ONCE UPON A TWILIGHT CONTEST
Title: True Love's First Kiss, A Modern Fairy Tale
POV: Third Person
Summary: Princess Bella is locked in a tower until true love's first kiss frees her.
This story is being submitted as an entry for the Once Upon a Twilight Contest, hosted by wishimight and staceygirl aka jackbauer. For complete contest details, to read the rest of the contest submissions, or if you are interested in entering, please visit the contest community at:
Entries accepted until 8/20/09
Voting begins 8/22/09
A/N: This is a fairy tale in the style of the movie, Ella Enchanted: fairy tale themes with modern references, and I also stole bits from Sleeping Beauty and The Princess Bride. SMeyer owns Twilight.
Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away lived the good and benevolent King Charles and his flighty wife, Queen Renee. They lived a pleasant life ruling over the Kingdom of Forks, yet yearned for a child.
Finally, a daughter was born to them. The kingdom rejoiced. They named her Isabella, for she had a beautiful heart shaped face and warm brown eyes. The King and Queen invited all the fairies in the kingdom to celebrate the baptism of their Princess Isabella.
All the fairies arrived on the appointed day and gave her gifts of beauty, intelligence, empathy, and culinary skills. The last fairy, Fairy Angela, was about to give Princess Isabella the gift of grace when there was a terrible roar and the evil Fairy Lauren appeared.
"How dare you invite all the fairies of the kingdom and forget me?" she roared.
King Charles was surprised. "Whatever do you mean? We invited all the fairies of the kingdom, Fairy Lauren." He did not notice Queen Renee trying to hide in the corner of her throne.
"Silence!" she cried. "I do not lie! I did not receive an invitation, so I will give my gift now!"
The King and Queen were terrified. Fairy Lauren was an evil fairy, and surely was up to no good. Queen Renee ran to the beautiful, flower-laden cradle that contained her child and scooped the princess into her arms. Her husband ran down from his throne and placed himself between the Queen and the Fairy. However, this did nothing to prevent Fairy Lauren, who held out one long, pointed finger towards the baby and made her pronouncement:
"I hereby curse Princess Isabella. She will be locked in a tower for eighteen years. Only when a prince arrives to give her true love's first kiss, will she be freed."
King Charles looked up. "A kiss? She only needs a kiss to be freed from the tower? That's not so bad."
"Silence!" screeched Fairy Lauren. "It must be true love's first kiss. It must be a kiss of true love, and only from a prince."
"But how will we know which prince, and how to be sure of his love?" implored the Queen, realizing what a dreadful curse this was.
Fairy Lauren cackled. "You won't know!"
"And what happens when she turns 18 and hasn't had true love's first kiss yet?"
Fairy Lauren drew herself up to her full height and said in her darkest voice, "Then she will die an old maid!"
Queen Renee screamed and King Charles shuddered. No one seemed to notice when Fairy Angela stepped out of the shadows.
"And how exactly do you define an old maid?" she asked.
"Unmarried. With cats," the evil Fairy responded.
Fairy Angela considered the response. "Are you quite finished with your gift to the princess, Fairy Lauren?" she asked calmly.
"Yes!" roared Fairy Lauren.
Fairy Angela moved to stand by the King and Queen. She spoke to them in a quiet, yet firm voice. "I do not have the power to take away Fairy Lauren's curse, but I can soften it. If by her 18th birthday Princess Isabella has not received true love's first kiss, she will be unmarried. With cats. But she will no longer live in the tower. She will live here in the palace with you."
Fairy Lauren shrieked in rage, as the formerly terrified faces of the King and Queen softened. "Thank you, Fairy Angela," they cried.
So, after that tumultuous day, Princess Isabella received her final, tear-soaked good byes from her parents, and was sent to live in a tower far away. But Fairy Angela went with her, determined to make the tiny princess's life as pleasant as possible, considering the circumstances.
**Seventeen and a Half Years Later**
Prince Edward was exhausted, but his goal was in sight. He had slashed his way through the thickest thorn bushes, scaled cliffs to the top of this mountain, and had given a sleeping potion to slip past the fire-breathing dragon. He was about to find the fair princess, kiss her, and win the prize. His father, King Carlisle, would be so proud of him!
The Prince found some ivy growing along the walls of the tower and climbed it into a window. What luck! As soon as he entered the window, he realized he was in the bedchamber of a young woman. A beautiful woman with long brown hair and a heart shaped face. She was sitting on the floor, her nose buried in a book. He was about to leap in and give her a kiss, but he stopped for a moment and noticed his surroundings. There were piles and piles of books everywhere. There were papers and pencils, apples, more books, and a large looking glass in the corner. It was not what he was expecting. And the scent… freesia and strawberries? He was expecting to find a beautiful princess lying dormant on a canopied bed with rose blossoms. He thought he might have mistakenly fallen into the bedchamber of a university student or a librarian. He decided to learn more about this person.
He cleared his throat nosily to get her attention. "Uh-hum."
The woman did not even bother to raise her eyes from the book. "If you're here to kiss me, go ahead and do it. I'm right in the middle of my favorite part of this book and you're the third prince to come by this week."
Prince Edward was dumbstruck. He was not expecting this reaction. He was expecting her to be dazzled by him (he was quite handsome, with his bronze hair, pale skin and green eyes). He decided to learn more about her before diving in for the kiss, so he sat down on the floor close to her, but not quite near enough to scare her.
"What are you reading?" he asked, with genuine interest.
She kept her nose buried in the book. "Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice."
"Are you at the part when Darcy declares his love for Elizabeth?"
The young woman's head jerked up. "You have read this?"
Prince Edward was gratified by the reaction. He gave her a crooked smile. "Yes, it's one of my favorites. I love how she was able to overcome her initial prejudice of him."
Princess Isabella sat up and really noticed Prince Edward for the first time. She seemed to like what she saw. "Yes, but she was prejudiced of him because of his pride at the dance. He neglected all the young ladies without partners and insulted Lizzie."
"He was shy. He had difficulty in the company of strangers. He was not used to that society."
"But he was a guest. He should have at least shown some respect and civility, and at least danced with some of the girls. He didn't have to marry them!"
Prince Edward laughed, "But he certainly did, didn't he? Marry one, I mean."
"And the perfect woman for him. Someone to match his wit and take his pride down a notch or two if needed," replied Princess Isabella with a knowing look.
Prince Edward felt his throat tighten and quickly changed the topic.
"What other books are your favorites?" he asked quickly.
They talked for hours about books. Prince Edward also learned that the looking glass was actually a communication device so that Princess Isabella could talk to others outside the tower. She received classroom instruction from some of the greatest minds in the kingdom and was well versed in the sciences, as well as in literature. But most importantly, the mirror was how she communicated with her parents.
"But how do you eat? Who provides for you?" asked Prince Edward.
Princess Isabella explained how Fairy Angela would deliver food every day, which the princess would prepare. The housecleaning and laundry were done by magic.
Princess Isabella gave Prince Edward a tour of the tower. It was actually quite comfortable.
"What happens if you try to escape?" he asked.
"You can leave, but I can't. Here, I'll show you." Princess Isabella placed her arm outside the window. At first, it was fine, but when she leaned further outside, it was as if her hand hit an invisible wall.
"See? There's an invisible wall that only works for me."
Prince Edward was astonished. He had never seen anything like it. He leaned his own arm out the window and did not feel anything at all. "Amazing," he breathed.
"Magic," she replied.
They made their way into the kitchen and Princess Isabella made some snacks for them. On the way, Prince Edward noticed the baby grand piano in the corner. The prince was excited, but tried to contain his emotions.
"Do you play?" he asked, his arm indicating the piano. Princess Isabella just glanced at it.
"No, I tried. I'm not terribly good. I think it's better learned when the teacher is in the same room as you, and not trying to see your fingers move through a magic mirror," she responded wryly.
"I can teach you," Prince Edward said quickly. Then, he felt a bit shy. "If you're interested."
Princess Isabella looked at the prince and smiled. She liked the emotions she saw in his face. "Yes, I'd like that," she responded. "But first I want to hear you play. I want to hear if my teacher is good," she joked.
Prince Edward smiled, sat on the piano bench, and started to play Claire de Lune. It was a lovely melody that moved Princess Isabella more than she had expected. She sat down on the bench next to him, closed her eyes and let the music overwhelm her. It was the loveliest thing she had ever heard in her entire life.
She looked at Prince Edward. She made her decision.
"You may kiss me now," she said simply.
Prince Edward was surprised. "Are you sure? I don't want to be too forward."
"Oh, you're not at all. You're the nicest prince by far. Prince Michael of Newton was just here, and he shoved his tongue down my throat. I sent the dragon after him."
Prince Edward was amused, but a bit fearful. "I don't want to hurt you, and I don't a dragon to harm me either."
"Just shut up and kiss me, Prince Edward."
Princess Isabella closed her eyes and pursed her lips in Prince Edward's direction. He slowly moved his lips to meet hers. They kissed. It was the most perfect kiss in the entire world. Their lips met. The sun was setting in the window behind them. Birds chirped. There was love.
Princess Isabella opened her eyes and looked at the Prince. "Edward, you're sparkling."
And it was true. For an instant, Princess Isabella saw diamonds sparkling on Prince Edward's skin. And just as quickly, it was gone.
Prince Edward opened his eyes and gazed into her deep brown ones. His heart stopped for a moment. "Did you feel that too?''
Just then, there was a loud noise, and the mirror cracked and fell into a thousand pieces onto the floor. Princess Isabella ran to it in tears and picked up the sharp pieces of glass. Prince Edward ran to her, trying to comfort the sobbing princess.
"Oh no!" she cried. "Now I will never see my family again!"
Just then, there was a sudden breeze and Fairy Angela appeared before them. She dressed in a gorgeous gown and carrying her fairy wand. Usually when Fairy Angela visited Princess Isabella, she would wear common clothes, but now she was dressed to show everyone that she was the Fairy Godmother. And she had a beautiful smile on her face, which actually seemed rather inappropriate considering the circumstances.
"Fairy Angela!" cried Princess Isabella, holding the broken bits of mirror as the Prince comforted her. "The mirror is broken!"
Fairy Angela smiled sweetly and gracefully lowered herself onto the floor beside Princess Isabella. She put an arm around the weeping princess. "The mirror broke because you're free, my child. You had true love's first kiss. You no longer need the mirror to see the outside world, nor for the outside world to see you, for the curse is broken. You and your true love can leave this tower and start your happily ever after."
Princess Isabella's sobs slowed as her Fairy Godmother spoke those words. Free! To come and go as she wished! To travel, to actually go to her parents and feel their arms around her and feel their breath on her skin as they kissed her goodnight! The mirror was good, but it could never replace a real physical embrace.
Now the princess's sobs turned to those of joy. She laughed and hugged her Fairy Godmother and then hugged Prince Edward. Wait, there was something else Fairy Angela had said, thought Princess Isabella, something about how her true love could leave the tower. Prince Edward was her true love?
Princess Isabella turned to the young man beside her. His green eyes met hers. She blinked and bit her lower lip. He looked amazing. Not only was he sparkling again, but suddenly his features seemed more god-like, his body more muscular and hard. She leaned away from Fairy Angela and towards the prince, who was staring back at her just as intensely as she was staring at him.
Princess Isabella placed her hand on his sculpted forearm. "My true love?" she whispered.
"Princess Bella, I do love you, and I wish to make you my wife. I was not planning to fall in love when I arrived today, but spending the day with you, and kissing you just now, made me realize you are the only one for me. Marry me, come live with me in the Kingdom of Cullen. Meet my family, they will love you! My father, King Carlisle, my mother, Queen Esme, my brothers, Princes Jasper and Emmett, and their wives, Princesses Alice and Rosalie. You'll love living in Cullen! There is a beautiful meadow hidden far away deep in the woods. It's my favorite place, and I would love to show it to you. And in the castle, we have a library full of all the books ever written! That would be my gift to you, if you would be my bride." Prince Edward spoke the words, and then looked at Princess Isabella with great trepidation. His future happiness was in her hands. Her next words would decide if his future was bright or bleak.
She finally spoke. "Yes, Prince Edward, I will marry you. You have shown yourself to be my Darcy, my true mate. You have bedazzled me. You are my true love."
Then they sealed their proposal with true love's second kiss.
Magically, the gates of the tower opened up and the prince and princess rode away on a beautiful white horse into the sunset. Fairy Godmother Angela stayed behind to watch them ride into the distance. She then looked over at the broken mirror bits, and with a smile and the flick of her magic wand, the thousand bits of glass reassembled themselves into their proper place in the original mirror frame. With another flick of her wand, she changed the function of the mirror so that it would show her the future.
The mirror showed a great celebration with the return of Princess Isabella: a parade with music and dancers, confetti and flowers thrown onto the procession from the rooftops of the town. It showed Princess Isabella running into her castle home and flinging herself into the waiting arms of her parents. It showed King Charles and Queen Renee warmly embracing their new son-in-law. It showed a wedding at the castle, then three small children, one each a mini-version of their royal parents and the third a lovely blend of the two. It also showed Princess Isabella teaching the children of the kingdom in a huge library. Finally, it showed King Edward and Queen Isabella taking the throne from King Charles after his death many many years later (King Edward was the youngest son of King Carlisle, and Princess Isabella was the only child of King Charles, so Prince Edward and Princess Isabella inherited the throne of Forks). Lastly, it showed two aged lovers, lying in a meadow, holding hands and smiling as their lives faded into sunsets.
And it showed that they lived happily ever after.