Jack tucked Alex into bed in his own room, then sat on a chair next to him. He still wasn't well, but nowhere near the day's alarming state. He was still very pale and still complaining of his head feeling fuzzy.
“Ziggy says those bad dreams should stop now.” Jack smiled and put Mr Crawley into bed with Alex. “But if they do come back, remember they're only dreams and I'm only downstairs.”
“I think I could make them go dad.” Alex said bravely. “If I pretend Ziggy's glass stones are here then I can push the bad dreams into them. She said they didn't mind at all.” This non-plussed Jack completely.
“Well if that works for you, yes.” He shrugged. “You obviously understand it better than I do.”
“It was like I could feel all the main bits of me, all separate. I went all stiff and it hurt but when I though of my main bits, Ziggy's stones pulled the sore bits off me.” Alex nodded.
“Yeah? That's weird.” Jack shook his head. “Cool, but weird.”
“She's nice isn't she dad?” Alex rearranged his pillow.
“Yes she is.” Jack agreed.
“Is she coming to see you tonight? I wasn't being nosey, I heard you on the phone.” Alex pulled up his blankets.
“She is, yes.” Jack smiled.
“Is it because of me?”
“Well she'll want to know if you're OK, of course she will.” Jack deflected. “Nothing to worry about, Alex, she's just a very nice lady and she's concerned about us, that's all. Come on, get some sleep.”
“I will.” Alex nodded. “Dad?” Jack paused at the door. “She won't mind me having mum's picture here will she?”
“Oh Alex.” Jack came back and sat on the bed. “Of course she won't. Why on earth would she?”
“Well maybe if she likes you she won't want mum's picture around.” Alex frowned at Mr Crawley.
“Hey now come on.” Jack brushed his son's hair out of his eyes. “That's not how it works, Alex. Ziggy is our friend, both of us. She's our friend because of everything about us, and that includes the fact that we had mum. It's part of us.”
“So she won't want to be in mum's place?”
“No way. I very much doubt Ziggy's even thought about that even a teensy bit. She's our friend. No one could be in mum's place Alex and real friends would know that too.” Jack was rather surprised at Alex's thoughts on this. Did kids always jump the gun like that? “Does it upset you that I have female friends? I'd never upset you on purpose.”
“No it doesn't upset me at all. I like Ziggy, she's ultra cool. As long as I can have Ziggy as my friends, and mum in my head, then that's good. You do the grown-up bit dad, I'm just a kid.” Alex shrugged and Jack started to laugh.
“A kid with a very active imagination.” He kissed his son's forehead, then left the door open.
Jack had unplugged the phone, shoved the packing crates into the cupboard under the stairs and was now sitting on the edge of the sofa feeling rather apprehensive. What the hell had he agreed to? He could just picture Greg's reaction to all this and it involved much mirth and laughter at Jack's expense. He was vaguely aware of voices in the street and he went to switch on the radio to add a bit of noise to his silent surroundings.
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