His fingers gently grasped hold of the knob and slowly turned it toward him. His eyes squinted further, scanning the image before him before his lips split into a smile. Still he held his breath, careful not to make any sudden movements or his work of two weeks would be ruined.
A sudden rapping at the door stiffened his shoulders and he gritted his teeth, thankful the door was locked. He heard a nudging at the doorknob and rolled his eyes. Whoever it was could wait. This couldn’t. Focusing his attention on the screen before him, he turned the knob away from him and immediately jerked his hand off the remote.
From the other side of the door, a woman clad in green and white paisley print scrubs flinched as a muffled string of curses erupted from inside the room. She lowered her hand from the door and took one step back, holding her breath.
Purposeful footsteps sounded from the other side as the person approached the door and it flung open, causing the woman to gasp at the fierce glare zoned in on her. She bit her bottom lip, feeling her heart pick up speed as she gaped up at the dark-skinned, glowering man before her. “D-doctor…”
“What is it?” he gritted through his teeth, gripping the edge of the door.
Blinking tears at the dreading feeling of being chastised yet again, the woman lowered her head to stare at her feet. “Y-you have a call.”
He blinked at her. “Please tell me you didn’t just ruin a month’s work for a call.”
She swallowed hard, fearing for her job to speak up.
Tilting his head to peer down at her, a heavy feeling draped over his shoulders at her penitent expression. Regret. He heaved a sigh, lowering his hand from the door. “Pamela…” he started in a soft voice. “Who called?”
The Pacific-Islander nurse drew in her lips anxiously, peeking through thick, curled lashes at the man. She faltered at the absence of anger from his face and managed a smile. “She didn’t say her name, except that she is your family from St. Lucia.”
He blinked. “Family…” Even as he spoke, his feet stepped toward her.
She took another step back. “I know it was your cellphone but it was vibrating loudly in the office room when I went in for some of the research files… I thought it would be urgent.”
Urgent? His brows drew in a deep dark line as he stepped around her and started for the hallway.
Pamela turned to watch him stride quickly down the hall, his footsteps heavy and purposeful. She shook her head. It wasn’t often that he was in one of his moods but when he was, everyone in the department knew to stay away from Doctor Neville Garnier.
Neve pushed through the door of his office and crossed over to his desk, picking up his cellphone. His brow furrowed deeper as his heart slammed against his chest at the name displayed on the screen. Ameya. He swallowed hard, pulling the phone to his ear. “Hello.”
A soft laugh drifted over the static and through his body. “Either you’re incredibly busy or you’re doing your best to avoid me.”
Both. “Busy with work,” he answered, leaning against the edge of his desk. Her voice had changed, even though it’d been only a year since she’d left them. Left him. “How are you… and Tomas? And your family?” Neve grimaced at his own words.
She sighed softly. “We’re fine. We can talk about that another time. When are you coming home?”
Home. His heartstrings fluttered with hope but Neve squelched it down quickly. “Not yet. The ceremony is not for another few days. I have plenty to do here until then.”
“Hmm, I see…” Ameya mused on the other end and he raised a brow. Why was she asking? Wasn’t she settled nicely in her two-story brick and slate home in the suburbs in America?
“Why?” he asked hesitantly, clenching his teeth. Why did he care?
“Do you think you’re too swamped with a lot of work to come down earlier?”
Neve blinked at his hand resting on his knee. “Are you in Vieux Forte, Ameya?”
There was a slight pause on her end but before he could ask her again, she sighed again. “Yeah, Neve. I am… I had to come. I think you should come here as soon as possible, if you can.”
He could only stare at his fingers. The soft pleading in her voice tugged at his heartstrings, threatening to undo his resolve to leave her alone and forget her completely.
“Genevieve needs you.”
His eyes jerked up to stare at the wall on the opposite side of the room, his breath held at her gentle words. He could hear the sheer desperation in her husky voice. Was she crying? His heart slammed against his ribs as he straightened up. “Gene? What’s wrong?” An image of his childhood friend’s smug smile crossed his mind and he swallowed hard at the trepidation that nipped at his heels as he stood fully.