Home > Gabriel's Promise (Gabriel's Inferno #4)(9)

Gabriel's Promise (Gabriel's Inferno #4)(9)
Author: Sylvain Reynard

   Gabriel turned around in anticipation.

   Julia shrieked and leapt backward, bumping into her husband. He grabbed her by the shoulders, steadying her.

   “Et tu, Brute?” She gave him an accusatory look.

   “Oh come on.” He squeezed her. “That was funny.”

   Julia shook her head and crossed back to the shower. Inside, a plastic pink flamingo wearing a shower cap grinned up at her.

   “I hope you cleaned it when you pulled it from the ground.”

   “I didn’t need to.” Gabriel smirked as he returned to his shaving. “I used the one you cleaned.”

   “The shower cap was a nice touch.” Julia switched on the shower and carefully removed her nightgown.

   “I thought so.” Gabriel turned and regarded her over the rim of his glasses. “Are you going to shower with the flamingo?”

   “I get lonely in the shower.” She gave him a heated look.

   Gabriel watched as she removed her belly band and underwear, his gaze fixating on her stitches. In only a few days, her abdomen had contracted dramatically, making the slight smile of the cesarean section visible.

   She entered the shower and closed the door.

   Gabriel removed his glasses and leaned against the vanity as Julia stood below the spray. She brushed the water from her eyes and reached for a bottle of shower gel. Then she stopped.

   She looked down past her abdomen and appeared to be inspecting her stitches.

   “Is something wrong?” He lifted his voice above the din of the falling water.

   When she didn’t answer but remained frozen, he slid open the shower door. “Julianne?”

   She was gazing down, motionless.

   He followed her gaze and saw a swirl of red in the water that rushed about her feet.

   Gabriel panicked. “Julianne?” he repeated, more urgently.

   She lifted her gaze and made eye contact with him, her expression strangely unseeing. Then her eyes rolled back in her head.

   Gabriel jumped into the shower, still wearing his towel, and caught her as her knees buckled.

   “Julianne!” He scooped her up, feeling her body go limp in his arms.

   Not knowing what to do, he ran to the bedroom and placed her on the bed, covering her with a sheet. “Julianne? Julianne!” When she didn’t respond, he skirted the bed and raced to his nightstand. He’d just unlocked his cell phone when he heard her murmur.

   “Gabriel?” She squinted up at him, a confused look on her face.

   He sat next to her. “How do you feel?” He touched her forehead, searching for a sign of fever, but her skin was cool.

   “I don’t know.” She looked down. “Why is my hair wet?”

   Gabriel’s expression tightened. “You fainted in the shower.”

   “Really?” She touched her forehead. “I feel like I just woke up.”

   “I’m calling the hospital.”

   “No, no hospital.” She lifted the sheet, her arm shaking. “I’m getting the bed wet.”

   “Fuck the bed.” Gabriel’s blue eyes blazed.

   She gazed at him and her fuzziness dissipated. “I had a dizzy spell in the shower a few days ago.”

   “Why didn’t you tell me?” Gabriel’s tone was sharp.

   “I told the nurse. It’s the stitches. I have to check the incision but it makes me sick to look at it.”

   He leaned over her. “Why didn’t you say something?”

   “It didn’t occur to me. I’m fine.”

   Gabriel huffed. “You are not fine. What are we supposed to be checking for with respect to the incision?”

   She grimaced. “Signs of infection or the wound reopening. The area around the incision is numb. It feels weird.”

   “We should have the numbness checked.” His grip on her hand tightened. “I saw blood in the shower, before you fainted.”

   “Blood?” Julia’s eyes widened and she began shaking.

   Gabriel wrapped his arms around her. “Stay with me.”

   After a moment, she blinked rapidly. “I feel like my blood sugar dropped. Maybe that’s why I fainted.”

   Still holding her, Gabriel opened the drawer to her nightstand. He rummaged around and retrieved a bar of chocolate.

   “How did you know about my secret chocolate?” She eyed him suspiciously.

   “I pay attention.” He opened the chocolate bar, broke off a piece, and handed it to her.

   She hummed as the sweetness spread over her tongue. “I’ve been bleeding since the surgery. The doctor said it’s normal.”

   “Again, Julianne, why didn’t you tell me?”

   “I did. Remember last night? I told you there was—” She stopped, confused.

   “We need to call the hospital.”

   Julia screwed her eyes shut. “Fine. Call the hospital. But I don’t want to go back.”

   While she continued to eat her chocolate bar, Gabriel called Mount Auburn Hospital and was transferred quickly to the labor and delivery unit. He wouldn’t leave Julia’s side but spoke in low, calm tones so as not to upset her. It was clear from his body language that he was not happy with what he heard.

   When he ended the call, he tossed his phone aside. “I think we should take you to the emergency room.”

   “Is that what they said?”

   “No.” He scowled. “They’re telling me bleeding is normal but to monitor the output. And to check you for fever, which I already have. They say numbness around the incision is normal and will go away. Obviously, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

   “Okay, but I don’t think two first-time parents know more than labor and delivery.” She lifted her hand and Gabriel took it once again. “I remember being in the shower and I remember seeing blood. That’s why I fainted.”

   Gabriel scratched his half-shaven chin. “When was the last time you fainted? I remember you feeling woozy in my study carrel back in Toronto. There wasn’t any blood.”

   “You startled me. And it was hot in there.”

   “It certainly was.” Gabriel leaned down to kiss her forehead. “You swooned in my arms, which was greatly enjoyable.”

   “Naughty professor.”

   “Absolutely. I am, in fact, a very naughty professor. But not when you’re ill.” He brushed her hair away from her face. “Now, are we going to the emergency room?”

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