* * *
Sean had to bite his tongue when he heard Humphreys asking Molly out on a date. It had nothing to do with him who she dated, he told himself sternly. She was a free agent and he had given up any claim on her two years ago. It was no less than the truth but it was hard to take such a balanced and rational view. For some reason he didn’t intend to examine too closely, he couldn’t bear the thought of Molly seeing the other man.
The night wore on, the usual mix of the mundane and high drama. Several of the people he saw should have been seen by their GPs rather than turning up at the A&E unit. Sean politely explained that if something of a similar nature occurred again they should contact their local surgery, but he knew that most wouldn’t take his advice. Why wait for an appointment when they could be seen immediately? was their view. The fact that it simply added to the pressure the A&E staff were under was of little concern to them.
It was all very depressing and, added to his previous thoughts about Molly and this date she was planning, it had a marked effect. Sean’s spirits were at an all-time low when he left the hospital and it didn’t help when he saw Molly getting into Adam Humphreys’ car. He knew from what he had overheard her saying that her car still wasn’t fixed and he couldn’t blame her for accepting a lift rather than waiting for the bus, but it made no difference. He didn’t want the other man driving her home, certainly didn’t want to think about her inviting Humphreys in for coffee! Maybe he didn’t have any right to dictate what she did and who she did it with, but it didn’t matter. Deep in his heart, tucked away in the very darkest corner, lay the truth: he wanted Molly to belong to him and only him.
* * *
Thankfully, Molly managed to get some sleep and awoke feeling a lot better than she had done. She showered and dressed, taking extra care as she blow-dried her hair so that it fell in soft red-gold waves around her face. Adam had asked her if she fancied having lunch with him that day at one of Dalverston’s newest and most expensive restaurants and she had accepted. It had seemed propitious to put her plan to forget about Sean into action as soon as possible.
The restaurant was beautiful if a tad formal for Molly’s taste. She was glad that she had chosen to wear a smart lilac dress for the lunch date rather than something more casual. The clientele was somewhat older than her and Adam, although she had to admit that he seemed very comfortable with the surroundings. He was obviously well known to the staff too because they were immediately seated at one of the best tables overlooking the river. Molly had to hide her amusement as Adam and the sommelier had a long and intense discussion about the best wine to accompany their lunch. It all seemed slightly over the top to her but she knew that Adam would be very hurt if she let him see how she felt.
Lunches out with Sean had been very different affairs, she found herself thinking as she listened to the two men discussing the merits of Sauvignon Blanc compared to Chablis. One day it had been a picnic of bread and some deliciously crumbly cheese produced by one of the local farms, all washed down with a bottle of beer, while on another occasion they had stopped at a mobile burger bar on the bypass and consumed huge and highly calorific egg and bacon sandwiches. A smile twitched at the corners of her mouth as she remembered how Sean had laughed when the egg had oozed out of her sandwich and dribbled down her chin. Bending forward, he had delicately licked the bright yellow eggy goo away, not something she could imagine Adam doing...
‘Excellent! We’ll have a bottle of the Chablis, Pierre. I’m sure you will appreciate it, Molly. It has the most exquisite bouquet.’
‘I...I’m sure I shall,’ Molly replied, hurriedly driving that disturbing thought from her mind as Adam turned to her. She had come here today specifically to stop herself thinking about Sean and she refused to allow her thoughts to get hijacked this early in the date!
She listened attentively as Adam continued with his theme, explaining in great detail the qualities of the various wines. He was obviously something of an expert but Molly could drum up very little enthusiasm for the subject. In her view, wine was wine and you either liked it or you didn’t. Spending time discussing it wasn’t something she and Sean had ever done—they’d had much better ways to occupy their time!
Once again her thoughts rushed off along their own path and she swallowed her groan of dismay. She didn’t want to think about the hours she and Sean had spent lying in each other’s arms, certainly didn’t want to remember how wonderful it had felt to make love with him. It wasn’t fair to Adam to think about another man when he had invited her for this very expensive lunch. No, she wouldn’t give Sean Fitzgerald another thought, even if it killed her!