“Mother, I am going to go for a little walk I think.”
“Yes of course, it will do you good to be outside in the open. It is not so cold today.”
“That is what I thought. I wont be longer than an hour, so if I have not returned, feel free to send a search party out looking for me.”
Maira laughed. “You should eat before you go.”
“You’re right. I will have an apple then. There.” Bonnie bit into the fruit, chewing slowly.
“Very well then, do not forget your shawl.”
“I’ll take my bonnet too. It will keep my ears warm.”
“Oh, Bonnie, thank you for helping Andrew with his homework.”
“I was glad that I could.”
Bonnie bid her Mother fair well, placing a kiss upon her cheek, heading towards the small cemetery, picking a small bunch of wild flowers along the way. She reached the familiar headstone, seating herself beside it.
“I don’t know if this shall do much good Father, as you are not in the ground, but in the air somewhere or so I believe. Anyway, I came to ask for some guidance as you would have known what to do, I am sure of it. I am sure that you have been overlooking everything as you said that you would before…” Bonnie cleared her throat. “Anyhow, I have not come here to ask and pray for things that I know are impossible. I mean, asking for his Grace to get well would be pointless as- as he only has little time, but please let me be able to see him again and…” She paused, wiping away a tear.
“Let him die painlessly and peacefully, for I could not bear it if he were to suffer as you did. That is all I ask, I hope that you are happy in heaven and when it is his time, please…please come and get him. Oh it is probably impossibility, but I thought I’d try. Mother misses you terribly, I know she does. I hear her crying every night in her sleep and it breaks my heart!”
Mr Howard paused, before knocking on the door of Bonnie’s home. Maira looked up from her knitting, placing it down on the chair arm and went to answer the door.
“My goodness! Mr Howard.”
“Yes, might I come in.”
“Absolutely. Although, Bonnie has just gone out.”
“Ah, I wished to speak with her.”
“Well, I know where she is. We shall find her, follow me, I’ll just get my shawl.”
Bonnie sat there, in the cemetery as her Mother and Mr Howard approached her, she jumped up.
“My God! He’s not…”
“Thank heavens, it’s just… it is early.”
“I am afraid that his Grace has taken a very bad turn.”
“I discovered him to be in a very bad way. Miss McGrath, he needs you. As-as you know, he has very little time, but I am relieved to tell you, that after a little persuasion on my part, the Queen has agreed to let you return to the palace.”
Bonnie bounced up, placing her arms around Mr Howard’s neck.
“Oh you dear man! How can I ever thank you?”
He laughed. “There is no need. To see you and his Grace sitting happily together once more will be thanks enough.”
“Am I allowed to come directly?”
“Yes, yes of course. I brought the horse and cart.”
Maira paused. “Bonnie dear one moment before you go.” She scurried into the bedroom to retrieve some items.
“Here now, here is a small bag of lemon sherbet sweets, some bed socks for warmth; they have never been worn. I-I made them for your Father. There is also a lavender bag here, I often find that they help to cure any headaches, should I have them. You must take them to his Grace. I put them aside a few weeks ago, I knew they would come in handy.”
“Thank you Mother, oh you are a dear! He does not have any, so that will be of great help and he will be very touched I am sure. Goodbye.”
“Fairwell my Bonnie, remember look after yourself.”
She climbed up beside Mr Howard.
“Mr Howard, when- when you said he has taken a turn for the worst…”
“He is so weak, and now there is a little blood.” He whispered.
“Blood? Good God.” Bonnie muttered, clutching the small bundle of items. “His pain is under control though, is it not?”
“I hate to tell you, but that is the worst of it. Do not be alarmed, but his majesty seems to be in agony, more pain than he has ever been in before and- and he is barely conscious, he slips in and out of consciousness more than I’d like to say. It is probably linked to his pain.”
“But like I said, seeing you again will make a great deal of difference.”
“I’ll help him the best I can.”
“I know that you will.”
“How much time has the Queen spent with him?”
“Very little I am afraid.”
Bonnie gathered her skirts, cautiously entering the bedroom. Her face fell as she pulled a chair up to his bedside, Theodore lay there, so pale, clammy and so very still. Bonnie kissed his hand, running her fingers over the ring upon his finger, stroking the sleeping Aggie by his side. She held his hand and patted her cat’s head once more.
“Hello your Grace, I see that Aggie has been good and is keeping you company while you sleep. You are much changed since I saw you last my dear and I am sorry to see it. I am trying to recall the last thing that we said to one another so I might remember where we left off. Oh gosh, I told you that I had no choice but to leave. I will never forget that scared, confused look upon your face before I left, well I am back now and I promise that I shall not go away again. I wish to stay with you until the end.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014