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Between that discussion and the memory of his and Sara’s kiss Grant hadn’t slept much the night before. Their kiss had kept playing through his mind in vivid color. He wanted another one. A deeper, hotter, wet one. When she had left him with Lily he’d wanted to scream, Come back. Knowing she was sleeping next door hadn’t eased the nagging want either. Right now, he had a baby to see about. With Sara’s help he’d gained confidence where Lily was concerned, but spending an entire day with an infant still brought dread and apprehension. Would he be as inadequate at caring for Lily as his father had said he was? How did the man manage to command so much power over him, even from the grave? He’d moved past those days, or at least he told himself he had. It didn’t help that Sara had asked, “Are you sure about this?” “We’ll be fine. Go on. Enjoy your day.” She’d nodded and headed for the door. With one last look and a half-smile, Sara had pulled the door closed behind her. More than once she’d proved she believed in his abilities with Lily but still those old hurts came back when someone questioned his capabilities. The only area of his life where he was completely comfortable was in his medical skills. Those his father had never questioned because he’d known nothing about that world. He wasn’t here now to question what Grant did, so why did his father’s old words still make him feel inadequate to the job of caring for Lily? Everything in his life felt out of line. He wasn’t sure what was happening between him and his tiny sister, but he really didn’t understand what was going on between him and Sara. He’d not planned to dance with Lily or invite Sara to join them. He’d been surprised when he had and she’d accepted. Been even more so when he’d kissed her and she’d returned it. The memory of Sara’s uncertain then acquiescent honeyed response would keep him humming all day. He already hungered for another kiss. Would she allow one? Everything was spiraling out of his control. He needed together time with Lily and Sara needed time away. He wanted space to think about his growing feelings for both his sister and Sara. Somehow Lily was starting to feel less like his sister and more like his daughter. Would his father have been pleased? Maybe it was time to get past caring. He was responsible for Lily and he would do his best and that was all anyone could expect. Grant had had no real idea that one large flour-bag size person could dominate his entire day. Sara couldn’t have made it down the drive before Lily started screaming. Grant whisked her out of the swing and took her upstairs to change her diaper. Still she whined. He bundled her into a blanket and went to the rocker. Maybe all she needed to settle down was some motion. Sitting, he started the chair moving. That went on for another thirty minutes to no avail. Lily would quieten for a few minutes, just long enough for Grant to think she was asleep. The second he placed her in the bed she started again. Surely he was capable of figuring out what was wrong. Old ingrained insecurities died hard. He refused to not meet the challenge. No way was he going to let his father’s words damage his confidence regarding Lily. Grant tried rocking her but it didn’t help. In desperation, he gave her a warm bath. To his great relief, she sighed and slept. Taking the baby monitor from the stand, he tiptoed across the carpet and out the door. He worked long hours, but none had exhausted him like his failure to satisfy one child for a short amount of time. In the kitchen, Grant poured himself a cup of fresh coffee and sat down to do some paperwork he’d been putting off. He had been at it for thirty minutes when he realized he’d left a file he needed in the car. Halfway across the kitchen to the door, he stopped and turned back for the monitor. He couldn’t even retrieve an item from his car without thinking about Lily first. He sighed. This was what being a father was about. Lily woke two hours later, before Grant could finish his work. He’d had no idea how much Lily would control his everyday life. In Lily’s room, he picked her up and looked at her. She smiled. He felt like he’d just been taken hostage. Would he ever get his heart back? “Hey there, little girl.” Little girl. Wasn’t that what Harold called Sara? His daughter. Was that what he was starting to see Lily as? “Let’s get you changed and go see if we can find some food.” Lily cooed. One more female working to wrap him around her little finger. Where had his single-minded, focus on himself and his job gone?
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