“May I hold you, dearling?” The apple-blossom-haired dryad held out her arms gently.
The flushed little girl hesitated for a moment before nodding and leaning from her mother’s embrace that of the dryad in the white lab coat.
Gladia held the child tenderly and laid a hand on her arm, skin to skin. “Oh, you poor baby. I bet you feel so uncomfortable. I’m sorry! We will try to get you feeling better, okay?” She pressed a tender kiss to the feverish little patient’s forehead and, almost immediately, the flush eased a touch.
“Just a little bit to tide you over before your medicine starts to work, okay?” Gladia then handed the girl back to her mother and stepped behind her counter again.
“She has strep, Marna. It’s been going around the schools this season. Here are some antibiotics to clear up the infection, with a little extra boost for her white blood cells. And here’s a berry tea for her sore throat. I know Didi doesn’t like honey so perhaps this will be easier to get her to drink. Serve it warm but not hot, okay? No, no, hon. Put that away. It’s all covered.”
Marna nodded gratefully, a deep sigh of relief deflating her chest. “Thank you, Gladia! You are a lifesaver!”
“My pleasure, hon. If Didi doesn’t get to feeling much better in a couple of days, let me know, and we will get her set up with Dr. Peele. Feel better, beautiful!”
Marna nodded and turned to leave the clinic pharmacy, hugging her feverish girl to her. Over her shoulder, Didi waved thankfully to Gladia, who returned it with a smile.
The dryad then turned to her next waiting patient in the pharmacy line and held out her hand.
“Mrs. Gruffington–oh, I love your hat, that’s a new one! Now, let’s see how your arthritis is doing today, shall we?” she said with that spring-bright smile and a comforting waft of apple blossom perfume.