Chapter 5: A Perfect Fit

My mother called around lunch time to check in, and to say she wouldn’t be home for dinner. She was working on something for her boss and didn’t intend to be home until late.

I assured her this would be fine, but I was positive she had called to ask about my date the night before.

I was right. We spent nearly an hour on the phone talking about the date, during which time I managed to get Lily her lunch.

When I got off the phone with my mother, I realized that Lily had not only managed to get food from one end of the kitchen to the other, she had also gotten herself covered.

I laughed, “You are so cute, I don’t know what I’m going to do with you!”

She giggled and stuck her fingers in her mouth.

“I think maybe you’ll get a bath then.”

“No!” She shouted. This was usually her response to everything lately, but I knew she liked taking baths.

“Okay, honey.” I lifted her from her high chair and carried her into the bathroom. I closed the door behind us, so she wouldn’t escape and spread what was left of her lunch throughout the rest of the house. I turned on the water, and ran it through my fingers to be sure it was the perfect temperature. I filled the tub with some of Lily’s toys, and before I knew it, she was standing beside me reaching for her toys.

“Just a second,” I laughed, carefully removing her clothes and lifting her into the tub.

She was already preoccupied with playing with her toys, so getting her cleaned up was easy. While she was in the tub, I gently pulled a comb through her hair, assuming it was easier to get done while she was playing with her rubber duck in the tub.

I pulled out the drain stopper and with a smile said, “All done, Lily. Time to get out.”

“No!” She cried loudly.

“Sorry, sweetie.” I reached for a towel and wrapped it around her body, lifting her onto my hip.

I heard the doorbell, and with a sigh, debated on answering it. I wasn’t expecting anyone, so I was going to ignore it. I sighed, and making sure that Lily was warmly bundled up, I carried her to the front door.

I opened the door slowly.

“Isaac!” I cried in surprise.

“Hey,” He smiled. “I hope you don’t mind, I tried to call but couldn’t get through.”

“Yeah, my mom called.” I sighed. “Come in, I was just getting Lily out of the tub…”

“I see that. Hey you!” He smiled, extending a hand to Lily. She reached out and squeezed his finger tightly, laughing.

“Up!” Lily yelled.

“No, no. Honey, you’re still wet…”

“I don’t mind.” Isaac extended his hands and lifted Lily’s body from my arms. “Besides, I think she likes me.”

“She must.” I smiled, “She’s usually really apprehensive about strangers.”

He laughed, “Weird huh?” Lily was playing with the button on his shirt.

“I should get her dressed.” I sighed. “She’s made a terrible mess in the kitchen, too.”

“Let me help, then.” He offered. “What can I do?”

“You really don’t have to…” I smiled, taking Lily from his arms. “Just give me a couple of minutes?”

“Sure.” He nodded, removing his shoes and following me into the living room.

“I’ll be right back.” I carried Lily into the bedroom and got her into a pair of clean over-alls and a bright yellow t-shirt. I carried her into the hall, but she was kicking so I put her down. She went running into the living room to discover her favorite cartoon was on.

“Isaac?” I asked. I found him standing in the kitchen with a sponge. He had cleaned. “Isaac, you didn’t have to do that! Thank you!” I gently placed a hand on his shoulder and kissed his cheek.

He chuckled. “I don’t mind. I’ve taken care of kids before, you know. Besides, it gave me an idea.”

I laughed. “Really? What’s that.”

“I thought maybe we could go for a walk.” He shrugged. “It’s a beautiful day out.”

“I bet Lily would like that.” I smiled.

“Great.” He grinned, carefully placing the sponge back in the sink.

“I’ll get her.” I smiled. He followed me from the kitchen, but Lily was no longer in the living room. The safety gate was across the stairs, so I knew she hadn’t gone into the basement.

“Lily?” I called, wandering into the hall. I checked the bathroom, and though it was still a mess, she wasn’t there.

“Lily, it’s not nice to hide on mommy.” I replied, peering into my mother’s bedroom.

“What about in here?” Isaac asked, motioning to an open door at the end of the hall.

I sighed, it was Lily’s room, but wasn’t finished. He pushed open the door fully and wandered in. Lily was sitting in the middle of the floor giggling and holding her favorite teddy-bear.

“Lily, honey. You’re not supposed to be in here yet…” I scooped her up. “What do you think about going for a walk?”

“No!” She shouted, and laughed.

“Well, I guess she doesn’t like that idea.” Isaac chuckled.

I smiled. “Actually, that’s a pretty common response from her. She hasn’t quite figured out yes from no yet.”

“Ah,” He laughed, and looked up at the mural on the wall.

The night before, I had been so inspired by our date I had spent much of the night awake and painting a large lily on the wall of Lily’s bedroom. “It’s beautiful,” He mused. “Did you do it?”

I nodded. “It’s not finished, it still needs some shading, and I’m not quite happy with the color…” With my free hand, I touched the paint lightly to see if it were dry.

“It looks remarkable. I never knew you could paint.” He smiled at me.

I felt myself blush. “Thanks. I thought it only fitting that I put a lily on the wall in Lily’s room….”

“This is her room?” He asked, looking around.

“Yeah… I, uh… haven’t gotten her a crib or anything yet.”

“Maybe we should do that then, instead of the park.” He suggested.

“That’s okay… I can’t really afford it right now, anyway.” I instantly regretted the words as soon as they were out of my mouth. “Uh, come on, let’s go for a walk, then.”

“Wait, Andy!” He stopped me. “What do you mean you can’t afford it? Is it anything I can help with? I mean, I can loan you-“

“No, no… it’s alright. My mother has already offered, but I don’t feel right taking the money from her, let alone taking the money from you.” I smiled.

“Well, what about Lily’s father? Isn’t he helping?” He asked, an expression of concern crossing his face.

I pursed my lips together tightly, and carefully set Lily on the floor. She sat contentedly with her bear. “No he…. He doesn’t know she exists.”

Isaac’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “What? Andy-“

“He was a jerk, okay? He probably wouldn’t even help me out if he knew-“ I said quickly.

“You could fight him for child support.” He supplied .

“No,” I shook my head quickly. “I really don’t want to talk about it.”

“You don’t think he should know he’s got a daughter?”

I drew in a deep breath. “I think it’s better for the people involved that he doesn’t know.” I admitted quietly. “He broke my heart, and he’s not going to get the chance to break hers.”

He sighed and within a second his arms were around me firmly. “How could anyone ever break your heart, Andy?” He asked softly.

My body tucked into his seeming to fit perfectly, I felt suddenly at ease.

“Please,” I whispered. “I don’t like talking about it.”

“Okay, I won’t make you, then.” His chin rested atop my head.

“Up!” Lily shouted, jerking on Isaac’s pant leg.

I smiled down at her. “I think she’s jealous.”

Isaac laughed. “I think I owe her a walk, right? Still up for it?”

“Of course.” I laughed.

“Great!” He scooped her up and balanced her on his shoulders.

“Careful!” I gasped. “Don’t drop her!”

Isaac smirked. “Don’t worry. I won’t let her go.”