As though thinking about her had somehow conjured her up, Molly suddenly appeared. Sean felt his heart and what felt like the rest of his vital organs scrunch up inside him as he watched her walk over to her car. She had parked in the row behind him and he studied her reflection in his rear-view mirror. She looked weary, only to be expected after the busy night they’d had, but was that the only reason for the defeated slump to her shoulders? Or had it anything to do with him? Had she found it a strain to work with him after what had happened between them in the past? Even though there was little he could do about it, he hated to think that he was the cause of her unhappiness. Out of all the women he had dated since Claire had died, Molly was the only one he had truly cared about.
* * *
Molly slid the key into the lock and opened the car door. Picking up the can of de-icer, she squirted a generous dollop onto the frosty windscreen. She hated winter, hated the fact that she couldn’t just get in her car and drive away. There was no point pretending—working with Sean had been an ordeal, one she wished with every scrap of her being that she wouldn’t have to repeat, but there was no hope of that, was there? He was covering the entire Christmas and New Year period which meant he would be around for at least six weeks and probably longer if the management team could persuade him to stay on. Finding cover over the festive period was always difficult as most locums wanted to be with their families at this time of the year. There were very few with Sean’s skills and experience willing to relocate.
Molly tucked the can under the passenger seat, trying not to think about the problems it could cause if she had to see Sean on a daily basis. Slipping the key into the ignition, she attempted to start the engine, only to be rewarded by a nasty grunting noise. She tried again with the same result. The battery, always dodgy, was completely flat. Brilliant! Now she would have to catch the bus, which was just what she needed after the night she’d had.
Molly almost jumped out of her skin when her car door opened. She had no idea where Sean had appeared from and found it impossible to reply. He gave her a quick smile as leant into the car to try starting the engine himself.
‘Sounds like a flat battery to me,’ he declared when he received the same response. Resting his forearm against the roof of the car, he grinned down at her. ‘They always go at the worst possible moment, don’t they?’
It was the sort of comment anyone might have made in such circumstances, so Molly had no idea why she reacted as she did. ‘Thank you, but I did manage to work that out for myself! Now, if you’ll move aside...’
She gave the door a hefty push to fully open it, not even flinching when it caught him a glancing blow on his hip. It was his own fault for poking his nose in again where it wasn’t wanted, she assured herself as she lifted her bag off the passenger seat. She didn’t need his help. She didn’t want anything to do with him. Quite frankly, if he disappeared in a puff of smoke it would make her day!
Slamming the car door, she started walking towards the gate, wondering how long it would be before a bus came along. She lived on the other side of the town and it took forever by bus, which was why she had saved up for a car.
She was just nearing the gate when she saw her bus coming along the road and started to run, but it was difficult to make much progress thanks to the frosty conditions underfoot. She groaned as she was forced to watch it drive away. She would have to wait at least half an hour before another came along.
‘Hop in. I’ll give you a lift.’ Sean drew up beside her but Molly shook her head.
‘No, thank you. I prefer to wait for the next bus,’ she said snippily.
‘Are you sure?’ He shrugged, his broad shoulders moving lightly beneath his heavy quilted jacket, and Molly gulped. Sean had always possessed the most wonderful physique and it seemed little had changed in that respect. He had gone running when they had been seeing each other, setting off early each morning so he could fit in a run before work.
How many times had he come back from one of those runs and persuaded her to take a shower with him? she wondered suddenly. She had no idea but the memory of those times seemed to flood her mind. They had made love in the shower, their desire heightened by the sensuous feel of the hot water cascading over their naked bodies, and then followed it up by making love all over again in her bed. She had never realised that lovemaking could feel like that, had never experienced desire on such a level before. It was Sean who had taught her what it could be like. Only Sean who could make her feel that way again too.