|Joe led them inside. He turned to Joey.|
"So you're Jo as well, eh? Could be confusing."
Jack stepped in. "We have thought of that. My wife is also Joey, so that is how I shall address her while we're here." He shot Joey a grin, which she returned.
Jack introduced each of the Mob to his brothers and sister-in-law - neither Jim nor Joe were married - and Jim whistled.
"That's a lot of kids."
"Anyway." said Joe "You've got your old room, Jack, but it's been...er...made suitable for two. And, kids, I will show you your rooms!"
His statement was greeted with the enthusiasm usual for them, and their uncle herded them all up the stairs.
"He doesn't know what he's let himself in for!" Jack said to Joey with a smile. His wife laughed.
Jack took Jo's hand and led her up the stairs, eventually stopping at a small white door, at which he took a deep breath and pushed open.
"I thought that it would have changed beyond all recognition." he said.
Indeed, it had. The small black iron bedstead had gone, to be replaced by a huge wooden double bed, painted white, with a patchwork quilt and two very puffy white pillows. There was a matching dressing-table and wardrobe but Jack was relieved to see that his chest of drawers had been left where it was.
Jo felt intrusive and shrank back into the corridor.
"I'm sorry. I'd forgotten that this would have been where you grew up."
"Don't be." said her husband softly. "It's made for both of us, and I'd love to share it with you. Go on, darling, make yourself at home." He pulled her into the room, shutting the door behind them.
"I was always very possessive about my room. No-one was allowed in without my permission, and if they were allowed in, they were to touch nothing. I had everything very precisely set out...no...hang on...and on that note..."
He let go of Jo's hand and sprang over to the chest of drawers, looking at the floorboards. The corner of it had to be perpendicular with two certain floorboards. It was not. Jo laughed at the sight of her husband obsessively pushing the chest of drawers about a centimetre so that it was in precisely the correct position.
"As you can see," he smiled, rejoining her "I am very particular about the positionings of things. I like everything to be just so."
"Not much changed, then!" giggled Jo. Jack took a playful swipe at her head but deliberately missed. Jo laughed again and flung herself onto the bed. Jack followed.
Jo patted the bedclothes. "Oooh, a patchwork quilt! I haven't had one since I was in Taverton!"
"I could get Anna to make us one, if you like." said Jack.
"I'd like that."
Jack curled up next to her on the bed, after following her example and taking his shoes off. He dropped a kiss on her hair.
Joey flung her arms round him and kissed him passionately. There the two stayed until Joe stuck his head round the door.
"Oh..er...sorry. Didn't realise you'd be...anyway."
Jo and Jack shot apart. Joey hurriedly scrambled off the bed, her cheeks burning.
"Don't worry, Joe." said Jack drily. "It does happen to us a lot. It wasn't your fault, just unfortunate timing. Anyhow, you had come in to say?"
"Dinner's ready. Wow, your children have a lot of energy! There are so many of them, they're almost like a mob!"
Jack smiled. "Yes, that's what Joey and I call them collectively - the Mob. They certainly do take a bit of getting used to, don't they?"
"They certainly do. Shall I go on ahead to give you some time to...er...finish off a little."
Jo blushed. He left them alone and her eyes flicked towards the door, then back to Jack. He slid an arm round her waist and drew her close, kissing her again.
"It could have been worse, my love. You know what we get like sometimes."
Jo blushed yet again. He put his hands on her waist, looking her seriously in the eye.
"Now then, my darling, would you do me the honour of accompanying me to dinner?"