Everything falls apart
I broke the silence ten minutes later.
‘You do know we are in Burford.’ Two looked at me like I was crazy.
‘I know. I wanted to go to The White Tomato.’ I looked confused.
‘What is that?’
‘It is a bakery and tea rooms thing. Not very well known but absolutely amazing with tasters and good hot chocolate, milkshakes, coffee, tea and things that you have for afternoon tea.’ He drove up Burford high street. I was pointing out parking spaces all the way up for parking.
‘There! There! There!’ I was pointing to a place further behind us. He gave me a small smile.
‘There is such a thing as a Royal Card. We can park on a double yellow line.’ He pulled onto the curb and turned off the engine. ‘There we go. Come on!’ He was like an excited six year old. Being only sixteen I could see why he was so excited. I can just hear your brains processing that fact. He is sixteen and driving and has guns. My Grandmother has given him a special permit thingy so he can drive, have a gun and all that stuff normal people, like who I once was before I knew about all this, can’t do. He took the keys out of the ignition and jumped out of the car. I followed him conscious that I was in my PE kit and my skort was very short. Two smiled at me.
‘It will be fine.’ He placed his card on the dashboard and shut the door. He clicked the lock button on his keys and walked into the shop.
The shop had the smell of freshly baked buns and bread. I inhaled the smell and Two laughed at my face.
‘I love this shop. It reminds me of home before…’ He trailed off with a sad look of his face. This sparked my never ending curiosity.
‘Reminds you of what?’ I asked. The look left his face.
‘Nothing. It is all part of that conversation we will have soon which has many things about me in it that I can’t say right now with all that is going on.’ I shrugged.
‘Your call. How did you find out about this place.’ Two looked sheepish.
‘Three was being a little so and so a couple of weeks back, so I said I was going shopping when I drove around looking for a good tea shop to just sit with a decent coffee.’
‘That was when Louis wanted to go to waterworld for his birthday and Three said yes and you said no.’ Two nodded.
‘I know I might be harsh but I did not want to try that kind of thing just yet. Plus it is harder to keep track of you in a water park.’
‘Just me?’ I asked slyly. His cheeks turned a little pinker but not much so.
‘No. You and Louis.’
‘Right. Louis and me.’ The queue was long but eventually Two bought us a hot chocolate each and we sat down at a small table.
‘What are we going to do? I can’t go back to school as I shot Three in the foot.’ I grinned.
‘I am proud of you for that small shining moment.’ He said as I rolled my eyes.
‘Anyway my whole PE group is going to need therapy because of that.’ Two snorted into his drink. He plopped one of his marshmallows into his drink and watched it slowly melt into the drink. He took a small sip. He looked at me with a calculated look.
‘Three said a lot of things today which have probably spike your endless curiosity. I am surprised you have not asked me about it.’ I looked into his eyes.
‘Well I am insanely curious about you. You are like a giant web of secrets. But then everyone is stuffed full of secrets, some they want to tell others, some they don’t.’ Two nodded as if to say fair enough.
‘Well I will tell you that my parents hated me. Hated me with a passion. Hurt me, made me do the gardening. I was their slave basically just because my mother died in childbirth with me. My father remarried and the stepmother hated me and chose her babies over mine. I never got my fair share or say in what happened.’ His eyes got a far off look as if he was remembering a painful memory, which I guess he was. . His hand lay beside his drink and I felt like I wanted to reach out to take it to show that I was here. I resisted though because I just could not bring myself to do it.
‘What happened then?’ I asked trying to keep the conversation moving.
‘When I did better than her own children I was sent to my room. More like the dungeon, my room was turned into her wardrobe. I was sent down to the kitchens to work among the maid and scullery boy. They always looked down on me. I was worse than a rat to everyone.’ He smiled at me over the rim of his drink.
‘You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to.’ I suggested. He looked at me with cold determination.
‘I am because you need to know. They went around to your fathers house for big dinner parties every week or so leaving me to clean up. When I was out doing the weekly shop at Ruscos when I come back to find the house on fire and burning. The screams of my stepmother and her children still haunted me for years but I had a kind of mad pleasure that I had won. They were gone. My father was in China when he heard the news. Pitched himself off a cruise boat and drowned in the Indian Ocean. Never thought about poor little me. I thought once they were gone everything would go back to normal; My father would call me his son again and we would go back to the house where I always went and played with my best friend.’ My mind was going into overdrive.
‘My Dad had loads of dinners with someone when I was two and three. The father was always saying he had to get back to say goodnight to his son.’ Two looked up his face filled with hope.
‘Really?’ I furrowed my forehead.
‘I am sure because Dad always put me to bed just as the man said he had to get back to his son. The mother always complained he thought too much about that son and he forgot about her and their two children.’ Two gave me a small smile.
‘Did he ever mention a name?’ I thought back to when I was younger.
‘Yeah. Christian I think. I was always on the other side of the door as the mothers were gossiping about thing Dad never wanted me to hear. Or it might of been Christopher or Tristan or something. I was never sure.’ He took a gulp of his drink leaving a chocolate mustache. I stifled a snort. All seriousness was gone.
‘What?’ He asked as I smothered my laughter. I pointed to my upper lip.
‘You have a small problem.’ He went cross eyed to see what was going on.
‘I have a chocolate moustache don’t I?’ I nodded. I was laughing too hard to say a simple word anymore. Two’s phone beeped out like a sonar which he pulled out looking worried.
‘No. Not today.’ He said quietly. All laughter was gone and we had people staring at us. He waved them away. I grabbed my mug and moved to sit beside him on the bench he was on.
He had a Blackberry Curve with a green light flashing at the top. His face went a slightly green colour. Maybe it was just the light reflecting off his face. No he had really gone green.
‘What is it?’ I felt like taking his hand again and giving him comfort but then I stopped myself. Why was I so afraid of holding my bodyguards hand? It was an innocent thing right? He showed me his phone screen. There was a text on the screen from an unknown number.
“Two, Operation Uriel is in action.” I looked at him in confusion.
‘What?’ Two sighed.
‘I had to pick between you and Louis. Three picked you because he likes you and I could not let him be in charge of you. He is quite violent.’ I gave him a small smile.
‘Thanks. I’m sure I would of been fine if I had been chosen by Three.’ Two looked uncomfortable.
‘That is just it. Three has a thing for you and I placed him with Louis.’ I felt my mouth drop open.
‘Seriously? Three? He hates me.’ Two gave me a small laugh.
‘No me. I beat him at everything he wanted to be. I came from a family who had dinner with the royal family and he came from a large family where they mass produce bodyguards. He never lived up them in the way they wanted. So he hates me for beating him. He can kill me in one move. Ever thought of that?’ I shook my head.
‘Anyway. School tomorrow we are playing Danish Longball. Crazily competitive. Am I allowed to go back.’ Two nodded.
‘We just needed to get away before they asked crazy questions.’ We finished our hot chocolate.
Two payed and then walked out to the car. There was a policeman stood by Two’s car. Two walked up to him.
‘Is there a problem officer?’ The policeman smiled.
‘I was just coming to see why you are parked on a double yellow line and why you are not even seventeen.’ Two unlocked his car and got out his royal card. The policeman’s eyes widened like someone had just flicked a switch in his head.
‘So, you have a royal card. From which country?’ Two gave him a friendly smile.
‘Ethelburgesa. I was a personal bodyguard to the princess before she was caught and sent back.’ The policeman glanced at me.
‘I was just leaving.’ I ran off down the hill towards the traffic lights and towards the methodist church where I went to choir every saturday. I ran in and sat down in the back row.
Two came in twenty minutes later with his car keys swinging from his fingers. He sat down beside me.
‘So do you want to tell me why you bolted?’
‘Well if you have forgotten I am in school uniform. Looks kinda weird that I am beside you and a car with a royal card.’ Two shrugged.
‘We left everything in the changing rooms.’ Two lamented. My eyes widened. My phone. I jumped up and grabbed his hand and dragged him out. I stopped once on the street.
‘Wait. Where is the car?’
We were still holding hands as he dragged me to a large off street car parking place with ducks everywhere. I gave him a weak smile and pulled back a bit. He looked back at me with confusion written all over his face.
‘Ducks. We don’t get on very well.’ I noticed we were still holding hands and dropped his. He gave me a small smile.
‘I will fight them off for you! Don’t worry my fair princess!’ I smiled at his joke.
‘Oh dear! My secret is out. I guess you know.’ I laughed. His face took on a confused expression.
‘What? What have I found out?’
‘That I am a princess.’ I laughed as he kept dropping his keys on the floor. He looked behind him.
‘This is the time when a killer or something scary from Supernatural creeps up behind me and snatches me away into the bushes or under another car, and all you will find is my bloody remains, and oh how you will cry at my funeral.’
‘Not really. I would only go if there was free food at the end.’ He pouted.
‘Yeah. What is there a rule saying that I have to go to your funeral?’ He shrugged and muttered something I couldn’t hear. He suddenly clapped a hand to his mouth and stood up. The car lights flashed behind him.
‘What?’ I asked as he glanced at me.
‘Nothing. Hop in.’
We arrived in school to find an ambulance. Three pointed to us. A paramedic ran over to us. He quickly gave me and Two a once over. Two stormed over to him the moment he was clear.
‘What did you just say.’ He whispered. A whispering Two is so much worse than a shouting Two. How he keeps his voice quiet with all that emotion is crazy.
‘I just wanted you to be safe and I am taking back my charge.’ I glanced at Two. His face was like it was made out of stone.
‘Fine. I know what your game is.’ Seven guards jumped out from behind cars and students. They formed a ring around me while six forced Two away. I glanced back at him I felt tears prick my eyes as they forced his head down. He resisted and pushed his head back up and caught one last glance at me. I raised my hand in a half wave and he was gone.
I went to get all my things. The school was now empty as the school day had ended hours ago. They locked the doors to stop people going in and out but there was a rehearsal going on for a school play, so I snuck in and got changed into my things.
I was then driven home and spent the night sleeping back in my room surrounded by books.
The next day Phoenix was waiting for me to get off the bus. She pulled me into a huge hug the moment I was off.
‘I am so sorry.’ I felt confused.
‘What about? I left because I chose to. Only Operation Uriel got in the way.’ I walked off to tutor. I caused a bit of panic as all seven followed us through with their dark glasses and suits they looked like they were off to gank someone. They were all male and in their thirties from what I could gather.
I sat in the library during lunch doing Phoenix’s geography homework as she did her science. My guards just stood there. Not a peep. Two would be joking about how incompetent we were. I smiled at the memory of me doing my french and him singing the french alphabet and then numbers to ten. He knew about five languages fluently. These guys just scared me. After Phoenix and I wandered aimlessly around school chatting about nothing special and things of importance.
‘So what is with the men in black?’ I felt my stomach twist with an unknown feeling.
‘They are my new bodyguards. Not that I want them. They took Two away and replaced him with this.’ I waved a hand at them and sighed.
As the bell went for the end of school I made to follow Louis and Three back to the bus, only the men lead me down the drive towards a long white limo. I sighed. So much for subtlety.
I went home alone in the back of a large white limo. The men all drove behind and in front in black Land rovers. I grimaced as people pointed and tapped on the tinted windows. I sank lower in my seat. There was no escaping it now. I was trapped in a metal box with a strange driver who knew me.
‘My name is Mark. I am your chauffeur.’
‘Taylor.’ I said nonchalantly. I wanted Two back. I remembered how we joked around when we were in the car. I sighed again and looked up. I saw all the buttons above me and My endless curiosity was sparked.
'Hey Mark. What is with the buttons?' He kept his eyes on the road.
‘They do things when you press them.’ I rolled my eyes.
‘No! Really?’ I asked sarcastically. ‘What kind of things?’
‘Well they make the partitions come up and down and the windows and stuff.’ I pressed a button. A grey wall came up. I took it down very quickly. I didn’t really like being alone. Two and I changed the rooms in the house around. He slept on the floor in the sitting room and I slept on the sofa. The study stayed as a study and so did the office. The guest room became a training room and so on. I was hardly alone for more than a few minutes. Well unless there was a shower and bathroom break then yeah we were apart but never out of the house at different times. It felt weird to be alone after Two’s presence to close to me.
I ignored the feeling of being lost and let the men drive me to a small house three miles away from school. I stayed in the car and demanded to be taken back home. They all piled back into their cars and we drove home.
Once there they all piled out again and spread out along the large gardens. One of the men unlocked the door and left it open for me. They did not even take my bag as Two did. Okay maybe he did spoil me but Three did the same for Louis. Or was it just him trying to be better than Two at what Two did best protecting himself and the people around him? I scolded myself for thinking about Two again. Why did my thought keep straying to Two. He was just a guy with such lush hair and beautiful eyes which were full of secrets. Taylor why? You were just friends before he was chosen for another job. Now I was not sure of my feelings for him. Yeah he was kinda hot but then is that not what everybody thought?
I went to sleep that night on alert. I did not have Two’s breathing close to where I was just silence and then the occasional rustle of the men outside my room. Not cool to have them outside of your room. I glanced at my phone. Eleven thirty. Just in time. I called Phoenix. She picked up on the second ring.
‘Hey Phoenix.’ I said sleepily.
‘Taylor it is eleven at night.’ She complained.
‘And you are normally awake.’ I countered.
‘I will give you that one. What is the emergency?’ I smiled to myself.
‘I now have a limo, wanna ride to school tomorrow?’ There was a thump which meant that either Phoenix had dropped her phone or fallen over. There was a quiet ‘Phoenix? Are you alright?’ From downstairs where she yelled back in reply.
‘You have a limo?’ She sounded breathless and like she was hyperventilating.
‘Did I say that?’
‘I think so.’
‘So what time do you want to be picked up?’
‘Anytime after eight.’
‘Cool. See you tomorrow.’ She hung up leaving me alone on the sofa with the men outside guarding all night and day. Turned out there was a total of twenty men just for me. One small person in this large world where so much more than me goes on. Wow that was deep. I’ll cut down on the deep things.
I was roughly shaken awake the next morning by another man. He was in white cotton pajamas. Last ten weeks of school before I would spend the next six weeks all alone with no one to talk to but me. Two would have made sure that we were going somewhere or doing something. I walked up to the bathroom and walked in. There was a small piece of paper stuck to the window sill. I locked the door behind me much to the mans annoyance. They don’t care that they are invading my privacy. No let me just barge into her life. Oh whato you don’t like me? Too bad I am staying. I eased the window open and grabbed the paper before it flew away. It was on blue paper which looked alot like it was ripped out of a homework diary from school.
girls PE department at lunch time.
I could not help but smile. Two wanted to talk to me. I washed my face and got dressed for school. I slid down the bannisters much to the mans disapproval.
‘Your majesty. You should not-’ That was it. Something inside me snapped. I was filled with pent up emotions.
‘Listen here you creepy weirdo. This is my house I can do what I like. So screw you all with your dark glasses and creepy suits. I want to go to Mickleton. We are picking up a friend Mark.’ He nodded and walked me out to the car. The land rovers were filling up again with men. I groaned and got in the back of the limo.