Fairy Tale Chapter 3

“You ready?” Amelia asked, watching herself in the mirror as she secured the diamond necklace around her neck and re-positioned her curls.

Elizabeth muttered a “yes,” but remained sitting cross-legged on her bed, glaring off into space.

Amelia turned toward her sister and saw for the first time that she was still wearing her t-shirt and fuzzy, blue pajama pants.

“Um, you’re going to change, right?” Amelia asked, hopeful.

“No,” Elizabeth said, refusing to make eye contact.

“Look,” Amelia said. “I know this a little awkward for you, but . . .”

“A little?” Elizabeth said.

“Okay, a lot,” Amelia corrected herself. “But it’s—”

Elizabeth sighed. “The only way home. I know. I know,” she said, getting up and stomping to the door. “Let’s go then.”

Amelia cast an anxious glance at Elizabeth’s pajamas.

“Not changing,” Elizabeth said, throwing the door open and trudging into the castle hall.

Amelia hurried after her. “At least try to act charming, Elizabeth. Please?”

Elizabeth ignored her, walking to the end of the hall and then stopping. “Where are we going?”

“Ballroom. Come on. It’s this way,” Amelia said, taking Elizabeth’s hand and leading her down a maze of halls until they came to a doorway leading into the ballroom.

Elizabeth and Amelia peered around the door frame. The orchestra had just started playing, and couples whirled about the room in colorful blurs.

“Oh, look,” Amelia said. “There’s Bertram! We’ll be living happily ever after in no time! Come on, Lizzie!” Amelia dragged Elizabeth in and out between couples. “Oh, dear. Where’d he go? Hmmm. Oh, look. There he is, over by the pool. See, Lizzie, it’s not so bad. He’s super cute.”

Elizabeth followed Amelia’s gaze to where a tall, skinny guy stood against the wall, balancing a stack of croissants in one hand and popping them into his mouth with the other.

“Seriously?”

“Oh, come on, Lizzie. Look at that dark, curly hair and those dreamy, brown eyes.”

“You can’t possibly tell what color his eyes are from this distance,” Elizabeth said.

“I saw the movie.”

“Whatever,” Elizabeth said.

“Really, Lizzie, I think once you get to know him, it won’t be so bad.” Amelia smiled and opened her mouth.

I know he doesn’t have a Ph.D.
In science, art, or history,
But just wait till you hear his British accent.

“Not another song,” Elizabeth said, groaning.

He’s super duper sweet
Like a king-size, chocolate treat,
Just meet him and I know that you’ll relent,
Then nothing else will matter—you’ll be in love!

By this point everyone one had stopped dancing to watch Amelia sing and dance around the room. Elizabeth ducked behind a bronze statue of a dead ancestor, embarrassed.

When you’re in love,
The world’s a different hue.
The darkest sky is brightest blue,
And ev’ry massive flaw’s a distant blur.

The ball-goers around the room joined in the dance, weaving in and out among each other in large, heart-shaped patterns.

Your former ideals no longer matter,
To your love they’ll bend and scatter.
For your case of unattraction, love’s the perfect cure.

Amelia spun past Elizabeth’s hiding spot and winked at her.

Elizabeth opened her mouth to say “Shut up,” and scowled when she found herself singing.

Sister, don’t you understand?
I can’t conjure up love on demand
Especially when the object’s so . . . so not my type!

Bertram appeared out of nowhere, holding out a croissant toward Elizabeth and smiling shyly. Elizabeth darted toward the next available statue.

Not your type—so you say,
But you’ve not met him, have you, eh?
Just get to know him, sis, and drop the bent to gripe.
There’s nothing else so happy as being in love!

The entire crowd joined in on the chorus.

When you’re in love,
The world’s a different hue.
The darkest sky is brightest blue,
And ev’ry massive flaw’s a distant blur.
Your former ideals no longer matter,
To your love they’ll bend and scatter.
For your case of unattraction, love’s the perfect cure.

Elizabeth sneaked past the smiling dancers and escaped out a side door, darting down a hall and ducking into the library. The chorus of the song was just repeating as she pulled the door shut. Elizabeth scanned the books on the wall and pulled down a large, brown one.

“How long is ‘happily ever after?’” She muttered, flipping frantically through the pages. “Oh, where’s google when you need it?” She said as she slammed the book shut and lowered herself down to the floor with a sigh.

“Everything okay?”

Elizabeth jumped at the sound of the voice and looked up to see a guy sitting on the edge of a table, looking down at her.

“Oh, yeah, fine,” she said, standing back up and smoothing out her pajamas. “Just taking a little break from the party.”

“Don’t blame you,” the guy said. “Never was a fan of those dancing music scenes. Pretty stupid, if you ask me.”

“Who are you?” Elizabeth asked. “Are you a spy for the witch?”

“Mergonivitch? No way. She’s like my arch enemy. I won’t be able to rest until she goes poof,” the guy said, sliding off the table. “As for me, you can call me Phil . . . no relation to the prince. So . . . I’m guessing, just from what I’ve seen of you so far, that you’re not really crazy about this whole fall-in-love-with-Bertram-so-he-will-defeat-the-evil-witch plan.”

“How did you kn–?”

“Saw the movie,” Phil said.

Elizabeth’s mouth dropped open. “You’ve seen the movie?”

“It was my sister’s birthday party, okay? I didn’t have a choice.”

“So,” Elizabeth said. “You’re not from here either.”

“Do I look like I’m from here?” he said.

For the first time Elizabeth noticed Phil’s San Francisco t-shirt and blue jeans. “Oh,” she said. “How did you get here?”

“Let’s just say my sister wasn’t too happy about the gift I left in her room last week. Apparently, frogs aren’t really her thing,” Phil said. “Anyway, the point is, I want to get out of here just as much—if not more—than you do, and I have an alternative to the Bertram plan.”

“It’s pointless,” Elizabeth said, groaning. “You know how the movie goes.”

“Yeah, but who says we have stick to the movie plot? All we really have to do is resolve the conflict by getting rid of Mergonovitch.”

“Maybe, but the sure way of getting Mergovitch is by following the movie,” Elizabeth said. “Not following the movie would be like trying to find a new place without looking at a map. You might by some extraordinary stroke of luck land in the right spot, but it’s more likely you’d end up hopelessly lost.”

Phil looked at her silently for a few moments, then said, “Do you really want to live happily ever after with Bertram?”

Elizabeth frowned. “Okay, what’s your plan?”

“We strike first. No waiting around for Mergonivitch to show her ugly face. Surprise her.”

“Okay,” Elizabeth said. “Then what? How do you defeat a witch?”

Phil walked over to a large window and motioned for Elizabeth to follow him. They both looked out at the courtyard below where soldiers were drilling.

“There’s like a gazillion more of these guys here in the city. I figure we’ll bring them along, surround her cottage, take her by force.”

“That’s a nice plan,” Elizabeth said. “But I’m not convinced the army is going to listen to you.”

“Oh, they won’t,” Phil said. “That’s why I need a princess.”

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