Vanish: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel

Vanish: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen Read Free Book Online

Book: Vanish: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tess Gerritsen
Tags: Fiction
room. She’d straightened, her face appropriately sympathetic, and had focused her attention on the man she assumed to be the patient’s husband. She’d been about to murmur:
I’m sorry but she’s passed away.
    The whisper of a breath had stopped her.
    Startled, she’d looked down, to see the patient’s chest move. Had watched the woman take another breath, and then fall still. It was an agonal breathing pattern—not a miracle, just the brain’s last electrical impulses, the final twitching of the diaphragm. Every family member in the room gave a gasp.
    “Oh my god,” the husband said. “She’s not gone yet.”
    “It . . . will be very soon,” was all Maura managed to say. She had walked out of the room, shaken by how close she’d come to making a mistake. Never again had she been so cavalier about a pronouncement of death.
    She looked at the journalist. “Everyone makes mistakes,” she said. “Even something as basic as declaring death isn’t as easy as you’d think.”
    “So you’re defending the fire crew? And the state police?”
    “I’m saying that mistakes happen. That’s all.”
And God knows, I’ve made a few of my own.
“I can see how it might happen. The woman was found in cold water. She had barbiturates in her bloodstream. These factors could give the appearance of death. Under the circumstances, a mistake isn’t so far-fetched. The personnel involved were simply trying to do their jobs, and I hope you’ll be fair to them when you write your story.” She stood up, a signal that the interview was over.
    “I always try to be fair,” he said.
    “Not every journalist can make that claim.”
    He, too, rose to his feet and stood gazing at her across the desk. “Let me know if I’ve failed. After you read my column.”
    She escorted him to the door. Watched as he walked past Louise’s desk and out of the office.
    Louise looked up from her keyboard. “How did it go?”
    “I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t have talked to him.”
    “We’ll find out soon enough,” said Louise, her eyes back on the computer screen. “When his column comes out in the
Tribune
on Friday.”

FIVE
    Jane could not tell if the news was good or bad.
    Dr. Stephanie Tam bent forward, listening through the Doppler stethoscope, and her sleek black hair fell over her face so that Jane could not read her expression. Lying flat on her back, Jane watched as the Doppler head slid across her bulging belly. Dr. Tam had elegant hands, a surgeon’s hands, and she guided the instrument with the same delicacy one might use to pluck a harp. Suddenly that hand paused, and Tam dipped her head lower, in concentration. Jane glanced at her husband, Gabriel, who was sitting right beside her, and she read the same anxiety in his eyes.
    Is our baby all right?
    At last Dr. Tam straightened and looked at Jane with a calm smile. “Take a listen,” she said, and turned up the volume on the Doppler.
    A rhythmic whoosh pulsed from the speaker, steady and vigorous.
    “Those are strong fetal heart tones,” said Tam.
    “Then my baby’s okay?”
    “Baby’s doing fine so far.”
    “So far? What does that mean?”
    “Well, it can’t stay in there much longer.” Tam bundled up the stethoscope and slipped it into its carrying case. “Once you’ve ruptured your amniotic sac, labor usually starts on its own.”
    “But nothing’s happening. I’m not feeling any contractions.”
    “Exactly. Your baby’s refusing to cooperate. You’ve got a very stubborn kid in there, Jane.”
    Gabriel sighed. “Just like mom here. Wrestling down perps to the very last minute. Can you please tell my wife she’s now
officially
on maternity leave?”
    “You’re definitely off the job now,” said Tam. “I’m going to get you down to Ultrasound, so we can take a peek in there. Then I think it’s time to induce labor.”
    “It won’t start on its own?” said Jane.
    “Your water’s broken. You’ve got an open channel for infection.

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