For WIP Wednesday! A physician, Adam Wagner is meant to save lives, not take them, but war called, and the ones he could not save haunt him. His visions and nightmares after Waterloo won’t stop and the horror of it keeps him from Meg Barlow. He was close to proposing before he left. Now he can only protect her by staying away.
In this scene he can’t avoid Meg, who is a midwife, when he’s called to a difficult birth.
When he entered, she had smelled the drink on him, and almost despaired. He must have been more sober than she realized.
“A ye of little faith,” Adam drawled. “Now let’s see if this one is ready to greet the world.”
Within the hour, Sal Smithson was delivered of a squalling son, and Meg sagged with relief. Adam washed up and pronounced them both fit.
He paused at the door with his coat over his arm. In the light of dawn, she saw no sign of the green pallor she feared. Nor had his hands shaken while he worked. Nor had his mind failed him. His broad shoulders still filled out his shirt nicely—too well for her peace of mind. She knew the signs of the habitual drunkard well. If living with her father taught her nothing else, it taught her that. Adam’s descent into the wine bottle since his return to Reabridge horrified her, but its recent origin gave her a thread of hope. Adam Wagner might do after all.
I hope so. The town certainly needs him. She swallowed hard. I need him.
At least she believed so. He’d been on the brink of proposing to her before he left for Belgium and the carnage at Waterloo, but, since his return, he treated her like a stranger.
She watched him drive away in his gig. Annie needs him too.
His daughter had been left in the care of Earl Barlow’s mother, the dowager countess, since spring when Adam departed for Belgium. Meg, the earl’s cousin and dependent, had taken charge of the girl. Annie deserved Adam’s love and attention. Meg made up her mind to see that the little one, at least, got it.