‘He is the father of your child. He has a right to know where his wife and child are.’
‘I’m staying right here. You can’t make me go to hospital and the baby is fine. It kicked me all last night and the only time it really stops is when I have a glass of wine.’ Her words had started out tough but ended on a sob.
Ethan could see the emotional anguish Margaret was in but knew he needed to keep the firm line if he was going to get through to her at all.
‘It’s ruined my life,’ Margaret’s slurring words continued. ‘I was important before I got pregnant. I helped my father, I ran the business, I was important and now…now I’m just an incubator. They won’t let me do anything. They won’t let me even look at the paperwork.’ Tears started falling but Ethan still kept his distance.
He walked over to the hallway where CJ had disappeared and called to her. ‘Margaret needs you,’ he said when CJ returned. She walked into the room to find Margaret sitting on the lounge, rocking slightly backwards and forwards, her hands covering her face as the tears poured out. She rushed over and placed her arm about the other woman, reaching into her pocket for a clean tissue.
‘Here.’ Margaret took it, turning slightly in CJ’s direction, and cried.
‘You know how hard it is,’ Margaret wailed.
‘Yes, I do.’
‘But at least you could keep on working. At least you haven’t been told the only thing you’re good for is providing for the baby. I can’t even blow my nose without them worrying about the baby.’
‘I know,’ CJ soothed. ‘They stopped worrying about you, didn’t they?’
Margaret cried harder. The next time CJ looked up, Ethan had gone. She wasn’t sure where but she didn’t see him again until the ambulance arrived.
‘Margaret.’ CJ gently shook the other woman’s shoulder. She’d cried herself dry before dozing off. ‘Margaret. The ambulance is here.’
‘Huh? Why do I need to go?’
‘So we can check that you and the baby are all right. Your blood pressure is lower than it should be and you have some swelling around your ankles.’
‘Is that bad?’ Margaret now looked concerned.
‘It’s not good. Come on,’ CJ urged. Thankfully, the fight seemed to have been knocked out of Margaret and she was a compliant patient during the transfer to Pridham District Hospital. Ethan and CJ drove behind the ambulance and once they’d arrived they settled Margaret into a room.
Ethan filled out the paperwork for the tests he wanted Margaret to have. ‘We’ll need to keep you in overnight, which is why Dr Nicholls packed a bag for you.’
‘Yeah, yeah.’ Margaret closed her eyes. ‘Just go away and let me sleep.’
‘Probably a good idea,’ CJ said as they went out of the room. Margaret needed to sleep off the alcohol and here she could do it where they could also monitor her condition. ‘I’ll be around later tonight to check on her,’ she told Bonnie, the CNC.
‘No. I’ll be around later tonight,’ Ethan contradicted. ‘CJ will be at home, resting.’
Bonnie nodded in agreement. ‘Glad to see someone can make her rest. See you this evening, Dr Janeway.’
‘Were there any other house calls for today or can they wait until tomorrow?’ Ethan asked CJ.
CJ checked the list on her computer. ‘None that are urgent. I’ll have Tania put them onto Wednesday’s house call list.’
‘Good. What else do you need to do now?’ he asked as he escorted her out of the hospital.
‘Write up notes for the patients we’ve seen today and then email them to the surgery.’
‘Right. You head back home, I’ll do the paperwork and put my car in the garage.’ He looked pointedly at CJ. ‘Put your feet up and rest.’
‘But I’m hungry. I was going to cook dinner and—’
‘I’ll cook dinner. If I get home and find you standing…’ He let his words trail off and shook his head. There was something about his stance, the abruptness in his voice that made her concerned.
‘Ethan, are you all right?’
‘I just need you to rest, to put your feet up, to ensure that you and the baby are OK.’ He clenched his jaw and CJ decided she’d simply do as he asked, especially as she was rather exhausted. As she headed across the road, leaving Ethan to do the work, CJ admitted that seeing Margaret behave in such a way had indeed been upsetting.
CJ’s pregnancy hadn’t been planned. In fact, when Quinten had told her he was leaving her, that he didn’t love her, CJ had never thought they’d share one last night…one night when she’d foolishly thought she’d be able to change his mind, to show him that she was as adventurous in the bedroom as the next woman. Quinten hadn’t seen it that way at all. Instead, after what she’d thought was a rekindling of their love, he’d kissed her forehead, told her she’d been great but that he couldn’t stay here, living with her in this pokey little town where nothing ever happened.