At long last, Bonnie was shown across to the podium where the royalty sat. Bonnie couldn’t help but notice Prince Theodore’s natural beauty, despite his slightly unkempt appearance. Unfortunately  his fine features seemed to be immediately spoiled by his sulky expression and pouting mouth. ‘What is wrong with this boy?’ she thought. ‘Surely he must have everything.’ Bonnie felt so out-of-place, surrounded by lavish furnishings. ‘I am nothing but a plain country girl’ she sighed to herself.

“Miss Bonita MacGrath step forwards please.” A voice echoed through the room. She did so and took a long deep breath in attempt to calm herself. The book trembled beneath Bonnie’s fingers as they stared at her. Queen Evangeline smiled at Bonnie gently, which gave her a little hope. The Queen gave her a gentle nod to show acknowledgement. Bonnie curtsied as her Mother Maira had taught her.

“What do you plan to recite?” Prince Theodore snapped. His Mother squeezed his hand to remind him to soften his tone.

“Your highness. I-I was going to read some poetry.” Bonnie replied, she sounded taken aback.

Oh good lord!”

The prince was clearly unimpressed with her choice of literature.

“Well you might as well recite seeing as though you’ve traveled from a distance” he huffed.

“Proceed.”

His arms were folded as he lent forwards.Bonnie was not used to receiving such blunt orders. ‘His poor servants’, she thought. ‘He is a horrid young man after all’. Bonnie ran her fingers over the pages and placed the book upon the podium stand. She felt all of a tremble but despite this, she began reading the 1st page impressively, she did not falter. Despite Prince Theodore’s cold reception, she carried on. Bonnie was distracted ever so slightly as Prince Theodore whispered something.

“Where on earth is she from? She sounds like a foreign country urchin. What is that hideous accent she possesses?”

Bonnie’s heart sank, the harsh comment distracting her from her reading.

He had not finished insulting her “I dare say she dresses like one no doubt.”

Bonnie slammed the pages shut and Theodore jumped. His sharp hearing certainly compensates his loss of sight Bonnie thought. Theodore silenced and swallowed, this was a first for him.

Bonnie’s fury took over, leading to an outburst

“Your Majesty think of me as you wish, but let me inform you that I did not come here to be mocked and insulted !”

Bonnie was articulate as always with her response. Her voice was choked. She swiftly exited the room, leaving Theodore and his parents dumbstruck. The King and Queen stared at each other with matching expressions. No-one had ever dared to stand up to Prince Theodore like this before. Bonnie let out  a cry of exasperation as she left the building and ran to her Mother who was waiting in anticipation.

“My dear! How was it?” Maira hugged her.

“It couldn’t have been worse Mum. The Prince is awful. A wee monster. I refuse to go back!”

“whatever made him so unappealing ?”

Bonnie felt enraptured by rage.

“He’s cold, rude and mocking. I do not wish to be belittled like that!”

Maira nodded.“Yes I did hear that few could handle his impulsive behaviour, but what if you’re chosen?

Bonnie sighed “It’s impossible. I wont be”

Bonnie couldn’t have been further wrong, as several days later as clear as day there sat a pristine white envelope upon their door mat sealed with red wax and the royal stamp. Bonnie’s heart froze. ‘Oh no!’ she thought. Bonnie could wait no longer and pulled the seal apart.

‘Dear Bonita McGraph,’ 

                                           We are pleased to inform you that you have been appointed reader as by request of his Royal Highness Prince Theodore. Please report to the palace tomorrow at 10am.’

Oh lord. She had been chosen.

“MOTHER!” Bonnie screamed. Maira  placed the basket of damp washing down and ran to her side. Bonnie was dumbstruck and handed her Mother the letter. Maira seemed to jump for joy her rosy cheeks looking more vibrant than ever, quite the opposite reaction.

“Oh my goodness! I just knew you’d do well ! Congratulations my dear. I’m so proud!”

Bonnie was flabbergasted. “I d-don’t understand, he was so cold and distant. Why me?”

“oh love don’t judge a book…”

“By its cover , yes I know.” Bonnie sulked.

“Don’t worry love, it was probably just an off day for his majesty. I’ve baked us a celebratory cake. I knew you’d get the position!”

Indeed, it had been one of many off days for Prince Theodore as Bonnie would soon discover…..

To be continued……

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