It made him see that he would need to be very careful while he was working at Dalverston. It would be only too easy to break the vow he had made after Claire had died.
* * *
It was a busy night, as Molly had predicted. By the time she was due for her break, the unit was overflowing with people waiting to be seen. She shook her head when Jason Roberts, the newest addition to their staff, asked her if she was going to the canteen.
‘I’ll wait till things calm down a bit,’ she explained then sighed as the doors opened to admit another group of injured revellers. One of them was bleeding copiously from a gash on his forehead. That he was also extremely drunk as well was evident from the way he was staggering about. Molly beckoned to Jason to follow her as she headed straight over to him. In her experience it was better to get the drunks safely corralled so they couldn’t upset the rest of their patients.
‘Right, let’s get you sat down for starters.’ She guided the man to a chair and bent down to examine the cut on his head. Although there was a great deal of blood, it was only a superficial injury and would need just butterfly stitches to close it. ‘Get him checked in at Reception, will you?’ she told Jason. ‘Then you can clean this up and apply a few butterfly stitches to hold it together.’
It was a simple enough task and one the young nurse was more than capable of performing; however, it appeared the patient had other ideas. Grabbing hold of Molly’s arm, he pulled her back when she went to leave.
‘I want you to do it, not him.’ He looked at Jason and sneered. ‘I don’t want some young kid messing around with me.’
‘Jason is a fully qualified nurse. He is more than capable of dealing with this,’ Molly explained levelly. She tried to withdraw her arm from the man’s grasp but he wouldn’t let her go. His fingers tightened around her wrist, making her wince with pain.
‘I said that I want you to do it.’ He hauled her down so that their faces were mere inches apart and she had to stop herself gagging at the sour smell of alcohol coming off his breath. ‘I pay my taxes, love, and if I say I want you to treat me then that’s how it’s going to be.’
‘I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that, sir. We decide who gets to treat you and we also decide who we won’t treat, either. I have to say that you’re number one on that list at this precise moment.’
Molly looked round when she recognised Sean’s voice. Although he hadn’t raised his voice, there was no disguising the anger on his face. It obviously had an effect on the drunk because he immediately let her go. Molly stepped back, her legs trembling a little as she hastily put some space between them. Although it wasn’t the first time that she’d had to deal with an unpleasant situation, it was upsetting, nevertheless.
‘Are you all right?’
Sean’s voice was low, filled with something that brought an unexpected lump to her throat. He sounded genuinely concerned but that couldn’t be right, not after the way he had ended their affair two years ago. He had been almost brutal as he had told her bluntly that he didn’t want to see her any more. Although Molly had asked him why, pleaded with him to tell her what had made him reach such a decision, he had refused to explain. He had merely reminded her that he had made it clear right from the beginning that he wasn’t looking for commitment, and that had been that. He had left Dalverston shortly afterwards to take up another post in a different part of the country and had never made any attempt to contact her since.
Sean had written her out of his life and it would be foolish to imagine that he cared, even more foolish to wish that he did. Even though Molly knew all that, she couldn’t stop herself. Foolish or not, she wanted him to care about her and the thought was like the proverbial red rag. As Jason led the drunk away, she rounded on Sean, pain and anger warring inside her. The last thing she wanted was to feel anything for him ever again!
‘I would appreciate it if you didn’t interfere in future,’ she told him furiously. ‘I am more than capable of dealing with a situation like that.’
‘I’m sorry,’ he said quietly. ‘I just thought maybe you needed some backup.’
‘Well, you thought wrong,’ Molly snapped. She glared at him. ‘I don’t need your help, Dr Fitzgerald, and I would prefer it if you didn’t butt in.’
‘Then all I can do is apologise and assure you that it won’t happen again.’
He gave her a thin smile then walked away, leaving Molly fuming. She knew she had overreacted and it was frustrating to think that she had allowed Sean to get to her like that. The only way she would cope in the coming weeks while they had to work together was by remaining calm, indifferent even. Allowing her emotions to come to the fore, whether it was anger or anything else, certainly wouldn’t help. No, she needed to remain detached, aloof, distant, and that way she would get through this. However, as she went to collect her next patient, Molly was bitterly aware that it wasn’t going to be easy to be any of those things. Working with Sean was going to test her self-control to its absolute limit.