My Happily Ever After

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Minny has always secretly loved her friend James. But when the most beautiful girl in school catches Minny and her best friend Iris sneaking out for their weekly meeting with James, all her feelings come to the surface.

I wrote this for a short story contest in my English Honors class.

Submitted: February 14, 2008

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Submitted: February 14, 2008

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I dashed through the halls as if my legs were on fire.  Today was Tuesday, my favorite day of the week.  Now, let me get this clear.  I don’t love Tuesday because it’s a great day for me.  In my life, Tuesdays are terrible.  Tuesdays are the days I have my most hated classes: Dancing, Embroidery, and Basic Magic.  With such a horrible schedule, you might ask: why do I like Tuesdays so much?  Well, there’s this thing that happens every Tuesday that outshines all the unhappy things that occupy my day: I get to see James.

Throughout the past few years, we’ve always been a trio: James, Iris, and me.  Iris and I attend Mary Blythe’s Academy for the Proper Young Lady.  Also known as: Princess School.  At least that’s what Iris and I like to call it.  We get to learn how to curtsey, the differences between a mutton fork and a trout fork, and how to pull off every kind of dance known to man.  At Mary Blythe’s, we are educated in the ways of English, basic calculations, simple sciences, and several foreign languages.  These classes are my favorites, but I’ll get to that later.  A very special treat is that the young ladies of this proper school are taught the basic forms of magic, so that if we encounter a jealous stepmother, a house of little men, or a beast locked in an enchanted castle, we can deal with such things properly.

James, on the other hand, goes to Sir Raoul Kenneth’s Academy to Knighthood (more commonly known as SRK).  At SRK, scrawny young boys go in, and after several years spent extensively studying the arts of fencing, riding, archery, along with various other forms of chivalry, they emerge as any girl’s Prince Charming, ready to battle dragons and save damsels in tall towers.

James had been terrified of attending SRK.  As a child, he had always been somewhat smaller than the other boys, preferring reading to riding any day.  However physically dilapidated James had been upon entering, SRK’s rigorous training had done its work.  James was now a tall, extremely handsome young man with dark hair and sparkling grey eyes.  The one trait that Knight School hadn’t cured though still remained: James had no tact whatsoever when it came to dealing with girls.  Fortunately for me, this last quality kept the vast majority of Mary Blythe’s female population at bay.

Now, let me introduce you to my other best friend, Iris.  Iris is everything I’m not, and that’s why I love her.  She’s stubborn, wild, and unafraid to speak her mind.  She has bouncy strawberry-blonde curls, big and shiny brown eyes, and a tomboyish personality.  There’s only one thing I feel I should warn you about Iris: she hates Princess School with a passion.  Yes, my friend has deemed herself too good for sitting indoors sipping tea.  Iris has set the bar higher, for someday if all goes according to her plan, she is to be the greatest knight in the entire kingdom.  During our free time, Iris can be found in a shirt and breeches racing the castle dogs around the courtyard or practicing fencing with a large stick.  Of all the proper young ladies in school, Iris is always the one the Professors criticize and critique the most.  Iris, bold and brave, simply blows them off and continues with her unladylike project, weather it’s slopping paint onto a large piece of canvas or stepping on her victim of a dancing partner’s unsuspecting toes.

Then, there’s me.  Compared to my two best friends, I’m not very interesting.  I don’t follow strenuous training schedules like James, or dream about slaying dragons like Iris.  No, I’m simply content to settle down before a warm fireplace with a good book and waste away the hours reading about far off lands.  Yes, that’s who I am: Minny the book girl.  I guess being a bookworm is sort of a given though, seeing my name.  My parents, the fools they are, named me after Minerva: Roman goddess of wisdom.  But unlike Goddess Minerva, I’m not really that eye-catching.  I’m very short, with black hair that’s permanently waved from being in a braid too much.  My eyes are the colors of amber that’s slightly dulled, the result of too many nights spent reading when I’m supposed to be sleeping.  Another characteristic about me is my shyness.  I’m incredibly shy.  Since this is so, I don’t have many friends, save Iris.  The only time people talk to me is to ask me a question about a class.

Well, it’s been fun telling you all about my friends, but let’s return to the situation at hand.

I dashed through the halls with Iris at my side; her strawberry blonde curls bouncing madly as we ran.

“Hurry up, Iris!”  I complained, huffing for breath.  “You’re never going to be a knight if you run this slow!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming!”  Iris protested, stopping momentarily to catch her breath.  “And don’t blame me, it’s your fault we’re running late!  You’re the one who brutally murdered your stupid bird in Magic Class!”

I halted, glaring at her.  “Hey, you were distracting me!”  What she said was true, because of my lack of talent when it came to sorcery; I had exploded the poor bird (causing all the Snow White want to-bee’s to burst into tears).  Still, if Iris hadn’t made me laugh in the moment I was supposed to be teaching the poor thing a song, it would never have died in the first place.  Ultimately, it was due to cleaning up bird insides that made us late for our weekly excursion.

Iris simply shrugged at my weak excuse.  “How about we call it a draw?”

I sighed heavily in frustration.  “Can we just go?  James is waiting!”  Without waiting for a reply, I dashed off again towards the exit to the castle.

“Well, if it’s James we’re talking about, there’s no way we can be late!”  My friend poked at my weakness mercilessly.

“IRIS!”

She simply laughed.  “Minny, you are impossible!”

It’s a strange thing, but in my life, the worst possible thing always seems to happen at the worst possible moment.  I say this, because as Iris and I neared the exit to the castle that we call our school, who shows up?  Delicia Evans.

Yes, you heard me correctly.  That is her name.  Think about it for a moment, ponder what comes to mind at this awful name: Delicia.  If you thought about something sugary, I personally am reminded of honey, you have half of her personality down exactly.  Delicia is the typical Fairytale beauty: golden hair, large, expressive blue eyes, and scarlet red lips the color of a blossoming rose.  The Professors adore her, and all the other girls hate her.  Sadly, despite this, all the Mary Blythe girls aspire to be as beautiful and popular as Delicia.  She may seem sugary sweet on the outside, but the inside is as rotten as a witch’s cauldron.  Delicia takes joy in spreading rumors, backstabbing, and snitching to the Professors when someone does wrong.

Of all the times for Delicia to catch us sneaking out of the school, this was not the preferred time for her to do so.

“My, my, my.” She drawled from an entryway to an empty ballroom.  The blonde beauty must have been lurking in the shadows, waiting for someone to come dashing by.  “If it isn’t Impossible Iris and Mousy Minny.”  She paused, flashing us a brilliant smile that would someday cause a prince to fall head over heels in love.  “Where could the two of you going to need to run so fast to get there?”

We stopped dead in our tracks.  Iris willingly stepped up to face the thread of danger, as she always did.  I, on the other hand, was content to make myself as small and quiet as I could, hiding behind my brave friend.

“That,” Iris proclaimed grandly.  “Would be none of your business, Miss Delicia.”

Delicia’s perfect eyebrows rose.  “Are you contradicting me, Iris?”

“Yes, I am.  Now if you excuse us, we’ll be on our way.” Iris grabbed me by the arm and we stalked away.

I turned my head around, stealing one last glance at the hated Delicia.  Her ocean colored eyes bore into mine like a hawk’s would, and her head was cocked to the side in mild interest.  I knew she was up to something, but as always, I ignored the fact, and stepped onto the sunlit grounds of Mary Blythe’s castle with Iris.

Let me tell you about Mary Blythe’s.  The school is in a medium sized castle, with three main floors and a basement.  The basement is where the maids sleep and keep their cleaning supplies.  On the first floor, you can find the dining hall, several ballrooms, and some smaller halls used for lectures.  The second floor is where all the classes were held, with the exception of Magic, which is taught in the various towers.  Our dormitories filled the third floor, and that was the loudest part of the castle.

The exterior of the school was exactly like a fairytale castle should be.  It had towers, turrets, and balconies that looked over a large courtyard.  The building was surrounded completely by lush gardens filled with all sorts of flowers, herbs, and sparkling fountains.  The castle is guarded by a large stone wall that loops its way around the garden and is covered with ivy.  The only way into the castle is through the huge gates on the south side of the wall.  At least, everyone thought that these gates were the only way in.

During our second year attending Mary Blythe’s, Iris and I had found a new way out of the castle, which was simply by climbing up the ivy on the walls and crawling over.  It worked really well, if you didn’t mind a few bruises and scratches.

Today, we scrambled across the rose gardens and up the ivy wall; too much in a hurry to realize that we were being followed.

From the top of the wall, you can see the whole surrounding area.  You can see the small village of Myrtle.  There’s a large lake, and another castle on the opposite side: St. Raoul Kenneth’s School.  The landscape consisted of rolling hills, patches of forests, and a large open sky.

Iris and I leapt from the top of the wall, and after a moment of terrifying free fall; I hit the ground with a thump, crumbling in a heap.  Iris, on the other hand, landed gracefully on her feet, and after helping me up, we sped on our way.

Our meeting place was in a small thicket of woods along the edge of the lake.  We would sit beneath the maples and the willows for hours upon hours, sharing stories of our childhoods and dreaming about our futures.  Iris would go on and on about somehow becoming a knight, James had dreams to be a great scholar, while I would talk about how I hoped to grow up and marry someone with a large library and raise a dozen children.

It was another ten minutes before we came to our sacred spot beneath a particularly large willow.  Midori, we called the tree, after the fabled goddess of the earth.  Beneath our beloved Midori’s hanging limbs, sat a black haired young man.  He looked up when he heard the rustle of our feet, and his face lit up like a candle.

My heart flip-flopped in my chest at the sight of him, and I smiled weakly.

“There you two are!”  James said in delight.  “I’ve been waiting for almost an hour!”

“Sorry, James.” Iris said, plopping down on a large root next to him.  “We were… delayed.”  She shot me a comical glare.

I sighed heavily, and James turned to me.  “Minny!  This is all your fault?”  By the tone of his voice, I could tell he was jesting, but a part of me seemed to wither away at his words.

“I’m sorry.”  I replied meekly.

“No worries, though.  It was extremely amusing watching her detonate that bird in Magic Class.  You should have seen the look on the other girls’ faces!”  Iris laughed loudly.

“You what?”  James looked at me in shock, a hint of a smile painted across his handsome face.

I then proceeded to tell him the whole story, starting from where Iris mentioned that Professor of Magic had a white splatter on the very rear of her gown, which caused me to laugh in the first place.  James was an excellent listener, he laughed along with Iris (who was now snorting in a very unladylike manner) and even I couldn’t help giggling.

It was when we heard a snap that the three of us froze.  My head whipped around.

We had been followed.

There in the shadows of the forest thicket stood Delicia.  Her golden hair was a mess, and there were several rips in her pale pink gown.  Her eyes were wide as saucers as she gazed at us, no, scratch that, as she gazed at James.  To my ultimate disbelief, he gazed right back.

A strange, unknown feeling seeped over me, filling my very being.  How could Delicia have followed us?  And now she simply stood there, gawking like a child at my James!  I had the sudden urge to get up and give her a good shove; after all, she deserved it.  Yet, being the small, meek, “mousy” Minny, I stood rooted to my seat.

It was Iris who found her voice first.  “What are you doing here?”  Like my insides, her voice was as cold as winter’s worst chill.  She glared daggers at the blonde beauty.

“I… I…” but Delicia couldn’t seem to find her voice.  Her eyes darted from Iris, to James, to me, and back to James again.

Surprisingly, I got to my feet.  “Um…” I looked down at my feet awkwardly, trying to find words to say.  My mind ordered me to do the same as Iris, to scream at Delecia, to attack her, to make sure she would never interfere with me ever again, but what I found myself saying came out the exact opposite.  “Delicia, this is our friend James.”  I motioned to James, who was now looking at me with the strangest of looks in his beautiful grey eyes.  “James, this is Delicia, a girl from our school.”

James got to his feet and bowed deeply.  “Pleased to meet you, Miss Delicia.”

Delicia’s face turned a rosy shade of pink, as she curtseyed in reply.  “The pleasure’s all mind, Sir.”

Iris gaped at me.  I shot her a look telling her to shut up.

“If you don’t mind me suggesting, Miss, but perhaps you should head back to the school.  You never know what dangers a wood like this one can conceal.” James spoke with such sincerity, in such a gentlemanlike manner, that I was forced to simply stare at him in shock.  Around me, James had always been slightly clumsy with his words.  He never bowed, and he always seemed to stutter when the topic of conversation got too intimate.

Delicia smiled shyly at him.  “I thank you for your concern, good kind Sir, but I wish to inquire about why these other fine ladies can stay while I must return to the castle?”

James merely smiled warmly at her.  “I have important matters to discuss with Miss Minerva and Miss Iris.”  This sent a pleasant shiver down my spine; he had never called me Miss before or even mentioned my full name.  “Otherwise I would accompany you back.  But, this is urgent and I cannot delay our conversation.  Farewell, Lady Delicia!”  With that, he bowed once again.

Delicia, who couldn’t really think of anything to say or do, simply curtsied clumsily and scrambled back through the woods.

I sighed in relief as I sunk back to my seat.  My worries about James being smitten by Delicia, however, were still as great as ever.  What if he liked her better than me?  She definitely is prettier than I am.  She’s better at magic, and everyone likes her.  There’s no way James could not be instantly in love with her.  His gentlemanlike manner told me that much.  I hung my head in disappointment.  For four years, I’ve harbored my feelings for him, only telling Iris that I had a slight crush.  Four years of sleepless nights spent dreaming about him, only to be washed away by the first regal beauty to come along.

Iris, however, wasn’t going to let me stay in my thoughts for long.  “MINNY, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”  She screeched, leaping to her feet.

I looked up at my friend and gulped.  “Um… I don’t know.”  I thought for a moment, and said lamely.  “I had to be polite.”

“POLITE?  Minny, you hate Delicia!  I can’t believe she followed us, the lying little wench!  She’s lower than dirt, I tell you!  Someday, I’m just going to wring her pretty little—“

“Iris!  That’s enough.”  James commanded sternly.  For a moment, he looked like the knight that he in school to become.  Iris, realizing this, sat back down.  “This girl followed you guys here, so what?  It’s not like she can do anything to you.  I made sure of that.”

Iris rolled her eyes.  “Yeah, completely charming her really helped.”

James shrugged.  “Hey, it got her to leave, didn’t it?”

I shook my head, ignoring their arguing.  “You’re just saying that because…” my voice cracked. “… Because you like her!”

James looked at me, completely bewildered.  “What?”

I nodded.  “How can you not like her?”  Tears began forming in my eyes, to my great embarrassment.  “Delicia’s beautiful, amazing at magic, rich, and everyone likes her!  I don’t blame you, James, really I can’t.  All these years I’ve hoped…” I trailed off, wiping my eyes on my sleeve.  “… Well, it doesn’t matter anymore now.”

Iris must have noticed the awkwardness of the situation, and said quickly.  “I… uh… think I’m going to make sure that Delicia isn’t lurking around anywhere.”  She clambered away through the woods, leaving me alone with my four-year crush.

“Minny, what on earth are you talking about?” James asked me softly, gazing at me with a strange look in his grey eyes.

“You were so, so, gentlemanlike around her.  You’ve never acted that way around me, not even once!”  I cried, tears of disappointment falling down my face.

“Minny, come over here.”  James soothed.  I didn’t move.  “Please?”

At those words, I got up and took a seat next to him.

“Are you telling me that you like me?” James questioned, touching my cheek gently and lifting my face to meet his.

I nodded slightly, casting my eyes downwards.  I had never been this close to him before, never felt his breath on my face.  I took a deep breath as it spread warmth through me, reaching every corner of my being.

James then did something completely unexpected.  He leaned in slightly and touched my lips to his.  I was in shock.  His kiss swept through me in a way I could have never imagined it to.  When James pulled away a few moments later, there was a small smile on his face.

I couldn’t tear my eyes off him.  Why had he just done that?  Does that mean he likes me too?  No, a corner of my mind told me, there’s no way he could.  Not when he could have someone like Delicia.

“Why didn’t you tell me, Minny?” James asked.

I shrugged.  “I didn’t think you liked me back.  I didn’t think…” I paused.  “I didn’t think I was good enough for you

James shook his head.  “Never say that, Minny.  I really like you too; in fact, I’ve always liked you.  Who cares about beauty?  You’re beautiful on the inside.  You’re the nicest, and smartest, and most caring person I’ve ever met.  Plus, it really takes true courage to introduce a girl you hate to your long time crush and act so casually about it.”

“You really think so?” I blushed.  “But then, why did you always act so awkward around me?” I queried.

“I got nervous around you, Minny.  I didn’t think you felt the same way, and I didn’t want to humiliate myself.  So many girls just care about their looks and being saved by handsome princes, it’s easy to please them, if you know how to act.  But you, Minny, you’re different.  You don’t care about what people think of you, you have no wish to be enchanted and rescued.  All you want is to be happy in life, and therefore I had no idea how to act around you.  They don’t teach us about girls like you at SRK.”

“Well I liked you the whole time, so there was no need to worry about a thing.”  I told him, giggling slightly.  “All this time, we’ve liked each other, but have been too embarrassed to say anything.”

James smiled that smile I loved so much.  “It’s silly, isn’t it?”  And then, he kissed me again.

Later that day, Iris and I walked back up to the castle.  It was later than usual, and I knew we would be scolded for being late to dinner, but I really didn’t care.

“So Minny,” Iris smiled wickedly at me.  “Did you finally get your ‘happily ever after’?”

I smiled right back at her.  “Nope.  But what I did get was an invitation to the annual St. Raoul Kenneth’s Midsummer Ball.  From there, we’re just going to go with the flow.”

Iris chuckled.  “Typical Minny.  Well, I’m happy for you.”

I nodded.  “Yeah, it’s nice to beat Delicia in something, isn’t it?”

Iris let out a bark of laughter.  “Wait until she hears about you and James!  Can you picture the look on her face?”

We returned to the castle of Mary Blythe’s Academy for the Proper Young Lady, laughing the whole way.  Like I said before, Tuesdays were bad, but they always had some good in the end.  For the first time, I felt like one of the girls in the fairy tales.  Sure, James was no Prince Charming, and I was no Cinderella, but maybe someday, I’ll have my own happily ever after.


© Copyright 2019 Lady Alanna. All rights reserved.

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