It was beginning to get hot under the dozens of blankets they had used to transform the whole living room into a deluxe blanket fort, but neither Harrison or Sparrow would ever admit it.
“We should ride our bikes down by the water today. Can you swim?” Harrison asked her.
Sparrow nodded. “Yes. I can swim. But I don’t have a bike.”
Sitting up and pushing up part of the roof with his hands, Harrison lifted his shoulders. “My dad can get you a bike.”
Wrinkling her nose, she slowly shook her head. “No, I don’t need a bike. Don’t you want to go for a walk instead?”
Harrison had noticed in the couple of weeks Sparrow had been here, that she refused to accept anything they offered her that wasn’t food, lodgings or transportation. He couldn’t understand why. His father had enough money to buy them anything they could ever want, and Sparrow had nothing. He had always thought that if you offered someone who had nothing things like bikes and games, they would accept them without question.
She never said no, she always just suggested something else.
“Or, you could just use my other bike. It’s not as new, and it is a little too small for me, but you are a little smaller. So it should be perfect for you. You can borrow it.” He didn’t have an old bike, he only had a bike, but it was a year old and he had ridden it long enough for it to look worn. He would just ask his dad for a new bike and let her ride his old one. She couldn’t say no to just borrowing a bike.
Thinking about it for a moment, she finally gave in. “That would be okay, I guess.”
The front door swung open and both their brows furrowed as they waited. “Harrison! Harrison, my love. Where are you? Mommy is here!”
Scurrying out from under the blankets, Sparrow hesitantly followed.
“Hello mother, what are you doing here?”
Wrapping her arms around him, several gold bangles jingled together as she lifted him on the floor and held onto him. Sparrow watched, slightly hiding behind the couch as she watched them. “Go on now, go pack your things.” She placed him back on the ground and gave his butt a light smack.
Harrison looked over at the fort. “Mom, I can’t leave. I have to stay and take care of Sparrow.”
Rolling her eyes dramatically, Meredith put her hands on her hips and looked down at him. “Harrison, darling. I can get you a bird at home. Any kind of bird you want. Something nicer than a sparrow. Like a parquet or something extravagant like that.” Waving her hand in front of her, she attempted to shoo him up the stairs. “Now, go on love.”
Vincent looked down the stairs at Sparrow crouched behind the couch and groaned and the familiar, shrill voice of his wife. Moving to stand behind the couch, he gave Sparrow’s shoulder a comforting squeeze before moving to stand in front of her. “Meredith… honey… what are you doing here?”
Her eyes narrowed at him. “Well, what did you expect me to do? We had agreed Harrison would come and stay with you for one week. One week. That was over two weeks ago. Every time I call, you tell me ‘maybe next week’ and I am tired of waiting. Harrison is going to come home with me, and he is going to come home today.”
Harrison looked up at Meredith. “I don’t want to come home today.”
Forcing a smile, she got down to her knees and grabbed onto his arms. “Harrison, why would you want to stay here?” Rubbing at his arms, she let out a long breath. “No, you will come home with me today. Or we could go to Paris, would you like to come with me to Paris?”
He shook his head. “No. I already told you, I have to stay here and take care of Sparrow. I promised her I would.”
Moaning, she stood up. “Well, just go on and get your Sparrow and we will take it with us.”
Harrison turned towards Vincent and Sparrow. “Do you want to come with us back to England?”
Meredith raised her brows as Harrison turned to Vincent, and she jumped when Sparrow poked her head out from behind him. “Um, no thank you. I think I would rather stay here with Vincent.”
“What is this, now?” Meredith gestured to the little girl. “It’s been two weeks and you’ve adopted a little girl?”
“Vincent didn’t adopt me, he is just watching me until my mom gets back.” Sparrow said.
Holding out her hand, Meredith shushed her. “This is ridiculous. Is this your plan to keep Harrison here with you? Get him some play-thing?”
“Jesus, Meredith!” Walking over, Vincent grabbed her by the arm and pulled her down the hall.
Harrison and Sparrow listened as her bedroom door was closed and hushed yelling began. Walking over to her, Harrison grimaced. “That is my mom.” He told her.
Nodding, she didn’t know what to say.
“I am not going to leave you, you know.” He said finally.
“You can, if you want to.” She told him. “You don’t have to stay here if you want to go with your mom.”
Thinking about it for a moment, he shook his head. “No. I promised my dad I was going to try to be a good man. And I promised you I was going to take care of you. A good man keeps his word.”