Joe thinking after Nancy's operation and confrontation with her father in 1x6 Home Court.
Disclaimer: Not mine! All characters property of NBC, Dario Scardapane and co.
He thought he'd been dealing with it, obviously not. Hell, her father had just accused him of what he'd been trying to push away to the corner of his mind. He still wasn't entirely sure if it was true, but there was definitely something there.
It had started out as something small, some affection and recognition of what she was striving for in her early career. He felt it was maybe camaraderie, and then later when it grew a little he decided it was some paternal type of situation his brain couldn't let go of.
But it didn't go away and soon he even though about her out of work hours, at home, at functions anywhere. But he ignored it as much as possible. He realized that day sitting in the car that he had wanted to see her, make sure that she was okay. But her friends and colleagues had been with her so he hadn't disturbed them.
The next few days were hard on him, he couldn't stop thinking about her, she had a few days off but was no doubt going to push herself to come back way too early for his liking.
He wondered what she was going to do –if anything- about the letter of recommendation. Would she try for the job? Or would it even spur her to change jobs in the near future, he hope she would they needed more surgeons like she could be.
He had started to dream about her, and this was when he reluctantly accepted that it was definitely not some misplaced paternal feelings as her father had suggested. He wanted to touch her, hold her, just simply wake up to her in the mornings and see her sleep tussled hair a mess next to him as she bestowed him a lazy morning smile.
He wasn't so far in over his head right now, but he knew it might get worse, it had with his wife. He loved his wife, but they had been growing apart for a while now. He half-suspected another man in the equation but always came back to the thought that she was the stronger one in their relationship and he would be the one to break if anyone did. And Nancy was severely testing him, all without knowing it.
She probably would have thought him a crazed old man if he was to ever try anything on her; he sure as hell wasn't going to let himself be run over by her no doubt kind but solid comedown. No, he'd keep his distance and keep trying to block her from his mind.
He sighed when he passed Nancy's sleeping form in the hospital bed early the next morning, as he reached out to brush her cheek, her eyes fluttered open registering him, and she smiled softly –he knew it was going to be a long road.