Mr Turner recited the list back to them, as the trio nodded in agreement.
“Is that satisfactory your Grace?”
“Oh more than that, it is perfect. I am so very relieved. Mother, please ask Miss McGrath to return.”
“I just need your signature your Grace.”
Queen Evangeline placed her hand upon Theodore’s shoulder. “I will help you to hold the quill.”
“Thank you Mother.”
“That’s it. There now, it is a done deed.”
A freshly bathed Bonnie re-entered the room, clad in a new dress.
“Oh my goodness!” She exclaimed, smoothing the luxurious fabric.
Theodore smiled. “Yes, ahem. I organised for Mother to place a little something on your Bed. She has just left.”
Bonnie looked down at the emerald green dress, still unable to believe her eyes, plain, but beautifully made, the dress was perfect.
“I thank you, but I do not deserve this.”
“Bonnie, you deserve the earth.” Theodore muttered. “I thought the green would suit your colouring very well my friend. Mother described it to me, and Bonnie?”
“In your wardrobe, you will find another gown of a different fashion, equally as elegant but.. it is black.” He whispered, biting his bottom lip. “I suspect that you will be needing it soon. I loathe black at funerals, despise it even, but being royal, I am afraid that I had no choice in the matter.”
“Do not worry, it is tradition. We wore black at Fathers funeral.”
“I loathe black, a funeral should be a celebration of someone’s life don’t you think?”
“Hmm, yes I agree.”
“Sorry, your Grace what were you agreeing with? You mean it is tradition?”
“Ahem, um yes.” But of course, he was agreeing with the voice that whispered in his left ear, as he sensed the caring hand upon his shoulder, a strong, male hand.
“I think you have had too much excitement for one day, you must eat and sleep.”
“What would you like, some more ice cream or..”
“I have no appetite.” He muttered.
“Oh dear, well, have some water and another sweet.”
Bonnie placed the sweet into his mouth. “There now.”
“Don’t leave me, not yet.”
Bonnie wiped the tears away from his eyes, singing a gentle lullaby, one which her Mother used to sing while cradling her in her arms before the fire. He exhaled, Bonnie waited for his next breath, it did not come.
“You- your Grace!” She touched the side of his face, jumping back as he gasped, taking in a large gulp of air.
“My God!” She placed a trembling hand to his chest, thank God, it rose and fell once more.
“Please, it is not quite your time.” She whispered taking his hand in hers and kissing it tenderly. She placed it to her cheek, stroking those slim fingers, desperately trying to warm it in hers, but it was no use.“You are so cold my dear.” She soothed.
“Cold, not I.” He smiled.
“But you feel it, your hands feel like they have been sitting in an ice box.”
“Oh, how the North wind blows.” Theodore sighed “He is looking, he searches for me high and low.”
“Shall- shall I ring for your Mother and Father or Mr Howard?”
Theodore gazed at the man at the foot of the bed, the man with the warm sincere eyes and beautiful, silky, groomed brown hair.
“Everything is in hand.”
“John, John McGrath.” Theodore muttered.
“John.” He repeated, holding out his arm. Bonnie glanced at his hand, but there was nothing there. But to Theodore he was, as clear as day, he smiled at him as John placed a hand upon his shoulder, diminishing every ounce of pain in his body, invisible to the human eye. Bonnie placed her arm under Theodore’s neck to hold him up as John continued to rest his hand upon his shoulder. Theodore nestled in to Bonnie as she lovingly kissed his forehead. One of the ornaments fell from above the fire place, clattering onto the floor, swaying from side to side like a drunkard. There came a heavy pitter patter of footsteps as Mr Howard rushed into the room, followed by the King and Queen. Bonnie did not look at them, but continued to nurse Theodore.
“Your Grace, do not fear.”
“It breaks my heart to see you like this.”
“Shhh Bonnie, it is meant to be. We have a little time together yet.”
“I hope so, there are so many things that I wish to say but.”
“You are afraid to say them?”
“Please say them.” He croaked as he gasped for breath. Bonnie placed the water to his lips once more, dabbing his cold, damp brow with a warm cloth.
“Well.” Bonnie sniffed. “It has been an absolute joy being with you. At first we may have had our differences, but we soon came to your senses.”
Theodore nodded, writhing as the threw his head back and groaned. Bonnie held his hand, continuing to dab his brow, stroking his hair.
“The pain will pass, at present you are almost delirious with the pain as I was, but it will go soon and you shall be at peace.”
Bonnie placed her arm under his neck to hold him up. “Shhh, shhhh. There, there my dear.” She coaxed, kissing his cheek. “I am here.”
“I’m so scared.” He whimpered. “So, so terrified.”
Bonnie gazed at his twitching limbs which jerked underneath the covers. She held him a little tighter, like a Mother cradling her sick child.
“That is helping.” He muttered, closing his eyes momentarily as the bitter tears rolled down his gaunt cheeks.
“I am glad that it brings you some comfort. I recall Mother holding Father when….” She froze, too afraid to say the next sentence.
“Yes, my beautiful wife held me to her when I died. It was the most peaceful way to die, so comforting. In the end it was just like I had gone to sleep, I think I had.”
“Your Father was so kind, so good.” Theodore muttered, appearing to gaze hazily at Bonnie.
“Yes, yes he was. He was a darling of a man and now he is in heaven.”
“Soon I will be.”
“Yes my dear, but my Father will look after you, for I have already asked him.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014