As Bonnie’s Mother unwound the tightly wrapped rags Bonnie sighed. She wasn’t feeling optimistic about today and suffering from lack of sleep. Her outfit was even plainer than yesterdays, a simple navy gown but it flattered her fine figure perfectly. Bonnie pinned her hair herself into a bun. She looked refined and ever so slightly older. Bonnie polished her leather boots until they shone brightly, bid her Mother fair well and began the walk towards the palace. She was greeted by one of the many housekeepers. ‘How comforting to see a friendly face’ she thought.

“Hello I’m Bonita McGraph.”

“Ah yes his majesties young reader. I’m afraid he is still in bed”

Not out of bed yet ?! Bonnie thought, shocked. How strange indeed.

“I see” She was slightly lost for words and thought it best to remain silent.

“Yes I’m afraid he’s having one of his bad days. His royal highness shall be with you shortly.”

“Where shall I be reading?” Bonnie questioned.

“Well, providing his highness makes an appearance I think you shall be in the drawing-room upon the first floor.”

Bonnie nodded. They had more than one drawing-room! What luxury! She felt worlds apart from the royal family.

The burly woman continued :

“I should have introduced myself, I’m Mrs Vine one of the housekeepers.”

They shook hands. “Bonita McGrath…I mean Miss McGrath”

She was forgetting herself already.

“Would you like a drink my dear? Reading dries the throat.”

“A glass of water would be lovely, thank you.”

Mrs Vine nodded and returned handing Bonnie her water.

“Here you go my dear. Howard one of the other servants has informed me that his majesty is almost ready now.”

“Oh splendid.”

Bonnie smiled sweetly attempting to appear enthusiastic. Mrs Vine gently showed her to the drawing room. On walking through Bonnie couldn’t help but notice the splendor. The luxurious carpets and exquisite rugs were just a couple of the unique features of the palace. They entered the drawing room. Across the paneled walls stood a fine array of books upon many bookshelves. Bonnie was seated immediately. Bonnie did not have to wait long, Howard stood nervously in the doorway.

“His majesty Prince Theodore.” he announced. Theodore stood at his side looking ever so solemn. Bonnie curtsied purely out of respect, completely aware of the fact that he couldn’t see her.

“Miss McGrath I presume” he sounded ever so crestfallen.

“Yes your majesty, pleased to make your acquaintance once more” she said politely.

“Now what do you plan to read to me today?”

He looks ever so pale and his tone is very odd, Bonnie thought. Is he mocking me? It was so difficult to tell.

“Erm” Bonnie hesitated. She hadn’t actually thought of this. Bonnie decided that it would be best to apologise for her earlier outburst at their first meeting.

“Your highness, I apologise for what was said at our first meeting, I mean what I said. It was not my place. I-I forgot myself.”

Prince Theodore hesitated.

“It’s fine” his words were as cold as an iceberg. They seemed to sting somewhat. Bonnie wasn’t entirely sure whether her apology had been accepted, but it had. In his strange way Prince Theodore had forgiven her.

“Now in answer to my first question what do you plan to read to me today?”

“What are your preferences?”

“I have none. Books are not my forte.”

Prince Theodore seemed so unusual, in one respect he was old beyond his years, but in contrast to this his behaviour could be so childish. Bonnie did not understand. If books were not among his interests, then why had she been employed as a reader? Bonnie decided upon poetry, it was safe and she knew the works of Shakespeare fairly well. She began to recite. Theodore sighed deeply.

“You do not like poetry?” Bonnie questioned.

“I find your accent extremely off-putting!”

Off putting! Bonnie wanted to throw the book at him. Insolent boy! she cursed.

“I apologise for my accent sire.”

There was no denying the sarcasm in her voice. Theodore raised one eyebrow. He was not used to a response from someone from such a lower station.

“Are you mocking me!” He snapped. Bonnie jumped, my he can be frightening! she thought.

“T-That was not my intent” Bonnie lied. She continued trying to make amends .“We appear to have got off on a bad foot. Please may we begin again?”

Theodore ran a hand through his hair. His eyes were so dull and lifeless, with cheekbones so very prominent. Prince Theodore didn’t seem nearly as appealing as he had originally.

“Very well” His voice was gentler. He held out an outstretched right hand. Bonnie was slightly taken aback, but took it. It was soft and un-callused, he had clearly never worked a day in his life.

“Pleased to make your acquaintance Miss McGrath.”

“And I yours your majesty.”

The icy atmosphere at long last was broken. Bonnie was able to read without any further ado. Theodore seemed distant, as if lost in a deep chain of thought. The clock chimed 4pm breaking his reverie. Bonnie stood up and curtsied.

“Fair-well your majesty” she stated without waiting for his reply and exited the room.

To be continued…..

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