“No. I can’t… I can’t talk about it now. I’m sorry.”
She grabbed her coat and walked out of the clinic and straight into the rain. She wandered along the main street, not really knowing where she was going.
Her mind was screaming at her, telling her to pack a bag and leave.
She needed to protect her heart. When her father had died and she’d lost her home and the only family she’d ever known she’d sworn to herself that she would never feel that kind of pain again.
She didn’t want a family. Families got shattered, broken, and people ended up alone.
You have one, though. Why can’t you see that?
Evelyn continued wandering until she was standing in front of a clapboard house that had used to be bright red, but was now faded and chipped. Everything was the same—including the covered porch with the rocking chair. Only no one was home. The lights were out. The car was gone…
“Evelyn?” Derek said in confusion. “You’re soaked.”
Evelyn turned. “How did you find me?”
“I had a hunch.”
“Good hunch.” She chuckled nervously.
“Come on—my car is over here. I’ll take you back to your place.”
He slipped his arm around her and led her the way to his car and out of the rain.
It was comforting.
It felt good that someone cared for her.
They didn’t say much as he drove her back to the clinic and led her to the apartment in the back. Once they were inside he took off her coat.
“Go get changed and I’ll make some tea.”
Evelyn nodded and went to change into dry clothes. By the time she was done the tea was ready.
“Thank you, Derek,” she said, not knowing what else to say. She was appreciative of the fact that he’d found her standing in the rain before anyone else had seen her.
He nodded. “What would you like in your tea? Honey or lemon?”
“Something stronger?” she said dryly.
Derek laughed and pulled out some whiskey. “This do?”
Derek poured them both tea with a shot of whiskey. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“No,” she muttered. “Not really.”
She scrubbed a hand over her face, because she needed to talk about it to someone.
“Martha Washington is my half sister.”
His eyes widened briefly. “Oh. That I didn’t know.”
“That’s all I’ll say.”
“Okay,” he said.
“I know you think I have walls…”
“I told you—we all have walls, Evie. I’m just glad that you’ve decided to let me in.”
Tears stung Evelyn’s eyes. “What am I doing here?”
“You’ve come home to lay some ghosts to rest. It’s obvious.” Derek finished his tea. “And to practice medicine, obviously?”
“You think so?” she teased, and then sighed.
“Well, you are a doctor.” He winked.
Evelyn laughed, felt her mood lifting.
“If I had just accepted that my father wanted to marry again I could’ve had a sister. I wouldn’t have had to leave.”
Derek sighed. “We can’t look at the past. It’s hard, but we just have to do what’s right going forward.”
She nodded. “I suppose you’re right.”
“I know I am. Now, I’m going to head back down to the clinic. I’ll see you later.”
He pulled her close into a warm hug and she tried not to cling to him, but it felt so good to be in his arms.
After he’d left her phone buzzed and she picked it up. It was an email from Juneau General Hospital and her heart skipped a beat.
It was Jennifer’s results.
She had to get to her computer and analyze them.
She was hoping the baby didn’t have any chromosomal defects. She was hoping the baby would be able to survive an emergency birth if it came down to it. But if the baby had issues she was going to put Jennifer on a plane to Sitka and deliver the child.
Then, when Martha was stable and Jennifer’s baby was safe, she was going to get the heck out of Wolf’s Harbor.
She’d done her duty to her father. She was tired of ghosts.
Only she couldn’t. She’d caused too much pain and she had to leave before she caused anymore.
And the only way she’d escape was if she ran—and that was what she planned to do as soon as she could.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN, a hurricane is tracking toward us?” Derek asked.
Tim Vance showed him the emergency report that was flashing on his laptop. “It’s rare, but a hurricane that cropped up off the coast of Hawaii is building strength and heading straight for us. They’re warning all residents of southeast Alaska to brace for hurricane conditions.”