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You have your appointment at the Sanatorium, tomorrow,” Jack told Jo when he arrived home from work, a couple of weeks later.

Jo just nodded in acknowledgement. He came over to hug her, but she quickly pulled away, going into the kitchen to make them a drink.

“Is everything all right, Jo?”

“Everything is fine, Jack. Go and sit down.” Jo busied herself with the teapot and cups. Jack left her, realising that she wanted to be alone. It was her way of coping with her illness. He knew she still found it difficult to accept that he was also her doctor. He found her to be distant that evening as she withdrew into herself.

Once they had eaten dinner and washed up, Jo went to the door.

“Goodnight, Jack.” She disappeared upstairs, not even kissing him goodnight, something she would normally do. Jack watched her go, wanting to be with her. He felt oddly alone and realised that this was probably how Jo had felt most of the time she was in the Sanatorium. He made a drink for himself, debating whether he should go upstairs to her. When he had finished he decided to risk it and went to check if she was still awake. She was lying with her back to the door, but he could hear the quiet rattle of his rosary as she allowed the beads to slip through her fingers. He lay on the bed next to her, but remained silent, not wishing to force her confidence. Eventually, she rolled over to face him. Saying nothing, she just snuggled into the crook of his arm, laying her head on his chest. He stroked her hair and the slow, rhythmic movement soothed her more than words could have done. She fell asleep with her arm across him.

The next morning, Jo woke to another note from Jack. This time it was about her appointment.

Jem will pick you up at 2.30 and I’ll bring you home when you’ve finished. Love, Jack xxx

Jo spent the morning reading, before making herself a sandwich for lunch. Normally, she would make dinner for them, but she knew she would be unable to do much when she arrived back. She decided to prepare the vegetables, now. This was quickly finished and she left the pans on the stove. She went upstairs and lay on the bed to rest until Jem arrived. She was woken by knocking on the door. Sliding off the bed, she poked her head out of the window. Jem was standing at the door.

“I’ll be two minutes,” she called down.

“Don’t rush!” Jem called back, but Jo had disappeared. He heard footsteps coming down the stairs and smiled as she opened the door. She returned it as she stepped back to let him inside.

“I won’t be long. You woke me, so I just need to straighten myself out.” Jem grinned to himself. Her hair was all over and her skirt was looking crumpled.

“Hurry up, then. I have to start work in half an hour and it’s still a good fifteen minutes drive from here.” Jo disappeared back upstairs, returning ten minutes later, looking much neater. She grabbed her coat and handbag from the hallway.

“Ready,” she said.

Jem quickly drove them to the Sanatorium. He left Jo to find her own way to X-ray and the operating theatre waiting room. Once she had had her pneumothorax, she was taken to Jem’s office.

“I think you’re doing well enough to try ten hours time up now, Jo.”

“Thank you.” Jo beamed at him. Jem went to the door and stopped a passing nurse.

“Please could you take Mrs Maynard to the entrance hall to wait for her lift home.” Jack was already waiting for her and he helped her to the car, driving quickly home. He unlocked the door and helped her upstairs to the bedroom, leaving her to undress and climb into bed. When he looked in on her ten minutes later, she was sleeping.

It was nearly seven o’clock, when Jo woke again. She could hear movement downstairs and the smell of cooking wafted up to her. She lay quietly, trying to breathe normally, as she had been told to. She was just dozing back off when she heard Jack coming up the stairs. He came in bearing a tray in each hand. Setting one carefully on the bedside cabinet, he turned the light on. Jo quickly closed her eyes against the harsh glare, before slowly opening them again.

“Sorry,” Jack said, seeing her blink. “I didn’t wake you, did I?” Jo shook her head. “I’ve brought you some dinner.” Jo slowly sat up in the bed. Jack pushed some pillows behind her, and then placed one of the trays across her knee. Jo smiled her thanks at him as he sat next to her with the other tray. When they had finished, he returned them to the kitchen. After he had finished washing up, he brought a hot drink up .

“What did Jem say?”

“Ten hours, now.”

“That’s good news,” he said, smiling at her. Jo nodded and yawned. “Shall I leave you to sleep in peace?” Jo shook her head. Jack stayed where he was, holding her hand until she fell back to sleep.

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