The Greek Children’s DoctorBy: Sarah Morgan
Andreas refrained from pointing out that she’d been more than tipsy. By the time he’d laid her on the bed and undressed her, she’d been unconscious.
But she seemed to be under the impression that she hadn’t drunk anything.
‘Well, I have to warn you not to expect her in today,’ he said smoothly. He remembered how pale and exhausted she’d looked when he’d left her, her amazing blonde hair spread over the pillow in his spare bedroom.
Mindful of Adrienne’s presence, he’d resisted the temptation to join her on the bed and apply his considerable skills to bringing some colour to her cheeks.
‘She’s not due in until later anyway, and Libby’s got the stamina of an ox. She’ll be here.’ Bev grabbed a set of notes and smiled at him hopefully. ‘As you’re early, I don’t suppose you’d see a child for me, would you? The rest of your team all seem to be tied up elsewhere and I think her drain could probably come out.’
Andreas held out his hand for the notes. ‘Let’s go.’
Libby arrived on the ward later that morning, changed into the bright blue tracksuit bottoms and red T-shirt that all the nurses wore when they were on duty and tied her hair back with a matching ribbon.
The black coffee had helped enormously. Her head was still pounding but it was as much from tiredness as anything else. She’d worked so many double shifts in the last month that she’d forgotten what the inside of her own flat looked like.
And after last night…
She groaned at the memory, stuffed the white shirt and the pink dress into her locker and went in search of Bev.
She found her by the drugs trolley.
‘What did you put in that orange juice?’ Libby glanced over her shoulder to check that no one was listening. ‘Someone spiked my drink and I’ve just worked out that it had to have been you.’
‘Vodka,’ Bev muttered, not quite meeting her eyes.
Libby stared at her, appalled. ‘Vodka? For crying out loud, Bev! I hadn’t had a single thing to eat all day. What were you doing?’
‘Giving you courage,’ Bev said calmly, her eyes still on the drugs trolley. ‘You were nervous.’
‘Nervous? Thanks to you, I could hardly walk!’
‘You looked fine. Better than fine. Really relaxed and sexy. We got £1000 for you. That cheque boosted our funds no end. Do you know how much we made?’
‘I don’t care how much we made.’ Libby groaned and covered her face with her hands. ‘Do you realise that I woke up in a strange bed this morning, in the house of a strange man who I don’t even remember?’ Her hands dropped to her sides and she frowned at Bev. ‘What’s the matter with you? Why aren’t you looking at me?’
Bev looked hideously uncomfortable and Libby felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
‘There’s more, isn’t there?’
The ward sister tensed awkwardly. ‘Well, there is something I probably ought to tell you—and you’re not going to be pleased. It’s about the man who bought you last night. Actually, he’s—’
Loud screams interrupted her and Libby winced and glanced towards the ward. ‘Who is that?’
‘Little Marcus Green.’ Bev pulled a face. ‘He had his hernia repair and his mother’s had to leave him to sort out a crisis at home. Not a happy child.’
The screaming intensified and Libby rubbed her aching head. ‘Poor little mite. I’ll go and see to him,’ she muttered. ‘We’ll finish this conversation later.’
‘No!’ Bev grabbed her arm. ‘Libby, wait, I really need to tell you about the man who bought you. He’s—’
‘Later.’ Libby shrugged her off and walked off down the ward, ponytail swinging as she hurried towards the sound.
One of the staff nurses was trying to distract him and she gave a sigh of relief when she saw Libby. ‘I’m glad to see you. He’s been like this for hours. His mum had to go and see to the older one at home and he’s been hysterical ever since.’
Libby scooped the screaming toddler into her arms, careful not to damage the wound, and carried him over to the pile of colourful cushions that were piled in the corner of the ward.
‘There, sweetheart. You’ll soon feel better.’ She dropped a kiss on top of his head. ‘Shall we have a story while we wait for Mummy? I know you love stories.’
Marcus continued to sob and hiccough and Libby cuddled him close as she selected a book and settled down on the cushions with the little boy on her lap. ‘You can choose. ‘‘Three Little Pigs’’ or ‘‘Little Red Riding Hood’’?’
The toddler’s sobs lessened. ‘Pigs.’
‘Three Little Pigs it is, then,’ Libby said, reaching for the book and giving a gasp. ‘Oh, my goodness, have you seen this?’
At her excited tone the toddler stopped sobbing and stared.
‘What a cute piggy,’ Libby said happily, and Marcus sneaked his thumb into his mouth and snuggled onto her lap for a closer look.
‘Once upon a time…’ Libby spoke in a soft voice and several other children slid out of their beds and joined her on the cushions, all listening round-eyed as she told the story.