“Oh God! Please Ma’am, do not send me away again, not after last time. His Grace took it so badly, it did unrepairable damage. I beg of you, I will pay for what I have done, but not in this way. I will do anything!”
“Stop begging, have you any idea how pathetic you seem?”
“I don’t know what to do.” Bonnie whispered.
“What are your intentions? Tell me truthfully!”
“I-I have none. You employed me as a reader for your son and I have done that. He is my friend and I am his.”
“How can presume that you are his friend?”
“He has told me himself. May I see his Grace, can you not discuss the letter and ask him what might be done?”
“I do not want to upset him! He is very fragile, surely you must know that by now. You are quite good at playing the doting little nurse are you not?”
“It is an act, is it not?”
“I-I’m sorry, your Majesty?”
“You do not care one little bit. It is all a lie Miss McGrath.”
Bonnie shook her head. “Well, as you are going to dismiss me anyway, I am going to tell you the truth. You are a cruel woman, your majesty and I think Theodore may have lived longer if you had not sent me away the first time. You have no idea how much trauma this has caused him. If you send me away now, I promise you that it will kill him. I love your Son, your Majesty. He is my dearest friend and I wont be separated from him for a second time.” Bonnie darted past her, dashing up the staircase.
Theodore raised an eyebrow on hearing her sniffing. “Bonnie dear, about last night. I really am sorry. What I said was completely unacceptable and I did not mean a word it was very…”
“It is not that.”
“I can tell that you are troubled, my friend.”
“I am afraid that I have done something… something unintentional, but terrible. I am so sorry.”
“Pray, tell me what it is and I will forgive you.” Theodore croaked.
“I wish it was that simple.” Bonnie placed water to his lips, her tears dropping onto his neck.
Queen Evangeline flurried into the room. “What precisely are you still doing here Miss McGrath?”
“Mother, what are you doing? What is the meaning of this?”
“This wicked girl has been spilling your secrets!”
“That is not true!”
“And now she denies it.”
“Please your majesty, explain it properly at least.” Bonnie begged.
“There is nothing to explain.”
“You- your Grace, this is regarding a letter, which I should not have written. It was to my Mother and I am afraid that I dropped it on the way to the post box.”
“Mother, you are making a mountain out of a molehill.” Theodore sighed. “Please, be reasonable. It is only a letter!”
“Go to sleep Theodore, you have no idea what you are saying, none at all. You are delirious and I am afraid that is the last time you shall see her.”
“You are a patronising me. I am a man Mother, I am dying, please let me see my friend!”
“Theodore, you have a fever, you are not talking sense! Never again shall you see her, I will make sure of it. I can have her hanged for treason, you know, have her locked up. Now get out girl!”
Bonnie scurried from the room.
“Stop, oh stop!” Theodore cried. “Where is Mr Howard?”
“Mr Howard! You care for that man more than you do your own Father!”
“Yes, yes I do! He practically brought me up. I hate you, where is he?”
“You are delirious for certain.”
“Oh I must find him.”
“Theodore, please! Do not try to get u-“
Theodore gasped, overcome with the most horrific spasm, letting out the most blood curdling cry as he slipped from the side of the bed and onto the floor, his body rigid. Queen Evangeline paused, what was happening? Was he breathing? On hearing the thud, Mr Howard rushed into the room, seeing Theodore lying upon the floor and Queen Evangeline sitting dumbstruck by his side..
“It was a spasm!” She exclaimed, “It caused him to fall from his bed onto the floor, I am afraid that he struck his head on the way down.”
“Your Grace?” He did not respond.
“He-he is dead?”
“We must get him back into bed. Once we have done so, I will fetch further help. That appears to be the beginnings of a very nasty bruise. Where is Miss McGrath?”
“That is where the problem lies. I dismissed her.”
“Oh what does it matter now when my son is unconscious?”
Mr Howard shook his head in disgust, scooping Theodore from the floor and placing him between the sheets.
Mr Howard ignored her and reached up, pulling the coverlet over Theodore’s icy body.
“His temperature is dropping. You- you didn’t…” He placed his ear to Theodore’s chest and placing another pillow behind his head.
“No I did not strike my own son you fool! How dare you even presume such a thing?” Queen Evangeline snapped. “He fell.”
“I am staying here.” He stated with an overwhelming calmness. “Is Miss McGrath still here?”
“How would I know?!”
He shook his head. “That poor woman.”
“Yes she is poor, with no manners and the most horrid disposition, yet you speak of her as if she were a saint! Would you like to be dismissed too?”
“Your Majesty, it was a mistake. She dropped the letter, I highly doubt anyone read it.”
“How can you be sure? Do not forget that this is not the first time that she has gone behind my back.”
“I do not think it is fair to hold that against her. All she did was fetch her doctor because Prince Theodore asked her too!”
“Oh, I see, you are on her side.”
“No. But it is my duty to look after Prince Theodore and ensure that he is happy. Look what has just happened!”
“I remind you to remember your place Mr Howard!” Mr Howard shook his head, placing a cool flannel to Theodore’s bruised forehead.
“My place.” He echoed, holding a bottle of smelling salts under Theodore’s nose and supported his body, propping his limp, lolling head against his shoulder. “There will soon be no place for me here.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014