Twisted

On her wedding day, Ella couldn't have wished for more. She had everything, a prince, a palace, jewels and riches beyond imagination. But a hole fills her heart, yet she doesn't quite know why. On the other hand, Snow White is trapped in a loveless marriage with her supposed 'prince charming.' Meanwhile, Lady Tremaine, Ella's evil step-mother, still holds a heart full of hatred for her step-daughter. So when Lady Tremaine decides to call up some family to help brew up a spell for revenge, will all of the fairytale characters happy endings be in jeopardy?

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6. The Sleeping Curse- Snow White

"Snow, I love you." Her mother choked out the words accompanied by bright crimson blood that slithered on to the pure white bed sheets, thick and oozing. A knife glared evilly up at little Snow from her mothers hand. The second she had heard the heart-wrenching scream she had run, fly, up the stairs only to find her mother hunched over on the bed with a pitiless blade jammed into her heart. Snow now crouched by her mother's bed, tears streaming silently down her face. 

"Please don't leave mama, please, I need you." She whispered, touching her mother's cheek. The Queen smiled warmly up at her most beloved daughter, her eyes brimming with tears of proudness. She reached her hand weakly up to Snow's tear strewn face, rubbing her thumb in small circles as she had down ever since she was a baby. 

"You truly are the fairest of them all, my darling. I am so proud of you." Was the last thing that left the Queen's lips before her hand fell limply to her side and the life drained out of her muddy-brown eyes that Snow had inherited.

Snow started breathing rapidly, uncontrollably. She shook her mother gently at first, prodding her at the arm but then the soft actions became desperate. 

"No, no, mama, please, wake up!" The lone girl gurgled, her words thick and blocked by the ocean of tears and emotion. Snow suddenly started screaming, a hopeless and anguished sound. Her heart and soul cried for the woman who raised her, cried for the woman who loved her more than life itself, cried for the woman who treasured her most. Suddenly, the relaxed fire that blazed in the fire-place at the foot of the bed hissed and crackled a blood curdling laugh.

"Oh my dear Snow White..." It chuckled foully, "Do not despair, my young sister. Today, yes, you lost something dear to your heart, but fear not. You've created something, too. Me."

The seething fire rose and expanded as the flames kissed Snow's cheeks with its fiery rage. It began to take form, the brightness of its flames ebbing away as it morphed into a humanely figure. All the fire disappeared except for the remaining flames in the woman's eyes.

Essie.

Snow backed up against the white, disclosing walls. The heat had been wiped away from the room and in its place stood an unforgiving coldness as Esmerelda looked down sadistically at the little girl huddled in the corner, grinning hungrily. 

"Essie, please, please believe me, I never wanted to be the fairest, you can be it, I'm so sorry!" Snow sobbed mournfully into her trembling hands. 

Essie cooed in almost a motherly tone as she knelt down next to the crying girl. 

"There, there, Snow," She whispered, "You do not have to fear about being the fairest. No you do not have to worry at all." All of the kindness left Essie's voice in a rapidly, her face dancing with hatred.

She raised a knife above her head skillfully, the moonlight bouncing off it at odd angles. The gleam of the moon encircled Essie, making her look as if she was glowing, basking in the darkness of the night. 

"I will take care of everything." Essie laughed as the knife came sailing down towards Snow's heart.

"Help!" Snow screamed into the night as she shot up in bed, drenched with sweat and tears. The room was dark but warm with familiarity as she rocked back and forth, her knees tucked up to her chest. Suddenly, a hand rubbed her back in soft, round circles, just as her mother used to do. Snow yelped with fear, her heart was still racing from the nightmare and it didn't help that some unknown hand was trying to soothe her.

"Shhh... Snow, calm down, it's just me." A well-known voice whispered. James lay next to her, how, she didn't know. The bed was dwarf sized and if she could barely fit in it, how could both of them?

"James?" She yelled. "What on earth are you doing here?" She whispered, lowering her voice instantly. She knew that the dwarves would still be asleep. Sleepy snored so loudly it usually drowned out any sound.

James put his hands behind his head and casually leaned back just before he toppled off the bed and onto the hard wooden floor. Snow suppressed a giggle as he stood back up again, his hair tousled about. 

"Geez those beds are small." He grumbled. James hated looking foolish.

Snow looked pointedly at him once more. "You still haven't answered my question." 

"Pardon me for falling off a dwarf sized bed, how do you even sleep in these things?"

Snow rolled her eyes, raising her eyebrows at one of her closest friends, and, unfortunately, her husband. 

"Fine, fine... I came to make sure you were all right." He muttered. James was about as emotional as a rock so the fact that he had come to check on her warmed Snow's heart immensely.

Her face softened as she scooted over on the bed, trying to make room for him. Ever Snow had awaken from the curse, their had been terrible after affects. A kiss of sacrifice was enough to wake her, but it was sort of like cheating the curse. So in return, she was given horrible, terrifying nightmares to live with almost every night. Once Snow had married James, he had always been there to comfort her when she awoke screaming her mother's name in the middle of the night. The dreams had slowly started to go away once she was in the comfort of his arms but they still pursued like tiny black demons at the back of her mind.

He climbed up in the bed with her, not in a romantic way, but in a way that two little children would when they were having a sleepover. He very carefully leaned back against the head board and cradled Snow in the nook of his arm, rocking her gently back and forth. 

"Thank you, James." She breathed, her voice laced with sleep. 

James didn't reply, he just kept soothing her as he had done ever since he had found out about her recurring nightmares. It occurred to Snow that she wasn't the only one who had lost things; maybe James had nightmares, too and this calmed him down. Maybe.

Snow glanced out the tiny window in the wooden walls to look at the moon. She smiled softly back down at Snow, her kind, soft beams casting warm light around the room. Millions of stars winked back down as well, you could always see many stars in the forest, which is one of the reasons why Snow loved to come here.

"Tell me a story, James." She pleaded quietly. He was silent for a minute and for a second, Snow thought he wasn't going to but suddenly, he started speaking in a low, throaty voice.

"Once upon a time," He began, his quiet voice calming Snow instantly, making her eyes feel as if rocks were atop them, "There was a beautiful young maiden named Ella. She was loved by her father and her mother very much. One day, though, tragedy struck and Ella's mother died, leaving only her and her father. Ella's father cared for the girl so much, but it was not the same as motherly love so he decided to get remarried. He only wanted to give his daughter a mother once more."

"Ella's father did remarry. The woman was kind and caring towards Ella and she even had two wonderful daughters that befriended Ella. But alas, once more, tragedy struck on the household, taking Ella's father this time. There was a period of mourning and Ella's stepmother continued to act kind when one day, she was told to clean the floor and wash the clothing. Soon enough, it was forgotten that she was ever the step-daughter of Lady Tremaine and it was only known that she was a servant."

"One day, a royal messenger came to the country manor, delivering the message that a royal ball was to be held to find the fairest maiden in all the land to wed the crowned prince."

"Sounds like me." Snow grumbled, her voice now dripping with sleep.

"Shhh, just listen." James whispered, running his hand through her hair, just like he had done ever since they were little.

"Lady Tremaine and her daughters were ecstatic and so was Ella, for that matter. The invitation had said specifically that all maidens of the house were invited, which meant that she, the common maid, could attend."

"Lady Tremaine, though, wanted other wise. She knew Ella's beauty would win the prince over and she needed her daughters to marry royalty. So, she told Ella she could only attend the ball if she finished her chores for that night. Ella grinned, knowing she could do it but her step mother presented her with the longest list of chores in the world. Ella's heart sunk as the realization hit her."

"Her step family departed without her, leaving Ella huddled on the floor, crying softly when suddenly a fairy appeared, granting her one wish. Of course, Ella wished that she could attend the ball and the fairy agreed, transforming her into a beautiful maiden. There was one thing, though, that Ella had to remember: She must be back by midnight."

"Ella left by carriage and once she arrived, she won the prince over immediately with her wit and charm. They danced and danced when suddenly, Ella looked at the clock and it read 11:50. She apologized profusely to the Prince as she began to run however on her way down the stairs, she lost her shoe, her glass slipper."

Snow wanted to hear the rest of the story so terribly, she wanted to find out if the girl could ever get her happy ending but her eyes decided otherwise. They closed reluctantly as Snow curled up against James, listening to the steady pattern of his breathing, hearing his heart beat steady and strong. The story had been the best gift James could've ever given Snow and despite her now calm demeanor, she couldn't shake the feeling that she would be meeting this so called Ella girl very soon.

                                                                         *******

Sunlight streamed gently into Snow's room. She used to love waking up to the morning light like this but today it showed a sign of disclosure. She would have to leave the dwarves today and wait another year to see them alone again, to visit the good old days. She wished she could tell the sun to stay down a little longer, to hide her smiling face for just a few more hours but she knew it was useless so she opened her eyes. 

Snow had to clamp her mouth to stop her from laughing out loud. James lay sprawled across the floor, his black curly hair tossed around his face as his mouth gaped wide open, breathing in and out. Snow glanced at his big hands and she noticed that they were filled with a golden liquid that glimmered in the sunshine. 

Syrup.

The dwarfs must've put it there early in the morning; they had never been particularly fond of prince James, for he had, after all, taken Snow away from them. She decided to let the dwarves' prank go through as she hurried to the little bathroom in the hallway. It wasn't really a bathroom; there was only a small sink and a chamber pot, her brothers had never really bothered with getting plumbing and all. Thankfully, when she visited, she got the bathroom all to herself. Although she did love her seven brothers, she didn't want to have to be so close as sharing the same chamber pot with them.

She approached the little sink and pumped some water by pushing down on the big black lever a few times. She washed her face, the brittle morning water waking her up instantly. It tingled on her skin, the cool forest water making her feel alive once more. She never had really understood the whole business of warm water in the early morning, if anything, it made you sleepier. 

She reached her hand into a little wooden bowl that sat neatly by the sink and grabbed a mint leaf to chew on. If there was one thing she hated about the start of the day, it was morning breath.

Suddenly, she jumped as she heard a loud groan from down the hall. James had apparently waken up. 

She heard him lumbering down the hallway as she listened to the near silent snickering on the bottom floor. James stopped in the doorway of the bathroom, pointing at his face looking outraged. 

Snow burst into laughter and fell to the floor. His face, hair and hands were covered in the sticky golden syrup from the finest oak trees. The dwarfs must've really wanted to warn him if they gave up some of their special supply of the sweet liquid.

Snow clutched her stomach as little giggles still managed to escape. It was so rare that she laughed or even smiled nowadays; a princess must be charming and proper, not silly and joyful. Snow blew her ebony black hair out of her face as she stood back up, facing James. She had to tilt her head up as her eyes only ever made it to his chest, he wad much too tall.

"You think this is funny?" He growled but his eyes danced with laughter.

"Yes, actually, I do." She smirked.

"For such little people, they certainly have big, vicious minds." James grumbled, walking towards the sink to wash his face.

"We are not 'little'." A voice said behind him. Grumpy stood in the hallway with his arms crossed over his chest. He tried to stand up straighter just to prove his point.

James put his hands up in surrender and Snow could've sworn she saw the slightest bit of fear jump across his face but she decided not to elaborate on it.

"Believe me, I will not be messing with you guys." James said defensively.

"Were not worried about you messing with us, we could easily take you down. Just look after Snow or you'll be in trouble." Grumpy warned, his face cold as stone.

James crossed his heart with his finger. "I would die before I let anybody hurt Snow I swear."

Grumpy looked smug as he smiled. "Good."

Snow walked out of the bathroom to let James get ready. She needed time to say her goodbyes first, anyways. She walked down the little wooden staircase slowly, running her hand over the simple banister. She wanted to preserve this picture in her head perfectly as she probably wouldn't see it again in a full year.

She stepped into a kitchen full of sad looking dwarfs. Snow's heart ached for them so badly it hurt and before she even knew it, tears were sliding down her face. She knelt down on the floor and opened her arms wide as six of her brothers ran in to embrace her. Grumpy stood to the side, staring at the wall and Snow knew exactly why. He was crying and if any of them saw his tears, he would never live to see another day where his brothers called him 'Grumpy.'

She took off all of their little colored hats that she had made for them long ago it seemed now. She kissed each of their heads, tears sliding down her face. Snow had never been afraid of crying, she believe tears showed strength, not weakness, strength to show that you truly care.

"I love you all, so much." She mumbled through sobs and a sniffly nose. "Never change, promise me that."

A chorus of 'I promises' wafted through the cozy kitchen as she hugged each of them once more before James came down quietly, not wanting to interrupt the departure.

Snow wanted to quickly say goodbye to Grumpy, though, on her own so she leaned down once more and whispered into the dwarfs's ears.

"Go give James a little hug, would you?" She asked. "It would do him some good, he is quite unemotional." 

Suddenly six dwarfs surged over to an unsuspecting James as Snow smiled, making her way over to the sniffling Grumpy.

Even as she approached, Grumpy kept his eyes trained on the wall in front of him. He harshly wiped his hand over his face, trying to erase the tears. Snow sat down next to him, staring at the wall, too. Sometimes, it was just too hard to say goodbye.

She opened and closed her mouth several times, trying to find the right words, but none came. Instead, Grumpy was the first to speak. "Never tell anyone about this, ya hear?" He grumbled roughly. Snow smiled as she simply nodded her head and suddenly, the right words rushed out of her mouth. 

"You know, Grumpy, it's okay to cry. It shows strength and truth and honestly, I think that that is true bravery. You can still be strong and hard but you can also care." She whispered quietly.

Grumpy huffed, grinning. "You have always had a gift with words, sister."

Snow's breath left here lungs as though she had been punched in the stomach. It was very rare for Grumpy to call her sister; although she knew that he loved her like family, it was a whole different level for him to say it and admit to it aloud.

She embraced him quietly and quickly. Trying to say goodbye was impossible, for the words sat stubbornly in her mouth. She grinned although the smile did not touch her eyes, she was too heavy hearted.

"See you soon, brother?" 

Grumpy chuckled, giving her a strong pat on the back. "See you soon sister."

Snow closed her eyes momentarily before she stood. Imagining living with them was a dream too good to come true. It was odd how dreams work, you think you want something that you don't have but then come to realize that you didn't want it at all when you got it.

Standing, Snow caught James's desperate eye. He was partly wanting to be on time back to the castle and partly wanting to get away from the six tiny men hugging him like a brother. 

"Uhh, thanks fellows, but I think that's enough family bonding time for me today." James stated as he scooted a little too eagerly towards Snow. He put a steady hand respectively on her back, did James actually want to impress the dwarfs? Snow just shook her head, giggling silently. Those little men certainly had an affect on people.

As James lead her out the door, she turned back, once more to say her farewells.

"See you soon Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Bashful and Doc." She chimed cheerfully, just as she used to when they would go to the mines for the day.

"Goodbye Snow White, we will see you for supper!" They hollered back, all of them grinning and waving.

She waved once more before James and her entered the forest, the trees offering them refuge from any sorrow that might follow.

                                                                    ************

Little rays of light peeked through the openings in the thicket of tree branches, bouncing of the green of the leaves. The air was thick with the smell of pine and moss and the birds sang happy songs of well... whatever birds sang about. Snow stepped easily over the twisted roots beneath her even though she was starting to feel the fatigue from last nights lack of rest. James seemed to notice her slowing and he stopped, swooping Snow off her feet.

"Was that really necessary?" Snow complained. She was in fact tired but she hated pity when it came to physical strength. After living a life with the dwarfs (which was quite self-serving) she had become strong and independent from hauling fire wood in, gardening in the heat of the sun, repairing old furniture, Snow certainly wan't weak.

"Yes, it was necessary, you were teetering as if you were drunk. Are you drunk?" James inquired, his eyes flicked with dark humor.

Snow was so ticked off at that remark. She wasn't a little girl, she was a responsible young woman. It was true that Grumpy and her had shared a single bottle of rum late last night when the rest had gone to bed but she wasn't on a hangover.

"Put me down." Snow demanded, squirming in his arms.

"Of course, your highness." James retorted back sarcastically. 

They had arrived at a little stream and Snow cupped her hands, drinking in the cool water. It trickled down her dry throat, tasting like drinks of the gods. Splashing it on her face and neck, she looked down at her reflection and suddenly she didn't feel so strong anymore. She saw her mother's daughter, a little girl with skin as white as snow and hair as black as night. Snow was tired, tired of being grown up and serious, tired of being married. All she wanted to do was run, to climb trees and whistle with the birds.

Rhythmically, she kicked of her shoes and untied her silvery white cloak, throwing it to the ground. And then she was running. She dug her toes into the rich soil, feeling sunlight dance upon her bare back. She inhaled the true scent of the forest: Freedom. Sprinting at full speed, she clung to a branch, hoisting herself up and over it, squealing with delight. Her red ribbon fell to the ground, letting her hair come out loose and wild, making her appear as a young, careless youngster again. 

Suddenly she heard another pair of heavy footsteps behind her. 

"I will catch you princess, I always did win when we were younger."

Snow snorted. "That's what you would like to think, Prince." She jeered. Snow saw a small river coursing like a vein coming up in front of her yet she did not slow down. She went towards it with full force, leaping and skipping from rock to rock when she heard a tremendous splash behind her. For a split second, she strained her neck to see James fully drenched in water, cursing mercilessly, completely scaring a flock of birds. She laughed wildly just before she slowed and turned. When they were young, Essie had always gone into 'battle' head strong without looking back but Snow was always the one to apologize for hitting or pushing a boy. She was never good at war, just at the thinking part.

She extended her hand towards James, yanking him up towards her. 

"Truce?" She asked breathlessly.

A grin spread across James's face. "Never." He replied, right before yanking Snow into the river with him.

Snow squealed extremely girlishly when her body hit the cold water full on, drenching her clothes with its icy touch. She immediately sat up, splashing James right in the face as he laughed long and loud. She hadn't heard him laugh in the longest time-not like this, not after Essie 'died.'

Snow glared at him with such iciness it almost matched the waters temperature. 

"You little-"

"Uh, uh, uh..." James clucked, nodding his head with disapproval, "Young princesses never use foul language." He said mimicking Snow's royal tutor.

She laughed weakly before she pulled herself out of the water, creating little puddles as she lay face up on the warmed ground, staring at the sky. James quickly followed her up himself, laying only inches away from her. 

They stared up at the clouds for a while, the birds, just thinking in silence to themselves. It wasn't a bad silence; it was a type of silence that best friends could share and be plenty content with. Sometimes the things you don't say are more important than the things you do.

Suddenly, James broke the silence. His eyes looked almost teary. Impossible, Snow thought, James doesn't cry.

"Do you think she really loved me, Snow?" He whispered throatily. 

Snow remained silent for probably too long but the guilt was so heavy, so terribly heavy. She and she alone knew that Essie had poisoned her, it was no fault of Snow's. She also knew that Essie was still alive, lurking somewhere in the shadows, planning, plotting, thinking of ways to get her vengeance.

Snow could've told James the truth; could've told him everything, but some things were just not meant to be said. Or, at least Snow hoped, she only hoped that she was simply keeping him sane by not telling him.

She turned towards him, her body fitting easily into his as it always had. Sometimes Snow thought about what it would be like if they loved each other; sometimes she even thought that they might grow to love each other. But it wouldn't be true, it wouldn't be real and that's why it would never happen.

"She loved you, James. She loved you more than you will ever know." She murmured, and boy, did she mean it.

He laced his hands into hers. "What would I do without you, Snow?"

You would be with Essie, she thought, You would be happy.

They stood up together, making their way back to their prison cells they called home.

                                                                            **********

When they finally emerged from the forest, legs thick with fatigue, they saw a glimmering mirage in front of them. A carriage.

"Thank God for the technology of a horse and carriage." James muttered to himself as he helped Snow into the flawless gold carriage, the color of royalty for Goldfall, obviously.

Once she sat down, she nearly gasped but she quickly regained composure as she saw who it was. She smiled politely at the King, her father-in-law, bowing her head as a sign of respect.

"Do not worry about being so polite with me, dear. You are equal here, for you are my daughter." The King laughed heartily.

Snow felt a chill run down her spine, though. After what happened with Essie, she always had had a creature of hatred nestled in the pit of her stomach, gnawing constantly at her insides. But, as usual, Snow did not do anything but laugh quietly along with him. 

As James climbed in the carriage, his eyes widened out of surprise. "Father, I mean King, I mean, dad?" James wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead. Snow knew that James had always wanted to impress his father and nothing more ever since he was young and that made him terribly frightened of the King.

"I swear, what is with you two today?" The King George chuckled, "I am family, not the executioner." He rolled his eyes, looking at Snow and the Prince like they were silly little children. Snow hated that.

James relaxed into his seat a bit more. Snow realized that he thought he had been in trouble and she understood why. Why else would an important King just want a leisurely ride with his son?

"I am sorry to startle the two of you; you must be very tired from your travels but alas, we have to prepare for a ball." He says tiredly but Snow could see the obvious excitement in his eyes. 

"James, you and I will be dropped off at the place and you, my dear, will go into town with Ethel to find a new dress for your celebration."

Snow groaned inwardly, she hated going out with Ethel! The woman was her ladies maid and she was responsible for teaching Snow all about being a polite and lovely princess. Ethel always wore a hideous green green striped dress with ebony black shoes. Also her hair annoyed Snow beyond imagination; it was always tied back in a tight, prim bun.

"What is this celebration for, anyways father?" James said, and Snow noticed the hint of annoyance in his voice.

King George looked at them indecorously.

"What are you two on? It's for you anniversary, of course!"

Snow's head snapped up. She had almost forgotten James and her's anniversary for their marriage. She wasn't surprised, it's not like they really celebrated it together. It had mostly been a day of sadness for both of them, anyways.

James slapped his hand against his forehead, trying to look like he really cared that it was their wedding celebration.

"Snow, I'm so sorry, I mean-"

"No time for apologies, the ball will make up for it in plenty." King George interrupted as they pulled up in front of the castle, the horses coming to a sudden stop.

"Come, my son. I have a hunting expedition planned in honor of this special day. Snow, my dear, have a nice time out at the seamstress." The King waved farewell as he ushered his son out, leaving a very annoyed Snow sitting sulkily in the carriage. Ethel climbed in after, sitting a respective distance away.

"How do you do on this fine day, m'lady?" Ethel inquired, bowing her head slightly.

"Fine, thank you, Ethel." Snow responded quickly before she pursed her lips in a childish manner, staring out the little windows in the coach. She watched the scenery go by as they headed silently into the village. She saw careless children playing on the streets, hard working mothers baking in the kitchens, strong men laughing heartily as they got on with the days work... Snow so wished with all her heart that she could be like them, that she could be utterly free. But that kind of life had never been hers, ever since she was born to a Queen. No, she was a princess and a princess she would stay.

The carriage pulled up in front of the seamstress shop where Snow always went to go and buy new ball gowns. She always hated the fittings, they'd bore her to death. Ethel stayed a few steps behind her as the local people bowed their heads, kneeling when Snow stepped out. She smiled kindly at them and then rolled her eyes, laughing. 

"We are all equal here, my people, you do not have to bow for me. I simply have a different job, it is no different from yours." She grinned. A little boy suddenly ran up to her, looking up at her face with big, green eyes. Ethel made a little huffing sound, as if she were to faint. 

"Princess, would you spare some change, I would love to go buy a sweet from the shop." The boy pleaded. Snow saw a woman in the crowd turn pale and she assumed it was his mother. Ethel marched up to the boy, scolding him harshly.

"Who do you think you are, lad? Asking a royal for money, apologize at once!" She demanded. But Snow just waved her off and reached into her pocket, handing the boy much more than a few coins. His eyes widened as she slipped the change into his sweaty palms. 

She knelt down and whispered into his ear. "Go but some of the chocolate coins, they're my favorite." 

She stood back up and ruffled his hair as he ran off to the sweet shop, his friends trailing in awe behind him. Snow heard little gasps from the crowd of villagers as she stepped into the shop, smiling from ear to ear.

"Your highness, welcome, welcome." The young seamstress said, curtsying for her. 

"Hello, Veronica. Listen, I have little time for a dressing today so if we could just, well, make it quick." Snow said politely.

"Of course, of course Snow! Your father-in-law the king already picked out an exquisite gown for you, anyways. All we have to do is fit it." Vera assured her as she beckoned her over to the center of the room, whipping out her tape measures.

Ethel sat in a chair next to where Snow was getting fitted with incredible posture. Snow rolled her eyes inwardly. She really hated that woman.

Vera quickly scrambled through a door and pulled out a large, white box. 

"Go ahead you highness, open it." She whispered, handing the box carefully over to Snow.

Snow unwrapped the ribbon, letting it trickle to the floor like a golden water fall. She removed the box lid and had to suppress a gasp herself as she pulled out the beautiful, thriving gown.

It was a floor length beauty, a stunning saffron color. The embroidery was fantastic, delicate flowers encircled the middle and bottom and in the middle, great lace work was done. Tiny diamond beads encircled the bodice, making the light dance all around the room when it hit it. Snow saw the dress as a work of art, it was stunning.

Suddenly, Vera's expression went cold, terribly cold. Her eyes hardened and a scowl formed across her face, making her frown lines pop out. 

"Much too fine of a gown for someone as ugly as you." She hissed.

Snow whipped her head around, in shock.

"Excuse me?" She asked, horrified. 

But out of the blue, Vera had disappeared and in her place stood someone that Snow hoped that she would never have to see again.

Essie.

Her green eyes glowed with rage, her midnight black hair swirling around her dark face with anger.

"Hello Snow." She whispered as a sinful looking smile started growing on her porcelain face.

"Essie." Snow whispered, as she fell to the floor with shock, her heart pounding like a drum.

"Happy wedding anniversary, darling. Although, I'm not sure I approve of your husband." She said, tapping her fingers against her chin.

"But non the less, I have come to tell you about a gift I am going to give you. I have never been good at keeping secrets, you know and I just couldn't wait to see you expression when I told you about this....present."

"Please Essie, you know I never wanted this, any of this." Snow gasped, her teeth chattering even though there was no draft in the room.

"Oh I know, dear, but thats beside the point. You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit, isn't that right? Anyways, this particular gift is more like a travel voucher. Tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, you will never have to worry about seeing your precious Goldfall again."

If it was possible, Snow's naturally pale face whitened even more. 

"Please Essie, don't do this." She choked.

Essie only laughed, kneeling down next to her step sister.

"I never thought I'd see the day where that little white face of your got even whiter. But, looks like we all get surprises today. Beware little Snow and I bid you farewell. It's about time I get my happy ending."

 

 

 

 

 

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