I don’t really believe in fairytales.
There’s something just so empty, so hollow, in a happy ever after. Riding off into the sunset with a prince charming and never knowing sadness…?
Sounds pretty boring to me.
So why my grandmother thought I’d be interested in a little fairy trinket I don’t know.
Maybe it was the meds, maybe the prospect of her immanent death led her to come to the frighteningly misguided conclusion that I’d enjoy such a sickeningly girly thing.
I hold it up to the sunlight drifting through my window and into my eyes as I lie with my head over the edge of my bed, my feet on the wall.
It’s a strange shape, like a speech mark or half of the yin yang sign. A disgustingly stereotypical princess with blonde hair piled beautifully on her delicate head looks longingly across to some unknown place beyond the edge of the pendant. Her dress is voluminous and pink, her slight, dainty hands frozen in the air as if in awe.
My sister got a trust fund.
Clearly I wasn’t the favourite grandchild.
I hastily drop my feet from the wall and sit in front of the years’ worth of scuff marks on its dark purple surface.
Mum pokes her head around the door and smiles when she sees me holding the pendant.
“Oh good, you like it.”
Her face falls.
“So you don’t like it? But gran thought it would make you so happy.” Mum says disappointedly, her eyes looking over to the note that came with necklace lying on my bedside table.
I leave you this pendant.
I hope it will bring you as much happiness as it brought me.
Love you always
“Its….pretty,” I say, trying to hide the distaste I find in the word. “But it’s not really me is it?”
I look at my mum pointedly, sitting on my black bed, chunky headphones looped around my neck, multiple piercings in my ears and eyebrow and a hidden tattoo she didn’t know about yet on the back of my neck. It was clear to anyone that fariytales and pink, pretty things weren’t really my thing.
But my mum, standing in comfy jeans and a light blue shirt, her hair pulled back away from her face, was still disillusioned into thinking it was all a phase, an act to impress some imaginary boy and that underneath all the black and metal work there was still her little girl.
Yeah, well, there wasn’t.
She just didn’t understand that yet.
“Well maybe it should be your thing. Lord knows you need some colour in here. I’ll never be able to sell this place with your room like this.” Mum sighs in exasperation and looks in disgust at the various posters messily blue-tacked to the dark purple walls.
I ignore her, playing with the hideous pendant instead.
She sighs, pushing dark strands away from her face.
“Your sister will be back soon, come downstairs in a minute please.”
She turns and leaves, shutting my door behind her; I lie down and put my feet back on the wall.
Ah my sister.
We had different dads so technically she was only my half-sister. Something I liked to remind myself and my mum when she moaned at me for not getting along.
Because of course it was only ever my fault.
Isabella was the right daughter. The way I should have turned out.
She had our typically Hispanic features but she put effort into taming our wild, curly dark hair so it fell in soft waves down her back where mine roared around my face and twisted like a hairy tornado to my shoulder blades. Her face was clean, minimal make up. Her ears pierced only once, little diamonds slotted through the singular holes.
Isabella was pretty, normal.
Today for example, she had gone round her friend’s house. To study.
The girl was quite literally perfection.
“Meah!” mum yells.
I sigh; slip my headphones back around my neck and roll off my bed. I come downstairs to find mum at the door waving, apparently at my half-sister.
Isabella wraps her arms around her as she comes into view, the perfect little twelve year old daughter, free of raging hormones.
“Who’s that boy?” mum asks her, glaring out at something.
Looking through the lounge windows I can see a dark silver car and a shadow of someone male in the front seat along with Isabella’s friend frantically waving.
“Charlotte’s brother.” Isabella explains, dropping her study bag to the ground and waving back. “He’s okay. A bit weird. He helps their dad in the shop.”
Mum makes an unhappy noise.
“Meah go see if he’s alright. I don’t want Bella around anyone funny.”
But you don’t care if he hacks my head off?
I squeeze past them and walk out the door, ignoring mum’s complaint about wearing no shoes.
The prickly grass tickles my feet as I get closer to the car, Charlotte smiling uncertainly at me, her brother bent over looking in the glove compartment by her knees.
I knock on the window and smile slightly when the boy jumps.
Then he turns around.
The window rolls down, taking the reflection of my flustered, shocked face with it and I'm left staring at Charlotte’s “weird” brother.
I should have known Isabella’s idea of weird was my idea of smoking hot.
His black hair is as messy and wild as mine, falling a little into his green eyes. The sunlight glints off his lip piercing and I catch the name of one of my favourite bands on his shirt before I'm distracted by his muscular build.
“Sorry, I was looking for a CD.” He smiles, making my stomach do weird things.
“My mum just wondered if you were some weirdo paedo so she sent me out to check.” I smirk, finally finding my self-composure in the haze of hormones and adrenalin.
He smirks back, a little rumble of a laugh making the air around me seem to tingle.
“I can assure you, I don’t find girls nine years younger than me in the slightest attractive. Especially not ones that dress so….”his hand caresses the air, seeming to try and conjure the right word.
“Boring?” I offer.
“No offense to your sister-“
“Half-sister. And none taken.”
He smiles again.
“Well, I think you’re…” freaking gorgeous, amazing, hot… “Fine. See ya whenever.”
“Yeah. See ya.” He puts the car in gear and drives off.
I walk back into the house in a bit of a daze.
“Well?” mum asks as soon as I'm through the doorway.
“He’s fine. And he’s not weird.” I sneer at Isabella who shifts uncomfortably.
Mum sighs in relief.
“Thank you. Meah? Where are you going?”
“My room!” I call back down the stairs before I slam my door shut.
The next day I make a decision.
I’m selling the pendant.
The money will bring me far more happiness then the sickly thing ever will.
A look out of the window tells me it’s drizzling so I pull up the hood of my coat and jog to my car.
The drive into town is only a few minutes so I’m there in no time. I planned on only being gone a few minutes. Straight to the antique shop, sell it, put the money in my bank and straight back home before mum realised I was gone.
A little bell above the door jingles as I step inside and drop my hood, taking in the old chairs, rocking horses, pots, pans, clocks and various other objects scattered around the dusty, musky smelling shop.
Charlotte’s dad gives me a polite smile when he sees it’s me and I try to give him one back.
“Meah! What can I do for you? Is Isabella okay?”
“She’s fine, I’ve come for business.”
I take the pendant from my pocket and drop it onto his old, wooden desk.
A weird expression crosses his features as he picks it up. A twinkle in his eye, a smile teasing his thin lips.
“Ah, a Shared Heart pendant. How did you come across something like this?”
“My gran left it to me.”
“A very interesting piece. They say the owners of the two halves are destined to a long, happy life together.”
“Oh, okay.” I say, trying to feign interest. “So is it old? How much is it worth?”
“Oh it’s old alright. Are you sure you want to sell it though?”
I didn’t need a prince charming. What I needed was money.
“Mohan!” He calls, gives me another strange smile and walks out to the back.
There’s the sound of speaking and then “Mohan” walks in.
“Isabella’s sister.” He smiles.
“Charlotte’s brother.” I reply, heart hammering.
How could I forget he worked here?
“Dad says you have something.”
I try and ignore the interesting things the muscles in his arms do to my stomach as he tries to tame his hair. Giving up, I point at the necklace on the desk.
He stares at it, as if in disbelief.
“Is this a joke?” he laughs nervously.
“Sorry? Is it a fake or something? Can someone just tell me how much it’s worth?”
He starts to rummage around under the desk.
“My dad told you the bogus story behind it?”
“Yeah. What are you doing?”
He pulls out a necklace and lets the pendant on the end dangle between us.
A prince stands on lush, green grass looking forlornly out into the distance.
Goosebumps prickle my skin as I pick up my pendant from the desk and hold it next to the one he holds.
The piece slot together to form a heart, the prince and princess suddenly reunited, gazing at each other with love.
Our eyes meet.
“What did your dad call you?”
“Mohan. It means charming. Good thing I’m not a prince right?”