After a solemn dinner, Kate dropped Lauren and Judy off at their hotel, and shortly after put Sarah to bed and thought seriously about signing her papers to get out of the Air Force. She decided to go for it. With her mind made up to take the early out, she slept peacefully.
After putting Sarah down, Kate played with Buttons while the dishwasher ran its cycle. She aimlessly tossed the ball for him to chase. Her thoughts wandered down the road to think about what life might be like if she and Spencer were married. She only had six months left of active duty and now that she was a mom, she was pretty sure she wanted to get out. She could still use the educational benefits and as long as Spencer was active duty, they could still use the gym and shop at the commissary. And they would have health insurance for Sarah. That was a pretty important benefit.
Spencer had the flight information and led the way. After a few steps, they realized it was awkward to walk in a horizontal line, so Spencer stopped in front of Sarah and asked, “Is it okay with you if I hold you?”
“Sure, Mr. Daddy.” She answered as if it was a given and a silly question. She leaned her head on his shoulder as soon as she’d been picked up. Kate smiled and took Spencer’s remaining hand. Silently, Kate worried Sarah would call Spencer Mr. Daddy in front of John’s mom, but what could she do if she did?
At Spencer’s insistence, Kate finally decided to give Mrs. Pettigrew a chance with being Sarah’s daycare provider. It wasn’t that Kate didn’t like her or trust her, she just wasn’t sure she could keep up with her.
The next day, Kate and Sarah ate lunch in the dining room. Kate asked her new daughter all kinds of questions to learn what her favorite animal was and so on. Kate felt like she was a few days behind in their relationship since they had gotten sick as soon as they arrived home. So far, her favorite animal was a doggy, her favorite color was pink, and she loved coloring and reading books. At least they already had books in common. She seemed very grown up in a way and every much a child in others. Kate hoped they could be close.
After lunch, Kate put Sarah down for her nap and took out thank you cards. She wrote a short note to each of her friends who attended the shower yesterday and left them on the table for Sarah to add her name. Might as well start manners early, Kate thought.
Kate sat stunned on the sofa after Spencer left. He couldn’t possibly love her just because he felt guilty about Sarah and feeling like he had to help her. Could he? She flipped her legs up on the sofa and pulled down the blanket and wrapped herself in it, confused. And yet, he said he wasn’t obligated. If not, what then? Kate was still in love with John, wasn’t she? Even though he was gone? She sighed and stared at the ceiling wondering what she should do about it, if anything.
While Spencer worked for his neighbor, Kate turned on her cell phone after finding it in her purse. She had to charge it before she could play messages or read her texts. Most of her friends called her on her cell rather than the apartment phone. She let Buttons out on the patio and fixed Sarah a bowl of sliced fruit and milk. She made herself some toast and coffee.
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.
An hour later, they found a hotel several exits down the road from the children’s home. Kate went in first and got a room for her and Sarah and then Spencer went in to get his. They got settled in their rooms on the same floor, but not next to each other. Then they decided where to eat dinner.
They settled on a Cracker Barrel nearby when Kate asked Sarah if she liked pancakes and got a yes. “Okay, pancakes it is.” Pancakes weren’t exactly the healthiest thing on the planet, but Kate was already caving in to comfort food after a stressful few days.