The heist, another plan and a vineyard
We found ourselves three hours later and two wedding rings in our possession.
‘Now if you have another epiphany please tell me. What do we do with these?’ Chris asked.
‘Fence them.’ I said bluntly.
‘You can’t fence a royal wedding ring.’ I slapped his arm.
‘You are too serious. Live a little.’
‘Are we seriously going to fence it, though?’ I rolled my eyes.
‘If I was going to fence it I would not be here.’
‘Wait where did the second come from?’
‘Oh, I snitched Vanessa's as well/’ Chris glared at me. ‘I was bored!’ I replied defensively.
‘Taylor!’ He whined. ‘You can’t steal royal artefacts!’
‘I can! Because it is me and I can’t be arrested can I?’ He groaned.
‘I hate you.’ I smiled at him.
‘I know you do.’ My father walked around the corner.
‘Taylor. Have you seen my wedding ring?’ I am if I may say so myself an amazing liar.
‘No,’ I said quickly not meeting his eyes.
‘Taylor come on. Vanessa has lost hers too. I know how you work.’
‘It might have been Chris and you immediately jump to me? Impressive, people are so judgemental.’ I did my Hannah impression on the last sentence. Dad rolled his eyes.
‘Chris does Taylor have the ring?’ Chris nodded.
‘No. No, she does not.’
‘Traitor.’ I mumbled. ‘I will do you a little deal. I will lead you on an all-day treasure hunt to find the rings and then and only then will you get the location of the rings.’ My father sighed.
‘Fine. Set it up tomorrow. Vanessa and I will stay out of your way and then we will spend the day after that finding them. Deal?’ I nodded. He stuck out his hand and I shook it. I grabbed Chris's hand and started dragging him through the palace back to my rooms.
It was one before I got to bed that night. Jane and Mary were sat helping me with Chris.
‘No no, no. Put it in the most obvious place because then they feel stupid.’
‘Or in the safe and change the lock.’ I pointed my pen at Chris.
‘I like that idea. Who knows how to change the code?’
‘Alec.’ Mary said at once. ‘He keeps the silverware in the servants quarters.’ I felt an evil grin spread across my face.
‘Lets do just that then.’ I jotted it down on a piece of paper. ‘What is the original code?’
‘9069.’ Jane rattled off. ‘Lets make it 4565.’ I stifled a yawn.
‘Bed now.’ Mary ordered. I nodded and got up. I patted Chris's head goodnight and walked towards my bedroom. I fell on my bed instantly asleep.
‘Good morning, goodmorning! It's great to stay up late good morning good morning to you. Now get outta bed gurl. We need to plan a treasure hunt.’ I cracked open an eye to glare Chris.
‘You are such a Classic beauty.’ Said a tall woman with grey who had followed Chris into my room.
‘Does that mean I am a modern ugly?’ She looked at me shocked.
‘Taylor this is your great aunt.’ I gave her a forced smile.
‘What? It is-’ I glanced at the clock on my bedside table. ‘Seven am. Why are you here?’
‘Your great aunt plans all the major treasure hunts around the country.’
‘Fairdos. What is she doing?’
‘She is to make sure it is not too hard and then run the country while we watch your parents.’
‘Father.’ Vanessa poked her head in.
‘Alrighty, den. Ariqua, Tony was looking for you.’ My great aunt swept out of the room.
‘I have a great aunt?’ Vanessa sighed.
‘She started commenting on me. She does not hold herself right. Bla bla bla.’ I looked slightly shocked at her.
I have never heard you say anything nasty about anyone.’
‘She creeps me out.’ Chris chipped in.
‘I know!’ Vanessa sounded like she was chatting to Barney about a pair of shoes.
‘Guys can you shuffle out. Vanessa buzz off I need to plan this hunt.’ She walked out slamming the door. Chris walked into my wardrobe.
‘Jane and Mary have the day off by the way.’
‘So?’ I asked.
‘I have to pick out your outfit.’ I groaned and flopped back down. I stood up on my bed and started bouncing on Chris turned around to see me giggling and bouncing on the bed.
‘What are you on?’ I stopped bouncing and looked at him.
‘Have you never bounced on a bed?’
‘You are sixteen and you are bouncing on a bed?’
‘Well I have but this is bigger. And more bouncy.’ Chris rolled his eyes. He threw me a shirt and jeans.
‘It is too hot for jeans.’ I complained. He rolled his eyes again and threw me a black skirt. It was like my school skirt but tight and a bit shorter.
I bounced out of the room twenty minutes later.
‘I demand breakfast.’ Chris demanded my nose passed through the doorframe. I have a small nose. Just putting it out there.
‘I am starving but to make this work there is a clue on our way down.’ Chris had a large bag of clues which he took one out of.
‘Here you go.’ I placed it in Dads mini upstairs wine cupboard. Chris followed me in to help me hide it. I walked out of the cupboard and straight into Alec. Chris followed and slammed into me.
‘What were you two up to?’ He asked looking worried.
‘Nothing.’ I said.
‘You just came out of a cupboard with a guy who is your fiancee. I have bad thoughts.’ I winced at the f word.
‘Do you have to say it like that. It makes it sound more formal.’ Alec put his hands in the air.
‘Okay, my bad. Your boyfriend.’ I smiled at him and took off running down to the kitchens.
‘Hurry up!’ I shouted over my shoulder to him. He followed me. I placed another clue in the kitchen.
The rest of the day went in a pattern of placing clues around the palace and finally hiding the rings in the silver safe. It was not a silver safe but a safe that kept silver. Just clearing that up. Many people kept walking in on us walking out of a small room at the back of the palace, down deserted corridors.
‘TAYLOR!’ Came a scream that woke me up the next morning. I sat bolt upright.
‘What?’ I asked. I felt the bed shift. Jane was pointing to my left. I turned to see Chris sleeping beside me.
‘This is not my bedroom.’ He muttered. I squeezed my eyes shut.
‘What is he doing here?’ She whispered. The moment was made worse when my father walked into the room. I flopped back onto my pillows groaning.
‘I want to die.’ I mumbled.
‘Taylor is there something you want to tell me?’ He asked.
‘I have no clue how this happened?’ I asked hopefully. He frowned at me.
‘Taylor. Why is Christopher in your bed? Answer me honestly.’
‘We were sorting out final details last night and then we might of fallen asleep.’
‘Fine. No grandchildren or intimacy until you are married.’ Vanessa snickered from the doorway.
‘She laughed, I am off the hook.’ I saw Jane shaking her head. ‘Absolutely nothing. Thats great. Now can you get out go.’ I pushed him out of the door and shut it behind him Chris poked his head out from under the pillows and grinned at me.
‘No grandchildren anytime soon? What does he think we did?’ I shrugged.
‘I fell asleep first. What happened to you?’ He looked shifty.
‘Well. You fell asleep and then I tucked you in. I might have sat beside you and fallen asleep by accident.’ I grinned at him.
‘Good thing Dad knows you. He has a shotgun by the way.’
‘Anyway its the treasure ring hunt day.’ Chris said excitedly.
‘Okay. Calm down. Let’s get up.’ Jane had breakfast but kept throwing us dirty looks. Mary wandered in looking confused.
‘Jane is looking like Taylor has kicked and then killed a puppy.’
‘Not far from the truth.’ Jane muttered darkly.
‘What did I do?’ I asked innocently.
‘Well. This guy slept over in your bed. What will the maids say?’ I rolled my eyes at Mary. Jane hit me on the back of my head. ‘You are not taking this seriously. I am very very annoyed with your attitude. Get on with the hunt.’ I sprung off the sofa in search of my father.
‘She is never going to learn.’ Jane said mournfully.
It took my father and Vanessa all day to find their rings and crack the code for the safe. Chris and I walked behind them the whole way watching their progress and taking mental notes for next time we did something close to that.
‘Taylor have you ever been down to our vineyard down south?’ We were eating dinner in the dining room as a “family”. Chris had gone back to the Baenziger manor with his father to sort out some details.
‘Well Vanessa and I were thinking that we can’t go away on a honeymoon so why not send you two away. You and Christopher of course.’
‘Yeah sure. When do I leave?’
‘Tomorrow.’ I looked up sharply.
‘I can work with that.’ I went back to eating my food.
I picked Chris up on the way down to the vineyard. He climbed into the back of the Bentley.
‘Do you get a new car every time I see you?’ He asked. I shrugged.
‘Ask Mark.’ I saw the flashes of cameras as we drove through Ethelburga.
Once we arrived I pushed my door open and got out. I could feel the sun beating down on me.
‘Thanks Mark. I guess we could catch a ride home. If thats okay.’ He nodded and got our bags out of the car.
‘Have a good time.’
‘I will. Bye.’ He got back into the car and drove away. I could feel the dry heat on my skin and could taste the sweet smell of grapes in the air Chris took our bags.
‘Ready?’ I nodded.
‘Lets do this.’ We walked under the large arch which read in large fancy letters “Ayers Vineyards.”
‘I remember Dad talking about this once in a while. It makes great and famous wines.’ I said.
There were men and women working hard in the sun in the rows and rows of vines. A boy with tanned skin ran up to us.
‘You must be Taylor and Christopher. Please come with us.’ I followed him to a large house with many windows. On the veranda was a table with three men sat around it playing cards. As we walked closer the cards were dropped and the men all bowed low.
‘You may rise. I assume my father told you I was coming to help.’ They all nodded. ‘Good. I would like to introduce my bodyguard Two.’ They all straightened up and started showing me around.
Chris and I were never less than two feet apart all day. We worked hard until lunch time and then until dinner time.
‘I think that is the most labour I have ever done in my life.’ Chris said flopping down on my bed.
‘You think? I grew up doing next to nothing.’ I flopped beside him. The small tanned boy ran back in. I had found his name earlier was Julian.
‘Your majesty it is now time for watering the grapes.’ I made to get up but Chris pushed me back down.
‘Thank you Julian. Her majesty is very tired right now after having a long day of traveling. I will take on her duties.’ He nodded and walked out the room. I smiled gratefully at Chris who walked out of the room. I took a quick shower grateful for the fact that the water was cold. It had been a hot day with the sun beating down on me for most of it. Chris came into the room as I was tying up my hair.
‘You do need to get it cut.’ He mused playing with the end of it. I raised an eyebrow at him.
‘Yeh think?’ It had reached my bum now.
‘Yeah. I mean I love it because it sparkles in the sunlight and is really silky but it is long.’ One of the ladies was stood outside the door talking to her friend. I poked my head out.
‘Hey can any of you cut hair.’
‘I took a hair and beauty course. I’ll do it. How much do you want off?’