"I'll just go clean up." Gordon spoke softly as the sharp noise of metal meeting metal resounded when Sister Brigid lay the needle down in the kidney dish. He stood, and reached around Jill as she nodded, pulling down her nightgown and preserving her modesty once more. As he closed the door behind him, he caught Sister asking if Jill would like her to stay until he returned. The response was predictable, and strongly delivered. A hint of a smile flickered across the tired doctor's lips; it provided a little relief that Jill still seemed able to deliver her cutting remarks.
The gushing of hot water provided welcome noise to the otherwise silent sluice room. He tried to concentrate on the task in hand, namely washing his hands, yet his mind kept wandering through the evening. The myriad of emotions he'd experienced kept coming back to him in nauseating waves; the shock as she'd turned up distraught on his doorstep, the fear as he took in her injuries, the ever present concern, and the love. He'd seen the look in her eyes as he'd gently released her hands only minutes ago in the side ward. She'd been reluctant to let go, her fingers curling a little tighter around his, perhaps only subconsciously. Her whole demeanour was different. It was hard for him to adequately describe it. She was quieter, certainly. Her eyes were downcast, her shoulders a little slumped. She just…wasn't herself he concluded as he dried his hands on a freshly clean white towel. Not that he could blame her of course.
The towel was tossed with little care into the linen basket by the door. His rapid footsteps now filled the silence of the night time hush the hospital held. He became more eager to return to her with each step. He knocked softly on the wooden door before entering to see Jill sat rigidly upright, her anxious gaze turned towards him. "Alright love?" He asked softly, crossing the room to her side.
She nodded in response, visibly fighting to force a more neutral expression to rest on her features. His outstretched hand was accepted. "My back hurts." She eventually said, gazing up at him glumly. "And I'm fed up of lying down."
He reached forward to stroke her cheek sympathetically. "Budge up a little." He smiled, seating himself beside her, aware of her quizzically watching him as he toed off his black work shoes. He eased himself back against the pillows behind her, his legs either side of her, and coaxed her to sit back between them. He drew up his knees so he almost surrounded her, hoping to provide the feeling of safety she so desperately needed. She turned to her side, settling her head on his left shoulder, her face pressed to his neck. She curled her legs up, her knees fitting into the space between his right knee and the mattress. He eased down a little, taking more of her weight on his torso. His left arm supported her back, his hand resting on her hip. This hand was immediately claimed by her right, her arm curling around herself to her side so her fingers could slide between his. Her left hand was free to cling tightly to his right shoulder, and his right arm drew across her, his hand getting lost in her soft hair, gently massaging through the strands.
She would never tell him, but he knew she didn't want to be alone. And she would never ask him to stay, yet he knew she wanted him to.