Molly crossed her arms and sighed huffily, clenching her jaw and shaking her head. Every muscle seemed to be clenched and CJ’s concern for the other woman’s blood pressure increased.
‘CJ, you were right.’ Ethan’s deep voice broke through the tension of Molly’s demeanour. ‘These scones are incredible. Molly, you’re a marvel in the kitchen.’ He smiled at their patient and CJ watched as the other woman instantly relaxed, a slight blush colouring her cheeks. Did he have this effect on all women?
‘Right. Let’s take your blood pressure and have a look at your mouth and throat. I’ll ring the path lab in Sydney to see how much longer those results will be.’
‘I can do that,’ Ethan offered. ‘I have contacts at the lab and might be able to put a rush on the results.’
Molly looked at him as though he’d hung the moon and when CJ took Molly’s blood pressure, she was pleasantly surprised at the lower BP rate. ‘Good. Much, much better. Whatever you’re doing is working.’
‘Looks as though I’ll be starting on savoury baking treats tomorrow,’ Molly sighed.
‘Well, if you ever find you have too many treats…’ CJ rubbed her belly ‘…the baby’s been quite famished of late so send them my way.’
Molly nodded. ‘I’ll make sure I do that.’
It wasn’t much longer before they took their leave and once they were back in the car and CJ had given Ethan directions, she thanked him for his help.
‘You were like a de-stressing machine for her. I think it’s mainly thanks to you that we’ll be getting delicious food from Molly.’ She put her scarf and sunglasses back on but as the clouds above were starting to darken a little, Ethan decided to put the soft top up just in case.
‘It’s good to see you still have a healthy appetite,’ he remarked. ‘Many women don’t eat that much during their last few weeks of pregnancy.’
CJ chuckled. ‘No such luck with me. Baby is definitely hungry all the time.’
He smiled. ‘Every pregnancy is different.’ He turned the key in the ignition and the engine purred to life. ‘Where to next?’ CJ gave him directions to the next house call, which was a good fifteen-minute drive away. ‘I don’t mind,’ he stated as he started the engine once more. This time, with the soft top up, it was easier for them to hear each other speak. ‘Getting to drive around these roads with the incredible scenery is one perk of the job I’m definitely enjoying.’
‘I’m pleased to hear it,’ she responded, now curious to discover what he thought might be other perks of the job. Was kissing her one of them? She cleared her thoughts and focused on their next patient. ‘This next case is concerning but also interesting. Margaret is thirty-two weeks pregnant and, from the tests I’ve run, I’m fairly sure the baby has foetal alcohol syndrome.’
‘Really?’ The tone in his voice instantly changed, and as he spoke, his words were clipped and direct. ‘I’ve had some experience with this.’
‘You have?’ She was surprised. ‘You’ve had a patient with foetal alcohol syndrome? Huh.’
‘She wasn’t a patient,’ he remarked quickly. ‘Do you have a copy of the test results here?’
CJ nodded. ‘I’ve got all the files on the patients we’re seeing today on my tablet computer.’ She tried to reach into the back to the medical bag and eventually succeeded, pulling out the device and turning it on. As they drove along, she read out Margaret’s most recent test results. ‘Again, I’m waiting to hear back on the last round of tests, which will hopefully confirm my suspicions.’
‘What’s her background?’
‘Margaret works at her parents’ winery, and has been drinking wine since she was about thirteen. Not excessively back then, and always under her parents’ control.’
‘Do they drink?’
‘Yes. Again, not excessively but constantly.’
‘Clearly you think the baby’s in danger?’
‘I’m not sure. I only know what I’ve read in the information published and that’s still not conclusive. If we could figure out a way to get Margaret to cut down the drinking, it would help. She says she’s not drinking as much as before but I’m concerned.’
‘Is she married?’
‘Yes, but her parents and husband have insisted she quit work for the moment and concentrate on the baby. She had a lot of bleeding early on in the pregnancy,’ CJ added by way of explanation. ‘They didn’t want her to miscarry but now I’m concerned that they’ve wrapped Margaret so tight in the proverbial cotton wool that the poor woman isn’t able to do anything now.’