Duchess has been the type of person to dance, it didn’t matter why – she just loved to dance. When she was mad, she danced. When she was sad, she danced. When she was scared, that was when she danced her hardest; because she felt that if she didn’t, she would never have been able to dance again.
So why was she dancing now? The answer was obvious; she was dancing because she was happy. Finally, after all these years, after all this time, her destiny was going to come true.
At first, it was like she had been in a never-ending nightmare; but now she found herself in a dream she never wanted to wake up from. What kind of person would ever want to go back?
So she danced. As her body moved to the rhythm of the music that played her head, it almost felt like she could cry. After all the suffering and the fear she had experienced, it was finally time for her happily ever after – something she had wanted all of her life for.
Duchess continued to dance, the upcoming events gleefully waltzing through her mind. She couldn’t wait. The music in her tune has a happy one.
She remembered her story; how could she ever forget? She was born as the most beautiful person in the entire world, born from a great father and mother; sadly tragedy struck as her story took her mother away – at least she was able to get to know her mother; it was better to be loved and then lost, the never to be loved at all.
For a moment, it was as if there was a record scratch; but Duchess ignored it, never dropping her pace. All she wanted to do was to follow her very own rhythm.
She remembered when her father remarried, when he married such a beautiful woman; Duchess didn’t care, as long as they were a happy family, it was all she ever wanted. But not everything could be happy. As she found out soon; Duchess’ step-mother was a jealous, bitter woman – jealous of her new husband’s daughter’s beauty. She was greedy enough, that she called for her own daughter’s heart.
For a moment, she winced, but Duchess continued to dance.
She remembered the seven little people that helped her escape the “Evil Queen” – Well, she remembered them, just didn’t remember their names. She wasn’t too fond of all the cleaning, and why not? She was a princess, why should she be bothered to do the chores?
But she digressed; all of those nail splitting chores were all worth it in the end. As her evil step mother found her, tricking her into taking a bite into that accursed bright red apple and forcing her into that nightmare, the nightmare she never wanted be apart of.
Even now, as she prepared for her happily ever after, Duchess still remembered that dream she lived in – the one where she was the daughter of the swan princess, where she was destined to perish alone and forgotten, like her mother before her. The horrible dream still leaves her awake in a cold sweat.
Duchess shook the voice from her thoughts; she never wanted to return to that nightmare. Not now, not ever.
Now she was awake.
Awoken by her prince charming, she was now on her way to her happily ever after. And now this day, today was her wedding day.
Duchess continued to dance to the rhythm of her very own song.
She winced; a voice from her nightmares still haunting her; even though today was supposed to be her happiest day. Though she was only distracted for a moment, she continued to dance.
But as she continued to dance, she came to a stop; the deafening silence filled the room. With a deep breath, she rested her hands into her lap. This was something that she wanted. No. This was something that she needed; and nothing from her nightmare was going to take this away from her. Not now. Not Ever.
Duchess, catching herself, took another deep breath to clear her thoughts. She looked over her shoulder, into the corner of the room.
She was all alone.
At least, she should have been.
“What do you want,” she asked to the empty space around her, irritation in her voice as her moment alone was being subdued. “Faybelle?”
There was no one there in the room with Duchess, and why would there be? While all of their servants were off preparing for the wedding, she had requested to be left alone in her personal studio; and no one wanted to defy the word of the daughter of Snow White, the most beautiful woman in the world.
But there was someone there, an outline standing in the corner of the room – as if the setting of snow white’s story didn’t allow her to exist. A figure of a young woman that wasn’t a part of this plot, trying to reach out; She stood there, reminding the girl of the nightmare that she had fought so hard to be rid of.
“Duchess!” the faint outline of the young woman called out. “You’ve got to come back!” she pleaded.
Snow White’s daughter sighed before turning to face the figment of her imagination, “and why should I do that?” she decided to move her body, a new dance was beginning.
“If you don’t,” Faybelle answered, “None of us will be able to get back home!” though it was as if she was shouting, her voice felt empty – almost as if she was speaking from the end of an auditorium, one with walls that would absorb all voices. “We’ll be stuck in these stories.”
To Duchess, this woman was non-existence, just someone that shouldn’t be there – the young princess was just dancing.
“Duchess!” the young woman’s outline screamed at the top of her lungs. Despite the fact that she was right there in the room, she felt so far away – she seemed so faded.
“Why?” finally, snow white’s daughter spoke up.
Faybelle froze, though barely visible, her face had twisted in confusion. “What do you mean, ‘Why?’”
Duchess brought her foot down, resting her body. “I meant it as it sounded,” She said, not looking at what could have been considered her ‘ex-friend,’” “Why would I ever go back to that nightmare?”
Faybelle was dumbstruck, but shook her head, “If you don’t, we’ll all be stuck.” She answered clearly as best as her faded being would let her, “If we all don’t leave, we’ll be stuck in these stories. We won’t be able to go home!”
The room fell quiet, the atmosphere became heavy. Faybelle hoped now that her words had finally gotten through.
“And, I will ask you again,” Duchess spoke up again, this time making herself more clear. “WHY? Why would I go back to THAT?”
The tension in the room fell, but yet now it felt like it still lingered in the air; now even heavier.
Faybelle could feel her breath catch in her throat, “W-what?” her voice broke.
“Why would I go back to that world?” Duchess asked for the fourth time, this time with even more clarification in her voice, “Why would I ever want to leave this world?”
The other woman shook her head, “If you don’t, we’ll die. All of us will die!” Faybelle shouted. “Once these stories are finished, and the book closes, everything will come to an end; anyone trapped within these pages, meaning all of us, we will all die!”
“I’LL DIE IF I LEAVE THIS PLACE!”
The room fell quiet. Though her back was turned towards her, Faybelle could see that her schoolmate was clenching herself.
Duchess tightened her grip on her shoulders; she winced at the sharp pain she caused on herself as the chill ran up her arms. “I’m destined for a ‘tragic’ ending; if I leave this world, I’ll die alone.” Duchess continued; her voice breaking.
Faybelle could not speak, it was true after all.
Weakly, Duchess smiled, “Here in this world, I may still die” she continued, her breath catching. “At least I’ll die happy; I’ll be able to have a happy ever after.”
The sudden realization to the woman’s thought process hit Faybelle, her face twisted in anger. “So you are just going to risk everything, kill everyone?”
Duchess froze, slowly she looked over at Faybelle; from the look of it, it seemed that the dark fairy’s voice had finally reached her. It finally seemed like everything was going to be alright now.
“I guess so!”
Faybelle’s face froze in fear.
Duchess’ face fell, her heart sank; weakly she spoke. “I have nothing; no one is waiting for me back home. Odile and Odetta are gone; my very own parents have deserted me because it was ‘Destiny’ to leave their very own daughter.” She continued, “There is no one back home, no one there to love me. There is no one waiting for me at the end of my story.” Tears started to fall from her eyes, “Why would I ever go back to that god forsaken place?” a puddle started to form around her.
Faybelle tried to reach out, but her consciousness was beginning to waver.
Duchess smiled, but only just a crack. “Here, I have loving parents. I have the seven dwarfs, they took me in, a complete stranger, and allowed me to be with them – we laughed together; we sang together; We cried and ate together; it was like a dream come true.”
“Then there is him!” Duchess smiled, this time it felt weak, “He fought to save me from the Evil Queen. Then he came to me, rescuing me from my own horrible nightmare.”
“But, that is part of the story,” Faybelle called out, “It isn’t real!”
“DON’T YOU THINK I KNOW THAT!” the dark fairy froze again.
“Of course I know it’s fake,” Duchess clutched her heart, “But it’s the most real that I have ever felt; and I never want to return to ‘that.’” She smiled, tears pouring from her eyes. She knew she shouldn’t, but for the first time in her life, Duchess was crying tears of joys – for the first time in her life, she was actually happy. Even if it was fake this was the first time she actually felt loved.
“…” Faybelle was at a loss for words, there was nothing she could say.
“I-if I-I’m to die,” duchess voice broke, “then I want to die on my own terms.” She hic’ed, “I want to die happy and in a world of lies, then to die back home, alone and forgotten.”
“…” Then silence fell into the room, nothing could be said.
“Duchess, I-I…” Faybelle tried to reach out.
Then there was a knock on the door. With the sleeve on her outfit, Duchess tried to wipe away as much of the tears as she could; she put on a fake smile – but she felt like, for the first time, it was a real genuine smile. “Yes!” she turned to the door.
“Miss Duchess,” a deep feminine voice came from the other side of the door, “It’s almost time.”
Duchess started to pull herself back to her feet, returning herself to her normal composure – after all, she had a role to play. “Of course,” she called back, “please get the carriage ready, I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
Though she couldn’t see it, she knew that the servant bowed her head on the other side of the door, “As you command, your majesty.” She replied before walking away.
Your majesty, Duchess smiled to herself, she could get used to that.
“Duchess!” and once again, that voice from a nightmarish world she wished to forget continued to call out to her – but now, it sounded as if it was getting further and further away.
The soon to be “Snow White” turned back to the corner of the room, at the figure that was all but transparent. “Faybelle,” she said, quietly in case servants were outside her room, “Tell everyone else, ‘I’m Sorry.’” She smiled, a confident smile – a smile that said she knew that she going to her death.
All the color in Faybelle’s face drained away.
Duchess turned away to face the door, “Please tell them, this is my story.” She reached for the door knob before turning it, “and that I want it this way.” She opened the door.
Faybelle tried to speak up, to stop her friend; but her voice was empty. She tried to shout, but not one note could come out. She wanted to fight, to drag her friend back; but the story didn’t allow this. This was Duchess’ story and she was just a footnote. Tears started flow from her eyes, but her voice wouldn’t come out, all she could do was watch as Duchess walked through the door.
The door shut and the sound echoed through room, as it started to fall to silence, Faybelle could feel her own conscience fade from this existence. The spell she had used to interact with this story was beginning to wear away, and slowly Faybelle’s vision faded to black…
Duchess made her way down the aisle, her arm interlocked through her servant’s. Deep down, to her, it felt like she was on her way to her very own execution; but she had no time for such thoughts, she was finally having her wedding, something she had only thought she could have in her dreams – no, this was a dream come true.
Veil over her eyes, she could see the gazes of all the different kinds of citizens that lived in the kingdom that she and her soon to be husband would be a part of. She saw the seven dwarfs in the front row, a spot reserved for friends - Duchess could feel her heart tighten, but she shook those thoughts out of her mind, this was her day, this was her story.
Then there he was, Prince Charming, the most gorgeous person in this world; Duchess could feel her heart start to beat away at just his mere gaze – and why not? She was the only thing in this world that he loved more than anything else.
Then the priest started, this was just like a dream come true. Under her veil, she could feel herself start to tear up – she couldn’t handle this; it was finally happening.
“Do you, your majesty, take Duchess as your queen?” after the longest minutes of Duchess’ life, the priest finally asked the question that she waited to hear.
Without hesitation, “I do!” Prince Charming spoke, almost sounding barren.
Then the priest looked over at the said soon-to-be queen. “And do you, Duchess, take Prince Charming as your King?”
“I do!” there was no question, there was no hesitation, she wanted this more than anyone else.
The priest smiled, “Then may I present to the kingdom, King and Queen Charming.” He announced to the large castle filled guests. “You may kiss the bride.”
Duchess turned to her prince, feeling as the veil was lifted up and behind her head. She looked at her husband.
He had the same glassy, empty eyes as everyone else that had attended the wedding; almost like a marionette. He looked down at her, a smile crept across his face – a smile so rehearsed, that there was no warmth to it. He was like a puppet being pulled along the lines of the story, duchess’ story.
Duchess smiled back, she didn’t care - this was her dream come true. This was the story that she wanted; she didn’t care at all what that meant for her.
She closed her eyes, and leaned in to her prince.
And everyone cheered.
And then She Lived Happily Ever After…
This story was inspired by the Ever After High books "Once Upon a Twist"