Winning Back His Wife(10)

By: Melissa McClone



“Surgeries?”

“You have a pin in your right arm, and you no longer have a spleen. Due to the trauma and bleeding, they had to remove it with an open procedure rather than using laparoscopic techniques.”

“Oh.” Sarah looked as if he’d told her she’d overslept her alarm, not had an internal organ removed through a four-inch incision. “You don’t really need a spleen, right?”

A groan of frustration welled up inside him. Why couldn’t she be one of those ivory-tower-type scientists who worked in a lab and never cared if they breathed fresh air or saw sunlight? Then again, he wouldn’t have been attracted to someone like that. “You can survive without one.”

“That’s a relief.” She touched her cast. “How soon before I can get back to the institute? Next week?”

Try four to six weeks, if everything went well with her recovery. Most likely six to eight with the surgery. But he reminded himself he wasn’t in charge of her medical care. “You’ll have to ask your doctor.”

Her gaze pinned him. “You’re a doctor.”

“I’m not your doctor.”

“You have to have some idea.”

Cullen had more than an idea. But he wasn’t here as a medical professional. He was here to support her, even if he wasn’t part of her life anymore.

He’d been surprised to find out he was her only emergency contact. She’d mentioned her parents to him once, saying they were no longer a part of her life. He supposed the blank line on the employment form had needed a name, any name. No one ever thought the person listed would be contacted. “More than a couple of weeks.”

She rubbed her lips together. “Guess I’d better talk to my doctor and find out.”

“Once you know—”

“You’ll go home,” she finished for him.

She wanted him out of her life. He would be happy to accommodate her. “Yes, but not until you’re out of the hospital.”

Leaving her alone until then wouldn’t be right.

“Thank you.” Her voice dropped to a mere whisper. “Thanks for being here. This had to have messed up your schedule.”

Sarah’s unexpected sincerity curled around his heart and squeezed tight, like a hug. He shifted his weight between his feet. “My schedule doesn’t matter.”

Her gaze met his with an intensity he knew well. She might look bruised and battered, even broken, but intelligence and strength shone in the depths of her eyes. Her eyes were what he’d noticed first about her when they’d met over morning coffee at a campfire. He wanted to look away, but couldn’t.

“Your schedule matters,” she countered. “It always has before.”

“I don’t want you to be alone.” That much was true. “You’re still my wife.”

Her face paled. “My fault. I’ve been so busy at the institute I never followed through on my end with the divorce. I’m sorry. I’ll have to get on that.”

After bringing up a divorce, she’d been too busy slogging up and down Mount Baker in the name of research to file the marriage-dissolution paperwork. He’d contacted an attorney. He rubbed the back of his neck. “No need.”

Her eyes widened. Her lips parted. “What do you mean?”

A part of him wanted to get back at Sarah, to hurt her the way she’d hurt him.

You’re a great guy. You’ll make some woman a fantastic husband. But our eloping was impulsive. I acted rashly and didn’t think about what I was doing. Or what would be best for you. I’m not it. You deserve a wife who can give you the things you want. Things I can’t give you.

Correction. Things she didn’t want to give him.

Regret rose like bile in his throat. “I knew you were busy, so once I established residency in Oregon I got things started there.”

“Oh.” Her gaze never wavered from his. “Okay.”

It felt anything but okay to him. The knots in his stomach tightened. His throat constricted. He’d had their entire future planned out. A house, pets, kids. And now...

Putting Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and Mount Hood between Sarah and him had never appealed to Cullen more. “I’ll go see if your doctor is around so we...you...can find out when you might be discharged.”

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