|This twisted Cinderella story is not for kids. If you are not eighteen, go read a Buffy fanfic or something.
Coal was pissed as ever, grumbling to herself as she mopped the floor. "Just five more goddamn days! Then I'll be out of here!" Being the daughter of a marquis gave her no perks. Just the opposite. Instead of enjoying the fifty-acre estate, she had to keep it clean.
"Stupid bitches!" she muttered, referring to her stepmother and stepsisters. "Leaving me here to do all the work. It's a wonder I'll be able to graduate, with all the shit I have to put up with!" Ever since she was a little girl, Coal had to do all of the house cleaning. Of course, her scheming stepsister's always made sure to be in the right place at the right time to take credit for some of it, but they never did anything. And the only thing her stepmother did was cheat on Coal's father and spend his money.
"...and why would I do something like that?" Coal looked up from the floor and saw an attractive middle-aged blond woman walk in with a much younger young man. Coal wanted to spit. It was Debra, her stepmother with another "victim". This one didn't look as important as some of the others she had seen her with. It was obvious from his dress that he was just a Royal Messenger. He was wearing the official ruffled shirt and powdered wig, a uniform that hadn't changed in nearly four hundred years. Debra started running her fingers over the messenger's ruffled shirt, not noticing Coal was in the room. The messenger was more perceptive.
"Someone's in here." he said quietly.
Debra looked down and saw Coal. "Coal! What the hell are you doing in here?"
Coal resisted the urge to fling her dirty mop water onto Debra and the messenger. She gripped the mop handle tightly. "I'm just cleaning up in here." she said, gritting her teeth.
Debra went up to her and slapped her. "I don't like your tone! I can't wait until I can kick you out on your ass in a few days!" Coal froze up, and didn't say anything. If she hit her back, she'd be locked up. And she was too close to being free to allow Debra the satisfaction of losing her cool. Debra drew back her hand to strike her again.
"Don't hit her." said the messenger, grabbing Debra's hand. "What's wrong with you?" Coal knew what was wrong. Debra's goal was to have one of her daughters married to a prince. But Ashford and Ashton weren't very attractive. Plain-looking at best, with their frizzy moppish hair, big eyes, big noses, and freckles that looked more like blotches. Debra hated Coal because she saw her as a challenger to her daughters. Coal was far more beautiful. Her hair could have been compared to ebony ocean waves. Her skin, when she wasn't cleaning, was unblemished, the color of hazelnut coffee creamer. Her heart-shaped face still appeared delicate after all her hard labor, her full lips were what many of her classmates longed to taste, when she was awake enough to attend classes.
"Get the hell out of here, Coal!" Debra sputtered. "You haven't polished the silver in a week. Go do that."
Coal left the kitchen quickly, but not to polish silver. There was an air vent above the kitchen stove which Coal was just small enough to get into.Now I'll make that bitch pay! I bet she's going to fuck that messenger!She thought. She had been trying unsuccessfully for years to catch Debra on camera with one of her victims, but Debra had always been too careful, taking them into a bedroom with no hidden passages or spy holes, or having sex with them outside of the house altogether. Now, it seemed, Debra had made a big mistake. Coal turned on her camera and turned off the flash.I'll be kicking your ass out in five days! thought Coal excitedly.
"I'm not interested in money." said the messenger. "I get paid well enough from His and Her Majesty. You aren't getting on this list."
"Who said anything about money?" replied Debra. She twisted a cord hanging from the sleeve of her complicated-looking outfit, and the whole thing fell off her body. Coal snapped a picture, noticing that her stepmother was a natural blond.
The messenger rolled his eyes. "I didn't see that coming from the infamous 'Twinkie'." Debra got beet red. The messenger laughed at her. "You're the cheap treat with the not-so-edible-filling!" Coal had to bite down on her hand to keep from laughing.
"You better watch your fucking mouth!" Debra screamed at him. "I'm a marchioness, and a baroness!"
The messenger shrugged. "From what I've heard, you've got the fucking mouth. But whatever." He produced a condom, and they got down to some activities that can only be described as porn-related.
Coal got more than enough shots to get rid of Debra and her daughters forever. She would have left after it was all over to show them to her father, but she wanted to know what Debra was up to. Even if her father divorced Debra, she would still be out there, looking for her opportunity to get a crown. It's not enough to get her out of my life. I've got to completely ruin her. Coal thought. So she stayed in her hiding place a little bit longer.
The messenger wrote something on an official looking scroll, handed Debra a plain looking envelope, then pulled up his pants and left. Debra looked so happy, she didn't even rush to clean herself up, kissing the envelope the messenger gave her. Hurrying out of her hiding place, Coal cut through an old servant's passage and ended up oitside, a good ten yards away from the messenger. She ran up to him, didgital camera in hand.
"Did Debra send you out here to strike up another deal with me?" he said leering at her. "You may not have her pedigree, but I have a feeling you'd be a much more enjoyable-"
"Save it. I'm here for blackmailing purposes only." She showed him the pictures she had taken.
"Damn it!" he groaned. "What do you want? I don't have much gold."
"Tell me what you gave Debra, and I'll tell you what I want later."
"It was just an invitation to a party. A servant like you wouldn't care about something like that." he said carelessly.
"Did I mention that the good marquis will have no objections to you being held in prison for the rest of your life for screwing his wife?" she shrugged, and started to walk away. "Guess you don't care."
"Wait! I'll tell you! I gave her an invitation to Prince Dominick's twenty-first birthday party."
Coal shook her head. "You've got to do better than that." She showed him a picture of him screwing Debra doggy-style. "Do you really want to go down for that?"
He sighed. "Rumor is, the prince got a servant knocked up, and the queen is trying to get him married off to the first noblewoman who gets his attention. "
"So the servant won't taint the Royal bloodline."
The messenger whistled. "Sure you're not related to the marchioness?"
Coal tightened her jaw. "Only by marriage. She's my stepmother."
"Tell me about it. But she's going down for this. I'm not letting her or her daughters get their hands on a prince."
"Shit! She's after a prince?" the messenger rubbed his temples. "I ruin my country's future just to do a legend."
"It ain't over yet."
The messenger laughed. "What can you do?'
For several seconds, Coal didn't know how to answer. She had only a month's worth of rent saved to move out, not nearly enough to pay off anyone to knock off her stepsisters and stepmother. Not that anyone could. What could she do?
"Put me on the list." It was as if soemone else spoke for her, but the moment she heard herself, she knew it was the only way.
"No offense, but you wouldn't exactly blend in. Coffee ain't exactly a common skin color around here, and wearing rags isn't gonna get you in."
"Don't be an asshole!" she snapped at him. "Does the prince's birthday party have a theme?"
"It's a costume ball. Come as an animal, plant, person, whatever. It should be pretty boring."
"With a prince up for grabs? Any girl with a rumor of blue blood will be there."
"You're right. He's the only single prince left. Golddiggers won't have a chance to get into the family for another generation."
"Which means I've definitely got to get in there and stop those hoochies. Hurry up and put me on the list."
The messenger pulled out his scroll and Royal gel pen. "Name?"
"Lady Mutumbo. I think I'll be safer using my mother's maiden name."
The messenger scribbled it down on a sheet of paper. "I'm not even going to ask how that's spelled. You can just blame the scribes. everyone does." he handed her an invitation. "Now can you erase the pictures?"
"B-b-ut you said-" sputtered the messnger.
Coal grinned beautifully, as if he'd just told her Debra was dead. "I didn't say shit. I'll erase them when I'm done with you. It's easier than proving you forged The Chief Royal Secretary's handwriting on that party list."
The messenger took a step back from her. "You aren't a cop are you?"
"Maybe after all this is over, I will be." She didn't really want to stay in the same place she had spent all those cleaning. Law enforcement had always been facinating to her. "What's your name anyway?"
"Murphy." he put the scroll back in his messenger bag, and turned away. "I've gotta go. I've still got a hundred invitaions left to give out."
"To their rightful owners, I hope." Coal said smirking. "I'll see you around. Remember you still owe me."
I ain't done yet! "Coal Part 2: 1st Draft"