In the end, there is no winner. The entire race falls apart when Owen, enthusiastic in the game, knocks over the carefully-built bridge. After that, it’s anarchy. Grant drives his car over the couch, Owen is hopping his from brick to brick, and I’m trying to sneakily turn the television on with my car. It’s hilarious to think that there are two adults in the room right now.
“Come on,” Grant encourages me, swiping the remote from under my car, and I pout. “Play properly.”
I glance at him. I know Grant was a foster kid, and that he sometimes seemed to bounce from one bad family to the next. Did he ever get to play with cars and blocks like this? I have a feeling the answer to that is “no”, and I’m glad he’s getting the chance to do it now, with his own son. His face is open and he’s bursting with laughter as the three of us play. He looks happier than I’ve seen him yet, his skin smoothing out as he chortles, and the bags under his eyes seeming less pronounced.
What I have to say to him can wait until later, I decide. Right now, I can’t bear the thought of interrupting this happiness.
By the time Owen’s bedtime rolls around, I’m exhausted, and even Grant looks a little out of breath. He slumps into a chair at my table.
“I shouldn’t be glad that Owen is asleep,” he says solemnly. Then he grimaces. “But I am.”
“He can be a handful sometimes,” I laugh. “You should have seen him on Friday after all that sugar we fed him. Not one of my wiser moments.”
“Or mine,” Grant says ruefully.
“Coffee?” I ask hopefully.
“No,” Grant says with a small smile. “I have work in the morning. I should get home soon.”
“Right,” I say, disappointed. Things went so well that I almost forgot that he didn’t live with us. “Just, before you go…”
I look away. I don’t want to bring down the mood, especially with how happy all three of us have been today, but I still have things that need to be said.
“Thanks for coming around,” I say sincerely. “Part of me wasn’t sure you would.”
“Could you blame me?” Grant asks, eyebrow raised.
“Not really,” I confess. I glance at him. “And I am sorry.”
“You said,” Grant replies. “I…” He hesitates. “I don’t forgive you. Not right now. But maybe, in the future…” He shakes his head. “I don’t know,” he says quietly.
“Why did you come here?” I ask him.
“I did some thinking,” he says after a moment. “You know, it wasn’t just your fault everything went wrong. I had a hand in it, too.
“Yeah, but my hand won the pot,” I say glumly.
He snorts. “Not that that’s a great prize.”
I smile slightly at him.
“What comes next then?” I ask him.
“Now, we just keep going,” he tells me. “And I know what to do first.” He suddenly looks at me. “There’s a spy movie on down at the movie theater. Want to go?”
I wasn’t sure I’d heard quite right. Surely I’m missing something, here.
“Owen isn’t too good with the theater,” I say.
His lips twitch.
“I’m not inviting Owen,” he says. “We can ask Allison or Hazel to babysit for us. I was thinking we could have dinner first, then see the movie.” He pauses. “If you want to.”
I’m still having trouble understanding.
“Are you asking me on a date?” I ask stupidly.