He headed to the phone, leaving Bella seething even though she wasn’t sure why exactly. After all, it made far more sense to pretend that nothing had happened, especially when there was no chance of there being a repeat. She snorted in disgust as the thought slid into her head. There definitely wasn’t going to be a repeat. One night in Mac’s arms had caused enough upheaval in her life!

Bella worked her way through the list. There was nothing really serious, just a lot of cuts and bruises, as could be expected when so many children were on holiday. She patched up several cut knees and sent a couple of youngsters for X-rays, and that was it. By the time she was due to take her break, there was just one child waiting to be seen. Mac had finished with his patient and arrived at the desk at the same time as her. He shrugged as he reached over and picked up the last file.


‘I’ll take this if you want to go for your break, Bella. We may as well make the most of it while it’s quiet.’

‘Fine.’

Bella headed for the lift. Although she wasn’t hungry, a cup of tea would be very welcome. Mac had taken his patient to the cubicles and the waiting room was empty. She was about to step into the lift when the main doors opened and a couple of police officers came in. The female officer was carrying a baby in her arms and Bella paused, wondering what was going on. When Janet, their receptionist, beckoned to her, she hurried over to them.

‘What’s happened?’

‘We received a report to say that a baby had been left at home on its own,’ the male officer explained. ‘When we got to the flat, we found the front door open. The child was inside, screaming its head off. It doesn’t appear to be injured, from what we can tell, but we need you to check it over, just to make sure.’

‘Of course.’ Bella led the way to the treatment room. ‘If you can put the baby on the bed, I’ll examine it.’

She undid the poppers down the front of the child’s sleepsuit and slipped it off then removed its vest and nappy. It was a little girl and she appeared to be both clean and well-nourished. Bella carefully checked her over and shook her head.

‘No, there’s nothing wrong with her. She’s a little bit dehydrated but that can soon be sorted out once we give her a drink. Do you know where the mother is?’

‘No idea. The neighbour who phoned in the report wasn’t able to tell us very much.’ The officer sighed. ‘Apparently, she’s little more than a kid herself, from what we can gather. We’ve been on to Social Services and we’re hoping they might be able to help us.’

‘Do you know her name?’ Bella asked slowly, although she had a feeling that she already knew the name of the baby’s mother.

‘Yes. The neighbour was able to tell us that much at least.’ The officer consulted his notebook. ‘Freya Watson. We’re trying to find out if she’s local. If we can trace her family then they might know where she’s gone.’

‘I can give you their address.’ Bella brought up Freya’s file on the computer. She gave the policeman the Watsons’ address then quickly explained the situation. ‘I’d like to think that Freya’s parents know where she is, but they were furious when they found out about the baby and refused to have anything more to do with her,’ she concluded. ‘If Freya has been living in the flat on her own with the baby then it doesn’t look as though they’ve had a change of heart, does it?’

‘No. It doesn’t.’ The policeman sighed as he wrote everything down in his notebook. ‘Right, then. It might turn out to be a waste of time but I’ll get on to the station and ask them to send someone round to speak to the girl’s parents. The sooner we find out what’s happened to her, the better.’

Both officers went outside to make the call, leaving Bella alone with the baby. She sighed as she picked her up and cradled her in her arms. It was no wonder that Freya had found it difficult to cope. Caring for a child on your own was a lot for any woman to deal with. Why, even she would find it hard and she was a lot older than Freya and had far more resources at her disposal. Quite frankly, she couldn’t imagine how she would cope if she found herself in the position of being a single parent, not that it was likely to happen. Mac had taken great care to ensure she didn’t get pregnant that night they had made love.

A tiny ache awoke in her heart, even though she knew how stupid it was. However, his determination to make sure that there were no consequences from their night of passion simply proved how he really felt about her. Maybe he’d been keen enough to sleep with her but he certainly wasn’t looking for anything more.

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