Sara had been in such a hurry on the phone she’d forgotten to ask Lily’s name. It was nice to have one to call her. Sara looked down into the big eyes watching her. The baby looked like a Lily. The disadvantage to knowing her name was that it was another step closer to giving them a personal connection. Knowing someone’s name made you care more, the very thing Sara wanted to guard against.
The regal room fit Lily perfectly. Moving across the thick carpet of a similar quality to what was downstairs, Sara placed the baby in the bed.
What had Dr. Smythe been thinking? Only about himself, handing his child over without so much as telling Sara her name?
The medical field was a small world and she’d heard talk about the young dynamic doctor who did surgery with skill and precision. Still, to give your baby to someone you didn’t know and rush off without concern spoke of self-centeredness, even neglect. Hadn’t her mother done something similar with her? Sara had grown up thinking she’d caused her to leave. No child should wonder something like that.
Locating the diaper stacker on the closed double doorknob, she had Lily changed in no time. Her job as a nursing aide during her school years had been teaching summer help how to change diapers. Back then she’d enjoyed working with babies. Now she usually steered clear of them.
Lifting Lily off the bed with her little limbs flailing, Sara went to the rocker next to a window that looked down over the garden. A large oak limb hung just outside. Every child should have such an idyllic place to live. Sara watched Lily as she placed the nipple of the warmed bottle to hungry lips.
For a brief time Sara would dedicate herself to meeting Lily’s physical needs. The emotional ones would be seen to by her father. Sara wouldn’t let herself get too close. She was well aware of how hard it was to pull away.
With Lily settled in her crib, Sara chose the bedroom nearest the nursery as hers for the night. It had been an exhausting day and she was soon asleep.
* * *
Grant returned to the house around midnight. The surgery had gone well and all he wanted was a soft bed and some sleep. He had spent the travel time out to Highland Park thinking about what he’d have to do to get permanent custody of Lily. Could he marry just to keep her? Some part of him hated the possibility of losing her while the other worried about making such a drastic decision. Was he the best choice to raise her? Would his father be pleased he was taking such an interest in Lily?
The one thing he did know was that he would do a better job than his father had done with him. Lily wouldn’t always feel as if she didn’t measure up or was unloved if she messed up. She would know she was supported, no matter what.
He’d been on a major adrenaline rush since his father had died. What if he was just making decisions based on sentiment instead of rational thought? Was he thinking he could make his dead father happy by taking care of Lily or was he doing it to get back at Evelyn for treating him the way she had?
It didn’t matter what his motive was, he wanted to keep Lily and if that meant taking a wife then he would do it. None of the women he’d dated recently or in the past would fit that position. Even if he could get one of them to agree. They would be more interested in their looks and spending his money than they would be in Lily.
Maybe Evelyn’s aunt and uncle were the answer. Lily could have a home, people who really wanted her. But he did too. Was he prepared to devote the next eighteen to twenty-two years of his life to someone other than himself? He thumped the steering wheel with the palm of his hand. Lily should be with him and he intended to fight to keep her, even if it meant he had to marry.
Grant pulled into one of the three bays of the carport in the back of the house. He unlocked and opened the door to the kitchen. Quiet greeted him. There was a light on under the counter. When was the last time someone had left one on in anticipation of his return?
He grabbed a glass from the cabinet and headed to the refrigerator. Taking out the milk, he was in the process of pouring it when the pixie-sized nanny burst into the kitchen, holding an umbrella as if she was prepared for a fight.
Grant jerked upright. Milk spilled across the granite countertop and streamed onto the floor. Grimacing at the mess, he snarled, “Hell, woman, you almost scared me to death.”
“How do you think I feel? Waking up in this hulking house to hear a door shut?”
“I told you I’d be home tonight.”
“After the way you left, I was supposed to believe you?”
Grant hung his head. He deserved that. His leaving had been rather abrupt. “I owe you an apology.” He looked at her. “I’m sorry.”