Cinderella, Ever After

I had just settled down on the couch, a copy of my favorite pulp novel on my lap, when I heard Charming come in.  I rolled my eyes, putting the novel aside.  No reading for me, it seemed.

How could I not hear the man come in?  He insisted on riding that damn white stallion everywhere, and its hooves always left dirty tracks over the marble floors of our palace.  Sure, we now had servants for mopping all of that mess up, but I still felt bad for them.

A second later, the Prince himself came sweeping into our room, his sword rattling in his scabbard, his boots clicking across the floor, and his hair probably perfectly in place.

You know, I suggested some carpets?  “They might brighten up this place, make it warmer,” I had said.  I hadn’t added that they’d also muffle the Prince’s imperious striding everywhere.  He wore spurs on those boots, you know that?  Click, click, click.  Drove me nuts.

A second later, arms swept around me, and I felt the man kiss at my neck.  Okay, he wasn’t all bad.  He had some good points.  That made me feel even more guilty.

After giving me a little kiss on my neck, Charming straightened back up.  “Hello, my dearest!” he boomed out.  “What are your plans for the day?”

I held up the novel that had been sitting on my lap.  “Well, I’d been thinking about relaxing, making some progress on this latest book,” I said.  “You know, take it easy?”

“Take it easy?”  I saw the Prince’s brow furrow.  “But darling, the Royal Gardens need tending!  And the ponies in the Royal Stables could really use a trot around, maybe a combing of their manes?  And of course, the tailors would love to model their next series of dresses on your designs, if you want to go explain your process to them?”

Ugh!  So much to do.  You know, I thought that when I was whisked away, off into the lap of luxury, that I’d be done with all these obligations.  But now I felt like I was right back at home.  ‘Scrub the floors, Cinderella!’  ‘Design more dresses, Cinderella!’ ‘Clean the chimney, Cinderella!’ ‘Weed the gardens, Cinderella!’  ‘Cook our food, Cinderella!’ ‘Frost these cakes, Cinderella!’  It never stopped!

I stood up, spinning around to glare at Charming.  I could feel the words on the tip of my tongue, about to come spilling out.  “You know what, Prince?  This wasn’t what I wished for!  I didn’t wish for you!  I just wanted a night when I wouldn’t have to work any more!”

The words were right there.  But I knew the damage they would cause.  And this man wasn’t to blame.  It was true, my life was much better than it had been before.  I ought to acknowledge that.

So instead, I plastered a smile across my face.  “All good suggestions, dear,” I told the tall and strong man instead.  “I will consider them all and decide on the best.”

The man’s broad face spread into a happy smile.  “Wonderful, my princess!” he called out, as he swept away, probably off to go hunt with dogs or with hawks or do some other princely thing.

After he had vanished, I sighed, lowering down my book.  I wasn’t going to get to read today.

When I had made that wish to my fairy godmother, I had asked for her to “take me away from all of this.”  Sure, she’d done it – in astounding style, hooking me up with the kingdom’s prince.

But really, I would have settled for just a night off where I could laze around and do absolutely nothing…

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