Disclaimer: Disney owns this like it owns the souls of the children eternally trapped in Small World. (Don't worry. They feed them at least once a month.)
Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.
Hans Christian Andersen
Memoirs of a Sugar Queen
1. Charlotte's mother is the one who first calls her Lottie. After she dies, exactly three people are allowed to continue: Tia, Eudora, and her father.
2. Her father never does. It's the only thing she's wanted that she's never asked him for.
3. She keeps her hair short even before bobs become popular. People believe she's simply fashion forward but really it's because Rapunzel doesn't have a happy ending.
4. Two weeks after Tia's father is killed in the war Eudora gets a letter denying her the financial support due a soldier's widow. Three days later Charlotte demands eighteen new dresses, handmade by Eudora. Her father looks at her, smiles, and makes it an even twenty.
5. She is not a scholar. Math frustrates her, history bores her, and French confuses her. She spends more time and energy avoiding her lessons than working at them.
6. At least until she sees the way Tia stares at her school books, recognizes the look in her eyes whenever Lottie complains about having to study when she'd rather be out playing. She throws the biggest tantrum of her young life that night. The next morning her tutors are informed that they will be taking on another student.
7. Three years after her mother passes away she decides it's high time she acquires an evil stepmother.
8. It shouldn't have been difficult her father is rich and kind and good looking. The problem is that he's also smart. He's a business man, a good one, and he didn't get that way by being oblivious to the motives of the people around him. He sends each of the increasingly horrible women packing with barely a second glance but he never tells her stop.
9. That particular honor has always gone to Tiana.
10. Tiana is her best friend. This has never changed.
11. When Lottie is fourteen she is sent away to finishing school. She is an instant success. She is rich and beautiful and everyone wants to be her friend. There is one girl (equally lovely equally wealthy) named Anna who she is particularly close to so when the Christmas holidays arrive it only make sense to invite her home.
12. The visit is supposed to last three weeks. It lasts less than three hours.
13. Later, after Anna is safely on a train headed straight for New York, Lottie wonders how such a pretty girl can say such ugly things. She wonders how anyone could believe them.
14. Lottie does not just see royalty in herself. She sees the potential for princesses everywhere. In her school friends and in Eudora but especially, especially in Tia. It's why she isn't particularly surprised when her best friend marries Naveen.
15. Lottie loves marriage. In fact, she loves it so much that she does it three times before she turns thirty.
16. Her first husband is a Duke. He's handsome and rich and charming and he doesn't love her even a little. The whole affair lasts eight months and after she signs the divorce papers she never speaks to him again.
17. Her second husband is a good man. He's safe and reliable and at least moderately fond of her and they spend five years together, blandly content. Then her father collapses.
18. He and Eudora have never been together but the possibility has always been there. Hers is the hand he reaches out for as he's dying. Lottie spends the night crying and thinking. She signs the papers for a second time the next morning.
19. Her third husband is sweet and awkward and she's known him forever. He's loved her since they were both thirteen. She never signs the papers again.
20. Because sometimes when a woman says 'Later' she really does mean later. Much, much later. . . Even if she doesn't know it.
A/N: Got 'The Princess and the Frog' on DVD and this snuck into my brain somehow . . . Lottie is my favorite character. :)
Reviews are both appreciated and adored!