Kate turned to Spencer and searched his face. He was looking out the window lost in his own thoughts. Kate saw compassion, confusion and was that… love? For her? She couldn’t deal with that right now. She had enough to deal with already without exploring those feelings. She took a deep breath. “Spencer, will you help me? Please?”
Spencer turned from the window and looked at Kate. After a few seconds’ silence, he answered, “Of course, I was planning on it. But I have a few conditions.” He cleared his throat and swallowed.
“Like?” Kate wasn’t sure she wanted to hear this.
Spencer reached to put his hand on her arm. “Remember that day?” He gestured toward the hall bathroom. “Promise me you’ll never do anything that stupid again.” She glanced at his hand, knowing what he referred to and nodded. “Promise you won’t edge me out.” He wasn’t sure if she’d agree to that one. He waited for a few seconds in agonizing silence. She nodded again, still not looking at his face. “Promise you’ll be the best mom, under the circumstances and to get help if you need it.” She nodded again without hesitation. “That’s it.”
Kate slowly brought her head up and looked at him in the face. “Spencer, you know I’ll do my best. And I won’t do that,” she pointed toward the bathroom with her arm, “ever again. But, I’m still a little overwhelmed. I’m not qualified—”
“Whoah, hold on, Kate.” Spencer scooted his chair over so he could reach her hand. He took it and squeezed it and held it. “Think about any other parent. Granted, they may have nine months to prepare or a little less if they’re adopting, but parenting is learned by on-the-job- training. Nobody is ‘qualified’ for parenting. Things will be bumpy for a while, sure, but that’s to be expected. All you can do is love Sarah with all you have and do your best.” He squeezed her hand again, wishing he could kiss her. She never looked so vulnerable and kissable as she did now.
“Thanks, Spence.” She squeezed his hand with her own. They sat in silence for a few minutes absorbing the last several hours. Then Kate picked up the papers that were in the envelope with John’s letter. She read through the legalese and decided to call the attorney’s office listed on the letterhead. She had some questions to ask and didn’t know how Sarah was being cared for. She knew she had enough leave built up for a trip, but how much time did she have to get settled with a newly acquired child? Who on base could help her with these things? She knew there were family related offices, but she’d never paid any attention to them as she had no family and no need. She tapped her pen on the tablet, lost in thought. She almost forgot Spencer was there until he spoke. “When do you want to leave? We can talk to the first sergeant in the morning and explain the situation. I’m sure this is a little odd, even for the Air Force.”
Kate looked over at Spencer, “You’re probably right. Maybe being the year of the military child is in our favor.”
“Sure. Add oil change and tire pressure.” Spencer pointed to her tablet.
“Huh? Oh.” Kate jotted that down and then made fresh coffee. Spencer poured another cup for each of them when it was ready and sat back down.
“Here’s the list so far,” she pushed her notes toward him.
“Looks good. I’ll go get the oil changed in the car and check the tires and gas up before we go.”
“I’ll call this attorney after talking to the first sergeant to get some details before I pack.”
“Good, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He nodded before slipping on his shoes and made a mental note to recharge his phone as soon as he got home. He didn’t have a landline. He heard Kate sigh behind him and turned to her. “You’ll be a good mom, don’t worry.” He squeezed her arm to reassure her.
“I’m not so sure about that. But I’ll give it my best. For her..for John…for me.”
“That’s all we can ask.” Spencer finally let go, kissed her on the forehead and left. Oh, boy. What a month they’ve had! He ran to the car and mentally made a list of what he needed to do before they had to leave. If he got to go. There was a chance he wouldn’t be given permission. He’d soon find out.
Until next time,