The rest of the trip went without incident and they pulled into Kate’s apartment complex about 8 o’clock. “Home, sweet, home.” Spencer turned the engine off and stretched.
“Finally. I can’t wait to see Buttons. I missed him.” Kate unlocked her seatbelt and twisted her neck back and forth. She glanced at Sarah, who had a glazed look.
“I bet. I’ll help you get unloaded. We can probably use the stroller to hold quite a bit of this pink stuff.”
“Good idea. I’ll carry Sarah if you don’t mind bringing the stroller.”
Spencer got out and popped the trunk open. He took out the stroller, loaded it up with diapers, toys and clothes and followed Kate. The two adults hadn’t talked much as Kate had slept most of the way.
They made their way up to Kate’s door, making a lot of bumpy noises. Thankfully it wasn’t too late at night, televisions and voices could be heard from neighboring apartments. Kate fished out her keys from her purse after putting down the diaper bag and handing Sarah to Spencer. Before she could get the door open, she could hear Buttons barking. “I have a puppy, too. He’ll like playing with you.” Kate talked to Sarah in a childish tone, which made Spencer smile. Kate opened the door, took Sarah back and set her down inside. “Sweetie, this is your new home.” Kate let Spencer by and watched Sarah’s reaction.
Sarah looked around and headed down the hall. Spencer said he’d be right back. Kate followed Sarah and watched her.
Then Kate let Buttons out of his kennel. “Hi, boy!” Kate gave him a tight squeeze, but Buttons wanted down to investigate their guests.
Kate asked Sarah, “Do you like puppies?”
Sarah nodded, and hugged Bo-Bo tighter. “Buttons, settle down. Come here, boy.” Buttons kept jumping on Kate’s legs. She scooped him up and knelt down on her knees so Buttons could check out Sarah and she could pet him if she wanted.
Sarah tentatively put out a hand and patted Buttons on the head.
“There you go, nice and gentle.” Kate smiled at Sarah.
Spencer came in with another load. “Where do you want the diapers and clothes?” he asked.
“Good question.” Kate looked around her living space while considering his question. “The stroller can stay in my car, and the diapers and her clothes in the linen closet for now. I guess I should get her a dresser. At least my room is big enough for a toddler bed and small dresser.”
Kate turned to Sarah. “Would you like to read or watch TV?”
Sarah nodded, climbing up on the sofa. Kate unzipped Sarah’s coat and pulled it off, tossing it to the other end of the sofa. “Here are some books I thought you might like.” Kate took a pile of new board books from the entertainment shelf and handed them to her. Sarah had slept so much in the car, Kate wasn’t sure she would be ready for bed in a strange place yet. Kate stifled another yawn.
“Tank you,” Sarah replied in a soft voice. She took the pile.
“You’re welcome. I’m going to help Spencer with your things, but I’ll be right here, ok?”
Sarah nodded, but didn’t say anything.
Kate gestured to Spencer to meet her in the dining room. “What do you think?” Kate asked.
“I think she’ll be fine. She has a lot to deal with right now. She needs time to adjust and then I’m sure she’ll trust and love you.” I do.
“I hope so. This weekend I want to find her some furniture.”
Kate looked at him and shrugged. “Probably. I’m sure you could find better things to do though.”
“Not really. I’ve had enough interesting for a while.”
Kate laughed, and said, “No kidding. Want something to drink?”
“What have you got?”
“Good question. I don’t remember. I better get some milk, cereal and snacks she likes,” she said heading to the kitchen.
Spencer came up behind her and said, “We can do that.”
Kate turned around and almost bumped into him. “Sorry.” She backed up. “We?”
“You know Kate, I feel slightly responsible for Sarah too, even though you may not feel that way. I can’t help it. I wanted to tell you so many times, but I didn’t want to break my promise to John.” Spencer looked at the floor. “I wished I could have convinced him to tell you. Lord knows I tried.” He looked back up at Kate, with regret in his eyes.
Kate walked over and put her hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. It’s done now. Thanks for helping me and being there for me. This trip would have been much more traumatizing without you.”
Spencer pulled her close and hugged her, suddenly emotional. “I miss him, too,” he whispered. Kate rested in Spencer’s arms, from sheer exhaustion and the need for his comfort and strength.
After a few minutes when Kate didn’t move away, Spencer pulled her away from him and looked her in the face. “Are you all right?”
She couldn’t trust her voice, so she shook her head. He pulled her back close and rubbed her back, wishing he could do this every day.
“Mommy? I thirsty.” They turned to see Sarah toddling in.
Until next time,