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Dance partners hook up on the way home.


She listened again.

"Oh, don't worry, I'll recognize you - I know you very well. Just get on a plane and bring Andrew with you," Susie added as an afterthought. "What? You say he's out on business. Well, then, the two of us will brave this through together."

Susie returned to the doctor.

"He's alive but no one knows for how long." The doctor tried not to sound pessimistic as he resumed the conversation. "It's as though he's given up on life. We have him on life support and can keep him going for some days, but something has to be done to bring him out of this coma and make him 'want to live'. We've done everything possible to bring him around.

"The severe concussion, the gash down one side of his face that almost took the sight of his eye and the two broken ribs are not the problem - he's lucky that they were his main injuries. The explosion threw him and the body he was carrying about 50 yards."

Seeing Susie's querying look, the doctor continued.

"He came across the accident soon after it happened, and no-one could stop him from going to the wreck. The police reported he was screaming a name, 'Jennifer', as he rushed to the car and ripped its door off to rescue the driver. She was dead even before he commenced carrying her away from the burning car. He was lucky and only sustained minor burns - the overalls and welding gloves saved him."

He paused and then returned to his main concern.

"He spoke once when he arrived up here from casualty. 'Is Jennifer all right?' That is exactly what he asked the intern.

"The young fool doctor on duty told him the driver was dead and he muttered something about 'Jennifer, I love you, wait for me.' Then he lapsed into this coma. We can't arouse him.

"No matter how much we have done for Peter, at this stage we can't do anything further to bring him around. It's as though he's given up the will to live.

"His body - his injuries is not killing him - its his mind shutting his body down."

"Thank you, doctor. Keep him on life support. I'll give permission when you are to remove him from that support. I'm praying, though, that I may be able to prevent that ever happening. Later today, I have to collect someone from the airport, and then I'll be back with the person who, I pray, will bring some sense to this great oaf."

Quietly, for hours, she sat beside the body in the bed and held Peter's clammy hand. She was aghast at how pale and wan Peter looked, lying there hooked up to drips and machines. Although distressed by the sight of Peter all trussed up on drips, the steady blip, blip, blip of the heart monitor seemed to re-assure her.

The nurse on duty looked surprised when Susie suddenly looked at her watch and rushed away towards the lift. She could see Susie down the corridor, anxiously stalking back and forth outside the lift doors. To any passer-by, it was obvious she was waiting for transport down to the car park.

Susie collected Jennifer's car and slowly worked her way through the heavy traffic. Two hours later, she was at the airport, still waiting for Jennifer's arrival.

The arrivals' board showed all the Melbourne planes had landed, so by Susie's reckoning, the passengers should be out with their luggage any moment.

Pacing backwards and forwards Susie was apprehensive. She knew she would have a big task persuading Jennifer that her relationship with Peter was nothing more than that of a mother and son. 'Some mother I am,' but Susie's thoughts were interrupted as she caught sight of Jennifer.
"Give me your luggage, Jennifer. Here are your keys. You're driving because I took the liberty of bringing your car across to pick you up."

"Peter? How's Peter? What happened? Tell me he's not dying. Please tell me what's happening."

Jennifer wasn't interested in anything but news of her love. Intently she listened while Susie explained her relationship with Peter. Jennifer found it difficult to comprehend how Susie came to be next-of-kin.

"Me? In love with Peter? Me - who's pregnant, thanks to Peter.

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