“Kate? Are you okay?” Spencer watched Kate, concerned. He gingerly moved next to her, waiting for the screaming, or something. It was now four weeks after the funeral. He didn’t think he could wait any longer, given the circumstances and knowing Sarah’s fate was in her hands.
Kate jumped up, startling him. “Am I okay!? Are you kidding? I’m now a mother of a little girl I know nothing about. A little girl I didn’t know existed until a few weeks after her father died. A little girl who I’m supposed to let know her father loves her, when he could never say that to me? Do you think I’m okay?!” She snatched up a cup of pens from the end table and threw it against the wall. Then she stormed off to her bedroom and slammed the door.
Spencer heard her yell through the door, “You can leave anytime!” And then something thrown at the door. He picked up the papers and folded them neatly back into the envelope and laid it on the table. Thanks, John. It’s going to be a long night. He took off his shoes and put them by the door, then opened the patio door wider to air out the place. He couldn’t quite place the odor, but it was bad.
Since he apparently had time on his hands, he picked up the pens Kate threw and went to find the source of the bad smell to take care of it. “Wow, Buttons, you look awful.” He whimpered and jumped up when he saw Spencer. “Come here boy. You poor thing. Are you hungry?” He got out his food container and poured some into his dish. Then he changed his paper and pad in the kitchen floor after mopping up the mess from several day’s worth of waste. He spied a load of dirty dishes in the sink and loaded the dishwasher. He tossed a loaf of moldy bread from the counter, wiped down all the counters and cupboards and took her stinky trash outside to the apartment Dumpster.
Spencer returned to Kate’s apartment, washed his hands and grabbed the leash hanging on a peg by the door. “Come on Buttons, let’s go for a walk.” He used his copy of Kate’s key to lock the door, since he and John sometimes watched over each other’s places when they left the base for their TDYs. “I bet you haven’t had a good walk all week. And when we get back, you’re getting a much needed bath.”
When Spencer and Buttons returned, Kate’s apartment was still quiet. He had left a lamp on in the living room. Spencer hoped Kate had fallen asleep and would be in a better mood later. Fat chance of that. He ran the bathwater for Buttons, and gave him a good lathering with some dog shampoo he found on the shower shelf. “Okay, let’s get you dried off.” He pulled down the bath towel and wrapped Buttons in it, then carried him to the living room where he gave him a good rub down. At least Buttons and the apartment smelled better.
It was now evening and the stars were starting to come out. He stepped out on the patio, thinking. Well, it was done now. The bomb had been dropped and he had to figure out how to clean up the aftermath. The scent of roses drifted through the air from a neighbor’s potted bush. He certainly didn’t feel rosy at the moment. His stomach was still tight and his shoulders tense. Mrs. Kern had been right. He’s going to have to be a rock for Kate to thrash against for a while. He better get used to it.
He went back inside, found the television remote and settled in, with Buttons beside him. “She’ll eventually come around. I hope.” Buttons crawled up on his lap, curling up as if he understood what Spencer had said.
Until next time,