Disclaimer: I do not own Ever After.

Can a Stepmother Cry?

"And Rodmilla shall agree." I hear my mother's voice. It is as though a voice can sign a fate.

I turn away from the door I had been standing behind. No use remaining. I know what they are discussing, and by God I wish I didn't.

I walk through the house, chin raised. The maids are mopping the floor. As I walk by, one trips over her bucket, splashing water onto my dress.

"I'm so sorry mistress!"

I turn my head to regard her. She is not worth speaking to. I raise an eyebrow, before continuing back to my wing.

The servants say I am haughty, and I suppose I am. No. I know I am. But why should I make myself anything else? No matter who I am, or rather, what character I posses, my life will remain the same.

"Daughter, your wedding is to be this coming week."

My eyes widen, and I feel them begin to prick, but I let no other expression enter my face.

"Remove that look from your face. Are you so ungrateful?" My heart clenches, as my mind tries to disguise the disdain it hears. Spoken through her words.

I try, mother. Really, I try. I narrow my eyes. It is the only way I stop all my emotions from showing; replacing them with a false set.

Anyone who would look at me now would think me arrogant, but I would disgrace my family more by crying.

I sit in front of the mirror in my wedding gown. My eyes are glassy. I once heard that glassy eyes are the sign of a dreamer, but I disagree. For one thing, I never was a dreamer. I never learnt how, no one would teach me. And even if I had been taught, I would never have let my self dream. Dreaming is saying you do not like your life…it is the utmost kind of insult. No, my glassy eyes are not the eyes of a dreamer; they are the eyes of a fish. A dead fish. All life gone, drained away, drowned. Beyond all hope of a return.

"Your face is dirty," she hisses as she turns away. Those are the last words I shall ever hear her say.

I rub briskly at my cheeks, a pretence of ridding the dirt, when in reality I just wish warmth would enter them. Then, raising my chin, and putting on a proud smile, I step through the door way. I walk down the aisle to stand by my future husband. My future life.

A/N: Rodmilla, the Baroness, seems such a lonely figure. I get the feeling she spent her life trying to BE something. Her brattish daughter, Marguerite, and Le Piu I feel no sympathy for, but there are moments when I catch myself wondering what Rodmilla was like as a girl. Somehow I don't think she was a dreamer in the way Danielle was, but it is my belief she did have some wishes which were never granted, and a life that would have made anyone unhappy.