Ella drew away from him. ‘No. I’m going to work now. I’ll have a shower and change there. Don’t try and stop me. I’ll come and get my things later.’
Or maybe she’d just ask Helen to lend her something.
Nikos inhaled sharply. ‘I don’t understand what is going on here. What am I missing?’
Ella blinked back tears. ‘Nothing.’ She delved in her bag for her mobile phone, only to find that the battery was flat.
Nikos raised his eyes to heaven and produced his. ‘Who did you want to call?’ His clipped tone brought her even closer to tears.
‘To go where?’
‘You are planning to work in this state?’
‘Yes.’ Work meant not having to go into the house. And work usually provided a distraction. Hopefully, by the time her shift ended, she would have decided what to do.
‘It hardly seems like a rational decision.’
‘Just call me a taxi, Nikos.’
He pocketed the phone and pulled out his car keys. ‘If that’s really what you want to do, then I’ll give you a lift. But don’t think this conversation is over, Ella.’
If she’d thought that a busy afternoon in the paediatric emergency department would take her mind off Nikos, she was wrong. Every case that came through the doors was challenging, serious and required his attention.
And all the time she was aware of his brooding expression and the rising tension between the two of them.
Why was life so complicated?
She couldn’t just walk away—she was having his baby.
And yet how could she marry him?
Ella was checking the intubation tray in Resus when the doors opened and Nikos strode in. His skin had turned a rich brown after their week in the Mediterranean sun and he looked more handsome than ever before. ‘The paramedics are bringing in a two-day-old baby with breathing problems.’
Was she the only one who was wishing to be back in Greece?
‘Any more information than that?’
‘No.’ His eyes dropped to her mouth. ‘And after this we’re going back to the house. You owe me a conversation. Whatever was right in Greece can be right here.’
Feeling the sexual vibrations, Ella looked away. ‘We can’t talk about this now. We have a patient on the way in.’ And she was already finding it difficult to concentrate.
‘The sun has given you freckles.’ He gently pushed a strand of hair out of her eyes, the gesture unmistakably affectionate.
Her heart gave an alarming lurch.
Why did he have to show affection now, when she was so confused?
Fortunately for her sanity the doors opened again and the paramedics hurried in with the baby and a very worried mother.
‘He didn’t wake up for a feed last night,’ the woman told them, ‘and when I looked in his cot he was this weird grey colour. I picked him up and he didn’t cry or anything…’
The baby lay still on the trolley, struggling for breath, pale-skinned, displaying all the signs of shock.
A team of staff joined them and Nikos immediately took charge.
‘Call the paediatric cardiologist and phone the neonatal intensive care unit and warn them he’s going to be coming up to them. Ella, can you check his pulses? Brachial and femoral—I’m going to get a line in.’
Ella attached a pulse oximiter to the baby and then did as he asked. ‘He has a very weak femoral pulse and his lower extremities are cool.’ Which implied that insufficient blood was reaching the child’s limbs. ‘His sats have dropped, Nikos.’
‘Check his blood pressure in both arms and both legs. And let’s give him supplementary oxygen.’ Nikos examined the baby swiftly, his hands skilled and confident as he searched for the cause of the problem.
‘His blood pressure is lower in the legs than in the right arm.’
‘Which confirms my suspicions. This baby has a coarctation of the aorta.’ Nikos spoke in a calm voice. ‘He’s in shock because the ductus arteriosis has closed suddenly.’
‘Do you want to do an echocardiogram?’
‘Yes, but first I want to give him a prostaglandin infusion.’
‘You’re trying to reopen the ductus?’ Ella prepared what he needed and the team worked to stabilise the circulation with fluids and drugs.