Miracle Under the Mistletoe - Page 43

She carefully supported the baby’s head as it emerged, checking that the umbilical cord wasn’t wrapped around its neck, which could prevent it breathing. Then first one shoulder and then the other were delivered. The rest of the body slid out in a rush as the child began to cry lustily.

Molly laughed in relief. ‘Congratulations! You have a beautiful little boy who, from the sound of it, has a fine pair of lungs.’ She cleaned the baby, tied and cut his umbilical cord, then wrapped him in a towel and handed him to Karen. ‘Well done. You were absolutely marvellous, especially as you didn’t have the benefit of any pain relief.’

‘It doesn’t matter,’ Karen murmured, staring at her baby son in awe. ‘It was worth all the pain to be able to hold my own child in my arms at last.’

Molly left them to get to know one another while she tidied up. Once the afterbirth had been expelled, she left the apartment and gingerly made her way towards where she had entered the building. There was no sign of the passageway that the crew had cleared for her, only a heap of rubble. It looked as though they were trapped up here until help arrived. Once again she found herself wishing that Sean was there with her before she drove the thought from her mind. It would be stupid to allow herself to become dependent on him.

* * *

Sean had never pulled rank before but he had no qualms about doing so now. The rescue crew had set up a long ladder with a cage on the top and were proposing to enter the building to search for Molly and Karen by using that. He shook his head when the officer in charge explained once more that his men were all trained in the use of first aid.

‘No, it’s not enough,’ he said shortly, determined that if anyone was going into the building, it was going to be him. The thought of having to stand here and wait any longer for news was more than he could handle. He needed to find Molly and make sure that she was all right. He would never forgive himself if anything had happened to her.

It was hard to deal with that thought but he needed to convince the other man it was essential that he was included as part of the team. ‘There’s a woman up there who is about to give birth under the most difficult circumstances. Add to that the fact that the baby is premature and you can see why it’s vital that I go with your men.’

The officer obviously saw the logic of what he was saying. Sean sighed in relief when he was briskly told to get kitted up. One of the crew attached him to a safety harness before he was helped into the cage along with two other men. Nobody said anything as the ladder slowly rose; Sean suspected that everyone was feeling as anxious as he was. However, this wasn’t only a rescue mission for him. He was trying to save the woman he loved.

His breath caught painfully but there was no point trying to deny how he felt any longer. He loved Molly and he wanted to be with her, but could he do so when it would mean breaking his promise to Claire? He sucked in a deep breath of air. Somehow he had to find a solution to this dilemma because one thing was certain: he couldn’t face the thought of a future without Molly.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

MOLLY COULD FEEL her fear rising as the minutes ticked past. How long had it been since the front wall of the building had collapsed? Ten minutes? Fifteen? Twenty, even? Surely something should be happening by now.

She went to the bedroom door but she could see very little from where she stood. She stepped tentatively into the room then stopped abruptly when she felt the floor give beneath her feet. She backed out of the door, her heart racing nineteen to the dozen as she realised just how serious the situation was. The whole building could collapse at any moment from the look of it and she, Karen and the baby would be trapped inside.

It was hard not to show her concern as she went to check on Karen. She was cradling baby Nicholas to her breast when Molly went into the sitting room and she looked hopefully up at her.

‘Has the rescue team arrived?’

‘Not yet, but I’m sure they won’t be long now,’ Molly told her, crossing her fingers behind her back. Maybe it was a lie but it was better than worrying the poor soul to death by telling her the truth. ‘How are you doing? Do you feel all right?’

‘Fine.’ Karen smiled down at the baby. ‘I have this little fellow to look after and he’s my main concern now.’

‘He’s beautiful,’ Molly said truthfully. ‘And, what’s more, he’s probably one of the first babies to be born on Christmas Day this year. That makes him even more special.’

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