“Well, of course I don’t.”
“You are a servant, why would I tell you things that I am not happy to mention in front of my parents?”
“Sometimes it helps to speak with someone that you hardly know your Grace.”
“Bah! You expect me to pour my heart out to you? A little red-head such as yourself!”
“I remind you that you are one yourself. Therefore, that is pot calling the kettle black.”
“My hair is of a chestnut shade.”
“Which is somewhere between red and brown is it not?”
“I do not know. I can barely remember. Well, I am afraid to say that is through no fault of my own. Now, if we have quite finished insulting one another, I should like you to read to me.”
“Did you and this Miss Mallis insult one another your Grace?”
“Why would you even speak of her again? That is in the past so kindly do not mention that subject! How many times must I tell you Miss McGrath! It pains me so and I have told you all I wish to!”
“Your Grace!”

Theodore flopped forwards. Bonnie caught him, resting his head against her shoulder and supporting his limp body.
“Oh Lord! What have I done?”
Carefully she took out a bottle of smelling salts from her dress pocket, placing it under his nose. He coughed and opened his eyes, staring vacantly at her. Without saying so much as a word, he placed a hand upon her arm, sensing her soft, over-washed dress beneath his grasp.
“Miss McGrath, that is still you isn’t it?”
“Yes your Grace. I- I am so sorry, I went too far as always, I shall collect my bonnet and shawl and leave immediately and–”
He clutched her arm tighter still. “No, you are not to go!.Please, you are right again and I have been a fool again. This was my own doing but thank you.”
“What for?”
“Catching me before I hit my head upon the stone floor.”
“Your physician should be called immediately.”
“No, but..but you may ask Howard to fetch my Mother, I wish to speak with her.”
“Yes, yes of course.”
“For now, help me to lie on top my bed. I will probably be safer there.”
Bonnie swallowed, in fear that she should tell her everything.

“Thank you Miss McGrath, we shall not be long. Feel free to have a wander in the palace grounds while you wait.”
“Thank you your Grace.”
Bonnie’s hands shook, her stomach fluttering as she closed the oak door behind her, descending the vast staircase.
“What is it my dear, are you two getting along?”
“I did not think that I would meet a woman whose character almost matches my own.” Theodore laughed weakly. “Yes, I am enjoying her company actually.”
“Well, that is good. So what was it that you wanted to tell me?”
“Mother, I think we must prepare ourselves for the worst.”
“The worst?”
“My condition is, well it’s not improving. Each day I grow a little weaker. Mother, I can feel  something attacking me from within!”
“I do not understand. Do you mean a feeling of love?”
“No! Oh Mother, you misunderstand me completely! How can you pretend that everything is fine, when it is not! Mother, I think I am dying!”
“Theodore no! How could you say such a thing?”
“This- this morning I had a small coughing fit and found speckles of blood upon my handkerchief.”
“I feel you are over reacting. Your lips look quite dry, perhaps you accidentally brushed your handkerchief against them or bit your tongue.”
“Don’t you think that I would have felt it?”
“Nonsense! You are still recovering from your previous illness, that is all.”
“You would say that and now, I am branded as a liar my my own Mother! In two months or so, you shall see.”
“I-I do not want to hear this. No! I must go and see a friend in the country for a few days but Howard and Miss McGrath will remain here to keep you company.”
“Yes that’s right Mother, walk away and leave me like you always do! Did you know Mother, I fainted again today. That’s the third time this week.”
“Were you quite alone?”
“No Miss McGrath was with me.”
“Why didn’t you say so?!”
“Because you do not care. This discussion is over. I shall be dead by Christmas. Now please allow Miss McGrath to come back in. She seems to be the only person in this palace to make any sense.”

Queen Evangeline hastened from the room and down the staircase to find Bonnie seated in a wooden armchair in the hallway, staring up at the sycamore carved ceiling.
“You are gazing at one year’s work.”
Bonnie jumped.
“Did I scare you?”
“A-a little I must admit.”
“Well come now, my son awaits your return. He may be awkward, but secretly your company means a great deal to him, even though I doubt that he would admit that himself.”
“You really think so?”
“I know so.”
“Well then, I shall go back to him.”
“Your Grace, are you crying?”
“I rarely cry.”
“Very well then.”
“What did you hear?”
“Nothing. But I think I may have sussed it.”
“But I would not like to say.” Bonnie bit her bottom lip. “Shall I order some refreshments? A cup of tea perhaps and something to eat? I will tell Howard.”
“I have water here, that will be sufficient.”
Theodore reached for the glass, his right hand trembling as he held it to his lips, the tears running down his cheeks. He let out a cry of exasperation, dropping the empty glass and placing his head into his hands.
“What, what is it? You are in pain?!”
“I am furious, practically boiling over with anger. There are so many things that I would love to do, but I cannot do them. I am no longer myself. I have little patience with anything and all I wish to do at the moment is sleep, because I feel so exhausted all the time. I don’t understand! I never will!”
“Shhh, it’s al-right. If I may say so, I think that you have become more patient since we first met and it is not a crime to feel fatigued.”
“Yes, well. My Mother does not understand and thinks that I am over reacting!”
“She is not fully aware?”
“No she is, but she chooses to turn her back. She is ashamed of me. I shall never be king. I have let both my Mother and Father down in that respect. Well if God wants to take me, he’d better hurry up and do it!”

To be continued…

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014


8 thoughts on “Theodore- Chapter 14

  1. Theodore’s mother has quite the case of denial! How sad, that she is not listening to her son, who needs his heart to be heard… to be loved. I’m glad Mrs. McGrath was there for him.

    You did a great job describing a tender moment there. I also really liked how you described the illness itself, in Theodore’s point of view… how he felt like he was being attacked by something from within.

    That must be what it really feels like when you cough so hard and speckles of book appear on your handkerchief. Scary.

    Thanks for sharing your chapter!

    1. Susan thank you for giving feedback. I’m always so grateful when people who take the time to do this 🙂 She is isn’t she? It’S really quite sad, when Theodore needs his Mother more than ever. Hopefully in time she will understand….

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