Then she caught Leo staring at her; his face was pale, his eyes wide, and he leaned forward, grabbing her arm.

‘What—?’ she began, but Leo was already sliding his phone out of his pocket and dialling 112, which she knew was the number in Greece for the emergency medical services. ‘Leo, I’m okay,’ she said.

And that was when she felt a sticky wetness between her thighs, and when she looked down she saw blood spreading across the hard earth.


‘NO!’ MARGO’S VOICE was hoarse as she stared at the blood on the ground, and then she let out a harsh, keening cry that tore at Leo’s heart. ‘No. Leo—no, no, no—’ Her voice caught and she struggled for a moment, every breath an effort as panic swamped her.

‘I have an emergency medical situation,’ he snapped into the phone. ‘I need an ambulance at the Marakaios estate immediately.’

He tossed the phone aside and reached for Margo. She was rocking back and forth, her arms wrapped around her middle, her whole body trembling.

‘Margo, breathe,’ he commanded. ‘Nice and even. It’s going to be okay.’

She took a few hitched breaths, her shoulders shaking, and then finally managed to speak. ‘Don’t lie to me, Leo,’ she said raggedly. ‘Don’t ever lie to me. It’s not going to be okay. You can’t know that.’

‘You’re bleeding,’ he acknowledged steadily, ‘but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the baby.’

But Margo seemed barely to hear him. She shook her head, tears streaking down her face. ‘This can’t happen,’ she whispered to herself. ‘This can’t happen. I won’t let this happen again.’

Again? Leo’s mind snagged on the word, but now was hardly the time to ask her what she meant.

‘An ambulance will be here in a few minutes. I’m going to move you so it can reach you more easily.’

Gently he scooped her up into his arms and carried her out of the olive grove. He could see the blood staining her jeans and coat and his stomach roiled with fear. Margo had been right. He couldn’t know if it was going to be okay.

Soon an ambulance came screeching and wailing up the drive. Leo saw his sisters and Maria crowd onto the villa’s portico as he carried Margo towards the vehicle. A paramedic came out to help her onto a stretcher.

‘Leo!’ Xanthe cried, and he shook his head.

‘I’ll call you,’ he promised, and then climbed into the ambulance with Margo.

She looked so vulnerable, lying there on the stretcher, her eyes huge and dark in her pale face, and she scrabbled for his hand, her fingers fragile and icy in his as the paramedic took her vitals and then asked Leo what had happened.

Leo gave the details as clearly and evenly as he could; he could feel Margo clinging to his hand, her breath coming in little pants as she tried to control her panic.

Dear God, he prayed, let nothing have happened to the baby.

The next half-hour was a blur as the ambulance took them to the hospital in Amfissa, and then to an examination room in the A&E. A doctor, brisk and purposeful, came in with an ultrasound machine while Margo lay on the examination couch.

‘The first thing to do,’ the doctor said in Greek, ‘is a scan, so I can see what’s going on.’

Leo translated for Margo and she nodded frantically, still clutching his hand.

The next few minutes, as the doctor set up the machine, seemed to last for ever. Leo watched as she spread cold, clear gel on Margo’s belly and then pressed the wand against her bump. The silence that stretched on for several seconds was the worst thing he’d ever heard, and Margo gave a soft, broken little cry before turning her head away from the ultrasound screen. Tears snaked silently down her cheeks, and Leo felt the sting of tears in his own eyes.

This couldn’t be happening.

‘There it is,’ the doctor said in Greek, and Leo stared in stunned disbelief as she pointed to the screen and the tiny heartbeat, still going strong.


‘She has a partial placenta praevia,’ the doctor said, and Leo tried to listen as she explained how the placenta was covering the cervix and the fall had aggravated it, which had caused the bleeding.

He could barely take it in, however—all he could do was stare at that wonderful little pulsing assurance of life.

‘Margo...’ he said again and, touching her cheek, he turned her face to the screen.

She blinked, tears still slipping down her face, as she stared in confusion at the screen.

‘It’s okay,’ he said softly. ‘It really is okay.’

Smiling, the doctor turned up the volume, and that wonderful, whooshing, galloping sound of the baby’s heartbeat filled the room. Leo thought Margo would be relieved, that she might even smile or laugh, but as she heard the sound of the heartbeat her face crumpled and she collapsed into sobs, her shoulders shaking with their force.