Just Act Natural.
The baker helped us get to Calais. Where we got into England with no fuss and problems but then we came up against a brick wall so to speak. I had no clue how to get home. Three brought out his wallet and credit cards from the boot of the car where his bag was stashed.
‘Let’s just get a sat nav. It would save time.’ He walked into Currys and PC World that was a in the large building where the terminals were for booking tickets and toilets.
He purposefully walked up to the front desk.
‘I would like to purchase a Satellite Navigation system please. A nice one please.’ The shop assistant raised his eyebrow at us. Two smiled at him and put an arm around me in a fatherly way.
‘Why do you need one?’ He asked chewing on his chewing gum and glaring at each of us in turn.
‘Family vacation. These are our twins Tris and Toby, I am Harry and this is my partner John.’ I smiled the man. He had bleach blonde hair and pimples all over his face. He frowned at us.
‘They are over there.’ He waved a hand towards the other side of the shop. We wandered over there like a normal family. Three spent five minutes choosing the device while Louis and I acted like rebellious teenagers. Three finally picked up a cheap one. He payed in cash much to the mans shock and led us out of the shop. We piled back into the mini and kept going.
We drove into Bourton on the Hill and pulled into Firs Cottage’s drive.
‘This it?’ Three asked looking around very impressed. I nodded and got out of the car. The Rolls Royce was still in the garage. I smiled at the memory of my father getting the car. I got out the keys we kept hidden there and I ran back to the front door and opened it.
The alarm started beeping the countdown until the alarm went off and the police were alerted. I tapped in the code, I am not telling you of course, I don’t want to get robbed. Stupid person. Three went in first followed by Louis and then brought up the rear by Two. I shut the door and followed them into the kitchen.
It was a large room with a cedar table in the middle of the room with six seats around it. The walls were a soft yellow colour making the large room feel larger and more airy despite it having only a few windows. Louis was searching the larder for food.
‘So you have many cheeses, chutneys and so on but no actual food.’ He said coming back out.
‘Yeah but there are shops in Moreton that we can go to to get food. Budgens, Tesco express and the Co op.’ Two raised his hand.
‘I’ll go to get the food, not much though. We have to limit the times we get money out of the bank. Harder to trace.’ We all nodded.
‘I will go and get the food too because Mr Morse who owns this budgens knows me well.’ Louis made a face. ‘Not like that. Sick minded perv. I mean like Grandfather like. He looked after me when I was a small child in his office when Mother was shopping and did not want to leave me in the shopping trolley.’ Three nodded in acceptance to my response to the unasked question.
‘You two go on and we will check the rest of the house out.’ Two grabbed the car keys off the table and we walked out to the car.
He pointed to the pub next door.
‘What is that?’ He asked.
‘Horse and Groom pub. Really nice place. Owned by two brothers who grew up with us in the village. We went to primary school together. They are like eighteen. Really successful pub as well. Loads of rewards for hygiene, food, look and so on.’ Two smiled and pulled the Mini out into the road.
We sped down to Moreton and drove to Budgens faster than the speed limit. Two pulled out his royal card and placed it on the Dashboard for the police to see. We ran into Budgens and found what we were looking for. I was stopped by my friend Emily who was out with her mother. Her honey coloured hair had been highlighted recently and her blue eyes sparkled behind her nerd glasses.
‘So. You are back.’ She said latching onto my arm.
‘Yeah. School starts soon though. I have to run. Talk to you later. Bye.’ I said running after Two who was poking at the reduced section. Emily ran after me leaving her mother and shopping behind.
‘Who is the guy?’ She asked quietly checking out Two who was now at my side in a flash glaring at her.
‘Bodyguard.’ I replied cringing away from the look she was giving me. It was a pitying look like I had a problem.
‘Why do you have him?’
‘Protection.’ Two moved on towards the check out. As Emily’s mother called out to her and she had to leave me.
‘Who was that?’ His voice was worried.
‘My friend Emily. She is quite nosey but has a good heart.’
‘Okay.’ He made no more comment on her as we paid and walked out to the car.
I caught a lot of looks and people pointed but Two steered me towards the car.
‘Ignore them. They are stupid and irrelevant.’ He muttered as he placed the shopping the the back and drove back home.
‘FOOD!’ Louis shouted when we got through the door.
‘Dude chill. Let me get through the door. Three! COME AND HELP!’ Two shouted as Three barreled down the stairs looking sheepish.
As we sat down to eat Three looked at us.
‘You need to be able to protect yourselfs at school. I’ll train you.’ The rest of the holidays went in a blur of training in self defence, food, sleeping and French and Russian. We didn’t have Easter dinner mainly because Three and Two could not be bothered to cook something that we wouldn’t eat quickly.
Louis and I woke up later than normal to get to school. He had stayed at my house just in case his father sold him out. We ate a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and bananas. Two had washed our William James Academy school uniform of a dark blue blazer with emblem, blue pencil skirt (or black trousers in Louis case), Fereby house clip on tie, blue shirt, tights or socks and black shoes. We walked down to the bus stop after we had brushed our teeth. Two followed me walking three steps behind me. Three was with Louis.
When route 4 came to pick us up Two got us a two seater where he sat by the window and me by the isle. I know what you are thinking. You so like him! No no no no no no no no. He is like an older brother to me. I don’t care what you think! Lalalalalalalalalala. Anyhow back to my tale of woe and misfit. Three and Louis got separated so he handed Louis a throwing knife.
‘Just in case.’ He muttered quietly. I felt Two tense slightly beside me as I sat back in plugged in my music. Louis was sat next to James Lawrenson who was a Juvenile delinquent. Two pinched my arm.
‘Remember what we taught you.’ I nodded.
As I got off the bus you can guess the looks I got: Taylor Ayers, a nobody in Year 10 who became a princess, got kicked out of her own country is back in England with Two and Louis and Three. Phoenix got off Route 8 as I was walking past.
‘TAYLOR!’ I turned at my name and stopped. Two stopped with me whereas Three and Louis kept walking to tutor oblivious to our hold up. Phoenix hugged me tightly as soon as she was close enough. Her brown hair had been dip dyed cherry red at the tips and on her fringe.
‘I am so sorry!’ She whispered in my ear.
‘What?’ I asked sounding very gormless.
‘You had to spend Easter with Louis. So are the rumors true?’ We linked arms and started walking into school again.
‘What rumors.’ I glanced at Two. He shrugged back and followed us.
‘Well I heard that you were kidnapped! Your last call was so short. What happened?’
‘Um. I was looking around a castle that my grandmother had bought for me and Louis when we get married-’ Phoenix made to interrupt but I kept talking. ‘-I came home to make the call when Sydney the head gardener warned me of the what was happening. Two turned up and lead us into the maze. Three then turned up then and we hid in a pond and then made it here in Two’s Mini.’ Phoenix squeezed my arm.
‘Oh my life. Seriously I am here for you.’ The bell went as we headed towards tutor. Phoenix glanced back at Two who was scanning the crowds which had swarmed around us.
‘So. You have a body guard. What is his name?’
‘Two.’ She looked confused.
‘Weird name. Why would you call your child that? Or where one, three, four and five taken?’ She asked snickering slightly. I turned to look at Two who was looking impassive.
‘Why are you called Two?’ I asked him. His blue eyes looked down at me. There was about five inches in height difference between the two of us but he could still look down at me.
‘I was called Two because I have spent only two years with my TL.’ Phoenix pushed further into more personal questions.
‘How old are you?’
‘Sixteen.’ I knew my face had a surprised look. I thought he was eighteen, not sixteen. Not even legal to drop out of school or have a full time job.
Phoenix walked into N16 first. She took her seat on the other side of the classroom. I went to my place. It was in front of all the boys seeing as Miss thought I was a good girl and would keep them in control. No such luck. My seat was up against the display on the Antarctic that the year 11s had done last year and I sat alone because I normally stayed to myself and my friends sat on the other side of the classroom. Two slid into the empty chair next to me and sat with his back to the front of the class.
‘How did you get out of school so early?’ I asked quietly.
‘Ethelburgesa send children to school at the age of four like you but they make the day start at 8:30 and finish 6:40. I had a special reason though.’ Josh Brookbanks poked me on the shoulder. Two flinched slightly like he was restraining himself from batting away Josh’s hand.
‘So. Taylor why do you have a guy with you?’ I smiled evilly.
‘Because Josh, I am a wanted person.’ Two snorted quietly.
‘Wanted is an understatement. She is wanted with the equivalent of one point three billion pounds on her head.’ He said with a small smile at me. Two rarely smiled at anything and there he was making a joke at my expense. Lewis Huddlestone, the one with blonde hair, leaned forwards from his seat at the back.
‘I saw you on the TV while I was on holiday in France. I swear I saw you in bakers. We walked past you.’ Two tensed up as I glanced at him.
‘Are you sure that was me?’ I asked nervously.
‘Well there was a warrant and Anthony being held at gunpoint. You were on the news this morning.’
Miss Tomson stood at the front of the class. Today she was wearing the bright blue tights which were almost fluorescent, a mustard yellow skirt, a black and white polka dotted top, a bright pink scarf and a chunky necklace with platform orange shoes. Two turned around in his seat and grimaced at Three who grinned back.
‘So folks you may of noticed that Taylor is back in our midst with Louis and there is nothing in the notices. Stand up behind your chairs then.’ She said in her thick yorkshire accent which people made fun of. There was a mad scramble to get up. Two grabbed my bag and stood up after I had tucked my chair under. Three grabbed Louis bag and we walked with Phoenix towards French.
The day was repetitive with many stares and questions and whispered conversations being held behind hands and closed doors.
After lunch it was afternoon tutor time for half an hour where we watched the most current news. Two sat beside me as Miss went through the BBC website.
‘Oh this looks good. What is going on in Ethelburgesa right now.’ Two grabbed my arm and gave it a squeeze. Louis glanced at me and frowned. I gave him a small smile. It was going to be fine. Miss clicked on the video. Josh and Michael, who were sat right behind us, started chatting about Ethelburgesa.
‘I wonder what happened to the princess. She just disappeared. No one knows where.’
‘I know. It is so strange. I mean who just disappears?’
‘I think she was kidnapped by terrorists or aliens.’ Josh said trying to sound intelligent. The film came on after Miss had faffed around with sound and the projector.
‘This is Ethelburgesa. It was a calm country used by the Russians, British and many more countries as a safe country. A neutral country. But now it is wracked with pain, grief and devastation. The search for the missing Princess has turned the country upside down. The army are out looking for her. After General Mosebush was shot eight times in the head. The Queen Demeter now pleas for her daughter to come home. Here is a picture of the princess and Lord Behan. They are being searched for all over Russia. If you see them please call this number.’ A picture of me came up. with a number at the bottom. A video of my father and Grandmother came up on the screen.
‘Taylor we don’t know where you are but please come home. I am so sorry for forcing you into the contract it was wrong of me.’ I felt anger, this was a ruse. A ploy to get me to come home. Louis was looking at the screen with wonder..
‘Taylor. Please just tell us where you are. I know you may not want to believe this but I want the best for you and if you want to stay where you are then just tell us where you are. If you never want to see us again I would agree. I feel so bad about this.’ All the boys were staring at me as my photo came up on screen again with the plea that if you see this girl call the hotline. Miss Tomson stood up after the video was finished.
‘We have decided as a school to look for her if she comes to England.’ The bell went and Two and Three picked up our bags and took us outside into the corridor.
‘Son of a BITCH!’ Three yelled. Louis looked shocked. ‘Sorry I should not of said that. She should not of shown that video.’ Two nodded.
‘I agree. It was not fair on your part. I want to go in there and slap her silly face.’ I stood there not really processing what they were saying. I held up my hand.
‘Hang on. I am being stupid but why not just go back?’ Two looked at me. It was a pitying face I thought.
‘Because I think it is a trick to make you go back. They knew you would go back to school but where is your school. Make you come to them. Do you think your grandmother would say that? I know she loves you deep down. But really?’ I shrugged.
‘I just want to go home. I don’t want to come back here ever again.’ Three hugged me.
‘You have to it’s the law here.’ People started pouring out of the classroom and swamped us. Three and Two stood around us as we chatted in the middle of the corridor. Mrs Carpet came out to complain about the hold up but Three just brought out his royal badge and flashed it in her face. Let me explain about these badges. They have the royal crest and the Queens signature on the front with your photo and name. It get’s you everywhere and anywhere. Flash it to the banks they let you take out royal money. Flash it to the police if you are in jail you are out in a matter of seconds. So when Three showed it to Mrs Carpet she backed away quickly. A cocky year 7 bumped into Three meaning he fell into ,Two who fell into me, he reached for his gun but Two slapped his hand.
‘They are just kids.’
‘You weren’t a kid.’ He snapped back looking annoyed. Two didn’t reply with a witty comment like normal. Louis looked confused at the simple statement where as I knew he had gone too far.
‘Just a kid when what?’ He asked looking from one to the other. Two looked uncertain to tell but caved in after looking at me.
‘I was just a kid younger than him when I saw my step mother and two step brothers murdered before my own eyes. Just a kid when I failed my first two jobs. Seriously “Just a kid” means nothing to me. You are never too young to die I say.’ I felt like hugging him when the second bell went. The bell went on for too long before Two realised that it was the firebell. He grabbed my hand as Three grabbed Louis and pulled us out onto the field where everyone was headed.
Once we were there and stood in 10F1’s space Mr Stong started to speak into a megaphone.
‘We have a small problem that the Princess of Ethelburgesa and Lord Behan have been seen on these premises. We need to protect them at all costs. Their bodyguards are by me right now. Three ducked down to our height as he was one of the tallest in the line. Two didn’t have to move as he was the same height as Louis.
‘They are not bodyguards. They want to take you back to Ethelburgesa.’
‘They are part of the Avalon. They are the Generals secret police. Someone has tipped them off about us.' I froze.
‘Like, “They are here~ anonymous” tip off or “I need payment because I told you “tip off?’ I asked fully aware of the answer
‘I don’t know who but people will dobb you in.’
‘But why? Who would do that to us.’ Louis asked sounding hurt. Two shrugged.
'Money, power, revenge. Anything really. Anyone who really does not like you?' Louis looked down the line towards the front as I looked down towards the end by Eloisea Wright.
'Nobody in our class that I would know of.' Louis nodded in agreement.
‘I would trust them. Not so sure about the year 9’s. They would do anything to spite us. After all we are so lowly compared to them.’ His voice was so sarcastic that the King of sarcasm would of bowed down low to him. Two furrowed his brow in thought.
‘We need to get out of here.’
‘That is not going to happen anytime soon looking at the fact that oh yeah we are been searched for, and the whole school is assembled on the bleeding field.’ I handed my blazer to Two.
‘Wear this and pretend to be one of us.’ Louis did the same for Three. Two put his arms around my waist and held my against him to hide his dark shirt and keep me warm. I felt safe wrapped up beside him and like nothing could hurt me. It wasn’t awkward to say the least, more platonic than anything else. Three stood behind Louis and watched as the Head Teacher came down the line looking closely at us. I thanked Fate that she had given me a bodyguard who was sixteen and could pass for someone my age. Mr Strong looked at me and Louis.
‘Why are you not wearing your blazers?’ Louis looked stuck.
‘Because we were hot.’ I improvised quickly as he shrugged and moved on.
Two and Three wore our blazers until we were on the bus coming home. Two gave me back my blazer the moment we got on the bus.
‘No problem. I’m sure you would do the same for me.’ Funny that saying because most people wouldn’t dare lend someone a jacket even just for show.
‘I have to. No choice it is in my contract.’ I liked Two. He was fun to be around. From time to time he would give me these searching looks with something deeper in his eyes. I don’t really know. Anyway.
We got off at our stop where eight other people got off the bus and walked home. Two took my bag and poked me.
‘Training again tonight.’ Louis groaned.
‘Are you kidding?’ Three shook his head.
‘Hey we could pull you out of school and homeschool you but that would be no fun of course because we are so stupid.’ Three said with a laugh. Two didn’t say anything neither did he laugh but he did smile slightly.
Two unlocked the door and punched in the code as always we piled in. There was a formal white letter with Miss T Ayers printed on it. I picked it up but Two grabbed it and flung it out of the still open door. It instantly burst into flames which spread quickly on the dry grass. It had not rained in weeks leaving the ground as parched as the sahara desert. I froze as Three ran out into the back garden and grabbed the hose. The fire was steadily spreading towards the house. Three was spraying the ground in front of us with water until the fire reached it. It surrounded Three as he kept spraying. Black smoke was billowing off the ground as the grass burned like straw. Louis had dialled 999 as the fire brigade came storming up the hill towards our house an ambulance and police car followed. Two pushed me and Louis back towards the cellar.
‘What-?’ Louis cried out as we were roughly pushed down the steps.
‘If they are the police they will be on the look out for the both of you. We will say you are at school. Don’t worry.’ We sat in between the dart board and the calcetto table. I can hear you ask what is calcetto? Well it is the italian version of table football. It is pronounced for all you uncultured swine in the art of languages Cal chet oh.
Louis got up at one point and started to walk around. We sat there for the best part of an hour before Two poked his head around the door.
‘Come on guys. All clear. They asked what we were doing and bla bla bla and we said we were house sitting while his majesty was away.’
We climb back up the stairs towards the study and living room. Three was stood there looking tense. He relaxed when he saw us.
‘Good. I think we should all stay in one room tonight.’ Louis pulled a face and glanced sideways at me.
‘For safety reasons.’ Two justified. ‘Incase there is another fire. We are all in the same place and know where each other are.’ Louis pointed out the only flaw.
‘Where do we sleep?’ Three smiled.
‘The living room. Taylor and Louis on the sofas, we will sleep on the floor.’