"Can I get out of bed now?" I begged the nurse a few days later.
She looked at my ankle while Angel waited nervously. "Well, the swelling has gone down. Not as much as I had hoped, but it's something. You're doing awful with those crutches, though." I glared at the sticks of wood. "How about we do a wheelchair for now?"
"What's a wheelchair?" Angel asked and a servant arrived with one.
It's exactly what it sounded like. It looked like a regular dining chair but had two large wheels on either side. There were also flat pieces at the front that I assumed were for my feet to rest on. She and Angel helped me get in it and I moved around until I was comfortable.
"My legs are itching to move, though," I complained and the nurse laughed a little.
"I'll show you a few exercises you can do," she said. "For your left leg, though, you're going to need help."
"I can live with that," I said quickly.
For the next half hour, she showed me the different stretches I would do. Angel offered to help with my left leg and it didn't take long for me to get sick with pain. The nurse - who I had no idea why she wasn't a doctor - had created a special tonic for nausea.
"Will you show me what's in that?" Angel asked in interest and she smiled.
"I'd love to someday. All right, you're free to move around the castle. Luckily, this room is on the first floor so you don't have to worry about stairs."
As Angel wheeled me out of the room, I realized I hadn't even thought about what floor I was on.
"We have three rooms like that for when people need medical care," she said and I smiled. She definitely had some of her mother in her. "Where do you want to go?"
"Somewhere outside," I answered right away.
Servants bowed to us as we made our way to the back. There were small handles on the chair and I could see the engagement ring I made her out of the corner of my eye. I felt sad knowing our wedding would be put on hold because of it all.
She pushed me through the gardens and showed me her favorite flowers. Then she took me to a part of the gardens I hadn't seen before.
"These are the herbal gardens," she explained. "This is where the nurse has been getting the herbs to make your medicines."
"About that," I said. "I want a word with the king. She shouldn't be just a nurse. She should be a doctor."
She looked at me. "Women aren't usually doctors."
I lifted an eyebrow. "The only men that have helped me are servants putting cool rags on me or changing the sheets."
She smiled and bent down to kiss me. I sighed, putting my hand on the back of her neck. She touched my cheek, a simple touch that felt invigorating nevertheless. When she pulled away, I tucked some hair behind her ear.
"It's getting too long for me," she said, pulling at it a little. "I'm thinking about trimming it."
I stared at her. In our culture, there was only one reason a woman would cut her hair. I ran my fingers from the roots down to the tips.
"It's beautiful," I said. "Don't do that."
"You really like it that much?" she asked and I nodded. She smiled. "Okay. I won't cut it. And we'll talk to my father about making Amelia the doctor."
"So that's her name!" I said and she laughed, wheeling me back to the castle.
"I thought you knew."
"Nope." I leaned my head back so it rested on her stomach and she laughed gently. I smiled at the feel of the wind and the scent of the flowers. Even though it was a little hot, the feel of the sun on my face felt great. "I'm so glad to be out of that room."
Bryan, Jr. saw me first. The kids were all gathered around a woman holding up a picture of flowers. She looked irritated, though, when all the kids ran over to me.
"You're out of bed!" Kevin yelled happily as Sally hugged Angel.
Angel picked her up and let Sally put a sloppy kiss on my cheek then nestled her head on Angel's bosom. I frowned. Her eyes were half closed and her thumb was in her mouth. Angel noticed, too, and pushed the hair out of Sally's red face, feeling her cheeks.
"Are you okay, Sally?" she asked.
I beckoned the tutor over when Sally just shook her head and snuggled closer to Angel.
"I'm trying to teach these children, Sir David," she snapped and Angel glared at her tone.
I pointed to Sally and tried to keep from yelling at her. "Are you aware this little girl is overheated?"
Angel sighed. "Why didn't you say anything, sweetheart?"
"I like flowers," she said in a weak voice.
I shook my head firmly. "No." I glared at the tutor. The guilty look on her face told me right away she knew. "Classes like these can be held inside, ma'am. I've known too many people in the village who got sick over things like this. I can't tell you what to do, but I highly suggest you move into one of the empty rooms in the castle. As it so happens, I'm on my way to the king," I added and she flushed.
"Yes, sir," she grumbled and motioned angrily for the kids to follow her.
I clenched my jaw but swallowed my anger in front of Sally who looked on the verge of tears.
"We'll have some water sent to you guys," I promised. "Nice cold water."
"You're not mad at Miss Rena, are you?" Sally asked, her lower lip trembling.
Angel balanced Sally on her hip so she could push me into the castle.
"It's very important that you stay healthy, Sally," Angel said. Her voice was even but I knew she was as mad as I was. "Miss Rena should know that."
"I like her, though," Sally whispered.
"We're not mad," I lied and Sally smiled a little. "I'll wait here. Go ahead and take her to the room."
Angel nodded and I frowned after them. How could Rena not recognize the signs of overheating? Sally could have gotten seriously ill. I had seen children die of heat stroke.
"Can you have a large pitcher of ice water sent to the room where they moved the outdoor class, please?" I asked a servant.
"Yes, Sir David."
"And a cold rag. The little girl is overheated."
The servant's eyes widened and she ran to do as I asked. I hated lying to Sally but she would just be more upset if I told her my true feelings with Rena.
Angel returned and she pushed me toward the throne room. She was shaking slightly and her fingers were white from gripping the handles on the wheelchair.
"Sally threw up," she told me and I gripped my hands in my lap.
"Is Rena new?" I asked, not bothering to hide my anger anymore.
"No. That's what upsets me the most. She was muttering about village children," she spat.
"I bet I know what she was saying," I said through clenched teeth.
"Me too, my love."
"A servant is taking water and a cold rag there," I said, leaning my head against her stomach again. "I'll send Amelia to check over Sally, though." I shut my eyes, not able to stop a tear from falling. "If Sally gets ill, too, it'll be my fault."
"No," Angel said firmly, stopping and standing in front of me. She put her hands on either side of my face. "No, David. It wouldn't be your fault. It's Rena's. She knows better. Amelia has done so much to help you. If Sally does get sick, she'll make her better. Okay?"
I nodded and she wiped the few tears away. She kissed me and I returned it.
"Let's go talk to my parents."
When we went in, Miranda and Roland were sitting on their thrones. When they saw us, they smiled.
"David!" Miranda said and they came over. "You're out of bed! What's this chair you're in?"
"We have something more serious to discuss first," I said angrily and their smiles disappeared. "It seems one of your tutors doesn't want to be teaching the kids."
"What do you mean?" Roland asked.
"We saw the kids outside," Angel said and told them what happened. "I think, and David agrees, she's unhappy because they're village kids."
Miranda's face went dark. "We'll speak with her."
"So, tell us about this chair," Roland said quickly when he saw Miranda's face.
"Amelia calls it a wheelchair," I answered. "By the way, I'd like to make a formal request of the king."
Roland stared. "A formal request? David, you're part of this family. You don't have to go through that process. What's wrong?"
"Angel told me that doctors aren't normally women." They nodded. "Amelia has been with me since day one. I haven't had one man take care of me the way she does. Why is she not a doctor?"
They looked at each other.
"It never crossed our minds, to be honest," Miranda answered.
"My formal request is that Amelia be given the title of Doctor."
Angel ran her hand through my hair again and I leaned my head back again. Her doing that brought me comfort and peace.
"You have a very kind heart, David," Roland said and turned to a guard. "Please summon Amelia."
It took her less than five minutes. I was proud of her: the first thing she did was run to me, ignoring the royal family.
"What is it?" she asked. "Where does it hurt, David?"
"It doesn't," I assured her and she looked to the king and queen.
"Have I done something wrong?" she asked.
"David told me how much you've done for him," the king began and she blushed.
"I'm just doing my job."
"No," I said quietly. "You have been saving my life."
"If I remember correctly," Miranda said, "you came to us from a long line of nurses and doctors." Amelia nodded, looking confused. "David has made a formal request and we have agreed to it."
"What was the request?"
"That you become the doctor," I said and she dropped her bag.
"Me?" she whispered. "You want me to be the doctor?"
"We do," Angel said. "Not many know for it hasn't been formally announced yet, but David and I are getting married. You have been saving my husband."
Amelia started to cry. "It's been my dream to be a doctor but I'm a woman and we're not-"
I grimaced. "Amelia, please. I don't care if you're a woman. You're saving my life. Will you accept?"
"Of course!" she said then blushed.
"Then there's one thing I would like to ask you to do as your first task as the doctor," I said seriously. "There's a little girl that I'm very worried about."
I told her briefly what happened and her face turned indignant.
"And she did nothing!?"
I nodded grimly. "Please go check on Sally. She means a lot to me."
"Of course," she said. "You should get some rest, though. You're looking too pale."
"As the doctor orders," I smiled and she beamed.
Angel helped me back into bed but, before she went to get our dinner, she grabbed the front of my shirt. She kissed me passionately, leaving me a little breathless.
"What was that for?"
"You're such a wonderful man," she whispered, kissing me again. "I'll be back with our dinner."