Aggie snuggled next to Theodore, sat upon his bedspread, having eaten her fill.
“I do believe that Bonita and I had completely forgotten about you in all the commotion. Thank you for coming back, you poor, half-starved thing. You and I have quite a lot in common, we have both been forgotten about.” She wrapped her tail around his arm and licked his hand gently. She sprang from the bed, noticing Howard who carried two small bowls, placing them in the corner. She ate her fill, hopping back onto the bed, poking her head into Theodore’s arm and sat by his side. Mr Howard laughed.
“Isn’t she lovely?”
“Mother would have a fit.”
“She does not need to find out, but you should talk to her.”
“I did not mean now your Grace, here, drink some more water. Will you try some soup or a little bread?”
“No thank you Howard, but I will take some water.”
“What happens if…. it does not matter.”
“Are you sure?”
“A foolish thing. Oh how I would love for it to be tomorrow and 11.15pm.”
“Time will go quickly, but I must leave you now for I have some errands to run your Grace.”
Bonnie lay in her cold bed, staring up at the ceiling. How she wished that things could be different, she sighed, wrapping her shawl around her shoulders and placing her feet into her slippers, seating herself by the dying embers of the fire.
“You shall get cold.”
“I am fine at this moment in time.”
“I am worried about you, you have barely eaten a thing of late.”
“I can’t, my stomach is in knots.”
“You must keep your strength up and you mustn’t let yourself get ill, all this crying won’t do you any good. “
“You’re right as always. Hmph. I just hate to think of his Grace lying in that bedroom all alone, and he will be by himself as Mr Howard is so busy, his Mother doesn’t care and as for his Father, well, I haven’t even met him properly, he always seems to be away on business or hiding somewhere, never has he come to see his Grace, or ask how he is. He has been forgotten.”
Pain racked Theodore’s body, as he lay alone. How he wanted to hear a kind voice more than anything. He shivered, but alas, there was no-one there to bring him an extra blanket or place some coal upon the fire. His arms too heavy to pull the coverlet further up his body, as it has slipped down to his waist. He shivered, his body drenched in a cold sweat, his mouth bone dry with thirst.
“H-” The words would not come, caught in his swollen throat and lost in his rasping voice. Howard startled in his bedroom, overcome with a strong urge to see Prince Theodore. He pulled on his dressing gown, entering his chamber.
“My God! Soaked in a cold sweat.” He felt his perishing hands, placing a hand against Theodore’s nightshirt which clung to his wasting frame.
“I-I should have stayed with you. This is my doing. I will wash and change you the best that I can, but you are so very cold.”
“Yes, it is Mr Howard. I’m just going to wash you and change your sheets, I shall roll you as Miss McGrath did. Here now. Your throat is so swollen!”
He did as he said he would, re making Theodore’s bed while he was still in it, stoking the fire and fetching more blankets. He dabbed Theodore’s brow once more, this time with a warm cloth.
“I know you Grace, you miss her terribly. Oh this is not right, not fair. Why should your Mother spite you? She has to come to her senses, as she over reacted terribly. I shall go and speak to her.”
There came a knock at the door.
“Your Grace!” Howard exclaimed.
“How is he?”
“Very possibly the sickest I have seen him.”
“What can be done?”
“Nothing except; your Grace I beg you, please allow Miss McGrath to return to the palace and let her bring comfort to your son in his last few weeks.”
“Forgive me, but I would say so.”
“You are suggesting that my Son has but a few weeks to live? You have been brainwashed by foolishness!”
“I am afraid that I think it is true. Please your Grace, sit with your son for a little while and you shall see.”
“But what is the point of sitting with someone who is unconscious?”
“That is what Miss Mallis said when Theodore first became ill.”
“Oh dear, I do believe that girl was not what she seemed and I shouldn’t like to be like her. Very well, I will sit with him for a little while.”
She took Mr Howard’s seat, pulling it closer to the bed and placing a hand to his cheek. He did not stir.
“He breathes very little.”
“I know. You know, it is often a good idea to continue talking to someone even when they are unconscious, perhaps he can still hear you.”
“Yes, it would be worth a try.”
“I think I would be the last person that he would want to hear.”
“What about the King.”
“The King? Oh he is always away.”
“But why your Grace?”
“Because, like I have, he has chosen to bury his head into the sand. Although, seeing him like this, I may have finally seen sense.”
“You- you have.”
“Yes, I have. Call for Miss McGrath immediately.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014