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Jack Maynard was worried. He paced up and down the lounge a few times in an effort to stop himself from wondering what was happening. It didn’t work. He went out into the hall, put on his outdoor things and left the house.

Walking swiftly, he headed out of the village towards the coast. He had a rough idea of where Jo would be and he wanted to make sure she was all right. He knew she’d stormed out in a fit of temper and guessed she would have gone walking to try to calm herself down. The trouble was, she’d been gone for over three hours, now, and the light was beginning to fade.

As he walked along the path, he was busy thinking. He knew he had been in the wrong when he had accused her of acting like a child, especially when he realised that he was the one who had been treating her as such in the first instance. He realised that he needed to allow her to make her own mistakes and that he couldn’t wrap her up in cotton wool. As much as he wanted to protect her, he needed to allow her the space to grow up. She’d gone from being a carefree schoolgirl and just a friend to being his wife in only three years. Two of those years had been spent as a patient in the Sanatorium battling tuberculosis. Although she’d had to learn a few hard lessons as she came to terms with her illness and how to deal with it, Jack knew that she hadn’t had chance to learn life’s other lessons at the same time. She’d not been able to go out into the real world and do the things he’d done. The difference in their ages showed in the argument they had just had. He briefly wondered if he had made the right decision in marrying someone who was so much younger than him, but, he knew that he had. He loved Jo and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

He spotted a figure in the gloom up ahead and walked swiftly towards it. Jo was sitting underneath a tree, her knees tucked under her chin, staring unseeingly out to sea. Jack dropped down beside her and leaned back against the trunk.

“I’m sorry, Jo. I was in the wrong to say what I did.”

“I’m not a child anymore, Jack. I’m sick of being treated as such. We’re supposed to be equals, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. I may as well have stayed where I was if this is what being married is like.”

“Please don’t say that. We are equals.”

“Then you have to let me make my own mistakes. How am I supposed to know if I don’t have the chance to learn? I’m only twenty-one. I haven’t had the chance to do the things you’ve already done since I’ve spent most of the time since I left school stuck in the Sanatorium.”

“I just thought I was doing what was best for you.”

“By treating me like a child? How’s that the best for me? Advise me, by all means, but don’t take decisions out of my hands or I’ll never have the chance to learn whether I’m making the right choices.”

“I will from now on. I didn’t intend to be so overbearing.”

“I know.”

“We’ve only been married for a couple of weeks. We have a lot to learn about each other, yet. We’re bound to discover things about each other that we didn’t know before. We both have to learn to share our thoughts, our hopes and our fears.”

“I suppose it’s the same for anyone beginning married life. Just because we were friends before doesn’t meant that we’ll always know what the other is thinking.”

“That’s right. We both have to adapt to living with each other and sharing everything. It’s not going to be an easy journey for either of us, but we’ll get there.”

“I hope so. I don’t like arguing with you, Jack. I’m sorry for acting like a child.” Jo shivered at this point. The weather was turning cold now the sun had set, and she’d been sitting under the tree for a long time. Jack saw it and stood up, offering his hands to her.

“Let’s both wipe the slate clean and start again. Come on. It’s cold sitting here and there’s a warm fire at home.” Jo took his hands and he pulled her to her feet before wrapping an arm around her waist. Together, they walked through the gathering darkness back to their cottage, both making silent resolutions to try and be more patient with the other. They each knew that they were just embarking on a long future together and that they had plenty of time to get to know one another.

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