The midwife came out of the bedroom and motioned Ge in through the door. She had known her all her life, literally, having helped deliver the young woman sitting before her 19 years earlier. It wasn't the most conventional of her cases, but as she looked at the strain on Ge's face, and how her fists clenched every time she had heard Jo cry out, it was clear that arguing about whether Ge was male or female would make her no less an expectant parent than any others the midwife had seen.
Now the ordeal was over, she sent Ge in to see Jo, with a smile and a gentle push "It's all ok, love, you can go in now. You might have a little surprise though when you get in there."
In the bed Jo lay back on the pillows, exhausted but able to smile at the sight of Ge. She pointed to the basket by the side of the bed "No wonder it took a long time" she said, with a tired smile.
As Ge looked down at the two tiny beings cuddled together in the bassinet, all she could do was reach out and grab Jo's hand, her eyes riveted to the sight of two such perfect little people. She couldn't say a thing, but the way her hand held so tightly to Jo's told the girl everything more than any words ever could. Jo laid back on the pillows and felt able to drift off to sleep, with Ge's strong fingers linked through her own.
"Come on Josie, come on, you're nearly there!" said Ge, holding out her arms towards the tiny toddler.
With waddling steps, the dark haired little girl let go of the chair and half walked, half fell the few steps into Ge's arms. Ge held her tight and lifted her up high in the air, then mock fell back, holding the little girl tight in a cuddle. She was rewarded with streams of giggles from the little girl, and delighted chuckles from her brother, who crawled towards the pair, anxious not to miss out on this game.
"See John, Josie can do it, why don't you try?" said Ge, as she extended an arm to join him in to the cuddle. John just looked solemly at her and shook his head, then pulled her shirt and pointed up, showing he wanted to be thrown up in the air too.
Across the room, Jo watched with a smile on her face. 'Now if only I didn't feel so tired all the time at the moment,' she thought 'this scene would be perfect' . Ge looked up, and saw her change to a slightly sad expression. She picked up Josie and lifted her into her mother's lap, before grabbing John and throwing him up in the air, and back down for a cuddle. Josie cuddled in to Jo for a moment, then struggled to be put down on the floor again, to join the fun.
1952 Cunninham / Mannering / Trent home (Daisy is from the Chalet School series - Elinor Brent Dyer, not Enid Blyton)
Dinah settled into a well worn armchair with a sigh. "I'd forgotten just how long that walk is, every muscle I have seems to be crying out in distress." She said, massaging the ends of her feet as she spoke.
The young woman settled in the other armchair laughed at the highly undignified pose. Her fair hair and pink and white face made a cheery attractive combination. "I've had worse treks," she said with a smile, " but only because it was in a blizzard and we nearly got lost, so barring that one, I think today's trek comes close to the worst I have done. What did I do to you to make you decide to torture me like that?"
Dinah laughed. "Perhaps I was hoping you might give me a break when we get back to the hospital if I promised not to chose hikes like that everyday !"
"Nice try, but that's my job as your mentor, young Trent !, You'll have to produce something much better than that if you want me to let you away with anything in your training!" replied her companion with a smile.
The door opened behind them and a friendly looking man with a bald head entered the room. "Hello Dinah, didn't get a chance to see you last night, did you have a good journey down here?" he said, as he ruffled her hair affectionately.
"Hello Bill!; Wasn't too bad thanks." replied Dinah, " This is my friend Daisy Venables from med school. She now terrorises me as my supervisor." she continued. Daisy laughed and shook Bill's hand.
"Nice to meet you Daisy. I hope Dinah doesn't make you want to tear your hair out too much!" he said, with a cheeky grin at his adopted daughter. "She's always been a terror, even when she was a youngster, instead of such an elderly graduate."
Daisy smiled and reassured him that her hair was quite safe, and Dinah was actually doing very well in her training. "Well I must just go and see where my wife is, will look forward to getting to know you better later, Daisy" Bill said, heading through the room and out into the hallway.
In the kitchen, Mrs Cunningham, Bill's wife and Dinah's mother, was standing at the sink washing dishes. As Bill entered the room, she turned to him with a happy smile. "I thought I heard your voice." she said, giving him a kiss, "Have you eaten, or do you want some supper?"
"I had something before I left London, thanks Allie" he said. "But if the kettle needed putting on any time soon I wouldn't say no."
She set about getting some tea made, and he sat down at the kitchen table. "That girl Daisy seems nice," he said. "So is she just a friend of Dinah's, or is she a 'friend' of Dinah?"
Mrs Cunnigham frowned as she said "You know I really don't know. Dinah hasn't said, and I don't quite like to ask. She does seem a very nice girl, either way."
The kitchen door opened, and a young man came in. He had brown hair and an unruly tuft on the top of his head, just like his mother and sister. "Hello there Bill," he said," nice to see you home for a bit, can you stay long ?
"Not too long this time, Phillip," said Bill, offering a chair at the table to Phillip as they talked. " We were just talking about this friend of Dinah's, do you know anything about her ?" Bill continued.
"Not a sausage I'm afraid." replied Phillip. "Is she a 'friend' then? Has Dinah said anything to you about her?"
"We were rather hoping that she'd said something to you, but it sounds like she hasn't" said Bill. "So it looks like we are all equally in the dark about her. Well Dinah will tell us when she is ready. How are things going with you then Phillip? Are you here for a long stay yourself or just a flying visit ?"
Dinah settled back into the armchair with a sigh. Daisy smiled and the two sat in companionable silence for a while. The rest of the family had gone off to bed, after riotous family evening where Kiki had kept them entertained by trying to get the fruit out of the toasted tea cakes they had eaten and telling Daisy repeatedly to shut the door.
"You do realise your family are all trying to work out whether I am your girlfriend." said Daisy with a grin.
"Oh are they?" said Dinah, trying to look innocent.
Daisy squinted at her suspiciously. Then her eyes widened and she sat upright. "Dinah Trent! You know perfectly well that they would do that, THAT'S why you made me take off my engagement ring, it had nothing to do with Kiki maybe stealing it ! What are you trying to get away with? Why do you want them to think that ? Don't they know about you and Nora? "
Dinah pretended to hide begind the chair to escape Daisy's wrath. "I'm sorry! It just seemed such a good opportunity when I realised what they might think."
Daisy began to laugh. "But WHY, Dinah? Do they not like Nora?"
"Oh it isn't that, it's... Well it's complicated. They worry about us you see. We had so many adventures when we were younger, and ever since they found out about Lucy Ann and Mike they have been doing their best to convince her to drop him. Mike is Nora's brother you see, twins actually. And their family is just as bad about failing into adventure as ours. I think Bill and mother are worried that the combination will mean they or any children they have will be twice as likely to have adventures and end up at risk. And they are very protective of Lucy Ann, they don't want her to get hurt. "
Daisy frowned. "Genetic tendency to adventures. That really ought to make me laugh, it sounds so silly. But when I think about my family and everything that keeps happening, I do wonder. But we aren't all related ... Perhaps it's part genes, part environment ..."
She looked up to see Dinah trying hard not to laugh. Daisy smiled. "Sorry! Force of habit, tend to think of everything in terms of research papers these days ! But back to Nora - that can't be all of it, surely ? After all, they wouldn't be worried about the two of you having children together!"
Dinah looked slightly sad. "Well it isn't the whole reason. Nora, well, she is very young in some ways. And, well she ... She keeps going back to her boyfriend."
Daisy understood at last. They sat in silence for a while, then Dinah said. "Silly really. I should look for someone else. But then she comes back and...well I can understand. She wants kids, and she wants a life she doesn't have to hide. I just feel, until she decides fully, I don't want to have to go through trying to convince Bill and mother that we won't end up stranded inside a mountain or on an island somewhere forever. "
Daisy considered for a moment. "It's difficult" she said at last "Nora's instincts might be one way, but if I, I mean she... wants kids and a life her family can approve of, well I can see the appeal of that."
Dinah looked at Daisy thoughtfully. Daisy seemed lost in thought, then shook herself awake and said "I'm off to bed, need to make sure I have enough energy for this picnic with your friends tomorrow."
Dinah agreed, and they set off up the stairs, said goodnight and went off to bed.