“If I were to die here and now; I would be a happy man.”
“Please don’t say that!”
“It is true.”
“Poor Bonnie. You shall not die here, do not worry.”
“Am I to die?”
“I- I do not know.” Bonnie patted Theodore’s gloved hand, planting a tender kiss upon his cheek.“The horizon looks so beautiful. It is true; there is a nip in the air, but the sun casts beautiful beams of light over the waves which are caught in the ripples of the water. A small flock of seagulls fly overhead.”
“I hear them. How loud they are.” He sighed, placing his head upon Bonnie’s shoulder once more.
“Theodore, I am sorry that…”
“I am truly sorry that you were not always able to experience the simpler things in life.”
“It was to be expected. After all, we are royalty.”
“I just wish that I was a stronger character, your Mother was…”
“Cruel and manipulative?”
“I was simply going to say that she was difficult to contend with.”
“What will you do Father?”
“That I have not contemplated, but do not worry. It is out of your hands my son. Come now, we must return to the palace.”
Mr Howard nodded, lifting Theodore from the Rug. Bonnie gathered the extra blankets as they placed an exhausted Theodore back into the carriage. She tenderly took his hand in hers as he slept, his head resting against her shoulder once more, as the movement rocked him into a deep sleep.
“Your Grace?” Bonnie patted his shoulder. “Your Grace, we are home.”
Theodore did not stir, but breathed gently. Bonnie sighed and adjusted the blanket around him as Mr Howard began to carry him inside.
“Howard, he had better go straight into bed.” King Rupert whispered.
“Yes, of course.”
Bonnie followed Mr Howard up the staircase as the king stood gingerly in the hall way.
“Perhaps I should go?” Bonnie suggested.
“I think you most probably need rest. I will stay with his Grace now and I dare say the king will come and join me.”
Bonnie swallowed. “Forgive me for saying this, but… he looks frightful.”
Mr Howard nodded. “I know.”
“I want to stay for a while, just in case.” Bonnie smoothed the hair from Theodore’s face as he slept deeply but peacefully.
“I think today was all far too much and for that, I am sorry. At the time, I think things are a good idea but then later I regret my actions. You are drained.”
“It is not your fault Miss McGrath. He was so happy, I think the memory will stay with him always. I am not so tired, but you must go to bed.”
“Yes of course.” Bonnie kissed Theodore’s forehead. “Goodnight to you both.”
“Please; Bonnie do not go.”
“Oh? I see you are awake.”
“Sit by me for a while.”
“I just wanted to thank you both for the most wonderful day and Father also. I think at last he is coming into his own. He does not need Mother to help him rule.”
“He is a good man. Here, put this on for you are so cold.”
Bonnie placed a cardigan over Theodore’s nightshirt and wrapped her spare shawl around his shoulders.
“That should help a little. Why don’t you mention it when you are cold?”
“I didn’t think I was.” Theodore yawned.
“I’d rather speak with you. Please; hold my hand in yours.”
Bonnie did so, sensing his cold flesh underneath her fingertips in the dinginess of the room.
“Would you like some water or tea? You- your Grace?”
He did not answer. “I’ll go.” Mr Howard mouthed, stroking Theodore’s cheek.
“Goodbye your Grace, you are kind and wise beyond your years. It has been a joy serving you.” He kissed Theodore’s cheek in a Fatherly manner, wiping away a tear and glancing at Theodore one last time.
Theodore opened his eyes, attempting to lift his head from the pillow. He could not. A sharp pain seared his chest and he flopped to one side.
“Oh God!” Bonnie placed her arm under his neck, producing a bottle of smelling salts and holding them under his nose, but he did not inhale. She placed the back of her hand in front of his mouth sensing the faintest of breath upon her skin.
“Please, Father; don’t let die. Not like this.” Bonnie prayed. “Your Grace.”
He sighed a little. “Sorry.” He muttered. “It happens.”
“I know, it is not your fault.”
“Please, lie beside me. Only, I wish to lie with another again. Just as a friend.”
Bonnie sighed, he had so little time left. She climbed into his bed next to him, wrapping her arms around his neck as she helped him to place his head upon her shoulder.
“Do you recall when I wrote my will?”
Theodore laughed weakly; “Part of it might be of use to you.”
“Bonnie my darling, it is nearly time for him to leave your world.”
“Father!” Bonnie whispered. “Oh you’ll take care of him, won’t you?”
“Yes, I promise, my brave, selfless daughter.”
“I-I can hear you.”
“I am all around you, in the air that you breathe in the lane which you walk. I am there and always will be and now Theodore will be. It is time.”
“John? Oh how you look like Bonnie, you have her kind eyes and warm smile.”
Theodore gasped, his eyes filling with tears. It was true, in the hazy outline, John McGrath carried a small bundle in his arms.
“He is here with me.”
“I had a son?”
“Yes, your Grace. Come and meet him now, he would have looked very much like you, with your fine hair and handsome features, had he lived. We are waiting, waiting on a Prince.”
“Your Grace, I have got you. I’ll look after your body, but you must allow your soul to go with my Father.”
“I can’t, I am not ready!”
“Help him Bonnie. We must help him pass.”
“Shhh, I am going to assist you, it is time to let go. I-imagine you are sat on our bench in the garden, feel the cold stone beneath your fingertips. I remain at your side and you feel so warm for you are wrapped up in your woollen coat, with a rug over your legs. A little robin sits in the tree, he hides his head underneath his wing.”
“I see him.” Theodore muttered. “But a man beckons, he says my name. John it is you! Oh he looks like you Bonnie!”
“I carry your Son.”
“My baby! My baby boy!” Theodore smiled. “He is beautiful, Bonnie told me that we would meet, she was right. I am ready John, please don’t go. Oh wait for me.”
“Help him Bonnie.”
“Your Grace, I take your hand.” She did so. “I will guide you to my Father. We- we will walk together, I am taking you closer to him now.”
“John. Oh, you and Bonnie look so alike.” Theodore smiled.
“Take my Father’s arm instead.”
“Take it Theodore.”
In his mind, Theodore did. Sensing the soft folds of John’s shirt sleeve underneath his fingertips.
“He will take you to heaven.” Bonnie wept. “I love you.” She whispered. “With all my heart and soul, but now it is time to let go.”
Theodore nodded. Bonnie kissed him once more and her tears dropped upon his snowy cheeks as the last procrastinating breath slipped from his blue-hued lips.
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014