Spencer Gives Kate the Phone Message

Kate and Spencer stayed up late talking after Sarah went to bed. Kate sipped hot tea with lemon and honey. She stopped their conversation every few minutes to blow her nose. Since she had slept most of the day, she wasn’t ready to go to bed yet. But her illness still made her weak and cranky. They were talking about caring for Sarah.

“I don’t even know if I can leave her up here when I do the laundry,” Kate gestured with her hand. “And how is she going to react when I have to drop her off at daycare? How do you pick out a daycare? And how did John’s parents get my number anyway?” Kate was on a roll.

Spencer had mentioned Mrs. Kern’s phone call after he had put Sarah down for the night so Kate didn’t have to.

Spencer listened with an amused face. “Is that all?”

“Spencer! I’m dead serious! I’m a mom now.” Kate crossed her arms, feeling a little overwhelmed and uptight.

He scooted closer on the sofa and squeezed her hand before letting go. “I know and you’re doing fine. It’s only been a few days. I can answer the question about John’s parents. I talked with them at the funeral luncheon. They told me they knew about Sarah but only recently. They want to be a part of Sarah’s life.” Spencer took a swallow of his water before leaning his arms on his knees.

“I don’t know about that. She’s got enough to deal with right now.” Kate blew her nose, wadding up her tissue and tossing it to the floor.

Spencer looked at Kate. “I know, but they want to keep in touch. She’s their granddaughter you know.”

“True,” she admitted. “But I don’t want any interference.”

Interference? “They just want to be a part of her life, not take over, Kate. I’m sure they’re sincere.”

“I’ll be the judge of that.”

“I know them. Besides they’re not exactly spring chickens. And they just lost their son.” Spencer’s volume descended a notch at the sad reminder. He sighed. How ironic this all was. Kate, who never wanted to be a mother in the first place and now was one, didn’t want any help.   Spencer shouldn’t be all that surprised, since she was acting like herself-fiercely independent. With an added dose of cold.

“How well?”

Spencer tuned back in to their conversation. “What? Oh, how well do I know John’s parents?”

Kate nodded. She got up and closed the balcony blinds. She took her empty mug to the kitchen before sitting back down, a little further away than Spencer liked.

“Pretty well, I guess.” Spencer resumed their conversation. “We don’t send Christmas cards or anything, but I know what kind of character they have and I know they did a good job in raising John, that sort of thing. I’ve been there for a couple holidays. His mom’s a great cook, mmmm. They’re grandparent-ly,” he added.

“Grandparent-ly?”

“Yeah, you know what I mean. Bake homemade cookies, spoil them rotten and send them home, kind.”

“They’re too far away,” Kate complained.

Spencer glanced at her and saw she was actually serious. “We have these inventions called airplanes these days…”

Kate glared at him. “Not funny.”

“Kate, parenting is hard work. I admire you for tackling your task with gung ho, but you don’t have to do it alone. Which reminds me, for the upcoming exercise at work, I’m working the 4-midnight shift the first week, so I can watch Sarah when you go back to work if you want me to.” He wasn’t about to tell her he had volunteered on purpose for that shift when he had turned in his paperwork.

“Oh, really? And then what?”

“We’ll work something out. But in the meantime, you’ll have more time to get to know each other before you have to drop her off at a stranger’s.”

“’We’ll work something out’? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Is your name on the adoption papers?” Kate puffed her bangs.   She fumed in silence for a minute before continuing, “Hey, did you volunteer for that shift? Nobody likes that shift; it’s long and boring.” Kate looked at him, her arms crossed again.

Uh, oh. Spencer looked away, trying to see out the blocked patio door, but he knew his face gave him away.

“Spencer! Why?” Her sore throat made her voice crack which made her even angrier. She got up and started pacing around the living room with her hands stuffed in her back pockets and started mumbling to herself.

He let her vent for a few minutes and when she got quiet he told her the truth. He whispered, “Because I want to help you. And because I love you.” He waited for her response. She punched him in the shoulder on her way back to bed.

Worse than he thought.

Spencer let himself out, locking her door. He hoped she slept well. He probably would not.

****

Until next time,

Michelle

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