Apr 6, 2013

F is for Fairytale

This song helped me fall in love with Eurovision.


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“I swear, it's like a fairytale.” Courtney swung me around, not minding the other people in the lunch line.  She bumped into Scott Noble, who turned and glared at her. It cowed her a little, but not much. Her body stopped moving, but her mouth didn't.

“I had no idea what to do. Here I am, stuck at the gas station, a full tank and a flat tire. And because it's after midnight, the guy behind the counter wouldn't leave.  The best he said he'd do was keep an eye on it if I pushed it away from the pump for the night, and if I came back at the shift change at seven he'd help me put on the spare. But I didn't really trust that. I mean, sure, I'm sure he'd watch it and all that, but he can't see everything and there was no way that I'd be able to hide a flat tire on  the car, even if I called you to come take me home. I'd have to leave the house early to get to the gas station, and Mom would notice that, and I'd be late for school.  So I asked for a 24 hour tow company, to see if someone could at least take it to a service shop because I figured, hey, there it would be better secured and in no rush to be fixed. I'd just get a ride home, and to school the next morning with you.”

I nodded in the right places, making listening noises while I told the lunch lady I wanted pizza today.  Monday's the school got it from Gino's Bakery and Gino made the best pizza for miles around.

“You listening Diane?”

“Yes, you couldn't figure out what to do about the flat tire.”  My hand hovered over the mini fridge, not quite sure what I wanted to drink yet. Water or orange juice? The school had gotten rid of pop a year ago.

“Yes! And so there I was, flipping through the yellow pages when this college guys walks in, and I can tell cuz he's wearing the CC's sweatshirt. And on a whim he just looks at me and says, 'that you with a flat tire' and oh boy Courtney his voice is like chocolate. And his eyes were a piercing gray, never thought gray eyes pretty before I saw his. But they were like mercury, liquid silver, and I swear I just kinda stared open mouthed at him. Didn't realizing I was gaping with my mouth open until the counter guy answered for him. I couldn't believed I embarrassed myself like that! “

I grabbed a cookie while staying in line at the register. I needed a treat after listening to her latest boy drama.

“Anyway, the college guy, name's William by the way, he asks if I have a spare, and I say yeah, but I don't know how to change a tire.  So he said he'd do it for me.  Took off his jean jacket, um, those arms, and figured out what all the stuff in the emergency kit was. Apparently one was a tire jack, and boom, not ten minutes later I've got a not flat tire.  Well, I know the spare won't hold up very well for long, I gotta hit the service station after school today, but hey, I could drive home with Mom none the wiser!  I asked what I could get William for his trouble.  I was thinking a beer, no way the gas station guy was gonna give my fake a double check, but you know what he asked for instead?”

“A million dollars?” I said, sitting down at the end of our usual table. Courtney pouted as she sat down across from me.

“No, a kiss. And a token to remember me by.”

I raised my eyebrow. “Did this kiss lead anywhere?”

“That's what makes this such a fairytale! He only kissed my hand! And then took that fake flower pin I have, saying every time he looked at it's fake beauty he'd be reminded of how my face out shown it threefold. Who says such things, threefold? Anyway, his last name is Prince. William Prince.  Now don't tell me he doesn't sound dreamy.”

“Actually, he does sound pretty swell. Did you get his number?”

“Yup,” Courtney pulled out her cell phone. “We've been texting all morning. He wants to take me to a movie tomorrow night.”

“Go for it! And then you have to see if he has another gentlemanly friend.”

##

“So?” I asked meeting Courtney in the hallway on the way to lunch.  She was practically glowing.

“It was amazing.  I mean, we didn't really pay attention to the movie of course, but he insisted on paying, for dinner, which was at this super fancy place, I should have dressed better, and the tickets and snacks. But you know what, he saved me again!”

“Really?”

“Yeah, walking back to his car this huge dog attacked us.  It grabbed a hold of my skirt, and I was wearing my favorite one, the soft gray that swirls round my ankles, and pulled.  It slipped off my hips and oh Diane, my underwear was exposed to the entire parking lot! It was awful! But William picked up this steel pipe on the ground and poked the dog in the side as if it was a sword and started slashing.  The dog took off, leaving me on the cold ground with my skirt halfway down my thighs and William standing over me.  But I swear, just like Prince Charming would do, he helped me up, completely ignoring my underwear and just asked if I was alright.  God, he's a dream.  He saved me from a modern day dragon.”

“Wouldn't that be a giant lizard or something?”

She hit my shoulder. “I'm being symbolic here! He's saved me twice now! If that's not a prince in shining armor, I don't know what it. Like I said Monday, I'm living in a fairytale.”

It was probably because I just came from English that I remembered Ms. Flagg's tidbit about fairytales. Otherwise, if it had been one hour earlier Courtney's comment would have been said without any followup by me.

“Did you know that fairytales were originally cautionary stories?  You know, warnings not to go into the woods or talk to strange people.”

Courtney snorted. “I'm familiar with them. And you know what, Ariel and Aurora and all those princesses ended up living a happy life. If anything, fairytales are about what you gain by being a good person. Which I totally am.”

I wanted to say something about how while Disney movies might have happy endings, they all didn't. The Little Mermaid committed suicide. Aurora was raped while asleep and woke up during childbirth, only to die during the procedure. The original fairytales weren't nearly as happy. Good people didn't always win, even if the Huntsman saved Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel killed the witch.

But really, what a stupid thing to be thinking about.  Detroit might be a dangerous city jungle, but Courtney was streetwise enough to know when a stranger was dangerous or not. Female intuition and experience.  And while fairytales were full of monsters, real life wasn't. 

I killed the thought that followed it. That real life didn't have princes either.

##

That Sunday night, I heard soft taps at my window.  Courtney throwing candy at it, we had found out years ago the problem of using rocks.

I opened it to see her standing at the base of the tree that grew near my window.  She was pale, and bundled up tight in her coat and scarf. I noticed absently that while it was a fashion scarf, Courtney was clutching it as if it was meant for warmth and a strong wind was trying to blow it away.  It wasn't that cold. Something wasn't right.

“Court?” I whispered. I was still up, but my parents usually went to bed about this time.

She looked up at me with pleading eyes and my heart melted. “One moment, can't climb down in shorts.”

I traded my sleep boxers for sweat pants, and then crawled through the window.  From there, I slowly made my way down the tree. Courtney was staring at the grass, and now that I was close I could make out the tears in her eyes. And the blood on the scarf.

“Courtney?” I said, grasping her shoulders as worry flood through me.  “You're bleeding. Do you need a doctor?”

She shook her head. “It's small, just a band-aid would do.”

I was about to suggest we climb back up to my room, but her date dress wasn't really conducive to that. Instead, I uncovered the spare key to the backdoor and let us in.

“What happened?” I demanded, tip toeing to the bathroom, my hand on her wrist. Her skin was icy cold.  I flipped the light on in the bathroom and we both momentarily winced at the sudden light. Once my eyes had readjusted, I lead her to sit on the toilet and went searching under the sink for band-aids.

When she didn't say anything, I knew something was really up.

“Courtney?”

“You know how you said fairytales are warnings?”

I had to think back, but then our conversation clicked. “Yeah.” I drew out the word, not sure where this was going and pulled out the med bag. Band-aids were usually on top.

“Well, I...I should have figured the one I was living in was too good to be true.”  She pulled down her scarf.

In the bathroom light, it was suddenly evident just how much blood was on the scarf. More than enough that Courtney would be woozy and a little unsteady on her feet, but she had been fine entering the house. But the wounds she revealed were tiny, no larger than a freckle. The only reason I saw them was because they were a different color than the rest of her neck. They were red with blood, not yet starting to scab but no longer truly bleeding.

“William...he, he bit me.  See, he's actually is a prince, and it's given him certain power.” Courtney smiled, and as I watched her incisors grew. “He's a...a vampire, and now I am too.”

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Beware of dreams come true!

10 comments:

  1. Oh no!!

    That last sentence made me want to scream "RUN!"

    :D

    Have a fabulous weekend!

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    1. Yes, there will be much running.

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  2. Ooh, cool -vampires. :) The boy playing the violin is sooo cute.


    I'm visiting from the a to z challenge.

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  3. Ooooh, nice twist on the ending. What's going to happen to the MC????

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    1. Well, she's not going to get bitten right away in my mind. Courtnay came there for help, and Diane is gonna try to give it.

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  4. Nice story - is everything vampires these days?

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    1. I actually tried to avoid traditional things like vampires and werewolves. But that means creating everything from scratch and that's hard in a situation like the A-Z challenge. (D is werewolves, if you're interested) But I think the vampire kick is fading.

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  5. Oh wow I didn't expect that. Good twist on the end of the story.

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    1. Thanks! It took awhile to figure out how I could have a fairytale go bad, but I knew it needed a twist ending.

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