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Story Notes:

This continues on immediately after where I'd left off in Part VII.  I know I said was going to continue this in Moments, but, the temptation was too much to resist for this...

Monday morning found Jo waiting in the lounge for Jem to collect her for her Sanatorium appointment. She had just finished feeding Stephen and handed him to Robin. She hoped that Jem wouldn’t be much longer since she needed to be back for his next feed in less than three hours’ time. A sudden knock on the door startled her out of her thoughts. She grabbed her handbag and said goodbye to Robin and Stephen before going to climb in beside him. Jem kept the conversation on general topics as he drove. When they arrived at the Sanatorium, he changed the subject to her appointment.

“I’d like you to go and get your X-rays and pneumothorax done, and then Jack will take you home. I know you don’t have the time to hang about for an appointment with me, since Stephen will need you before then.”

“I was wondering how you’d fit everything in.”

“I’ll call round on my way home and talk to you then, if I may? I know you’d prefer to do it all here but, under the circumstances, I think it’ll be better if we talk through your results at home for now.”

“I suppose so.”

“I know it’s not ideal, Jo but, until Stephen is less dependent on you, there’s no other way. You can’t bring him with you.”

“I know. What time will you be coming?”

“I’m hoping to be finished about five, so hopefully, I’ll be at yours sometime shortly after that. I won’t be in a rush, so I can wait if you’re sleeping.” They reached the entrance at this point and separated. Jo walked along to X-ray and, once she’d finished there, went onto the operating theatre for her pneumothorax. Once she came out, she sat in the waiting area until a nurse came to push her along to reception to wait for Jack.

Jack was running late and his head was throbbing. He knew that Jo was waiting for him but, he was reluctant to leave his patient since he knew it was unlikely that the gentleman would survive much longer. He looked up, relieved, when Jem finally entered the room. He cautiously rose and crossed to the door where he leaned against the wall as he explained the situation. Jem noted the way Jack was supporting himself and that he looked paler than normal.

“I’ll take over, now. Go and take Jo home. She’s waiting in reception and you look as if you need to be in bed as well.”

“Thanks, Jem. I think I have a migraine coming on.”

“Will you be all right to drive?”

“Yes. I’ll take some painkillers when I get back downstairs. How is Jo?”

“I’ve not spoken to her, yet. I’m going to call in on my way home since I knew she’d need to get back for Stephen.” Jack glanced at his watch.

“He’s due a feed soon. I’d better go. Ring me if you need any more information. I think it’s all in the file, though.” Jack left. He only paused in his office long enough to take some painkillers, before grabbing his things and crossing the reception area to where Jo was anxiously waiting. He quickly got her into the car and they drove home. Jack’s head was pounding when they arrived and he only just managed to get Jo settled before he collapsed onto the guest bed, giving in to the migraine.

Jo slept for most of the day, only waking to feed Stephen when he was brought to her. Robin and Daisy took care of him for everything else. They knew that Jack wasn’t feeling well but, they managed to keep it from Jo by just vaguely saying he was busy in the study when she asked.

Jem arrived just as Daisy was pouring tea. Fiona ushered him into the lounge where the four girls were entertaining themselves and Stephen.

“How is Jo?” he asked as he accepted a cup from Daisy.

“She’s tired. She keeps asking about Uncle Jack, though. We’ve managed to keep her from worrying too much by saying he’s been busy in the study most of the day but, I don’t think she believes us.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s in the guest room. He’s been there since he came home,” Robin said. “Is he alright?”

“He was starting with a migraine just as he left work, so that’s probably why you haven’t seen him. Hopefully, your excuses haven’t made Jo worry and he’ll be able to talk to her tonight. I’ll have a quick word with him before I talk to Jo if he’s awake. Has Stephen been fed lately?”

“I took him up about an hour ago,” Daisy replied. Jem handed his empty cup over and stood up.

“Has anyone taken Jo a drink?”

“Not yet.”

“I’ll take one up for her, then.” He waited for Daisy to pour Jo’s tea and took it from her with a word of thanks, before disappearing upstairs to see Jo. He poked his head into the guest room to see that Jack was flat out across the bed, fast asleep. He withdrew and went into Jo, placing the drink on her bedside cabinet for her. She roused as he sat in the chair and smiled sleepily at him.

“There’s no rush, Jo. I’ve brought you a drink.”

“Thank you.” Jo closed her eyes again until she felt as if she was awake enough to hear what Jem had to say. She carefully sat upright in the bed and Jem pushed a few cushions in behind her, before passing her the wrap from the chair where he was sitting. Once she was comfortable, she picked up the tea from the bedside cabinet.

“How are you feeling?” Jem asked.

“Tired and aching, still.”

“That’s to be expected. You know it only lasts for a couple of days.”

“I know.”

“I have good news for you. I think you can try eight hours up now.”

“Really?” Jo smiled.

“Yes. Your X-rays are showing continued improvement. Hopefully you’ll get even more time up next month.”

“I hope so. I shouldn’t have to rely on the girls as much as I have done. They’ve been so helpful these past few weeks.”

“They enjoy helping with Stephen. I think the twins are going to miss being able to spend so much time with him when they start back at school next week.”

“Yes. I’ll have to try and work out how I’m going to manage alone during the day.”

“You’ll have to time it so you can rest whilst Stephen sleeps during the day. He still needs a lot of sleep, so you should be able to manage. Jack will probably be about to help out as well. He won’t be back on the rota full time for a few more weeks.”

“Where is he? I haven’t seen him since we came home.”

“He was fast asleep in the guest room when I came up.”

“Why is he sleeping in there?”

“He had a pretty severe headache when he brought you home. He probably decided it would be quieter for him in there since you’ve had to deal with Stephen at intervals throughout the day.”

“Why didn’t he tell me he wasn’t well?” Jem saw that she was beginning to worry and sought to calm her.

“He wanted you to be able to rest properly, Jo. If you were worrying about him, you wouldn’t have rested yourself. As it is, you’ve been able to rest and recover from today, whilst he’s been able to sort himself out without worrying about you worrying.”

“I can’t help worrying though.”

“I know. It’s only natural to worry about loved ones. However, all is well this time. I’m sure he’ll come and see how you are as soon as he wakes.”

“I hope so.” Jo replaced her cup and Jem stood up.

“I’ll let you rest some more, Jo. Look after yourself.”

“I will. Thanks for coming, Jem.”

“It’s no problem. I’ll see you soon.” He left Jo alone and she snuggled back under the covers and closed her eyes again.

As Jo was dozing quietly, Jack came into the room and lay on the bed beside her. He wrapped his arm around her; glad to be able to have some time alone with her. Her gasp of pain as he caught her unaware brought him to his senses and he propped himself on one elbow so he could see her properly.

“I’m sorry, Jo. I didn’t mean to hurt you. How are you feeling?”

“I’m still aching.”

“Has Jem been?” Jo nodded in reply. “What did he say?”

“Eight hours, now.”

“That’s good news.”

“He also told me you’ve had another headache. Why didn’t you say something?”

“I wanted you to be able to rest without worrying. I know you, Jo. If I’d said anything, you’d have been unable to rest and recover from this morning. I’m pretty much fine again, now. I used the guest room so we didn’t disturb each other.”

“I wish you wouldn’t hide things like that from me, Jack. I thought we were meant to be a partnership.”

“I’m sorry. I wouldn’t normally, but, I knew you needed to rest today. You’ve had Stephen to deal with as well, so I thought it would be better to say nothing.”

“Are you alright, now?”

“I’m much better than I was this morning. I still feel a little groggy but, that’s beginning to wear off now. Would you like a drink?”

“Yes please. Jem brought me one up earlier, but I’m still a little thirsty.”

“I’ll go and get one and check on the girls and Stephen. I won’t be long.” Jack kissed Jo and stood up carefully. He was still feeling the after effects of his migraine. Jo watched him go before she closed her eyes again, relieved that he was feeling better and that he wouldn’t deliberately hide things from her.

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