“Let me see.” She went up on tiptoe and looked into the crook of his arm. The top of Sara’s head was just inches away. She smelled of roses. Was it a scent she wore or her shampoo? Whichever, it was nice. He inhaled deeply.
“She is,” Sara declared. “Let me take her. I’ll put her in the stroller.”
“I can do that.” What had gotten into him?
“Okay. Let me lower the seat so it’s flat. Hopefully she’ll sleep until we get home.”
Home. Sara was calling his father’s place home. It wasn’t home to him. The only reason he was staying there was because of Lily. His apartment was a bachelor’s pad and he liked it that way. Truthfully, he hadn’t really felt at home anywhere since he’d been a child. What he remembered about his father’s house was that it was where his mother had cried and begged his father not to leave her. His brother had already been living in Idaho, leaving Grant alone to deal with his parents’ decaying marriage.
If he gained permanent custody of Lily he’d need to find a new place. He’d have to make arrangements for her to have a good place to grow up. Or could he get past his feelings about his father’s home enough to live there? Over the last few days it hadn’t been memories keeping him away but the young woman sitting across from him.
“Excuse me, what?” Sara had said something, bringing him back to where he was.
“I wanted to know if you came home last night. I waited up to talk to you but it got late.”
“No, I went to my apartment.”
“It would have been common courtesy to call.”
He met her gaze. “Do you always say what you think?”
Was she holding back her thoughts about him? “I didn’t make it home until one and I didn’t think you’d want me to call that late.”
She gave him a keen look. Was she implying he hadn’t even thought to call?
A college-age waitress came to their table. “Hi, Doc, I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“Hi, Karen. I’ve been a little busy of late.”
“You never said anything about having a wife and baby, Doc. Cute.”
“Thank you. What would you like, Sara?”
Sara gave him another look, her eyes narrowing. She had a way of making him uneasy. His father’s look hadn’t held that much censure. Grant shifted uncomfortably. Did Sara suspect he’d flirted with the girl?
“BLT and water. Thanks,” Sara said, with a smile at Karen.
“And I’ll have a Reuben with a soda, please.”
“It’ll be out right away.” The girl smiled at him then looked down at Lily sleeping soundly. The waitress shook her head slightly. “You learn something new every day.”
He looked at Sara. Her unreadable gaze held his.
“It’s too hard to explain about our relationship, I know. I’m sorry all of this has happened to Lily. To you.” She sounded truly sympathetic. For once he appreciated it.
“It’s more about Lily. My father and I never really got along.”
Sorrow filled her eyes. “Still, you must be grieving on some level. He was your father after all.”
Grant didn’t like to think about it. He shrugged. “The S.O.B. made my life, my mother’s life miserable yet there’s something about knowing I’ll never see him again that does bother me.” How could Sara’s simple questioning and earnest looks make him say things he wouldn’t tell anyone?
She drew imaginary figures on the tabletop with the tip of her finger. “There must have been some good times.”
Grant gave that idea some thought. Had there been? Before the divorce? Had the later years overshadowed everything he could remember about his father?
She continued to draw. Without warning, she looked up and volunteered, “I would miss my father if he died. He’s the only family I have. He raised me. If anything happened to him I don’t know what I would do.”
Did he miss his father? He’d been so wrapped up in Lily, the funeral, estate affairs and his anger, he’d not had time to think about his real feelings. He didn’t want to contemplate those now. “What about your mother?”
“She left us when I was four and I haven’t seen her since.”
“Not even heard from her?”
As horrible as his relationship had been with his father, at least he’d had two parents. He and his mother had remained close. Even though she lived out of state, he still talked to her weekly. “I’m sorry.”