He'd kept his word about not standing in the way of her career. Some weekends she found herself studying at the finish line of a half-marathon after cheering him off at the start, or at an airfield while she waited for him to drop out of a plane. Other weekends, he dropped her off at the local university library, then met her and took her back to his flat where dinner was waiting for her. And she'd helped him make up some fiendish quizzes, and baked cakes for a fundraiser for him.
He'd said right from the start that they were a team. Vicky had never been a team player; she'd always been on the sidelines, and she'd thought she preferred the head-on challenges of chess or tennis. But with Jake, she found she liked being part of a team—at work and at home. She'd even relaxed enough to let Jake stay overnight in her flat. He kept a toothbrush and a razor in her bathroom, and a change of clothes in her wardrobe. Just as she kept a toothbrush and a change of clothes at his place. The few nights they didn't spend together now, she found herself missing him.
Though they hadn't actually declared their feelings for each other, Vicky knew Jake loved her. It was the little things he did. The way he'd find her an unusual brain scan to look at, or cook her a special meal, or play one of her favourite pieces of music on his piano. He'd even shared his mother's tapes with her—and Beth Lewis singing 'Moon River' had brought tears to Vicky's eyes. The first song Jake had ever hummed to her had been one that meant something to him.
Jake loved her. And she...she loved him. He made her feel complete. Three-dimensional. Real. And tonight, she was going to tell him. Three little words that she found so hard to say. But Jake was different. Jake was the one she wanted to say them to. Just in case she chickened out, she'd bought him something. A box of five hand-piped chocolates with a very, very special message. She would also say that she wanted to go public. That she didn't care if the whole hospital talked about them. She loved him, he loved her, and everything was going to be fine.
Vicky was in the middle of paperwork when the pain hit. It couldn't be a tension headache—Jake had given her a massage last night and had worked out all the knots in the muscles in her neck and shoulders. Maybe she'd just been studying too hard. Or playing too hard—sleep hadn't exactly been top of her agenda for a while. Her mouth curved at the thought. She'd made love more times with Jake in a week than she had in the previous year before she'd met him. And it was good.
She took a couple of paracetamol, loosened her hair and massaged her scalp to improve the blood flow to it. Half an hour and the pain would be gone. She knew the drill— she'd had a few headaches lately. It was probably her body's way of telling her to get a bit more sleep, that was all. And in the meantime, she had paperwork to do.
'So Mr Platt hasn't turned up.' Jake frowned. 'Any message?'
'Nothing,' his secretary said.
'I'll take five minutes, then give him a ring.' He'd booked to review Mr Platt's medication for Parkinson's. Though his patient had had great difficulty even admitting that there was anything wrong—and Jake's gut feeling was that Mr Platt was suffering with depression, a condition that often ran alongside Parkinson's. Maybe a tactful call would help—if he could get the man in to see him, they could talk it over and he could reassure Mr Platt that the way he was feeling right now was very common. And, better still, that he could do something about it.
But there was no reply from Mr Platt's home number. It was smack in the middle of morning surgery time for most family doctors, so Jake knew there was no point in calling Mr Platt's GP for a quick discussion. Instead, he wrote a quick email to the GP, outlining the situation and giving some times when he'd be available for a telephone discussion. His clinic was running ahead of time, so he decided to take a very, very quick break.
Vicky's office door was closed—obviously, she was up to her eyes in paperwork. He wouldn't keep her long—just long enough to tempt her into having lunch with him today. He smiled at the thought, and rapped on the door.
'Come in,' she called.
He closed the door behind him, and the smile faded from his face. Maybe he was imagining it...but she looked very, very pale, and she seemed to be having trouble focusing on her computer screen.
'Jake? I thought you were in clinic'
'Had a no-show, so I thought I'd come and see my favourite registrar and see if she fancied having lunch with me,' he said. 'Don't yell at me for fussing, but you look a bit pale. Are you feeling OK?'
Her tone was flat and he didn't believe her. 'Headache?'
'Have you taken something for it?'
'Paracetamol, an hour ago.'
And she still had a headache? He frowned. 'You've been getting a lot of headaches lately, Vic' She hadn't even mentioned them, let alone made a fuss, but he'd noticed her taking paracetamol.