Bonnie jumped as Howard spoke loudly and clearly. It was the first time she had ever heard him do so. There was no denying the devastation in Howard’s voice as he was filled with the bitter realisation that this was more than likely to be Prince Theodore’s final public appearance.

“His majesty Prince Theodore wishes to make an announcement on behalf of himself and his family.”

A deadly silence swept through the air, like a typhoon among the hundreds of people. Theodore nodded, proceeding to speak with his dry throat. His grip tightened on the chair arms, his knuckles whitening as he used all his might to keep himself from slumping forwards in the chair.

“I am addressing you today in attempts to make amends .Since my first illness last year, I have not been myself. As you all know I lost my sight suddenly which came as a great shock to myself and my family. Unfortunately, in the months to follow I became foolish, selfish and secluded. I treated my servants, parents and worst of all my dear friend Bonita with little respect, I spoke to them in a manner which they did not deserve. For this I will be eternally sorry. I only hope that they can forgive me.”

Prince Theodore paused momentarily and coughed deeply. Bonnie held the handkerchief to his mouth, discretely catching the small flow of fresh blood which trickled from the corner of his lips. She gathered the blood, encasing the handkerchief in her tight fist and quickly slipping it into her deep dress pocket so that it might go completely unnoticed.  Theodore’s throat was suddenly filled with a sharp sensation, as if it were packed with hundreds of tiny glass shards. He winced, bowing his head and squeezing his eyes tightly shut. Bonnie, sensing his agonizing pain, put her arm around Theodore supporting his semi-conscious body. Theodore sighed, a tear trickling down his chiseled cheek. Bonnie prayed that he might have the strength to go on.

“Please, I can’t bear to see you cry I wish I could continue for you. If only it was written down.” She whispered gently in his ear.  Theodore nodded, using his remaining strength, taking a slow but deep breath he gathered all the inner strength he could and proceeded to speak ever so slowly.

“Bonita is a wonderful woman, who has taught me so much about myself. She held a mirror up to me if you will, helping me to mend my conceited ways. I feel that now I am much changed and I previously had never felt the happiness that I do now. I bless every moment that I spend in her splendid company, never did I for a moment imagine that my chosen reader would become my best friend. Bonita I thank you from the bottom of my heart, with all my soul. God bless you my dear friend. May my parents Queen Evangeline and the King continue to rule as strongly as they have done for many a year. I only wish that their duties had allowed us to spend more time together as a family, but despite this they should know that I love them dearly. That is all I wish to say. Fair well to you all.”

Bonnie wept silently as she crouched by Theodore’s chair, supporting her body weight upon her tiptoes. He kissed her cheek weakly, sensing her falling tears against his skin. Bonnie wrapped her arms around Theodore’s neck and kissed his brow tenderly in return, a slow lingering kiss. A deadly silence followed for a few moments as the crowd came to terms with the devastating news. Was it true that the young Prince Theodore, heir to the throne was going to be taken away from them so soon? A moment more passed. A heartfelt round of applause began, echoing through the air. Theodore smiled. It warmed his frail heart to hear the crowds. He had been acknowledged at last.

To be continued..

 

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