I just rubbed her back in support. It would take her a long time to heal. Tudor took that opportunity to wrap his arms around me from behind and whisper in my ear, "Do you want a drink, gorgeous?"
I nodded, unable to talk due to his ever-tongue-tying presence, and he slipped away to fetch it after placing a kiss on my cheek.
Samantha had caught our little exchange and, smiling eagerly, waved me over to the other side of the room, obviously wanting to indulge in some juicy gossip about me and the Hollywood hulk.
I made my excuses to Pamela, and just as I was about to walk over to the bubbly blonde, a slight touch to my arm halted me in my tracks. I peered down to see Boleyn. She looked pale and frail, and her face was bruised and cut. I swallowed the lump in my throat to stop from bursting into tears.
I forced myself to plaster on a convincing smile and went to ask how she was, when she beat me to it. "Ms. Munro, can I show you my new room?"
She could barely meet my eyes. I could see she was wracked with guilt, and it didn't take a genius to realise it was because of our little showdown a few weeks back.
I nodded enthusiastically and gestured with my hand for her to lead the way, and we walked out the door. She headed up the stairs, glancing back frequently to make sure I was there – the poor thing was a bag of nerves.
I saw movement out of the corner of my eye in the hallway, and as I reached the final step on the first level, I glanced down to see Tudor carrying my drink back to the front room. We caught his attention, and he looked up, surprised, before his face melted into a small smile.
Boleyn shouted down, "Tudor, do you mind if I show Ms. Munro my new bedroom?"
He shook his head and smiled. "Of course not, sweetheart. I'll just be down here if you need me, okay?"
She pulled her mouth up in a shy smile, nodded and headed up the next flight of stairs.
Tudor winked at me and mouthed 'I love you' as I followed his sister, his words causing me to trip over the top step. I grabbed onto the banister for support as my knees hit the carpet, and I quickly looked down to see if anyone saw my little fumble.
Tudor stood against the wall, holding back his chuckle, and I proceeded to flip him the middle finger. He whispered loudly, "Glad I can knock you off your feet, gorgeous!"
I pretended to laugh and then let my face drop to show I wasn't amused. Twat!
I dusted off my knees and turned the corner to run after Boleyn, but unfortunately she had stopped to wait and had fully witnessed my fall and my little tête-à-tête with her elder brother. She was looking a bit surprised, but a faint grin showed that she had found it amusing too.
Glad to be of service!
Boleyn led me to a heavy-paneled door at the very top of the house which led to a converted loft space. As we entered the room, I gasped. It was stunning. I knew Tudor and Henry had been working for the last few days on redecorating a new room for their recovering little sister, one as far away from her old room as was possible, but what they had achieved was incredible.
I must remember to give Tudor a little extra in the boudoir for creating this!
Boleyn walked to the middle of the room, and I couldn’t help but notice how in only a few days she had changed so much. She was wearing baggy black leggings and a loose brown cardigan that dwarfed her tiny frame. She had pulled the sleeves down low on her arms, the cuffs covering half of her hand, which she kept bringing to her mouth. Her dark hair was unkempt and pushed back in a tight knot.
I moved further into the room, which still smelt of fresh paint, and admired the sky-blue walls and framed family photos that adorned the walls. As I moved to the rear of the room I gasped and stopped at a large glass ornament of a sunflower.
I reached out my hand to touch it, and Boleyn came and stood next to me, announcing in a small voice, "Tudor gave me that today; it's beautiful, isn’t it? He said if I get upset or I can't cope that I should look at this flower and remember that I can get through anything.”
Boleyn met my gaze with sadness in her eyes, her sleeve once again in her mouth. "Tudor said that you are like a sunflower to him; strong, bright and beautiful, and a reminder to everyone that the sun will always shine again, no matter what happens” she admitted, smiling shyly.
"He really said that?" I whispered, staring at the way the light reflected off the coloured petals, and she nodded.
"Yeah, just today," she replied, and she moved to sit on the sofa under the window.
At least I now know why he calls me Sunshine.
I finished nosey-ing around her new room and sat beside her. She curled up her legs on the couch and moved to face me, bottom lip trembling and water filling her sad eyes. I took her hand in support.
"Ms. Munro, I'm so sorry for shouting at you in class and for what I said."
I shook my head. "No, darling. Don't apologise–"
She gripped my hand tighter. "Please, I need to say this. I just want you to know that I wish I had never said those things. I don't want you to leave, and Tudor told me that he loves you. Please don’t leave him because of me."
I squeezed her hand. "Now you listen to me, young lady, I never, ever want you to apologise again." I bent my head to meet her lowered gaze. "You can talk to me about anything, and I mean anything, okay?"
She lowered her head and wiped her nose with a tissue she took from the coffee table in front of us.
I continued, "What happened to you was despicable, Boleyn; someone your age should not have to deal with it, and for that I am so angry and upset at the universe. But I also know from experience that feeling so low and scared over something you’ve been through won't last forever if you don't let it.