Bonnie returned to the comfort of her own home. She was relieved. Moira looked anxious and took her hand, helping her to remove her bonnet.

“My dear tell me everything. Was his Majesty more appealing today?”

“Well Mum,  we began later than hoped because Prince Theodore refused to leave his bed. He is quite a challenge.”

“Did you learn anything about him?”

“Only a little, he is a similar age to myself,  Prince Theodore has a sharp tongue and is never afraid to speak his mind. Oh and he found my accent off-putting.” She sighed heavily.

“Did he now? Well I hope you managed to keep your head.”

I think I coped well given the circumstances.”

“Hmm well. It’s early days Bonnie. You need to give him a chance. You know how much we need this money pet.”

“I know”

Bonnie felt ravenously hungry, she hadn’t touched her soup in the servants quarters at lunch. Moria seemed to read her daughter’s mind.

Have you eaten Bonnie?”

“Not since lunch. I have to admit I’m quite hungry now.”

I bet you are. I made stew earlier.” She squeezed Bonnie’s hand. Bonnie felt physically drained and was barely able to keep her eyes open, she ate the stew ravenously.

“My! you were in need of food! Shall I put your hair in rags once more?”

“Mother I barely slept last night. Can’t I just do it myself tomorrow morning?”

“Bonnie I don’t think it would be fitting.”

“Mum!  Prince Theodore is blind, he canny see!”

“Oh… yes I had forgotten, very well deary . Go and get some sleep now and don’t forget to only say ‘can’t’ and ‘cannot’ in the company of the Prince”

“Yes Mother” Bonnie sighed sounded exasperated .

Bonnie kissed Moira’s cheek and clambered into bed falling into a deep slumber. It seemed that only moments had passed but alas, the unpleasant  sound of the abrupt alarm ringing alarm echoed through the cottage . As promised, Bonnie pinned her hair neatly herself and dressed. She had nearly worn the contents of her wardrobe already, she only possessed 3 dresses. Thank goodness Prince Theodore cannot see me she thought. He would only laugh at my shabby appearance.  Today was a new day. I must mind my manners and my sharp tongue if I am to last. Bonnie ate a meager breakfast of plain porridge. She stood up, placing a shawl around her shoulders, leaving the comfort of her own home behind her and made her way towards the palace.

Everything seemed so quiet compared to yesterday. Miss Vine showed her through, her once chirpy mood seemed altered.

“Is everything quite alright Miss Vine?”

“Yes my dear. His majesty awoke on the wrong side of the bed this morning. He’s being especially sharp.”

Bonnie’s face fell. “Is my presence not wanted?” Bonnie felt hurt.

“Don’t worry dear. Never take anything his majesty says to heart . The Prince is very changeable in his ways.”

Perhaps it was my behaviour yesterday? Bonnie thought.

An hour or so later Prince Theodore entered the drawing-room without so much as an apology for his lateness.

“Your majesty” Bonnie curtsied.

“Oh so you have returned.” He sounded very glum and appeared to hang his head.

“I can go if you’d rather?”

“No stay!” That was an obvious command. Bonnie decided to obey.

“Very well, as you wish. What shall I read to you today?”

“Must you read? I barely have the energy to listen!”

“I was being sincere when I said I can go.”

“I want you to stay!” he ordered.

“Fine!”

Bonnie snapped back. She had overstepped the mark once more. Prince Theodore turned a little pale and silenced. Was he intimidated by her? Surely not, she thought. Bonnie began by reading some poetry. After 20 minutes or so Theodore sighed and rubbed his face, beginning to twirl his fingers around a piece of his hair. He is so restless, like a child! Bonnie thought. She decided a change of atmosphere was in order.

“Your majesty I see that you tire of my reading.

“A little.” he sounded ever so morbid “my head pains me. It is ever so airless in this room.”

Bonnie made a suggestion. “Your Majesty, you look a trifle off -colour today if you don’t mind me saying. I feel fresh air would be of great benefit to both of us. Might we take a walk?”

“I never go outside. Not since…..”

He paused and did not continue. Bonnie sighed and closed the book feeling that walking in the outdoors was out of the question for the time being. It could be a challenge for her in the near future. To help Theodore find the courage to do so .

“As you wish your majesty.” 

To be continued…

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