So Close, Yet So Far

By: Jaded Image

AN: Why am I starting another story? There must be something wrong with me, but this idea has been stuck in my head for so long, I just had to write it out. Another when of your "What ifElla and Mandy had escaped that fateful night...",except this time, they don't run far.Indeed, they're basically "right next door" :)


"Mandy!" I shouted as soon as I reached the manor. A servant stared at me. I ran into the kitchen. "I've endangered Char again, and Kyrria! What can I do?"

"Pack your things," Mandy said as soon as she understood my rushed explanation.

Yes, pack. That's what I must do. We had to leave the manor as soon as possible. I had no doubt that Char would arrive, most likely demanding an explanation for all the treachery I have shown him.

I ran to my room and grabbed a worn knapsack from under the bed. My thoughts flew around inside my head and I had trouble focusing. I had been found out. My disguise as Lela had been completely blown, and all because of Hattie.

An indescribable hatred welled up inside of me, and I had the sudden urge to strangle the spoiled brat had she been here. As it were, I threw in my precious book and the one glass slipper, along with a clean shift and a change of maid's clothing.

While I packed, I heard horses neighing outside the manor and knew that Char had arrived, along with what sounded like a small army.

I had to leave. And soon. There was no time for me to change out of the beautiful gown I had worn, but I couldn't run very far in such an outfit. My face contorted into a painful wince as I considered what I had to do.

Rushing out of my room, I passed Nancy and ignored her startled glance. My thoughts focused on getting out without meeting up with the love of my life. The idea tore at me and I felt my heart crack little by little. By going to the balls, I had placed Char in danger. I had placed Kyrria in danger. I'm such a horrible person.

Tears made steady tracks along my powdered cheeks, but I made no effort in wiping them away. This was the path I chose for myself. I chose to hurt myself and my love more by attending the dance. I had wanted one last look…

I fairly flew into the kitchen where Mandy was busy wrapping food in a linen cloth. She glanced at me and asked, "My lady, you haven't changed?"

The front door to the manor opened, and I could hear Hattie gushing nonsense while Dame Olga fawned over such extravagant guests. "I—There's no time! Mandy we have to go…"

"Ay, lady, come." She grabbed my arm and led me to the servant's entrance connected to the kitchen. At the door, I delayed her command to cast one last look back into the kitchen where I had spent so much time. I could hear the servant's whispered chattering as they all gathered in the front hall. No doubt Char had requested a meeting with all the servants.

His presence pulled at my heartstrings, especially with him so close.

"Come, lady! We must go!" Mandy yanked on my arm and I tumbled through the open door. Without a pause, Mandy shut the door and dragged me into the nearby copse of trees. For a fairy past her prime, she was rather nimble on her feet. I had to struggle to keep up with her pace. The skirts of the gown tangled itself between my legs, and I tripped over the hem.

"Wait, Mandy." I panted. She slowed down and cast an anxious look back at the house. We were in the forest, but if Char and his entourage happened to pass by any window facing the west, they could easily spot us. "Mother's dress…"

"There's no time to change, Ella. The prince will have to leave at some point, and he will see us if we do not go deeper into the forest."

I nodded and took hold of the bottom of the dress. With a mighty rip, the bottom hem of lace and silk ripped off, and I had to choke back a sob. "Lady…" Mandy whispered and knelt by my side. "Dresses can be fixed. What you are doing is saving a whole country. Be proud, sweet, for there is none more brave than you." And she offered her hand to me.

The two of us made our way deeper into the forest, and even though I could no longer see the manor, I still glanced back to the home where I had lived since I was born. The home with so many memories. The place where I just left the love of my life.

End Prologue

AN: This will be a multi-chaptered story, in case that wasn't obvious. Not a wholly original idea, but I'll try to make it interesting. I was so stuck on this idea that I already typed out the first seven if I get good feedback, the next one should be out in a few days.

So please read and review! If you guys don't like it, I don't feel the need to continue.