‘I’d settle for the last one,’ he said in that deep voice she was becoming accustomed to.
Melody quickly put a dampener on the frisson of awareness his close proximity caused her. For a second she thought she’d spoken her last description out loud and lowered her gaze, forcing herself to concentrate on her work. She was almost ready to close.
‘George,’ she said, hoping her voice didn’t betray the surprise, elation and confusion she felt at his unannounced presence. ‘What brings you here?’
‘For compartment syndrome?’
He chuckled at her words and she momentarily allowed the sound to wash over her.
‘Introduce us,’ Andy whispered, and Melody cleared her throat.
‘George, this is my registrar, Dr Andy Thompson, who is going to help me to close up Mr Potter’s arm so we can get out of here.’
‘Nice to meet you, Andy,’ George remarked. Although he was wearing full theatre garb, George remained on the outer perimeter of the operating table.
‘Shouldn’t that be “Sir Brilliant Surgeon”?’ she teased Andy, as she started suturing.
‘No. That was what you were supposed to call him,’ Andy replied.
She glanced over at George. ‘I take it coffee was served without a hitch?’
‘Good.’ There was silence for a while as Melody and Andy continued with their work.
‘It must have been a good night,’ Andy said. ‘At least, judging from Melody’s flash hairstyle that’s now hidden beneath her theatre cap.’
‘It was,’ George replied, his gaze meeting with Melody’s for a few seconds.
‘Right. We’re done,’ Melody announced, forcing herself to look away. She nodded to the anaesthetist before heading out of Theatre. She de-gowned and took a deep breath. George followed her, removing his own theatre garb as well. ‘So why did you really come down here?’ she asked as she headed into the doctors’ tea room so she could write up the operation notes. When he didn’t reply, she stopped and turned around, unsure whether he was still there. He collided with her, his hands instinctively resting on her waist to control his balance.
‘Sorry,’ she mumbled, and lifted her chin to gaze up at him. They were standing just inside the door to the empty tea room and Melody didn’t know whether she wanted it to fill up or stay deserted. ‘I wasn’t sure if you were…still…’ Her voice trailed off. Aware that George hadn’t removed his hands from her body, his touch burned through the green cotton of her theatre scrubs, making her intensely aware of their close proximity.
She felt a smouldering fire within her come to life. Her breathing became shallow, her lips parting to allow the air to escape. Her knees started to weaken as his thumb started moving in tiny circles, fanning the blaze.
His brown eyes were clouded with desire, his breathing as uneven as her own. ‘Why did I really come?’ he asked. They were close, so close that his breath fanned her cheek as he spoke. He smelled good—too good—and the scent of him only exacerbated the weakness of her knees. She knew she had to be careful, knew she had to keep control of her habit of jumping into the fire before assessing the risks. She’d been badly burned in relationships before and knew her inherent optimism of wanting to always see the best in people could get her into trouble. Was George Wilmont trouble? Was he married? Was he a widower? She still had no clue, and if it was the former then she wanted nothing to do with him, other than being the professional host the VOS required her to be.
‘Melody, I…uh…’ He paused and shook his head. ‘I really didn’t think this through,’ he muttered, as he took a step away.
‘Think what through?’ She held her breath, her body zinging with anticipation. George was rattled and she secretly hoped it was her that had rattled him and even then, only because he had rattled her.
‘Coming here. Walking into your theatre. Jabbering at you now.’ He pushed a hand through his hair and shook his head. ‘Sorry. This was a mistake.’ He went to leave but turned when she called his name.
‘Now that you’re here, there is a question I want to ask you.’
It was Melody’s turn to feel awkward and unsure but after a moment of reflection she forged ahead. ‘I’m sorry if this seems forward or overly personal but—are you married?’
He raised his eyebrows at the question. ‘Married? No.’
A bubble of laughter rose in her and she momentarily covered her mouth. He wasn’t married. This was a good thing, right? It meant that the feelings she was developing towards him weren’t wrong, that she didn’t need to feel any guilt at being attracted to him. ‘Oh. It’s in your dossier.’