Prince Theodore was having a “black day”. He refused to leave his chamber that morning and his breakfast remained untouched. Howard shook him gently.

“Sire your presence is needed in the great hall at noon!”

He pulled his coverlet firmly over his head.

“GO AWAY!” he muttered childishly and tightened the grip of his blankets, in all fairness he was still suffering from lingering effects after being overcome with a splitting headache last night. He told no-one and lay in silence waiting for the pain to subside.

“Master Theodore readers are coming from far and wide as you requested!”

“I KNOW! LEAVE ME!”

He snapped rudely. It is no good Howard thought, shaking his head and leaving the room.

Theodore arose of his own accord 15 minutes later, still feeling a little distant. He sighed and wandered into the bathroom. He brushed his teeth and combed his hair as best as he could, feeling the strands beneath his fingers. A new handmade suit hung in his wardrobe, it was the last thing he felt like wearing as he stroked the heavy, woven folds of material. He opted for a white linen shirt and trousers. What do I care what Mother and Father think? He thought grumpily to himself.

Mr Wilson his dresser scuttled into the room.

“I’m sorry sire I came to assist you.”

“Your presence is too late Mr Wilson. As you can see I’m dressed now. You’re no longer needed.” Theodore sighed.

Mr Wilson searched in Theodore’s cabinet and found his gold cuff links.

“Will you be needing your cuff links?”

What a stupid question! Theodore thought but decided against being rude to the poor man after all, it was his fault that Mr Wilson was in a fluster.

“No thank you” came his softer reply.

At long last Theodore was ready. Mr Wilson offered him his arm and led him to the grand room where the auditions were being held. The prince’s hair was still ever so slightly damp. Queen Evangeline’s eyes widened.

“Theodore what about the new suit especially made for the occasion?”

“I’m perfectly fine the way I am!” He snapped.

She cleared her throat awkwardly and continued.

“Dear you didn’t dry your hair!”

“I noticed.” He was as blunt as ever.

Queen Evangeline tutted to show her disapproval  but made no further comments. After all he was a grown man. She offered him her arm and they were seated. An oak podium stood opposite them for the auditionee’s to stand upon.Theodore sat silently. This was the last thing he wished to be doing.

****************

Bonnie queued outside with her Mother Maira. Her formally wild hair was tamed into neat shiny ringlets with a black satin bow tied to one side. Although Bonnie was dressed in her Sunday best, she couldn’t help but feel inferior to the other potential readers dressed in their sweet wrapper like silk gowns and handmade suits. Money has not been the same since Father died, she thought. She smiled to her self as she recalled a memory spurred by her previous thought. Dad used to call her “bon-bon” as she used to clamber onto his knee to hear his fascinating tales. Now her Father was no longer with them.  She was catapulted back into reality as she overheard a conversation by several people ahead.

“Apparently Prince Theodore is a little monster. he’s spoilt and conceited from what I’ve heard. Still,l I suppose one has to feel sorry for him in a way.”

Bonnie looked at her Mother rolling her eyes.

“Bonnie don’t do that!” She scolded.

“Now Bonnie, remember your clear reading voice. Let’s have a quick practice.”

“Yes Mother”

Bonnie was not feeling enthusiastic. She opened the book.

“There was no possibility of….”

“Slower dear and enunciate your vowels”

“I told you I’d be no good!” She snapped. This is all Mother’s doing, she cursed silently.

“Go on try again”

Bonnie halved her reading speed, emphasising her ‘O’ s . “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”

“Much better. See how much that was improved?”

“Yes Mother”

It came apparent that they had reached the front of the queue. Maira kissed her daughter wishing her luck. Bonnie was shown into a small room and seated herself with the final two readers, her heart pounding in her chest. ‘What am I doing?’ She thought. Her question was soon to be answered.

To be continued….

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