wasn’t worth the effort to explain.
Minutes later, Sara returned.
“Okay, I’ll take her now.”
Before he could hand Lily over the woman spoke up again. “You should have seen your husband in action. Your baby stopped fussing the second he held her close.”
Sara looked at him with wide, questioning eyes as if she was surprised. “She did?”
“She did.” It gave him an inordinate amount of satisfaction to say that.
Sara smiled at him. “It’s not so hard to do if you want to.”
Was she referring to him holding Lily or stopping her from crying or both? Apparently Sara had noticed how he’d managed to get around having much interaction with his sister.
“Would you like me to take Lily now? I’m sure you need to get back to work.”
The note of hope in Sara’s voice that he would need to hurry back to work irritated him. To his astonishment, he said, “I’m done for the day and I’m hungry. Why don’t we go to a little café around the corner and get some supper?”
“With Lily?” Sara’s look of surprise was almost comical.
“Sure. Parents do it all the time. I think two intelligent adults can manage a two-month-old for an hour. You did bring a bottle, didn’t you?”
He started to hand Lily to her but the baby began to cry again. He brought Lily back to his chest and she stopped.
“I guess you’d better carry her.” Sara didn’t turn fast enough to hide her disappointment. It was as if it hurt her to have Lily prefer him over her. Was she that insecure?
Left with no choice, Grant headed out the door and into the hallway with Lily happy in his arms. He led the way outside, across the bricked park area and down the sidewalk.
“By the way, did you know that Lily had a doctor’s visit today and just forget to tell me?” Sara asked.
“No. How did you know about it?”
“There was a reminder call on the house phone.”
He shifted Lily to his other arm. “I looked for a calendar but Evelyn wasn’t very good at details, except when it came to her makeup.”
“That sounded a little harsh. You get a pass this time for not telling me, but the new nanny needs to have some notice when Lily is supposed to be somewhere. And provided with an insurance card.”
She followed him down the sidewalk, pushing the empty stroller. “I’ve laughed at people carrying a child while pushing a stroller. Now I understand.”
Grant gave her a wry smile. Lily was getting heavier in his arms. “It does look ridiculous. The café is just down this way.” When they arrived at the glass-fronted eatery he held the door open for Sara. “Let’s take that table in the back. We’ll be out of the way.”
Sara parked the stroller beside the table. “Is she asleep?”
“I think so.”