The Scholar (Emerson Pass Historicals 3) - Page 94

“Yes, I’m surprised she didn’t want her sister or mother.”

“She probably knows I’m the only one without much to do tomorrow.”

“Soon enough we’ll have a family, and that’ll keep you busy.”

Louisa chuckled. “Thus, proving Cym right. Women’s only choices are to marry and have a baby.”

“Are you dissatisfied with your life?” I didn’t know where this was coming from. Had I let her down somehow?

“Not at all. I was just teasing.”

I looked over at her but couldn’t make out her expression in the dark. Was she worried because she hadn’t gotten pregnant yet? Or was this a deeper issue? Was she like Cymbeline and yearned for more to occupy her mind?

Before long, we arrived, and I put it aside to focus on my patient. Flynn had turned on the porch light for us. “You go in. I’ll put the horses in the barn.”

She nodded and jumped out of the sleigh and headed toward the house.

I unhitched the horses as quickly as I could and brushed them before putting them in the empty stalls in Flynn’s barn. Not knowing how long we’d be, I gave them some hay. By the time I’d gotten to the house, I was cold. The temperatures were frigid. I was happy Flynn’s cottage was close to ours.

I found Flynn in the sitting room hunched over with his hands pressed into his knees. He stood when I came in and greeted me with a worried smile. “She’s in pain. Terrible sounds are coming out of her. I sent Louisa in there. I didn’t know what else to do.”

“You did the right thing,” I said. “Hang tight for a minute. I’m going to check on her.”

“Please, Theo, don’t let anything happen to her.”

“She’s healthy, and the baby will be too,” I said.

“I’m terrified,” Flynn said. “Even more than in the war.”

“It’s all going to be all right.” I patted his shoulder before heading to the bedroom.

Shannon was on the bed with only a cotton nightgown on. Louisa was sitting in an armchair, pale and looking almost as frightened as Flynn.

“How far apart are the pains?” I asked.

Before she could answer, Shannon cried out as another pain took over.

“A minute,” Louisa said as she pointed to the clock on the wall. “I’ve been timing them.”

We waited until the contraction subsided. Louisa, I’m not sure how or why, suddenly leapt to her feet. She knelt by the side of the bed and used her handkerchief to wipe Shannon’s brow.

“It hurts so much,” Shannon whispered to Louisa.

“What would make you feel better?” Louisa asked.

“I don’t know. Not lying here.”

Louisa tugged her up and out of the bed. “Here, get on the floor. All fours.” She demonstrated.

Shannon obeyed. No sooner was she on the braided rug than another contraction started. Louisa was right, they were a minute apart.

Being on the floor seemed to help Shannon. I was amazed, having never thought of advising a woman to do so before. Louisa was a woman. Maybe she knew instinctually what would help?

For the next hour, Shannon labored. With Louisa so clearly handling the situation, I went to check on my brother. He was pacing back and forth across his kitchen.

“You’ll wear a hole in the floorboards,” I said.

“What’s happened? Why has she stopped screaming?” Flynn asked.

Tags: Tess Thompson Emerson Pass Historicals Historical
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