He didn’t say a word as he let her go. Molly sank down onto a chair as he walked along the hall and let himself out of the house, fighting against the urge to run after him. She had to trust him to see this through to the end, no matter how hard it proved to be. Screwing up her eyes, she made a wish that everything would turn out the way she hoped it would. It was Christmas, after all—only good things should happen at this time of the year. But, no matter how hard she tried to cling to that thought, she couldn’t stave off the feeling of dread that swept through her. If Sean didn’t find the closure he needed then this might be the end for them.
* * *
There was no sign of Sean when Molly went into work that night. She had spent the remainder of the afternoon hoping he would phone her but there had been no word from him. She could only assume that he had done what he had intended to do, but it was impossible not to fear the worst. When he appeared some ten minutes after his shift should have started, he looked drawn and grey.
Molly was in the process of taking a case history from an elderly woman who had fainted while having tea with her family. Both her daughters were there and, as they each wanted to have their say about what had happened to their mother, Molly had no choice other than to sit there and listen to them. Nevertheless, she was painfully aware that Sean avoided looking her way as he led his first patient to Cubicles.
She finally sorted out the family and left them in a cubicle while she went to find Steph. It sounded like a severe case of indigestion to her but it wasn’t her call and she would leave it to Steph to make the final decision.
Sean was sitting at the computer, updating his patient’s notes, and he barely glanced at her. Molly bit her lip but she couldn’t face the thought of having to wait any longer to hear what had happened.
‘How did you get on?’ she said quietly. ‘Did you speak to Claire’s parents?’
‘Yes.’ His tone was clipped, not an encouraging sign at all.
‘So what happened?’ she began then stopped when Jason came over to ask if she would help him with a patient who was refusing to have a booster Tetanus shot.
Molly could hardly refuse, so once she had spoken to Steph she went and sorted out the problem, by which time Sean had disappeared into Resus to deal with a man who had suffered a heart attack. By the time he had finished, she was busily stitching up a woman who had had an accident with a carving knife and cut her hand. And so it went on. Each time Sean was free, she was busy. There was no chance to talk to him, not that he gave any sign that he wanted to talk to her. In fact, it appeared that talking to her was the last thing on his mind and she could only draw her own conclusions from it. Sean had changed his mind and the sooner she accepted that it was over between them, the better.
* * *
Sean knew that Molly was desperate to talk to him but he needed time to get everything straight in his head. What he had learned that day had rocked his world. It was only when he saw how drawn Molly looked as she signed out that he realised he had to speak to her. The last thing he wanted was Molly thinking that he had changed his mind about them.
‘Can we talk?’ he said softly, going over to her.
‘If you’re sure you want to.’ Her eyes met his and he inwardly winced when he saw the hurt they held.
He slid his hand under her elbow, ignoring the curious looks they were attracting from the rest of the staff. Let them think what they liked—it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was Molly and making sure that she knew how much he loved her. Maybe his world had been rocked but nothing could change that.
The thought helped to relieve some of the shock he had felt ever since he had spoken to both his and Claire’s parents. He led her to the car and helped her inside then bent and looked into her eyes. ‘I just want to say that what happened today doesn’t change a thing. I love you, Molly. And I want to be with you for ever.’
‘But?’ She gave a hoarse little laugh. ‘There has to be a “but” tagged onto the end of that statement.’
‘There isn’t.’ He leant into the car and kissed the tip of her nose. ‘I love you and there are no “buts” attached to how I feel either.’
‘Then why have you been avoiding me all night long? And don’t say that you haven’t because we both know it’s true. You have done your best not to have to speak to me, Sean, haven’t you?’
‘Yes, I have,’ he admitted. ‘And I’m sorry.’ He closed the door and walked round to the driver’s side, although he didn’t immediately start the engine. ‘However, I was told something today that I never expected to hear. I needed to get it straight in my own head before I spoke to you.’