Kate had answered the door in her robe. Spencer tried to keep his thoughts pure, but oh, how he’d love to see underneath that ratty pink thing. He thought of an excuse to give her a new robe, but after a minute realized he didn’t need a reason. He’d just get her one next time he was out shopping. He would surprise her.
Spencer turned his attention to Sarah who was asking if he wanted cookies with his tea. “Absolutely. I never turn down homemade cookies. What kind are they?”
“Choc chip. I make them.”
“They’re as good as Mrs. Pettigrew’s. Thank you.”
“Who Miss Pppitgrew?”
Spencer smiled at her attempt to pronounce the name. “Mrs. Pettigrew is my neighbor. And she bakes all kinds of cookies. In fact, I brought some with me. You want one?”
Sarah nodded her head vigorously.
“Come to the table, and I’ll get you one. I’m sure your mom will be ok with it.” He sat her in the chair at the table and found a Sippy cup on the counter. “Would you like milk with it?” he asked from the kitchen.
“Coming right up. One milk and cookie special.” He filled her cup and grabbed a napkin with two cookies. “Here you go,” he put her snack down and sat at the table with her. “What have you been doing today?”
Sarah had to swallow before she could answer. “Reading books, watching a movie…and picking up toys.”
“Oh, very good. It’s important to help Mommy clean up and be her helper. Good job.”
Sarah smiled around a bite of cookie. “These good.” Sarah was making quick work of her snack.
“I’ll be sure to let my neighbor know you like them.”
Late, after a simple dinner and Sarah had gone to bed, Spencer said to Kate, “We need to talk.” He had enjoyed playing with Sarah while Kate did her laundry and ran some errands.
“Oh, what about?” Kate plopped on the sofa and put her stocking feet on the table. She closed her eyes for a minute and blew out her bangs with a tired puff.
“Little Sarah, as darling as she is, can’t keep calling me Mr. Daddy.” Spencer hoped this conversation would go well, but he had his doubts. If he were honest, he didn’t mind Sarah’s name for him at all. Not in the least. As far as he was concerned, he would be thrilled to be her daddy. But, it would be hard to explain her name for him in front of others that didn’t know the situation.
“You got that right. How did she come up with that, anyway?” Kate sat up and frowned. “I don’t know how she knew that dads went with moms like cake with ice cream, but she seems to think you should be her daddy.”
Spencer said, “And what’s wrong with that?”
“We’re not—I mean you’re not—umm. I’ll think of something.” Kate jumped up and grabbed her mug, heading for the kitchen. Spencer let it go for now.
“We have to come up with something. I mean, this could potentially be embarrassing.” Kate came back with a steaming mug and sat back down.
“I know. There’s really only one perfect solution, you know.” Since Kate continued the conversation to his surprise, he rolled with it.
“And that would be?” Kate looked at Spencer with a curious look.
Spencer looked at Kate, with her hair fixed and makeup on, though he didn’t think she needed it. Even in her yoga pants and extra large Air Force sweatshirt, she was as beautiful to him now as she was when she first opened the door earlier in her robe. He took a deep breath and admitted his true feelings. “For me to be her daddy.”
Dead silence. Suddenly it was like a huge commercial vacuum sucked out all the air from the room.
Kate gulped. “You can’t be serious.”
Spencer took another deep breath. “Kate, I’m dead serious.”
Kate continued as if he hadn’t said anything. “I know you knew John and kept his secret and helped me with getting Sarah here, but still. No need to feel obligated.”
“Obligated! Is that what you think?” Spencer nearly choked on his tea.
“Well, of course. You feel like you have to step in for John–”
“Kate. Marie. Langston.” He enunciated each part of her name as a single sentence as he put his glass down on the table with a thunk. “In no way do I feel ‘obligated’.” He spoke as if obligated were a dirty word. “Did you think I was joking yesterday when I said I loved you?”
He stayed where he was, in the chair across from her, afraid to move any closer. The last time he mentioned his feelings, she punched him in the arm. He wasn’t sure what she would do now.
“Spencer.” Kate said his name rather sternly.
“Yes?” Here it comes.
“It’s time for you to go.” Kate didn’t look at him, but at the floor.
Spencer silently let out his breath. He slowly got up from the chair and slid his coat on. “I’ll get Mrs. Pettigrew’s platter later.”
Kate nodded, not making any moves to get up.
Spencer walked past her and let himself out, letting the door close softly behind him. He walked slowly back to his car astonished she thought he loved her out of obligation. He looked up at the clear sky, trying to shake the disappointment and disbelief out of his system.
Apparently winning Kate’s heart was going to be harder than he thought. A star twinkled in the distance, as if to say, “You can do it.”
Until next time,