The team began moving into the vast brick building. Near enough everyone’s body language was shutting Zach out save the odd backwards glance from Robyn.
This was it. The time to trust his gut or accept defeat.
Those could be your children. Are you going to abandon them, too?
One way or another, he had to know.
Ignoring Dr. North’s sharp ‘back off’ glances he followed the team in. Where Isla was going? So was he.
When they reached the lift, Dr. North put out a hand. ‘She doesn’t need you for this.’
Never before had Zach wanted to clobber a man. But getting arrested on top of finding out he wasn’t those children’s father wouldn’t paint much of a picture. Not one anyone would hang on their wall, anyway.
‘Why don’t we ask her?’ Zach pressed his heels into the ground, still struggling to connect the sensations of one real and one artificial foot holding the full bulk of his six-foot-four-inch frame. It was a bad time to play king of the jungle, but The School of Rising Above had already dealt him a full deck this year.
As if on cue, Isla began to shift on the hard board the team had lifted onto the gurney. Her hands moved to her stomach, her facial features pulling back into a tight wince with her eyes still shut tight.
‘It’s all right, babe,’ Zach said, cupping his hand over hers. ‘I’m here now.’
Isla’s eyes popped wide open, fingers flying to cover the wide O her mouth made where sound refused to come out. She blinked and stared. Then blinked again.
If Zach hadn’t believed a thousand thoughts could rearrange themselves within the space of a solitary second, he knew it now.
The only other time he’d experienced such clarity was when he had a patient on the operating table and they were under heavy mortar fire. Mortaritaville they’d called the posting. About as far a cry away from a holiday destination as you could get. A death-tination for far too many.
‘What are you doing here?’ Isla shrunk back from him, if such a thing was possible, and collectively the doctors around the gurney closed in.
‘I thought I’d come see my bride-to-be,’ he growled. Hadn’t meant to. But the woman he loved looked about as pleased to see him as a soldier was to face a long march in the pouring rain. Not one bit.
Her look said it all.
He was damaged goods. He shouldn’t have come.
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