It’s been a full week since Lily Dawson’s return to the world of the living, and even though his condition was improving, Jack had yet to wake up.  Rose and Lily kept constant vigils at his side, praying that soon he’ll open those beautiful blue eyes and smile that famous mischievous grin at them.

            “What is taking him so long?” Rose asked, her eyes filling with tears.  “The doctor said he should be waking up any day now and that’s been a week ago.  Why won’t he wake up?” Rose wiped away the tears.

            “Maybe he likes the attention?” George shrugged. 

            “I just wish   he’d wake up,” Rose sniffed, laying her head on Jack’s chest, trying to be careful not to hurt him. 

            “Poor dear,” Lily stroked her daughter in law’s hair, her blue eyes revealing her compassion for her son’s wife.  “Don’t worry sweetie, he’ll wake up.  George, why don’t we go down and fix lunch?  I bet Rose is starved.”

            George was about to protest but decided that maybe it was a good idea.  “We’ll be back Rose,” George got up and left the room, Lily was right behind him.  Rose closed her eyes and was about to head into dreamland when she thought she felt Jack move.  She looked up, but his eyes were still closed.  Sighing she closed her eyes again, but was awakened by a soft ouch. 

            She looked up and saw Jack’s eyes opened, a bit glazed, but still opened.

            “Jack?” She sat up, her voice full of hope and excitement.  “Jack you’re awake.”

            He looked at Rose.  “What happened?  Why am I in bed and why does my stomach hurt?”

            “Oh Jack,” Rose threw her arms around his neck as she cried.  “Oh Jack you’ve come back to us!”

            “You were shot.  Babette’s pimp shot you when you wouldn’t tell where she was.  You were unconscious for two weeks.  At first the doctor thought you wouldn’t make it and then you began to approve but you still wouldn’t wake up.  What took you so long?”

            “I’m sorry,” Jack coughed and groaned at the pain in his stomach, where   he was shot.  “Ow that hurts.”

            “Oh my poor Jack,” Rose smoothed back his hair.  “I’ll call the doctor and ask if he can get you some pain pills.”

            “Rose honey what would you like…” Lily stepped in the room and stopped in her tracks when she saw Jack awake, staring at his wife.  He turned his   head to see who had entered and his eyes widened in shock and disbelief.

            “Mom?  How…” Jack stammered, so his mother’s voice wasn’t   just a dream.  She was really   here.  But how can that be?  She had died in that fire all those years ago.  She was supposed to be dead.

            “You’re awake,” Lily sniffed back her tears as she stared into those blue eyes she loved so much.  Jack had been her joy, her best friend before the fire.  She was so afraid that s he would lose him after finding him again and was ecstatic that he was no wide awake, tightly holding Rose’s hand.

            “Rose…I think I’m hallucinating.  I’m seeing my dead mother right over there.”

            Rose giggled and squeezed her husband’s hand.  “Jack, you’re not hallucinating.  That is your mother.  I don’t know the full story, but she’s back and like me, she’s been by your side since she got here.”

            “What…” Jack began to cough again and groaned as another pain flooded his system.  This was getting ridiculous.

            “I’ll go for the doctor,” Lily said.  “Rose stay with Jack.  Make him as comfortable as possible,” The older Mrs. Dawson ran out of the room.

            “Oh Jack,” Rose’s voice was full of worry as she watched her husband in pain.  Jack looked up at her and tried to smile.

            “It could be worse,” He squeezed her hand.  “Don’t worry.  It’s not all that bad.”

            “But it’s bad enough,” Rose wiped more blond strands away from his eyes.  I’ve come so close to losing   you…”

            “Hey you didn’t though.  I’m still here,” Jack squeezed her hand.  Didn’t I tell you I wouldn’t leave you?”

            Rose sadly smiled.  “Yes you did.”

            “Jack’s awake?” George appeared in the doorway

            “He just woke up,” Rose explained, not looking away from her husband.

            “How do you feel kid?” George walked over and ruffled Jack’s hair.

            “Like I got ran over by a train,” Jack weakly smiled.  “Mom’s back.”

            “I know.  Isn’t that great?  You’ve been so happy to see how she’s stood by your side.  She never left for a moment.”

            “The doctor is on his way,” Lily came back in.  “Rosie dear, why don’t you go on in the guestroom and take a nap.  I’m sure you must be exhausted.”

            “I’m fine,” Rose replied.  “Really.”

            Lily just smiled and shook her head.  “I don’t think so sweetie.  You can barely keep your eyes open.”

            “But I want to stay and take care of Jack,” Rose sighed, looking down at her beloved.  “Please don’t make me leave.  Jack needs me.”

            “I need you well rested and healthy,” Jack squeezed her hand.  “Please Rose, go get some sleep.  I’ll be right here when you wake up.”

“George please take her to the guestroom and make sure she’s comfortable.”

            “Yes Aunt Lily” George nodded.  He took Rose’s hand and helped her to her feet.  “Come on Rose.  Let us get you tucked in.”

            “I’ll be back,” She looked at Jack meanfully.

            “I know you will,” Jack weakly nodded with a smile.  He waited until Rose was gone before turning to his mother.  “Thank you.”

            “For what dear?”

            “Taking care of Rose.  Just by looking at her I can tell she wants to collapse.”

            Lily smiled, tenderly touching her son’s cool cheek.  “She’s a delightful girl.  I like her.  Of course your father and I had pictured you with a girl from here…but we hardly get what we expect.”

            “She’s everything to me.”

            “I know sweetie.  I know,” Lily kissed the top of his head just as Cillie entered with the doctor.

            “So you’re finally awake I see!  You gave us all quite a scare for a while there,” the doctor greeted, beginning to check Jack’s vital signs.

            “He’s in a lot of pain doctor,” Lily stood back and let the doctor do his job.  “Is there anything you can give him?”

            “Pain is good.  It means you’re healing,” the doctor looked at Jack.  “But I guess I can make a prescription.  But only take them when you need to.”

            “ Yes sir,” Jack nodded.

            “Where’s your lovely wife?  I’m surprised she’s not in here refusing to leave your side.”

            “We made her go take a nap,” Lily answered.

            “Good.  All this can’t be good f or her or the baby.  Needless to say Jack, you’re a lucky young man.  You almost didn’t make it.  May I suggest that you stay away from people with guns for now on?”

            “Yes sir,” Jack nodded.

            “And Lily,” The doctor looked at her strangely.  “It’s good to see you back...I suppose.  Keep surprises down to a minimum.  They’re not good for someone in your son’s condition.  If there’s something he doesn’t know about, I suggest you wait until he’s in better condition to tell him.”

            “Yes sir,” Lily noticed the curiosity in her son’s eyes and was about to leave when his voice stopped her.

            “Is pa alive too?  Did he survive?”

            Lily bowed her head, not wanting to meet her son’s eyes.  “No he didn’t sweetie.  Listen, we’ll talk more about this when you get better.  Right now rest.  I’ll go down and get dinner on,” She quickly left the room, leaving Jack wondering how only one parent survived and the other died.

            “Questions for another day,” Jack sighed before drifting back to sleep.




            Rose awoke three hours later, refreshed and ready to properly take care of her husband.  Jack.  He was awake, alert and warm.  Everything was going to be ok.  Her world wasn’t ending after all.  She slid out of bed and looked out into the hall.  She bumped into George as they both tried to hurry to Jack’s room.

            George laughed.  “It looks like I’m not the only one that wants to spend time with Jack.”

            Rose giggled.  “Well they do say that great minds think alike.”

            “Shall we go in together?”

            Rose nodded.  So together they entered Jack’s room to find him staring at an old picture of his father.  A single tear slid from his eyes.  He glanced up and smiled at Rose.

            “Hey there,” He held out his arms and slid into them effortlessly.

            “What are you doing Jack?” George took the picture.

            “Just thinking.  That’s all,” Jack shrugged, releasing Rose.

            “About your father of course,” George nodded.

            “I can’t help but wonder why he didn’t survive.  I’m happy to have ma back.  Don’t get me wrong.  I just wish I could have both of them back.  That’s all.”

            Rose’s heart broke at the lost look in Jack’s eyes, indicating how much he truly missed his father.  “Oh Jack,” She wrapped her arms around him, wanting to take the pain away.

            “I miss him too Jack.  You’re not the only one,” George squeezed the hand that rested against Rose’s back.

            “Ouch,” Jack pulled away from Rose as the pain returned. 


            “It’s time for me to take another pain pill,” Jack groaned.

            “I’ll get the water,” George hurried downstairs.

            “George was so worried about you,” Rose wiped the hair out of his eyes.  “And so was I.”

            “I’m happy my mother could be there to take care of you.”
            Rose smiled.  “She’s wonderful Jack.  She’s everything I wish my mother could be but wasn’t.  I wish I had a mother like her.”

            Jack smiled and took her hand in his.  “That’s the good thing about marriage.  We share everything.  Even mothers.”

            A tear appeared in Rose’s eyes.  “Oh Jack, you’ve given me so much.  First your love, your baby and now a wonderful mother!  You’ll never know how much I love you!”

            “I have a pretty good idea,” Jack smiled, holding her lightly against his body, remembering the gunshot wound.  “I’m always going to be here for you Rose.  I promise.”

            “I know.  I promise the same,” She sighed as her muscles relaxed and her eyes drifted shut.

            “Rose?” Jack asked, but didn’t receive a answer.  Poor thing must be more exhausted then she thought.  Ignoring the pain from what he was doing, he pulled her up onto the bed and pulled the covers over her.  “I love you,” he kissed the top of her head.

            “What have we here?” Lily entered the room

            “She fell asleep,” Jack shrugged.  “I pulled her onto the bed so she’ll be more comfortable.”

            Lily smiled as she watched how gentle Jack was with the young woman in his arms.  It was obvious that he loved her dearly.

            “It feels so good to hold her again,” Jack sighed.

            “Here’s the water!” George returned.  “Rose went back to sleep?”

            Jack nodded, swallowing the pill down with the water.  “So where’s Babette?  I thought she’d be in here by now.”

            “Uh…she left two weeks ago Jack.  No one kicked her out or anything.  They just left without a word to anyone,” George explained.

            “Oh.  That’s too bad.  I would have liked to say good-bye.”

            “Jack, why don’t you let George take Rose into the guestroom?  She looks awfully heavy,” Lily worried.

            “She’s fine where she is.  Right next to me,” Jack shook his head.

            “Ok.  If you’re sure she’s not too heavy,” George shrugged before turning to his Aunt.  “Aunt Lily, there’s a man outside wanting to speak with you.  Do you want me to go with you?”

            “That won’t be necessary George.  I’ll take care of him,” Lily got up and left the room, leaving the two boys staring after her.

            “What’s that all about?” Jack frowned.

            “I don’t know,” George shrugged.




            Downstairs, Lily found the man setting on the porch tapping his foot impatiently.

            “Dean…” Lily breathed in shock.  “What are you doing here?”

            “Looking for you.  I thought you were going to send for me three days ago,” the man got to his feet.  “What happened?”

            “Oh Dean…I was, but something happened and now’s not the right time…”

            “What happened?”

            “My son was shot.  He almost died and the doctor said no more surprises until he’s better.”

            “Which means I’m going to have to wait.  Right?”

            Lily weakly nodded.  “This won’t be for long Dean.  I promise.”

            “Ok.  I’ll be at that boarding house up the street if you need anything.”

            “Ok.  Thank you Dean.”

            “Yeah,” The man waved, walking off into the darkness.

            Lily closed the door and sighed as she bit her lip.  How was she ever going to explain things to Jack and when?  She didn’t know how much longer she could keep the secret or wanted to for that matter.  But she had no choice.  Jack must not know about Dean until he was well enough to handle the news.