Only Toby got up early next morning.
Kate and Nick slept on, exhausted.
Toby made a call to the hospital, went outside for some fresh air, then made some tea and took it upstairs. Nick and Kate were just rousing up, Nick discovering he was aching in places he didn't know existed.
"Brought you up some tea. Sorry to disturb." Toby said awkwardly.
"Oh thanks." Kate sat up eagerly, Nick a bit more slowly. "Peter – do you know –"
"Rang the hospital. He may be discharged after morning ward round. They'll let us know." Toby glanced at them both then, "Think Peter owes you one Nick."
"Toby. I had to go in and help him. Its part of my job."
"Still. Brave thing to do. Couldn't do it myself. Think Peter's under-estimated you Nick. And to be honest I think I should apologise for him. He's behaved bloody badly to be frank. He can tell you this himself when he hobbles out of that hospital."
"There's no need. I'm just glad we got him out of there."
Toby nodded and left the room. Kate cuddled up to Nick.
"I was so relieved to see you last night," she said. "I'm not sure what happened. Honestly Nick, Peter wasn't driving like an idiot. I heard this loud bang and the car just went out of control. I think a tyre went."
"Yeah, Peter mentioned that in the water last night." Nick paused. "Thank God Phil and I did that last sweep before calling it a night. We would have missed you otherwise."
"I'm proud of you Nick Rowan."
Quietly he held her in his arms and they lay in bed and watched the sun rise higher in the sky.
At about ten whilst they were eating breakfast the phone rang. Kate answered, had a brief conversation then set down the phone looking hesitant.
"Nick, Peter is being released from hospital. I'm not quite sure what's in his mind but he's asked if you can collect him."
Nick looked startled then, "I don't know Kate."
She looked puzzled. "He was quite insistent. Perhaps… perhaps you should go."
"What is it?" Toby asked her.
"Well I don't know. He just sounded so different. Not a bit like the Peter we know."
"Shock?" suggested Toby.
Kate sighed. "Possibly."
She and Toby looked at Nick who muttered, "All right, I'll go and get him."
In contrast to the stormy scenes of the night before it was quite a pleasant day. Nick drove over to Ashfordly General in his much loved MG, with the roof down. He was feeling not particularly friendly to Peter but was minded to be sympathetic after the shocking events of the night before,
He found Peter in a day room with a pair of crutches. Nick immediately noticed Peter's demeanour seemed generally different. Sheepish almost. The arrogance had gone. Nick thought to himself rather uncharitably a ducking seemed to have done him good.
"Peter? Kate said, you wanted me to collect you. I've brought you a change of clothes. When you're ready we'll go,"
They left the hospital and Nick helped Peter into his car. They set off back toward Aidensfield.
"Nick. It doesn't matter really but I suppose I should ask. My car?"
"It's at the garage in Aidensfield. It's a write off Peter." Nick hesitated. "The tyre was in shreds. Its pretty obvious what happened. You couldn't have kept the car under control in those circumstances."
"I could have killed her."
Nick looked at him then back at the road. He didn't reply.
"Nick. I want to go past the – where it happened."
"Peter, no. I should take you straight home."
"Please. It's important to me."
Nick sighed, then, "Kate will string me up for this."
He pulled the MG in by the gap in the fence. The scene seemed serene compared to the drama of the previous night. Only the gap in the fence, the bits of wreckage from the car, the flattened grass gave heed to what had happened.
Peter slowly got out of the car, hobbled through the gap in the fence. Groaning, Nick followed him.
Silently they stood on the river bank. Nick waited,
"Peter, you're cold," he said at length. "Lets go home, get you warmed up."
"Why does it take something like last night to make you see yourself how you are?" Peter swallowed. "Nick, I've been revolting towards you and I've not treated you with anything like the respect you deserve. Despite all that you risked your neck for me last night."
"Peter. I was doing my job. Nothing special. Honestly."
"It was Nick. I don't think I have that - whatever it is- courage I suppose – to put yourself at risk for someone else." Peter looked at Nick. "I need to thank you. It would have been so easy to let go. To go under that water and not come back. You kept me going."
"I'm glad we were there. It could have worked out differently." Nick looked out across the river. "But it didn't. Come on, lets get you back to the Police House.
"Nick. Is there any chance we could be – friends? Or is there too much damage done?"
Nick sighed. "I wish – it hadn't taken something like last night to have happened for you to think differently Peter." He bit his lip. "Maybe not overnight. But perhaps we could try in the future."
Peter nodded. "Thank you Nick," he said soberly
Nick called in at the station later that day to catch up and find out the report on the accident.
"Pretty straightforward Rowan," Sergeant Blaketont told him. "Powerful car, tyre shredded to pieces, awkward bend. Very lucky your missus and her friend."
"I know Sarge."
"You did well last night you and young Bellamy. Kept your heads the pair of you and well, you saved Peter Hughes' life no doubt about it." Blaketon paused. "How is he and Dr Rowan?"
"They're fine. Well, Peter's pretty shook up. Not himself at all."
"He's lucky to be here," Blaketon said sombrely.
Peter and Toby went home the next day, on the train. Kate and Nick drove them to the station.
"I want to see you again Kate," Peter said to her on the platform. He looked at Nick. "You too Nick. I can never thank you enough. You will come and stay won't you?"
Kate looked at Nick. "Your decision," she said gently.
Nick managed a nod. "Yeah, we can do that Peter." He looked up as the train pulled in. "Take care of yourself Toby." He held out his hand, both men shook it and then gave Kate a hug.
Nick put his arm around Kate as the train left the station.
"I hate to say this," he said, "I'm actually relieved to see them gone!"
She managed a smile. "What do you think? Should we see Peter again?"
Nick nodded. "I do think he's changed Kate. It's a bit unnerving really. I almost preferred him the way he was!"
They suddenly caught each other's eye and it was too much. They began to laugh almost hysterically and then Nick took Kate in his arms.
"I love you Kate Rowan!" he said fiercely. "So much."
In the train leaning out the door Peter Hughes saw them together and flinched as he realised his mission travelling to Yorkshire had been to destroy their relationship. He had dismissed Nick Rowan as grossly inferior and completely unsuited for Kate when in fact they clearly shared something very special. And without doubt Peter knew Nick had saved his life the other night. Leaning back in the train Peter thought back on his actions and was devastated and ashamed of himself. He knew if Kate and Nick chose to keep him in their lives it was more than he deserved.