Home > Gabriel's Promise (Gabriel's Inferno #4)(11)

Gabriel's Promise (Gabriel's Inferno #4)(11)
Author: Sylvain Reynard

   Julia went very still. The thought hadn’t occurred to her.

   Rebecca continued. “A quick trip to the hospital will put everyone’s minds at ease, including yours.”

   Julia chewed at the inside of her mouth, watching her husband with their baby.

   “First, you need to eat.” Rebecca pointed toward the kitchen table. “Have a good breakfast, take some snacks with you. But you should go to the emergency room.”

   “Agreed.” Rachel approached the women from the other side of the room.

   “Okay.” Julia rubbed her eyes, suddenly very, very tired.

   Rebecca patted Julia’s arm and returned to the oven, where she’d been warming a breakfast casserole.

   “Holy cow! What’s that?” Rachel grabbed Julia’s hand.

   “Gabriel gave it to me.”

   “Look at the size of it!” Rachel cursed under her breath. “It’s beautiful. Wow.”

   Julia grinned at her friend and the pair walked over to the table.

   “So?” Gabriel’s gaze fixed on his wife as she sat next to him. “What’s the verdict on the hospital?”

   “We’ll go after breakfast.” Julia extended her arms in order to take Clare.

   “You eat, I’ll hold her.” Gabriel rearranged Clare in his arms and the baby opened her blue eyes.

   “Why, hello there.” He smiled, bringing his face closer to hers. “Good morning, Principessa.”

   The infant closed her eyes and yawned. And then she looked at her father.

   Julia felt something warm and solid in her middle as she examined her husband. He wore a look of complete devotion as he stared down as his little girl. He was already wrapped around her finger.

   Rachel cleared her throat. “That’s a beautiful ring Jules is sporting.”

   Gabriel beamed with pride as his wife held up her hand for Richard to see it.

   Rachel continued. “Apart from the trip to the hospital, what else is on the agenda for today?”

   Gabriel answered without taking his eyes off Clare. “I’m hoping someone will address the flamingo infestation on my front lawn. The neighbors have been duly notified of Clare’s birth. In fact, I think the Russians can see the infestation from space.”

   Julia snickered into her orange juice.

   “We paid for a week. The infestation isn’t going anywhere.” Rachel gestured with her orange juice. “Next?”

   Gabriel muttered something under his breath, but the edge of his lips turned up.

   “Katherine is supposed to be coming over for lunch, but we’ll be at the hospital.” Julia retrieved a pile of napkins from the sideboard and passed them around. “Should I call and cancel?”

   “No,” said Rachel. “She can have lunch with us. I think she’s hilarious.”

   “She’s remarkable,” Richard agreed, arranging his napkin.

   “Breakfast is served.” Rebecca approached the table, carrying a large, hot dish with oven mitts.

   Richard suddenly thrust back his chair and stood. “That’s heavy. Let me help you.”

   Rebecca seemed surprised by his actions. She blushed a little as he took the oven mitts and the dish from her hands and placed it on a heatproof trivet on the table.

   Rachel blinked her gray eyes, slowly. And then she stared. The air around her seemed to turn to water, muting sound and causing all physical movement to slow down.

   Richard resumed his seat while Rebecca served breakfast.

   When she served Richard, he leaned over and said something to her and she laughed.

   Rachel blinked again and turned her head in order to examine Gabriel and Julia. They were oblivious.

   Rachel’s eyes narrowed on her father.

   A minute later, everyone at the table turned to look at her.

   She bristled. “What?”

   Gabriel cleared his throat. “I just said that we’re having Clare baptized this week, before you go home and Katherine returns to Oxford.”

   “Great.” Rachel’s shoulders straightened.

   “I hope Aaron will come.” Julia shifted closer to Rachel, a wide smile on her face. “We want you to be Clare’s godmother.”

   Rachel nodded, but her expression grew clouded.

   “Please eat while it’s hot,” Rebecca admonished with a smile. She turned to Richard. “I’ll make a fresh pot of coffee for you.” She took his mug and returned to the kitchen.

   “Thanks, Rebecca.” Julia lifted a bite of casserole to her mouth and began eating.

   “Rachel?” Gabriel interrupted her thoughts.

   “You’re having Clare baptized Catholic, but I’m Protestant.”

   “So?” Julia exchanged a look with Gabriel, who shrugged.

   “We’ll make an appointment with the priest.” Gabriel sipped his coffee cheerfully. “And we’ll tell him not to bring up the Council of Trent.”

   “Whatever that means.” Rachel rearranged the food on her plate, but not a morsel entered her mouth.

 

* * *

 

 

   “My assistant sent over a copy of your chart and we rushed your blood work, so I have those results as well.” Dr. Rubio, Julia’s obstetrician, bustled into the examining room.

   “I’m glad you were the obstetrician on call.” Julia sat nervously on the examination table, dressed in a hospital gown, while Gabriel cradled a placid Clare in his arms.

   Dr. Rubio was an accomplished obstetrician of short stature who had dark hair that was striped with gray and dark, lively eyes. She was originally from Puerto Rico and was much tougher than her small frame made her appear. In fact, she had often clashed with Professor Emerson during Julia’s pregnancy, particularly over the medical directive that he not perform oral sex on his wife. (He had accused her of going to an anti-oral-sex college. She had cursed him in Spanish.)

   “So, what’s happening?” Gabriel’s tone was grim.

   Dr. Rubio sat in an available chair and faced Julia, holding her chart. “Your stitches are healing nicely and the lochia discharge is normal. I know you tend to faint at the sight of blood, and that may have played a role this morning.

   “You have fibroids, as you know, and one of them was cut during your cesarean section. Because we had to give you a transfusion, I rushed your blood work just now in case you had a reaction. But your blood work looks fine.”

   Julia breathed deeply. “What about the fibroids?”

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