Queen Evangeline kissed her husband’s cheek.
“We will mention the suggestion to Theodore and then I propose that we have afternoon tea together.”
Theodore smiled on hearing them converse normally. “How comforting it is to hear Mother and Father getting on. Oh Bonnie, how you must miss your own Mother and Brother. You have been away from them for weeks now.”
“I do a little, but I am also very contented here with you.”
Theodore smiled. “That was a kind thing to say, but you needn’t try to flatter me.”
“It is true, your Grace. You are a darling. Believe me, if I did not enjoy being in your company, I would not still be here.” She kissed his hand.
“I think you are very tired.”
“Well then, you must drink some water and sleep. I’ll stay with you and should I have to leave your side, I’ll ask Mr Howard to sit with you instead.”
“Ahem.” Bonnie stood up like a shot, curtsying as the King and Queen entered the room.
“Good day your Grace’s .” Bonnie curtsied once more.
She took a sharp glance at Bonnie, averting her eyes to Theodore. “Yes, it is quite pleasant today. Theodore, your Father and I have had an idea.”
“No, you have had an idea Evangeline.”
“Yes, well. Theodore as you wish to know why Miss Mallis returned to the palace, your Father and I have decided that we must find out. We have decided that as the weather has been a little dull of late and we have not entertained for so long, we will hold a social dinner and Miss Mallis and her family shall be invited.”
Theodore sighed. “What use is that? I am bedridden and probably look even worse than the last time she saw me.” He croaked.
“You are not fit to be there, but…”
“Well do as you must.”
“I feel it is necessary my son and Miss McGrath, you must join us.”
“Thank you for the invitation, but I would not be fit to be seen with such grand people. I would stick out like a sore thumb if ever there was one.”
Theodore frowned. “Do not put yourself down in such a way.”
“Unfortunately it is true. I am not far from a commoner, I cannot mix with the likes of lords and ladies. I will stay here with you and keep you company your Grace.”
“I would rather you had fun.”
Bonnie shook her head. “I will remain here by your side”
Queen Evangeline nodded. “That would be best I think. I will have invitations sent out today, over 24 hours of notice should be sufficient.”
“How I loved parties.” Theodore muttered.
“Your Grace, I shall leave your bedroom door ajar tomorrow so that we might hear the music.”
“That is a nice idea Bonnie.”
“Are you sure that you would not like some broth?”
“I feel a little sickly.”
“Water then.” Bonnie poured the glass of water and placed it to his lips. “Drink this, it should help. You know, sometimes dry foods such as crackers can help to settle your stomach.”
Theodore shook his head as Bonnie placed the glass down. Queen Evangeline placed a hand upon Bonnie’s shoulder.
“Thank you.” She mouthed. Bonnie nodded and smiled in return.
“Now I must leave the both of you. I should speak with Mr Howard and ask him to inform the servants of the menu for tomorrow. I dare say there will be ice cream and jellies left over, I know how much you like them Theodore.”
“Hmm, yes.” Theodore nodded as Evangeline planted a swift and slightly cold kiss upon Theodore’s brow.
“Hold me.” He whispered, his voice choked. “Do not kiss me as if you resent me Mother! I shall soon be gone.”
Bonnie bit her bottom lip as Queen Evangeline placed a hand to her stomach and slowly put her arm around Theodore’s shoulders.
“I never was one to show affection, I am afraid.”
Theodore paused, before resting his head upon her shoulder as she stroked his silky, chestnut tendrils.
“You are a brave young man my dear, you bear your illness with such courage.”
Bonnie sniffed, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief.
“Please come back later.”
“I will soon.” She adjusted his coverlet against his shoulder, straightening the ring upon his finger.
Bonnie seated herself at Theodore’s side.
“I wish I could bring you some comfort. Don’t be sad, I probably cannot even begin to understand your pain or…”
“My pain is fine, I am just feeling sorry for myself again, I suppose I feel trapped in a way.”
“I felt the same.”
“You know, Father said the similar thing. It was such a shame that the weather was so poor during his last few weeks of life, how it rained. He would have loved to have been outside, it was the summer but the weather was awful. I used to step outside in the showers and pick him small bunches of flowers, that cheered him up no end.”
“What comfort that brought to me your Grace. I can sense how afraid you are, but you needn’t be. Everything is under control now. Have faith and be strong.”
“How wise your Father is, I mean, seems from what you have told me. I hope that I shall meet him when I pass.”
“I am sure you will. I should probably leave you to sleep. You have dark circles around your eyes.”
“Then I will remain in the room, but sit by the fire and do some knitting. Little Aggie is curled up by the foot of the bed, bless her.”
“She is a good girl, very gentle. Hmm, yes. I’ll know that you are still here then.”
Bonnie seated herself in the chair, taking her knitting out of one of the empty bottom draws of the cabinet. Theodore reluctantly closed his eyes and settled down to sleep, unaware of his state of exhaustion.
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014