His smile was instant and she felt the earlier tension that had surrounded them begin to abate. He’d brushed a kiss to her lips. It wasn’t as though he’d been making a pass at her but rather openly acknowledging that there were high levels of awareness pulsing between them. For CJ, that acknowledgement, that she wasn’t the only one experiencing those sensations, was enough…for now. Her focus needed to be elsewhere, especially after today’s ultrasound. The baby’s head was engaged, and could be born at any point within the next week.
‘Who’s first on the list?’ Ethan asked as he climbed from the car, quickly coming around to help her out.
‘Thanks. I’m looking forward to the day when I can get in and out of a car without such a hassle.’ He let go of her hand the instant she was standing and steady on her feet. Her smile faded and she glanced at him from beneath her lashes as he retrieved her bag. She needed to remain focused and professional so CJ cleared her throat and answered his question. ‘Molly Leighton. She’s almost sixty-two and she’s been suffering badly from stress. She’s been the manager of one of the larger vineyards for the past forty years. I keep suggesting she retire but she won’t hear it. She’s had high blood pressure, chest pain and a spate of mouth ulcers but—oh, you met her husband the other day. Toby—the cleaner. The one swinging the floor polisher at Whitecorn District.
He nodded. ‘Manuka honey?’
‘Correct. Molly needs to slow down and smell the roses but instead she works herself into a frenzy. She almost didn’t speak to me again when I prescribed four weeks off work.’ CJ shook her head. ‘What that woman needs are some grandchildren to help her unwind but there’s no chance of that on the horizon.’
‘Let me guess. You’re going to let her help you with yours.’
‘And why not? I need help, Molly needs to slow down. It’s a win-win situation.’
‘And what about your child?’
‘It wins as well because it will be smothered with love.’ CJ shook her hair free in the wind, running her hands through the locks. He glanced across, instantly mesmerised by the way her hair was flowing gently in the breeze, the golden locks glinting in the sun, her long neck exposed in the autumn sunshine. Had she no idea how incredibly beautiful she was?
‘Shall we go in?’ Without waiting for him to answer, she walked up the front path and knocked on the door. It was flung open almost immediately by a woman dressed in a casual suit with her dark hair immaculate and her make-up perfect.
‘Come in, CJ. Oh, and you’ve brought the new Dr Janeway, too. Toby told me about meeting you.’ Molly ushered them both inside. ‘Tea? Coffee? I’ve made some fresh scones.’
‘That would be lovely,’ CJ responded at the same time Ethan refused. ‘Now, Ethan, you must try one of Molly’s scones, especially when they’re fresh from the oven. They are mouthwatering.’
She’d turned to face him as she spoke, so her back was to Molly. Her eyes conveyed an urgency that she wanted him to accept Molly’s offer. He smiled at their patient. ‘In that case, how could I possibly say no?’
Molly literally beamed. CJ hadn’t seen her smile like that in a very long time. As Molly headed to the kitchen, Ethan spread his hands wide, as though silently asking why she’d made him accept. ‘Cooking is the only thing that seems to be taking Molly’s mind off the fact that she’s not working. Besides, part of the reason for house calls is to provide a holistic approach to general practice medicine. Everywhere we go today, we’ll be force-fed food and drink, which…’ she rubbed her belly ‘…is good for the baby but bad for my bladder.’ CJ chuckled at her own joke but as Molly came back into the room, carrying a tray of scones and drinks, she quickly stopped.
They sat in the ‘good’ lounge room on plastic-covered sofa chairs, CJ willing Molly to relax. Molly’s recent tests had shown her mouth wasn’t the only place where an ulcer might be brewing.
‘Have all my test results come back?’ Molly asked, getting straight to the point.
‘Not yet but I’m fairly certain you do have an ulcer in your stomach.’
‘Might the manuka honey help that, too? After all, it’s worked extremely well for my mouth ulcers.’
‘Yes, so Toby was telling me. That’s great news.’
‘When can I go back to work? I’ve baked all the recipes in one book and am about to start on the next book. Toby’s complaining he’s starting to put on too much weight.’
‘I’m sorry, Molly, but if you return to work too soon, it might cause more problems. The last thing we want is for the ulcer to perforate. First, we need to start treatment for the ulcer and I can’t do that until the tests are confirmed.’