“But he’s a frog!”
“It doesn’t matter, dear. You are under obligation to him.”
This is beyond unfair. Ok so the slimy little beast brought back my golden ball, but quite honestly, I’d rather have lost it forever than have to put up with his creepy green body sitting right beside my dinner plate. It honestly makes my skin crawl every time he opens his mouth and human words come out.
“This is very kind of you, Princeth,” he lisps, right before his disgusting tongue flicks out of his mouth to nab a bit of meat from my plate.
Totally gross. I drop my fork on the table, not quite near enough to his head to actually damage him, but near enough to make him hop back a bit. He looks up at me with those weird eyes of his and I’d say he looked sad if he wasn’t, you know, a frog.
I’m pushing back my chair and bundling my napkin onto the table, hoping I can get out of there before anyone see me, but that’s never going to work because the moment the men at the table realise I’m on my feet, they start to push back their own chairs, and then, of course, Papa can’t fail to notice me. He calls down from the top of the table, “And where do you think you’re going, young lady?”
I drop a little curtsey. Always best to lay it on a bit when Papa’s in front of a crowd. “I … er … I’m feeling rather tired, Papa. May I be excused?”
Papa crooks a finger at me and I make my way up the table past all the watching lords and ladies towards him, sighing a little and hanging my head in the hope that that’ll make me look weary.
He tilts my chin up with his finger so he can look me in the eye. “Busy day, eh?”
I force myself to hold his gaze as I say, “Yes, Papa.”
“Fine. You may go to bed.”
I’m halfway to the door and the chatter has started behind me again when Papa calls out, “Just a moment. I think you’ve forgotten something.”
There’s a footman right behind me and he’s holding out a cushion and on the cushion is that horrid little frog with his great big eyes sticking up at the top of his head and his long, thin grin.
“Perfect timing, Printheth,” the frog says as I accept the cushion. “It’th been a pretty buthy day for me too. And I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to thleeping on the pillow bethide you.”
Oh. My. God.
“I can manage,” I hiss at my attendants as they start following me out of the hall. No way do I want them watching me settling down for the night with a frog. I’m stomping up the stairs to my room, looking anywhere but at the cushion I’m holding out in front of me, when the creature starts speaking again.
“Could you perhapth walk a little more … er … gently, Printheth.” His voice is a high squeak, nothing like his usual croak. “This cushion is very thlippy.”
He’s sitting there gripping tightly onto the satin cushion with all of his sixteen toes. I swear if he had eyebrows they’d be pulled together in worry.
I could just tip the cushion, let him fall – splat! – down onto the unforgiving stone stairs. An accident. Poor, dear little froggy. He’d never knew what hit him.
“Printheth?” he squeaks again.
I heave a big sigh. I sit down on the step, place the cushion on my knee and hold out my arm. “Here, climb up onto my shoulder. But if you so much as touch my skin I’m chucking you right at that wall.”