‘Am I?’ she said so softly that he had to strain to hear her.
‘Yes.’ He took a deep breath but it was time he admitted the truth to himself as much as to her. ‘You always were.’
There was no time to say anything else as there were too many other issues to deal with. Sean handed over the radio while one of the crew ran through the emergency evacuation procedure with Molly. He listened while the other man explained what would happen once the baby was delivered but it was difficult to concentrate when his thoughts were in such turmoil. Maybe he had been wrong to tell Molly that he cared but he needed to set matters straight once and for all. If it weren’t for that vow he had made then he knew that he would never have let her go.
Sean knew it was the wrong time to think about such matters. Forcing his mind back to the current crisis, he headed outside to arrange for an ambulance to be standing by. He had just reached the door when a shout went up and the next moment the ceiling started to collapse. Huge chunks of debris rained down on them as he and the crew scrambled to safety. He came to a halt in the car park, bending double as he tried to clear the dust from his lungs. The air was thick with it so that it took a while before he could see what had happened and his heart seized up at the sight that met him. The entire front of the building had collapsed, leaving what remained of the upper floors suspended in mid-air. And, somewhere inside that wreckage, Molly was trapped.
* * *
Molly had no time to do anything when the building started to shake. She simply knelt down beside the sofa and gripped tight hold of Karen’s hand. There was a tremendous roar, like an express train rushing through a tunnel, and then silence. Clouds of dust were swirling around them, making it impossible to see across the room, and she waited until it had settled before she stood up.
‘Where are you going? Don’t leave me!’ Karen grabbed hold of her hand in panic and Molly paused.
‘I’m just going to see what’s happened. I’ll only be a second.’
She eased her hand free and picked her way around the chunks of masonry that littered the living room floor. The apartment was a mess but it was only when she reached the bedroom that she discovered the full extent of the damage. There was a gaping hole now where the front wall should have been. She didn’t dare go any closer because the floor was tilted at an angle but, from what she could tell, it appeared that the entire front section of the building had collapsed.
Molly’s heart was racing as she made her way back to the living room to find the radio receiver, hoping that someone would be able to tell her how long it would take before they got her and Karen out. However, one glance at the shattered remains of the handset soon put paid to that idea. All she could do now was pray that help would arrive before the rest of the building collapsed as well.
‘Some bits of the front wall have collapsed,’ she explained as she crouched down beside the sofa. She dredged up a smile, deciding that it would be better to play down the true extent of the damage. The last thing she wanted was to cause Karen any more stress. ‘I’m sure they’ll sort it out so let’s concentrate on you and this baby, shall we? Have you decided on a name yet?’
‘Mike and I decided that we didn’t want to know what sex it was—we preferred to wait and see when it was born. So it’s Holly if it’s a girl and Nicholas if it’s a boy,’ Karen replied and then groaned. ‘Oh! Here we go again.’
Molly checked the time but there was no doubt that Karen’s contractions were coming closer together, a sure sign that the birth was imminent. She held Karen’s hand until the pain eased and nodded. ‘You’re doing really well. It shouldn’t be long before your baby is born so what I need now is something to wrap him or her in. Do you have a blanket handy?’
‘Everything’s packed in that green case near the window in our bedroom.’ Karen’s face screwed up as she focused on getting through the next contraction.
Molly bit back a sigh because the case, along with everything else at that side of the bedroom, was now in the car park.
‘I’m afraid I can’t get at it at the moment so we’ll have to use something else, like a towel, for instance. That would be fine.’
‘Oh. Well, there’s clean towels in the bathroom cupboard.’
‘Great.’ Molly hurriedly fetched a couple of towels and placed them on a nearby chair. She checked Karen once more. ‘The baby’s head is crowning, so you’re nearly there.’