During their flight home Kate fretted about her upcoming deployment. She made a mental list of things to do. She needed to write out a plan for Sarah’s routine and leave contact information, etc for Spencer. It hadn’t been that long ago she went on her last TDY when she went to Germany, so she had all her shots, but had to update her will (now Spencer was named legal guardian) if anything happened to her. Spencer would keep Buttons for her and would check on Sarah on weekends when he could.
A few days after getting their tree decorated with popcorn strings, courtesy of Mrs. P, and the other decorations Kate had, she made the decision that they would travel north since Spencer offered to go with them. Kate didn’t want to deny Sarah or the Kern’s the chance to visit. They would be gone for five days and when they got back, they would still be some time to prepare for their early Christmas before Kate had to deploy. There was no way Kate would have made the trip with Sarah by herself at that time of year, in that kind of weather otherwise.
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?
The rest of the trip went without incident and they pulled into Kate’s apartment complex about 8 o’clock. “Home, sweet, home.” Spencer turned the engine off and stretched.
“Finally. I can’t wait to see Buttons. I missed him.” Kate unlocked her seatbelt and twisted her neck back and forth. She glanced at Sarah, who had a glazed look.
Now back in Missouri, Spencer pulled off the highway and into a gas station. Kate woke up and asked, “Where are we?”
“Still a few hours northwest of St. Louis. Do you need anything?”
After a yawn and a stretch, she answered, “I need to use the restroom and check Sarah’s diaper.”
A short time later Kate sat with Sarah in the lobby while Spencer loaded the car. Kate pulled Sarah’s coat around her and zipped it up. The weather was still cooler for this time of year but at least it wasn’t snowing. The sun shone through scattered clouds, but did little to warm the temperature.
They should arrive a couple hours past dinner this evening after stops for meals and diaper changes. Kate double checked the diaper bag for necessities. She didn’t like using the changing tables in public places, not knowing how sanitary they were or weren’t. But she had no choice.
“Good morning, ladies,” Spencer greeted Kate and Sarah from a table with a high chair already pulled up to it. He wore his striped knit shirt out and faded jeans. And shaved his whiskers.
“Morning.” Kate leaned down to Sarah and asked if she could say good morning or hello to Spencer. She shook her head. Kate picked her up and set her in the chair, pulling on a bib from the diaper bag. “Sorry, she’s a woman of few words this morning. Hasn’t said one at all even to me.”
Spencer flicked on the TV in the room just for noise before he unpacked a few things for the night. He thought about the conversation earlier with Kate and wondered about the impulsive comment he made about her being adorable. It just came out. He hadn’t planned to say anything like that, so why did he? Too late now.