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Jack paced up and down his office. He found pacing helped him to think. He had just come back from his doing his rounds in the Sanatorium and was worried about a few of his patients. Two of them were in the final stages of tuberculosis and he knew that all he could do was keep them comfortable till the end arrived. The third one, their latest admittance, was more worrying to him.

Jack had been shocked to learn that their newest patient was Jo Bettany. She was his friend and full of life. He couldn’t understand how it had happened, how she had been missed when she lived under Jem’s roof. He knew she had been rather distant with him over the summer. He had assumed most of it had been due to her writing another book, but now, he realised that it had been more than that. Her admittance explained why she had refused to go walking with him and had avoided him as much as possible. He wished he could do more to help her. She had looked so lost and fragile as she lay in the hospital bed. His heart had gone out to her and he had wanted to be able to say it would all be fine. He knew he couldn’t give her false hope, though.

Taking another turn or two about the room, Jack finally realised just how much Jo meant to him. He wanted to be there for her for the rest of his life. He had cared for her for a long time, but he hadn’t realised quite how much until he saw her alone in that bed. He knew he could do nothing about it, now, not until she was well again. He had to concentrate on her treatment for the moment. He had to make sure he gave her the best care he could, as both a doctor and as a friend. She needed a friend more than anything, someone who would listen to her and not judge her actions. He wanted to be that person.

Jack dropped into the chair behind his desk and began to write up his notes and observations. He knew he had to concentrate on his job. He was working the night shift, so he had time to get on with the administrative side of his job. Unless he was needed, he wouldn’t be disturbed by anyone. Putting Jo to the back of his mind, he quietly worked his way through the pile of files on his desk, writing in what was needed and studying X-rays. He had a clinic to run in a couple of days and he needed to prepare the patient files before then. He liked to have things ready in advance, and this was his last chance to do it, since he knew he wouldn’t be in the next day.

Finally, he put his pen down and leaned back in his chair. He had done all he needed to do for the moment. His mind went back to Jo and he wondered how she was faring. He realised that sitting in his office thinking about her wasn’t helping him. He stood up and went out into the corridor. Walking swiftly down it, he found himself standing outside Jo’s room. Slipping silently inside, he noticed the dawn creeping up over the mountains. The inky blackness was giving way to greyness and he could see the objects in the room. Looking over to the bed, he saw that Jo was awake and staring blankly at the ceiling. He crossed the room and sat in the chair beside the bed.

“Penny for them, Jo?”



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