After several Irish coffees, the late afternoon sun was tempting. Bernie and Serena strolled slowly through the village, no particular destination in mind. Serena eyed the pub thoughtfully but Bernie pulled her on. “Save a space for dinner.”
Serena laughed, “I suppose I should give my liver a few hours off. Well, what shall we do then? Want to look in any of the shops?”
Bernie flinched. “I’m not much of a shopper, but I’ll keep you company if you want to?”
“I thought you might not be. I’ve promised Jason a fridge magnet, so tell me if you spot one, will you?”
“Why a fridge magnet?”
“He likes having one from every place any of us have been. We’ve got quite a collection.”
“Are you taking something back for Elinor too?”
“She only wants money.” Serena sighed, “No, that wasn’t fair. Sorry. It just feels like it sometimes.”
“It’s the age,” Bernie said wisely, “Cameron was much the same.”
“I hope she grows out of it soon. Oh!” Serena stumbled and clutched at Bernie. “Oh dear.”
Bernie held her arms firmly. “What’s happened?”
“Tripped,” Serena shook her head, “Think I’ve ricked my ankle. What an idiot.”
“Can you walk on it?”
Serena put her foot down gingerly and winced. “No, I don’t think I can.”
“Okay, just put your arm around me.” Bernie slung Serena’s arm around her shoulders and put a firm arm around her waist. “There, I’ve got you.”
“We could call a taxi.”
“If you want, but it’s only a few minutes back to the hotel. I could give you a piggy back if you want.”
Serena’s face lit up despite her pain, “Oh, a big strong army medic are we? No thank you, if you can manage this will be fine.”
W ith Bernie supporting Serena, they made their way slowly back to the hotel and up to their room, where Serena collapsed thankfully on their bed. “I am sorry Bernie. Spoiling our afternoon.”
“Don’t be silly, you haven’t spoilt anything.” Bernie knelt down in front of Serena and carefully unlaced her walking boots and pulled them off. With gentle fingers she inspected the injured ankle.
“Stay there, I’ll be right back.”
“I wasn’t planning to go anywhere,” Serena said, amused, as Bernie vanished into the bathroom.
“Right,” Bernie reappeared, having retrieved various items. She unrolled a bandage and wound it neatly around Serena’s ankle.
Serena propped herself up on her elbows to watch. “Don’t tell me you brought a first aid kit with you?”
“You never know when you’ll need it,” Bernie pointed out, pressed a kiss to Serena’s leg and looked up with a grin, “Case in point, in fact.” She lowered Serena’s leg carefully and passed her a packet of painkillers. “And here you go.”
Serena swallowed the pills down and sighed. “Thank you for looking after me.”
Bernie sat carefully next to her. “Well of course I am! What else would I do? Go and skulk in the bar?”
“It’s -,” Serena’s voice was quiet and Bernie slipped an arm around her, held her close, “It’s been a long time since somebody did.”
“Always you looking after other people?”
“That’s the lot of a mum, isn’t it?”
Serena laughed. “As if. Oh, ignore me being maudlin.”
“Come on, lie down. We can have a nap before dinner.” Bernie helped Serena to shuffle up the bed, plumped up the pillows for her. When she was sure Serena was comfortable, she curled up next to her, pressed a kiss to her dark hair.
Serena’s hands found hers. “Thank you, Bernie.
Bernie smiled. “You’re very welcome.”