Washing D.C. and Baltimore were huge towns to Bonnie. She had graduated with all top scores in University.
The Real world held very little for her though. Sure the clubs wanted her, they always wanted a pretty face. Several classmates had suggested she join them, but that was not what she wanted.
It became an easy decision to leave home when her father told her he was getting married, again. Her future step-mother was 4 years younger than she was and wore clothes Bonnie would not be caught dead in.
Getting a job was not too difficult. It was good for a minimum of 90 days and if she got a job after the trial period. What to do she thought. Richmond and Alexandria were high on her list of places she might want to settle in. Without much thought as to the future, she packed her things, kissed 'Daddy' and her future step-mum goodbye and was able to take the Metro most of the way, then a train to Richmond...
Her bank account was pretty good for a 22 yr-old, she thought. $15,000 should see her through, at least until she needed a car. Or so she thought. When she arrived in Richmond on the train, she went to the taxi stop and asked to be taken to a good hotel. The Ritz-Carlton was a good Hotel. The valet opened her door, took her bags(She had 2) and escorted her to the front desk after asking her if she was already registered.
The front desk was staffed with only one person when another clerk appeared and called her up to her position. Bonnie smiled and calmly asked if she might get a room. After a quick check the clerk told her they were quite full but several basic rooms were still available. "Great" Bonnie told her, "may I please have one?"
"Is this your first time with us Miss?"
"Yes, first time even in the US, I just graduated from University and wanted to start my new life here, School was wonderful but there is nothing in D.C. there for me." She spoke right up.
"I'll be able to include a breakfast and place you on a floor where food and drinks are complimentary. How long will you be staying with us?"
"I'm not certain, I've just arrived and not familiar what might be available?"
"Well, good luck to you Miss, just remember, if you ever doubt yourself just bat your eyes, swish your hair and some 'Prince Charming' will come to your rescue. I'll need your credit card and you can tell the desk how long you'll be staying, it is normally $2,000 but I'll give you it for $1,500."
"But I'm not sure how long I need to stay!"
"That's OK Hon, if you stay longer than a week, I'll give you the weekly rate, instead of the daily."
At this point Bonnie began to feel faint. When she woke up, she was lying on a couch in the hotel lobby, her head in the lap of a beautiful young girl who was wiping her face with a damp cloth. Covering her was a small blanket and her feet were bare.
"Just lie back. You gave us a bit of a fright you know? I was just checking out when you started to fall. My brother caught you and he is finishing up at the desk. I'm Miranda, Miranda White and my brother and I just moved here from Miami."
"I'm so sorry Miranda, my name is Bonnie Darling, and I feel like such a fool." She began to give Miranda some of the details of her life and the fright she had upon discovering her 'nest egg' would be gone in a week or two. Tears started down her cheeks.
A gentle hand wiped those tears away. When she looked up a very tall man was smiling down at her. "A Princess never sheds any tears. She may cause them, but never shows them to us 'common folk'.
"Ha, my brother Jim. Always a knight in shining armour for a damsel in distress. Well we were headed out to our new place here and a bite of food, so unless you have a better offer your highness, come along. I think my brother has fallen under your spell and don't think will mind a another guest in the castle."
Actually princess was not a bad description of Bonnie. She was tall, blonde and had a figure more like a Norse Goddess. Although going with a unknown couple was not something she would ever consider, after one look in the eyes of the 16 yr-old Miranda, the honesty and sincerity one found there was enough to ally any fears or concerns. The look on Jim's face had reminded Bonnie of a 'lost puppy'. The gentle touch of his hand and soft voice belied his giant stature. That meeting was to start a chain of events that would change all their lives, forever.
It started as they were waiting in front of the hotel for Jim's car. They introduced themselves to the doorman; he seemed to be ignoring them but was holding open the car door as it pulled up; a new White MERCEDES 500 SL.
The doorman said "Ahh, Bonnie, he is waiting for you and Miranda to get in. The dude hopes your dresses will ride up too." He laughed, as the girls climbed in, careful not to bare too much.
He tipped the man, smiled and drove off. "Will seafood be OK for both of you?"
"That's fine he heard in stereo.
"When I was up here to interview there was a very nice place near the house I bought. We can go there and I'll explain a bit about Miranda and me."
Miranda handed Bonnie her cell phone. "Call home, tell them your here and will be starting a new adventure with us. The phones at home are not installed yet, so keep the cell and tell them you will update everything shortly. Tell them you have met a new little sister and she would be lost without you. Not to mention she has a 'really big brother', a single, one. He, he!"
Bonnie began to blush. She dialed home. She got a recoding. "Dad, I'm in Richmond. Everything is so different here. So expensive. I met a friend, two actually, and her name is Miranda. She and her brother say they are taking me on an adventure. If the last few hours are any indication, I believe her
They crossed a long bridge when they left Richmond proper. A short while later they pulled into the parking area for a place called The Richmond Chop House Grotto. "We're in Kent' Jim said, not too far from the house. We came here to celebrate when I signed on and I fell in love with the area. They were shortly seated, by a window overlooking the small lake. Miranda reached over and took Bonnie's hand in hers. "I am sorry that we seemed to just drag you along. Jim will take you wherever you want to go, but please hear me out?" Tears were streaming from the little girl and her brother had a napkin to his face, his eyes misting.
"Jim is all I have in this world. He was away at school when Mom and Dad were killed and I was, I was... , I was attacked while we were home. Oh, I can't go on!"
"What Miranda is saying that we are Orphans. Miranda has been fighting the terror of losing everything that night. Not easy for a 15 year-old. I came home as soon as I heard. She was in Hospital and then home for about 6 months. When I got a offer to play here I was not going to accept. My little sister started to beat me up saying I would be a fool to give up everything I had worked for since I was 12 years old. She the told me she would go with me, to keep me out of trouble."
Miranda was drying her red eyes some, blowing her nose and said, "Yeah, sure 90 lbs vs. 220 lbs, no contest."
"Bonnie she has given up everything she has ever known for me, for me to have my dream. When she helped you, I saw something in her that made her reach out to another human in pain. I would do anything for her. I can do most anything now too. Away games often take me away. but I have 4 or 5 months free too ... We knew that when we came here. Until we met you, I was the only friend she had in the world. Will you be her friend too?"
The waitress had brought us some rolls and water. I took a bite of one as tears rolled down. I looked away to the water, then at Jim with his head in his hands. When I looked at Miranda, she was looking down, folding her napkin open and closed. It was not rocket science, I slipped my hand in hers and said, "Gee Sis, I'm hungry. is that big lug going to get us more than bread and water?"
The look on her face was, upon being called Sis, was priceless. "Jim, food or Sis and I are going to beat you up."
We girls excused ourselves to go 'freshen up'. As we were leaving Jim reached for my hand. I told Miranda I would be right there.
"Bonnie, from the bottom of my heart you will never want for anything. You are my Sister too and have a home for the rest of your life."
I followed Miranda. Those words would take on a new meaning, I just did not realize it.
In the powder room, a little 90 lb pixie launched herself into my arms hugging and kissing until I almost fell down. She started jumping and dancing around. "I have a sister, I have a sister." She kept this up until, I took her hand and said. "I don't know about you, but I'm hungry, you're getting to be as bad as Jim.
We went back to the booth. "I took the liberty, my ladies, to order us some food."
MMMM, I ate and ate and ate. Jim just sat back and watched as Miranda and I ate everything brought out.
We left; Miranda and I lay back in the soft and wonderful seats as Jim began the short drive to his new house.
We pulled off the Highway, onto a winding gravel road. Up ahead one could see water all around. As we rode up the rise a medieval looking castle loomed into view. A silver convertible was parked at the entrance, a tall, older blond near it. This was going to be a day of surprises. As we got out of the car, the blond walked up to Jim and held out her hand, in it were a set of keys.
"Welcome to your castle Mr. White." The look she gave Jim was that of a wolf before dining on a lamb.
"Thank you very much Miss Davis. Let me have you meet my sister Miranda", she offered her hand, "and my fiancée', Bonnie." Either I did not hear properly, or this was still part of my dream. The blonds' face fell a mile.
She tried to recover and wanted to show Jim around. I may have been dreaming, but after my experiences with a future 18 year-old step-mom I was not about to let this hussy charm Jim away. I ran up to him and threw my arms around his neck giving him hugs and kisses. I said,, "Darling, I love it, our children will be in heaven here."
Miranda, laughing, told the blond that she thought Bonnie wanted Jim to show her around a very important room in the house. The blond left them in a bit of a huff.
When she left, the three of us could not stop laughing. Jim later said it was the first time he had seen Miranda laugh since that night their parents had been killed. Not to let it take hold, I took their hands in mine and said, "Now dear, show your sister and fiancée their new home." I got two strange looks, then two hugs and kisses. It was a feeling of a family I never had. I later found out it was a feeling that Jim and Miranda had lost when their parents had been killed.
We went inside, still holding hands. In what must have been the grand ballroom of an elegant hotel was a marble floor. Miranda looked at me and just nodded. Jim looked and seemed deep in thought.
Jim continued, "We three may have lost everything but have each other. As head of this family I pledge to love, honour and protect my home, family and friends with my very life if needed." Miranda took my hand and whispered. "Let's let him be a bit. We went ahead and had a seat on the terrace. Jim came out a short time later.
"I'm sorry my ladies. Everything is not easy for me either. I don't know how I would ever cope if you were not with us Bonnie. Not only does Miranda need you, I need someone too. I called you my future wife, it is only a dream, but if I did not have a dream my life would be meaningless. Please forgive me for being so unfair to you. I think of this home as a castle. As far as I am concerned it is your castle too, yours and Miranda's. Come, we need to see the house, though we may need several days, it has quite a few rooms."
We were being shown around the house, much as one would tour a museum, when a series of chimes sounded. "Excuse me my ladies, I'll get the door." In a few minutes Jim appeared asking me what kind of car and colour I liked.
"Huh!" I exclaimed. He asked again. I looked at Miranda, she shrugged. I raised my eyebrows. "A Corvette, I think, Milord, a white one of course." I just nodded. We followed Jim outside.
"I'll need a white Corvette also" he told the man as casually as one orders lunch.
"Please sign here, everything is in the garage and we will bring the others on Monday, if that is all-right. He looked at me, I shrugged again. I was getting good at shrugging.
"If you could just bring the Vette before then, it would help, my ladies need to go shopping and I need to go to work for a while."
"Yes sir, it will be here before 10:30 am."
"Let me show you to your rooms and then freshen up and we can get some dinner, some of us still have not eaten."
Miranda and I put our hands up and giggled. If the entrance to the front of the house resembled a castle, the suites Miranda and I were taken to had been out of 1001 Arabian Nights. There were gauze sheers, raised platforms with pillars and a huge sunken tub. My bags were in my room, dresses on hangers, underwear folded and placed in gold trimmed dressers and Jim had not left our side. He clapped his hands and a young girl came in.
"Girl, this is your Mistress, Bonnie. You will serve her and ensure she has everything she needs."
Now I knew this was all a dream; it became even more so when the girl, Gwen, I later learned her name, helped me lie on a table and started to massage me. I fell sound asleep.
A gentle touch awoke me and Gwen started to help me dress. "But these are not my clothes."
"Yes Milady, but I could not find anything suitable for dinner this evening, so there was time to bring some in. Mistress Miranda has provided some jewelry for this evening."
Miranda came in dressed with another girl in-tow. "Bonnie, I should have told you, when we dine out somewhere nice or on a special occasion such as tonight we dress up a bit. Jim is taking us to a dinner party his new team is having to welcome him."
It, as was said before, was just the start of a lot of surprises, some good, some not.
The first surprise was seeing Jim waiting for us in the lobby.
He was like a giant; dressed in a tux; all 6' 6" and 220 lbs of man. He took our arms and we went outside. It was still light out and a long, sleek, white limo waited before us.
There was not a word spoken the entire ride, we were all too tired. When the old Southern Plantation came into view, both Miranda and I let out some Oh's and Ahh's.
The limo doors opened and we were escorted to some fancy ballroom. I thought it was fancy since everywhere I looked men with things sticking from their ears and bulges on their side were quite evident.
We went inside and were seated at the head table. Inside I had never seen so many huge men and beautiful women gathered in one place.
A man stood up, holding a microphone. "I am glad to have my family all together tonight. Last year was a bad year, some of you are new here, a few have been here before. There have been some changes, some new faces with new ideas, the biggest change and the biggest hope is the next man I am going to introduce. From the University of Florida, the 2013 Rose Bowl MVP, and Heisman Trophy Winner, the new Richmond starting Quarterback, Jim White."
You could have knocked me over with a feather. I never knew Jim played soccer. Miranda leaned over. Opps, I guess that was okay, a few nights out with the boys would good for him. God, was I sounding like a wife already?
Jim joined us and sat down after an hour of shaking hands. A man and woman came over and Jim introduced him as the owner of the team and his wife. I whispered to Jim, "When are we going to your team outing, Miranda and I are hungry. Jim laughed so loudly people were looking. "Food is now next door, and this is my team outing. They are paying me $20 million a year to throw a ball around. My signing bonus bought us that little house and some of the toys to play with. I told you, you would always have a home."
Well, we finally got some food. If you call three miniscule potatoes, a dried out hockey puck and veggies that looked like they were old last week; as food.
When we left, Jim asked us what we wanted to do. Miranda and I looked at each other, then shouted at Jim, "Food."
The limo driver took us to a place on the in Tyson's Corner and we gorged ourselves on steak, salmon and shrimp while sitting; drinking root beers. After Jim won the belch contest we decided to go home. Life had been strange but in less than one day I felt I finally had a family.
When we got home my new cell phone was ringing. "Bonnie's phone, Jim here."
Pouring out we could hear, "Where's my daughter, where is Bonnie Dimmit, what have you done with her?"
Jim shrugged his shoulders and handed me the phone. He was getting as good as I was in shrugging. "Hello daddy, I love you too." After holding the phone about a foot over my head, I said, "Daddy are you still there?" A few minutes later I asked if he was through, he said he was. "Daddy, I am fine, we just came back from diner and Jim met the people he will be working with. Who is Jim? He is Miranda's brother. Who is Miranda? Daddy you are getting senile, Miranda is my little sister. Daddy, please, it is a long story. I am living with Jim and Miranda in the castle here and; ... here, near Richmond. Jim is playing this Sunday and we are going to watch him practice. No he is not a musician. He plays football. No not soccer, American football. Here, I'll put Jim on."
"Hello Mr. Darling, let try to calmly explain, actually try is pretty close to the truth. We just stumbled across each other and she and my sister Miranda bonded. They call each other sisters now. I know you won't believe it but it's like Bonnie is a part of our family. What, that you can believe. Well it's true, she, she. she is part of us now. My sister and I are fairly well off. I will travel a lot and Bonnie has agreed to stay with us and keep Miranda company. Miranda will be 16 next month. We can talk as long as you want, they say a picture is worth 1,000 words though, so why don't you come down, see Bonnie, see our home and even watch a game this Sunday. It is exhibition but will give you an idea what I do. I'll have a car waiting for you, Saturday evening, it will bring you here and take you back to the airport. I need to be leaving early Sunday for the game but Miranda and Bonnie will have your ticket and bring you with them. No, we have a driver and you won't end up lost. I'll look forward to meeting you too. Here is Bonnie again."
Jim handed me the phone, he had a big smile on his face and motioned like he was polishing his nails. "Yes daddy, he is a nice man. Yes daddy he is my age. Yes daddy he is single. Yes Daddy there is more than enough room for all of us here. Love you too, see you Saturday."
You know your little joke about me being your fiancée, well be prepared to listen to Daddy extol my virtues. Funny he never mentioned his 18 yr-old future wife to be. Maybe Miss blond-digger likes younger men too. You sir, are a gem. I should worry how many notches you have on your bedpost."
Aggie, another new face, but smaller, and Gwen came in and led us away to change for bed. Like schoolgirls Miranda and I shared a bed and talked late into the night. When we got up the next morning the veranda door was opened, dressing gowns appeared and the smell of a real Southern country breakfast wafted in. Jim was already outside and we joined him.
"This time I got here first and got some food at least."
Miranda kissed him, saying, "Poor growing boy, did you eat all your food?"
She got a swat for her troubles.
As we were having breakfast, the door chimes rang. This time it was answered by Gwen, who returned with several rings of keys.
"A man handed these to me and said the car is in-front of the garage and you could sign everything on Monday. He brought extra keys and the car are topped off."
Jim handed me a key ring and told Miranda that there may be a surprise on her 16th birthday.
"You have met Gwen and Aggie, let me introduce the rest of the staff, for they have just arrived from the Miami house."
There was a lineup where all were introduced. Tom was one of two drivers, I later learned both were former military and would serve as bodyguards. Charles was Steward and ran the house. Robert, Peter and Jerome looked after the inside and grounds. Gwen, Aggie, Melody. Pricilla and Samantha were the maids, cooks and cleaners. I was to learn later the house/castle has more than 40 rooms and several more security staff who never came into the house unless needed.
The tragedy which took place in Miami had several far-reaching effects. Jim's father had been Charles White, retired NSC; and his wife, Penelope, a Foreign national Charles had been the newly appointed Ambassador to the to Mexico.
What was still unknown was the reason for the killings and rape of Miranda. If drugs were the reason, involvement would be accelerated by the NSC.
Bonnie and Miranda dressed and came to the White Rose lobby. Tom was waiting to drive them, Jim came down and handed each of them a Gold Pre-paid, Amex Card. Each had $250,000 available. "I can't stand to hurry and wait around the stores you girls like so Tom and some of the staff will escort you. Don't buy out the stores since some poor soul may also want to shop."
They stepped out. Tom said, "We will take your another car if that will be ok, the staff will follow in another." In the turn-around was a White 2014 Jaguar XF R S, the first in the US.
Richmond was not New York, Paris or London, but Miranda and Bonnie were very simple girls with modest tastes. Their first surprise was when they presented their cards to pay for the jeans, sneakers and Polo shirts. They had each spent $123.00 and hoped there was enough money to cover that. When the clerk handed them back the cards with a receipt along with two bags which Tom took she gave them a funny look. They both looked at a slip of paper which showed a balance of more than $249,000 on each card. They looked at the bags, then each other and laughed. "We may be able to get some food for lunch too. I wonder what Jim would do if we called and said we needed more cards?"
With a devilish look, Miranda took up her new phone, called Jim and faked a sniffle.
"What's wrong M? What's the matter?'
Oh Jim, we wanted to buy some more jewelry but they said we did not have anymore money left. Oh Jim whatever can we do now?"
"Put Tom on, he has extra cards."
Not to play the fool, Bonnie took the phone. OH Jim we already spent those, we just don't know what to do, will you please come and rescue us darling. Hey, that's my name, how does Bonnie Darling-White sound?"
It was only 11:30 and how the Hell had they already need more money. "I'll be right over, how much more do you need?"
"Well, 2 or 3 should be enough. $2 or $3 million."
Jim called for a driver, grabbed a 3 dozen more cards and started out. "Damn those girls are expensive, I should have gotten a mistress."
Tom, the guards and the two girls were outside the Mall waiting for him. When he got out, he was being hugged and kissed like he had been away for ages. His face brightened. "Damn", he thought, "This is a lot better than a mistress."
He held out the new cards Tom began to outright laugh. It was infectious as Tom, Miranda and Bonnie all filled his hand with the 8 other cards. "Lunch is on you, we are all famished" as both Bonnie and Miranda took Tom by the arm and went to the food court. Burgers, shakes, fries and a sundae set Jim back $27.50. All together the girls had spent less than $300. Jim was amazed. He" would have given them anything and everything just to see the smiles and glow on their faces after trying on just the new jeans and shirts.
Mr. Darling had called on Bonnie's phone to tell them he was taking an early flight, Jim told him a car would be waiting. They would wait dinner and did he like seafood? The voice on the phone quite different than yesterday, he would have to tease Bonnie that the 'Tiger' had been tamed, it was ironic, his new team was called the 'Tigers'.
"Your dad called while you two were buying out the stores; he will be here early and joining us for dinner. Unless I was mistaken, he actually seemed quite enthused."
Tom was sent to the airport. This time he choose a different car, one meant to impress.
My Darling was not used to an airport the size of Dulles. Then he saw the sign and went to Tom. Two large men took his bags as Tom led him to the car. When they exited, Mr. Darling froze when in-front of him was a 2014, Rolls Royce Limo in White. On either end of the car was other cars with huge men by the doors.
"Welcome to Richmond Mr. Darling. Master Jim is quite anxious to meet you and hopes your visit here will be pleasant. Your luggage will be brought over if you describe them and give Ronald your claim ticket. If there is nothing you need, we will drive to the house here."
Mr. Darling was overwhelmed. The car itself was a shock, add to that the escorts and the guards; left him reeling. Who was this Jim, whom his daughter had said was her age and played football.
"Who is this Jim, Mr. Darling asked Tom?"
Tom smiled, "He is Miranda's brother, Mr. Darling."
"Yes, yes I know and Miranda is Bonnie's new sister, how foolish of me to even ask.'
"Yes Sir" as Tom just smiled.
The ride to the house was much like Bonnie had experienced. Unseen were the eyes that were focused of them since they were on the gravel road and the conversations coming from the escort cars the entire trip.
The appearance of the house made Mr. Darling glad he had worn a good suit. What he, again was not prepared for was the Major Domo, opening the door for him. When he got out; a screaming Bonnie, followed by a 90 lb pixie ran up hugging and kissing him shouting 'Daddy'.
Tears were really in his eyes now as he returned the hugs. "This beautiful creature must be Miranda. I am a lucky man to have two such beautiful daughters."
In that one statement, tears were in the eyes of both girls, but they were tears of immense happiness.
'I see why you have captured my daughters soul, she never had a chance, did she?'
"No Sir, I need her, need her so much that were she not here I would die." (The truth of that would be borne out later."
"Good day, Mr. Darling, welcome to our home, I like to think of it as Castle White, in honour of my ancestors. Please let us show you to your rooms and then join us for some refreshment before we dine. Dress is casual and you will find some informal wear if you need. Your dresser can suggest some things. Jerome will see you up and Bonnie will be alone with you when you come down."
Phillip followed Jerome. The saying there is no fool like an old fool became very apparent when he came home early one day to find his 18 years old; future wife, naked and servicing the pool boy and his helper.
Phillip had not worn jeans and a polo shirt for some time. This family was unlike what he had expected. The clothes were exceedingly comfortable. He went downstairs. He stared at the white marble floor in the lobby. He called out for Bonnie.
"In here Daddy." She kissed him. "Sit and I'll try to answer your questions."
"I only have one honey, actually two. Are you all right and are you happy? a third, Do you need anything?"
"Easy to answer Daddy, very easy. I have never felt better in my life. I am deliriously happy, and no, Jim is an angel and treats me the same as Miranda. Earlier today he sent us shopping each with money. He bought me a new car and introduced us as his family to the team and owner."
"And what does he expect for all this? I know your over 21 but do you know your getting into?"
"One second Daddy. M, get in here already! Daddy wanted to know how Jim treats me, would you explain a few things, please."
She sighed. "Daddy"(she laughed) when mother and father were alive they treated Jim and I the same way Jim treats Bonnie and I, we are the Princesses of the castle and Jim is our Knight in shining armour. We want for nothing and have everything even if we only have each other. Bonnie now my sister. Jim always will be my brother, Bonnie is treated the same as I am."
"Did he really send you shopping with this morning?"
She giggled, "well no." Then she continued, he came and brought us several million more, but we gave it back to him after making him buy us food."
"Why?" my Dad asked.
Miranda just looked at me and shrugged. "Jim. Jim, come here please."
Jim came in.
"Why did you buy us food at the mall?"
"Because you told me you were hungry."
"No, no," my daddy chanted why would you give them so much money each to spend?'
"I thought what I originally gave then would be enough, but I brought more when they called."
My daddy grasped his head in frustration. Jim, M and I just looked at each other confused. I went over to Daddy and put my arms around him, M joined me.
"We just don't understand daddy. What are you asking?"
"You have been with these people less than 48 hours and they are treating you like some Princess in a fairytale. Why!"
"That's because M and I are Princesses, we are the Princesses here and Jim has sworn to protect us with his very life. From the moment I met them, I knew my entire life was to change. Look into M's eyes Daddy, do you see any lies or deceit, look at Jim do you see anything false or not noble and kind in him. He would die before he hurt us. How do I know this, because I feel the same way as I believe M does."
"How?" Daddy asked.
Jim answered. "Years of blood. Mr. Darling. My family have always been Knights, has fought and died for more than ten centuries. I told you we were fairly well off, I lied we're filthy rich and money has little importance, friends and family do. If Bonnie or M had asked for 100 times what they did, they would have had it, a 1,000 times that amount even".
Tears were flowing freely from all our eyes. Even daddy knew he had crossed a line and was now was venturing into a painful area.
I took Jim's hand in mine. "Jim dear your Princesses are hungry. It is our command you should feed us."
He laughed. "It shall be as your Highnesses command. Come your carriage awaits."
"This is 'our' Castle Daddy so get with it; or 'off with your head'."
We went to eat but things were still a little tense until M started tossing pieces of biscuits around. In no time missiles of bread were flying. A waitress rushed over and gave a stern look. It would have really tamed us down until she picked up a roll and tossed it at Jim. The war was on again. By the time our soup came, Jim and I held up our hands in Victory, while Daddy and M tried to claim a win. At another table I could see Tom and some of the staff shaking their heads.
Daddy had asked Jim to call him Phil.
He said we would marry; that with no doubt or hesitation. M and Jim both took my hand and kissed it.
"Does that mean congratulations are in order. or should that wail until you get a ring?" asked my father.
Jim was not to be deterred. He twisted a large, old ring bearing the facsimile of a seal inlaid over Ivory. Princess Bonnie, would you grant me a boon and become my wife?"
The ring had been in Jim's family since 1509.
M looked at me, nodded her head and I said yes. She gave a huge sigh. She now felt her job was done and began to plan her end. Why she had not received more help, some support after the rapes and killings I do not know. What I do know was that this girl had more guts and intestinal fortitude than anyone I ever knew.
When she started to do the deed later the next week, it was one of the staff that stopped her. The big man looked into her eyes and said a few words. "darl'n, give me some time, I want you to look into their face as I make them pay. When they are all dead, if you must end this suffering, I will do the deed for you myself. There are a few of us here that will not let this rest, your parents were and you are one of our own." He took her small hand, brought it to his lips and kissed it. "Please my Princess, for me."(He had just turned 21 and the anger that came from his eyes made that promise one that was readily to be believed.)
M broke down and cried on his chest. He gently stroked her head and softly told her that this world was a better place with her in it. That if she left it he would rather join her in death than live without her. She would be 16 on the next day.
Although several of the guards were going to try to stop him, he carried M up to her bedroom. Based on the blank stare on his face and the fire in his eyes they thought better of it. The presence of two other guards who followed their 'brother' made trying to stop him a mute point, it would take a small army to stop them. At the top of the stairs Aggie extended her arms and Rory gently placed M into them.
Jim had been watching M and Rory. He saw him stop her death, then when M began crying into his chest, he had no doubts as to what was happening. He used his cell and made a call.
Rory slept in front of M's door all night, his two partners in crime not far away. Aggie brought them pillows and blankets which they all refused. "Begging your pardon Ma'am but we are guards and our lives are now linked to that little princess." New orders came directly from the NSC next day. The three were to 'protect' the new Princess with their lives. The role which these men was most familiar with. There was a much increased security detail now. It would prove to have an unsuspected benefit.
Phillip awoke Sunday morning and dressed for breakfast. Outside M's room the three men were about to pummel Phillip until Aggie appeared and addressed Phillip good morning. She began, "Mr. Darling there appear to be a few changes. These so-called gentlemen have decided Princess M needed extra attention. Staff, this is Bonnie's Dahl, Bonnie, you remember the 'other' Princess in the Castle, and if I heard right, the future Mrs. White, so behave or I'll box your ears."
"Yes Mum." they grumbled.
Aggie briefed M as to the message from the NSC. She then asked if her new 'boys' might enter and say a few words to all of them. "Get in here staff, if it is more than 5 minutes it will come out of your hides. She held the door to M's bedroom open for them.
They dressed and lined up in-front of M's bed. She opened said "It looks like the three of you have been re-assigned. Effective this date, to protect the Princess Miranda. There was a start of a protest. M held up her hand, there was silence. She slowly read a note and head several times as though waiting for a reaction from the three. After, what seemed like a very long pause, Rory asked, "Permission to speak Ma'am." Certainly Mr. Macgregor.
"What was in the other letter, what did it say?"
M picked up the letter, "Not much, My fathers' work just said I was now needed some extra security."
The sun could not have been brighter than the glow on Rory's face. M blushed. "Princess we live to serve you", saluted then marched out. Aggie stopped them. If any harm comes to that girl you will answer to me. Now get, you all three have to share the room next to hers.
Jim had already left for work. He had Gwen place a flower on her pillow though. She took it, held it to her breast and went to find M. She found a large man in front of her door. He held it open for her and nodded. Bonnie went in to find a beaming M.
"My, my, my. Here I thought I was on Cloud Nine, what happened to you?"
"Oh nothing really, I tried to kill myself last night, found my own Knight, fell in love; in all just your average day."
Both girls started bouncing and dancing all around. The door opened and they were asked if everything was OK.
They dressed for breakfast and began bursting at the seams as Phillip tried to listen to both stories. He could only shake his head.
Tom drove them to the players entrance. Their tickets got them in. Three big shadows followed them, their entrance was not going to be denied. "I guess these passes Mr. White left are for you clods, Here."
It was the first American Football Game several of them ever attended.
Phillip and Bonnie had never seen so many people in one place before. Miranda told them that some of the college stadiums were even larger holding over 100,000 fans.
They were seated in the players section. Most there were wives or girlfriends of a player, in a few cases sometimes both were there, so Phillip and the three staff were out of place being the only males there. In a few minutes that was not a problem since many of the other girls had brought friends and the men were being more than welcomed.
M gave Rory a look that clearly showed her displeasure. Rory moved a bit closer to her and had a sheepish look on his face. Phillip and the other two men had no such a reminder and soon found they quickly made a number of new friends.
One of the other women came up to M and Bonnie and introduced herself, saying she had seen them at the team party. M and Bonnie introduced themselves as Jim's sister and fiancée. M took Rory's hand but did not introduce him, yet.
Richmond took the field to loud cheers. Each starter was introduced. As a player was named, one could hear a shout, scream and loud clapping from a wife or girlfriend. When Jim was announced Bonnie went wild, so loud that M covered her ears as she dragged the big girl down. The other girls started clapping and joined in for Jim.
The game started. It was not an auspicious beginning. Jim got to think of the synthetic turf as his new best friend. By halftime, the score was Green Bay 20. Richmond 0. Jim had completed 2 passes, both resulted in fumbles. He had been sacked five times.
Bonnie was beside herself. She left her seat and followed the team towards the lockers. Stadium guards at first just stared at her, then decided to stop her. The three big 'minders' merely shook their heads 'no' and Bonnie marched in un restrained.
To say her presence caused a stir was like saying Mt. St. Helen shook the ground.
Every mouth dropped open. It was not just her looks, it was the look on her face and the fire in her eyes that did it. All eyes were on her now. The head coach had his mouth open but nothing came out.
Her words were simple. "Were you not supposed to even try to move ahead? I may not know a lot about Football, but we have this thing called a 'Team', the staff even try to win in a game. You clods just stand around and watch them drive my Jim into the ground. I just do not understand why! If you don't want to be here just go home. Jim can stand there and let them keep hitting him, or you clods can join in and help put him out of his misery quicker. Maybe put a big target on him saying, 'hit me'. Hell, give me a 'Uniform' too, I probably can do a better job catching the ball than you can."
There was silence. Jim came up to her, held her in his arms and kissed her, then walked back out.
The owner had come in while this was going on. He was a man of few words. "Those who just are going to stand there, get the Hell out of here, we can forfeit this debacle and maybe sign some cheerleaders to play next week. They will play a lot better than you do." He left.
The head coach tried to stop him. He stopped and said, "Your fired, get out of here. I'll see if the trainer can snap the ball to the Quarterback, maybe Jim's girlfriend can catch the ball after-all."
Bonnie followed Jim out of the locker room. Several men stopped her, ignoring the 'minders'. "Please come with us Miss."
Bonnie shrugged her shoulders and realized that she had done something wrong. Instead of taking her away, they escorted her to the 'player's' bench on the 50 yard line. Two men ran over to her, one placed a cap on her head, saying 'Coach', the other slipped a jacket with field pass attached and handed her a headset. The owner sat near her and mouthed, "Thank You."
Most of the Richmond team finally came back out. It would have been wonderful to say that the team was inspired and won the game. Richmond lost 38 to 0. Several players and two asst. coaches demanded Bonnie be banned. The Player Rep who went to see the owner after the game were told their services were no longer required, The owner merely laughed and said. "I want to be there when she goes after someone in the shower. You getting her 38-DD as a number Jim?"
On Monday there was a reserved parking spot with "Coach Bonnie" on it and a locker and full gear painted Pink with 38-DD stenciled on it.
When the team came in Monday, 'Coach Bonnie' was there with her cap, jacket, clipboard and whistle The only thing said as each player walked over to her was their last name, number followed by 'Coach'. Even Jim used the same call-out.
Bonnie was doing fine until some of the team started stripping and headed into the shower. A red-faced Bonnie eased out of the lockers at that point. Jim noticed a new confidence and the start of a team. He made a decision and called several of coaches and players he knew. Six came aboard. five were multi-year Pro-Bowlers.
A new coach appeared. He never coached Pro football, but had won 16 of 18 years in College with the leading teams. He was a legend.
Bonnie never had to go into the locker room again, although several player told her that if she did, she could give them some motivation. Jim did not laugh when she mentioned that to him.
The exhibition season ended with Richmond 2 and 4. Things would start to change when a 6' 10'', 250 lbs, TE decided to try-out for the team. He had been drafted for Basketball. No NFL team even considered him. The team signed him up and Jim salivated.
The 'Tigers' were now starting to get a team that wanted to play, finally.
The new coach did not know very much about Pro football, but he knew men and how to win. They still needed a running back but with a TE and QB who wanted to play they won that first regular game.
It had been close, but the 24 to 21 score looked good to them. The owner thought so too and opened the checkbook to get a WR and FB from the Miami 'Dolphins' in exchange for cash and three future players. Miami had always wanted a new DE. They had two who were on IR. One had agreed and was sent over to play next year. Both the new players had been at Florida State and needed very little time to adjust.
Bonnie, M and even Phillip were now getting to be quite the fans. M was almost joined at the hip now with her bodyguard, things were becoming serious with them. Miranda took him by the hand and sat down with him to discuss something.
"Rory, you are everything I would ever want in a mate. I do love you and would gladly give up any title or rank that Her Majesty has given me to become your wife. I don't care about what you do or what our future will bring, I never expected to even have such a chance before."
Rory took her hand in his and started to laugh. "Dear M, Princess Of Stanley, with or without a title my family will love you just as I do. I am a well-off too, Do you know what that means?"
"No, not really."
"My dear Princess, my Aunt and I will inherit my Father's estate, at the very least. You and I are well-suited, as far as money is concerned."
What was that old saying again... 'Oh Yeah, there were a few:
'Unto every soul a little rain must fall.'
and 'It was too good to be true!"
and 'Life goes on!'
Well, as far as Jim was concerned, he was caught in a deluge. The new team was beginning to become the new 'Dream Team'.
He devoted every ounce of energy he had to make the team better. He should have saved some for Bonnie.
M had Rory now, Phillip several adoring cheerleader interests and Jim his precious team.
Bonnie was pissed.
One day when he got home, late as usual, Phillip was holding out an envelope to him. When he opened it, his ring and a letter were there. It was the ring he had given to Bonnie. The letter read. 'Jim, I don't blame you, the team needed you. I needed you too. I can't continue like this any more. When I calm down some I'll call you. Daddy has tried to talk me out of this but, but ... I am so hurt I don't really want to see you. Bonnie'
Phillip shook his head.
Rory and Miranda came in, saw the ring and letter then both asked Phillip where she was.
"Airport" is all he said.
Before anyone could say anything, M pulled Rory by the hand and led him outside to a car. He drove and they sped off to try to find Bonnie.
Phillip sat Jim down and started to try to console him. He tried to get Jim to eat, when he refused, had some tea brought in and again just told Jim that Bonnie would come to her senses. Someday.
Both men held back tears.
Several hours had past, nothing.
In the South we have this thing called 'black ice'. Ice forms on the roadway and you just can't see it.
The gate guards had announced that the Police were there wanting to talk. They were let in. Jim met them. He was told that there had been an accident. Both Miranda and Rory had been seriously injured along with several others who involved in the accident. That a...
It was all Jim heard. He fell to the floor. Phillip and the guards got him to the couch, covered him and someone called a doctor. Phillip asked where they where taken and what else needed to be done.
Bob. the team owner and his wife received the news from Phillip the next day. They came over and asked what they could do?
Jim had just lost his parents, the woman he had loved and now his sister and future brother-in-law lay in a coma. He thought about things for a few moments.
"Bob, I, I ... I can't play. I'll sell the house, give you back any monies and ask you to release me from my contract. I need to be alone. For a while at least."
And so it was. From rising star to 'failure' all in such a short period.
Phillip saw the darkness in Jim. Bonnie was his daughter but right then, he wished she had never been born. He liked Jim. He had been accepted and befriended by him. Now all this had happened because of Bonnie.
With all the legal matters behind him, Jim said goodbye to Phillip without any mention of Bonnie. He had several things to take care of and started off.
He had his family banker and solicitors call Bob to arrange breaking his contract. He went to practice and told his team what he had decided, but not why. He spoke to about Miranda and Rory and then began to cry.
Later he called the Real Estate office, got Miss Davis and told her he was selling the Estate here. She told him she was coming right over. "What happened? What's wrong Mr. White?"
When she arrived Jim was sitting on the couch, staring at the fireplace.
As tears streamed down his face, she sat down next to him, took his head in her hands and rested it on her shoulder. "Pretty awful, I guess!" she said to him.
"Rest Love, Rest. Life must go on!"
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