‘Of course.’ She swiftly made the call then knelt down beside him. ‘How’s his breathing?’
‘So far, so good. Pulse is a bit erratic, but that’s only to be expected.’ He glanced up at the man’s wife. ‘Did he complain of a headache shortly before it happened?’
‘No. He seemed perfectly fine. We were just going to listen to another couple of carols and then go and have a drink in the café before we went home,’ the poor woman replied. ‘Why did you ask that? Do you know what’s wrong with him?’
‘I’m afraid it looks very much like he’s had a stroke,’ Sean explained gently, knowing it would be a shock for her.
‘A stroke,’ she repeated. Tears rushed to her eyes. ‘Is...is he going to die?’
Molly stood up and put her arm around her. ‘Let’s not assume the worst,’ she told her quietly. ‘The main thing now is to get your husband to hospital so he can receive treatment.’
‘Can you treat him, though? My dad had a stroke when I was a teenager and there was nothing anyone could do...’
She broke off, too upset to continue, and Sean sighed. This was a part of his job he hated, trying to reassure relatives while not making any promises he might not be able to keep.
‘We’ve made a lot of advances in the way we treat stroke patients in recent years. Your husband will be given anticoagulants to break down any clots that may have formed in his brain. It’s a treatment that can have very positive results.’
‘What if it’s a burst blood vessel, though? That’s what happened to my dad—a blood vessel burst and caused a massive bleed in his brain.’
‘Your husband will have a CT scan at the hospital to rule that out. However, the fact that he didn’t complain of a severe headache would point towards it being a clot rather than a bleed,’ Sean explained.
He looked up when the wail of a siren announced the arrival of the ambulance. Molly was still talking to the woman, doing her best to reassure her, so Sean left her to it while he did the hand-over. It didn’t take long as he hadn’t administered any form of treatment so within minutes the ambulance was on its way. Molly sighed as she watched it drive off.
‘Think he’ll make it?’
‘He stands a pretty good chance,’ Sean replied quietly. ‘Prompt treatment can make a huge difference in a case like this and that’s what he will receive.’
‘Yes, you’re right. His poor wife, though. It must be a terrible shock when something like that happens to someone you love.’
‘Your life changes in an instant,’ Sean agreed, knowing only too well how that felt. Loving someone made you vulnerable and it was a timely reminder that he needed to get a grip on his emotions. He couldn’t go through that kind of heartache a second time, which was why he needed to keep his distance from Molly.
It was a sobering thought. As Sean followed her back into the café, he realised that he needed to forget any ideas he had harboured about them resuming their affair. Although it might resolve certain issues, what if it created a whole lot more? Even though it wasn’t easy to admit it, he had been far more involved with her than he had thought, and it was scary to wonder what might happen in the future if they grew close again.
‘I’d better get off home. Thanks for the coffee.’
Molly pulled on her hat then wound her scarf around her neck in readiness to leave and Sean was suddenly struck by an inexplicable need to explain why he had ended their relationship two years ago. Would it help if he told her the real reason why he could never commit himself? he wondered. Once Molly understood then maybe they could both move on; she could put it all behind her and he could stop thinking about how he had felt when they had been together. The last thing he wanted was Molly going ahead with her plan to seduce him—that would be a complete and utter disaster!
‘There’s something I should have told you ages ago,’ he said hurriedly.
‘I really can’t see the point of dragging up the past at this stage, Sean.’ She looked up and her expression was so distant that he fell silent. She gave him a tight little smile as she picked up her gloves. ‘If it was that important then you should have told me before now. It’s really none of my business now, is it? We’re not together any more.’
She was right; there was no point in baring his soul after all this time. He was only going to be in Dalverston for a few more weeks and after that he would make sure that he never came back here again. No, the time for confessions was long gone and he would be foolish to imagine it would make any difference if he told her the truth.