Thank you to everyone who has read this and for the reviews. Sorry, it has taken time to update but here it is chapter 4.
It was another day before Albert's physician deemed him fit enough for visitors and a further day before Victoria allowed the children to come and see their father. She had sent word to the nursery to inform the children once Albert had woken up but had also explained that he needed rest before he could see them. Albert whilst initially disappointed had realised that Victoria was simply scared about his health, having witnessed his collapse. A warm feeling had settled in his chest as he thought of the love that Victoria had for him and that he had for her in return. Albert settled back against the mountain of pillows currently supporting him on the bed, he had little Vicky's comforter draped over his legs whilst the picture that young Bertie had drawn was on the bedside table. Victoria had left a short while ago to fetch the children and he found himself eagerly awaiting their arrival.
Victoria had decided that only the eldest two children should come and see their father whilst he was recovering. She did not want to risk scaring the younger children or their boisterous nature meaning they inadvertently hurt their father further. Victoria was being over-protective she knew this but the thought of losing Albert had terrified her and she was not quite over that fear yet. Vicky and Bertie had jumped at the chance to come to visit their father, she knew they had been missing him. However, as they approached the door leading to the couple's chambers Victoria noticed Bertie beginning to drag his feet and lag behind his sister. Victoria walked towards him and gently moved his head to look at her.
"Bertie, whatever is the matter. I thought you wanted to see your father. If you have changed your mind you can go back to the nursery, your father won't mind".
Bertie shuffled uncomfortably before replying "No. I want to see Papa."
Victoria smiled softly at both children before holding their hands and continuing to her chambers. As the entered the room Albert sat up a little straighter in the bed and beckoned his children forward. Vicky rushed over whilst Bertie hung back, only approaching after a gentle nudge from his mother.
"Papa, you're awake. Are you ok?" Vicky asked.
"Don't worry about me dearest Vicky, I feel well" Albert smiled at his eldest and planted a kiss on her head. "Thank you for lending me your comforter, it was most kind".
Vicky blushed and smiled before stepping back to allow Bertie to come to their father's side.
Bertie was hesitant to approach so Albert held his hand out and Bertie gripped it before slowly edging forward. Albert smiled before picking up the picture by his side.
"You are becoming quite the artist Bertie, this picture is magnificent."
"Thank you, Papa, I hoped you would like it, it's your exhibition."
"I love it, thank you Bertie" Albert kissed his forehead before playfully ruffling his hair.
Victoria had been watching the exchanges with a smile on her face, she was pleased to see Albert smile again and watching the children interact with their father was almost magical. Having not had a father figure growing up Victoria found herself amazed at what a natural parent Albert was and how much the children adored him. She knew that Albert and Bertie's relationship had been a little strained in recent months but she was pleased to see that it had been mended and seemed to be flourishing. Looking at Albert, Victoria was struck by how close she came to all of this. Albert had worked himself almost to the brink trying to prove his worth and she had to wonder if he was trying to prove himself to her as well as to himself and the country. Victoria felt a tear come to her eye and she remembered her reluctance to support him. She had asked him when he had become so cold but couldn't help but wonder if those words were better aimed at her. Albert had always supported her even when he hadn't necessarily agreed with her actions and yet when it was her turn she had almost been too late to offer her support and encouragement. Looking at her family now Victoria knew that she had come too close to losing Albert to take him for granted again. There would be a time in the future to make amends but for now, she was happy to simply spend time as a family.
The family passed an enjoyable afternoon together with Vicky reciting poems she had learned whilst Bertie had retold a story he had read. The children were keen to show their parents how well they had excelled in their studies. Bertie had tried to keep up with his sister but had struggled to remember his mathematics. He had feared his father would be angry but Albert had simply smiled at him and reminded him that he would get there and promised to support him with his studying once he was recovered. Bertie and Vicky felt relieved to have their father back and couldn't wait to tell their younger siblings that Papa was on the mend and would soon be playing games with them again.
Albert thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his eldest children and Victoria but as the afternoon wore on he felt himself becoming more and more exhausted. Stifling a yawn he glanced at Victoria, who was settled on the edge of the bed. She looked more relaxed than in previous weeks and Albert was once again reminded of another person he had failed in his mission to build his monument. Not only had his children suffered from his absence but it was becoming increasingly clear how much he had affected Victoria, he had been so busy with her sister's visit and his exhibition he had almost convinced her that he no longer loved her. That was something he knew he could never forgive himself for, his family meant everything to him. Blinking to clear his vision Albert felt himself sinking further into the bed as exhaustion threatened to whisk him away. Victoria looked up upon hearing Albert moved and noticed him beginning to slouch. Standing she reached forward to support Albert to lie down and rearranged the pillows to surround him before turning to her children and asking them to say goodbye to their father for today to allow him to rest.
"Is everything alright Mama?" asked Vicky
"Yes darling, your father is just tired. He is still recovering remember, I think perhaps it is best we tidy away the books and allow him to sleep".
Vicky gently kissed Albert before collecting her books off the floor. Bertie followed on from her example but not before tucking one of his toy soldiers into his father's hand, telling him it would protect him while he slept. Albert said goodbye to his children, giving them both a hug and kiss and promising they would have more time together tomorrow.
Victoria escorted them to the door, just before leaving she turned to Albert and said: "I'll take the children to their room, will you be alright if I stop by the nursery on my way back?"
Albert nodded and told her to tell the other children he loved them before settling down in the bed determined to get some sleep before it was dinner time. Closing the door quietly Victoria left and the room fell peaceful and dark, the only sound Albert's gentle breathing as he drifted off to sleep.
I hope you enjoyed the chapter, please keep reviewing I read all reviews. If you have any suggestions of what you might want to see come up let me know.