“Miss McGrath is that you?”
“Ah, your Grace, I see that you are already awake and dressed.”
“Yes, well done.”
“Ahem, shall we find somewhere to sit?”
“If we must.”
“Your majesty, I beg your pardon, but I am employed to read to you.”
“Proceed then.”
“Do you enjoy Shakespeare?”
“It has been a while since-” Theodore paused.
“You do not like it?”
“It holds memories for me.”
“Memories?”
“Yes, yes! That is what I said is it not?”
“Would you care to share them your Grace?”
“Share them Miss McGrath! With you? A girl whom I have known for a matter of days! I think not.”
“Pardon my intrusion, for which I apologise.”
Theodore tightened his grip on the chair, sitting bolt upright.“I like the Scottish play, you may read that to me. I hate the romance genre. Well go on then, fetch the book and read from the very beginning.”
“I have it here by my side.”
“Well, what are you waiting for?”

Bonnie proceeded to read. Much to her surprise, Theodore recited along with her word for word.
“My! You do impress me.”
“Oh really, why is that?”
“You must have a very sharp memory. Shakespeare is not an easy thing to memorise, believe me, I have tried time and time again.”
“Oh.” Theodore rested his head upon the chair arm, sighing heavily.
“Is.. is it something I said?”
“No.”
“Oh, um, you are feeling a little fatigued perhaps?”
“Of late I am always tired. It is just how it is!”
“And, why is that?”
“Another question? My! You are quite the nosy little Scottish leprechaun!”
“They are Irish.”
“Pardon?”
“Leprechauns originated from Ireland.”
“You ask too many questions and now you contradict me! You are just my reader, kindly remember your place. In the pecking order of this castle my family and I are at the top and you, Miss McGrath are at the very bottom.”
“Splendid, anything else you wish to tell me?”
“I still do not like your accent.”
“I would rather possess my own than have a crafted one.”
“Excuse me?”
“It is clear that you have had elocution!”
“And you have not, hence why you sound like a peasant!”
“You are so rude that it is laughable. I’ll have you know that I am not going to stand here and have you mock me! You have your own faults. How do you really think that you are going to win the hearts of your people and eventually rule a kingdom, when you treat people in such a fashion!”

Theodore sat down abruptly, being hit by a tidal wave of nausea. He placed a hand on his stomach and closed his eyes.
“Y-your Grace?”
“Get-out!”
Bonnie went to turn on her heels, but paused before returning to his side.
“No, I will not go, especially not if you talk to me as if I were some insignificant dog. Now, please sit down. You don’t look well.”
“Oh so everyone keeps telling me!”
“They do?”
“Yes, yes. Oh you must be careful, do not horse ride, do not go walking in the grounds alone and do tell us where you are going.” He mimicked. “I have guards outside my room at night and servants everywhere! Can’t I have a moment’s peace?” Theodore paused again. “I should not have told you that.” He muttered.
“Why, why is that?”
“I-I should probably warn you. Sometimes, with little warning, I faint.”
“Is it often?”
“At least once a day.”
“That is horrible, oh gosh. Yes I am glad that you have forewarned me, just in case it should happen when you are in my company. But don’t worry your Grace, I know what to do. Now then, shall I read some more to you?”
“I barely have the energy to listen.”
“You are tired?”
“Yes.”
“I have only been here an hour.”
“Is that all? How the days drag when you have no-one by your side.”
“Well, I am here. Was she pretty?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Your betrothed, was she a pretty girl?”
“She- she was beautiful.” He whispered, the emptiness in his chest aching.
“I am sorry. Oh I always go a step too far, I did not mean to bring Miss Mallis into the equation.”
“You know her?”
“I know of her, unfortunately.”
“What do you mean; unfortunately?”
“Your Grace, forgive me, forget that I ever said anything.”
“No I must know, tell me!”
“Well, she is hardly popular. For one thing, she is rude and cruel.”
“How dare you speak of her in such a way! She is an accomplished young woman.”
“So accomplished that she belittles others, including yourself?”
“Get out!”
“That is the second time that you have asked me to do so! How can you say such a thing, when you wanted to know in the first place!”
“Wicked, uncouth Scottish girl! How dare you come here and attempt to make me spill my secrets, mine! They belong to me! Who do you think you are? What are your trying to do to me!” Theodore let out a cry of despair, clutching his chest.
“Y-your Grace! What pains you?”

Theodore gasped, reaching for the chair and sitting down.
“Oh, your Grace, I am really sorry, deeply sorry. This time I shall go and leave you in peace.”
“Please stay!” Theodore begged. “Please, I need you to help me!” He sobbed, placing his head into his hands. Bonnie gasped, she had never seen a man cry before. She  paused, cautiously placing a hand upon his shoulder.
“I am truly sorry.” She whispered. He placed his hand on top of hers, sensing the nimbleness of her slim fingers, a smaller hand than Jane’s. Theodore took her hand in his, holding it for a moment or two before letting go.
“Have you eaten today your Grace?”
“No.”
“Is this a habit of yours?”
“Excuse me?”
“Not eating!”
“Oh, that. Well, truthfully,my appetite has been quite poor.”
“Well, as we still have a few hours left, would you like some refreshments? I feel that we would benefit from a hot cup of tea, it really does seem to solve everything. I shall ring the bell.”
“Hmm, if you must Miss McGrath.”
“Needs must your Grace.”

**
“What type of biscuits are they?”
“They appear to have raisins in them, they are lovely and golden and look ever so crumbly.”
“I am tempted.”
“Have one then.”
“I do not know if I could stomach it.”
“How do you know that, unless you try?”
He grasped one between his thumb and forefinger and broke off a small piece, placing it into his mouth, chewing. Theodore swallowed.
“Hmm, yes they are quite delicious!”
“See?”
“Yes, well done Bonita, you were right again!” He sniffed.
“Bonita?”
“That is the full version of your name, is it not?”
“Well, yes but..”
“There then. It is a fitting, pretty name and I wish to call you Bonita from now on.”
“Very well.  My just look at the sun!”
“I cannot see it can I?”
“Well, perhaps you shall feel it. Please allow me to escort you outside. If you put on a warm coat, then you will not be cold, I can assure you.”
“I don’t think I can.”
“You said exactly the same thing about the biscuit and you managed! Come along please, we will not go far.”
“Very well.”
“I promise that I will not let go of your arm.”
“You swear it?”
“On pain of death, your grace.”
“I-I think I trust you.”
“I shall explain everything to you along the way. Do not be frightened, there is no need.”

Theodore hesitated in the doorway, feeling the door frame beneath his palms. He took a lungful of air, sensing the breeze upon his cheeks and placed both feet onto the front door step. He held out his right hand and Bonnie took it in her gloved one.
“Now then, there are three steps here, so go easily now and count them as you go.”
“Ah, I remember now. One, two, three.”
“Take my arm and I shall guide you.”
“Very well.”
“My! What a stunning garden, it is very quaint!”
“It is only the first one, the first of many.”
“Ah. I sense that you tremble your Grace, please, do not be scared. There is a bench a matter of steps away. Feel for it and sit down, only when you are ready. What is wrong?”
“Nothing, I- it does not matter.”
“Something pains you?”
“A little.”
“What causes it?”
“Well, from time to time I get it, it is an aching within my body. I don’t think my period of illness has helped.”
“Oh dear, I am very sorry to hear that.”
“I was not asking for your pity.”
“No, I know.”

Theodore gasped, closing his eyes once more. Bonnie placed an arm around his back as he bent double, grabbing onto the bench.
Your Grace, I know it is hard to do so, but please try to straighten your body. Is there any way that I can help you?”
“No.”
Bonnie nodded and turned away from Theodore slightly, allowing him to compose himself. He did so with care, placing his back against the bench.
“I am sorry.”
“You do not need to apologise to me! Your Grace, what became of this Miss Jane Mallis?”
“I think you can gather that she left!”
“Just like that?”
“Oh yes, me becoming blind didn’t suit her you see, she didn’t want to associate herself with a blind cripple.”
“She said that to you!”
“She did, just moments after I had received the news that I had gone blind! Oh what is this? Fifty questions to ask a blind prince?”
“I am sorry that she left, where is she now?”
“I don’t know! Stop, just stop! Take me inside now.”
“Yes, of course. Where should I take you?”
“To-to one of the drawing rooms, the one on the left.”
“Yes of course, take care of the steps, I am just guiding you through a doorway. Go to your left now.”
“Yes, I already told you that Bonita! My it was perishing!”
“It was your Grace, please sit upon the couch and warm yourself.” She pulled the corner of the rug draped over the back, laying it over him.
“I enjoyed our expedition.”
“You did?”
“Do not sound so surprised! Yes, I did. Please take one of the books from the bookshelf and read to me, make it something short.”
“You are tired and the ones in here are only historical books in volumes of 20.”
“Ah, my Grandfather was very fond of those. Never mind then, I feel like I could sleep. I feel ever so tired.”
“My hours are negotiable, I can go now if you like and leave you to rest properly.”
“My body aches, that is all and I have the beginnings of a headache.”
“Ah, you are not feeling well?”
“Bonita, what was your Father like?”
“It does make me smile when you call me Bonita! My Father was of medium height with brown hair. He was kind and gentle. My Mother wore the trousers in our house, but she would have never let him believe it. He had a great sense of humour. I-I have his eyes, my eyes are green and they are quite large. I have the most horrible eyelashes, you can barely see them. His were long and beautiful.”
“He sounds like a good man.”
“Oh he was, the best.”
“Your Grace, do you and your father get along well?”
“We barely speak.”
“Why is that?”
“He has little time for me, he is king after all and he no longer has a suitable heir so…”
“You feel you have let him down?”
“Well of course I have! What kind of foolish question is that?!”
“What about your Mother?”
“She is kind, but treats me like a child. I do not know why I feel like I can tell you these things, if anyone should find out…”
“They never shall, you have my solemn promise. You look like your Mother, she is beautiful. I mean I, um you are a good-looking family.”
“Looks are not everything.”
“No, I know but…”
“As I sound out just recently. I shall just tell you shall I?”
“Only if you think it fit.”
“Just under six months ago, I found myself to be madly in love, you already know of her already.”
“Jane Mallis.”
“Yes indeed. My point is, she was beautiful, but she is a heartless little creature and I do not believe she ever loved me at all.”
“That- that is very sad when I can tell that you cared for her greatly. I think the whole kingdom could tell, or at least my Mum said so. Anyway, I hope that you find someone who is good, kind and deserving of you.”
“I am not good, nor kind.” He gazed up at the white, patterned ceiling. “I think someone has other plans for me.”
“Your Grace, I do not understand.”
“I know my friend, but you shall, in time.”

To be continued…

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

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10 thoughts on “Theodore- Chapter 11

  1. Need to come back and read this when I have a little more time and start at the beginning! Looks interesting, thanks for sharing on the Ultimate Blog Challenge on FB.~Cindy

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