“Please stop! Oh do not speak in such a way, it hurts me so!”
“Hurts you?”
“Yes, because I care and hate to see you suffer.”
“Ah, come now, for the time being things are not so bad.”

Bonnie cleared her throat. “Your Grace, your Mother is struggling, I see the pain in her eyes.”
“I don’t know. She doesn’t show it.”
“Your Grace, she cares for you more than anything.”
“Hmph! Her kingdom means more to her than I do.”
“It is true, your parents are very busy, but I am sure that they love you very much.”
“Love! Oh what on earth would you know?”
“I have a family too! I know I have not married, not yet anyway, but there is still time for me. If that was meant as an insult, you failed miserably.”
“Why did I have to choose such a disagreeable person to read to me?!”
“Oh poppycock, you are disagreeable yourself.”
“And you are nosey and too blunt for your own good Bonita!”
“Ha, you call me Bonita again.”
“Yes, I shall call you it from now on. I am sick of all this Miss McGrath business! ”
“Very well then.”
“Really?”
“Why ever not.”
Bonnie smiled, patting his hand. “There now, I have given you your own way.”
“I suppose you have Bonita.”
“Here,shall we read some more Shakespeare?”
“We can try, just a little perhaps.”
“Hamlet?”
“Yes, although, I have to admit to knowing that play the least.”
“Well, I will have to read from the book and prompt you as we go.”
“It sounds like a good idea.” Theodore sighed, running a hand through his hair. “My God! My hair must look frightful!”
“It does not appear to be that way, but I shall fetch a comb.”
“Yes, please. There are always combs in the bathroom on this floor. Do you know where it is?”
“I think so, I shall find it.”

Bonnie curtsied out of respect and wandered along the long corridor, ah yes here is the bathroom she thought as entered, peering into the cabinet and grasping the metal comb, returning to Theodore’s side.
“Bonita is that you?”
“No, it is Attila the Hun.”
“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.” He muttered.
“I found the comb, here now.” Gently she took a section of his chestnut curls and proceeded to run the comb through them.
“My your hair was knotted, I am afraid that you were beginning to look like a cave man.”
“How lovely of you to say so.”
“It is true.”
“Yes well, at least I can rely on you to tell me things as they are.”
“I am not hurting you am I?”
“No not at all, you are gentle.”
“There now, I am done. See, feel how smooth your hair is now.”
He felt a section of his hair. “Ah, that is a large improvement. Thank you Bonita.”
Theodore coughed, placing his handkerchief over his mouth and turning away from Bonnie. He folded it, but not before she caught sight of the speckles of blood upon the white material.
“Your-your Grace !”
“Yes I know, I can taste it in my mouth.”
“Has this just started happening? The blood I mean.”
“Yes a day or so ago, no one knows now except you and I.”
“This- this is serious.”
“I know, but come now do not be alarmed.”
“How can I prevent myself from being so!”
“I am aware that I am deteriorating. Please promise me something?”
“Anything.”
“Promise, that you will not abandon me, I will try to hold a civil tongue, I know that I have been rather horrid to you so I would not blame you should you choose to leave.”
“Your Grace, I promise that I will never, ever abandon you. Shh, there now do not be sad.”
Bonnie wiped away the falling tears from Theodore’s dull eyes. He rested his head upon her shoulder, but cleared his throat and sat up again.
“That is quite enough wallowing in self-pity for one day. I feel like I must do something of use today.”
“Of use?”
“Yes, instead of sitting here moping like a fool.”
“You are no fool your Grace.”
“Oh I hate all this ‘your Grace’ business.”
“I am afraid that I cannot call you anything else but that. It would not be proper and I should get into trouble.”
“Perhaps.”
“Tell me of your childhood.”
“My childhood, are you trying to change the subject?”
“Yes, I am interested to know.”
“Oh, no one really asks me questions as you do, so I shall tell you. Well, before I was born, Mother was in labour for 16 hours. They thought that she might die, but she did not. Anyhow, my childhood was an unusual one I suppose, I was only allowed to speak to certain children and of course I had to be watched everywhere I went. I would rather have been a peasant.”
“Poverty is not fun. Well no, I am not poor, but before I was employed here we did struggle.”
“I understand.”
“Yes, when Father died we couldn’t afford to live in our previous house in Scotland any longer, so we moved to England.”
“Were you quite a well to do family?”
“Middle class.”
“Hence why you are so well-educated now?”
“Yes, I do suppose so.”
“You are an intelligent woman.”
“Why thank you, that is kind of you to say.”
“That’s because it is true. What is that clicking sound?”
“Oh, I am knitting while we talk.”
“What are you making?”
“Some winter socks for Andrew, my brother.”
“My company bores you?”
“No of course not! I enjoy it very much, but I might as well do something useful.”
“Hmph! I am never of use to anybody.”
“Oh you are, stop wallowing in self-pity!” Bonnie gasped, realising what she had just said. “I mean-um, I.”
Theodore raised an eyebrow. “You truly think that?”
“I do. Now that I have said it I cannot lie can I? Oh I am always saying things I shouldn’t.”
Theodore coughed again, placing his handkerchief over his nose and mouth. “Sorry.” He gasped as his coughing fit finally ceased and Bonnie held a glass of water to his lips. He drank thirstily.
“Your Grace, slow down a little otherwise you might choke yourself.”
Theodore nodded.

“It must be getting late.” He sighed. “I do not want you to walk home by yourself in this darkness.”
Bonnie stared at the clock. “It is 10.15pm, it is not so late, but if you are very tired then I shall go and I will see you in the morning. Here now, shall I ring for Howard to take you up to your room.”
“Yes, please and you must go home and send some time with your family.”
Bonnie rang the bell and there came a knock at the door. Bonnie smiled.
“Hello, good evening Mr Howard. I was just going but please will you escort his grace to his bedroom, I think he is very tired.”
“Yes of course. But how are you getting home Miss McGrath? It is dark now.”
“Oh do not worry about me.”
“No, I don’t think it is safe. Miss McGrath, I will see that his Grace gets to his room safely and into bed. Then I shall take you home myself.”
“That is very kind, thank you but…”
“Miss McGrath, please say yes otherwise I shall not sleep tonight with worry.”
“Very well then. Thank you both.”
Mr Howard nodded and smiled, leading a pale Theodore up the staircase and into his room.
“Thank you Howard.”
“Ah, I am glad to be of help.”
“She is quite a woman.” Theodore smiled weakly. “I almost despised her at first, but now I think, no, I know that she is doing me the world of good.”
“Pardon me saying, but I agree. Here now, just feel for your bed and be seated.”
“Thank you.”
“Here is your nightshirt and wash-bowl, can you manage?”
“Yes of course I can, I am not an invalid! Not yet anyway!”
Mr Howard said nothing, turning his back to Theodore and waiting for him to finish.
“I am finished. You may take the bowl away.”
“Of course.” He gazed at Theodore’s noticeable collar bones underneath his pale skin, a lump rising in his throat, he inhaled quietly watching Theodore slowly cover himself with his coverlet, resting his head against his pillows.
“Goodnight your Grace.”
“Thank you Howard.”
He closed the door behind him, returning to Bonnie with a heavy heart.

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8 thoughts on “Theodore- Chapter 15

  1. Sophie…this is the first time that I have visited your blog. What an original way to keep the interest of your blog readers by having a story for them to read and follow. This is like a soap opera in written form. Thank you for letting me read your fiction and keeping the imagination alive.

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m glad that you liked it. I have to admit to not being much good at writing reviews, but I adore fiction. 🙂

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