Patty waited until they left the room before saying anything. Partly because of the shock of seeing him and partly because she wasn’t even sure he would recognize her after all of these years. Her hair was styled differently now, and she’d put on about ten pounds since high school.
And what she’d gone through afterward… She closed her eyes for a second or two, waiting for a wave of pain to subside.
Dax, on the other hand, had the same handsome face as the one she’d known, and yet he was different. Harder somehow. More self-assured and independent.
And he was a thoracic surgeon? Not an obstetrician?
Yes. He was different.
About fifteen yards down the hallway, she stopped to face him. Whether or not he recognized her didn’t erase the fact that she knew who he was. And she wasn’t going to hide it. “How are you, Dax?”
He peered down at her, a muscle working in his cheek. “I’m good. A little surprised to see you here, though.”
“The feeling’s mutual.”
“So you’re a surgical nurse.”
Her insides tightened in surprise. How did he know that? Had he somehow discovered where she was and come after her? After fifteen years? Not likely. Her mom said he’d made one visit to the house and then never come back. It had been a year or two before she even told her mom about the pregnancy. Or about what had happened afterward.
“Did you ask for me to come down here to show you around?”
God, the accusation in her voice had come through loud and clear. “I’m sorry. It’s just such a coincidence. And HR asked for me personally.”
“Ah, I see. No, it wasn’t me. It must have been Nate Edwards over at the Island Clinic.” He frowned. “Although, when he told me there was a surgical nurse named Patty Cohen, I was hoping it wasn’t…”
Her stomach clenched, her mind filling in the words he hadn’t said. He’d been hoping it wasn’t her. Well, who could blame him?
“I had no idea you were coming to St. Victoria. I always assumed you’d go back to St. Lucia. That’s where you originally wanted to practice.” She didn’t elaborate or ask him why he’d changed specialties. Her throat tightened. She didn’t want to know. Maybe it was for the same reason she’d decided against midwifery. It would hurt too much, always wondering where he was. And to see baby after baby born, knowing…
Besides, if she wasn’t a midwife, even if he did someday show up, she wouldn’t have to work with him.
Ha! She should have known fate would never be that kind.
“I’d decided a long time ago I didn’t want to go back to St. Lucia.”
“Why?” The question came out before she could stop it, and instinctively her eyes went to the ring finger on his left hand. It was empty. And there was no indentation that said there’d ever been a ring there.
His eyes found hers, something simmering in their depths. “Because of you. You’re part of the past, and I had no desire to run into you again.”
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