Theodore managed to devour half the prepared breakfast, his appetite still not fully restored. Rettie returned to clear the tray some 30 minutes later. He over-heard her sigh, she did not approve of waste.
“Is there anything else sire?” she said in her bold northern accent.
“I think I would like a bath.”
“As you wish. Is that all you’ve eaten again?”
“Yes. I wasn’t as hungry as I thought.”
Rettie sighed. She looked at the young man with a disapproving glare.
“I sense the awkwardness” Theodore stated. “I truly don’t have much of an appetite!” he snapped.
“I was only thinking…..”
“Don’t presume to think! You’re only a servant! Now leave me be !”
“Y-yes your majesty.”
There was no denying that Theodore could be terrifying when angry. His frustrations meant that his mood could be as changeable as the wind.
Rettie carried the tray away through the meandering corridors of the castle and was soon to return to run his bath. Theodore had changed into a long navy dressing gown. His floppy hair looked slightly unkempt. Rettie turned on the taps and allowed the warm water to fill the wide tub creating volumes of bubbles. She handed him a large towel, curtsied and left him alone once more.
Theodore ran his fingertips along the smooth edge of the porcelain bath and entered the water. He could feel the gentle sensation of the bubbles bursting at his fingertips. Some days he felt like slipping underneath the water never to resurface. He yearned for his sight. Today felt like a positive one, none of that nonsense would be needed he thought. He began to reminiss in his own company which brought comfort to his troubled mind. After 30 minutes or so he found the fluffy towel, stood up and draped it around his dripping body. He sensed the comforting bath mat under his bare feet. Theodore rough dried himself and placed on his dressing gown once more for modesty, plodding black to his chamber with the guidance of the paneled wall. He had this down to a fine art, Theodore could sense his routes by the texture of the wallpaper. The raised flowery pattern was the stretch of hallway leading to his room. He felt for the door knob, a smooth gold square shape. Yes this was his room.
Theodore dressed quickly. The textures of the fabrics and buttons cleverly defining which outfit he was choosing. There came a gentle rapping at his door.
“One moment if you please!” He snapped.
“Sorry sire.” The muffled tone came through the thick door.
“Your Mother wishes to speak with you in the drawing-room. She awaits your presence. Are you prepared?”
Theodore quickly dried his fine locks with a towel, his hair hung loosely around his structured cheekbones. Theodore grabbed a pair of trousers and a sky blue shirt, he could tell which particular shirt it was because of its unusual square buttons. Each of his many shirts all had unique buttons, Theodore could define them by their shape.
Howard took the prince’s arm and led him downstairs to one of the several drawing rooms. There was a fire blazing in the brass hearth. Theodore immediately sensed its vibrant warmth. His Mother gently took his hand and guided him to an armchair. Theodore felt her slim fingers in his, it was comforting. He really needed a warm hug to abolish his inner pain but neither of his parents were affectionate. Theodore craved human contact. This would have to do. He sighed once more.
“Theodore my dear. Your Father wishes for me to speak with you. He says you seem more distant of late. Pray tell me what is the matter?”
“I think you know the answer Mother” Theodore said in a sulky tone.
“I realise things have been awfully hard these past few months…..”
HARD! Theodore thought. Now that was a huge understatement.
“Oh you missed a button!” Queen Evangeline pointed out.
“Right.” Theodore took no heed. The button remained undone.
She continued “You must get frightfully lonely….”
LONELY! If you bothered to spend time with me then that wouldn’t be the case! was the thought that ran through Theodore’s mind. The resentment he held against his parents made him want to scream at the top of his voice and cry uncontrollably, but he never did. Real men don’t cry! He thought.
“I miss my book collection more than anything. The volumes are wasted.”
His mother hesitated. “Is there anything you really desire?”
“I wish for company. I’d very much like someone to read to me. I’d ask Howard but he’s illiterate. Not to mention he has a hundred and one other things to do.”
His Mother gently squeezed her son’s arm.
“Then my son if that is what your heart desires then your wish shall be granted.”
To be continued….