“After the Ball” by Renee Howard Cassese

We’d like to present a new Feature Story here at Metro Fiction. Please check the Welcome page for more information about us. This week, we consider whether fairy tales really do come true.

We present our Feature Story: “After the Ball” by Renee Howard Cassese

Cinderella carefully hung up her ice blue gown and stored her glass stilettos in a royal velvet lined shoebox. Even though the glamour had procured her a Prince Charming, she felt more comfortable in her worn sweatpants and sneakers. Her blonde hair felt better hanging freely in a loose ponytail.

She ran down the steep stairs and into the Prince’s waiting embrace.

“What’s this?” he asked. “Where is your gown, your glass slippers, and why is your hair all undone?”

“I’m going out for a run,” Cinderella told her new hubby. “Be back in two hours.”

“That’s a long run.”

“Yeah, well, the mice are coming and you know they have short little legs. When they run with me, my ten minute mile takes at least two hours.”

“Gee, Cindy. It will be five o’clock by then. When are you going to make dinner?’

“I don’t know, Mr. Charm, when I get back? What’s the rush?”

“I have a poker game with the guys. I have to eat and get out on time.”

“I’ll do the best I can. If I don’t make it back you can make a PB and J sandwich.  You know how to do that, right?”

“Yeah. But when you signed on for this gig you were supposed to take on your wifely duties.”

Mr. Charm winked at Cinderella then he leaned in and kissed her on the mouth with all the tenderness of a newly bloomed rose. What else could she do but kiss him back.

“Just remember big shot,” she told him. “I am a Princess now. I don’t do clean up.  If I wanted to cook and clean fireplaces, I would have stayed home with my evil stepsisters.”

She gave him a deep kiss just to shut him up and flew out the door.

“Hey, Princess,” the mice called. “We’re ready for our run.”

She looked down and smiled at their tiny running shoes and little sweatshirts.

“Let’s go,” she said.

As Cinderella ran through the kingdom she smiled at the villagers and received their broad waves and cheerful greetings. She stopped to jump rope with the children and helped a farmer get his sheep back to pasture. She loved the outdoors and resented Mr. Charm’s efforts to keep her indoors playing housewife while he went out to pillage and plunder.

Her run took three hours because of the little mice legs and all the stops she made to play with and talk to her subjects. Maybe “subjects” wasn’t the right word. Cinderella considered everyone her friend.

While Cinderella was out on her run Prince Charming went to the kitchen to look for something to eat. He got a can of Miller Light from the fridge and made a plate of cheese and crackers. He took both to the den and turned on the television. Flipping through the channels he found a marathon of “I Love Lucy” reruns. By the time the third episode was over he was snoring away in his red velvet recliner.

By the time Cinderella arrived home the setting sun had turned the beautiful white castle into a rosy pink fantasyland. She found her Prince in the den with his face and hair mussed from sleep. He was smoking a Meerschaum pipe and tapping his foot on the parquet floor.

“And where have you been?” he inquired.

She ignored the question.

“I’m going up to bed,” she pronounced. “I have two more chapters in the new Danielle Steel book and then I’m going to do some yoga, meditate, and go to sleep.”

Prince Charming stood up then and walked to within about two inches of where Cinderella stood at the foot of the winding staircase.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “You have exactly five minutes to get my dinner on the table.”

Cinderella moved in closer. She could feel Mr. Charm’s warm breath on her face and smell the aroma of old beer.

“Nuh, uh,” she said. “You can make your own dinner. I’m going up to bed.”

“If you don’t have my dinner on the table in four minutes, I’m walking out of this castle and never coming back.”

“No you won’t. You can’t make it on your own.”

“Try me,” the Prince said.

Cinderella turned and headed up the stairs.

After two weeks and Prince Charming was nowhere to be found, Cinderella hired a maid to cook and clean the royal castle and lived happily ever after with her mice and other woodland friends who kept her company.

Renee Howard Cassese lives in Hicksville, New York, and writes poetry, flash fiction and memoir. Her short stories and poems have appeared in The Storyteller Magazine. Her personal essays have appeared in Story Circle Journal, Full Circle Journal and Personal Journaling and in anthologies such as “Turning Memories into Memoirs,” “The Writing Group Book,” and “Growing Up on Memory Lane.” More of her writing may be viewed on her blogs “Renee Is Writing,” “A Marriage of Poetry and Art,” and “Levittown Stories.”  In addition to a passion for writing, Renee is obsessed with books and reading and also enjoys making mixed media art, scrapbooks and art journals.


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  1. Lovethe new spin!

  2. Loved this story,Renee. Well done. Go Cindy!

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