Molly picked up her backpack before she and Jayne hurried away. Sean watched her go and sighed as he found his mind skipping back to what he had been thinking earlier. There was no doubt at all that Molly would make the most wonderful mother but they definitely wouldn’t be his children that she gave birth to.
It was an effort to force the thought from his mind but he knew that he couldn’t afford to waste any time in getting everything organised. Once he was sure that everyone knew what they were doing, he went to find the incident commander. Fortunately, she had already arranged for a local church hall to be opened up and used as a temporary field hospital so within a very short time the first casualties were being taken in there. Molly was kneeling beside a young woman when Sean arrived. She shook her head when he asked her if she needed anything.
‘No, we’re fine. Just a few cuts and bruises, I’m pleased to say.’
She squeezed the girl’s hand and Sean felt his throat close up when he saw the compassion on her face. Whether it was the fact that his mind had been skittering this way and that, he had no idea, but he couldn’t help feeling touched. Molly really cared about the people they treated—it wasn’t just an act. She was such a genuinely kind and generous person yet he had treated her appallingly. If he achieved nothing else while he was in Dalverston then at the very least he had to make his peace with her. The thought of her thinking badly of him for the rest of her days was more than he could bear.
* * *
Molly finished patching up the young woman and left her in the care of her boyfriend. Sean was attending to a man who had been struck by some falling masonry when the roof had caved in. He had suffered multiple rib fractures which had resulted in a flail chest—a condition whereby the damaged section of the chest wall was sucked in when the patient breathed in and moved out when he exhaled. This type of injury could lead to respiratory failure and Sean was in the process of strapping the patient’s chest to support the damaged section before the paramedics rushed him off to hospital. He shook his head as he watched the crew wheel the trolley out of the hall.
‘He’s going to need artificial ventilation until those ribs heal. I’ve seen a couple of flail chests before but none as bad as that.’
‘Thankfully, he doesn’t have far to go to reach the hospital,’ Molly said quietly.
Sean nodded. ‘You’re right. He’s lucky in that respect, although I doubt if he feels very lucky. Apparently, he only moved into the building last week. His apartment is one of those in the section that’s burning so he’s lost everything.’
‘At least he wasn’t in the apartment,’ Molly said firmly. ‘Things can be replaced but people can’t.’
He gave her a quick smile before he turned away but she had seen the sadness in his eyes. Was he thinking about Claire and how he would never be able to replace her? Although he hadn’t come out and actually said so, it was obvious that he was still very much in love with Claire.
It was a painful thought. Molly had great difficulty setting it aside as she attended to several more casualties. Mac had arrived now and he and Sean were busy dealing with a woman who had suffered a severe abdominal injury when one of the fire crew appeared and hurried over to them. Molly frowned as she watched them confer. It was obvious that something had happened.
Sean came over to her as soon as the fireman had left. ‘I need your help, Molly, but I have to warn you that it could be risky, so you must say if you feel that you don’t want to do it.’
‘Why? What’s happened?’ she asked.
‘The search and rescue team have located a woman trapped in one of the first floor apartments. The problem is that they have only managed to clear a very small area to get to her—more like a tunnel is how the fireman described it. It’s not wide enough for any of their men to get through and they daren’t risk enlarging it in case the floor above caves in. It’s just possible that you might be able to get up there if you’re willing to give it a shot.’
‘Of course,’ she said immediately. ‘Have they spoken to the woman and do they know if she’s been injured?’
‘Yes.’ He grimaced. ‘Her name is Karen Archer and, although she isn’t injured, she is pregnant. The baby was due at the end of January but she thinks she might be having labour pains.’
‘Oh, dear. That doesn’t sound good, does it? The sooner I take a look at her the better.’