Chapter 19 - Black

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Jo looks around and sees everyone smile. Jake hands out beers and toasts to Jo, they all do and Jo turns around to lean against the bar, starting to feel tired. Almost every day has been busy or rough, since she came here. She is starting to feel more drained every day. She drinks her beer in silence and tries to hear what the others are talking about, but she can't concentrate. Her vision is starting to go black and she tries to call out to Dart.... Dart looks over at her, thinking something is wrong and then catches her, right before she hits the floor. He holds his breath and tries to figure out what's wrong. Jake picks up the phone and calls an ambulance. They all try their hardest to stay calm and do what's best for Jo. The ambulance comes to pick her up and the MT says only family can join them. Dart looks broken and Jake interferes: "They are engaged, that seems like family enough to me. And I am her brother. Take him with you, if she wakes up, she needs to see him." Dart gets into the ambulance, thanking Jake in silence, praying all the way to the hospital.

Jake gets out of the elevator, onto the floor where Jo should be and sees Dart sitting in the hallway. He sits down next to Dart and puts an arm around his shoulder. Dart stares at the wall, as a tear rolls down his cheek. They sit there in silence, waiting, looking up at every doctor and nurse with a worried look. Finally a doctor walks up them and says: "Are you with miss Henderson?" Jake and Dart nod and the doctor tells them that Jo is dehydrated and is suffering from exhaustion. They are giving her some medication and an iv to give her body a bit of help to recover. The doctor looks them over: "We also found a lot of scars and would like to know how she got those. They are not recent, but some of them are severe." Dart takes his head in his hands and asks in a broken voice: "Can I see her?" The doctor looks at Jake and Jake nods. The doctor says: "Sure, it's room 206. She is not awake yet, but she should be soon." Dart jumps up and walks away.

Jake tells the doctor the cold facts about Jo's past and asks him not to bring it up to her. "Doc, we love this girl and she has been through more than enough for one lifetime. We don't want to make it worse." The doctor nods and walks away and Jake walks over to room 206. He opens the door carefully and sees Dart sitting next to the bed, holding Jo's hand, with his head on her leg. He walks over to him and puts a hand on his shoulder. "She will be okay. She can wake up any minute and look at you with those blue eyes of hers." Dart sits up and takes a shaky breath. "Oh God Jake, I was so scared. I blame myself for not seeing how tired she was. I blame myself for not holding her back." Jake squeezes Dart's shoulder and is about to tell him it's not his fault, when Jo whispers: "No." The men move closer to the bed and Jo opens her eyes slowly, adjusting to the light. She tries to talk and manages to squeeze out: "Not...your...fault..." She starts to cough and Jake gets up to fill a cup with water. He holds his hand behind her back and helps her drink. She smiles weekly at him and sits up a little, Dart helping her with the pillow behind her back. Dart holds her hand and both men look at her very worried. "I-I'm okay...Really...Stop looking...at me...like that..." Dart rubs his thumb over her hand and Jake strokes her cheek. "Just really tired." She yawns and closes her eyes, whispering: "Sorry."

Dart runs a hand through his hair and sighs, Jake sits down on a chair and breathes out slowly. A nurse enters the room and quietly checks Jo, writing something down and then whispers to the men. "Can I talk to you in the hall?" They all walk out of the room and Dart closes the door behind him. The nurse looks at them and sees how worried they are. "She will be fine. She can go home tonight, but there are a few conditions. And I need to know if it's possible for you and her to stick to it. If not, we're going to keep her here longer. We also need to discuss her insurance." Dart takes out his wallet and hands a credit card to the nurse. "Charge it all on this. I don't want anyone to bother her with insurance or whatever else. And for the conditions, what are they?"

The nurse explains that Jo needs as much rest as humanly possible for the next few days and then needs to come back for a check-up. She can lay on the couch or lay in bed. But nothing that could tire her out more. Dart nods and looks at Jake. Jake says: "I am sure we can manage that. We'll make sure she is never alone and watch over her while she rests." The nurse sees they want the best for her and decides: "Okay, come back here in two hours, with warm, comfy clothes for her and you can take her home." She shakes both their hands and walks away.

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