Last time Bill, Allie and the children arrived in Wales to stay with the Evans on their farm.
The next day, there was a nasty shock for Bill and Allie, especially Allie. She was in the barn with Mrs Evans when the barn door slammed on her hand. Bill hadn’t been present, he had been on the other side of the farm. He rushed over when he heard her scream. She was very white and cradling her hand against her chest.
“It was the barn door,” Mrs Evans said, almost as white as Allie. “It mustn’t have been secured properly, and it’s blown shut in the wind, right on her hand, look you!”
Bill managed to convince a very shocked and pain filled Allie to allow him to gently examine her hand and announced that he would have to take her to the hospital at Merthyr Tydfil and get an x-ray done.
Soon, they were in the car, Bill driving as quickly as he dared as Allie sat in the passenger seat in pain, her arm strapped against her chest in Bill’s best first aid attempts.
Bill had studied maps of the area before they arrived, and so he knew the rough location of the hospital; it was to the south-east of Cyfarthfa Castle. With that in his mind it wasn’t too difficult for him to find the rambling red-bricked hospital and soon he was helping Allie out of the car and through the entrance to the accident and emergency room, the carved décor above the door bearing the date 1895.
After Allie had been examined, and an x-ray taken, they waited around a while before the doctor called them back in. They watched him hold the x-ray to the light to examine it, though neither knew enough to know what he was looking at. “You did the right thing, bringing your wife in to see us, Mr Mannering. She’s broken a small bone just here,” he explained, pointing to a spot on the x-ray.
Bill, looking sheepish, glanced at Allie and said, “Mrs Mannering is not my wife, Doctor. We’re good friends,” he corrected.
“I do apologise,” the doctor said. “I just assumed because… well, never mind. I’ll have a nurse bandage up that hand, with a sling to support it, and then you must rest it, Mrs Mannering. We don’t want you to aggravate the break else it won’t heal. I’d advise you to come back in two or three days for another x-ray, perhaps your, ah, friend, could bring you again?”
Bill and Allie locked eyes. “We will arrange it,” Bill said after half a second. “Let’s get that hand seen to Mrs Mannering,” he added, taking on a persona to guard against the doctor’s attitude.
Allie accepted his use of her last name without question and nodded her agreement. Presently a nurse came through, bringing rolls of bandages and a sling with her, and within a few minutes Allie’s hand was neatly bandaged and supported against her chest.
“Now, you will remember to have your husband bring you back in a few days?” the nurse asked in her sing-song voice, just as they were leaving. Bill decided not to make a correction this time and simply agreed before leading Allie out to the car.
Allie sank gratefully into the passenger seat. “Thank you, Bill,” she said tiredly. “But wasn’t that doctor a bit off when you said that we weren’t married?”
“He was wise to have shut up when he did, else I might have done something I’d regret,” Bill said as he put the car into gear and eased out of the parking space.
“Would it be so bad if we were married?” Allie joked weakly. They had only moved to a romantic relationship recently, but she had caught herself wondering how things would go.
“No, of course not, that’s not what I meant at all,” Bill reassured her hurriedly. “It just seemed to me as if he was about to hint about some sort of impropriety and I wasn’t going to have it!”
“My hero,” Allie said, a bit dopey from the painkillers she had been given. She dozed off a bit even though the journey was short.
Back at the farm the children were upset at the news that Allie couldn’t join them on their donkey trek, and she tried to insist that Bill go along without her but he wouldn’t hear of it. Even the children agreed that he ought to stay behind, despite them wishing he could go.
The children were advised to go to bed early, as they had a long ride the next day, and Allie said she would probably go not long after as she was tired from her stressful day. “You know, I really could manage without you for a few days,” she said to Bill once they were alone in the cosy sitting-room. “My hand feels fine now, truly it does.”
Bill raised an eyebrow at her as he puffed on his pipe. “Now Allie, that is a silly thing to say,” he said levelly. “You will need me to here to help you fetch and carry things,” he added with a wink.
“As much as that would be nice, I don’t need it,” she said. “Mrs Evans does all the cooking and cleaning so I don’t need much else. I can just enjoy the peace and read a book.”
“Are you trying to get rid of me, Allie?”
“No, of course not,” Allie said, wondering why she always seemed to say the wrong thing around Bill. “I just know the children would love you to go along and I don’t want to spoil everyone’s holiday just because of my silly hand.”
“They are old enough to go off on their own,” Bill said in a much more jovial voice than he felt. He would have loved to have gone with the kids but he felt he needed to be around for taking Allie to the hospital and any other little jobs she needed doing. He didn’t want her to put any strain on her hand as she needed to get better and he wanted her to relax as much as possible.
“I know they are. But they enjoy spending time with you!” she tried.
“Allie, this is as much a holiday for you and I as it is the children. I can always follow them after I’ve taken you to the doctors in the middle of the week, if you are on the mend,” Bill said firmly.
“All right.” Allie gave in gracefully, she could tell that Bill’s mind was made up. “Just as long as you don’t fuss around me all week. You know I can’t stand fussing.”
He held up both hands with a smile, pipe in his teeth. “I promise not to fuss!” he said around it.
He removed the pipe and sat back in his chair. “The children will enjoy themselves, and to top it all off, who’s going to save us all if we all get into an adventure this time?” Bill added teasingly.
“You said it yourself, nobody is going to find an adventure in this middle-of-nowhere place,” Allie replied. “And you had better be right, as if there’s anything I hate more than fussing it’s my children falling into adventures!”