Once Upon A Time writing contest entry:
Unexpected Fairytales by Miranda Kate (@PurpleQueenNL)
Lori stroked her hand over the cover of the book; a special edition copy of Cinderella. It had signs of age; the edges of the dust jacket were worn and the spine faded. But when she opened it and saw the inscription inside, her heart lifted; “I’ll be your Prince any day of the week!”
He had known how much she’d loved the story from the first evening they’d met, and how it had inspired her to become a children’s author. And when he had given it to her the night before she had left his country, it had encapsulated so much of how he had healed her. He had listened to her, considered her, thought about what she might like and acted on it. No one had ever done that before. That’s what had made him so special. And despite the fact her visa had run out, and that he was far too young for her, they had made a deep connection.
So it was no real surprise some 12 years later, while she was suffering again in a marriage where there was no one listening or considering her, that he appeared again. Serendipity put him just a two hour drive away, heart broken from his own marriage failure. This time she had done the healing; validating him as a person, and reminding him that someone cared. And then they had helped each other navigate the rapid waters of divorce, so they could live the life they both dreamed of together. It had been the ultimate fairy tale ending, just like in the book.
But the Happily Ever After had been short lived. Lori closed the book and hugged it close to her chest, looking across at the hospital bed. He had been so brave, her Prince, having fought the terminal liver cancer for more than two years when they had only given him 6 months. And looking at him now, with his beseeching eyes locked on hers, he made it clear he wasn’t ready to give up on their fairy tale ending just yet.