Categories > Original > Fantasy > A different Cinderella Story


by someonerandom 0 reviews

Imbetween the first two balls Crystal notices the strange behavior of one of her step-family...

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy, Humor, Romance - Published: 2007-05-14 - Updated: 2007-05-15 - 1903 words


A.N I'm playing around with first-person and third person narrators in this chapter, I'll try not to make the switches confusing.

Prince Derrick watched his cousin Conrad, Heir to the throne of his kingdom. (Derrick's Father was this realm's queen's sister and they all got along very well and were the firmest of alies)Like his cousin, Derrick was also a crowned prince. He had been invited by his uncle and Conrad to the Ball thy were holding and had been sent (against his will) to the festivities by his father. The sarcastic and witty prince had expected to be bored silly through out the entire evening, and for the most part he had been correct. That is, until that last few minutes. He had brought aside what he had thought to be a mischevious page-boy, only to find himself going head-to-head in a verbal sparring match with a young woman in disguise! She had fled and escaped him before he could find out more about her. It was all because of those cursed shoes he had been wearing! He had tripped over them and by the time he'd recovered himself she had gotten to great a head-start to catch up with her. In a way it was kind of ironic, normally it was the women who couldn't move for the fancy gear they put on. Still, there was something about that girl...
Conrad had also met someone. A masked girl had arrived at the ball and he had danced with her all night, ignoring the king's instructions to dance with as many elidgable young ladies as he could. Now he was in love, and everyone knew it. The king had been furious. The point of the ball had been for his son to marry a young woman of status, either a foriegn princess or a high-ranking noble of his own realm. But no. His son had set his heart on a girl that no one even knew the identity of.
So another ball was to be arranged. This time a masqeurade, and Derrick had been informed by HIS father via courrier, that he was to stay there for not only the ball, but the the next month for "quality time" with his cousin, Aunt and Uncle, probably in the hope that he would meet a "special someone" too to bring home and marry or something. Normally he would have argued about it and stayed on only grumpily and made things a little un-pleasant, but now...he wanted to see that girl again. Not his cousin's pretty little wall-flower, but the page-in-disguise. Though he wouldn't admit it, he had enjoyed their quick conversation and wanted a chance at a longer one. Like he had said, no one had out-maneuvered him in years!

We got home that night with very few problems. Our timing was actually perfect. We rolled in through the gate just as the clock began to strike midnight. We even had enough time to go inside and begin straightening a few things up before our fancy clothes fell away into our old rags and outside the pumpkin and farm animals turned back into themselves. I went out to roll the pumpkin back into place while Ella straightened up a few things. It was so good to see her so happy again. She filled me in on every detail that I'd missed while trying to get to the ball room and in the courtyard. She was in love, it was plain as day. However, she was not the only one to sleep with thoughts of a man at a ball that night. For I too found myself thinking on the young man whom I had met. It had been a long time since I had been so well matched in a verbal and mental battle field. I had only really won the battle by chance. If I had not had that paper, he would have won that round. I would have to be more prepared next time, if there was a next time that is.
Part of me felt guilty about threatening him like that, but the "tough" part of me that had kept my spirited...ness(or however you say it), independence and individuality in tact won out over it.
Our stepfamily returned an hour or two later chattering away. They were still talking when they woke up the next morning at their usual late hour. Ruby couldn't stop talking about Prince Conrad. (She was in some strange, snobby fan-club that all wanted to marry the poor guy and obsessed over him completely. And I mean COMPLETELY. Example: Ruby had managed to get her hands on a napkin he'd used and had created a shrine to it in her room. Satisfied?) Annelise however, was abnormally quiet about the social occasion. She was normally just as bad, if not worse than her sister. She was also refusing her food, which admittedly wasn't that out-of-the-ordinary.
The next day I had to go to the village market to fetch some groceries and stuff to find everybody crowded around another notice. I closed my eyes a moment and suppressed a groan. ANOTHER ball. A masquerade this time. In one week. When I got home pulling the wagon of goods everybody had received word from the palace and were squealing with excitement, even Ella, though she did so in a small dark corner to ensure no one would notice her.
However, while everybody else was excited beyond belief, I couldn't help but become increasingly anxious. Who was to say that Lucinda would help us a second time? How could she even know about the second dance? None of these details seemed to be occurring to anyone!

The other person who didn't seem to be ecstatic about the ball was, oddly enough, Annelise. She had been acting very strange lately. For one thing, she was eating more. In all the time I'd known her she had seemed to be on a permanent diet or something, starving herself dangerously practically once every couple months! Although in the past week she had started eating, even taking seconds at dinnertime. I'd also seen her making a sincere-looking effort with her horse for once, taking time to groom the finely bred gelding a little nervously, but the thought was what counted! She was also doing something different with her hair and make-up. She was leaving her straight white-blond locks down in a simpler style and was using different face-paints, applying colours that were classy rather than flashy. The other thing that was noticeably different to my observations was that Annelise was taking considerable pains to be NICE to the staff and Ella, staying out of her mother and sister's usual jibes at us. The differences were becoming more and more apparent as the week before the second ball dragged on.
For the longest time I couldn't figure it out. Then, two nights before the big evening I was outside stretching my legs since I couldn't sleep. When I came back though the little wood by our house that intersects the garden I stopped short at the sound of voices and ducked behind the old oak in our garden that had several bushes around it that I crouched behind and pushed the leaves apart just enough for me to peek through.

It was Annelise. She was standing near the gate to the garden and was with...the blacksmith?! Well, the guy, Joseph was cute and nice enough. He had been apprentice to the former blacksmith since he had been 8 and had recently been made into a partner a couple of months ago after around 12 or so years of training. I strained my ears and creeped as close as I could to catch what they were saying;
"You have to leave! We can't let mother catch us!" Annelise hissed
"Why? Why can't we be together?" Joseph asked her
"You know what she's like. She wants me to marry into fame and wealth and royalty if I can, she would destroy you! I won't let her do that to you. She's done it to too many others, and now I see that it's wrong. She will NOT hurt someone I love!"
" love me?" There was a pause for a minute as she thought about what she had said
"I...I...I guess I do! I love you!" (It was kind of cliché, and a little bit sappy romance-novelish, but it was also a little sweet!) Just then there was a noise from the house and the light of a candle came on in Step Mother's room. Madame's eldest daughter bit back a gasp and Jo tensed.
"You must go!" she hissed
"When will I see you again?" he asked. The woman in his arms looked back at the house anxiously as she pulled out of his embrace a little.
"The ball! Come to the palace and I'll slip away! Go!" She whispered holding onto his hand still even as he began to leave. Suddenly he pulled her sharply to him and kissed her. Then Lucious began yapping and Jo slipped away. Just before he left completely, he turned and tossed her something.
"I'll see you in two days!" he said, then turned and left. Annelise looked down at the thing he had tossed her and clutched it to her heart, biting her lip to hold back a sob.
I was dumb-struck. Here was one of my, cruel, un-feeling archenemies only a few meters away and I had just discovered how terribly wrong I had been about her all this time! The bitterness could have simply been loneliness, same with the self-starving routines. Now of course I felt guilty. Just then Madame's piercing voice shrilled from her window as she yanked back the curtains and pushed open the window.
"Annelise? What are you doing up at this late hour? You are upsetting the dog!"
"I...I" she stammered, trying to think up an excuse.
"She was looking for me." I called up, coming out from around the bushes.
"Really?" Stepmother asked skeptically. "And why would that be?" Uh Oh. Now I had to come up with an excuse.
"Because...I, uh, took her...bracelet! Yeah, mother's bracelet! You remember! The one you lot stole from Ella and I!" Annelise had caught on.
"That's right! You rotten thief!" she snarled, somewhat pathetically. The ploy seemed to work and Madame shut her window after a yell for us to get back in. Soon as the curtains were drawn again my stepsister whirled on me.
"You tell anyone about him and I'll-"
"Whoa there stepsister. Why would I tell?" Her eyes narrowed at that.
"So that's your game is it? Well I won't let you hold this over my head and ruin it for me!" I stopped her with shushing motion.
"Pipe down will you! Look, I know my track record with that kind of thv ing may not be that great but I won't breathe a word to anyone. No charge, pay-back or anything." Her eyes narrowed again.
"Why?" I turned to face her.
"Because one, it would hurt him as much as you and two, for the first time in all the years I've known, you just showed that you have actually have a heart. I'm not going to tell anyone." She gave me a suspicious look, but walked back inside with me.
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