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Author's Chapter Notes:

Many thanks for the lovely reviews as always. 

This is the penultimate post....

Jo rested for most of the next week, fulfilling her promise to Jem. In fact, for the first two days, she mainly slept, so tired was she. Jack ensured that he didn’t try to influence her decisions. Instead, he spent time keeping her company when she was awake, knowing it would help her more if she had someone with whom to talk and discuss her thoughts, hopes and fears.

Jack learned a lot about Jo during this time. As much as he thought he’d known her, he found out more about her likes and dislikes than he’d known before. He discovered she had a horror of the complete darkness and wasn’t so keen on creepy crawlies. He, in turn, confessed that he didn’t like wasps and flying insects and wasn’t keen on snakes. They talked about the progress of the war and what might happen in the future, what their hopes and dreams were and what they wanted to achieve in their lifetime. They were both glad for the time alone together and, in a way, they both hoped that it could last forever.

Jo finally rebelled after five days. She told Jack in no uncertain terms that she would be going downstairs the next morning. Jack decided against arguing with her. He knew that Jo had made up her mind. Instead, he decided to ring Jem and ask him to visit Jo.

Jo came down for breakfast the next morning, enjoying the prospect of being up and about once more. Jack noted that she at little of what was put in front of her, though he said nothing. After the closeness of the last few days, he had no wish to rock the boat by mentioning her lack of appetite. He knew that Jem was intending to call in on his way home, so he decided to leave her to him.

Jem knocked on the door midway through the afternoon. Jack rose to answer it, Jo having admitted that she would like to lie down for an hour. He smiled at his friend and invited him inside, before asking Anna to make tea for them. Jem had looked intrigued when he found the lounge to be empty, but he was soon enlightened as to the reason.

“Jo admitted she was feeling tired, so she went off upstairs to lie down,” Jack explained as he poured the tea.

“The best thing for her. Why didn’t you just insist she stay in bed in the first place?”

“You know Jo, Jem. I’m not going to argue with her when she had obviously made up her mind. That’s why I rang you. It’s not fair on her, or me, if I have to be the doctor and I don’t enjoy putting my profession between our marriage, either. She knows you’ve always taken care of her health and will generally listen to you despite her rebellions.”

“That’s true. Though I sometimes think she resents me just as much.”

“Oh, come, you’re the only other person she’ll ever trust. She won’t even contemplate someone like Gottfried, despite having known him as long as both of us, if not longer. She’s very clannish and since I’m too close, that leaves you.”

“I know. I just hope that one day; she’ll begin to see me as her brother-in-law again, instead of her doctor.”

“I’m sure she will. She’s been much more open with me in the last week than she ever has before. This confounded war hasn’t helped. I’ll be glad when it’s all over and we can finally begin to get back to normal life, though I suppose rationing will continue for a good few years as we patch everything back up again.”

“It can’t go on for much longer.” Jem finished his drink and replaced his cup on the tray. “I’ll run up and see if Jo’s awake.” Jack nodded his agreement and Jem ran lightly up the stairs to peer round the bedroom door at Jo. She had just woken and smiled sleepily at her brother-in-law. Jem came across the room to her.

“Would you like some tea, Jo?” She nodded in reply and he disappeared to go and fetch a cup from the lounge. He soon returned and waited for Jo to sit up before he handed over her tea.

“I didn’t expect to see you, Jem. To what do we owe this honour?”

“I thought I’d come and see how you are considering I’ve not had chance since Stephen and Anna came down with ‘flu.”

“How is Stephen?”

“He’s fine. He’s eating properly and sleeping through the night again. He was a little upset that his Mamma wasn’t there to put him to bed the first night, but, Rosa managed to soothe him and got him off to sleep.”

“I didn’t like letting him go when he was still so easily upset. Are you sure he’s been okay without me?”

“Of course he has, Jo. He’s had fun playing with Josette and Ailie and he’s running rings around Rosa now he’s on his feet.”

“When is he coming back home?”

“In a couple of days or so. You need to be back up properly first. I understand you got up for a while this morning?”

“Yes. I did as you asked and have been resting for the past five days.”

“I’m glad to hear it. You ought to take it easy for a few more days, though. You still look a little washed out.”

“I’m fed up of bed, Jem.” Sensing Jo’s discontent, Jem decided that Jack was right and that he would be better to allow her to manage her own time up.

“I know you are, Jo. I’m not going to stop you if you want to get up, I just want you to be aware that you aren’t fully fit yet and still need to rest more than you’d probably like.”

“I know. That’s why I came upstairs this afternoon. I normally rest while Stephen has his naps, anyway.”

“Good. You’ve had a stressful few years, all told, and you need to continue to look after your health for a good while longer. Being open and honest when you do feel tired shows that you’re taking control over your illness and admitting that, occasionally, you need a break from everything isn’t an admission of defeat. Don’t be afraid to say so if that’s how you feel. Someone will always be happy to take care of Stephen for you.”

“I don’t want to neglect him, though.”

“You won’t be neglecting him. It’ll be of more benefit to him in the long run since you’ll improve and he’ll get much more time with you.” Jo thoughtfully finished her tea and Jem rose to leave. “You’ll get there in the end, Jo. Just remember, we’re all here to support you, whatever happens.” He bent down to kiss her and then left her alone with her thoughts.

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