Closed Sleeping Beauty
Her day had been a long one even though she hardly had anything to do that day, she was tired. She had told herself that she wasn't going to nap for long since she was supposed to go see Harold for a walk and sunset talk. Shed fulfilled her promise to do sunrise with scones and coffee on a slow day for both of them, making them with the dried cherries and chocolate, gave him a crock of clotted cream and even brewed an almost perfect pot of coffee. Karen had said she would be back to see him in a few days, specifically the day she felt exhausted. She had been cramping all day and didn't really think of the timing, simply just assumed her flux was on the way... except she never felt that exhausted when her courses were coming, though she hardly paid any mind.

It was about noon when she went back to her quarters and fell upon her bed. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow... She lay there curled up in a ball, a cup of cold tea meant to ease cramps was sitting on the table near her bed, untouched and nasty, there was a half eaten piece of dry toast on the plate beside it that said she'd lost her appetite again. She wasn't even covered with her blankets.

It was after sunset and she was still asleep. At some point, the cook came in to check on her and pulled what looked like Addie's quilt over her friend before slipping out. Poor dear, she thought, hard workin' lass even when she didn't have anything pressing to do. She helped out quite a bit, especially when she was needed in town to help with little booboos children had. Perhaps she had overworked herself and simply needed a rest. Or maybe she was tired from cleaning out her friend's things. She made sure to grab the tepid tea and petrified toast on her way out and closed the door as softly as she could.
He hadn't been to the castle yet, so he wasn't sure what the etiquette was. He showed up at the front door and was about to knock when a worker was walking by and going around back. Harold approached the worker and told him he was here to see Karen. The worker wasn't sure who Karen was, so he gave the man a description and job title.

A few minutes later he was being escorted through the back entrance. The worker asked the cook if she had seen Karen. The cook proceeded to paint a picture of a tired lass in her bed. He gave a wink in the cook's direction which may or may not have sent at least one heart into flutter. He had his stethoscope still around his neck, something he forgot about a lot, which may have been why they allowed him to come in.

Harold tilted his hat as a thank you and then was led down to quarters "Thank you" The worker left the door open as it was customary when a male was in a female's quarter. Harold turned back around and tilted his head to the side. She took his breath away, even with the sweat building on her fore head. He moved over to her bed and bent down to be on her level, but his knees didn't like it. So, Harold moved to sit on the ground with his legs crossed. Harold reached over and moved her hair away from her face.
It was just a little tickle, but her eyes drifted open and blinked a few times before she noticed it was he who made the touch. Given that the room was starting to darken, she realized she must have slept through the best part of sunset. "Hey," she said groggily, a sleepy smile before it soured into a grimace as she was reminded of why she had laid down in the first place. She groaned a little and pulled her knees closer to her chest, "Lord'a mercy," she said. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean ta sleep this long and miss our sunset. I meant to wake up after an hour but I just felt so tired, still do. Like I've been doin' the work of ten instead of three. Do ye forgive me?"
"I won't say you didn't have me worried" He spoke calmly, but the southern accent still shined through even in an inside voice. "Nothing to forgive" He moved his hand to her forehead. "The cook said you've been asleep a good while. You comin down with something?" Karen and Harold's relationship may have been sealed over tragedy, but it didn't make their relationship any less real. In this moment as he checked on her, he couldn't help but smirk with a muffled laugh. It had brought up the memory of the last time she ended up weak and he tried to make her eat.

"Should I expect this every month." He hadn't even thought about that period of time women bled. His eyes moved left and then right across what deemed the most beautiful eyes. Harold's thumb ran across her cheek as he continued to sit on the floor near her bed.
"Oh no, I am never as tired as this," she replied with a sigh, "Not even when I am sick. I spent all mornin' asleep on my feet. Felt like it part of yesterday too." She gave a great yawn and then grimaced again, "I'm not supposed to be crampin fer another week or so, maybe I am gettin' sick. Maybe it's comin' early." She pushed the blanket away from her. She slowly straightened out and murmured, "What's so funny? Are ye laughing at my womanly woes?" She groaned out in a sleepy but playful manner. "How rude." She chuckled.
"Yes M'am, exactly what I'm laughin at" He knew the signs of early pregnancy, but his brain refused to believe that was what was going on. How did he know? Oh, his mother told him stories as did other doctors who kept notebooks of their wife's symptoms. They had made the observations after comparing time lines. Going back months before they knew of the pregnancy to months after the baby arrived, actually some of them wrote up to a year after the baby came.

Every woman was different and that meant symptoms could be described differently. So he was not going to worry about it. Bringing up something that may not even be true would only stress her out. In fact he'd only mention the idea of pregnancy if she'd have been late and throwing up.

"You'll be fine, you always are.." He smirked as if implying this was a reoccurring thing, her ending up feeling ill and him by her side.
Luckily for her, if she was pregnant, it was brand new... conception happening at that moment. Puking would not occur for at least a few weeks yet. Also lucky for her, she was blissfully unaware of the situation even as he was already somewhat suspicious of her body getting ready to grow another human. She swatted at him, but then she leaned to him and kissed him softly. She had not uttered the three words they had talked about that same night, but she did say it now, "I love ye," in a soft voice and her eyes serious. "I was goin' ta say it when the sun went down, seemed fittin' and all... But I think I realized that there is not goin' ta be a perfect time to say it. So... Yes... I love ye." So there, she thought. She'd had time to think about it, especially after making her new friend, who happened to talk about a wedding, which freaked her out some but they did not have to be married to love each other. She was not quite ready for that step yet.
The rough looking gun slinger pretended to be hurt by the swatting. Maybe it was wrong to keep her to himself, but as she moved in to kiss him Harold felt happy. Not the happy a kid might get when they were allowed to have sweets before dinner. This happiness had a calmness to it. His lips did not want to part from her bottom lip as she pulled back from him.

"My dear Karen, I don't know if you can tell, but you make me happy as a clam in high water." It was a saying he had picked up from some fisherman back in Orleans. If the tide was high, the clams felt protected, at least that was the idea behind the phrase.

"I love ya too and it is that love" he said as he got to his feet and extended his hands to her waste "that is getting your ass out of bed " He quickly snatched her and put her over his shoulder. He could see she was still tired, but laying in bed for an entire day was not the healthiest of things. Harold turned left and then right causing Karen's hair to swing one side to the next. "Where to hide a nurse..." by the tone in his voice he was clearly joking.
The joy on her face was palpable when he said he loved her back and made her feel all kinds of things she knew she wasn't supposed to because it was against the rules... None of those rules could diminish the good feelings. She murmured, "You make me happy too."

She was laughing as he threw her over his shoulder, she pushed up so the blood wouldn't flow so much to her head, she was a little dizzy with that. "I could hide under your bed," she snickered.
"I have no doubt you could, but my bed ain't here, which is where your skills are needed" He walked out of the quarters. and nodded to a worker that passed by giving him a look. "I don't think they approve.." He smirked and then put her down on her feet. "Do you think that lovely cook might let some food slip our way?" Harold moved his hand through her hair to straighten it only to move his hand fast in order to mess it up again. She did have a way of bringing out a more youthful side to him. Harold of course was afraid to allow himself to show it as he feared it would make him seem less manly.
She grinned at her co-worker as they passed by, "My skills are needed everywhere in this town, it seems." And she spoke the next part while yawning, "And I don'r care if they don't approve, the whole town already knows and I will not be ashamed." When he set her back on her feet and mussed her hair back up. She leaned against him and murmured, "The cook knows about ye and does approve, there will be some leftovers somewhere," she mentioned as she started rebraiding her hair in a simple braid.
When he spoke of unapproving looks, he was speaking on the manner of their behavior not the fact they were a couple. Harold decided to just let that one pass as he felt there was no reason to explain his previous words. Even if he had wanted to say something, she spoke of the cook approving of their relationship which made him smirk. "Oh, so you talk about me then. Good things I hope"
She would have said the same thing about the fact she was over his shoulder, without the part about the whole town knowing. Even still, she wouldn't retract her statement because at least she was telling him she didn't care what people thought, not even her brother. It was a big step for her. Her smile was slight as she said, "Only that ye're a handsome devil." She grinned. Not true, she had told the cook that she was falling completely and deeply in love, that Harold was a wonderful man even if he didn't think so.
"A devil yes, handsome I'm not quiet sure I'd agree on that front, but I'll take the complement." He put his arms around her and held her still before they stepped in the kitchen. His lips greeted the side of her cheek. "I'll let you do the talking then.." He referred to her handling the cook and getting them leftovers.
"That would be the same thing as me telling you you're wrong that I am beautiful," she countered, giving him a look, "You are MY handsome devil now." She didn't add the "at least for now," part, for she was not even sure what this relationship was besides the fact that somehow fate had thrown them together. She kissed him back and then wrapped her arm around his as she guided him to the kitchen.

She took a moment to ask to cook for leftovers, if there were any, and was rewarded with some bread and some meat, and some cheese. So she made some chicken sandwiches.

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