More Than a Lullaby

“It’s okay, I’m right here.” I reached for her hand, and she gripped mine as she sat up in the dark.

“I’m so sorry. Did I wake you?” She shifted, pulling her knees to her chest as she pulled the covers over her. “You don’t have to stay. I should be alright now, Zinnia.”

I shook my head as I sat down on the edge of the bed. “I won’t leave until you’re sound asleep. It wouldn’t be right if I left you alone after that nightmare.” I turned to the bedside table, lighting the candle to shoo away the darkness.

A smile crept across her face. “Thank you.”

“Of course. Do you want to talk about it?”

The smile dropped, and she looked down. “No, I- I don’t remember it.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but I let the subject hang in the air. “If you ever need to talk, you can come to me or call me here anytime, okay. You’re not alone, Alexandra, I promise.”

Tears slipped down her face as she pulled me into an embrace. “Thank you. For everything.”

“Anytime! Now, what can we do to get you back to sleep? I imagine you must have a busy day ahead.”

“Well, with any free time I have, I’ll come to see you in the garden. I still want to learn more. As for going back to sleep, I don’t know if that’ll come easy.”

I grinned. “That’s okay, I just need possible, not easy.”

She giggled. “Okay then! My mother used to sing me to sleep.”

“Well, I don’t know if I have a voice worth hearing, but I can try.”

Alexandra settled down under the covers. “I’m sure you have a lovely voice.” She closed her eyes.

I smiled down at her, starting to hum. “Prettiest rose in the garden of love, the gods smile down from the heavens above. Heated by the golden rays, you bloom to make the happiest days.” I caught sight of her as a smile graced her face. “If only you knew how much love people hold in their hearts, their minds, as they grow old. But you, my dear, my prettiest rose, will never have to worry, nor defend against foes. “ I watched her chest rise and fall with slower breaths as I finished the song. “As your petals wilt, many will weep, but I know you are only off to sleep.”

I waited a moment after the song ended, stealing another glance at her. I watched her for a few moments before putting the candle out. Before I could stop myself, I leaned down and planted a kiss on her temple.

“Sweet dreams, Alexandra.” I stepped out of the room, sliding the door shut behind me.

A maid stood next to the door, touching my shoulder when I turned around. “Thank you. You must know in all the years I’ve seen her, she’s never been comforted so quickly except by her mother.”

I nodded, stepping toward my bedroom. “I did my best to help.”

“You’ve done more than that, I assure you.”

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