Half an hour later and my hair was now only touching halfway down my back.
‘What shall I do with the hair?’ One of the ladies said holding up my hair which she had tied all together with an elastic band.
‘Can you make it into a wig and then I will take it.’ They nodded and came back an hour later with a wig. I took it with a smile.
‘Do you want payment? This must of taken an hour to make.’
‘You really don’t need to.’ They said.
‘Come on. I bet you both have children you hardly ever see over the summer because you are working hard here. And the pay can’t be amazing.’ They shuffled their feet.
‘Well. I have two children and they have to go to boarding school because I am hardly ever home then I have to work harder to keep them in school.’ I got out my purse from a bag where dad made me always keep the best part of one hundred pounds. I handed it over to them.
‘Go and invest it and then you can make more money.’
‘We can’t take this.’ One of the women said trying to hand it back.
‘It is the least I can do. You two work for my father, I can at least make sure you get paid well.’ They scurried off towards their rooms. I flopped onto my bed face first.
‘Don’t comment.’ I instructed Chris who was sat beside me.
I was rudely awaken by a man banging two pots together.
‘Get up scumbags we have to shift these grapes to the presser up North. ’ I pushed my newly cut hair out of my eyes.
‘I think that is illegal to say that to the princes.’ Chris groggily as I threw a shoe at him.
‘Your majesty, my deepest regrets. I will be off then.’ He backed out of the room. I sat up and looked around. The room was filled with the grey light of dawn and would be soon filled with the golden rays of the rising sun.
‘Come on get up. Would not look good if you were the last up.’ I nodded and jumped off the bed.
‘Get up lazy boy.’ He got up and started doing press ups. I sat on the edge of my small grotty single bed.
‘So Chris. Our wonderful wedding.’
‘Let me think about it in the future.’ I paused for a moment.
‘The future is closer now than when it was ten seconds ago.’ He grinned at me.
The weekend was relatively easy. We were just picking the “pure” grapes and watering the vines. The only drama was when we had to go home. The grapes were going to a winemaker three miles away from the palace. We were going to ride the lorry up there and walk the rest of the way.
‘Taylor come on!’ Chris was sat on the dusty floor of the lorry. I climbed up and joined him. The back was pulled down and locked shut for the long ride up the country.
‘So we have the best part of the day to kill. What should we do?’ I asked. He looked at me and took my left hand in one of his hands.
‘What happened to your ring?’
‘I left them at the palace in case they got lost or damaged.’
‘That is crazy but okay.’
‘Hey it was too special to me to lose. If I lost it I would put out an international hunt.’ I leaned against Chris and fell asleep with the swaying of the lorry helping me on my way.
The door was yanked up an hour later as the police searched it. They saw us and started shouting in Russian.
‘Thieves! You are stealing! Criminals!’
‘We are not criminals. I assure you!.’ Chris shouted back. We were hauled out of the lorry.
‘Explain that to the owner of these.’ He kicked a box of grapes that had “Ayers Enterprises” stamped on the side. I felt a small smile tug at my lips. How would I explain it to my father. We were dressed in dirty clothes and my hair was very messy from sleeping against Chris. We had two backpacks and so looked like tramps.
‘Do you think this is funny?’ One of them shouted at me.
‘No. Not at all.’ I straightened my face. They were now discussing what to do with us in English thinking we were Russian immigrants.
‘They are tramps.’
‘Might not be. I mean she looks pretty rich.’
‘Still. Could have been addicted to drugs and then gone bankrupt. Countess Vanout has gone bankrupt. Does she not have a daughter?’
‘Best lock them up. They only speak Russian by the looks of it.’ Chris was trying to keep a straight face. They came up to us and started speaking in Russian again.
‘Okay. We are going to take you into custody.’ I put out my hands in front of me. A pair of cold metal handcuffs were clapped on to them Chris had the same treatment.
I was pushed into a cell an hour later.
‘Who are your parents?’ They asked. I switched back to English.
‘That would have to be his majesty the King Zeus Ayers and her majesty the Queen Vanessa Ayers.’
‘Yeah and I am the princess. Alright boy. Tell me who is your parents.’
‘I only have one.’ I could hear Chris clearly through the cement wall.
‘Who is that then.’
‘Lord Titus Baenziger.’ The policeman looked at us like we were crazy.
‘I need to make a few calls.’ He walked out of the holding rooms. Chris stuck his hand through the bars. I high fived it.
‘We should do this more often.’ I said as Chris chuckled.
‘Best date ever.’
My father arrived three hours later. I had read all the graffiti on the walls and had shared the best ones with Chris.
‘Some one has written on “What are you looking at?” on the opposite wall to my security camera.’ Chris said as I looked around my cell.
‘Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. This guy liked E. Hemingway.’ I commented dryly as Chris sniggered beside me. The graffiti had been put over time by many men and women. Some were from years ago. One person would write a sentence then the next prisoner would add their sentence. I had stories coming from all over the wall from different men, women, ages, cultures, religions and languages.
‘Taylor!’ My father was staring into my cell. ‘What the hell have you done?’
‘I was coming home in the back of the lorry and we were stopped and brought here.’ He pointed at our cells.
‘Please free them. This is my daughter and her bodyguard Two.’ We were instantly released and lead out to the car.
I started laughing once we were back at the palace.
‘If I have to bail you out of prison ever again Taylor you will be grounded.’
‘Hey you said that I should go. Anyway. My results should have come out by now and now I have to go back to school for sixth form.’
‘Taylor when is your birthday again. Sorry it has slipped my mind.’ Chris was looking worriedly at my father. My father had forgotten my birthday.
‘Well lets just say I was born on the twenty second of July.’ I walked off into the palace. Chris caught up with me.
Okay I know a year has passed in like sixty pages but I don’t want you falling asleep halfway through the book like I did with Twilight. So it is kinda fast paced. If you did not get a word of what just went on I was chucked into prison for “stealing” my fathers grapes.
We had a small party to celebrate my birthday. Titus took Chris fishing for a weekend leaving me to work. It was the Monday when my father burst into my rooms looking like the world was ending. I could hear running feet outside of my room and shouting from all over the palace.
‘What has happened.’ I said rising from my chair.
‘A lorry collided with the landrover on the Super Strada and Titus and Christopher have been admitted to hospital. Christopher is the worst off. Titus just has mild concussion.’ I sank back into my chair feeling an icy chill in my rooms.
‘Can I go and see him?’ I asked.
‘Yes. I have given permission for you and close family only to see him. Catch.’ Dad threw me a pair of keys. I caught them.
‘Cheers.’ I walked out of my room not really realising what kind of keys I had been given. I walked into the very large garage.
It was a two storey deal due to the inhumane amount of cars Dad had. There were two white Limos two Black limos, Four Bentleys, One mini, two land rovers and a smart car. I glanced at the car keys I had been handed. There was a small note attached:
‘‘Happy birthday, Dad.’’ I walked over to the smart car and got in.
I got stuck in traffic halfway to Balaisbois. It did take me two hours to get to the hospital but I needed to see Chris.
I walked straight through the reception holding out Chris's royal card. I was let through then I walked back looking slightly awkward.
‘Hey I need to see Christopher Baenziger. Recently in a car crash. I’m his fiance.’ The receptionists were looking at me like I was a god.
‘Room 394. He is unresponsive and can’t hear anything.’ I shrugged and walked off. I was in jeans and a t-shirt because I thought I would be staying at home so this was the time to get bad pictures of me and sell them off.
I walked into his room ignoring all the wires leading into his body feeding him, taking his pulse and doing a hundred and one other things. I sat in the chair by his bed. His hand was resting on top of the bed. I gently took it in my smaller one. There was a needle sticking out of it but I ignored it feeling slightly sick. This was Chris. My Chris who I loved.
‘Chris. They say you can’t hear me but I think otherwise. I love you and you will pull through. Please. I don’t want to be alone.’ His face was ripped to ribbons on his left side. Probably the glass from the window that was shattered and hit him. I pushed his hair back slightly as a nurse walked in.
‘Miss you should not be here.’ She said worriedly. ‘Only staff.’ I handed her Chris’s royal card.
‘I will just sit here. I promise.’
‘Just don’t let Dr Hawthorn know.’ I nodded. I looked at Chris's face. His hands were cut as well. I knew I felt his hand twitch ever so slightly. I rested my head on his bed by his hand. The stress was exhausting me.
I was woken up later by shouting.
‘What the bloody hell do you think you are doing here?’ A man shouted at me.
‘I am staying.’
‘Bite me. Do I look like I care?’
‘Who said you could come in here?’
‘The King.’ I said.
‘What relation are you to him?’
‘I am his daughter.’ I said snapped. The man backed out quickly leaving me with Chris’s still form. Chris was moving around a bit.
‘Don’t worry. I am still here.’ I whispered.
‘Taylor?’ He mumbled. I squeezed.
‘It’s okay. Shsh. I’m here.’ He opened his eyes.
‘Are you okay?’ He asked. His eyes were just as I remembered: bright blue with flecks of dark blue.
‘I’m fine. I always will be as long as you are near.’ He smiled and closed his eyes. He tightened his grip on my hand. The constant beeping of his heart was slowing down as he fell asleep.
I stayed with him all the time he was there.
‘Taylor? Can you read for me?’ He asked once. I nodded.
‘I brought The Allegiance from the book store.’
‘Can I have that please?’ I nodded.
‘“The cave was as dark as midnight. How I could see was a miracle. I gently touched the side of the cave and recoiled. It was moist and had mould growing on it. I could hear his voice. It was like my guardian angel who was only in my head. He had always been there and always would be. Unless he died. Even then he would only die in special circumstances. Three quarters the population had gone to live in a space station because there was so little space left in the world. No one knew what lay outside the perimeter fence of the world but I could always imagine.
“Stop daydreaming.” Came his voice in my head. He was my soul mate...’ I paused and glanced over at Chris. He had fallen asleep. I closed the book and went to find a coffee machine in a desperate need for caffeine.
‘Miss Ayers. Mr Baenziger will be released tomorrow.’ A small nurse said to me. I smiled.
‘Thanks.’ I had been treated like a normal teenager in the hospital. Granted it was the one where the likes of Diana Fortuna, Misha and other famous people came to when they were ill while they were here. I remember when Misha was ill but that is not relevant. He was doing a convention and yeah. Taylor no tangents. Anyway. So it was top of the range stuff. I was treated like a normal person. Nobody batted an eyelid at the fact that the princess was wandering around. I had not been paying attention to where I was going and walked straight into a tall man who was six feet tall at least and wearing a ghastly orange suit with a green spotty tie.
‘Sorry. I was not looking where I was going.’ I said looking down. The man turned around and smiled at me.
‘It’s okay. I don’t really pay attention to people either.’ I made to keep walking but then man grabbed my arm.
‘Who are you? You shouldn’t be walking around alone. There are some dodgy people around here.’
‘Nobody. I am just Taylor. Just Taylor. Yeah I think they are referring to you. Let me go.’ His grip on my arm tightened as I tried to pull away.
‘Nice name Just Taylor. Where are you going?’ The man was scaring me.
‘I was just going back to my room.’ I said. I twisted out of his grasp and weaved through the small gaggle of people. I could hear him pushing through the people like a knife through butter.
I sat down beside Chris and pretended to be asleep. He knocked on the door and walked in.
‘Girl have you seen someone this tall.’ I pretended to wake up. Blinking and yawning. I squinted up at him.
‘What. Taylor?’ He nodded. ‘She’s dead. Died three years ago. Are you okay?’ He nodded shaking his head like a dog trying to get water out of his ears.
I walked out of the hospital with Chris.
‘Did you drive?’ He asked. I had taken a small trip to the palace and grabbed some clothes roughly on day two. Jane and Mary had popped over and given me more and taken the ones I had worn back to the palace.
‘Yeah. Dad got me a smart car for my birthday.’
‘Good going.’ He said. I walked over to where I had left it. Looking at it closer I could truly accepted what a fabulous little car it was. It was white with black cow spots on it.
‘Nice number plate.’ He mumbled. I glanced at it. TA1
Once back at the palace Chris was shipped off to see his father. Dad ran into me literally.
‘Taylor.’ He pulled me into a hug.
‘Thanks for the car Dad.’ He smiled and kissed the top of his head.
‘No problem. I was going to buy you a house then thought better of it.’
‘Can I leave it here while I am at school?’ He nodded.
‘Now go and clean up. We have a ball in three hours.’
‘Your formal seventeenth birthday party.’
‘Seriously. Come on! I said no more parties.’ I said. Dad put his hands.
‘How do you think I feel? I didn’t to agree to it. Go blame Vanessa. She is such a party animal.’
‘I can guess.’ I muttered. ‘Any news?’ Dad put his arm around my shoulders.
‘Too much. Shall we go for a walk?’ I nodded. ‘So despite your engagement you are still the most eligible young woman in the world right now.’ We sat down on one of the benches under a tree.
‘Wait seriously?’ Dad nodded.
‘French and the Spanish are still asking after your hand even though I have said you are currently engaged. The French not as much since they saw your little feat on our christmas eve party. Vanessa is pregnant. Still not told the press but that is some news. If it is a boy the name will be Godfrey, if it is a girl then we are thinking of Hermione or Clarissa. Izzy was a contender so was Jace but then Vanessa has a cousin called Jace and he is very touchy on the subject of names. Out goes that one and Izzy because he married an Izzy.’
‘Odd family.’ I mused. I stroked Dylis who had fallen asleep at my feet. She was now fully grown and had a small white flash on her nose and then was completely blue.
‘Yes. Very. Anyway. On the subject of family. Vanessa was all touchy about your party and has invited your whole tutor. Flying them over in the jet. Picking them up in a bus.’ I groaned.
‘Are you kidding? They all stayed on. What kind of party?’
‘Big ball. You know. Fancy ball gowns, champagne and dancing.’ I closed my eyes and massaged my temples.
‘You are kidding. Please tell me so.’
‘I’m not. If I was then I would be in rolling on the floor laughing. All so the French, Spanish, Italian and Russian princes, English prime ministers son and the american presidents sons. And daughters. I forgot that nugget of information.’
‘I will look like a spoilt brat.’ I heard a rustling in the bushes and out jumped someone in a green suit.
‘You have been pranked by prank patrol!’ He shouted. Two camera men burst out of the bushes and started laughing.
‘How long have you been planning this?’ I asked.
‘Well it was a thought while you were with Christopher that we should have a party for you. Then we invited your tutor over like we did at christmas.’ I smiled and stood up.
‘So that guy in the hospital-’
‘Was trying to get you out of the hospital.’ The man in the green suit finished.
‘Man alive.’ I closed my eyes. Chris walked out onto the lawn towards me.
‘They told you I guess?’ He asked his eyes twinkling. I punched his arm.
‘You knew too?’
‘Everyone knew. It has been all over the news for weeks. The doctors would let the news know when you would not be in sight or sound of a tv or radio.’
‘Is my tutor still coming around?’ Dad shook his head. I sat down and sighed.
‘Good. If there is a party I will pretend to die. Can I pull a Two?’
‘Taylor!’ Chris said.
The camera crew and presenter left pretty quickly after that.
‘Taylor at three we are going to have a family photoshoot. To introduce the new baby. We still love you very much.’ I smiled.
‘Why do you say that?’
‘Because when a new baby comes along the oldest child can get the feeling of being left out.’ Vanessa said joining the conversation. We were sat in the library with the sun setting.
‘Dad you had me at the age of nineteen. Well mum did really but when this baby is ten he may be an uncle. Age three I will have been married. I can’t feel left out.’ Vanessa sat beside me.
‘We were going to make you and Christopher godparents along with Phoenix and Jamie.’
‘Why?’ She nodded.
‘Fine. But I want a hand in choosing the name. Afterall I will be the older sister.’
‘By seventeen years.’ I laughed. Mary skipped into the room.
‘Taylor. Awesome. Come on we have a photoshoot.’ I rolled my eyes and let myself be dragged away.