Kate’s phone rang while Spencer was on his way back to the bedroom so he returned to the kitchen and answered it. Mrs. Kern, John’s mom was on the line. “Hi, Mrs. Kern. It’s Spencer. How are you?”
“Doing ok, I guess. And you?”
“Not too bad. We just got back with Sarah. But both she and Kate seem to be out of it this morning. I’m here to see what’s going on.”
“Oh, dear. Do they have a cough or difficulty breathing?”
“No, I don’t think so. They seem to just be sleepy and warm.”
“Try to get their temps down. If they get too high, take them to the emergency room. Sarah’s can’t go over 104 for any length of time.”
“Hers has been consistently around 101. Anything else I need to do? I just made some orange juice for them.”
“That’s good. Try and get some liquid into them, juice and broth or hot tea for Kate would be best.”
Spencer smiled. He remembered that she retired from nursing a few years ago. “You got it.”
“The reason I’m calling is because I wanted to talk to Kate about visiting in a few weeks. We have to empty and clean out John’s apartment so it can be released for rent. Will you leave Kate a message for me?”
“Sure. Let me find some paper.” He put the phone down on the counter and grabbed the tablet and pen from the drawer he had used before. “So you want to visit when you come to clean out John’s apartment. Did you want Kate to help you?”
After a brief silence, Mrs. Kern answered, “Oh…only if she wants to. I totally understand if she’s uncomfortable. We’ll stay at John’s; I already have a key. John’s sister-in-law will come and help me.”
“Oh, that’s good. If you need me for anything, let me know. Still have my number?”
“I do. We’ll need help getting his furniture somewhere. Would you be willing to help with that?”
“Of course. Just let me know when. I can probably get a couple guys to help.”
“Perfect. I’ll cook us a nice lunch.”
“You can count me in!” His mouth watered instantly.
Mrs. Kern laughed. “Thanks, Spencer, we’ll talk soon. Take care of your patients.”
“Yes, ma’am. See you soon.” Spencer hung up and grinned. He recalled the Thanksgiving meal he’d had with John and his family one year and a fourth-of-July picnic at their house. If anyone could cook, it was John’s mom. She had made everything from the turkey to the pumpkin pie at the feast they’d shared. Spencer rubbed his belly, remembering the aromas and his satisfied stomach.
Sarah’s groans brought him back to the present. Spencer walked back to the bedroom and found Sarah sitting up in bed and rubbing her eyes. “Hey, honey, how are you feeling?” Spencer knelt down to her level and brushed hair out of her eyes.
“I thirsty.” Her cheeks were pink and her skin warm to the touch.
“Would you like some juice?”
Sarah nodded and started to get up.
“That’s okay, I’ll get you some. I’ll be right back.” He checked on Kate, but she was still asleep and warm also. Back in the kitchen, Spencer found a new purple cup with hearts on it. He shook his head. Spencer filled it with half juice, half water for the little girl. He returned a minute later with the cup. “Here you go, sweetie.”
She took several swallows.
“Would you like to take a bath?”
She shook her head. “Maybe later.”
“How about some stories?”
Sarah smiled and nodded.
“Let’s get your diaper changed first.” He took care of that, finding some clean clothes in a stack on Kate’s dresser. Then Spencer picked her up with a couple of the blankets while she held her stuffed puppy. In the living room, he settled her on his lap in the club chair with a pile of books from last night. Sarah sipped her juice as he read her two stories before she fell back asleep. Spencer sat there in the quiet, with only the sounds of a ticking clock and Sarah’s breathing. He gently stroked Sarah’s hair while he daydreamed.
Would Kate be ready for a relationship any time soon? Or was he setting himself up for disappointment? Did Kate have any interest in him at all? Or was he grasping at straws? As he thought about their past trip, he thought maybe Kate had some feelings for him. She seemed to be thankful for his help and willing to let him continue helping with Sarah. But was that just because this was the beginning of that parenting adventure or because she wanted him around? He wished he knew.
He sighed and laid Sarah back down on her makeshift bed and checked on Kate. She was a little bit cooler. He went to get her some juice and left it on the night stand.
“Come on Buttons, time for another walk.” He took the leash and went outside taking in the breeze and sounds of the birds nearby. He walked around the complex, thinking about how Kate would handle going through John’s things with John’s mom and sister-in-law. It would be emotional for all of them, he guessed. Maybe it would help them in their grief.
Spencer went back inside and gave Buttons some fresh water. He sat down at Kate’s computer and checked his email. He didn’t have anything important, so he surfed random topics and sites for a while and then played several games of Tetris. He grew bored and decided to cook something in the kitchen. He didn’t cook a lot, but mostly because it was only him. But he would try to make some comfort food for his patients. He turned on the radio and tuned it to his favorite country station, the one he had tuned in his car. Then he washed his hands and got to work.
Until next time,