“Bonnie, do not worry about me now, what an ordeal.” He muttered.
“It was not so bad your Grace.”
“Thank you as always for your gentle assistance.”
“It is my pleasure. Sleep now, my dear.”
Bonnie took both of his hands in hers, stroking them with her thumbs, before letting go and returning to her room.
Theodore overheard the sound of footsteps some hours later, aware that it must be morning. He froze, it was not Bonnie.
“I felt that I should come and see you, it has been a while.”
“Yes, yes it has.” He muttered.
“Dearest, I am very sorry. I know that you must still be cross with me but…”
“I am not so cross, not any more. Pray tell me, what is the time?”
“8.15 am, Then, I am glad. I can see that she has been taking good care of you.”
“I am exceedingly lucky. Bonnie is the best nurse.”
“Yes, I am sure she is. How do you feel in yourself?”
“My pain does not cease. In body I am not well, but in mind and spirit I am most content, thank you.”
Bonnie stirred, woken by the beam of light pouring across the carpet. She dressed and knocked on Theodore’s bedroom door.
“Come in.” Came the voice of a female.
Bonnie poked her head around the door, to see the Queen seated in a chair by Theodore, who was propped up comfortably in bed.
“Good morning.” Bonnie curtsied.
“Good day. Theodore was just asking for you. You’ve managed a little tea to drink haven’t you?”
“Yes, it was pleasant.”
“Well, I should leave you both.”
“No Mother, please stay, for a while longer, half an hour perhaps.”
“Very well, I will if it pleases you.”
“Shall I go?” Bonnie suggested.
“That is kind, you needn’t be long, perhaps you could get a little breakfast Miss McGrath, you must be hungry.”
Bonnie attempted to recall the last time that she had eaten, but could not.
“Of course.” She curtsied, leaving Theodore in the company of his Mother.Theodore smiled a small smile.
“What is it dear?”
“She is a character.”
“Yes, she seems to be. Are you still enjoying her company?”
“That would be an understatement. She is my rock and reassurance. I could not have asked for a better friend.”
“What is it?”
“Just a little aching, I will be fine in a moment.”
“It is worse than before?”
“Much. Sorry, I do not mean to complain or make a fuss.”
“I am sure that you don’t. Well, perhaps you should have a little nap and Bonnie will come up stairs again soon.”
“Mother please do not rush off. I miss you so.”
“Oh.” Queen Evangeline placed her hand on top of his, comparing the size of her own wrist to his. She shook her head.
“What are you doing?”
“I am sorry to see you looking so thin and pale my son.”
“I’ll warm more towels. I imagine that you will need one for your sprained ankle.”
“Gosh, sorry, I woke you.”
“Bonnie, you needn’t do that.”
“Let her, your Grace. She wants to look after you.”
“John?” Theodore whispered, was it him?
“Hmm? Here now, they are a lovely temperature, but you could really do with a bandage.”
“A little gentler.”
“No thank you, not for the time being.”
“Then, I will go.”
“Ask her to read to you, I think she’d like that very much.”
“Perhaps you could read to me, it has been a while has it not.”
“I’d love to, I thought you’d never ask. Perhaps I should tell you another story.”
“Ask Bonnie to tell you the tale of how we found Aggie.”
Theodore stroked Aggie who sat upon Bonnie’s lap.
“How did you know she was there?”
“I could hear her purring.”
“Gosh she is quiet, you must have excellent hearing.”
“Probably, to compensate for my blindness. How did you find this little one?”
“Aggie? Oh gosh, well Father found her. It just so happened that he was walking home from work when he came across a woman with a sack in her hand, about to lower it into a stream. Father thought nothing of it, until the sack started to move. Father told her to put it down immediately and she did. After speaking to her, he discovered that little Aggie had not been suckling from her Mother and the woman thought it best to put her out of her misery, rather than have her starve to death. Anyhow, Father rescued her. You should have heard my squeal of delight, when Father came home with little Aggie in his arms.”
“She seems healthy now.”
“Oh yes she is.”
“I am very glad that you were saved Aggie.” She purred and pressed her damp nose against his as he stroked her back. “What is the weather like?”
“Please, take me outside.”
“Your Mother would not allow it.”
“Please.” He begged, in a voice so desperate that Bonnie could not resist.
“S-she might then, if Mr Howard and I accompanied you.”
“I shall use the bath chair and wrap up warm. No further harm can come to me.”
“Perhaps we could just stay stationary on the grass, rather than us taking a walk if there is a chance that it might rain.”
“A good idea Bonita, yes, we shall do that. Please ring for Mr Howard.”
“How can I be of assistance?”
“I am desperate for fresh air, I cannot stand being indoors any longer.”
“You are not safe to walk, your Grace.”
“I know, but we have the bath chair.”
“I will accompany you both and if you are safely seated and wrapped up warm, then you shall come to no harm.”
Bonnie and Mr Howard bundled Theodore up in layers. Bonnie fetched her bonnet, shawl and gloves.
“How are you at pushing wheelchairs?”
“I have little experience. Perhaps we should allow Mr Howard to do it.”
“That is probably best.”
Bonnie took Theodore’s gloved hand in hers as they exited from one of the side doors of the castle. Theodore inhaled deeply, a wide smile spreading across his pale face.
“Marvellous, oh that is divine, to feel the cool air upon my cheeks is quite delicious!”
“It is a little colder than I had thought.”
“Nonsense, it will be very refreshing and how lovely it is to hear the birds tweeting away.”
“I cannot believe you brought Aggie.” Bonnie laughed. ” She looks like a little Queen! Shall we sit here Mr Howard?”
“Yes a very good idea, we will have the oak tree for shelter if it rains.”
“I cannot remember the last time I was outside.”
“It must have been a month ago, at least your Grace.”
“I suspect.” Theodore rubbed his neck.
“My head is so heavy, it feels like it might fall from my neck.”
“What a funny thing to say.” Bonnie crouched beside him. “Here now, you may rest your head upon my shoulder.”
He did so, as he nestled into her neck, inhaling the smell of her clean, warm clothing and freshly washed hair. Bonnie in return, placed her arm around him, so it rested against the back of the chair.
“Is that better?”
“Much, this is beautiful. I cannot think of a better way to spend half an hour or so, than being sat outside on a pretty day, with two dear friends. No three! How could I forget Aggie? If I should die here and now, then I should not think it to be a bad thing.”
Bonnie sensed the tears gathering in her eyes, but flicked them away. “Shall I describe the garden to you?”
“I would like that.”
“The sky is the purest blue, with clusters of woolly, soft clouds. The sun is hiding somewhere, but you wouldn’t think it. To your left on the edge of the fountain, stands a little robin. I think he is contemplating whether or not to have a little bath in the shallow part. The poor chap will get a shock if he dares to enter the water.”
Theodore laughed. “I bet.”
“Do you wish to go inside?”
“No not at all, I am relishing this. Oh simple things.” Bonnie looked up at him, stroking his thin cheek.“I shall never forget the first time that you persuaded me to go into the gardens again, what a silly man I was. I do not know why I was so scared.”
“If I were in your shoes, I would not have wanted to go outside either.
“My, that wind has grown so strong, it is coming from the North. The North Wind calls once more. I feel that it is lingering and trying to find me.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014