Theodore gasped, a rattling sound coming from deep inside his chest cavity. Bonnie paused, placing her hand upon it, there was something, something inside. As wheezed again, Bonnie tucked her arm around his back to hold him up, placing her handkerchief in front of his white, hued lips. Blood, more than there had ever been and darker this time covered a patch of it. With care, she wiped his mouth, waiting for a moment, until she was sure that his coughing fit was over.
“That must hurt you a great deal.” She sighed.
“Mmm.” He muttered, nodding his head.
“You heard me?”
Theodore nodded once more.
“I don’t know whether I’d risk having you drink from a glass, but you must be very thirsty. I placed the sponge I used in your bedside cabinet, hopefully it is still there.”
Much to her relief it was. She fetched a glass of water, returning to his bedside.
“There now, I will place this to your lips and you must try to drink a little.”
He obeyed, sucking the cool liquid from the dampened sponge.
“That’s it your Grace, you are doing very well indeed.”
Queen Evangelene poked her head around the door as she passed in the corridor, she said nothing as she watched Bonnie supporting her son’s neck with such tenderness as he drank from the sponge. She stood there in silence, pressing her face against the door frame. Bonnie jumped, sensing that she was being watched.
“M-my Lady.” She stood up and curtsied. “I am sorry, I did not realise that you were there.”
“No matter, as you were. Might I join you?”
“Yes of course.” Bonnie grasped the other chair.
“I will sit at the other side.”
Bonnie nodded, putting the chair in the desirable place, her heart fluttering and placed the sponge to Theodore’s lips once more.
“It- it is a clean sponge, I was afraid that I might choke his Grace if I were to give him water straight from the glass.”
“A sensible idea.”
Bonnie nodded, yet said nothing.
“You have every right to be cross with me.”
Bonnie paused. “There is little point in being angry.”
“After I left, what happened your majesty?”
Queen Evangeline shook her head and took out her handkerchief, dabbing her eyes.
“I-I am sorry, I asked something that I should not have done.”
“I shall tell you the truth. Theodore was upset and furious with me, I do not blame the boy, he said- he said that he hated me and would no longer call me Mother.”
Bonnie sighed. “Your majesty, I have come to learn over time that Prince Theodore sometimes says things that he does not mean when he is angry. Do not take it to heart, for we have quarrelled too. He called me a nosy Scottish Leprechaun, quite forgetting that Leprechauns are in fact Irish.” She laughed.
“But he has never told you that he hated you?”
Bonnie paused. “Not- not in so many words, but at first, I think he did.”
Theodore stirred upon his pillows from his sleep, upon hearing the sound of his Mother’s voice.
“Mother you are here.”
Bonnie patted his hand. “Yes she is, I will leave you two for a while. I think you need to talk.”
Queen Evangeline nodded, taking Theodore’s hand in hers.
“Darling, I am sorry for what I did.”
Theodore’s eyes filled with tears. “I forgive you.” He whispered. “There is so little time now, that none of us should hold any grudges that would create so much regret. I do not want to have any regrets.”
“Nor I, Miss McGrath shall stay.”
“You mean it Mother?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Thank you.” He placed a hand, over his face and sighed as she held his other free one.
“I apologise on behalf of your Father and I. I am sorry for suggesting that marriage to Miss Mallis might be a good idea, if only I had known.”
“Do not be sorry, I am glad that she left, but tell me, have you heard anything of her?”
“A little.What is it my dear? Something amuses you?”
“Can you imagine if she were to ever be wed? I can assure you that Jane is indeed very beautiful, but she is difficult…and cruel and I fear that I had become too much like her, I still am and it is something that may be too late to change. No matter, what is the point of talking of marriage now?”
“Do not speak in such a way.”
“Why, it is true.”
“It-it might not be.”
“It is, but do not fear, I am not afraid Mother I have accepted the fact and you and Father must do the same.”
“Darling, I did not mean to bring up the subject of Miss Mallis but I felt it was nessecary, you see, I received this letter this morning. Well, actually it is addressed to you, but I took the liberty of opening it. I-I promise that I have not read it.”
“She, wrote to me? Put it on the fire.”
“Theodore, at least let me read the letter to you!”
“No. I feel like I have finally come to terms with the whole matter and she writes to me! This is absurd. Please send Miss McGrath back in, I shall keep the letter and she can read it to me. That is what she is employed for after all.”
“Yes, of course.”
Queen Evangeline peered around the door. “Miss McGrath.” Bonnie snapped out of her reverie and sniffed.
“There is something that his Grace requires you to read to him.”
“Yes of course, I’ll do it now ma’am.”
She re-entered the bedroom, seating herself close to his bed.
“Now then your Grace, I’m assuming that it’s this letter?”
“Ah, I see who it is from.”
“Please, read it.”
“Very well. Ahem. It says; To Theodore.”
“Hmph! She has no right to call me by my first name!”
“Shall I proceed?”
“I beseech you and can only hope that you will forgive me as I am a humble fool.”
“That woman does not know the meaning of the word, she is spoiled and selfish like a little lap dog!” Theodore cried. Bonnie placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Shh your Grace, try to remain calm.” Theodore nodded, biting his bottom lip.
“I apologise with all my heart for the way that I have behaved and can only hope that you will allow me to make amends. Your humble servant and friend; Miss Jane Mallis.”
“Lies! She is a compulsive liar, she did not love me at all, but instead fritted away my family money. I shall never forgive her, she is a heartless little cretin and I have never despised anyone as I do her!”
Theodore let out an exasperated cry, falling back against his pillows.
“Oh forgive me your Grace, I should have placed it on the fire as you requested. I am truly sorry. She was hurt you badly.” With care, she folded back the sheet away from his face, smoothed his hair and kissed his forehead.
“You did not know and I should have guessed. Oh there are so many things that I should like to ask her but…”
“You are afraid to?”
“She will mock me.”
“Mock you? But you are higher than she and you must remind her.”
“She is a very strong character.”
“Yes, but my dear Bonita, you are a darling. Whereas, she is cruel and takes pleasure from mocking others.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014