Tuesday January 15th
Many of you who are in the spotlight will be hounded by reporters since a leak from the palace said the death of the king was no accident. This is alarming to members of the royal family as none of them have any idea who leaked the rumor.
So I have to start this off by asking if you ever heard the tale of Eurydice. Now here's a tremendous amount of paraphrasing but essentially this musician's wife dies and he goes to the underworld to bring her back but the catch is he can't look back to see if she's following. When he looks back she is sent back to the underworld.
Why does the tragic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice matter you may ask, Mags get to the bloody point you may yell. For god sakes stop having conversations with imaginary readers Mags. And so on...
The reason it matters is because I feel like Orpheus. Pardon my inelegant phrasing of the fact, my mind is cluttered with the day’s revelations and my bones ache with truths I should never have learned.
Orpheus and I both lost loved ones, they trail in our wake and when we look back it is as though they were never there.
But instead of losing those who’ve died, I’m losing the living.
Tuesday morning I awoke with a start. Another nightmare of blood stained pavement raced through my mind and my heart beat like a frightened bird. Sam sat up next to me and tried to take my hand in his. But I pushed out of the bed, away from his grasp.
"Mags, you haven't had a solid night of sleep in days, please come to bed," he urged.
I stayed with my back turned to him staring straight into the ornate wallpaper of my old Bucks room. It’s old, really old, we’re not even allowed to touch some of it with our hands because the oil could damage the delicate patterns. The patterns are so complex you can almost get lost staring in them. Slowly I spoke, the words sliding out of my mouth through forced breaths.
“I can’t sleep, Sam, just leave it be,”
“Mags, it’s not, I just” he bit back the end of his sentence. The bed creaked; I knew he had stood up. His arms wrapped around me and he nuzzled into my neck. I leaned back into him, sighing as a relaxed into his body.
“Let’s just go back to sleep,” he pleaded, kissing me on the neck. I nodded in return letting him guide me back to the four-poster. As I felt him fade away into deep sleep my eyes still pierced through the darkness of the room, getting lost in the patterns on the walls.
I woke up in the morning to find myself alone, not even Monty was there to lick my face awake. As I looked around for my phone, I stumbled across my covered breakfast tray. It was covered in my usual tea breads, toast, eggs and a hot kettle of tea in a Bucks cozy. Typically these trays come with a litany of newspapers attached, but it hadn’t occurred to me that I hadn’t seen the newspapers in days. Giving up hope of finding my phone, I sat down and munched on some toast. As hot tea slid down my throat, Sam and Monty came back into the room. Jumping up to meet him, I threw my arms around his neck.
“Where’d you go?” I questioned, kissing him and accidentally transferring a couple crumbs onto his cheek.
“Monty was scratching at the door, so I took him for a walk,” Sam replied as I brushed the crumbs off his face, “You’d finally fallen to sleep and I didn’t want to wake you.”
Smiling, I said, “I don’t deserve you.”
His smile fell and he dropped his hands from my waist.
“I don’t- deserve you? Mags what are you talking about?”
“God nothing, Sam, don’t take things so seriously.” Pushing away from him I run into my closet and pull on some clothes. “Now I’m meeting with Delilah today to catch up, it’s --- well she and I haven’t talked in a while so you know.”
“I thought we were grabbing lunch out at –“
“Oh god yes, I forgot, how about dinner then? You’ll talk to security and everything? Nothing too stylish though, must keep appearances.” As I left my closet and pulled on my thick warm overcoat I saw Sam’s face. Gutted and almost annoyed.
“Look, this is really important, I’m sorry it was just a time that worked for the both of us.”
“Mags, it’s fine, really it’s fine,” he replied shortly. “I mean it’s not like I haven’t – you know what never mind, I’ll see you at dinner.” He walked towards the door, holding it open for me. With nothing left to say, I stormed through the doorway.
I’d planned on picking up some of our old favorite snack food for my lunch with Delilah and insisted on going to Waitrose to get it myself. At first, everything seemed to be fine. Lionel and I’d made it quietly to the store, even checked out without much of a hassle. But as soon as my foot passed through the electronic sliding doors.
“PRINCESS OVAH HERE DARLING!”
“MAGS THIS WAY! THIS WAY!”
“WAS IT TRUE YOUR FATHER WAS MURDERED?”
“IS THIS AN ACT OF TERROR?”
“WHY IS YOUR FATHER’S DEATH BEING COVERED UP?”
“DID SOMEONE IN THE PALACE HAVE IT IN FOR HIM?”
“WHERE’S YOUR BOYFRIEND DEARIE? NO COMMONERS ALLOWED IN THE PALACE? IS IT REVOLUTION TIME?”
“DROWNING YOUR SORROWS IN CRISPS, LOVE?”
“WAS IT FRANCE? IS THIS REVENGE FOR AGINCOURT?”
Lionel pushed a swath of reporters out of the way as I sprinted towards our car. Mitchell, my driver already had the engine started as I landed in the back seat. Reporters started to press up against the windows, trying to peer through the blacked out glass to where I sat cowering in the shadows. At last, Lionel came in fuming with anger. If steam could have shot out of his ears it would have.
“I am so sorry your grace, this shouldn’t have happened.” Lionel huffed, “It’s almost like they knew we were here.” He added under his breath.
Once I got back to Bucks, I was livid but I shoved it down because Delilah would be there. If Delilah was there then we would talk about her dad, and I didn’t for once second want her to think I blamed any of this on my father. But that thought crept into my head, unwelcome and foreboding. What man had more intimate knowledge of my father’s every movement than Delilah’s father? Who knew every weak point of our security? Who didn’t pick him up from the airport that night? Those thoughts I silenced straight away. The Fernley’s were family. This was paranoia, plain and stupid paranoia.
So moments later, I had my head resting on Delilah’s lap as I thumbed through an old battered copy of Never Let Me Go. Everything was right and back to the way it was. If you added faint rock music, chattering voices, and the harsh sounds of a chastising teacher, we would have been back at boarding school.
I looked up at Delilah whose brow was crinkled just as it usually did during pre- exam mania or when anyone mentioned her mum.
“What’s going on?”
Wordlessly, she handed me the phone. My eyes rapidly scanned the texts.
“Del, I don’t, I think mums stopped the papers from coming to my room, but I’m sure you can find someone on staff who’s got one. You have to read The Post.” The morning’s events haunted me. What if someone was trying to put the blame on Delilah’s dad?
Delilah scurried out of the room but I stayed, lying on my side, re-reading my favorite book. I don’t know when I fell asleep but I was awoken by voices, one familiar and one strange.
“Push comes to shove sir, what are you prepared to do?”
“I have no intention of telling the boy this, his majesty hardly needs to learn the reason behind-“
“Keep your voice down, you never know who’s listening at Buckingham.”
“I’m only saying m’lord, your nephew’s going to start questioning a lot of things once the report comes back on the car.”
“Then stall. Don’t feel so bold as to try and talk to me within these walls again.”
I knew that voice, it was my uncle’s.