'Everyone in the ball turned and stared at Cinderella. Even Prince Charming had noticed her…'

Linda listened to Gran's voice as it trailed from Moyra's bedroom into her own. Flat on her back, underneath her sheets, the teenager listened intently. Some would say she was too old to hear these stories; that they were for children Moyra's age and she should go read more sophisticated and comprehensive books, like the books her parents had on the bookshelves. Linda did not really care for those kinds of novels. They were always about boring subjects and had no real imagination to them. She loved the fairytales Gran read. She loved them because they were the exact opposite of reality. In those stories, mice turned into horses; pumpkins could be carriages; a servant girl can become a beautiful princess over night and fall in love with a handsome prince. In the "real world", mice were exterminated; pumpkins were carved or made into pies; and servant girls were servant girls. The fairytales seemed so much nicer than the world she lived in. It always was.

If anything, it was, at least, better than her own. Alex Delarge had seen to that the day they met. He had been so charming with his handsome smile, unique nadsat language she was lucky enough to understand, and his overall appearance. Of course, she had seen him for what he really had been: A complete ruffian. A criminal, a menace to society that was free to linger up and down the streets at night and terrorize and hurt other people. A 'malchick' in his language. Linda had been sure to stay away from him. Yet, at the same time she felt incapable.

She had been so stupid to believe it. The thought was so childish. It reminded her of the girls in her school: swooning over boys that do not want nor care for them; making fools of themselves and constantly making advances whether sexually implied or not. Boys like Alex were never 'boyfriend material'. They were only interested in the old in and out, in and out; nothing more. It hurt sometimes to think of it when she laid in her bed listening to these stories. She always Alex as pictured prince charming and herself as the princess, no matter how hard she tried not to do so. It was so ludicrous. Turning over in her bed, she listened to the rest of the story, and then heard Moyra's angelic voice speak.

"Does prince charming love Cinderella?"

'No,' Linda thought.

"Of course he does. What would make you say such a thing?" Gran asked.

"Because Linda said that boys never really love girls. She said they're bad to them."

She heard the hesitation in Gran's voice, "Well Linda is young, just like you. You'll both find love, you just have to wait. Don't let things like that bother you, darling." She said this with comfort and tenderness in her voice, but Linda knew she was holding back all the concern and slight aggravation she felt.

"Okay."

"Goodnight, sweetheart."

"Night, Gran."

A few moments later, Linda heard the door close gently and hers open a little more than the crack it was earlier. She could feel the old woman's eyes on her back, not in a bad manner, but a worried one. Linda curled up into a ball more. The urge of tears came to her, yet she would restrain them until the door was completely closed.

"You should not tell her those kinds of things, Linda," Gran's voice broke the silence. "She is too young to be told such sad things." She felt one side of the bed sink slightly and a warm hand on her shoulder, "It will pass with time. Heartache is an awful burden to bear for someone as young as you."

Gran kissed her temple, and she saw her room go into seer darkness. Linda let out a sob…