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Author's Chapter Notes:

Thanks for the reviews, lovely people.  They're always much appreciated.

Erm... not entirely sure what happened between Jem & Jack, I'm afraid, Karita & Joanne.  However, i'm sure it'll all turn out well in the end...  Honest!


When Jack arrived to see Jo, the next afternoon, He was surprised to find the room empty. He went to find one of the nurses in order to discover where she was, but was unsuccessful. All he could do was wait for her to return.

Jo was finally wheeled back into the room by a porter as Jack was impatiently pacing up and down. He waited as the porter helped her back into bed and she thanked him before he departed on his way to fetch someone else.

“Where’ve you been, Jo?”

“I’ve been down to X-ray. Jem appeared this morning and informed me that they were due and I was to be taken down as soon as I’d had some lunch and fed Stephen.”

“Did he say what he planned to do with you?”

“No. Jack, will you please sit down. You’re making me tired just watching you pace up and down. What’s wrong?”

“Sorry, Jo.” Jack dropped into the chair next to her. “I was just worried about what had happened to you, that’s all.”

“Are you sure?” Jo looked unconvinced.

“Yes. I spoke to Jem yesterday and he was being most maddening. That’s why I never returned. I didn’t realise how long I’d been gone until I found the girls patiently waiting in the corridor for me. Then, you were missing when I arrived today and I automatically feared the worst. I know it’s irrational, but I love you and I didn’t know what had happened.” Jo held her hand out to him and he took it in his own.

“You should know Jem by now, Jack. He’ll only tell you when he’s ready and not before. All I know is that I’ve had X-rays and he’s going to come and speak to me tomorrow morning. I suppose he’ll have some awful fate lined up for me when he comes.” Jo spoke in resignation and Jack squeezed her hand. He knew that pneumothorax would be next on the list and she hated having to go through it.

“I’m sure he hasn’t, Jo. Or rather, nothing worse than you’ve already been though. Like you say, he’ll tell us all in his own good time.” Jack fell to pondering what Jem would have to say to Jo on the morrow. He hoped it was good news and he wouldn’t arrive to find Jo upset. Jo watched him for a short while before closing her eyes. She was tired after the trip down to the X-ray department. When Jack next looked over at her, she was sleeping. He noted how tired she was and that she still had dark rings under her eyes through the broken sleep she was having at the moment. He wondered if allowing her to feed Stephen herself was a good idea, since she wasn’t able to rest for much more than two hours at a time. Then he realised that even if she didn’t feed him herself, she would have to bottle-feed him and that could take even longer to organise when she finally came home.

Jack rose when the nurse appeared, bearing Stephen. Taking him from her, he sat back down with him whilst Jo slept. The nurse explained that he was beginning to get hungry and would want to feed before long. Jack told her he would wake Jo and she disappeared to continue with her job.

As he sat there with Stephen in his arms, he was overwhelmed by the love he already felt for his child. He wanted to take him home to the New Forest to show him off to his own parents and he wished his twin sister wasn’t in New Zealand. He and Mollie had always been close, both of them ending up working in Austria for a time until Mollie’s marriage. He missed having her nearby to talk to, especially now, when he wanted to show off his new son. He hoped that his letter bearing the news reached her soon. Stephen decided that he was hungry at this point in Jack’s thoughts and began to whimper, quietly at first, then becoming louder.

“Sorry, Stephen. We need to wake your mother up first.” Jack stood up and shook Jo, whilst Stephen’s cries became even louder. “Jo! Wake up! You need to feed this little fellow.”

“What?” Jo was still groggy, and then she heard the cries coming from Stephen. “Oh. Pass him here, then,” and she held out her arms for him. Jack relinquished him, thankfully and watched as Jo manoeuvred him into position. Once he was feeding quietly, she smiled over at him and he returned it.

“You look tired, Jo. How much sleep are you getting?”

“Not a lot. Stephen wants feeding every three hours, so I’m lucky if I get more than two hours at a time.”

“Hmmm. That’s not good for you, particularly at the moment, when you need to be able to rest properly.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean you aren’t resting properly, Jo. Maybe if Stephen was bottle-fed, you’d at least get a good night’s sleep.”

“No. This is the only time I get to have him. I’m not giving it up.” Jo looked as if she was about to cry.

“I’m not saying you should do that. It was just that you’re not improving whilst you’re doing all the feeds. If you stopped the night ones, it might help you to recover more quickly. If you want to feed him yourself, I’m not going to stop you. It’s the best thing for him, but I’m worried about how much rest you’re getting, that’s all.” Jo still looked mutinous and Jack realised that she wasn’t going to be easily moved on this point.

Eventually, Stephen was satisfied and Jo handed him back to Jack. He sat there rubbing Stephen’s back as he talked to Jo. He saw her eyelids drooping as she struggled to stay awake.

“Sleep if you want to, Jo. Visiting’s almost over, anyway. I’ll make sure the nurse has him safely when I have to leave.” He leant over and kissed her as sleep overtook her again.



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