“Well,” Gavin said, “that’s only part of the surprise. We aren’t leaving. You’re staying.”
Sabine looked up from the griddle. “What do you mean?”
“I just got tickets for Jared and me. I thought you might enjoy an afternoon to yourself. I even brought you some painting supplies.”
That explained the stuff he brought in with him. She’d been so thrown off by his unannounced arrival that she hadn’t questioned it yet. She supposed that she should be excited and grateful, but instead, her stomach ached with worry. Gavin was taking her son someplace without her. She didn’t really like the sound of that. He didn’t know anything about children. What if Jared got sick? Or scared? Did Gavin even know that Jared wasn’t fully potty trained yet? Just the idea of him changing dirty Pull-Ups started a rumble of nervous laughter in her chest that she fought down.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she managed to say.
Gavin’s dark brow drew together in consternation. “Why not? You said you wanted me to be there. To be involved.”
“It’s been less than a week, Gavin. You’ve spent a couple hours with him, sure, but are you ready to take care of him on your own for a day?” Sabine turned back to the stove and flipped over the pancakes. She grabbed one of Jared’s superhero plates and slid a couple tiny pancakes onto it beside the slices of banana she’d already cut up.
“You don’t think I can handle it?”
She sighed heavily. Ignoring him, she poured some blueberry syrup into the small bowl built into the dish and grabbed a sippy cup with milk from the refrigerator. She brushed past him to go into the living room. Jared had a tiny plastic table and chair where he could eat. She set down his breakfast and called him over. Once he was settled, she turned back to look at Gavin. He was still standing in the doorway to the kitchen looking handsome and irritated all at once.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “I don’t know if you can handle it or not. That’s the problem. We don’t really know one another that well.”
Gavin crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the door frame. His biceps bulged against the constraints of the shirt, drawing her eyes down to his strong forearms and rock-hard chest. It was easier to focus on that than the strangely cocky expression on his face.
“We know each other very well,” he said with a wicked grin curling his lips.
Sabine approached him, stopping just short of touching him. “Your ability to give me an orgasm has no bearing on whether or not you can care for a toddler.”
At the mention of the word orgasm his gaze narrowed at her. He swallowed hard but didn’t reach for her. “I disagree. Both require an attention to detail. Anticipating what another person wants or needs. I don’t think it matters if what they need is a drink, a toy or a mind-blowing physical release.”
Mind-blowing. Sabine couldn’t stop her tongue from gliding out over her lips. They’d gotten painfully dry. His gaze dropped to her mouth, then back to her eyes. There was a touch of amusement in his gaze. He knew he was getting to her.
“What if what they need is their poopy diaper changed? Or you gave them too much cotton candy and they spew blue muck all over the backseat of your Mercedes? Not quite as sexy.”
The light of attraction in his eyes faded. It was hard to keep up the arousal with that kind of imagery. That’s why she hadn’t bothered dating in all this time. Maybe she should reconsider. She might not feel as vulnerable to Gavin’s charms if she had an outlet that didn’t involve him.
His expression hardened for a moment. He seemed irritated with her. “Stop trying to scare me away. I know taking care of a child isn’t easy. It can be messy. But it’s just a few hours to start. I can handle it. Will you let me do this for you? Please?”
“Do this for me? Shouldn’t you be doing this for your son?”
“I am. Of course, I am. I want a relationship with Jared more than anything. But to do that, you have got to trust me. I will return him to you tonight, well fed, well cared for and, for the most part, clean. But you have to do your part. You have to let me try. Let me mess up. Enjoy your free afternoon. Paint something beautiful because you can. Go get a pedicure.”
Sabine had to admit that sounded wonderful. She hadn’t had an afternoon to herself since she went into labor. She didn’t have any family here to watch Jared. She tried to only use Tina’s services when she had to for classes. She hadn’t had a day just to relax. And to paint...