'Hey, Isla.’ Rosie Hobbes, a fellow nurse, appeared by her side as they waited for the ambulance to reverse into the non-emergency bay. ‘Are you on this one?’
She wasn’t, but Isla nodded anyway, not yet ready to trust there wouldn’t be a wobble to her voice if she spoke. And in desperate need of keeping herself preoccupied so she didn’t drown in self-pity. Another forbidden emotion.
‘Three cheers for the redhead brigade!’ Rosie threw a little punch into the air.
‘Strawberry-blonde if you don’t mind.’ Isla nudged her with her elbow, attention still focussed on the back of the ambulance.
‘Call it what you like, love. As far as the universe is concerned? We’re all flame-haired gingers!’
Isla laughed, relieved Rosie didn’t quiz her about the babies. Rosie had twins herself. And, if the rumour mill was anything to go by, was well and truly single after her now ex-husband turned out to be more Prince Smarmy than Charming.
‘You sick of vegetables and whole grains yet?’ Rosie asked, eyes also trained on the approaching ambulance.
‘Nope!’ Isla answered truthfully. Mercifully her pregnancy cravings had leaned in the direction of good nutrition unlike her mother’s penchant for chips and sweets. Or so she’d been told by her grandparents after her mother left her in their care. ‘Never met a carrot stick I didn’t like,’ she added, hoping to drown out the rush of dark memories.
‘How ‘bout the pelvics?’
Isla smirked. Sure she’d been doing them, but it wasn’t as if romance was on the horizon. Or anywhere for that matter.
Another kick in her belly made her gasp.
‘Strong one?’ Rosie asked, her brow cinching in concern.
Isla nodded, forcing a long, slow breath between her lips to ease the pain. ‘These babies are vying for infant boxing championships!’ She pressed her hands to her lower back and pushed her thumbs in hard.
‘When are you off?’ Rosie tipped her head back towards the hospital. ‘Doing the full maternity thing?’
Isla shook her head. ‘I’m working up to the bitter end.’ She needed every penny she could get. And then some. Doing this alone was going to be expensive and her babies would want for nothing.
Rosie gave her a sidelong look, opened her mouth as if to ask another question then closed her lips tight.
The expression on Rosie’s face was that of a woman who knew better than to ask more questions. Isla had made it more than clear at the nurses’ station that no one was getting any information beyond the fact she was pregnant. The father, the exact due date? Those were her secrets and she was holding them tight.
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