Author: Lady Eleanor Boleyn PM
A trip to the zoo can be more problematic than one might think, especially when the children get sick the following week... Angelic Demon Universe.Rated: Fiction K - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 1,013 - Published: 07-08-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2930703
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Lucy's eyes snap open and she lies, half-stunned, unable to work out why she's suddenly woken up. And then, through the crack in her bedroom door, she hears a low, painful moan. She knows who it is instantly. Miss Alexandra.
Sliding reluctantly from the warmth of her narrow truckle bed, she tiptoes down the landing and into the nursery. Miss Jessica is sleeping peacefully, but her three year old sister, Miss Alexandra, is not. Her little brow is glistening with sweat and she is thrashing around, firmly in the throes of a feverish nightmare.
Lucy sinks on to the end of the bed and gently starts to wake the girl, murmuring soothingly "It's all right, Miss Alexandra. It's all right. Lucy's here. I've got you. It's all right. Come back to me. Come back to me, Miss Alexandra."
At first, Alexandra seems to respond, leaning into Lucy's touch, calming even in her sleep, but then her small body goes rigid and she jerks upright, screaming herself hoarse as her eyes snap open.
"Shh! Shh! Miss Alexandra, shh. It's all right. I've got you. I've got you." Lucy rocks the tearful little girl in her arms, noting with worry how hot her forehead is as she presses her face into Lucy's shoulder.
"Marie not here! Marie not here!" At the little girl's words, Lucy looks around, alarmed. Marie is Alexandra's cloth cat and her most prized possession. If she doesn't have both Marie and Buttercup, her favourite doll, then there is no way of getting her off to sleep, which is tricky enough at the best of times. Thankfully, Marie appears quickly enough. She'd only fallen to the floor. However, Lucy is willing to bet that Alexandra's brain, wild with fever, has imagined a much worse fate for her beloved companion, so she decides to let her talk about it before giving her back.
"Why do you say that, hmm? Where's she gone?"
"Eaten. Marie eaten, Lucy! Eaten by elepants!"
"I knew taking her to the zoo was a bad idea." Lucy thinks, sighing under her breath. Not only has Alexandra been ill ever since; ill with excitement and over exhaustion and a fever, she has been terrified of the elephants, who figure prominently in every bad dream she has. However, hopefully, this dream can be banished to the dark corners of the night fairly easily, once Marie is back in her arms.
"Are you sure, Miss Alexandra? Because I can see Marie and I think she looks just fine. Here, look. She's fine, isn't she?"
Leaning down from the bed, Lucy picks Marie up and dusts her off. Then she hands her back to Alexandra, who crows with delight and clings to her. Lucy smiles despite her own tiredness and smooths the eiderdown with the flat of her hand.
"All right, Miss Alexandra. It's time you got some sleep. Goodnight."
"No! Lucy, don't leave! The elepants will get me!" Alexandra flings herself upright, clutching at the young woman's arms as she cries out in terror. Lucy slowly kneels down beside her.
"Miss Alexandra, the elephants can't get you. They're locked away in their cages at the zoo, remember? We've been through this."
"No, they not. They under my bed, Lucy!"
"I'll check for you, but I'm sure they're not." Lucy goes to look under the bed, knowing that if she doesn't, she'll never get the child off to sleep again. However, even that doesn't quiet Alexandra.
"They are, Lucy! Don't want to sleep here. Want to sleep with Mama!"
At Alexandra's demand, Lucy groans inwardly. The Master and Mistress have gone out for the night. They're not home, so there is no way Alexandra can sleep with them the way she would any other night she demands it. But she won't understand that. She will just scream and scream for them until she makes herself even sicker than she already is.
In fact, she has already started; screaming "Mama! Mama!" and throwing herself around in a tantrum until she is so hot with fevered emotion that she casts off her eiderdown entirely and threatens to hurl herself out of bed as well.
But then, Miss Jessica, who amazingly, has continued to sleep up until now, slips from under her own covers.
"Shh, Sandra. Please. Shh. You know Mama's not here tonight. She told us, remember?"
"Mama not here? She always here, Jessa." Alexandra is so startled by her sister's revelations that she actually stops crying and looks up at her sister, wounded.
"Not tonight. She and Papa have gone to London, remember? They're going to see David at school for his birthday. She told us that, remember? She said she was going to bring us a present home, remember. You wanted one of those dolls that look like the Princess Royal, didn't you?"
Alexandra nods reluctantly. Jessica smiles. "They'll be home tomorrow, you'll see. Until then, do you want to sleep with me? I won't let the elephants get you."
"Promise, Jessa?" By now, Alexandra's voice is little more than a sleepy rasp of a whisper. Jessica nods and kisses her little sister.
"I promise, Sandra."
Glancing at Lucy to ask her to pick her little sister up, Jessica goes back to her own bed, opening her arms to hold Alexandra close as Lucy lays her down beside her.
"You can go back to bed, Lucy. I'll look after her now."
The words are so grown up that Lucy's heart misses a beat before she bends to draw the covers up over the two girls, hoping against hope that this won't get Miss Jessica sick too.
"Thank you, Miss Jessica. I don't know what Nanny and I would do without you." she murmurs, before she slips from the room, back to her own bed.