Prognosis Bad Timing - Amy Andrews


Two more weeks. Two more weeks. Two more weeks.

The words reverberated around Charlie Wentworth’s head in time with the squeak in his back wheel.

Two more weeks until he could start living again.

The regular Sunday visit with his parents had left him with that familiar bitter taste in his mouth. Between his family’s overt disapproval, the uncertainty over his health and tomorrow’s invasion from the hospital administrator, he had a lot on his mind.

All he had to do was get through the next fortnight. Go through the motions. Co-operate with the hospital hatchet-wielder. See his patients. Keep focused. Go get the blood test. Wait for the results. Which would be negative.

Then he could get on with living.

Unless they were positive...Then what the hell was he going to do?

He stepped on the accelerator out of pure frustration, the ancient Mazda straining and protesting. His life had been on hold for what felt like years - the separation, the divorce and now this. Gaining steadily on the car in front, Charlie eased his foot off the pedal. Blowing the gearbox wouldn’t bring the next fortnight to a close any faster.

He just had to be patient. Once upon a time he’d had that in abundance.

Not so much at the moment...

Carrie Douglas flicked her gaze to the rear-view mirror and tensed as the car behind surged closer. Her headlights stabbed into the darkness and she prepared to dip her high beam for when it overtook. It didn’t, though, falling back to a safe distance again and she relaxed.

Driving at night on an unfamiliar road made her nervous especially when she was carrying such precious cargo. Dana’s blonde head drew her attention. It was slumped to one side, her cute face relaxed in a deep sleep, her ancient blanky snuggled against her cheek.

It was at times like these she realised there was only so much a mother could do to protect her child.

So much more was out of her control.

Thoughts about the job she was starting tomorrow turned over and over in her mind as she flicked her gaze back to the road. The hospital was sending her in to sort out the financial mess of one of their inner-city outreach programmes.

As far as projects went it looked pretty tedious but with her combined business and medical degree, she was perfect for the job. And it wouldn’t be long now until her hard work paid dividends.

There were rumours she was being considered for promotion to department head. Both Anaesthetics and Paediatrics were coming up for renewal. From there it would be an easy springboard into the real management hierarchy. In five years she was hoping to make Deputy Medical Director.

Glass ceiling be damned!

It was the only thing in her life that mattered other than Dana. She needed financial security for her daughter and herself and to show everyone that her unplanned career diversion had been successful.

Losing sight of her goal was not an option.

She’d even left the family wedding early so she could catch a decent eight hours’ sleep to ensure she was in good condition for tomorrow’s job.

Carrie saw the headlights of an approaching car illuminate the horizon and adjusted her headlights in preparation. She chewed at her bottom lip, going over everything in her head as the approaching car grew bigger. She glanced in the rear-view mirror again. The car behind was keeping a respectful distance.

But when she returned her attention to the road in front the oncoming car had started to drift across the centre line.

“Holy crap!” Carrie stomped on the brake pedal as the fancy red vehicle came at her, putting them on a collision course.

Her entire life flashed before her eyes as, for a split second, the world stopped. Her heart beat so loudly in her ears nothing else registered. It pounded so frantically in her chest her whole body shook with its agitated rhythm. And then panic and instinct took over and she pulled hard on the steering-wheel.

Please, God, don’t take me away from Dana.

Carrie held her breath as the red car passed in a blur and for a moment she thought she was safe. But then the red car clipped the rear of hers and she felt her head snap forward, her seatbelt snap tight and her head fling back again, slamming into her headrest as her vehicle spun wildly round and round in the centre of the road.

‘Dana,’ Carrie called, turning frantically, ignoring the pain in her neck as they came to a stop in the middle of