Oh God. He knew. Somehow he’d found out. Her mother? No. She would never say anything.
She swallowed. “I didn’t know how to tell you.”
“A phone call would have sufficed. Or better, a face-to-face conversation.”
There was no way she could have gone to Antigua and given him that kind of news. And after she’d miscarried, there’d been no point. “I didn’t want to affect what you were trying to do.”
“How in the hell would it do that?”
She stared at him. “Are you kidding? It would have affected everything. You had just started school, and to hear that I was—”
“Just started school…” He stared at her, brows coming together, his face looking fiercer than she’d ever seen it. “Maybe you’d better explain what you’re talking about.”
Her breath seized in her lungs. Oh God, had he not meant what she thought he did? “I’m sorry, what were you asking about?”
“I wanted to know why you’d erased your name from my surgical team today.”
“I…I…” Suddenly working with him seemed like the least of her worries. All she could do was come clean about her reasons for erasing her name and hope he forgot about anything else she’d said. “I was trying to help you by not being a distraction.”
Saying that out loud made her sound conceited, so she tried to clarify. “As in our past being a distraction. Not me personally.”
“So you’re saying I wouldn’t be a distraction for you?”
She was messing this up beyond repair. “No. I just think until we figure this thing out, maybe it’s better if we work together as little as possible. Just for a while.”
“And you think the administration isn’t going to catch on? Or did you already tell them about us?”
He was right. That could prove to be tricky, since eventually she would have to explain why she didn’t want to work with him. And he was right about something else—he would prove to be a terrible distraction. Had she really thought she could work with him without standing there and remembering everything they’d done together? If so, she was more naive than she’d thought. Because even now, there was an awareness that shimmered in the air around them. That caught at her chest and yearned to be held by him again. That wanted to feel his hands gliding over her skin.
She shuddered. No. No one knew. Not yet. But if she didn’t pull herself together, they would soon guess.
“I haven’t told anyone.” She gulped. “If it helps, I won’t ask to be pulled from any more of your cases.”
He nodded. “Thanks. And yes. It helps.”
“Good.” She breathed a sigh of relief. It looked like her tactic worked, and the secret of her pregnancy was still intact.
More people filtered out of the operating room, making conversation impossible for several seconds. Once they were gone, he fixed her with a gaze that told her she hadn’t gotten by with anything.
“Let’s go to my office, and you can tell me exactly what you meant earlier.”
“Don’t play games with me, Patty. You know what I’m referring to.” He paused. “And you can either explain yourself in private, or we can have this out right here. In front of whoever happens to be walking by.”
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