Cinderella receives a text
|The music was loud and frenetic. It was definitely a beat Cinderella could get into. She was tapping her slippered foot in time to the music and searching for Prince Charming when her cell phone signaled a new text. She blew out a loud breath and rolled her eyes. The Prince must be late again, and just when her favorite band of Knaves, "Warlock Power", was jamming to a hot new song. "Damn!" she said a little too loudly. She grabbed her phone from the silk bag tied at her waist to retrieve the text. Her eyes grew wide with horror, then anger. "11:11," was all it said, but for Cinderella it was a disaster. "No!" she shrieked. Most of the heads at the ball turned to stare. But Cinderella didn't care. She placed the phone back into her silk bag and ran as fast as she could to the carriage parking lot. "Let me by! Let me by!" she yelled as she pushed the other guests out of her way. She took the ballroom stairs two at a time and bumped into a large topiary, breaking her left slipper. She didn't even stop to pick up the delicate glass pieces.
She ran out the hall and through the doors, down a lighted lane and straight into the footman in charge of the lot. She practically bowled him over. "Carlo! Oh, Carlo! Thank God. I need your help," she panted, nearly breathless.
Carlo straightened his uniform and smoothed his hair. "It would be my pleasure, Miss." Carlo stood very straight.
"My carriage my phone oh my God oh Carlo it can't happen again I need your help NOW!" Cinderella put both hands on Carlo's shoulders, one on each side and looked pleadingly into his eyes. She continued breathing heavily into his face.
"Slow down, Miss." Carlo wrinkled his nose and grimaced a little as he tried not to notice the cheap wine that soured and laced Cinderella's breath.
"My carriage, Carlo. I need my carriage. Quickly. I got the text! Quickly, Carlo!"
"Which text, Miss. Was it Ten:Ten, Eleven:Eleven, or Twelve:Twelve?"
"Eleven:Eleven!" Cinderella yelled at the top of her lungs.
"Oh, that one. That one's not bad. It gives you thirty minutes." Carlo backed away slightly so he could look at his watch. "By my timepiece, Miss," he said calmly, "you still have twenty-three minutes."
"Twenty-three?" Cinderella shouted. "It takes at least twenty to get to the castle. Hurry up!"
"Yes, Miss. I will. Just remain calm." Carlo turned and walked off into the deep dark carriage lot.
Cinderella paced. She wrung her hands. She checked her phone for another text. Finally, Carlo came round with her carriage. "Oh, thank God! Carlo, you're a peach!" She gave Carlo a peck on the cheek and tipped him a few bills. Then she climbed into the carriage and raced off toward home.
"God Speed, Miss," Carlo yelled after her.
Cinderella's horses thundered onto the castle property. Time was so close and she hoped she wouldn't be late. The carriage came to a stop just outside the castle entrance way, and its doors flew open. Cinderella fell out and onto the ground. She scrabbled a short distance away. She was suddenly deafened by a monstrous deep boom, and the carriage puffed up three times its normal size. Streams of smoke seeped from the seams. It was only moments before it exploded into a giant cloud of dust. Cinderella coughed and sputtered. She was mad. In fact, she was livid.
She picked up her silk bag, now filthy with dust, and scooped up her remaining slipper and tromped up the stairs to her home. She pushed on the castle doors and they swung wide into the foyer. The Duke and Duchess were waiting just inside. Cinderella looked at them for a moment and then sneered. "Mom. Dad. I am NOT a child anymore! I am MUCH too old for your stupid parental controls!" She stomped past them on the way to her room.
The Duke and Duchess turned to follow her. "We think it's for the best, dear," the Duchess said sweetly. "Maybe next year we'll remove the carriage control and you can have more freedom."
"Ugh!" Cinderella marched to her room.
The Duke and Duchess smiled at each other. They paid extra to have the carriage control installed. It was the best money they ever spent. Their daughter was home safe. And on time. And that's all that mattered.