'So how can I help, Mr Duffield?' Sadie asked her next patient in Minors, another tourist who'd had an unfortunate accident.
'I went surfing and my shoulder's killing me.' He grimaced. 'My wife put me in a sling, but it still hurts.'
Sadie checked his medical history, then removed the sling and examined him. 'It looks like a dislocation, but I'm sending you for an X-ray in case there's a hairline fracture.'
Thankfully, the X-ray confirmed it was a simple dislocation. 'The good news is, you haven't damaged any ligaments or tendons, so you won't need surgery,' she said. 'The bad news is that it'll take three to four months to heal properly.'
'That long?' Mr Duffield looked horrified.
'You need to rest it completely for the next two weeks,' Sadie added. 'I'll give you some painkillers and a sedative to relax you, then I'll grab one of my colleagues to help me manipulate your shoulder.'
Ben was the first person she saw when she left the cubicle. 'Would you mind helping me with a dislocated shoulder, please?' she asked.
'Sure,' he said.
She introduced him to the Duffields. 'The procedure should only take a few minutes,' she explained.
'Can my wife stay?' Mr Duffield asked.
Sadie guessed that he was really in pain and wanted his wife's support. 'Of course. Mr Duffield, could you sit on the bed for me?'
He did so, and then between them, Sadie and Ben manipulated his shoulder.
'I'm never going surfing again,' Mr Duffield said ruefully.
'Good,' his wife said. 'Seeing you come off your board and then go under—I thought you were having a heart attack and I was going to lose you.'
'I thought I was going to drown,' Mr Duffield confessed.
'We're almost there,' Sadie told him. 'Deep breath. What's your favourite breakfast?'
'A bacon—' Mr Duffield began, and there was an audible pop.
'All done. I'll put you in a sling and give you painkillers,' Sadie said. 'When do you go back?'
'At the weekend,' Mrs Duffield said.
'See your GP for a follow-up in a week's time. In the meantime, no heavy lifting and no sports for the next fortnight—just the exercises that we give you today.'
'We see quite a few surfers with dislocations,' Ben said at Mr Duffield's dismayed look. 'The pendulum's good.' He leaned forward and rested his arm on the bed, letting his other arm hang down. 'Swing your arm gently like a pendulum, and gradually make it wider.' He demonstrated.
'If it hurts,' Sadie added, 'stop immediately, rest and next time make the movements a bit smaller.' She smiled at them. 'Enjoy the rest of your holiday.'
After the Duffields had left, Sadie turned to Ben. 'Thanks for your help.'
'Any time,' he said with a smile.
Her heart felt as if it had skipped a beat. Not only was he good with patients, he was utterly gorgeous. The more she saw of him, the more she liked the man he'd become and the more time she wanted to spend with him.
Sadie had become exactly the kind of doctor Ben had thought she'd be when they were students: kind to patients, straightforward in her attitude and good to work with.
But over the next couple of days he found himself becoming more aware of her as a woman rather than as a doctor.
Sadie was only here for the summer, and she'd told him the job swap was to help her move on from the loss of her baby and the break-up of her marriage. Ben couldn't offer her a future—or even an uncomplicated temporary relationship. They'd agreed to be friends and he was going to show her round. But he kept noticing her beautiful blue eyes, and every time she smiled at him it made him feel as if his heart was somersaulting. He couldn't help wondering whether she felt the same pull of attraction towards him—or was he deluding himself?
Say nothing, he warned himself. Just good friends. That's what you agreed.
Though it didn't stop him wishing for more. Wondering what if…?
Friday night was the monthly 'quiz and chips' between the emergency, paediatric and maternity teams, and Sadie agreed to take Becky's place on the team.
'I hope your general knowledge is as good as Becky's, Sadie,' Ben teased. 'Shariya's sorting out the food orders for our team, so just let her know what you want. I'll give you a lift home afterwards.'
'Thanks. That'd be great,' Sadie said.
The quiz was held in a village hall not far from the hospital, and Sadie enjoyed the chance to meet more of her colleagues. Nobody really cared who won, and the fish and chips were the nicest she'd tasted in ages. She couldn't remember the last time she'd had this much fun: the bantering among the team, the cheerful good humour, the terrible jokes from their boss.
She also found herself noticing Ben. His stunning grey eyes, the colour of the sea on a stormy day; the shape of his mouth. He caught her eye and she actually found herself blushing. What was it about Ben that made her feel like a teenager again?
This was ridiculous. They were old friends. Colleagues. But she was still so aware of him.
A couple of times when she caught his eye, she noticed a slash of colour across his cheekbones and wondered if he felt that same pull of attraction. And it gave her the courage to ask, when he dropped her back at Becky's flat, 'Would you like to come in for coffee?'
'Can I be rude and suggest a walk on the beach instead?' Ben asked. 'I don't get the chance to do that very often.'
'A walk it is,' Sadie agreed.
The moon had risen, and its reflection made a silver path on the sea.
But it wasn't just the beautiful setting that made her heart beat faster: it was Ben himself. His nearness.
As they walked along the cove, their fingers brushed against each other. Once, twice and then they were holding hands. The silence between them was companionable rather than awkward; and then somehow they were standing facing each other in the moonlight, listening to the sea swishing gently on the sand, and Ben dipped his head to kiss her.
This was the kiss they hadn't shared seven years ago.
A kiss that was gentle and sweet and left her feeling as if she was walking on air. The world suddenly seemed full of possibilities.
But then a phone shrilled, breaking the spell.
Ben groaned. 'Sorry. That's my mum's ringtone. I need to take this.'
'I'll give you some space. Come up for coffee when you're ready,' she said.
But, a few minutes later, instead of coming up to the flat, he called her. 'Sorry. I need to get back.'
'No problem,' she said. 'Another time.'
'I owe you an apology,' he said. 'I shouldn't have kissed you on the beach. It's not fair to either of us.'
Because he had a complicated home life and she had a lot of emotional baggage?
She stifled the disappointment, even though her mouth was tingling with the memory of his kiss. He was right. They needed to be sensible about this. 'Let's pretend it didn't happen. I'll see you on Monday,' she said.
But she couldn't help wondering: What if Brad hadn't swept her off her feet and Ben had kissed her that New Year's Eve? Because that kiss had felt so right…
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