Kidnapping part Deux et Trois
We landed in England to see it was raining as per usual. It was cold compared to Ethelburgesa, but that got loads of sun in the summer and hardly any in winter.
‘I think I might buy a paper. Care to join me?’ Chris muttered to me. I nodded. On the front page of Chandlers, the Sun, The telegraph and all those ones who print just politics and tat, was me. Chris and I looking really happy. Chris picked up the Guardian and joined the long queue of people buying something.
‘You looking shockingly like this chappie.’ Said the guy behind the desk. I stuck out my head from behind Chris.
‘Are we nearly done here?’ I asked. The man screamed and dropped his drink.
‘It is you! Your majesty! How are you? Let's see your gem.’ I put my hand on the counter. ‘It is so beautiful.’ He said. He picked up my hand and brought it to eye level.
‘Muy Bella.’ I took my hand back.
‘I reiterate my first phrase. Are we nearly done?’ He nodded and handed the newspaper to us without even letting us pay.
‘My engagement present.’ He said bowing as we walked away. Jane raised an eyebrow at us.
‘Took your sweet time.’ She muttered.
‘Met a fan.’ Chris said loudly.
We walked out to the limo ignoring all the looks we got and flashes of cameras.
‘I hate this.’ I grumbled. Chris took my hand.
‘It will be okay.’ I smiled.
‘Stop being pessimistic. Just remember that I love you.’
‘You had better.’ I muttered. He laughed and kissed the top of my head.
‘You had better or else I would be worried.’ We sat in silence as we read the whole two pages on our engagement.
‘Wait I don’t remember saying that I hated you at first.’ Chris said indignantly.
‘I wish we had gotten the Chandlers one. Everyone reads that.’ I muttered. I closed my eyes as we drove through Moreton and people stared even more than last time. It was normalish to see the limo driving through the countrysides of the Cotswolds. Mark sat in the front with his special driving gloves on.
‘So I heard about you two. Finally got your act together?’
‘Yes. I am going to get in and sleep.’
‘Those in favour say I.’ Chris said. There was a sleepy “I” from everyone in the car.
True to our word we all fell asleep as soon as we got into our rooms.
I was the first one to wake up and panicked. I had school and was running late. By two hours. I just went back to sleep.
Chris woke me up the next morning.
‘You know we all slept through an entire day.’ I nodded.
‘I now have GCSEs. Physics. Sadly.’ He got out my school uniform and then went to make breakfast. Jane and stumbled in ten minutes later.
‘Sorry overslept.’ I shrugged yawning. I glanced in the mirror of the bathroom and pulled a face. My hair was insane. It was all tangled and was annoying the pants off me.
‘MARY!’ I shouted.
‘YEAH!’ Came the reply.
‘CAN I HAVE A HAIRCUT?’
‘YEAH! WAIT WHAT?’ We kept up the shouting before Jane joined in.
‘LITTLE LOUDER! I DON’T THINK CHINA HEARD YOU!’
‘SOD OFF JANE! TAYLOR I SWEAR ON THE RIVER STYX IF YOU GET A HAIRCUT YOU WILL PAY THE CONSEQUENCES!’ Mary yelled. I put my hair into a ponytail and then walked out and down for breakfast. Titus walked through the door and bumped into me.
‘No problem. How is Akki?’
‘Being a bloody bitch.’ He muttered. I moved to the side to let him pass.
I caught the bus into school as a one off an instantly regretted it. Emily had saved me a seat, but Chris had to go all the way to the end. They had merged two bus routes together. We have a route system. Routes 1, 4, 5, 3 go through Bourton-on-the-Hill, Moreton, Broadway, Broadwell and Stow. 7 and 8 go to Mickleton and Hidcote Boyce. The rest go to other places and so on. I get on route 45. Which is what we call route 4 and 5 together. Anyway. The bus was packed full of people of all ages trying to get a place. There were only four of us on my bus stop, but we were all squished together. Over the babble of noise coming from the back, I heard a gun being cocked. I glanced down the bus to see Chris sat there with a bored look on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. Emily poked me.
‘I want to see this beautiful ring someone has got you.’ I sighed. Because jewelry was not allowed in school I had been told not to wear it. But screw school rules I had a valid reason to wear it. Chris made me wear it on my right hand so that people would think of it just as a normal ring. Yeah No. No. What with all the photo shoots coming out of us I doubted anyone would look at me the same way this year.
‘Fine.’ I gave her my right hand.
‘Does it say anything on the inside?’ I shook my head. The Beauty and the beast quotation was my secret. Only grandmother, grandfather, Chris and I knew about them. It was our secret. Grandmother and Grandfather were dead so they could not really tell could they.
I was pushed off the bus and straight into Phoenix.
‘Let me see.’ She yelled. People turned to stare at us as she kept shouting. Miss Tomson glared at us.
‘Taylor tie please.’ I rolled my eyes and went for my tie. It was not in my pocket which meant I had left it behind or Chris had it. I turned to see him leaning against the wall on the other side of the car park holding my tie in his fingers. I walked over to him.
‘Tie. Give.’ He grinned.
‘Is that really how you should talk to me.’ I raised my eyebrows.
‘Is that really how you should talk to me?’ I asked.
‘Okay, I will do you a deal. I give you the tie and you give me a kiss whenever you like.’ I rolled my eyes and pulled him down to my level, gave him a kiss to which he kissed me back. He put his arms around my waist. I grabbed my tie out of his hands and walked off. He ran to catch up and walked behind me silently. I caught up with Phoenix who stood where I had left her with an amused look on her face.
‘Seriously? You are engaged and are going around kissing your bodyguard?’
‘ Phoenix. Who is my bodyguard?’ She threw me a sly look and linked arms with me.
‘Best put that tie on.’ I nodded and tied it.
This is the boring bit where I tell you about where I sat in an exam for the best part of a day and then did nothing for the rest of the day but take another test. What I will tell you is this happened for three weeks until all my exams were done. I did get hundreds of weird looks from all the papers and photos that were now all over the internet. Weird weird looks. A mugger even tried to attack me while I was in Budgens. Let me just say he won’t be reproducing anytime soon. Even more boring stuff.
Finally it got to that time of year when I got to go on that time after all you exams are done and you do nothing for three weeks and get nine weeks holiday. Chris and I were putting our heads together and planning a whirlwind trip around the world visiting all the properties that Grandmother left my father. Phoenix bounced over to me.
‘So Taylor. What are you planning with your truly beloved?’
‘Not much.’ Phoenix has been texting Tom for ages. Like the one from right at the beginning of the book. Now you will flick back going “Who the hell is Tom?” I know you are. Hehehe. Anyway. So they have been talking and texting since he and Meg broke up because he was “Too mainstream” for Meg and all those things which happen in school
‘Hey Taylor can I borrow the limo for Prom?’ She asked.
‘Sure. White or Black?’
‘Nice choice.’ Chris muttered.
‘Why?’ She I slapped him on the arm.
‘He does not trust the black limo anymore since he said it tried to eat him. Can I hire a helicopter do you think?’
‘Nuh uh. No. That would be flaunting money.’ Chris said.
‘I have billions of pounds what am I ment to do? Chew it? Roll it? Smoke it? Deal it? Fence it? Exchange it for pot? Buy por-.’ Chris clapped a hand over my mouth.
‘Mind out of the gutter. I swear you head has inflated so much.’ He muttered taking away his hand.
‘Yours it so large it is a miracle you are not floating.’ I snapped back. He thought it over. Phoenix started muttering to herself.
‘You can call a girl beautiful many times and they won’t believe you.’
‘But you call them fat once and they remember it for a lifetime.’ Chris finished.
‘That dickhead!’ She screamed and threw her phone at the wall. It smashed the screen making it almost impossible the read or do anything. I jumped up to give her a hug.
‘Do I need to kill anyone?’ I asked straight away. She nodded.
‘Tom said he was going to ask Juliette out to Prom because they have true love. So all those really cute things he said to me and when he said he liked me were all rehearsals for her.’ She started to cry. Chris picked up the phone and read back through the messages.
‘Dickhead. Can I shoot him?’ He said loudly getting lots of looks.
‘Not in public’ I said. ‘ABCDEFG.’ I started to sing quietly. No I am not mad.
‘Gummy bears are chasing me.’ Phoenix sang.
‘One is red one is blue.’
‘There’s a purple one on my shoe.’
‘Now I’m running for my life.’
‘Cuz the green one has a knife.’ Chris raised an eyebrow at me and I scowled back.
I lead Phoenix over to her seat once the bell rang. Only Ben sat in his seat. He was an odd kid who had long hair, horrible skin and these huge eyebrows. No lie. Horrible. So, Tom swaggered into the room and saw Phoenix crying. He ran over to her and started talking fast. I could hear his voice getting louder and louder.
‘You can’t say that! It is like shooting someone and then wondering why they are bleeding. Girls do have feelings. Calling a girl fat gets you an enemy for life.’
‘Can I get out a gun?’ Chris asked.
‘Anyone would think you liked her more.’
‘She is under royal protection.’ I heard a loud slap and then there was an agonising shriek.
Tom had hit Phoenix.
‘You can’t just say that to men!’
‘MR ARMEN!’ Miss Tomson’s voice rang out. He whipped around and walked over to miss.
‘What do you think you are doing?’
‘I need to see Mr Strong about you. Follow me.’ My phone buzzed as Tom texted me.
“Want to go and see a movie next week end?”
“ABCDEFG someone should’ve told you not to mess with me.” I texted back.
‘Taylor!’ Chris exclaimed. He grabbed my phone and turned it off.
‘Jez Two. They can’t put my in prison. I am not a citizen of this country. I am on a sort of half the year visa thing.’ There was a small scuffle as Ben stood on the table and started yelling.
‘BY THE WAY EVERYBODY TOM HAS HERPES! HE TOLD ME! SO ALL YOU SUCKERS WHO SLEPT WITH HIM HAVE HERPES!’ Frank pulled him down with an evil grin on his face. Hannah looked worried and started whispering to Maye. The slight problem she had was she does not know the term whisper and so it is basically her talking quietly but loud enough that everyone can hear.
‘Shall I go to the doctors? I think I might have herpes.’ Everyone started sniggering slightly at how stupid she was.
I got a text from Chris when I was going wedding shopping with Vanessa.
“Bored. Are you?”
“Can I come and kidnap you?”
“If you have a gun then sure I guess you can.” He burst into the large shop brandishing a 32mm gun.
‘I have come here to kidnap her majesty the Princes blugh. All that stuff.’ Vanessa stood still laughing. He grabbed my arm and hauled me out of the shop.
‘Thanks. I was going mad.’
‘Yeah well I went to hug the most sexy guy in the universe and hit the mirror. So I came to hug the most beautiful person I have ever seen. Only she was out shopping and probably bored stiff.’
‘You had better not be talking about Vanessa.’
‘I love you too?’ I slapped his arm.
‘Can I go back to Firs Cottage now? I have my prom tomorrow and want to look amazing.’ I called up Jane.
‘Jane I need a prom dress ASAP.’
‘Everyone needs a prom dress ASAP.’ She sighed. ‘I am eating a sandwich which is very nice to be honest.’
‘Jane I am currently the only person in the world bar my father who can fire you right now. You have ten seconds to get you rear end moving towards a shop. Preferably in Oxford where I am. Go have an hour to get here as it is a Monday and there are still people at school and it is ten o’clock. Move.’ I could hear her distant shouting as she yelled to Mary to get Mark.
They arrived outside Proms and Things forty minutes later.
‘How many traffic lights did you jump?’ I asked Mark.
‘Seventeen.’ He looked so proud I felt bad.
‘Cool. Lets go.’ Chris took my hand.
‘I seriously am regretting asking you to marry me.’
‘I have to go to prom with Phoenix how do you think I feel? I mean she is amazing but I will have a million security guards with proper guns come out and most people will think it is an act. If people found out who you really are ,Chris, then I would get grief that my boyfriend lives at my house and I would be branded a slut for life.’ Chris put his arm around my shoulder without dropping my hand.
‘But you aren’t. This is what I hate about society these days. they are so judgemental. Seriously. I mean you would be branded a slut because one of my English houses happens to be ten miles away from school so I stay with you. But I am your bodyguard and that gets you branded a slut. Then there is the “haters gonna hate” going around. Of course they are but they make themselves an easy target by putting up photos on social media websites of them in literally nothing.’
‘And then there is the “I love this girl so much,” “Like for line”. People say being a princess must be so easy. No, you get so many people pointing out your faults and then saying how you could improve and comparing you to someone else. I do have feelings. I may not look like it but I have them and saying that stuff hurts. Because you don’t accept me for who I am.’
‘That was deep.’
Despite the shop being HUGE I felt like I was cramped into one space. There was rack after rack after rack of frilly, lacy, puffy prom dresses of all colours and designs.
‘Do you have any Chandlers?’ Jane asked. The assistant who was helping us nodded.
‘Not many but a vast selection. Who are we shopping for here? Even better what is the budget?’ I had to let go of Chris's hand as Jane pulled me forwards.
‘This is Taylor and the budget is around ten thousand. Best not go above that.’ The assistant looked doubtful but must of thought better of it. Chris was dressed in completely black with a gun I was probably a rich kid who was going on a date.
‘Red hair, slight frame. Okay. What is the situation?’
‘Prom. Going in a group of girls. My bodyguard is going to be wearing black.’
‘Mode of transport?’ He asked.
‘Magic Unicorn.’ I said sarcastically. He raised an eyebrow. ‘I am still planning. I come to school in a limo everyday so that is no big deal anymore. I was thinking a delorean. I have enough people to carry me and Phoenix in on a sofa.’ The assistant was looking slightly worried.
‘The dress.’ He held up an american flag themed dress.
‘I am not american.’ I said looking awkward.
‘Your accent sounds it.’
‘That is because Taylor here speaks many languages and so it gives her a very british accent sometimes because she has to be articulate.’ Chris said hurriedly. The assistant held up a simple blue dress with a bronze bodice. I went to try it on. The bronze bodice was thousands of gems hand sewn on. I walked out of the changing room. It fell to just above my knees making it not too short but not too long. Jane nodded.
‘That one. We want that one.’ The assistant looked doubtful again.
‘Do you have the money?’ Jane grabbed my right hand where I was wearing the royal signet ring instead of my engagement ring.
‘Do you see this? This is royalty. Not everyone has one of these. This is Taylor Ayers. Newly engaged princess. I think we have the money.’
‘Wh- when do you want it by?’
‘What oh me. Um. Now. It is tomorrow.’ He nodded.
‘One hundred and fifty pounds please.’ Jane handed over the credit card my dad gave her to use on clothes for me. Finally we had the prom dress and now we just needed the transport.
‘I always come to school in a limo so it is no biggy anymore is it?’ I asked Phoenix over the phone.
‘Nah. How many of those men do you have lying around?’
‘Twenty I think. Last count.’
‘I like the carrying in on a sofa thing.’
‘Lets do that.’ I crossed an item off my list.
‘Righty oh. See you tomorrow at three.’ She hung up as Jane descended on me with a million pairs of blue shoes and clutch bags.
‘Blue or blue?’ She asked. I shrugged and picked a pair of dark blue open toes high heels with a matching clutch bag. ‘Okay. I am going to get the things for tomorrow ready.’She danced out of the room as I fell face first on the floor making the sounds of a dying cat. Chris was leaning against the door frame.
‘That is not lady like.’ He said with a raised eyebrow.
‘Being a lady can be rammed up where the sun doesn't shine for the amount of flying pigs I give.’ Chris lay down on his back beside me.
‘I so wholly agree. It is going to be so weird tomorrow when you are going to be dancing with people and I can’t dance with you.’ I smiled.
‘I will dance with somebody and pretend they are you.’
‘I just want to be a normal teenager who lives a normal. No offence but not engaged, worried about prom dresses and if the make-up lady is going to come in time tomorrow.’ I rolled over onto my back and leaned against Chris. He linked our hands together.
‘I know how you feel. I would hate to be you. All this pressure. I have never seen you be a normal child. Ever. Apart from when I saw the footage from when your mother and father were coming out of the hospital holding you, when you were being put on the plane with your father and mother to leave.’ He raised our hands and pointed to my ceiling.
‘When did you have this done?’ It was dark blue with millions of white dots in the stars constellations.
‘I was six and loved just looking at the stars and so always had my window open. Dad sort of freaked and so painted them on my ceiling. Mum was so put out.’
‘Why dont you call her by her real name?’
‘Because it means demon and Dad hated it but loved her.’
‘Desdemona. Mm. Yeah maybe not.’ I laughed.
‘Still I guess tomorrow is going to be hectic. Hang on.’ Chris put a hand over my mouth before I started shouting.
‘Let me. JANE? CAN TAYLOR TALK TO YOU?’ He bellowed at the top of his lungs. Jane skipped down towards us.
‘Can I have my sun glasses ready for tomorrow? Any Pair that suits my dress would be fabulous.’
It was a couple of hours later when I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. I pulled it out as I read the screen name.
‘Who the hell is Felicity?’ I muttered. Chris started having a coughing fit.
‘I love you.’ He said. I faked a sneeze. ‘What was that?’ He asked.
‘Sorry I am allergic to bullcrap.’ Chris slapped his hand over my mouth.
‘I think you should wash your mouth out with soap. If the press heard.’ He faked a shudder. I rolled my eyes as my phone started ringing.
‘Taylor? I don’t know where I am. I swear I was just walking down the street. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how I got here. Please help me.’ The joking atmosphere was soaked up quickly as Phoenix sounded like she was in deep cat trouble.
‘Describe your surroundings. Phoenix concentrate on my voice.’
‘Okay. I can see metal and then dark glass. The room to my left has a man in pink with no hair. He has many tattoos. There is a small sink and a bed. Taylor?’ It took me a moment to speak.
‘Okay. Phoenix you will be okay. I promise. No I can’t promise you that. You have to trust me.’
‘I would trust you with my life. Taylor I am terrified. Can you come and get me out soon?’
‘I will try. Stay strong. If you need to call be my guest.’
‘Bye.’ I hung up and took a deep breath. I sat up. Chris sat up with me. I felt my tears come pouring down my face. He just held me as I cried into his shirt.
‘He has taken Phoenix to Hotiz. I don’t know why.’
‘Were there people around her?’ I nodded.
‘A guy in pink. With loads of tattoos.’ Chris took in a sharp breath.
‘Oh my life. They have put her in with Kick Ass Donkey.’
‘The boxer?’ I asked.
‘No the murderer. He took his name off the boxer and then blew up eight train, four airplanes and seventeen cars. Took a machine gun into a school. Nobody left. Apart from him. The tale of woe could go on.’
‘ Why is he in pink then?’
‘Because it is total humiliation. Complete and utter humiliation.’ My father hurried towards us. We were kind of sat together in the middle of the lawn and so hard to spot.
‘Taylor! I need you to come with us. We are going to get Phoenix out.’ I stood up along with Chris. ‘Christopher you can’t come. Royal family only are allowed in that section of Hotiz.’ He nodded.
‘I will be near my phone the whole time okay?’ I nodded.
‘I think I will be.’