Author's Note: I wish I had a better excuse for not updating since the summer, but it was really a combination of writer's block and school. But I've finally got this chapter done and hopefully I can finally finish this story. Thanks for sticking with it.
"How come you haven't held Hannah yet?" Sarah asked.
"What?" Frank lifted his head up. He had been whittling a piece of wood that he found earlier while Sarah was standing by Hannah's crib. Milly had gone upstairs to take a nap and Sarah said that she would stay inside and watch Hannah. Frank decided to join her as well. There was never any time for them to be alone together anymore. He was either too busy doing chores or there were too many people around. The last time the two of them were alone he had tried to kiss her again, but before he had the chance Dorcas had walked in on them and she still hasn't let them hear the end of it yet.
There was another reason why he wanted to be alone with her. But he didn't want to think about it too much. The snow had almost completely melted and that meant that the pass would open and the girls would have to go back to town soon. He knew how angry the town people were after the brothers took away the girls. And they have had all winter to prepare when the pass finally opened again. The Ponitpees would probably never be allowed back into town again. They might take pity on Milly, but there was no way Frank or any of his brothers could go back. And that would mean that he would never see Sarah again. She would probably go right back to her family and right back to Carl. It made his stomach churn when he thought about that.
"I've seen all of your brothers hold her. Even Gideon," she said. "But I've never seen you hold her."
"Oh…well…it's just," Frank felt his cheeks heat up.
"What is it?" Sarah asked.
"I've never really held a baby before," Frank said. "I mean I've held some of the farm animals when they were little. You should have seen how small Bessie was when she was born. But I've never held a human baby before. I was too little when Gideon was born and so I never really had the chance to learn."
Frank didn't really remember very much about Gideon when he was a baby. But he did remember Ma telling him, "Now Frank, this is your baby brother. He's real little and he'll need a lot of help. So I'll need your help when things get too hectic around here." Frank also remembered that he and Gideon were picked on the most when they were little. He remembered that vividly. They were the two youngest and the two smallest so that meant the older Pontipee brothers could get away with pretty much anything and they could never fight back. Frank and Gideon had to deal with this for years until one day Ben was taunting Gideon and took one of his toys. Something inside of Frank snapped and the next thing he remembered was Adam and Caleb pulling him off of Ben. That was the day the Pontipee family learned that Frank was a lot stronger than he looked.
"Well, what if I taught you?" she asked.
"What?" Frank stopped whittling and looked at her again.
"What if I taught you how to hold a baby?" Frank looked even more confused than before. "I promise, it's not hard. And you're gonna have to hold her at some point. It'll be easier when she's still small and not climbing on everything." Sarah said as she leaned down and picked Hannah up from her crib.
"Wait, I don't wanna wake her up or anything," Frank said.
"Don't worry. It'll be easier when she's sleeping since she won't be moving around as much."
Sarah slowly walked over to the couch where Frank was sitting. "Here, put your arms out," she said as she placed Hannah into his arms.
Frank sat there not moving a muscle, he was sure that he was gonna mess up and ruin everything. "Calm down," Sarah giggled. "She's not a piece of glass."
"It's just…I don't wanna hurt her," Frank said softly as he looked down at his niece. She was just so small. He looked back at Sarah and saw that she was giving him a funny look. "Why are you looking at me like that?" he asked.
"I don't think you're half as mean as everyone says you are," she said with a small smile.
"Well, I don't think you're half as shy as everyone says you are," Frank replied. He saw her blush as she walked over and sat down next to him. He started to get a strange feeling in his chest, thinking about the two of them sitting together while holding a baby. He was snapped out of his thoughts as he felt movement in his arms. He looked down and saw Hannah wide awake and staring right back at him. Frank tensed up again for a few moments, thinking that he did something wrong. But Hannah didn't look hurt or upset so he relaxed again.
"It looks like you're doing a pretty good job," Sarah said.
"Well, that's only because I had a real good teacher," he replied. She smiled at him again and his heart skipped a beat.
"Sarah," he said after a few minutes. "Do you like it here?"
"I..." She paused, trying to find the right words. "Yes, I do."
"I know that I messed up everything and I know that you miss your family. But if you would want to stay here. Then you're always welcomed."
"I don't know, Frank," she said after a few moments. "Part of me wants to stay, but I just don't know what's going to happen once the pass opens."
She placed her head on his shoulder and neither of them said anything after that. She was right, they didn't know what would happen. They might not see each other ever again after this. But for right now they were together and that was more than enough for Frank.