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Cindy, Really – a short story

I’m making a number of short stories available over the next few months. Here’s the second one:

CINDY, REALLY

A Short Story by Timothy A. Freriks
The shoe fit. She knew it would; it was hers, after all. She had stuffed it into the young man’s pocket as she left the masquerade ball.

Prince Robert raised his widened eyes to hers. “It’s you, isn’t it? I was hoping I had found you. I couldn’t stop thinking about you.”

Cindy looked into his familiar and beautiful face, the strong, gentle brown eyes and full jaw. She didn’t know what would happen if she told him the truth at the Royal party, that she crashed it in a homemade gown. She couldn’t have known that he would be so taken with her; she hoped, of course, all girls hope a prince would fall in love with them. But here, in fact, was a prince, a real prince, standing in front of her, asking if she was the girl that had captivated his heart. Many confusing thoughts tumbled through her but in the end, the fantasy was too attractive to let go.

She was glad she had scribbled her address on the sole of the canvas pump.

“Yes, my prince. I am she,” she said. “I am Cindy Reeli.”

“Cindy Reeli,” he said, considering the quality of the name. He smiled, looked down at her, and his eyes softened. “I was afraid your mask covered a horrible monster. But you are as I had hoped. As beautiful as I knew you would be, and as… simple.”

Simple? Oh well, Cindy was sure he meant to use a better word and she didn’t want to destroy the mood that she was cerain was forming here. “Thank you, my prince.” She said, breathlessly, pulling at a long golden curl that had fallen on her forehead and leaning forward in what might have been seen as an ever so slight curtesy.

“Right,” he said through a smile that had made so many English women swoon. “I know it’s unexpected, but would you have time to have dinner tonight?” He straightened up and looked around at the living room, his expression, unreadable. “Do you like Italian? We could… jump in the limo and… grab a bite.”

So much for fairy tale script. His attempt at common language was somewhat awkward. But it didn’t matter; of course she would go with her prince. At 22 she had not learned everything about life yet but did know that fairy tales were only in books. Where real people ‘grabbed’ pizza (and royalty weren’t real people after all, were they?), royalty did… well, something else. But he was a prince: the most eligible bachelor in all the land. And he was asking her for a date.

“It’ll take me a minute to change, my prince.” She said.

“Right. Something… funky… like your outfit last week. Jolly outrageous it was. Had everyone talking. Go throw on something smashing. And you may call me Rob when we’re alone together. There’s a dear.”

As she left the room on her way to the stairs, her step-mother and two step-sisters were pressed against the sides of the hall, mouths wide in disbelief. All eyes followed Cindy up the stairs, then, as she reached the top, the sisters stormed up after her, followed stodgily by the mother.

“You went to the big party at the Palace? How did you get in?” The sisters, who were both uglier than the other, fell onto the bed asking questions all at once.

Her step-mother, having finally entered the room, decided to take charge of the situation. “I want an explanation, young lady,” she spat out in her squeaky, high pitched voice as she shut the door behind her and scowled. “Exactly where did you meet this prince?”

“I got dressed up and went to the masquerade party,” Cindy said as she scurried around, throwing together this article of clothing and that. “I said I was Marlene Ferguson,” she giggled, “and they let me in, can you believe it? I acted royal and they let me in.”

“You disobeyed my orders, Cynthia. I told you that you couldn’t go unless you finished your housework.”

“But I did finish. I got it done quickly and got dressed and out the door before 9:30.” She looked at her step-sister. “By the way, I didn’t see you two at the party.”

The sisters looked nervously at each other, then the mother, who simply coughed a nervous cough. “No, we met some handsome young men and left early.”

“I hope you had a good time. I did. The prince danced with me almost all night. I think he likes me.”

The prince called from the bottom of the stairs. “Cindy?”

Cindy let her full, curly blond hair down with a shake of her head.

“He’s awfully rude,” one ugly sister said. “I’m glad I didn’t let him dance with me.”

“Me neither,” the other echoed.

“What is that awful outfit you have on, Cynthia,” her step-mother said as Cindy examined herself in the mirror. “Haven’t I taught you better than that?’

“Now, step-mother, I don’t like the high necks and the lace you want me to wear. These fabrics match and the colors work and I like it.” She turned to leave.

“Have you taken out the garbage?”

“No, step-mother, I have to go, my prince… Rob… is waiting. Can’t Beatrice or Margaret do it?”

“Oh, mother, I can’t,” said Beatrice with sudden pain crossing her face. “I have a terrible headache.”

“Me, neither,” voiced Margaret, “I just did my nails.”

“OK, OK,” said Cindy, defeated as usual. “I’ll take it out.”

She left them behind, went down the stairs and took Rob’s hand. “I’ll be right with you, Rob. I have to take out the garbage.”

His royal eyes widened at the sound of that duty; his role in life was not to face such mundane situations. But, true to his royal breeding, he handled the situation properly.

“Carl?” he yelled to his chauffeur, his eyes never leaving Cindy.

After Carl had firmly disposed of the garbage, he opened the door for an impatient prince who was feeling that the whole garbage incident was perhaps a sinister omen.  But it didn’t matter. Prince Robert looked forward to being with Cindy again. She was tall and graceful had a body that she carried with almost royal bearing. But most of all, she was interesting and great fun and refreshing. Cindy was different from all the tight girls he was accustomed to; he was definitely smitten. And her style of dressing was so unusual—engaging, actually.

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