When Spencer first got to Kate’s he wasn’t sure the picnic idea was going to happen. He didn’t know where the girls had gone, but when he noticed Kate’s car still in the lot, he knew they weren’t far. He had taken Mrs. P home after church and she had handed him the leftovers already packaged up. She insisted he take them. It was her way of thanking him for the work done yesterday and for transporting her to church when he could.
The moment that Kate looked at him back at the park seemed surreal. Spencer couldn’t quite place the look she had on her face. She seemed a little stunned, but he wasn’t sure why. At least she wasn’t annoyed that he showed up. After the way she had dismissed him last night, he wasn’t sure she wanted to see him anymore.
But he decided when he got home from her place that he would just have to woo her the old-fashioned way: with lots of time, attention, and surprises along the way. He was going to enjoy himself for as long as it took. Because he knew deep down in his heart, that Kate was the one for him. And he was going to prove it to her—one day at a time.
Buttons nibbled on the scraps left from their picnic while the three humans sprawled out on the blanket Kate brought with them. “Mrs. Pettigrew is an excellent cook, Spencer. Please give her my compliments. I feel like I’m going to explode. After eating only comfort food for a few days, I feel like I’ve eaten a feast.”
“I know. She’s an excellent neighbor for a poor single helpless airman like me.”
Kate rolled over to her side to see Spencer’s eyes crinkled in the corners. “Very funny. You are not poor. You are not helpless. Single maybe, but certainly not the rest.”
“What am I going to do about that?”
“The single part.”
“I don’t know. It’s not my area of expertise.”
“No. Yes, I’m single. But I don’t plan on doing anything about it any time soon.” Kate would play this game, see where it went.
“I see. One plus one doesn’t equal two?”
“Not this one, no.”
“Hmm. I’ll have to fix that.”
“Really?” Kate checked on Sarah, who was throwing a ball for Buttons. Kate wasn’t sure who was having more fun, the girl or the dog.
Spencer didn’t answer. He didn’t like where this conversation was going. He watched Sarah and Buttons instead. They were having a good time, making each other happy. He chuckled as Buttons trotted back to Sarah and dropped the slobbery ball in her lap.
Sarah picked it up and threw it as far as she could, which wasn’t very far. But it was far enough for Buttons to get a little exercise. Kate turned back to Spencer, “You were saying?”
Her comment threw Spencer. What was she doing? He was confused as ever. “Never mind, nothing important.” Spencer picked up crumbs from the blanket and threw them in the grass. He didn’t dare look at Kate.
Kate leaned toward him, and turned his face toward her with her index finger. “Spencer, I’m sorry. I know I hurt your feelings last night. I didn’t mean to. I just can’t switch from John to you so fast–” Sudden tears fell from Kate’s eyes and she put her head down on her hands. The lighthearted moment was over.
Spencer sucked in his breath. Now what had he done? “Kate, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Spencer rubbed the back of Kate’s head, angry at himself for pushing too hard. What was he thinking? He stared into space, angry at his impatience and inconsiderate behavior. What was wrong with him?
Luckily Sarah and Buttons were oblivious to their conversation. Their laughing and barking and birds singing surrounded them. Finally Spencer said, “I didn’t mean to come on too strong. Please forgive me.”
“Spencer? I like you. A lot. I’m just not ready.” Kate wiped her face with a napkin before turning back toward him, but she kept her eyes closed.
Spencer swallowed a lump in his throat. “I understand. I’m sorry.”
“No forgiveness needed, ok?” With her left hand, she took his right hand, the one rubbing her hair, and squeezed it without letting go. She gave his hand a quick peck and held it under her cheek.
In the near silence, Kate realized that yes, she could love Spencer.
See you next week with chapter 10!