Miracle Under the Mistletoe - Page 31

‘Oh, right. Well, I suppose that’s a good sign,’ she said quietly.

Sean let her go, watching as she hurried over to Joyce’s husband and led him towards the relatives’ room. He went to the phone and called Recovery to get an update on Joyce’s condition. She had come through the operation successfully but she was being kept sedated as it was hoped that it would help her brain to heal. Although the person he spoke to didn’t say as much, he knew that it was still touch and go. Now he had to try and explain all of that to Joyce’s husband the least stressful way he could.

Molly sat quietly as she listened to Sean explaining the extent of Joyce’s injuries to Ted Summers. He didn’t try to paint a brighter picture but carefully and methodically outlined the difficulties Joyce faced. Molly’s heart ached when she heard the compassion in his voice. Sean had always been marvellous with grieving relatives and now she understood why he was able to empathise with them to such an extent. He had been on the receiving end of devastating news like this when Claire had died and he had first-hand knowledge of how it felt to have your hopes and dreams ripped apart.

It made her anger over the way he had butted into her conversation with Adam seem very trivial. Maybe she didn’t understand his reasons for doing so but it obviously wasn’t jealousy at the thought of her and Adam going out together, not when she could hear the underlying grief in his voice. Sean was remembering Claire, recalling how devastated he had felt when he had lost her; how devastated he still felt, in fact. Molly found herself suddenly wishing with every fibre of her being that one day he would be able to move on, even if she wouldn’t be around to help him.

‘I’m sorry the news isn’t better, Ted. All I can say is that Joyce has come this far and that’s a positive sign.’ Sean stood up, bringing an end to the meeting. ‘I’m sure you must want to see her so Molly is going to take you to Recovery. Joyce will be moved from there to ICU very shortly.’

‘Thank you.’ Ted Summers rose shakily to his feet. He looked completely poleaxed by what he had heard and Molly hurriedly got up and put a guiding hand under his elbow to lead him to the door.

‘There’s no need to rush back, Molly. It’s not that busy in here so take as long as you need.’

‘Right. Thank you.’ Molly glanced back, feeling her heart scrunch up inside her. It was only Sean who could make the decision to put the past behind him; no one else could make it for him. And the thought that he might never get over losing Claire was so painful that it was hard to hide how much it upset her.

‘Are you all right?’ he said softly and she knew that he had noticed she was upset but had assumed it was because of Joyce.

‘Yes. I’m fine.’

She turned away, not wanting to burden him with her feelings. Sean had enough to contend with and it would be wrong to encumber him with anything else. She had to deal with her own emotions and come to terms with the situation as it was. The sooner she did that too, the better.

* * *

The rest of the week passed and Friday rolled around. Molly had seen very little of Sean, as it happened. He had agreed to swap shifts with his opposite number, who needed time off that coming weekend to visit an ailing relative. While she was glad of the respite, she had to admit that she missed him. Sean was fun to have around, always bright and cheerful and ready to lend a hand. In fact, the department didn’t seem the same without him, although maybe it was a good thing that he wasn’t there if it gave her a chance to get used to being without him. She must never forget that Sean’s time in Dalverston was strictly limited.

By the time she left work on Friday evening, Sean still hadn’t contacted her to arrange when he would pick her up to attend Bert and Doris’s wedding reception. Molly made her way home, assuring herself that she was relieved that he had apparently changed his mind. An evening watching the box was far preferable to one spent agonising over matters she couldn’t change.

She changed into a comfy old tracksuit and settled down in front of the television with her supper on a tray. When the doorbell rang she was engrossed in the latest episode of her favourite soap opera and reluctantly got up to answer it. She’d had several visits from local children out carol singing so she fetched her purse before opening the door then gasped in surprise when she found Sean standing on her step.

‘What are you doing here?’

‘Collecting you so we can go to Bert and Doris’s do.’ He frowned as he took stock of what she was wearing. ‘I’m sorry. Am I too early?’

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