Falling for the Pregnant GP - Page 4

‘It’s four hours’ drive from Sydney. You’ll be able to breathe in fresh air, rather than city smog. You’ll be able to handle the work of a general practice with your eyes closed, and on weekends you can go for long drives in your car,’ Melody had told him.

Ethan had to admit that the drive from Sydney to Pridham today had indeed been a relaxing one…at least after he’d managed to leave the city outskirts behind. Melody would be pleased he was trying to relax. His family had been worried about him, especially after he’d suffered a mild heart attack. ‘A warning shot across the bows,’ his cardiologist had told him. At least he was being proactive. At least he was trying to change by taking a break from his stressful job.

All of these thoughts went through his head as he followed CJ Nicholls’s car back to her house…the house he was supposed to live in for six months. She drove carefully and responsibly, indicating with enough time for him to follow, and eventually she pulled into a driveway—with a double garage—across the road from the medical clinic and local district hospital. At least everything was nice and close.

Ethan helped her to unpack the car and carried the groceries into the kitchen, telling her to sit down and just point to where things went. CJ poured herself a glass of water and did as he suggested, lifting her feet to rest them on one of the other chairs at the table. He needed to gather more information, to find out whether there was anywhere else he could stay. Once the shopping was put away, he leaned against the bench and watched as she sipped her water.

‘Ah. That’s nice and cool.’ She shifted slightly, rubbing her stomach. ‘I could just curl up and sleep for a few hours.’ Closing her eyes, she tilted her head back, exposing a long expanse of neck. Ethan swallowed, his gaze drawn to it. It looked soft and smooth and—

He forced himself to look away and cleared his throat. What on earth was wrong with him? He didn’t do relationships, not since… He stopped the thought. Now was not the time to think about his past. ‘Uh…so the house. Does it belong to you or…does the clinic own it…or…are there other places I could stay…or…’ He let his words trail off and looked out the window next to the kitchen sink.

‘You don’t want to stay here?’ Her eyebrows hit her hairline in surprise.

‘Uh… I was just asking. I don’t want to impose.’ He indicated her pregnant belly. ‘You’re going to have your hands full very soon. Do you really want a stranger living here, cramping your style?’

CJ’s answer was to take another sip of her water, clearly thinking over her words before she spoke. ‘I have no objection to sharing the house. It’s certainly big enough and I sincerely doubt you’ll hear the baby crying all the way from your end. The walls are well insulated.’

‘Part of your remodelling?’

‘Yes. It’s an old house but over the years I think I’ve gutted almost every room and redone it.’

‘You like renovating?’

‘I do. Houses. Cars. I like taking something old and making it new and functional, whilst at the same time still maintaining the essential character of the object.’

He nodded. He knew exactly what she was talking about because that’s the way he’d felt about his car. ‘You’ve lived here a long time?’

CJ nodded. ‘The house was originally attached to the medical practice. The part you’re in was the consulting area with a small emergency area out the back. The rest of the house was where we lived.’

‘We? You and your husband?’

‘No. My dad, my sister and me. I was thirteen when we moved in.’ She grinned and he had to admit that when she did, it lit up her face. ‘It was an old place but one we filled with love.’ CJ rubbed her stomach, her words nostalgic and melancholy. ‘We moved here after Mum had passed away. This town was our new beginning and that’s exactly what we got.’ She sipped her water. ‘Five years later, the clinic across the road was built but Dad kept that part of the house…’ she pointed in the direction of what would be his living area ‘…for his study, and the little surgery at the back became his bedroom.’

‘Has he passed away?’

CJ nodded. ‘Last year, after a three-year battle with Alzheimer’s. He stayed here as long as he could before my sister found a great care facility in Sydney close to where she lives, and I stayed here to continue running the practice.’

‘Is that what you wanted?’

‘That had always been the plan.’

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