She clutched her stomach and found it flat but floppy rather than hard and round. She froze again and realized her deep sleep since then must have been sedative-assisted because someone had put her into a fresh nightgown and a crisply made bed in a strange room she’d never seen before. And someone had put a crib beside the bed.

She moved convulsively but found her lower limbs wouldn’t move at all.. and Jack said quietly, ‘Take it easy, Maggie.’

Her astonished gaze fell on him, sitting on a chair beside the crib. ‘Jack!’

‘Yes. How do you feel?’

‘I have no idea.’ She blinked rapidly. ‘Is this—us?’

He looked briefly amused. ‘A good way to put it. Uh—it says on the crib—Trent stroke McKinnon—so I guess it must be.’ He tilted the crib so Maggie could see into it.

There was a baby fast asleep in it.

‘So it’s all right? It’s… all right?’ she asked urgently.

‘Fine. Quite perfect, in fact, so they tell me.’

Maggie fell back against the pillows with a gasp of relief. ‘Girl or boy?’

‘Boy. He’s a little premature and he’s spent a bit of time in a humidicrib but they reckon he’s coping very well on his own.’

She studied the baby, not that she could see much more than the curve of a cheek, one tiny fist and a fuzz of brown hair. Then he moved and more of his features came into view—and Maggie held her breath. But with great seriousness, the infant Trent stroke McKinnon yawned, opened his hand, then slept on.

‘He seems to be… very composed,’ Maggie said in some confusion.

‘Yeah.’ Jack shoved a hand through his hair, then rubbed his unshaven jaw. ‘A lot more composed than I feel.’

‘How can that be so?’ she queried seriously. ‘After what he’s been through?’

‘You were the one who went through the worst.’

‘I don’t seem to remember a lot about it,’ she confessed. ‘Well, some parts of it, but it’s all confused and fuzzy.’

‘Just as well and not surprising—you had concussion on top of everything else.’

Jack paused, then reached for her hand. ‘What happened was, you sprained your ankle when you fell, you have a bump on your head and they think you may have slipped a disc or done something to your back. Then you went into labour. Fortunately, Maisie arrived not long after it all happened and she was able to identify you and get your own doctor—they’d called out another doctor who has consulting rooms in the same building.’

‘Why can’t I move my legs?’ she asked.

‘You’ve had a couple of epidurals. The birth itself was quite straightforward so they chose not to intervene—seems this young man had decided not to muck around!’ He smiled at her. ‘But you were in a lot of pain from your back as well as your ankle so it was for your sake and it may take a while to wear off.’

She blinked dazedly. ‘How long ago did this all happen?’

He looked at his watch. ‘About eight hours ago. I got here just after he was born.’ He smiled again and released her hand to stroke her hair for a moment. ‘I’ve had my first cuddle.’

Maggie closed her eyes. ‘Can I?’ she said with absolute longing in her voice.

‘Sure. Your parents are also here, incidentally. They went to have a cup of coffee.’

Maggie’s lashes swept up. ‘You—you and my father have met?’

He nodded. ‘No fireworks, no hard words. We’re all too concerned about you. And too taken with the baby.’

Maggie breathed very deeply. ‘That’s—I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.’

He said nothing, just stroked her hair again.

‘And my back?’ she asked after a while.

‘They’re not sure. What with everything else going on—’ he gestured ruefully ‘—they haven’t been able to assess it properly. But they have taken X-rays. We’re waiting on the results now. Your ankle just needs time.’

‘Will you please give me my baby, Jack?’ she begged. ‘You see, I’ve been talking to it, to him,’ she corrected herself, ‘for weeks and weeks and I’m sure he can’t understand why he hasn’t heard my voice since he was born.’ Copyright 2016 - 2024