The fact that he was in love with Elizabeth was of little doubt. ‘And what about her mother?’ he whispered into the dark.
* * *
The next day, CJ headed to the clinic to pick up her medical bag and the list of patients from Tania. Ethan came out to the waiting room while she was there.
‘What are you doing here?’ He looked around her. ‘Where’s Elizabeth?’
‘At home with Molly. She’s going to look after Lizzie while I do a few house calls.’ CJ smiled politely at Ethan, picked up the medical bag and headed out the door, leaving him to watch her walk away. This has to be done, she kept reminding herself. She couldn’t rely on him, not for anything. Although they’d talked, no firm decisions had been made and CJ needed to move forward, albeit slowly.
As she drove herself around the countryside, her anxiety at whether she was making the right choices started to wane. The scenery really was beautiful out here and after she’d seen three of her patients, she headed to Margaret’s house to see how she was progressing.
CJ climbed the stairs and rang the doorbell. No answer. ‘Margaret?’ she called. ‘It’s CJ.’ She rang the doorbell a few more times then headed around the large house to the back gate. Margaret’s car was there but Doug’s wasn’t. At the back gate CJ was met by a large, barking dog but when she stepped through, the dog sniffing her and clearly recognising her, it started running off, almost stopping and waiting for her to follow. CJ’s senses started tingling as apprehension washed over her. She headed around to the large glass back door, which, when she tried to slide the door open, she was pleased to find unlocked. The dog bounded inside and into the front lounge room. As CJ followed, she saw Margaret lying on the floor. Putting her bag down, she rushed to Margaret’s side and pulled her phone from her pocket at the same time.
‘Ambulance,’ she stated as soon as the call was answered. She checked Margaret’s pulse. It was there. ‘Margaret! Margaret!’ she called, but received no answer. CJ finished speaking to the ambulance service then called the clinic, alerting Ethan to the situation.
‘I’ll notify the hospital. How much has she had to drink?’
‘I have no idea.’
‘We’ll need to do a blood alcohol test so we know what we’re dealing with.’
‘Can you organise the police?’
‘I’ll call you from the ambulance,’ she said. ‘Can you have Tania notify Doug, please?’
‘What about Margaret’s parents?’ Ethan asked.
‘Let’s just find Doug first.’ When CJ ended the call, she continued to monitor Margaret’s situation, her heart filled with concern not only for the woman but for the unborn child. As CJ did an assessment on Margaret’s condition, constantly calling to the woman, trying to rouse her, she realised Margaret’s jeans were wet…very wet. Her waters had broken.
By the time the ambulance arrived, CJ had managed to rouse Margaret once or twice, as well as find far too many empty wine bottles nearby. When the ambulance pulled up at the hospital, Ethan opened the back doors.
‘Doug’s on his way in,’ he confirmed, as they wheeled Margaret through to the treatment room and transferred her to the hospital bed. Ethan was giving orders left and right.
‘I want a blood test taken. Test for blood alcohol level and liver damage. Urine test as well to check for protein. How’s her BP?’ Bonnie and several of the nurses were carrying out the requests. Ethan strapped a foetal heart monitor to Margaret’s abdomen in order to monitor the baby more closely.
Bonnie finished taking Margaret’s blood pressure. ‘Two hundred over one-ten.’
‘Pregnancy-induced hypertension?’ CJ checked and Ethan nodded. Margaret’s blood pressure was high because she was in labour. She turned to Bonnie. ‘Call Charlie and have him come in to assess her. I don’t know if he can give her an epidural until we know her blood alcohol level so get a rush on that. Ethan, status on the baby?’
‘Heart rate is still low but holding steady for the moment.’
The police arrived soon after and took statements from CJ, as well as doing their own blood alcohol test.
‘Has she had any contractions?’ Ethan asked.
‘Not that I know of,’ CJ answered.
‘The alcohol might be acting as an anaesthetic so she may not be feeling them,’ Ethan added. ‘We’re going to need to monitor that closely as well.’
CJ nodded and walked to the nurses’ station, unable to believe how bad things had gone for Margaret. She closed her eyes for a moment and sighed, wondering if there couldn’t have been more done for Margaret and the baby, but apart from forcing her to be hospitalised CJ wasn’t sure Margaret had wanted their help.