Asher was in his wedding uniform, which was the same thing he'd worn to the ball. He looked ready, but he wasn't.
All he could think about was Cinderella locked in the dungeon. He knew she would never attack anyone. But he didn't have proof.
That lady that had her arrested was terrible. He knew she'd made up the whole story, and I guess Cinderella was an easy target. He sighed as he lifted his crown and placed it on his head. There was no way to stop it now.
Cinderella looked at the house from the trees. The guards were standing around the entire building.
"How am I going to get in?" She asked herself. Then her attention was drawn to a tree that was by the house. And there were several trees close to that one. Maybe she could get to the roof.
Asher walked out with his father and mother and stood at the end of the isle. The entire kingdom was there.
Cinderella managed to make it to the roof, but not without being seen.
"She's in the house!" a guard shouted "Quick! Inside!"
Cinderella ran through the halls "Jilly! Tanya! Jonny! Where are you?"
She could hear the guards running through the door downstairs "Where are you three?"
The wedding march started and Asher watched as Lizzie started the down the long two hundred yard aisle. But it still wasn't long enough. If only the aisle would stretch so the wedding could never happen.
She managed to slip down the stairs without being seen. She found the kids in the kitchen.
They ran to her "We thought we'd never see you again!" Jilly whispered.
Cinderella hugged all three of them "I'll always be there for you. Now, we need to get out."
The kitchen door burst open, and there stood a guard!
Lizzie finally reached where the prince was waiting. She sent him a toothy smile and batted her eyelashes rapidly. Another way he knew she was the wrong girl.
He sighed and shook his head. If only the ground would swallow him.
Cinderella and the three kids ran for the kitchen door.
A guard appeared in their way, but they kept running.
"Stop!" the guard shouted. But they didn't "Halt!" they didn't even slow down.
They ran right into him, sending him sprawling on the ground. Then they ran out the door and into the woods, with fifty men chasing them. Cinderella picked up Jonny and grabbed Tanya's hand. Jilly grabbed Tanya's other hand and ran as fast as she could.
"We can't stop." Cinderella told the kids "We have to keep going!"
They nodded in understanding. Cinderella had someplace to go. And she was determined to get there.
"And do you Prince Asher take Miss Lizzie to be your wife?" the priest said
"He does." The queen answered.
The priest blinked then turned to Lizzie "Do you Miss Lizzie, take His Royal Highness, Prince Asher to be your husband?"
Lizzie batted her eyelashes "I do!"
Asher groaned. This could not be happening.
"Then by the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you…"
Everyone spun around as the back doors swung open and the voice echoed through the room. Cinderella was standing in the doorway, the three kids behind her.
She walked up to where her stepsister was standing.
"An outrage!" The queen screamed.
"Your Majesties." Cinderella said "I'm here to set something right. Lizzie is not the girl that Asher danced with at the ball. I am."
The crowd gasped.
"Preposterous!" The King shouted "There is no way!"
"Actually, Your Highness, there is." Cinderella looked him in the eye, and then reached her hand into her pocket and pulled out the butterfly barrette that had been in her hair that night.
Everyone gasped. Was it possible?
The guards that had been chasing them ran through the doors just then "There she is!"
"Listen to me!" Cinderella said as the guards grabbed her arms "You don't want him to marry Lizzie! She doesn't love him!"
Lady Guinevere rushed up to the stage "She lies! it's all a plot to get the kingdom!"
"Take her away!" The King ordered "And this time, make sure she doesn't escape!"
"Please just listen!" Cinderella begged "She'll destroy you!"
"Get her out of here!" Lady Guinevere screeched.
"WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?" A voice boomed through the room, causing everyone to look towards the back doors.
An older man with a ragged beard and grizzled hair was standing in the doorway. His clothes were wrinkled and torn, but he was standing straight and tall.
Cinderella looked back and gasped "Daddy?"
Captain James Howard looked at the girl that the guards were holding "Cassidy?"
Cinderella pulled away from the guards and ran up the isle "Dad! You're alive!"
He met her halfway, picked her up and spun her around "My little angel!"
She tightened her arms around his neck "I can't believe you're alive!" happy tears flowed down her cheeks as she clung to the man that she thought had dies.
Asher watched them, smiling broadly.
The king and queen looked at each other "Cinderella was James's daughter?"
When the father and daughter finally pulled away from each other, he looked at her messed up hair all the way down to her bare feet "What happened?"
Cassidy looked back at her stepmother and two stepsisters "Well…"
Lady Guinevere started to walk away "I think we have some catching up to do. Huh?"
Asher stepped forward "Since Cinderella… I mean, Cassidy isn't going to speak, I will." He looked at the girl and smiled "She's been running the streets. Having to take care of herself and three other kids by stealing."
"And why?" James asked.
"Lady Guinevere tried to hand her over to Uganda." Asher answered, causing everyone in the room to gasp for the third time since Cassidy had arrived "But, she ran. She survived by stealing the food she needed, then helping others. She rescued three other kids from the woman and raised them too."
Captain Howard looked down at his daughter, then up at his wife "You kicked my daughter out of my house?"
"W…we thought you were dead." Lady Guinevere stammered lamely "We didn't think you were coming back."
"The reason I married you was so if anything happened to me, Cassidy would still have somebody!" He shook his head "You let me and my daughter down. You will be punished."
The queen sat down on her throne "Guards! Take those three away!"
The guards grabbed Lady Guinevere and her two daughters and dragged them to the dungeon.
Captain Howard chuckled "I'll get them out later." He looked at his daughter and smiled "I knew you'd look like your mother when you grew up."
The king cleared his throat "Well. I guess everyone's dismissed. There's no wedding."
"Actually." Asher said, walking towards where Cassidy and her father were standing "If she accepts, there will be." He held his hand out to her "What do you say? Will you be my real bride?"
Cassidy laughed with joy as she threw her arms around the Prince's neck "Yes!"
The crowd started cheering. They were all happy that their Cinderella was going to get her happily ever after.
Jilly, Tanya, and Jonny walked over to them.
"Cinderella." Jilly said quietly "What about us?"
Cassidy looked at the children then up at Asher, who chuckled and nodded "Y'all are going to live here with us."
"Really?" Tanya screamed "Live in the castle? Like princesses?"
Cassidy nodded "I promised I would never desert you."
The three kids hugged her "We love you… Mama."
Captain Howard sniffed "I've already got three grandchildren! I'm old!"
Cassidy laughed as she stood back to her feet.
The queen called some maids "Please take Cassidy and the three children and get them cleaned up. We've got a wedding to do!"
Now Asher was watching as his true bride walked down the aisle. Where the wedding dress had come from, he didn't know, and he didn't care. It was the same style and had the same design as the gown she had worn to the ball. She looked even more beautiful than he had ever seen her. Her smile had no stress behind it. She had no worries anymore, and the years of hardship had just made her stronger.
The three kids were walking in front of her. Tanya was the flower girl. Jonny the ring bearer, and Jily was the maid of honor.
Cassidy was walking down the aisle, her arm looped through her fathers, but her eyes were on the Prince.
When they reached where he was waiting, Asher held out his hand to her and she took it. Then they turned to face the priest.
The three kids watched happily as their family came together. And as the years passed, Asher and Cassidy had their own children. Uganda had been thrown into the dungeon and an orphanage was opened, run by the sweetest couple in town.
Lady Guinevere, Lizzie and Lulu had to work in the orphanage. If they said one harsh word to the children, they had to work an hour longer than usual.
Cassidy was standing on a balcony, listening to the happy laughter of children in the yard.
Asher walked out behind her "Hey."
She smiled at him "Hi."
He stepped beside her and slid an arm over her shoulder "Is everything alright?"
She leaned her head on his shoulder and sighed "Yes. Everything is perfect."