Can you summarize Chapter 20 of Contagion by Robin Cook?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 19, Jack was knocked out cold by intruders who were paid to warn him to stay away from Manhattan General hospital. In Chapter 20, Jack comes to and regains consciousness; he comes to have a new perspective on himself; he comes to a deeper knowledge and understanding of Terese.

The first thing Jack feels is excruciating pain in his jaw. The first thing he hears is the ringing in his ears that turns out to be the ringing of the wall phone above his prostrate head. Terese is calling from the ad agency to consult him on a point related to the ad campaign she is developing. She thinks she has awaken Jack from sleep but he assures her he was not sleeping--he was knocked unconscious. Terese comes over directly after ordering him to phone the police and makes sure he sees a doctor by putting him in a taxi and taking him herself.

In keeping with the emergency room doctor's orders, she takes Jack to her perfectly ordered apartment so she can check him during the night for signs of consciousness and equal pupil dilation, signifiers of neurological symptoms. After Jack has freshened up in the bathroom of the flower bestrewn guest bedroom, he finds Terese is still sitting up; she has not gone to sleep yet. While Terese vigilantly keeps watch over his pupils and for signs of confusion, she asks him pointed questions, the ones Jack avoids asking himself.

Jack looked into Terese'a pale blue eyes. She was asking questions that he strictly avoided. The answers were too personal. ... "I suppose I have been courting danger," he said.

This opportunity affords them closer knowledge of each other. For both, this means knowledge about what lays below the brusque all-business exterior each wears. Jack reveals the tragedy of his wife's death without mentioning the full extent of the tragedy by withholding information about his children.

"My wife died," Jack managed. He couldn't get himself to mention the children.