The house feels exhaustive as the twins learn to walk and talk. Patrick brings his work home with him, writing reports and researching funding opportunities. Finding himself working late into the night when the twins sleep. He knows he is no substitute for the parents they need. The fear Patrick is not doing right by the girls haunts both waking and dream-filled sleep. All he can do is watch, waiting for the day Charlotte or social services steals them away from him. Patrick works safe, knowing Sparky will bark if the girls stray too far. The big hairy dog is the best nanny they could ask for as he tolerates them grabbing his fur. Sparky settles with the twins, guarding them as they sleep or watching them play. They climb onto him as he lays, pretending he is a horse. Daciana feeds him bits of her food or gives him her toys to chew.
The type of woman Patrick was looking for needed to love children or approved by his girls. The nannies he hired met that criteria; he was fond of them, although he believed it was inappropriate. Patrick changed his views; a call from Hannah saw him inspect his beard for food particles. He ran a comb through and made an effort to wear something free of toddler mess. Singles night at the bar hanging out with Hannah and a few of her friends. The music pumped, and the conversations grew loud. Voices competing with the throbbing bass lines did nothing to dispel his headache. Patrick worried he had forgotten how to sustain an adult discussion. His job involved plants where communication meant observation. At home, babbling words made sense to him, so how could he talk to these women?
Patrick learns how his desires and those of the women in the bar are not always compatible. Hannah clarified they were out as friends, a hint to the “let’s see what happens”, so Patrick eyed the bar, hopeful. Arlene and Lia were single mothers; they were happy to talk. The discussion focused on the best creams for nappy rash. This followed how to persuade fussy tots to eat their vegetables. Luliana loved her food; the colours interested her. Patrick smiled, certain Luliana had yet to meet a food she did not like. Daciana was fussy; she poked at her meal, screwing her face as though the flavour seemed off. She would taste everything but getting her to eat a full meal was hard work. A selection of dishes might narrow the likes and dislikes, except time was a factor. There was never enough.
Maki seemed forward in her interest and had a definite description of what she wanted. A full-time father of two who wanted some fun was her ideal, as he would always have his hands tied. The notion of having a committed relationship, Maki had no time for that in her life. She enjoyed travel, speaking of all the places she had been and yet to go. This got Patrick thinking aloud, how he too missed the travel plans he once made. The carefree spirit of the younger twin and Maki, inspired him to reconsider this. Maki grew bored of the conversation. Patrick expressed his desire to take the girls camping, when they were older. With a heavy sigh, Patrick knew dating was beyond him, at least for the foreseeable future. Mothers wanted to compare notes, which was easy, though not a romantic subject. As for the single ladies, they were looking for something he could not offer.