Copyright© 2011 by Texrep
I was getting frequent visits from Angela who seemed to be happy to have the opportunity to boss me around, yet at the same time was frustrated. "I have always dreamed of having a man helpless in bed, and here he is, too bloody helpless to do anything!" She complained bitterly. "Tony is wondering why I have turned into a nymphomaniac, not that he's complaining." We both laughed.
"Tell him to lie back and think of England." Angela smirked.
"He's not got the energy to think of anything. He's losing weight and so am I. All this action is doing us both a power of good."
I did have one problem. In hospital it was simple, you asked the nurse for a bottle and she brought it and closed the screens whilst you used it. In the hotel room I had to hobble to the bathroom. The plaster had a stirrup built in with a support just below the knee so that I didn't put pressure on the broken bone. Angela caught me the second time I was making that perilous journey.
"Oh no you don't, Mister!" She was adamant. I was then almost carried to the bathroom where Angela refused to leave. "Don't be so silly, Greg. You need support and it's not as if I haven't seen one before. Now come on let's get this show on the road. I won't look." Of course she looked, she was a woman. After she looked there was silence then she whispered in shock. "Bloody hell, Greg! I've never seen one as nice as that. That could make some woman very happy." I was blushing anyway so my face could not get any redder than it was.
Millie came to see me too, not as often as Angela, but in some ways I enjoyed her visits more than the ebullient Angela. I was sitting in the chair, there was no need to stay in bed all the time; when Millie knocked the door and entered. She came in carrying one of my cushions. I had forgotten all about the samples I carried in the car. She put my mind at rest.
"As soon as we heard about the accident, John went down to make sure if you were alright. He stayed until the breakdown crew came to load your car and before they took it, he and I got all your possessions out of the car. He was concerned that your stuff could disappear once the car was at the pound. We have put them in one of the storerooms." She indicated the cushion, it was a rich red silk with a heraldic badge embroidered onto it and fringed with three inch gold bullion. "I could not get over how beautiful these cushions are. They must be very expensive."
"That one will sell in the shops at about one hundred and fifty."
Millie was shocked. "How much?" I repeated the price. "Golly! If I had known that I would have tried to be more careful. I'm afraid that this one got caught on the boot lid." She held it up so I could see. The bullion had been torn slightly away from the body.
"Don't worry about it. The insurance will cover everything." Millie looked worried even so.
"I could repair it." She offered. "I studied needlework at college. It was about the only thing I was good at."
"You really don't need to do that, Millie. It's only a sample."
"Please let me? I would take care."
"Well if you wish, but you don't have to bother." Mille continued to examine the cushion.
"They are lovely, and if I am right that embroidery is done by hand."
"Yes. There are machines that can do it, but to justify the cost of setting it up we would have to do dozens at a time. Our orders tend to be in multiples of tens, rather than hundreds."
"Do many ask for their own coat of arms?"
"Yes. We have supplied more than one or two Dukes and Earls." I grinned. "Even the Palace."
That stopped Millie and she sat there with her mouth open. "You mean Buckingham Palace?"
"Yes. The one that sits at the end of the Mall."
"Does that mean you have met... ?"
"No." I laughed. "I have only been twice and that was to meet the Clerk of Works when they were re-furbishing the State Rooms. I thought she might have popped in to offer me a cup of tea, but she wasn't around." We laughed. Millie got up.
"While you are up I'll change your bed." She left and returned quickly with some bed linen and clean towels. Quickly she stripped the bed and remade it. "Are you happy sitting there or do you want to get into bed?" I bit my tongue as the flippant reply 'only if you get in as well' came to my mind.
"No I'll stay here for a while." She collected the dirty sheets and towels.
"I must get on, what would you like for dinner this evening? John says you can have anything you want as long as it's not foreign." Typical John. But I knew that if I asked for Lasagne he would make the best Lasagne I had ever tasted, but wouldn't he grumble about it?
"I don't get that hungry, but if he would plate up whatever he thinks I would like, please tell him a small portion would be good."
"From what I have heard a small portion is something you don't need to worry about." She blushed and got flustered. "Oh. I shouldn't have said that." I smiled.
"Don't worry. I won't tell Angela." At the door she turned.
"Why do I get on with you so well? I shouldn't after the way I treated you."
"I don't threaten you, and you don't threaten me. It's simple. We can be friends without the ogre in the background." She nodded.
"Yes. That must be it."
Millie brought my meal tray most evenings and would return half an hour later to collect the dirty dishes. At these times she started to linger and we talked. Gradually the whole of her married history was revealed and I grew angry at the way her husband treated her. He was one of those men who believed that a wife was a chattel that he owned along with the furniture. Someone who had no rights except to keep the house clean, cook his meals and become a receptacle for his sperm whenever he chose; nor complain when he took the fancy to deposit his sperm in another woman's body. That Millie worked as well; contributing to the household budget was of no consequence to him, sharing the household work didn't enter into his philosophy. I would sometimes, when she questioned me talk about my wife and describe her actions. We neither realised that these conversations acted as a catharsis, healing our respective wounds. Neither did either of us become aware of the eagerness to be together and just talk.
The day dawned in early November when I was finally allowed to hobble outside with a walking stick. I believed I could have walked much earlier, but Angela, supported by Millie had strongly vetoed any attempt at that. It was a cool clear day with a sharp bite in the air as I made my laborious way into the garden attended by my two nurses. I was wrapped up warmly; even so I would have ignored the cold just for the delight of breathing fresh air once more. We took the long way round to Arthur's throne, the direct path being deemed too steep for me. I sank thankfully onto the bench, not that I would let them know that it had taxed my strength. Millie produced from her pocket a packet of cigarettes and my lighter. I shook my head.
"Thanks for the thought, Millie. But after going without for nearly two months I can't see the point of starting again." Angela and Millie were wreathed in smiles.
"Good for you Greg." Angela remarked. "When you finally kiss Millie, she won't taste your cigarette smoke."
"Pardon?" The shock was plain in my voice.
"Angela! What a thing to say." Millie remonstrated. Angela shrugged her shoulders.
"You two have been dancing around each other like moths to the light bulb. Neither of you know what's good for you, or won't recognise it. I just put into words the thoughts neither of you can utter. I've got to do the accounts now. Give me a call if you want help getting back."