16 December

Jean's first sense that something was amiss came when she was working on the border in the front garden. A black sedan drove slowly past. Not only did she not recognize the driver, but she noticed he seemed to study the house as he went by. She didn't think too much about it, returning her attention to the flowers she was replanting. Still at her gardening an hour later, she had just paused for a drink of cool water beneath the heat of the summer sun when a similar vehicle slowed again, its driver likewise seeming to scrutinize the house. When the third one came by, she stood up, intending to approach the car, but the driver saw her take a step forward and quickly sped away, leaving a perplexed Jean to shake her head and make a mental note of the registration plate number.

Two days later the telephone calls began. Several times a day it would ring and the caller would hang up as soon as Jean spoke. She had to admit she found it somewhat unnerving, especially when it continued on for several days, but never when Matthew was at home and might answer instead.

Her anxiety increased the first time there was a knock on the front door, with no one there when she opened it. The calls and the door knocking might have been merely children making mischief if the cars hadn't continued to pass by multiple times a day.

Jean finally brought the matter to Matthew's attention over dinner. Peter and Amy had gone to the pictures so they were on their own. "Matthew, I wonder if you could check a rego for me," she began casually.

Perhaps too casually. He was immediately wary. "What's going on, Jean?" he said, his eyebrows raised.

"I'm not really sure," she answered truthfully. She described what had been happening over the last few days.

"And you're just telling me now?"

"I'm trying to figure out what it's all about, if it's all connected," she explained.

"If it all started within a matter of days, it's connected," said Matthew. "I'll track down the number, and that might give us an idea who's behind it and maybe what they're after."

Jean nodded. "Something tells me we need to keep this between us for now, Matthew."

Matthew began to say something but caught himself and merely nodded instead.

But Jean knew him too well. "You were going to say I'm beginning to sound like Lucien," she said with a smile. "It's all right. I take that as a compliment."

"Yes, well, you're probably right - no need to bring anyone else in until we know what we're dealing with."


23 December

Jean tried to carry on as normal while she waited for Matthew to find the vehicle information. She attended council meetings, met with the film society, and looked after her home just as she always had. She even decorated the Christmas tree that Peter had brought in and set up for her, although she could not possibly feel like celebrating the holiday with Lucien gone. He had so much loved the festivities after years of being alone while the world rejoiced around him. For Lucien's sake she would make the effort to carry on, gather their friends in their home and enjoy a meal together.

With that in mind, she set off into town to do the marketing. She ordered a roast and some sausages from the butcher, then headed for the greengrocer. She had just pulled the door open when a man emerging from the shop bumped into her. He mumbled an apology and hurried away before Jean could even respond. She was vaguely aware that she didn't recognize him but thought little more of the encounter until she finished giving the shopkeeper her order and reached for her handbag. It was then she noticed the clasp was undone. Quickly she reached in to be sure her wallet and keys were there. In fact, they were safe. Nothing was missing, but rather she found an envelope inside that had not been there before.

Frowning, she pulled it out to look at it, then her heart began to race. Her name was written on the front in a very familiar hand. Almost unconsciously, she paid for her purchases and made her way back to the car. After sliding in and pulling the door closed, with shaking hands she opened the envelope and pulled out the short note inside it.

My dearest Jean,

I'm so sorry for the pain I've caused you but I'm afraid I had no choice. Know this, my love, I'm on my way back to you. I will be there as soon as I can, in time for Christmas if it's possible.

All my love,

Lucien

Jean had tears running down her cheeks before she finished reading it, no matter its brevity. She had a thousand questions for him, but one thing she knew for certain: if Lucien felt he had no choice but to put her through this then, at least in his mind, he had no choice. He would never have left her willingly, she was sure of that.

When she had regained some control of herself, she drove directly to the police station. She had to share this news immediately.

Upon seeing the state she was in, Matthew took her to the interview room, firmly closing the door behind them. As soon as they sat down, Jean pulled out the note and showed him.

Matthew looked at the paper, stared at Jean for a moment, then studied the note again. "This certainly looks like his handwriting," he said slowly.

"It is his handwriting," Jean insisted.

"Where did you get it? Let's not jump to any conclusions just yet."

"There's only one conclusion, no jumping needed," she told him. "Lucien is alive and trying to get home. A man bumped into me at the greengrocer's. He must have slipped the note into my purse."

"What did he look like? Did you recognize him at all?"

"No, I didn't know him. Medium height, brown hair, I think. His hat was pulled low so I didn't really see his eyes. No distinguishing marks that I could see."

"Not much to go on," Matthew noted.

"What about the car I told you about? Any luck with that?"

"Only that it's a government car. I wasn't able to learn what branch of the government, ran into a stone wall when I asked."

"So it could be Intelligence of some kind," Jean said slowly.

"That was my thinking," Matthew admitted.

"And what reason could Intelligence have for watching our home unless Lucien is somehow involved?"

"Jean, I don't want to get your hopes up with no proof," he told her as gently as he could.

"This is proof!" she insisted, waving the note at him.

Matthew paused and took a deep breath. "If it's all right with you, I'd like to have Alice come over to the house tonight so we can talk about this in private."

"Of course. Alice is always welcome."

"And Bill Hobart."

Jean frowned. "Bill is welcome too, certainly, but why him?"

"He's very good at analyzing handwriting. Even impressed Lucien with his skills. If we show him this note and some sample that we know is Lucien's, he can confirm whether it's a forgery."

"I still have the note Lucien wrote to me before he left for Shanghai," Jean confessed, blushing that she had kept it even though that was long before she and Lucien had admitted their feelings for each other.

Tactfully Matthew ignored her embarrassment. "That should do the trick. I don't suppose I have to remind you to keep this to yourself?"

Jean arched an eyebrow at him, and it was Matthew's turn to look embarrassed. "Right, then, I'll see you at home."

As they sat around the kitchen table that evening, Alice admitted she was out of her element in this type of inquiry, with no evidence to test or body to examine. "All I can contribute is that if it's true, Lucien must have had a very good reason to leave you that way. I know he could be... impulsive and rush off without thinking but, Jean, he would never have you thinking he was dead, put you through that hell, unless he felt there was no other way. He was never cruel."

Matthew growled, "I don't care what his reasons were, putting Jean and the rest of us through that, if it is him...". He looked to Bill, who was holding both pieces of paper.

"Boss, I think it's him. There are some minor differences, but nothing I wouldn't expect, with the difference in years between the two samples. This new one is a little shaky, like he was in some distress."

"As he should be, telling his wife this kind of news," said Alice. "So where do we go from here? Do we just wait for Lucien to show up on the doorstep?"

"I'm afraid I don't have any contacts in Intelligence to give us any more information. Jean, did Lucien ever mention anyone, besides Major Alderton? Someone who might be able to tell us what's going on?"

"He barely spoke about that time in his life except that he used the position to search for his family."

"Looks like we don't have much choice then," said Matthew.

"Maybe I can help," said Bill.

"Really?" said Matthew, surprised.

Jean glared at Matthew then turned to Bill. "Please, go on."

"Yeah, my father had an old friend in Army Intelligence. Owed Dad a favor, too. Got into a bit of a scrape just before a big mission, and Dad got him sprung from jail. When Dad passed away, he said he still owed him and if I ever needed anything, well..."

"Bill, do you think he still has contacts who could get information?" asked Jean.

"He was pretty high up, a colonel, I think, so it's worth a try."

"Thank you. I'd be ever so grateful for anything you can find out."

"Glad to help, Mrs. B. I'll get onto him first thing in the morning."

"Best do it from home, Bill," Matthew advised. "We don't need the whole station getting wind of this or it'll be in the Courier by the afternoon edition."

"Right you are, Boss."

"And Bill, we're still expecting you for Christmas dinner," said Jean. "We'll just hope we have something to celebrate."


25 December

Jean did her best to be a good hostess, making sure her guests had plenty to eat and keeping their glasses filled, but aside from Peter, no one seemed to have much appetite, herself included. Amy had gone to spend the holiday with her mother and brother Danny, which meant Jean had been able to stay busy with cooking and household chores, but every car that drove down Mycroft had her holding her breath, praying it would turn in at their home. Now it was evening, with still no word of Lucien. Bill's contact with the colonel had been brief, with the old man warning him to stay out of it and keep quiet. Nothing explicit enough to bolster her hopes for her husband's safe return. Nonetheless, she had taken the time to clean out the studio, making everything tidy and just as it had been the day Lucien had left.

Over Christmas dinner, she had tried to keep the conversation flowing but found herself quickly running out of small talk. Matthew made a game effort to hold up his end, but after a while he gave up, too.

The others were all a bit relieved when Peter finished his pudding, thanked Jean for the meal, and excused himself to visit a mate. When the front door had closed behind him, the four of them could stop the pretense and show their concern.

"Do you think..." Jean began, but the telephone rang before she finished, and she hurried to answer.

"Blake residence. Oh, hello, Constable, happy Christmas. Yes, the chief superintendent is here. One moment." Her disappointment was plain as she held the receiver out to Matthew.

He spoke for just a moment, then hung up and turned to Bill. "I know you're off duty but there's some kind of disturbance by the airfield. Kids pulling pranks probably, but you know we're short handed with all the holiday leave. Would you mind coming with me?"

"Sure thing, boss."

And the two men hustled out the door, leaving Jean and Alice to stare uncomfortably at each other before Jean stood, intending to start the clearing away and washing up.

Alice noted that her friend was in agony, waiting for something, anything, to happen regarding Lucien. "Leave all this," she urged her. "Matthew and I can handle it when he returns. Let's just sit and talk." She led Jean to the lounge and poured her a sherry. "Or would you prefer whiskey?"

Jean gave her a sad smile. "No, sherry is fine, thank you."

Alice would have preferred a whiskey herself but was afraid the smell would be too painful for Jean right now. She poured her own sherry and settled herself beside Jean.

"Do you think he's just been delayed?" Jean asked. "The note said he'd be home for Christmas if it was possible. Maybe it wasn't possible?"

"Maybe," Alice said slowly, reluctantly. She knew she wasn't the right person for the job, but someone had to prepare Jean for the possibility that the note had been a hoax. That Lucien was really gone, larger than life though he'd always been.

Jean saw the doubt on her face and turned away, unwilling to accept any other explanation. It would be like losing him all over again, and she didn't know if she'd survive it a second time. Instead, she excused herself and went into Lucien's study. She returned a moment later with an album of photographs, an album Genevieve Blake had compiled. Jean had found it in the attic after Lucien had disappeared. Old Doctor Blake had probably hidden it there, feeling the memories were too painful after his wife's death and his son's estrangement. But Jean had taken great comfort in these traces of her husband's childhood, before the horrors of war had left such scars on his back, his mind and his heart.

A beautiful child, with his big blue eyes and golden curls. So happy, too. Jean sat on the couch and turned the pages, while Alice scooted closer to see, recognizing at once what she was seeing.

"Did you know him at all before he left Ballarat for university?" asked Alice.

Jean shook her head. "Matthew did, of course." She turned another page of the album to reveal one of her favorites of all the photos. Lucien with a book on his lap, looking up towards the camera with a delighted grin on his face, not all that different from the ones he had sometimes given her when she would sneak up on him to kiss his cheek.

Alice smiled and pointed to that picture. "I've seen him give you that exact same smile," she noted.

"It's obvious that his mother was behind the camera," said Jean, "from the way he looks up."

"I don't suppose you have similar photos of your boys."

"No, sadly. Our camera was reserved for the most special occasions. Too expensive to have the film developed," Jean explained.

"Yes, of course."

"What about you? Any embarrassing pictures from your childhood?"

"No, thank God. I'm not sure my parents even owned a camera, much less wanted any records of their parenting skills." Alice shivered at the thought of any portion of her childhood being preserved for posterity.

They went through the album slowly pointing out their favourites until Alice said, "Do you think Lucien would have a problem with this? His colleague seeing his baby pictures?"

"Alice, Lucien has always seen you as much more than a colleague. You're a dear friend. I'm sure he'd be a little embarrassed, that's all."

Alice smiled proudly. She had hoped he felt about her similar to what she thought of him.

Jean returned her smile before glancing at the clock. Ten o'clock. Christmas was nearly over. There was nothing for it but to put away her memories and get back to what her life was now. She stood up and headed to the kitchen, pausing only for a moment when she heard a car pull up outside, but she recognized the purr of Bill's coupe. He must be dropping Matthew off. Sure enough, she heard the front door and the sound of a cane tapping.

"Jean?"

She winced, recalling how Lucien used to call out for her exactly that way when he came through the door.

"Jean, I have something for you," Matthew called, his voice sounding happier than she'd heard him in quite some time. "That disturbance at the airfield..."

Wondering what had put him in such a good mood, she walked toward the front door. There was someone standing behind him, and when Matthew saw her he stepped aside so she could see who was back of him.

Jean stopped in her tracks for just a moment and then she was in his arms, tears running down her cheeks.

"I'm so sorry, my love," Lucien kept whispering into her hair between kisses to the top of her head.

"You're here now. That's all I need." Jean thought her heart would burst as she held onto him, clutching with both hands to his shirt. How she had missed those strong arms surrounding her, making her feel like nothing bad could ever happen to them.

She finally stepped back just enough to see his face, still refusing to relinquish her tight hold on him. There was a tautness, a shadow to his eyes that made her fear to know exactly what he'd been through. But then he laughed and cupped her face with both hands. He kissed her lips fiercely, ending it much too soon for her liking.

He took one of her hands in his so that there was a little space between them although they were still connected.

"Jean, love, there's someone with me you should see," he said softly.

It was only at that moment she realized another man had entered behind him, but she refused to be embarrassed for showing her love for her husband. But when she saw who it was, she was shocked.

"Jack!" She reached for her son with the hand that wasn't still holding Lucien's, not willing to let go of him just yet.

"Hi, Mum," Jack said quietly. He seemed to have lost his swagger, almost looking ashamed, she thought.

"Are you all right? You look so thin." She gave him a one-armed hug.

"I'm fine," he insisted. "I am now anyway, thanks to the doc."

Jean looked back to Lucien, who only smiled gently. She found herself totally off-balance, but she had her husband back and her errant son as well, so she turned to what she knew how to do. "You both look like you could use a good meal and some tea," she said. "Come and sit down. You can eat while you tell us the whole story."

"Lovely," said Lucien. He waved for Jack to proceed them so he could kiss Jean again before they followed him.

When he spotted Alice, still waiting in the lounge, his eyes lit up. "Alice, my dear," he said, enveloping her in a hug. To her credit, she only turned a little pink at his characteristic exuberance, so happy was she to see him.

Belatedly, he remembered his manners. "Doctor Alice Harvey, this is Jack Beazley, Jean's son."

"A pleasure to meet you," said Alice. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'll leave you to..."

"Nonsense," said Lucien, and Jean echoed, "Surely you want to hear what they have to tell us." As much as she wanted to be alone with her husband, she knew that would have to wait a while longer.

"Yes, of course, if you're sure," Alice said, and joined the parade to the kitchen.

Jean made up plates of food for Lucien and Jack, along with a big pot of tea for everyone. Then instead of her usual place at the opposite end of the table, she slid into the seat next to Lucien and rested a hand on his knee under the table. He smiled at her with such love that it took her breath away.

Alice and Matthew, though, were looking at him expectantly. Lucien surprised them all by deferring to Jack. "You should start. It's your story first," he told his stepson, not unkindly.

Jack ducked his head, but then looked at Jean. "I'm really sorry, Mum. It's my fault that you thought he was dead all this time. If I hadn't been so... well, he shouldn't have had to come rescue me."

Jean frowned, not wanting to believe that all her heartache of the last months was caused by yet another of her son's rash actions.

As if reading her mind, which he probably was, Lucien rested a hand on her arm. "Jack was doing a good deed. A heroic thing," he assured her. "You may want to back up and start at the beginning," he suggested to the young man.

"Right," he said, nodding toward Lucien. Jean was pleased to see he no longer appeared to hold any animosity for her husband. "It started almost a year ago. I was working in Sydney for an exporter when one of the dockworkers approached me about helping him smuggle someone important out of Cambodia."

"Smuggle who?" asked Matthew.

Jack looked a question at Lucien, who shook his head and responded. "It's best that you don't know. Just that it's someone who could be a big asset to this country."

The others weren't happy with that but accepted that it was related to national security in some way.

Picking up the story, Jack continued, "I thought it would be fairly easy. I'd go along with one of the shipments to Phnom Penh, meet up with him and get him aboard for the return trip."

Even Jean could see how naive that was. She glanced askance at Lucien, who smiled at Jack's innocence.

"You can probably guess that it wasn't easy at all," Jack continued. "The Cambodian authorities were onto him the whole time. They were watching when I met up with him and they tried to arrest us both but we managed to avoid them and went on the run."

"In a strange country?" asked Jean, appalled.

"It was either that or be jailed and maybe executed. And it wasn't a strange country to him," Jack pointed out.

Alice cut to the heart of the matter. "How did you get involved, Lucien?"

He sat back, crossing his arms. "The Cambodians weren't the only authorities watching. You remember when I took on that case in Sydney?"

"As if I could ever forget it," Jean muttered, causing Lucien to lean forward and take her hand once more.

"When I got there it turned out to be a ruse. It was an old acquaintance who knew about my relationship to Jack. He asked if I'd be willing to go to Phnom Penh and see if I could find and extract the two of them. The problem was that they suspected there were Chinese agents in Australia who were also after the person Jack was helping. If I was known to be involved they might well come after you, Jean. Any of you really."

"So that's why it had to look like you'd fallen from that bridge and been killed," said Matthew.

"It was the only way I could see to help Jack without endangering you," he explained to Jean, squeezing her hands. "I would have told you if I could, but it was much safer for all of us if you believed I'd been killed. I just never thought it would be for such a long time. I'm so sorry for that."

She could see how much it hurt him to cause her such pain, but he'd done it to help save her son. How could she hold that against him?

Alice let them have the moment before urging him to continue. "So you faked your death..."

"Yes," said Lucien, wincing as he looked another apology toward Jean. "The suspect I was meant to be chasing had a harness rigged to the railing so we went over it and dropped some weights into the water to make it seem that we had fallen when we were actually suspended underneath. We waited until cover of darkness to climb back up. I was on a plane for Cambodia a few hours later."

"Where were you, Jack?" Jean asked. "Did you know Lucien was coming for you?"

She watched Jack glance at Lucien. There was something in that look. Could it possibly be a bit of respect? She hadn't seen Jack show respect for anyone, not even herself, since his father had gone off to war.

"We were stuck in the jungle for quite a while at first, trying to figure a way to get out of Cambodia. Then we were taken by the government forces. Held in a camp in the middle of nowhere for weeks. The ones who held us seemed to be waiting for instructions from the capital on what to do with us."

Jean felt her heart clench at the idea of her boy being held in a prison camp, thinking of the ropy scars across Lucien's back from his own time in the Japanese camp.

Perhaps Jack knew something of that, from the pained look on her face. He rushed to reassure her. "They didn't dare hurt us without permission, since they had an idea how important he was. Not much to eat and nothing to do all day, but other than that..." He shrugged.

Not ideal, Jean decided, but it could have been so much worse. "And you, Lucien, how did you manage to find him?"

He smiled at her. It seemed he could hardly stop smiling at being back with her. "I had spent a little time in Phnom Penh just after the war, knew some of the language, and of course many of the locals spoke French as well. I was lucky enough to make contact with someone I knew from back then, and he had heard rumours. Based on what he told me, I went looking for the camp, but by the time I got there, they were gone, on the way back to Phnom Penh. Purely by accident, I stumbled across them."

Jack took up the narrative once more. "We were looking for a way to escape along the way, since the guards weren't all that alert. When the doc created a diversion, we didn't know he was there to help us, we just took off. We didn't have a plan for where to go next until he tracked us down. But by then he was bleeding and too weak to go much farther."

"Lucien!" Jean gasped.

"It's all right, Jean. I'm right as rain now," he assured her.

"Where?" she demanded.

"Jean, my darling, honestly, I'm fine now," he insisted.

She continued to glare at him, eyebrow arched, until he pushed up the short sleeve of his shirt to reveal a thick bandage on the inside of his left bicep.

"Bled like crazy," Jack said, frowning at the memory. "We had to stay where we were until he was fit to go on. Then we decided to head for South Vietnam, hoped we could meet up with some Australian troops there and get a ride home."

"I'm afraid it took somewhat longer than we'd anticipated," Lucien explained.

"Between dodging Cambodian troops and Vietnam Cong rebels, and having to stop when the doc was too feverish to walk..." Jack trailed off at Lucien's warning look, obviously not wanting Jean to know just how sick he'd been.

"To make a long story a little less long," Lucien grinned, "we finally ran into an American patrol and they directed us to the Australian HQ. That was about ten days ago."

Jean did a quick calculation in her head. "About the same time the surveillance of our home started? That's what it was about, yes?"

"They needed to be sure the Chinese weren't keeping watch," said Lucien. "They didn't want me to come home until they were sure it was safe, but they should have been a little more discreet about it."

She looked more closely at her husband, wondering just how ill he still was. She could see his energy flagging by the minute and wanted this story wrapped up quickly so she might have a hope of getting him to rest.

Jack must have noted the same thing. He gave her a look, indicating with his eyes that she needed to see to her husband. At the same time he took up the narrative. "We were sent to Sydney on the next military flight out, and we've been there for the last week."

"Debriefing," Lucien explained.

"And health checks," Jack added, with a defiant glare toward his stepfather.

"And I take it that the subject of this whole affair arrived safely on Australian soil as well," said Matthew.

"He did," Lucien confirmed. "The authorities were very pleased with Jack."

"Makes kind of a good change," said Jack, smiling at his mother.

She returned. "I'm very proud of you, sweetheart."

"And the so-called 'disturbance' at the airfield?" asked Alice.

"Military helicopter landing," said Matthew, nodding toward Lucien. "Special Christmas delivery."

"Ah, I see." Alice must have also noticed Lucien's waning energy, the physician in her coming to the fore. "And on that note, I will take my leave. Wonderful to have you back with us, Lucien. And nice to finally meet you, Jack."

Lucien stood to give Alice a quick hug. "It's wonderful to be home, Alice. I'll see you out."

"I can do that," Matthew said quickly. "In fact, I should see her home, this late. Don't wait up for me."

Lucien raised an eyebrow, looking a question at Jean who shook her head. She would explain later.

"Right you are," he said. "Good night, you two."

When the door had closed behind them, Jack rubbed his hands together. "Well, then, I'll get our bags, Doc. Just need to know where to put them."

"The guest room upstairs is already made up, you can have that," Jean told him. "First door on the right. Lucien can show you where our room is while I start clearing away here."

"Leave it, Mum. I'll take care of it and the washing up."

"Really?" said Jean. Jack had never been one for domestic chores.

"It's the least I can do," he smiled, kissing her cheek. "You go. You have a lot of catching up to do."

"Thank you, sweetheart. It's lovely to have you here and safe."

"Yes, thank you, Jack. Good night," said Lucien.

And then finally they were together and alone in their room. Jean could kiss him the way she'd wanted to since she'd spotted him in the front hall. The kind of kiss she she'd longed for so desperately in the months he'd been gone. The kind she was afraid she'd never have again. She tangled her fingers in his hair while relishing the feel of his wide hands splayed across her back, caressing her softly.

When they finally broke for air, he took a deep breath and gave her such a tender smile that her heart melted for him all over again. Then he began kissing all over her face until she laughed, almost giddy, before she remembered he was not entirely well yet.

"Maybe we can take this to bed," she whispered.

"What a wonderful idea," he grinned, kissing her quickly once again. "Don't go anywhere, my love." He continued to smile at her as he walked toward their bathroom.

Minutes later they were lying in each other's arms, Jean feeling entirely content for the first time since the morning he'd left for Sydney. Having lived with Lucien for years, though, Jean did not like loose ends. "The man this was all about?" she asked.

"A nuclear physicist. You wouldn't know his name - I didn't before it started. But he was involved in China's efforts to build the bomb. He's in a secure facility now, so there's no reason for the Chinese or anyone else to target Jack or me."

"So no more cars driving past the house at all hours or phone calls with no one at the other end?" she asked, eyebrow raised.

He kissed the top of her head. "I'm sorry about that, love."

"Once I got your note I didn't mind in the least," she said, stroking his cheek.

He leaned into her touch. "You know, you should be very proud of Jack. I'm glad I've gotten the chance to know him. You don't mind that I've asked him to stay with us?"

"Why would I mind? I only hope we can convince him to stick around a little longer."

"Yes, about that. I thought maybe he could help me out around the surgery, now that you're a busy councilwoman, Mrs. Blake."

She smiled proudly, knowing she would never have had the confidence to stand for the position without his support. "You think he'd be interested in that?"

"He did a good job looking after me in the jungle so I spoke to him about it a bit in hospital. He said he'd be willing to give it a go if you were agreeable."

"Then it's settled," Jean said firmly. "Now, I think we were in the middle of something just a minute ago." She looked up at him from beneath lowered eyelashes.

"Ah, yes, I think we left off just about here..." His lips covered hers once more.

It was only then that Jean could truly accept that she had him back. She spent much of the night just watching him sleep, the smile never leaving her face.