‘Four days!’ she told herself as she shoved the bed covers aside and headed to the bathroom. Turning on the shower taps, Melody allowed the spray of the hot water to calm her thoughts. ‘You can do this,’ she told her reflection as she dried her hair. ‘You’re a professional. Just go to the hospital, smile politely at him, do your work and just—just concentrate on—on…’ She desperately thought of something else to think about before the answer hit. ‘Your research.’
How had he managed to do it? Ever since Emir had broken her heart, ditching her for a life with another woman, Melody had focused solely on her work. True, being acting head of department was enough to keep her busy and she’d been grateful for that, but it still raised questions about her future.
Would she ever be a bride and not just a bridesmaid? Would she ever be a mother and not just an aunt? When would it be her turn? Would it ever be her turn? Had she missed her window? She wasn’t getting any younger and her biological clock was definitely starting to tick. Was she just going to let two bad apples ruin what might be her opportunity to find a good apple? Could she risk her heart once again? Should she allow her fancy to have free rein or would George break her heart? If he did, where would she be then? Three times defeated by love!
Her thoughts continued to war as she finished getting ready for work, eating a light breakfast of juice and toast before driving to work. When she arrived, she made sure her cool, calm and collected professional façade was in place as she walked to her office. ‘Good morning, Rick,’ she said as she breezed in through the door.
‘Well, hello. Aren’t you looking like the consummate professional today?’ her PA teased. She’d dressed in one of her power suits. Navy trousers and jacket and white silk shirt. Her hair was clipped back at her nape in the hope that her unruly curls would behave themselves.
‘Thank you,’ she replied as she quickly flicked through her in-tray. She had five minutes before she needed to head to the ward, so she dealt with some paperwork before returning the papers to Rick so he could process them.
‘Gee, thanks,’ he muttered, and she smiled sweetly at him. ‘Off to ward round?’
‘Who, me?’ she joked, and reached for her stethoscope. ‘There’s nothing else I have to do this morning? No more speeches? Introductions?’
‘No. As far as George’s schedule is concerned, he’s accompanying you on the ward round and then he’s back off to the lecture theatre. You’re in clinic while he’s lecturing to the fourth-and sixth-year medical students. Dinner this evening is at the hotel George is staying at.’
‘Great. Thanks,’ she said, then headed towards the ward. With every step she took, she did her best to calm her increasing nerves. She was going to see George again. Would she feel the same immediate connection as yesterday? Would it be stronger?
When she entered the ward, she felt as though she was going to be physically sick, her stomach was churning so much. It was ridiculous that simply the thought of seeing George was making her feel so nervous. Still, she took a deep breath and pushed open the door to the discussion room, where everyone congregated for the ward round meetings, only to find George and his team weren’t there.
‘Huh.’ She couldn’t help the deflation she felt. Why wasn’t he here? Where was he? Were they still coming for her ward round?
Several medical students, interns, physiotherapists and nurses turned to look at her expectantly. Some murmured good morning, and Melody politely returned the greeting. There were more people than usual and she frowned, knowing it was due to George. Everyone wanted to learn, watch and absorb everything he did during his time there, and rightly so. It wasn’t every day that visiting professors came to the hospital. It would make for a slower ward round, but it couldn’t be helped. After all, this was a teaching hospital.
‘There you are, Melody,’ the CNC said as she came bustling in. ‘I’ve just received a call from Rick, who wanted you to know Professor Wilmont and his team are stuck in traffic.’
Melody took a deep breath and let it out slowly, thinking fast. She was glad George and his team were OK and that nothing bad had happened to them. ‘Thank you.’ But what should she do now? Should she wait to see if George arrived within the next ten minutes or should she start the round without them? As a general rule, ward round started on time, regardless of who was or wasn’t there. If ward round was late, it meant the catering and cleaning staff would be inconvenienced as it would interfere with their routines, the nursing staff would be running late all day and it also wasn’t fair to the patients.