As Theodore’s condition worsened, he had no option but to be confined completely to the loneliness of his bed chamber. Bonnie felt drawn to him more than ever. As she spent all of her days there and only returned home to sleep the royal family asked her to inhabit one of the rooms in the palace. Bonnie agreed to this and it was arranged that her belongings were to be transferred immediately . Her Mother nodded and helped Bonnie to pack a small trunk with her belongings.
“Don’t worry Mum I shall be back in a few weeks.” Bonnie smiled bravely. Inside her heart ached and her head was filled with worry.
“I know you will love” Maira smiled. “I feel for his poor family and you. Stay strong my dear Bonnie and send his majesty my well wishes.”
“I will Mum.”
Bonnie hugged her Mum and climbed into the awaiting horse-drawn carriage which had been sent for her. The room she was to inhabit was one of the smaller ones. It was clean and comfortable, with a small brown marble fire-place to provide a source of heat. Bonnie felt most at home as she unpacked her small case, hanging her dresses in the beautifully sculpted oak wardrobe. On tidying her slightly flyaway hair, Bonnie gazed into the mirror upon the dresser. ‘Yes that it better, I was beginning to look like a tattie bogle!’ How Theodore had enjoyed that tale. A small smile appeared upon Bonnie’s lips. She left the confinement of the room and ventured to see Theodore. He laid slightly curled in his bed, with one arm tucked under his soft pillow,the other by his side. He sensed Bonnie’s presence and stirred.
“Hmmm Bonita is that you? I heard you were here and unpacking. Was the move difficult?” His voice was barely more than a whisper, his throat felt as dry as parchment.
“No not at all. Your majesty you’re thirsty aren’t you? Look at your poor dry lips. Will you take some water? I will fetch you some.”
“Thank you.” He croaked.
Prince Theodore was so very weak. Bonnie held the water to his lips and supported his head as he drank thirstily.
“My goodness when did you last drink?” Bonnie’s voice was filled with concern. Surely he would have rung for assistance if he needed water?
“At breakfast. But I did not eat, I wasn’t hungry.”
“But that would have been 5 hours ago! Please you have to drink your majesty! If you are to get better.”
He nodded in agreement, but knew his chances were weakening at every chiming hour.
“Will you have another glass?”
Her arm draped around Theodore’s bony shoulder. He was becoming so very thin, after being malnourished for the past week. Bonnie felt the painful tears prickling her eyes. She willed them not to fall.
“Please my friend, do not cry!” Theodore sensed Bonnie’s salty tears dripping onto his neck. It stung ever so slightly. He placed his snowy white hand upon her sleeve, feeling the soft material at his fingertips in attempts to offer her some form of comfort.
“It was a speck of dust ,nothing more!” Bonnie sighed. Theodore smiled weakly. This was a white lie, he thought.
Bonnie decided to distract herself. “Now then, whatever shall we do with this hair of yours?”
“Is it really that hideous?”
“I could compare you to a wild cave man!”
Theodore laughed “Oh dear! That will not do!”
Bonnie placed Theodore to rest upon his cushions and grabbed the comb from his dresser. She began to gently tease the knots from his chestnut hair in attempt to restore it to its former beauty.
“You know your highness, this reminds me of the night before I met you. Mother put my hair in so many ridiculous rags. She wound them so tightly that I thought my hair might fall out in my sleep. My head looked like a mop.”
Prince Theodore laughed once more. It pained him to do so as it put great strain upon his chest. Bonnie placed a hand upon his shoulder. “There you look tidy now. If you don’t mind me saying you have beautiful hair.”
“Thank you Bonita. Yes, I have to admit that I was once very vain about my hair.”
There came a knock at the door. It was Howard. He bowed.
“Excuse me interrupting when you have company. I came to inquire whether you have eaten so far today?”
Theodore shook his head. “I have not. My appetite seems to have unfortunately vanished. But Bonita may be hungry, are you my dear?”
Bonnie paused. “I have to admit I am a little. A cup of tea would be lovely, actually two cups and some toast please. Thank you Howard.” Howard nodded, bowed and exited the room.
Theodore smiled. “That was spoken like a true expert! I think you’d do well living like this.” Bonnie laughed. Was that a discrete hint? Surely not, she thought. Their refreshments were brought to them upon a silver tray, the toast neatly stacked in the sturdy toast rack. They devoured their food hungrily.
“You need to sleep now sire.”
“Please, you don’t need to call me sire, from now on you must call me Theodore. You and I are equals I have decided. “
Bonnie smiled. “Wonderful! I am most flattered Theodore.”
She gently pecked his pale forehead, he gazed up at her with his lifeless eyes so filled with sorrow. Bonnie retired to her own room in order to let Theodore rest once more. The large palace rooms were frightfully drafty, she sat in bed completing some needle work for an hour or so. At last, Bonnie placed one of her older shawls round herself for warmth and drifted into a deep sleep.
To be continued…..