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Author's Chapter Notes:

Thanks for the encouraging reviews, everyone.  It's nice to know you are all still reading and hoping for the best...


The next morning, Jem came to collect Jo for her appointment. She was dressed and waiting in her room since she felt unsteady on her feet after spending the past month in bed. Jem gave her a hand downstairs and out to the car.

“Have you got something to occupy you while you’re waiting around, Jo? You’ll be there all morning, I’m afraid.”

“I have a book and also pen and paper.”

“Good. I’ll just lock up for you, and then we’ll get off.” Jem was as good as his word and they arrived at the Sanatorium in good time.

“Go straight to X-ray first. It’ll be a couple of hours before they get developed and passed to me, so you may as well find yourself a quiet corner in the canteen. Will you be all right walking alone?”

“I’ll manage.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Take your time, then. I’ll see you in a couple of hours or so.” Jem departed to his office and Jo turned towards the X-ray department. She walked near to the wall in case she needed it for support. She hadn’t realised quite how much her bump had altered her balance. When she arrived at her destination, she was thankful to sink into a chair to try and regain her breath.

“I can see why he doesn’t want me to go walking,” she muttered to herself. “I don’t think I’d want to anyway, now.”

She heard her name called and heaved herself back out of the chair. Following the nurse into the changing area, she undressed and put on the gown provided. Then she was led into the X-ray room and fitted with a lead apron to cover her growing bump and protect the baby. She hoped they’d hurry up and get it over with, for the apron was heavy and she was still a little unbalanced.

Thankfully, the X-rays were taken rapidly and the nurse re-appeared to remove the apron and escort her back to the changing area. Jo changed quickly and then set off towards the canteen. She was tired now and wanted a chance to sit down and rest with a warm drink.

Jo was glad to collapse into a chair when she reached the canteen. Luckily, the lady behind the counter recognised her and brought a drink over. She would have lingered to talk, but other people came in shortly afterwards and she had to go and serve them, much to Jo’s relief. Jo sipped her tea and picked her book out of her bag.

The next time, Jo glanced at the clock, she gasped. She had five minutes until her appointment and she still had to get to Jem’s office. Hurriedly stuffing her book back into her bag, she stood up and set off towards the main reception area. She tried to hurry, but found she was becoming breathless and had to stop. She finally made it to reception with a minute to spare and collapsed onto a chair to try and regain her breath again. She hoped Jem was running late and she wouldn’t be too breathless when he called her.

She was in luck. She was almost recovered when her name was called. Dragging herself out of the chair, she went across to Jem’s office and he ushered her in. He noted her breathing, but said nothing. He escorted her across to the desk and sat down behind it where he could look at his notes.

“I’ve had a good look at your X-rays, Jo.”

“And?”

“They’re not as bad as I feared. The last month of bedrest has helped considerably.”

“Does that mean I can stay up?”

“Within reason. I’m going to restrict your time up to eight hours for now.”

“Eight hours?” Jo’s face fell at this news.

“Yes. I’m also going to insist that you have two hours rest after lunch again.”

“But why?”

“You still need to rest and I know your trick of overdoing things, even when you don’t intend to. You still have Flora and Fiona to look after, and Robin and Daisy will be both be at home as well. Not to mention Jack when he eventually arrives back. You’re seven months pregnant and the baby is pushing up into your chest now. I don’t want to risk you getting too breathless.”

“It feels like you’ve just put me right back to when I left the Sanatorium on Guernsey. I only had eight hours up then.” Jo brushed away a stray tear impatiently.

“I know it does, but your lung isn’t as good as I’d like. By putting these restrictions on you, I hope that there’s more improvement when you come for X-rays next month. Then I can re-assess you again.”

“By which time, I’ll be eight months pregnant and have even less chance of increasing my time up. I wish it’d never happened, now. Then I wouldn’t be looking at being re-admitted.”

“Jo, don’t be so pessimistic. I want to try and keep you out of here if I possibly can. You can help by doing what I’ve asked and taking care of yourself as much as possible.”

“I doubt I’ll be going anywhere anyway. You’ve forbidden me to go walking and I found it hard enough walking around in here today.”

“Today’s the first time you’ve done anything in a month. It’s bound to have tired you out. I have one more person to see, then I’ll take you back home and you can rest this afternoon.” Taking this as dismissal, Jo stood up and went to the door. Jem came across to her before she opened it. “Try not to worry, Jo. Everyone wants you to have this baby safely and we all want to help you as much as we can.”

“I know. Thank you.” Jem held the door open for her.

“I’ll try to be as quick as I can. Sit near the entrance, so you have less distance to walk to the car.” Jo nodded and set off towards the chairs at the far side of the reception, whilst Jem returned to his office and prepared for his next patient.

Twenty minutes later, Jem appeared in front of Jo and escorted her out to the car. Once they were home, he saw her inside and made her a sandwich, before seeing her upstairs to bed.

“Take your time on the stairs when you go back down. I don’t want any phone calls telling me you’ve been found in a heap at the bottom.”

“I will.”

I’ll call in again in the next few days to see how you’re managing. Let me know if you hear any more news of Jack won’t you?”

“Of course.”

“Take care and I’ll see you soon.”

“Bye, Jem.” He left her alone and she heard the front door close behind him. Rolling over, she felt under her pillow and located the rosary. Soon she was sleeping, the beads entangled round her fingers.



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