'BP is 160 over 98,’ Claire cut in. ‘Let’s roll her on her side.’
‘Isla, are you absolutely sure you want Zach in here?’ Robyn stepped back from the table after lowering the stirrups as Dominic and Claire deftly moved Isla onto her side so that she was face-to-face with Zach.
‘Of course I want him in here. He’s the father of my children!’ Isla insisted, her eyes solidly linked to Zach’s.
‘165 over 106.’ The warning note in Claire’s voice was pitched. ‘We need a check on the babies’ heart rates!’
Isla forced a steadying breath between her lips. She couldn’t compromise her babies’ health. Not for any reason. But she had to know before they came out into the world whether or not they were going to have a father. She closed her eyes, forcing herself to picture the Zach she’d fallen in love with. Strong, warm-hearted, loving. Oh, so loving.
‘BP’s coming down’ came the relieved update from Claire as the cadence of the heart monitor’s beeps became less frantic.
‘The babies are all right,’ Robyn added. ‘And they’re both positioned beautifully.’
Isla closed her eyes and took another steadying breath. Three. Two. One. When she opened them Zach was still there.
‘BP is 145 over 91.’
‘Whatever you’re doing, love, keep on doing it,’ Robyn said encouragingly, helping Isla to reposition her feet into the stirrups.
Isla grabbed Zach’s hand and pulled it to her chest, compelling him to come closer to her. ‘Please tell me what’s going on.’ If she was going to have to say goodbye she may as well do it while the physical pain could drown out the emotional pain.
‘Would you rather just wait?’ He threw an anxious look at the monitors, her full belly.
‘If the man I love is going to leave me right after he’s told me he loves me, I need to know why,’ she said with greater clarity than she’d realised she possessed.
‘I’m not leaving you, my wee treasure.’ Zach pressed his free hand to his chest then arched his fingers as if trying to draw the explanation straight from his heart.
‘I’m hardly wee,’ Isla countered warily, bracing herself for the worst.
‘Course you are. You’re a wee little poppet. The most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on.’
Blinking back tears of frustration, Isla forced herself to put a voice to her worst fear. ‘But you’re not staying.’
‘I think it’s what you’ll want, my darling Isla. I’m not the man who you met nine months ago. Not even close.’ He swept a few tendrils of her hair away from her damp forehead.
Despite the gravity of the situation, Zach laughed good-naturedly as Isla pressed hard onto his shoulders and screamed her way through another push to a chorus of cheers and encouraging words from her colleagues.
‘I can’t give you everything we talked about before I left.’
‘What. Do. You. Mean?’ Isla panted. Having a heart-to-heart in the throes of bringing babies into the world seemed strangely perfect.
‘I lost my leg.’
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