Who was frowning intently at Gavin.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “It was important.”
She shook her head and turned back to look at Jared. One of the zoo employees was holding a rabbit so he could pet it. “That’s the most important thing, right there, Gavin.”
Jared turned around and grinned at his mother with such joy it made Gavin’s chest hurt. “A bunny,” he exclaimed, hopping around on his little legs like a rabbit.
She was right. He needed to be in this 100 percent. Jared deserved it. And so did Sabine.
There was a knock on the door early Sunday morning. Sabine was making pancakes while Jared played with blocks on the floor. Sunday was their easy day. There was no work or preschool. They were both still in their pajamas and not expecting company.
She was surprised to find Gavin on her doorstep. She was even more surprised to find he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. It was a Gucci T-shirt, but at least it wasn’t a suit. And it looked good on him. The black shirt fit his muscular frame like a second skin, reminding her of the body he hid beneath blazers and ties. And the jeans...they were snug in all the right places, making her mouth go dry in an instant.
He caught her so off guard, she didn’t notice at first that he had a large canvas and a bag of painting supplies in his hands.
“Gavin,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting you this morning.” After yesterday, she didn’t figure she would see him until the test results came back. She could tell that he was trying yesterday, but his thoughts were being pulled in ten different directions. Even after he got off the phone, he was checking it constantly and replying to emails. He had a business to run.
And yet, here he was.
“I know. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
Sabine wasn’t big on surprises. With Gavin, it was more that he wanted to do something his way and to keep her from arguing, he wouldn’t tell her until the last second. Surprise! But still, she was curious. “Come on in,” she said.
Gavin stepped in, leaning the canvas against the bookcase. “Hey, big guy,” he said to Jared. He got up from his blocks and came over to hug Gavin’s leg. Gavin scooped the toddler up and held him over his head, and then they “soared” around the living room making airplane noises. Jared the Plane crash-landed onto the couch in a fit of giggles and tickling fingers poking at his tummy.
It had only been a few days, but she could tell that Jared was getting attached to Gavin. It was a good thing. She knew that. But still, she worried. He’d put in a decent effort so far, but could he keep it up for the next sixteen years? She wasn’t sure. But she did know that he’d better not screw this up.
“I was making pancakes,” she said, turning and heading back into the kitchen. “Have you had breakfast?”
“That depends,” he said, pausing in the tickle fight. “What kind of pancakes are they?”
“Silver-dollar pancakes with blueberries.”
“Nope.” Gavin smiled. “I haven’t had breakfast.” He let Jared return to his blocks. “I’ll be right back, big guy.”
He followed her into the kitchen, leaning against the entryway. The kitchen was too small for both of them to be in there and get anything done. She tried to ignore his physical presence and how much of the room he took up without even entering, but she failed. The sight of him in those tight jeans was more than she could take. Her body instantly reacted to his nearness, her mouth going dry and her nipp**les pebbling against the thin fabric of her T-shirt.
She spun to face the stove before he could notice and decided to focus on pancakes, not the sexy man lurking nearby. Eyeing the batter, she decided she needed a larger batch to feed a man of his size. “So what brings you here this morning?”
Gavin watched her fold in another handful of dried blueberries. “I wanted to make up for yesterday.”
Sabine tried not to react. She was happy that he was making the effort, but failing Jared and then making a grand gesture to appease his conscience was a dangerous cycle. She’d rather he just be present the first time. “How’s that?”
“I saw in the paper that the Big Apple Circus is here. I got tickets for this afternoon.”
Just as she’d thought. She had no problems with going to the circus, but he didn’t ask her. He didn’t call to see if that was something they might want to do. What if Jared was petrified of clowns? Or if they had other plans today? Gavin just bought the tickets and assumed that everything would go the way he’d planned.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
But—he was trying, she reminded herself. “Jared would probably enjoy that. What time do we need to leave for the show?”