Prince Theodore’s cough worsened, lingering painfully for weeks on end. Despite his illness, he refused to be confined to his bedchamber, ignoring his physicians orders and took to inhabit one of the drawing rooms. Bonnie continued to visit, reading to him daily. Theodore’s chest ached caused by the countless coughing bouts. He had little energy as he lay upon one of the fine red velvety chaise lounges his face brightly aglow in the dancing fire light. Despite the beaming flame warming the room he constantly felt chilled to the bone. Bonnie returned as promised, entered the room and perched in front of him on a small high-backed chair. She tickled his outstretched hand.
“Bonita! I am so delighted that you are here!” He smiled raising his weary head a little from the cushion and resting it upon his hand.
“The pleasure is all mine your majesty.” she smiled sweetly. “How are you feeling today? Not worse I hope”
“No, no not worse” He lied. “I am just happy that you are here my friend.”
“Your majesty might I ask you something?” Bonnie asked sheepishly.
“Why of course.”
“Is it serious?”
“Is what serious?”
“Your cough. It sounds chesty if you don’t mind me saying.”
“No, it is nothing to worry about.” Theodore smiled. He did not speak the truth, his physician had been concerned about Theodore’s deteriorating health over the past six months or so. The royal family had been fully informed.
“Hmmm” Bonnie was not convinced, her bottom lip trembled. “It’s just if anything were to happen to you, your majesty I- well pardon me saying this but I feel that I have found a friend in you.”
“And I you my dear Bonita!”
She sighed rather sadly. He took her hand which rested upon the chaise lounge arm, gently sensing the smoothness of her palm and kissed Bonnie’s forehead. Prince Theodore seemed older and wiser, worlds apart from the foolish young man whom she had first laid eyes upon in the mortifying reading audition. The thought of that memory made Bonnie flush a deep shade of scarlet.
“Bonita would you tell me more about yourself? I fear that I talk about myself far too much! Or at least I did in the past.”
“You were accustomed to.”
“Yes, well. Tell me more……please.”
“Sire I don’t know what to tell you. I’m rather plain and dull I’m afraid!”
“Far from it!” He smiled recalling her previous outbursts. “Please anything!”
“Very well. As you know I live with my Mother. She means well, but sometimes forces me into things. Still, I have her to thank as she was the one who prompted me to go to the reading audition. As for my education, well it was simple but effective. I’m afraid that nothing can be done with this hideous accent of mine. It is incurable!” She had a wicked glint in her eye.
“Oh! I curse the day I said those words I’m sorry. I was a horrid little monster Bonita. I admire you for coping with my bahaviour. Many would have left, but you did not. Please forgive me.”
She held his outstretched hand. “I forgave you a long time ago” She smiled. “Will you drink some water? Your cough still lingers” Bonnie poured Theodore a small glass and assisted him holding it to his lips. Theodore nodded gratefully once he had had enough.
Bonnie proceeded to read a novel passage to Theodore, he listened intently. Bonnie was enraptured in the tale and did not look up. After an hour or so all grew quiet. Bonnie’s eyes gazed up from the book. Prince Theodore lay in a deep slumber upon the couch, his chest rising and falling ever so softly his lips slightly parted. Bonnie placed the book down on a nearby table and fetched one of the coverlets from his bedchamber, placing it over him. He did not stir. “Sleep well my friend.” Bonnie whispered and crept out of the room as quietly as a mouse. It was not until several hours later that Prince Theodore awoke. He sensed that his dear friend was no longer with him. ‘Stupid idiot! Imagine falling asleep in her company!’ He cursed. ‘How rude of me! I do hope Bonita is not greatly offended!’ Bonnie was not offended in the slightest. She felt saddened and concerned about the Prince’s declining health. Something was not right.
To be continued…..