‘Thanks again for your help, Mac. We wouldn’t have fared half as well if you hadn’t been here.’
‘I was glad to be able to help,’ Mac told him, shaking his hand. He sighed as he glanced back at the ruined building. ‘It makes you appreciate just how lucky you are when a thing like this happens, doesn’t it? Bella used to live in one of those apartments. Thank heaven we moved out when she was expecting Grace. I don’t know what I would have done if she’d been caught up in this.’
‘Very scary,’ Sean agreed soberly, inwardly shuddering at the thought. He understood only too well how it felt to know that the woman he loved was in danger and not be able to do anything about it.
‘Too right!’ Mac clapped him on the shoulder then headed over to his car. ‘Oh, Merry Christmas! I’d forgotten it was Christmas Day in all the chaos.’
‘And a Merry Christmas to you too,’ Sean replied, smiling as he climbed into the car that was waiting to ferry him and the rest of the team back to the hospital. It was almost five a.m. by then which meant there was barely an hour left before the day shift arrived for duty. He knew that he would be expected to file a report about what had happened during the night but it would have to wait. There was something far more pressing he needed to do at this moment.
Molly was in the staffroom when he tracked her down. She was sitting slumped in a chair with her eyes closed and looked infinitely weary. She had obviously showered since she’d got back because her beautiful red-gold hair was still damp, the riotous curls tumbling around her face and giving her the appearance of one of Botticelli’s famous cherubs.
Sean felt a huge wave of love sweep through him as he looked at her. He had come so close to losing her tonight and it had made him see just how much he loved her. He loved her with every fibre of his being, with his heart and his soul, and he wanted to spend the rest of his life showing her how he felt, but was it possible? Could he leave the past behind and look towards the future—a future which he longed for so very much?
He must have made some sort of a sound because her eyes opened. Sean felt his heart lift when he saw the love that burned in their depths. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind that Molly loved him every bit as much as he loved her and it seemed almost too much to know that this kind and beautiful woman was prepared to love him after the way he had behaved towards her in the past.
‘Hi!’ Her voice was low, gentle, filled with so much love that Sean’s heart overflowed with emotion.
‘Hi, yourself,’ he said, unable to hide how he felt. When she held out her hand, he didn’t hesitate; he simply strode across the room and pulled her to her feet. Glancing up, he laughed softly as his eyes alighted on the decidedly wilted bunch of foliage pinned to the ceiling. ‘Hmm. That seems propitious. Do you think someone’s trying to tell us something?’
‘Maybe. Although I doubt if we need anyone’s help at this moment, do you?’
Raising herself on tiptoe, she pressed her mouth to his and he sighed deeply. The kiss was filled with so many emotions that he would have needed the best part of a lifetime to sort them all out but he didn’t need to do that, did he? Each and every scrap of emotion simply led to one conclusion—that Molly loved him.
He kissed her back, letting his lips tell her exactly how he felt—how much he loved her; how scared he had been of losing her; how he longed for them to be together for ever; and how he feared it might not be possible. And she obviously understood. There was a wealth of sadness in her eyes when she drew back, a pain that cut him to the quick because he didn’t want to hurt her, not when he simply wanted to love her.
‘Will you come home with me, Sean?’ she said quietly and he heard the tremor in her voice and hated himself all the more for making her feel like this. Molly should be rejoicing, filled with happiness at the thought of what the future held in store for them; she definitely shouldn’t be experiencing this kind of heartache.
‘Are you sure, sweetheart?’ His voice caught and he had to force himself to continue but he had to make the situation perfectly clear. ‘You must understand that I can’t make any promises. I wish I could but...’
‘I’m sure.’ She pressed her fingers against his mouth, stopping the words because she didn’t want to hear them. She gave him a tight little smile. ‘I don’t expect anything more than you feel able to give me.’
Sean drew her to him and kissed her hungrily. That she could be so generous, so giving, was almost more than he could bear.