Everyone has two sides to them
We got halfway home before Mark showed up. he pulled over and opened the door for me. I flopped into the seat.
‘Man that was hard.’ Chris sat down beside me.
‘I gave you a piggyback most of the way. How do you think I feel?’ I gave him my evil smile.
‘Fabulous.’ He went to slap me but I moved out the way so he slapped the middle chair.
I arrived home dishevelled and hungry. I walked into the larder to look for some food but Chris pulled me out of the larder and sat me down in the kitchen.
‘I cook.’ He commanded.
‘You can’t cook.’ He pulled out a frying pan.
‘Yes I can. I am Buffalo Kryptonite.’ I raised an eyebrow.
‘Yeah you are Buffalo Kryptonite.’ Buffalo Kryptonite was this fabulous cook who was like the best cook ever. He had cookbooks and his own TV show. Like an amazing cook. Went to one of his taster sessions. Man that was some good food. Grandmother did not like it and dragged me over to some terrible English guy.
‘Seriously. They teach you how to make good food at the Academy. I was a natural.’
‘Are you being big headed.’ I just had to ask. He put an omelette on my plate.
‘See for yourself.’ I tried the omlette. It was amazing. Like a burst of flavour in my mouth. The perfect amount of everything splashed in there.
‘What is in this thing?’ Chris looked sheepish.
‘Jam, chilli powder, eggs of course, milk, cream, chocolate, vinegar, Dog poo-’ I choked on that one. ‘Just kidding. Your face was priceless.’ Someone was walking down the stairs. It was too heavy to be Father or Lord Baenziger so it must be one of the asians. We had nicknamed them that on they way home. Chris dived into the larder as Akki walked in.
‘What is going on. I heard a male voice.’
‘I was just- um talking to my friend. His voice has just broken. We were going to hang out at school tomorrow.’ Akki looked unconvinced.
‘Why did you make food. We are going out for dinner tonight. It will ruin your appetite. We are leaving soon. Get ready.’ When she turned around I stuck my tongue out at her. Chris peaked out of the larder.
‘I will.’ She stalked out of the room as Chris slipped out of the larder.
‘You have to go and get ready.’
‘Don’t you have to come.’
‘I do. I take less time though.’ I stuck out my tongue at me. He pushed me up the stairs. ‘Go!’
I ran into my room to see Jane and Mary holding a white dress with black flowers coming over my shoulder to make a strap. The flowers sort of were spread out along one side and then became more spread out until they stopped halfway around the front of my dress. There was a matching pair of high heels. Jane Did my hair. It had grown long enough to almost reach my bum. Jane let it down and just place a few black flower clips in my hair.
‘Don’t jump into any water this time.’ Mary said. Jane snickered.
‘I won’t. Unless the waiter is throwing water around for some absurd reason. Or they are spraying champagne everywhere.’ Jane snickered again. Now Dad had bought two dogs. One bitch and one dog. He had bought a cockapoo which is a cocker spaniel and a poodle which he called Tobias and then I had bought a blue whippet called Dylis. Tobias the cockapoo was very unpuppy like. He would just follow Dad around and later on Vanessa but you don’t know who she is. Yet. Anyway Dylis would run around alot because she is a whippet and on springs. So I would have picked up something and she would bounce to see who or what it was. Dylis would run laps around Tobias who would lolap along behind her going wait for me. Anyway. Dylis ran into my room followed by Tobias. I giggled as Dylis jumped into my lap and curled up. She was still very small so you could pick her up one handed still.
I walked down the stairs after nearly falling down them in my ridiculous shoes. They were black open toed high heels. And I mean really high. I took them off to walk down the stairs
Chris was at the bottom of the steps wearing a black dinner jacket and matching trousers. He had a crisp white shirt and a tie which was undone hanging around his neck. He looked at me desperately.
‘I can’t tie ties.’
‘Good for you I do.’ I reached the bottom of the steps and dropped my shoes. There was a hiss of annoyance from someone above me. I leaned over and tied his tie for him and did up the top buttons.
‘Thanks.’ He muttered. I stepped back and looked him up and down.
‘No problem. If I may say so you look very handsome tonight.’ He laughed.
‘And you look especially ugly tonight.’ I slapped his arm.
‘Prick.’ I muttered. I picked up my shoes again and walked off. He ran after me.
‘I meant it as a joke.’ He sounded really concerned.
‘I know. I just want to get this over with. I hate dressing up in stupid heels.’ I held up the offending shoes. He raised an eyebrow.
‘Akki?’ I nodded. He pulled a face. Akki strided over to us in ballet flats. I opened my mouth to complain Chris just squeezed my hand.
‘Let it go. She always wanted to be small and became tall. She wants you to look taller hence the stupid shoes.’ I rolled my eyes.
We were in a large posh restaurant where every table had a large bunch of flowers and four wine glasses for each person. Dessert, champagne, red and white. Each one was crystal cut with a gold band across the rim of each one. I raised an eyebrow at Two who shrugged back. We were sat at a table for eight. My father was sat at the head, as always, with me on his left and Lord Baenziger on his right. Two sat beside me with Shinji and Takeshi opposite us and Akki at the other head. The cutlery was polished to a fault and even the napkins had been pressed to look crease free. . Akki sat down and started complaining about everything. Lord Baenziger looked so embarrassed I felt sorry for him. It was not really his fault that his wife was such a whiney so and Chris pulled out my chair for me as I went to get it. My father leaned over to him.
‘So what did you both decide?’ He sounded excited. Lord Baenziger leaned in as well.
‘Well we decided to sign now but nothing serious until Taylor is at least sixteen going on seventeen.’ Father looked excited.
‘It is your birthday tomorrow Taylor. I am thinking of a large party.’ Lord Baenziger looked at Chris.
‘Is it not your birthday also Christopher?’ Chris nodded.
‘But no big celebration.’ Lord Baenziger nodded and immediately leaned over to my father and they started chatting. Akki clicked her fingers and a waiter walked over.
‘Yes?’ Akki looked around at us.
‘So have we chosen what we wanted to eat?’ I looked around and saw no menus.
‘Where are the menus?’ Shinji asked my question. Chris relaxed beside me. Akki giggled. It did not suit her. It sounded like a wheezing dog who had been running miles and miles.
‘There are no menus. They cook whatever you want.’ I glanced up at Chris who was frowning slightly. My father and I shared a sideways look. This could get interesting,
‘Well. I would like caviar with a large cotelette. Please.’ Akki glared at my father as he stated what he desired.
‘I would like a rare fillet steak with some juices not too much please. Oh and a glass of champagne.’ My father was the only person to smiled at what I had ordered. The waiter looked slightly lost that we were having so much fun just ordering food. Chris was up next.
‘Chips and the same as her.’ He jerked a thumb at me.
‘Shinji choose whatever you want darling.’ Akki was stroking his hair.
‘I want sushi with rice, lamb and pork chops and spare ribs.’ Takeshi went next and ordered a pizza with chocolate on top. Akki ordered mussels and snails. Lord Baenziger ordered a lamb curry and popadoms and naan bread. The waiter walked away looking slightly worried. Dad and I were laughing so much I couldn’t breath. Akki was glaring at Chris, who shrugged at his father who shrugged back.
The food came perfectly tailored to each of our desires and within a reasonable time. Lord Baenziger looked over at me.
‘So Taylor what do you have?’
‘I have a fillet steak and a glass of champagne. What about you Lord Baenziger?’
‘Please. Call me Titus. Lord Baenziger is my formal name. You will become family someday so Titus is fine by me.’ My father looked up.
‘Oh. That reminds me.’ He tapped his glass with his spoon.
‘We are here to celebrate the joining of our families. Both Taylor and Christopher have agreed to sign the betrothal contract!’ Akki raised an eyebrow by clapped politely with Shinji and Takeshi.
Dinner got worse and worse as the night went on. Titus ended up leaving early with Chris, my father and I.
‘She just does not know when to stop.’ He complained. ‘I mean I tell her to keep her mouth shut and not insult our waiter that his hair looked wrong. I do wonder why I stay with her.’ Dad patted his back.
‘I don’t know why you do,’ Chris took my hand. I smiled at him.
‘Tomorrow we will be sixteen and seventeen.’ I said as we walked behind our fathers.
‘Yeah. I find it odd I have been driving since the age of fourteen and yet I have to pass the official driving test to drive legally in the country without my royal card.’ I snickered. There was a high pitched voice behind us.
‘TITUS! HOW DARE YOU LEAVE US AT THAT TABLE! THE CHAMPAGNE WAS COMING! WE ARE MEANT TO BE CELEBRATING OUR HALF WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!’ Titus rolled his eyes and kept walking. Chris smiled at the vain attempts Akki was doing to get us to stop. A gun went off. Suddenly I felt a burning across my arm. I felt sick to the stomach and there were black spots in my vision.
‘Crap.’ I muttered as I fell into Chris. He caught me as I fell into him and my legs gave way.
‘Sorry.’ The gun went off again bullets whizzing over my head as Chris pushed me down. I squeaked with the pain. He pulled me into the grass beside the walkway we were on. Akki stomped past in her ballet flats. Shinji and Takeshi walked past. Chris stood up once they had climbed into an escape car. The last I saw of them was the red rear lights that looked like blood. Chris picked me up and carried me bridal style as I held onto his neck with my good arm. The last thing I saw was the bright lights of the limo before I fell into unconsciousness sweet embrace.
I woke up resting on Chris's chest. We were still in the limo. I felt a hand around me which stopped me from falling onto the floor. There were deep murmurs going on above me. I could feel Chris's chest vibrating everytime he spoke. I raised my head a little and tried to sit up. A spike of pain shot through my arm. It was my left arm thankfully.
‘Taylor?’ Chris had noticed my position had shifted.
‘Are you okay?You sort of passed out on me.’ Titus and my fathers faces were anxious.
‘I am fine.’ He smiled.
‘That is great seeing as you have a bullet in your arm.’ Titus smirked.
‘How are you feeling? It is okay I trained as a doctor’ I sat up a bit but was still resting on Chris’s shoulder.
‘My arm is killing me. I also feel very dizzy and slightly sick.’ He thought it over.
‘You have lost a lot of blood hence the dizziness and sick feeling. The bullet is obviously making your arm hurt. I am so sorry about that. Akki does not have the sense to stop talking and keeps going.’ He said looking at my arm. There was too much blood for it to be vaguely normal.
When we got home I went to get up but fell over. Chris picked me up and carried me into the kitchen.
‘We have to get the bullet out of your arm. It will hurt.’ I nodded. Titus had washed his hands and had a pair of tweezers in one hand and a bottle of gin in the other. Chris had not let go of my hand since he had put me down on a chair. All the lights were on giving Titus enough light to see what he was doing.
‘This will hurt a lot. I am going to keep going no matter what. Unless you pass out. Okay?’ I nodded. He dabbed the spirits onto my arm around the bullet hole. It felt like ice was being placed on my arm. Because I was wearing a dress with just a strap Dad did not have to cut it away. Jane poked her head down stairs when she heard the noise.
‘What-’ Dad pushed her back out.
‘Taylor was shot. Come back in roughly ten or fifteen minutes. Thanks.’ She nodded and walked away. Titus got the tweezers and put them into the hole. I bit the inside of my cheek to stop myself screaming out in pain. I also was squeezed Chris's hand. I felt something being pulled out of my arm. My vision and hearing started going hazy and I tasted the metallic tang of blood in my mouth. I had bitten my cheek so hard it had started to bleed. Something dropped onto the floor with a metallic ping. It was red with flecks of silver. My arm was numb with pain. Something cold was pressed onto it and I was told to hold it there. I dropped Chris’s hand to hold it there but somebody had already done that. I took back Chris’s hand. It was bright red from where I had been squeezing it. I looked down at the bullet that was on the floor. I felt sick and had to turn away. Titus walked into my vision.
‘Taylor. This is probably the most pain you have felt ever. If you feel ill don’t worry it is totally normal.’ I gave a small nod. I felt so dizzy from the loss of blood.
‘Can I go to bed?’ Titus nodded.
‘Probably be best for you. Chris help her up.’ I stood up ignoring the wave of dizziness. Why was I so weak? It just hurt to see all their faces worried because of me. Chris had to carry me up the stairs because my legs stopped working and I was so tired.
Chris stood outside of my door while Jane and Mary got me ready for bed. The bullet had taken a lot out of me literally and figuratively.
Chris woke me up the next morning. He had a small perfectly wrapped parcel in front of him.
‘Happy Birthday.’ I realised with a jolt that it was my birthday.
‘Happy birthday to you too.’ He smiled.
‘Your father is making breakfast downstairs.’ I got out of bed and glanced down at my arm. It looked fine apart from there was a white bandage around my upper arm. Titus had somehow got his hands on morphine and gave me a shot last night. I looked in my bedside table and pulled Chris’s gift from me off the top. He had been complaining that he dropped his phone so many times so I bought him a completely waterproof case for his phone. He took off the packaging carefully. It was black and looked like a tire.
‘Thanks. I got this.’ He handed the parcel towards me. We were sat on my floor leaning against my bed.
‘You really didn’t have to.’ He shrugged.
‘I did. Mainly to be on good terms with you but I also wanted to.’ I took the parcel apart carefully. It was so well wrapped it had to smile. It was a small box. Too big for jewelry but too too deep for a necklace. I opened it too see a set of car keys. I looked up at him.
‘The spare set of keys to your mini?’ He nodded.
‘You do deserve them and as we will be married so time in the very late future why not.’ I smiled. I went on tiptoe and kissed him on the cheek.
‘Thanks.’ Chris smiled.
‘Now get changed. You are leaving for Ethelburgesa tomorrow and there is school. Good ol’ Strong wants the school to stay open and normal. Despite the general have a tantrum in the school with a gun.’ I laughed at that one. He paused at the door and turned around and walked back to me. He quickly kissed me on the lips and walked back out. Jane walked in looking excited.
‘Chris told us about what he gave you. Do you like it?’
‘Hm. What?’ She had brought me out of my thoughts.
‘Oh yeah. The kiss. No keys.’ Mary had walked in.
‘He kissed you?’ I shook my head. She raised an eyebrow.
‘Honey I am over eighteen I know when someone has had their first kiss.’ I felt my face flush.
‘Well- I think it was a more of a spur of the moment thing but yeah. He kissed me.’ Jane screamed. He stretched out her arm towards Mary her palm facing up.
‘Hand it over! I win. I bet that he would kiss her first!’ Mary grudgingly pulled out a fifty pound note and placed it in Janes hand.
‘That was pathetic.’ I muttered.
‘Well it is going on all over Ethelburgesa who you are going to marry. I am going to place big money on Chris now. Bye me petite possums.’ Mary rolled her eyes.
‘Jane loves competing in things like this. Oh paper.’ She handed me the morning paper. It had the shooting at school and the restaurant on the front page. I winced at the picture of us leaving the restaurant. Akki had a truly horrible expression though. I laughed at her face. The one thing that creeped me out was you could see my father patting Titus on the back and me leaning on Chris. The headline was screaming to be heard.
PRINCESS SHOT AT LOCAL RESTAURANT!
Late last night as the Prince of Ethelburgesa Anthony Ayers, his daughter Taylor, her bodyguard and Lord Titus Baenziger left the French Assassiner a gun went off. This reporter was there having a nice dinner with my photographer and decided to catch a few snaps. There was a moment when her majesty was pulled down and into the grass. She was then picked up and rushed towards the limousine waiting nearby. The three people who were screaming at their majesties promptly got into another car and drove off. I heard very clearly the woman screaming that she was “disappointed that her husband [Lord Baenziger] should not be running off with other men.” Our condolences go out to her and the family she now has to raise without a father. We just hope that His Majesty is not gay and simply being a good friend to his Lordship. We will keep you posted in this royal mess. This is Earth Rainbow.
I dropped the paper and stared at Mary.
‘Are you freaking kidding me?’ Mary tutted.
‘Language. I am not kidding you.’
‘She just happened to be in the same restaurant as us? I mean what are the chances?’ Mary shrugged.
‘That was completely rhetorical.’ Mary laid out my school uniform. I got into it as Jane did my hair.
‘Careful of your left arm. Two will walk on that side to protect it. Try not to get shot again.’ I rolled my eyes.
‘Would I ever?’ They both nodded. ‘Okay I will give you that one.’ They pushed me down into the kitchen. Chris was stood by the aga making toast for me. I sat down at my place where he had put out a plate, glass, butter and marmalade and a tablet of paracetamol. I took it with a large gulp of water. The sharp pain in my arm dulled back down to an ache.
‘Thanks.’ Was all I said when he popped it on my plate.
‘No problem.’ He sat down opposite me looking awkward. I ate my toast slowly. Titus and Tony had wandered off to give us privacy.
‘Look. I’m sorry about earlier it was stupid of me. The kiss I mean’ I started to choke on my toast. He was apologising? He started hitting me on the back. Once my airways were clear he sat back down again.
‘Why are you saying sorry?’
‘Because it was rushed. I mean you might not even feel that way.’ I raised an eyebrow.
‘Seriously? You were gone for a month and I could have dated any guy I wanted to within reason but no. Because I like you. Hence why I signed that contract, why I like being with you.’ He looked at me closely.
‘You are kidding right?’
‘Why would I joke about that? I really like you!’
‘You have not said the L word.’ I rolled my eyes.
‘I was always told not to use that word by my father because people could take it the wrong way.’
‘I was told never ever to feel this way about anyone or thing.’ I snickered.
‘That ended well.’ He laughed but then became more serious.
‘So you love me?’
‘I would not say love. Lets just keep it at strongly like for now.’ He nodded. Once my toast was finished he pushed me up through the doorway to go and brush my teeth.