‘We certainly won’t forget his birthday!’ Karen declared, laughing. She sobered abruptly when there was a loud crash from the direction of the hall. ‘Oh, what was that?’
‘I’ll go and see.’
Molly hurried to the door, her heart sinking when she saw that a large hole had appeared in the hall floor. It looked as though the floor of the apartment had given way and she could only pray that the damage wouldn’t extend to the living room as well. She was just about to suggest to Karen that they moved into the bathroom when a light suddenly appeared through the living room window and the next second a metal cage holding three men swung into view.
Molly felt relief pour through her when she immediately recognised Sean amongst them. There was no time to check if he had seen her, however, because one of the other men was gesturing to her to keep away from the window. She hurried over to the sofa and crouched down beside Karen and the baby, shielding them as best she could as their rescuers broke the window. It took a couple of attempts to break through the toughened safety glass but at last they managed to gain entry. Molly rose unsteadily to her feet, unable to hide her relief when Sean came hurrying over to her.
‘Are you all right? Please tell me you’re not hurt!’
He gripped her shoulders and her racing heart beat all the faster when she saw the fear in his eyes. No one seeing it could doubt that he had been worried about her, deeply worried too. And that thought seemed to unleash all the emotions she had tried so hard to bury. She wanted Sean to worry about her. She wanted him to care about her safety and wellbeing as she cared about his. She wanted him to feel all those things when he looked at her because she loved him.
Molly took a deep breath as she finally faced up to the truth. For the past two years she had tried to fall out of love with him but she hadn’t succeeded. She loved Sean every bit as much now as she had ever done, even if he could never love her.
‘I’m fine. Really I am.’ She forced herself to smile although there was an ache gnawing away inside her. Although there was no doubt in her mind that Sean cared about her, it didn’t mean he loved her like he loved Claire. The thought that she could only ever be second best in his eyes hurt unbearably but she couldn’t dwell on it. There was too much to do at the present time and she needed to focus on that. ‘How soon can we get Karen and the baby out of here?’
‘Straight away.’ His expression was grim as he glanced at the other woman then turned back to her. ‘The crew don’t think the building is going to remain standing for very much longer so we need to get everyone out of here as quickly as possible.’
Molly nodded, not needing to hear anything more as she hurried over to Karen and helped her to her feet. One of the crew held the baby while another man helped Karen climb into the cradle, not an easy manoeuvre when there was a yawning drop beneath them. Once Karen was safely seated on the floor of the cradle, they carefully passed the baby to her and then helped Molly step on board. Sean followed next, shaking his head when she asked if they were waiting for the last crew member.
‘The cradle will only hold three adults so they’ll need to come back for him.’
It seemed to take for ever before they reached the ground although Molly knew for a fact that it was mere minutes. Her legs were trembling when she climbed out and she was glad of Sean’s support as she walked shakily over to the ambulance. Karen’s husband was already there, waiting for them, and he climbed in as well. Once everyone was safely on board, Sean turned to her.
‘You’re to go with them.’ He shook his head when she opened her mouth to protest. ‘No arguing, Molly. You need to get checked over at the hospital.’
‘But I’m fine, Sean,’ she began then stopped abruptly as he silenced her in the most effective way possible—with a kiss. Her head was whirling as she climbed into the back of the ambulance because, crazy though it sounded, that kiss had felt as though it had come straight from his heart. What did it mean? Was it possible that Sean loved her after all? She hugged the idea to her all the way back to the hospital, afraid to let it go in case it disappeared into the ether.
* * *
It was another half an hour before Sean was finally free to return to the hospital. All the casualties had been seen by then and either sent on their way or transferred to A&E. Amazingly, there had been no fatalities, which was a miracle considering the severity of the accident. The fire crew had the blaze under control now and the air accident investigators were on site. The people who lived in the apartments were being housed temporarily in a nearby hotel so at least they had somewhere clean and safe to sleep tonight. Sean turned to Mac as they left the site together.