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Author's Chapter Notes:

Many thanks for all your lovely reviews, they're much appreciated as always.


A week after Jo had arrived home, she was finally beginning to settle into a routine with Stephen. As Jack had suggested, she spent the morning in bed and went downstairs in the afternoon. Robin and Daisy, reinforced with Flora and Fiona, were more than happy to play with Stephen whilst Jo rested and brought him up to her when he was hungry. Jack spent the mornings in the study, dealing with paperwork and getting as much as he could out of the way so he could spend the rest of the day with Jo.

One morning, Jem appeared on the doorstep. Daisy let him in and ushered him into the lounge where she and the twins were entertaining Stephen.

“Where is everyone?” Jem asked after he had greeted the twins.

“Uncle Jack is in the study and Auntie Jo is in bed. Did you want them?”

“I came to see Jo, actually.”

“She might be awake. Shall I go and see?”

“Not at the minute. I’ll have a word with Jack first.”

“Would you like a drink?”

“Thank you. That would be lovely.”

“I’ll go and put the kettle on, then.” Daisy led the way back into the hall and disappeared into the kitchen as Jem slipped into the study to speak to Jack. After their initial greetings, Jem enquired about Jo.

"How is Jo managing now she's home?"

"Not bad. She's sleeping a lot, but that’s to be expected now she has broken nights again. Did you come to see her?"

"I did, but I don't won't disturb her if she's asleep."

"She may be awake, now. She generally wakes around eleven since Stephen needs to feed, then."

"How is she managing her time up?"

"She comes down in an afternoon for four hours and saves the rest for the other feeds. It seems to be working so far but, time will tell. It's only been a week since she came home. The girls are a godsend as they love having Stephen to themselves in a morning."

"I'm glad. I was worried how she'd manage, but it sounds like you all have a little routine."

"Yes. Though I'm not sure what will happen once the girls are back at school and I'm working again."

"Did Jo agree to you getting some help in?"

"She did. I've just not had time to look for anyone, yet. "

"I was talking to Andreas the other day and he suggested that a cousin of Marie's was looking for work. She's just arrived in England after a rather fraught journey. She worked at the school until we had to leave Austria."

"She sounds ideal. If Jo already knows her, it might not be a bad thing. Where is she staying at the moment?"

"I have no idea. I'll have a word with Marie for you and find out."

"If she's the right person, she'll need accommodation and I don't think we have room to put her anywhere at the minute. I'd need to have a look at the spare attic room and see if there's any way we could convert it. It's only used for storage, so if we can partition it somehow we could make a small bedroom for her."

"I'll speak to Marie and find out when she can come. I was also wondering if you’d be willing to come back to work a few mornings before you do get someone. I know Jo still needs a lot of help at the minute, but the girls are all at home and should be able to manage for a morning. We're in desperate need of someone else on the rota."

"That sounds good to me. As long as I have chance to give Jo a hand at some point through the day, I don't see why not."

"It'll be mainly to cover me so I can get everything back in order. I've had no chance to do a lot of my own paperwork, lately, as I've had to deal with some of the more serious cases we've had. If you can take them over for a few hours each day, then I can get back on track."

"Of course. It gives me chance to get back into the swing of things as well. Once we get Jo some daily help and her time up is increased, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to come back on the rota full time." A tap at the door, followed by Daisy sliding round it interrupted them.

"There's tea in the lounge. Do you want yours in here or will you come through?"

"Thanks, Daisy. We'll come through. Where's Stephen?" Jack asked.

"Fiona's just taken him up to Auntie Jo."

"You may as well have a drink while Jo feeds him. Then you can speak to her properly once she's put him down for a sleep."

“I will do.” Jem stood up and walked over to where Daisy was standing. “Come on, Daisy-girl. Show me this tea you’ve made and you can tell me your news.” Smiling, Daisy led her uncle back to the lounge, where she made him sit down while she poured the tea.

Jack stayed where he was for a few more minutes, intent on completing what he had been doing before Jem arrived. Once he’d finished, he ran lightly upstairs to check on Jo and Stephen. Fiona was sitting with her and they were talking about school. He smiled at them both from the doorway.

“Thanks for bringing Stephen up, Fiona. Go on downstairs and get your tea while I have a quick word with Jo.”

“Thank you for keeping me company,” Jo added. Fiona stood up and went off quite happily to join the others in the lounge. Jack came across and sat in the chair the small girl had just vacated.

“Jem has come to visit you.”

“I thought he might appear soon. I’ve not seen him since I came home. Where is he?”

“He’s just having some tea and being entertained by Daisy and the twins. He says that a cousin of Marie Monier has just made it to England and is looking for work. Apparently she used to work at the school.”

“A lot of Marie’s relations worked at the school. It would be nice if we could get someone we know, though. We ought to offer her an interview.”

“Yes. I thought so, too. Jem said he’d have a word with Marie. The thing is, if we do offer her the position, she’ll probably need accommodation and we don’t have much room.”

“Can’t we squash her in the spare attic room opposite the twins?”

“It’s full of junk at the minute. I’ll have a look and see if it’s possible to partition the room, somehow. If we can do that, then I’m sure we could fit most of the stuff in there into a smaller space and make a room large enough to fit in a bed and a bit of furniture.”

“I hope it can be done. I’m sure if she’s a relation of Marie, she’ll be perfect for us. There! He’s done. Take him a minute, please, Jack.” Jack obligingly took Stephen from her and cuddled him to his chest. Rocking him gently, he saw that he was becoming drowsy.

“He won’t be long before he’s asleep. Shall I put him in his cot?”

“Yes, please. Be gentle, though or he might rouse back up. He has a knack for doing that if you aren’t careful.” Jack obligingly laid his son down as carefully as he could and covered him over, before coming back to sit with Jo. She had removed her pillows and was snuggling back under the covers where it was warm.

“Are you cold, Jo?”

“A little. I’ll warm back up soon, now I’ve lain down again. There’s no point building the fire back up.”

“Of course there is if you’re cold. There’s Stephen to think about as well.” Jack went across to the fire and threw on another log, stoking it well into the embers. “Do you want a cup of tea?”

“That’d be lovely. You’d better send Jem up as well, before he complains about having to wait around all this time.”

“I’ll send him up with your tea.” Jack leaned over to kiss Jo before he departed to tell Jem he could go up.

When Jem appeared five minutes later, the fire had flared back into life and Jo was considerably warmer than she had been. She was loath to use the fire in the bedroom since they needed the fuel for the lounge fire and, thanks to the war, it was in short supply. The weather was still cold, even though it was April and spring was on its way. Jem placed her tea on the bedside cabinet and sat down in the chair.

“How are you, Jo?”

"Fine, thank you. Glad to be back at home."

"That’s good to hear. How are you managing with Stephen?"

"I'm getting there. I'm just finding it awkward with so little time up. I have to rely on everyone to help."

"I know it's not easy but, at least you have plenty of people willing to give you a hand. The girls were just telling me how much they love looking after Stephen in a morning. Hopefully, when you come for your next appointment, you'll have improved enough to have more time up. I don't want to rush it and risk you being set back again. You can't afford that now you have Stephen to look after."

"I know. I should count my blessings, really. I do get the chance to catch up on lost sleep during the morning and lots of mothers don't get that luxury."

"That's true. If you get some daily help in as well, then you'll keep on progressing in leaps and bounds."

"Jack told me that you might have found someone for us."

"Yes. All I know is that it's a cousin of Marie's. She has so many relations, though, that I can't tell you any more details than that. I'll have a word with her when I get home and find out."

"There were rather a lot of Pfeiffens, so I’m not surprised you’re not sure which relation it is."

"That’s true. I ought to get off. I only called in to see how you were doing. It sounds as if you're managing all right for now. I'll call in again next week, but if you need me before, just ring and I'll call round."

I will. Thank you for coming." Jem stood up and walked to the door. "Do you want me to send anyone up on my way out?"

"No, thanks. Bye, Jem."

"Bye." Jem left and went back downstairs. He poked his head round the lounge door and to say goodbye to the girls and Jack. Daisy came to kiss him and see him out before re-joining the others in the lounge.



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