Howie stepped into the room to find Nick and Becca talking softly and Sarah sound asleep. “Hey! How long has she been asleep?” he asked as he set the bags on the table tray at the foot of Sarah’s bed.
“About an hour,” offered Nick.
“You look rested,” smiled Becca as Howie gave her a kiss on the cheek.
Standing beside the bed now, Howie brushed Sarah’s hair back. “I am. I went to Angie’s and crashed. How much sleep has she had?”
“This is the first she’s been to sleep since you left. There’s been a steady stream of visitors,” explained Becca. “Your mom, Denise, her brothers and their families, and Pollyanna brought Jesse.”
“She crashed while Jesse was reading a story to the twins,” smiled Nick. “Jess was so good, ‘D’. She’s so proud to be a big ‘sis’.”
Becca had turned her attention to Sarah and the subject of Jesse seemed to cause some concern for her. Howie was quick to notice. It also hadn’t escaped his attention that Becca had said Sarah’s brothers had been there but not her father.
“Where are the twins now?”
“Back in the nursery and your mom took Jesse to get some dinner in the cafeteria,” said Becca. Anticipating Howie’s obvious question, she added, “She wanted to see you before she left.”
“Did she get to spend time with Sarah?”
“Sarah helped her with her homework.”
Howie could tell that Becca had something on her mind, something that she needed to tell him but she obviously didn’t want to say it in front of Sarah even though she was asleep. “Bec, wanna walk down to the nursery with me?”
“Nick, you don’t mind staying with Sarah, do you?”
Nick knew that Becca needed to talk to Howie so he said, “No problem.”
“If she wakes up, just tell her I’ll be back.”
The walk to the nursery was silent but as soon as they were alone with the babies and Howie had Caroline in his arms, he said, “I noticed you didn’t mention Mr. Taylor visiting.”
“He didn’t come to the hospital.” Becca stopped and wiped a tear. “Howie, this is supposed to be a happy event for the two of you. It’s something you two have been waiting for for so long and I’m not sure I can handle seeing Sarah’s heartache.”
Putting a reassuring hand on Becca’s arm, he said softly, “Sarah’s very aware of the fact that her father isn’t doing well.”
“But she hasn’t had
to see it firsthand….or had to deal with the ramifications of his illness. Jeff
pulled me away from Sarah when he was here to talk to me since you weren’t
around. First, Mr. Taylor was extremely disoriented when they got here so they
had him stay at the hotel. Stephanie convinced him by telling him she was tired
but Mr. Taylor thinks Stephanie is his first wife, pregnant with her first
child. He had no clue that they were here to see Sarah.”
Howie simply stared at Caroline as Becca talked, not saying a word.
“Jeff said if he’s rested and clearer after dinner, they might bring him to visit. If not, they’re going to wait until he is clear.” Becca took a long look at Howie seeing the pain that was in his heart for his father-in-law. “Howie, you also need to know that Mr. Taylor called Russell’s mother to tell her that the babies had been born….as if Sarah were still married to Russell.”
There was no way Howie could be prepared for this but he should have figured it would happen. Taking a deep breath, he asked, “What did Jeff say about the call?”
“He said Mrs. Fullwood was really nice about it all. I take it Sarah told her about her father when she went to see Mrs. Fullwood?”
“Sarah never went, Bec. I don’t think she was as ready as she thought to deal with facing her given what happened.”
“I can’t imagine it would be easy. ‘Hey, I killed your son but I still want you to be a grandmother to the daughter we shared.’ I wondered if she’d really thought it through.”
Howie gave a strangled chuckle then a defeated sigh. “What am I going to do, Bec? I can’t stand the thought of what this is going to do to Sarah.”
“She knew I was keeping something from her so you’re going to have to tell her. There’s no way you can keep it from her. She’ll take one look at you and know you’re holding something back.”
Howie didn’t say a word as he held his daughter close, his lips pressed to her tiny forehead. Why couldn’t they just have one thing in their lives go unmarred by heartache?
Becca watched Howie as his tears slid down his cheeks and she decided that he needed some time alone to gather his thoughts. Touching his arm softly, she said, “I’m going to get Nick and we’re going to leave. We’ll be back tomorrow.”
Howie didn’t make an attempt to speak but nodded his head slightly to acknowledge her.
At the door of the nursery, she looked back one more time to see Howie sobbing softly and she had to dash away her own tears.
Chapter 62 Index