Bonnie bit her bottom lip, wiping away a tear. She kissed his forehead, stroking a stray piece of hair away from his cheek.
“Mr Howard, would you stay with him for a minute? I meant to fetch another blanket for his Grace.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Howard?”
“Yes, your Grace?”
“After Miss McGrath has gone, might I speak to my Mother, I miss her so. Could you tell her that please, where is she?”
“Of course I shall. Last time I saw her she had just returned from an engagement, that was around half an hour ago. I will fetch her.”
“Thank you.”

Bonnie returned with a smaller blanket, draping it over the bed. “Here you are.”
“Thank you.”

There came a tapping at the door. Bonnie glanced up, curtsying.
“Your grace, your Mother is here.”
“Thank you both.”
“I-I shall go now. Fair well your Grace, until tomorrow.”
“Goodbye Miss McGrath, I have thoroughly enjoyed being in your company, as always.”
“And-and I yours.”
She turned to Queen Evangeline and curtsied,  pacing  from the room. Theodore sighed and shook his head.

“That poor woman.”
“Why? What would make you say that my dear?”
“She is growing tired and must have so little time for herself.”
“Miss McGrath chooses to stay with you.”
“Hmm.”
“What was it that you wanted to say to me?”
“I miss your company that is all. Mother, I have barely seen you for months.”
“Now that isn’t fair! That’s not true!”
“It is, you always seem to be so desperate to get away from me.”
“I found your moods difficult to contend with, you are so cross all the time.”
“So you chose to abandon me. As for Father, well, I might as well not even have one. What in God’s name does he do with his time?”
“Do not use the Lords name in vain!”
“Yes, well I can hardly see a reason to be religious any more.”
“Perhaps you should pray.”
“Pray! Oh for goodness sake.”
“Why must you be so cantankerous and rude towards me Theodore, when it is clear that you and Miss McGrath get along so well?”
“Because, she understands me more in a matter of weeks, than you have done in 20 years.”
“Ah.”
“What?”
“You have fallen in love.”
“No! No I have not.”
“I think you have. That would not be wise, I can assure you!”
“Mother, no. Not after last time, Miss McGrath is a dear friend that is all. I-I shall never fall in love again. What would be the point when there is so little time. Mother? ”
“Yes?”
“Might I have a little water?”
“Yes of course. Here you are. You are thirsty.”
“I am, always. Why does Father deny me?”
“Shh now, you are a little feverish and I don’t think you are aware of what you are saying.”
“Why does Father deny me? Is it because he is ashamed of me because of my failed engagement and loss of sight. Is it perhaps my appearance or short temper, I must know so I can put things right. Please talk to him and ask him to see me.”
“I-I shall try. But for now, you need to rest.”
“I feel like a captive.”
“You are not a prisoner, but at this moment in time you are safest in bed.”
“I am cold, but I feel like I would benefit from some fresh air. I long to feel the breeze brushing against my face again.”
“When you are a little better you shall.”
“Hmm, yes. When I am better.” He parroted, rolling onto his side and closing his heavy eyes. Queen Evangeline placed her hand upon his shoulder as he drifted off to sleep.
**
“Bonnie oh my goodness, you are arriving home later and later. Let me feel your hands, why, you are frozen to the bone!”
“Mum don’t worry about me.”
“You’re exhausted dear, you must take a day off to rest. You are at the palace before 8.30am in the morning and never leave before 10pm. Do they feed you?”
“Well, I-I could eat if I wished to.”
“My dear, you have lost some weight. Now listen to me, you must eat properly.”
“I always have breakfast.”
“I know, but what about luncheon? You eat at 7.30am and often go straight to bed. Now, you must eat something. I made lamb stew.”
“It is too heavy. Here I shall have a slice of bread toasted before the fire.”
“Very well then. Take care, you do not want to be ill also.”
“Yes, I know. How is Andrew?”
“Still missing you, he says that he is jealous of this Prince Theodore man, as he has taken you from him.”
“Oh.” Bonnie turned the bread over.
“Bonnie, Bonnie? What is the matter?”
“You and Andrew needn’t worry. His Grace was right, he is sinking Mother, sinking fast. I shan’t be needed at the palace for more than a month longer! I am going to bed.”
“Oh Bonnie! Wait. Is- is it really that bad?”
“Yes Mother, it is. It reminds me of when…”
“Your Father was dying?”
“Exactly.” Bonnie sniffed, wiping a tear from her eye. “Which is why I want to stay.”
“I have been selfish Bonnie, I’m sorry.”
“I am not so tired. I’ll eat this and then wash my dress now and dry it before the fire. I could do with another really, as this one is becoming shabby, but no matter.”
Maira shrugged. “You have earned it.”
“We need the money for other things.”
“Nonsense, we all have new boots now and there is plenty of food.”
“I shall consider it then.”

Bonnie scrubbed her dress, squeezing it out in a mangle and placing it a small distance away from the fire.
“There, that is much better now. It will be dry by morning. Goodnight.”
“Sleep well dear. Do not worry about things that have not happened yet, dwell on the positive and help Prince Theodore to do the same. How is he coping?”
“He- he has accepted the fact, but cannot get his parents to do the same, which causes him a great deal of distress.”
“That is a great shame.”
“There is little wonder why he is sometimes short tempered, but he is softening, I see it.” Bonnie placed the last piece of toast into her mouth.
“There now, I am done.”

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

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14 thoughts on “Theodore- Chapter 19

      1. Good point. The good stories do what we want them to do the great stories leave us ranting and raving.

        To have known the comfort of real love even if it cannot last may be enough to at least save Theodore from his more negative side and grant him peace. Be true to your story don’t let us readers dissuade you!

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