No, she wasn’t trying to impress him.
Her refusal had been genuine.
And yet she still wanted him, he knew that.
So why hadn’t she just said yes?
Was it about the money?
Or was it to do with the fact he hadn’t told her about his wife?
Realising that he didn’t have answers to any of the questions made him realise how little he knew about her.
What, in all honesty, had they shared in the six passionate months they’d spent together? Sex, he acknowledged ruefully. They’d lived in a small intimate bubble that had involved their work at the hospital and the two of them. Nothing had intruded.
And that had been the way he’d wanted it.
No emotions complicating their relationship.
Only she was a woman, wasn’t she?
And women responded better to emotion than logic. Which meant that he needed to alter his approach.
Locking his car, Nikos strode purposefully towards the entrance of the paediatric emergency department, his naturally competitive nature roused by the obstruction she’d placed in the path of their relationship.
She was carrying his baby.
She would marry him, he vowed silently. It was just a matter of understanding why she was saying no. Once he understood that, he would turn her no to a yes.
‘I’m really, really sorry to be a nuisance,’ the woman apologised, ‘but I’m just so worried about him.’ Her eyes filled and suddenly she burst into tears. ‘Twice I’ve been back to the GP and he just says it’s a virus of some sort, but Harry’s been crying and crying with the pain in his tummy and—Oh, I don’t know, you probably think I’m a stupid time waster…’
‘I don’t think that, Carol.’ Ella slipped an arm around the woman’s shoulders and gave her a hug. ‘I think you’re a very caring mum. A worried, caring mum. And we’ll take a good look at little Harry, I promise. Here—have a tissue.’ She reached for the box and offered it to Carol. Then she dropped into a crouch so that she could build a relationship with the little boy seated on his mother’s lap.
He didn’t seem distressed. In fact, he seemed very quiet.
Too quiet for a little boy who should have been diving straight into the colourful, tempting box of toys near his feet.
‘Hello, Harry. How are you doing?’ She was expecting a reaction of some sort, but got nothing.
The child just looked at her.
Back in control, Carol blew her nose. ‘Sorry. Gosh, this is so embarrassing. I’m not usually like this, only it’s been going on for two days and nights and I haven’t had any sleep and I’m just exhausted and so worried because no one is taking me seriously and—’
‘You have nothing to apologise for. I’m appalling if I don’t get my sleep. And we are taking you seriously, Carol.’ Ella pulled a toy car out of a nearby box and placed it on the child’s lap. ‘Look at this, Harry. It’s so cool. The doors open and the steering-wheel moves—and if you press this switch the lights come on. Do you want a turn?’ But Harry showed no interest. He just sat there listlessly and then the next moment he gave a tiny gasp, screwed up his face and clutched his stomach, whimpering in pain.
‘You see?’ The mother bit her lip. ‘He’s been doing this for two days. It lasts a few minutes at the most and then it stops. Our doctor just told me to give him paracetamol, but it honestly doesn’t make any difference. Oh, for goodness’ sake—why am I here? It’s probably nothing.’
But Ella wasn’t thinking that. Something about the child worried her.
Nothing she could immediately identify. Just an instinct.
Reminding herself that instinct was important when it came to children, she rose to her feet. ‘I’m going to ask our consultant to take a look at him.’
She wasn’t even sure if Nikos was in the department. After she’d returned his ring, he’d barely said a word to her and she’d had no idea what he was thinking. He’d driven her back to the harbour and waited without saying a word while she’d collected her bike.
Then he’d sped off in a different direction, presumably to his own home to shower and change.
What had he been thinking?
She didn’t even know where he was living, she realised as she hurried out of the cubicle and started searching for him.