The waiting was driving him crazy. An hour had already gone by and yet it felt longer. He couldn't believe how hard it had been to convince his boss to get checked out by a Doctor. Weeks and weeks of chest pains and all the while insisting she was fine. As short tempered and as tough as she liked to appear to be, this had scared her. Terrified that something was terribly wrong with her. She had always been the reason for Joe becoming a Police Officer. Ever since she had been forced into giving a career speech at his High School 15 years before. He knew from that moment on what he wanted to be.

"DS Ashworth".

"Yeah, that's me. How is she".

"She'll be fine, don't worry. She's just waiting for her discharge papers. You can go and wait with her if you like".

"She'll be alright though, yeah".

"Go and see her". The Doctor said before walking away.

Joe gave the Doctor a small smile and made his way into Vera's room. She was sitting on the edge of the bed with a look of worry etched on her face. She looked up when she saw him enter but said nothing. He walked over and took a seat beside her.

"The Doc wouldn't tell me what's wrong with you".

"Did he not".

"Well come on then, tell us. Do you have any idea how bloody worried I've been sat out there. So what did he say".

"Ultimately I've been told to take better care of myself. I've to cut down on the drinking and the junk food and I've to try and relax more. Can you believe it".

"Well he has a point, doesn't he".

"Are you attached to your job Joe". She asked sarcastically.

"Sorry but your diet is crap and you drink like a bloody fish".

"Joe". She replied. Shocked by his statement.

"We need you. We don't wanna lose you. So if a change in diet is all it takes then do it. Come on. I'm taking you home". He smiled.

When they arrived at Vera's she began tidying up around her

"Boss. Will you stop".

"It needs done Joe".

He walked up beside her and took the cloth from her hand

"I said leave it. Will you just go and sit down and let me do this. Please Vera". He pleaded.

He very rarely called her by her first name. Lately he seemed to be doing it more and more which she had put down to him worrying so much about her and the stress of his divorce. Whether he admitted it or not, over the years he had become more and more attached to his career. Working all the hours he could and his Wife had just had enough. Vera looked over at her young Sargent and realised how much alike they were. Joe noticed that his boss was deep in thought. He put down 2 mugs of tea he'd been making onto the table and knelt down beside her.

"Are you alright Vera".


"Liar. What is it".

"I just keep thinking what I'd have done today if you hadn't been there".

"Well, you don't have to worry because I was there. We're part of a family Vera. No matter what happens. We're always there for each other. A helping hand when we need one". He smiled.

"Thanks Joe". She smiled back.

Fin xxx