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Chapter One - Charlie's Angel

 “And just how do you explain this?” Nick D’Angelo shouted, as he thrust the newspaper into his wife’s startled face. “And after you promised that you would never try to change the past again.”

“And I never have,” Felicity cried. “Certainly not after that fiasco with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, when I stopped him from abdicating and wound up getting them both shot. How could I ever forget what I did to them?

“I know that that was only one of the many disasters I caused, without meaning to. So it took me a long time to learn my lesson, but I finally did.”

After fighting briefly for calm, he went on, “Apparently, you did not learn it well enough. Or why does this article tell us that the King of Scotland is taking part in the yearly ceremony of laying a wreath on the grave of his ancestor, King Charles the Third, who is better known throughout the world as…Bonnie Prince Charlie!

“Thanks to you, his revolt succeeded, and the Time Police had to send me here, to make sure it failed the way it did the first time around. And if you think I enjoyed doing it, after everything the Scottish people suffered as a result…”

“I know, I know,” she sighed. “But you had to do it, since otherwise they would have suffered a lot more, with a constant war between the English rulers and their Scottish and Irish rebels. That was the first time I changed history, and it should have been the last…even without the spankings you gave me for trying.” She winced at the memory before going on, “So you can’t imagine that I would have done it again, especially after all these years.”

“No, I suppose not,” he answered, sinking down on the black leather sofa beside her. “It must have been our daughter, then…after all the stories you read to Angelica about the Bonnie Prince, and all the songs you sang about him, until you had inspired her to become a high-school history teacher.”

Raising his voice, he went on, “Obviously teaching history was not enough, because she is set on making it. And when I get my hands on her, I will make her wish she had never been born!”

“You know we must never make her wish for that!” Felicity cried in alarm. “You know that if she wishes hard enough to go back in time, then her wish will be granted…just as it always was for me.” Hastily, she added, “Until you showed me that I was only making things worse for the very people I was trying to help.”

“Yes, and I always spanked you hard enough to make sure you remembered the lesson. But of course we never paddled Angelica, just because we were afraid that might make her wish she had never been born.” More softly, he added, “Of course, after that we could have gone back in time to the night she was conceived…but we could not be sure that just the right egg got fertilized.”

“In fact, we never punished her at all, for that very reason,” his wife reminded him, with a sigh. “When we realized that she never really wished she had never been born, it was too late to punish her for anything. I am afraid that now she is spoiled and selfish, just because we were too lenient. But at least I know that she will try to change the past for the same reasons I did…to make the world a better place for everyone.”

“Still, you know I must send for the Time Police.” When she nodded sadly, he added in a more cheerful tone, “That didn’t work out too badly before, because it’s how I met you. It’s too bad I can’t go back myself, because she would recognize me in any disguise…but I can think of another man who would fill the bill, because he reminds me of myself at his age.”

“With the same curly black hair and flashing dark eyes?” she teased.

“Not really. But he is as determined as I ever was, to keep the past from changing. I just hope also he has a spanking hand like mine, because our daughter has really earned one this time.”

“Just remember, though…she is changing the past for the same reason I did…for the sake of helping others,” she assured him.

“I suppose so,” he answered grudgingly. “Like mother, like daughter, after all.”

But they were both wrong about that.
***

To start with, Angelica saw no reason to go galloping after the Prince and his men on a cold December night, as her mother had done before her, in order to stop them from retreating North back to Scotland, rather than advancing South towards London. Instead, she wished herself straight to Exeter House, where she knew that Lord George Murray would soon persuade the Bonnie Prince to follow his disastrous advice…unless she was able to stop him.

“I bring news from London!” she cried, as she banged frantically on the door with her right hand while she clutched the woolen shawl with her left. “You must let me in!”

“What news can that be?” she heard a Scottish voice call back. “And why should we listen to you?”

“Sure, and what harm can it do, Lord George?” an Irish brogue replied. “There can be no harm in listening to the lass, can there?”

“Unless she has come to deceive us,” another Highlander growled.

“No matter why she has come, we cannot leave her out there to freeze,” another man said, in a Scottish accent that was lightly tinged with the tones of his native Italy. “So gentlemen, please let her in.”

The door was opened with no further argument, which told her that the command had come from the Bonnie Prince himself. As she raced into the hall, she found herself staring into his compelling dark eyes, beneath his red-gold curls.

She did not stand there staring helplessly at him, the way her mother had done. She had already heard Felicity’s rapturous descriptions, of the Bonnie Prince and his followers, over and over again. So Angelica herself was not as stunned as her mother had been, to find herself in that fine room with its wood-paneled walls and multipaned windows, staring at the Irish captain, the Highland clan leader, the Scottish-born general and, above all, the Bonnie Prince himself.

“Well, then, me darlin’, what do you have to say?” asked Captain O’Neill, with his arms folded over his red wool jacket, above the green satin lining that marked him as an officer in Lally’s French-Irish Brigade. His warm, encouraging smile was a startling contrast to his cold, suspicious blue eyes.

“And be quick about it!” growled the chief of Clan MacDonald, his arms crossed above his kilt.

“I’ll be very quick, if you gentlemen will only let me talk,” she answered, and was rewarded by the Prince’s sudden laugh.

“She has us there, gentlemen! So, my girl, come sit down with me by the fire and let us know what you have to say.”

As he took her arm, she was suddenly struck by the realization that that was Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hand reaching out for her. She refused to let herself be distracted, as she cried, “I don’t have time to sit down, and neither do you! I come from a tavern in London, where I overheard a man laughing about how completely he had tricked you, by saying that the British soldiers were advancing on the rebels, when the army was really in complete retreat and the King was about to sail back to Germany.”

Of course, the infamous secret agent had not said any such thing in her hearing. She had read the story in her mother’s history books. But, like her mother, this was clearly the case of a little white lie and the end justifying the means. Right now, she cared only about being believed.

“Did you hear this man’s name?” the Irishman asked.

“Pickle the Spy!” she promptly cried. “I heard him say that in the tavern…the drinks are on Pickle the Spy!”

She was rewarded by the sight of the smile that spread across the Prince’s perfectly chiseled features. “Well then,” he told her. “That’s enough evidence for me. Gentlemen, we must ride without delay to London!”

“But Your Royal Highness…” General Murray began.

“No buts about it!” the Prince answered firmly. “We will ride to London…now!”

After a moment, the Scottish general bowed his head and muttered, “Yes, Your Royal Highness.”

“And you, young lady…you will travel there beside me,” the Prince went on. “It is the least you deserve for the help you have given me.”

“Serving Your Royal Highness is a great enough reward,” she answered, lowering her eyes. Silently, she was thinking, It certainly is the least I deserve, and once you have taken London, I hope you will give me even more.

“And if you are leading us into a trap…well then, we will give you what you deserve for that, too,” General Murray warned, and O’Neill and MacDonald nodded agreement.

“You may judge for yourselves when we get there,” she replied.

“Well, I see that you have spoken the truth,” General Murray grudgingly told her. “We have almost reached London, without seeing a sign of the English Army.”

“And wait until you arrive at Hampton Court,” she happily replied. “You will not see a sign of the King, because he will already be on his way back to Germany.”

There was, indeed, no sign of the King or his family…but only row after row of servants who bowed and curtsied, as the Prince and his followers made their way past the arched brick entrance and up the king’s staircase. The gods and goddesses painted on the stairwell all seemed to be gazing down at them, as though praising the Prince’s victory.

For once, General Murray’s caution seemed to be well justified, as he told the others to fan out through the building to make sure no enemies were lurking there.

“And I wish to speak to our friend in the ladies’ gallery,” the Prince said, smiling down at Angelica to make sure she knew which “friend” he had in mind.

“I will be honored, Your Royal Highness,” she quickly replied, as she followed him down the hall.

“You must have memorized the plans of this palace while you were living in Italy,” she told him.

“Indeed I did,” he answered. “My only dream was coming here to rule...as regent in my father’s place, of course, until he arrives here himself. I longed especially to see this gallery, where so many beautiful ladies-in-waiting were painted, displaying all their splendid gowns and jewels, in portraits framed with gold. And you have made my dream come true…almost as my guardian angel.”

“You could call me Charlie’s Angel,” she murmured, smiling secretly at her own pun. “However, I have heard that those paintings do not show mere ladies-in-waiting, but King Charles the Second’s mistresses.”

“Ah, yes! The merry monarch!” he answered, with a laugh. “And I shall be merry too, no?” Putting his arm around her shoulder, he leaned down and whispered, “With your great black eyes and long black curls against your creamy skin, you could be one of them.”

“One of your mistresses?” she gasped, drawing back in dismay. “In return for what I have done to serve Your Royal Highness, I believe I deserve a greater reward…as your Queen.”

Now it was his turn to seem stunned. “But that cannot be!” he exclaimed. “My marriage must be an affair of state…perhaps with the Empress Elizabeth of Russia, to bind our two countries together.”

“She is certainly beautiful enough,” Angelica bitterly replied. “And she does have the advantage of being an empress, which obviously is much more important to you than the gift of your throne, which I gave you.”

“But we earned that gift together!” he answered sharply. “And now I must keep it, with allies like her. Surely you understand?”

“Surely,” she answered ruefully. “And now, if Your Royal Highness does not mind, I would like to be given the Duke of Cumberland’s apartments.”

“The Duke? Whatever for? Would you not rather have the Queen’s chambers?”

No, Your Royal Highness…I would far rather displace the man who would have slaughtered your people like cattle, after defeating you at Culloden, she thought. At least I stopped him from winning…even if I did not gain much for myself.

...and my mother asked for nothing, she remembered. All she could talk about was how much good she had done for the Prince and his people…and how sorry she was to see it all going wrong. But she could have gotten something for herself in the meantime…and I intended to do just that, on my own behalf.

“I am asking for the Duke’s apartments because he was your enemy, so I want the fine rooms he lost,” she answered. “And after seeing those apartments, I might ask Your Royal Highness for another favor, which will be much easier for you to grant.”

“And that is?” he asked cautiously.

Taking a deep breath, she raced on with the request for the official position that she had always seen as a possible consolation prize. “No, Your Royal Highness…I want the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg...so I can live there as Royal Governor of Virginia.”

“But you are a woman!” he gasped.

“So is the Empress Elizabeth,” she retorted firmly. “And she seems to be doing a pretty good job so far. Your own Queen Elizabeth did very well, too.

“Of course,” she added tactfully, “I can’t say as much for Queen Anne and Queen Mary, those two wicked aunts of yours, who drove your grandfather James II out of his kingdom. But many male rulers were much worse than they, including Queen Mary’s husband, William III, not to mention George II, who sat on your throne until you won it back from him. With my help, of course.”

“You certainly know your history! But I wonder if the Colonists would accept a female governor…or a governess, as they might call her.”

“If the ruler sends her, they will be unable to refuse.” The Prince could not help nodding at that obvious truth.

“At any rate,” she added, “I am not very interested in ruling anyplace. I merely want to live in a fine mansion and find an eminent husband there, and you certainly owe me that much.” And I have a very eminent husband in mind, she thought, as she smiled secretly.

“I can hardly deny that, so the Governor’s Mansion will be yours,” he promised her, smiling faintly. “I will write up the grant right here...Heaven knows I will be writing a lot of them, so I have had my pen, paper and envelope put in this desk, complete with the royal seal.” Sitting down, he scrawled the simple words as she stared avidly at him.

Just as he was about to add his name, she suddenly said, “Your Royal Highness, could you sign the warrant just that way…with only your title and not your name?” Seeing his confusion, she went on, “That would avoid any controversy, from those who still deny your claim.” Shrugging, he did as she asked, before she tucked the document into her pocket.
 
As they strolled back towards the King’s Stairway, they did not notice the young servant who stood scowling up at them from the lower landing. If they had noticed him, they would have wondered how he had ever gotten his position in the royal household, with his unruly red hair and freckles, his big square hands, his broad shoulders, and above all his surly expression.

***
As a well-trained Time Policeman, Patrick Reilly knew, of course, that he was supposed to be playing his part, as a devoted, obedient lackey.

It was hard to keep up that disguise, though, as he realized that his target’s father had told him everything there was to know about her, and more…namely, that she was a spoiled, selfish, thoughtless  brat in desperate need of a good spanking. Mr. D’Angelo’s tone had made it obvious that he thought Patrick was just the man to give it to her.

He realized just how right her father had been about her, when the Prince had gone to rejoin his chief followers, leaving Angelica alone. Once again, she barely bothered to glance at him…until he had grasped her arm and pulled her into the Queen’s Bedroom, turning the latch shut behind him.

Spoiled and thoughtless she well might be…but she was obviously intelligent, too. “You are with the Time Police, are you not?” she asked. When he nodded silently, she went on, “Of course you are. No servant would have dared to treat me this way. So I suppose you are going to drag me back home?”

“Aren’t you going to ask if I will put history back on course, by making sure that the Bonnie Prince is soundly defeated at Culloden, and most of his followers are murdered?”

“I know you are going to do that, as my father did before you,” she answered, with a shrug. “You will simply go back a few hours before I do, to tell the Prince and his General that the English are already advancing and they themselves must retreat at once.”

Defiantly, she added, “It isn’t my fault that you will have to do such a thing. Of course, I feel badly about it…almost as badly as I feel about losing the post he would have given me, as Royal Governor of Virginia.”

For a moment, he could only stare at her in sheer disgust. “Your father told me that you were a self-centered brat who needed a good spanking,” he finally managed to reply. “And I am going to make sure you get it.”

He pulled her to the fourposter bed, with its gold brocade canopy and curtains. She shut her eyes tight, when he dragged her across his knee and lifted her long skirt to her waist, exposing her lacy britches. It was partly to shut out the sight of his broad hand rising above his head…

…and partly to console herself by thinking about the document that would soon make her Royal Governess of Virginia. As painful as her situation was about to become, she could not help feeling a moment of triumph…

…which shattered like a water glass dropped onto a marble floor, the first time his hand struck her bare bottom. At the very first blow, she felt as though he had set it on fire…and as the hard, swift spanks continued, the burning flames quickly turned into a roaring, raging inferno. She knew he was turning her creamy skin into a bright pink, then a vivid red and finally an angry crimson.

No matter how soft the brocaded quilt might be, she also realized that she would never be able to sit on it for even a moment without feeling every one of the black bruises that were sure to appear soon. In fact, as she squirmed, struggled and screamed desperately beneath his grip, she wondered if she would ever be able to sit down again, once this spanking was over.

“OW! OW! OW!” she cried, as the punishment went on and on and ON. “Aren’t you ever going to stop spanking me? Please, I have had enough, I am begging you to…OW! OW! OW!” Raising her voice as high as it would go, she cried, “Can’t anyone hear me? Won’t anyone make him STOP?”

“Of COURSE they can hear you,” he cheerfully went on. “But in this century, they are all well accustomed to men punishing their wives…especially if they are both servants. If anyone asks me to explain, I will simply say that you spilled the Prince’s tea or burned his cakes.” Bitterly, he went on, “I need not tell them that you raised his hopes, only to dash them cruelly.”

“What about MY hopes?” she wailed. “I had hoped to become the Queen of England…and instead I am lying here getting spanked by a mere lackey.”

“Is that really all you can think about?” he demanded, as the spanking grew even harder and faster. “You and your own ambition…not the loss of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s kingdom, and the hopes of the Irish and Scottish rebels along with it?”

“Well, of course I am sorry for them, too…but right now, it is pretty hard for me to feel much pity for anyone but myself. I mean, you are really hurting me, and…OW! OW! OW!”

“Good!” he replied. “A spanking is supposed to hurt, that’s the general idea. Your father and I talked it over, and we both hope that it might make you a little less selfish. Although I am getting the feeling that that’s not about to happen…so all I can do is make you think about your selfishness.”

At this point, she knew enough not to tell him that the only thing she could think about, was how hard he was spanking her. Briefly, she wondered why she did not simply wish herself away, but the pain banished even that thought. She doubted that she would be able to think about anything else in the world expect the spanking, when she was back at home sitting on a pillow to cushion her bruised behind.

Unfortunately for her, that was not about to happen. As the red-headed young Time Policeman led her through her family’s front door, she saw her father standing there, with his arms crossed over his chest, glaring just as angrily as her escort had done.

“Thank you for bringing her home, Officer…”

“Reilly. Pat Reilly,” he said. Even through her pain and shame, Angelica could almost smile, thinking of how much he sounded like an ordinary policeman, bringing an ordinary girl home, after she had been guilty of some very ordinary misbehavior…rather than changing the course of history.

“Well then, Officer D’Angelo, I’ll be on my way.” And Angelica was left facing her parents alone.

“So I guess I’ll go up to bed now,” she told them. “As you can imagine, I’ve had a very hard day.”

“Not as hard as it’s going to be!” her father roared. Turning to her mother, Angelica saw a nod of agreement.

Pointing towards the kitchen, he said, “You can sit down on that hard chair for an hour, while you think about what you did, especially to that young man, who is going to have to make sure that Bonnie Prince Charlie is defeated.”

How can I think about either of them, she silently asked herself, when my own backside is covered with bruises and my own parents seem very determined to make them even worse? Tears came to her eyes again at the thought.

Those tears were gushing from her eyes, as she squirmed desperately against the hard vinyl. Her only consolation was telling herself about the good times that lay ahead…as the Royal Governess of Virginia. There, her subjects would include Colonel George Washington, when he was still young…and unmarried.

Although, as she promised herself, his status would soon change.


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