FanFic - Other
"A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart "
Part 1
by Joy Elizabeth
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. This particular version of "Cinderella" is by the Grimms' brothers.
Summary: Future fic, I'm not giving away any more than that
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: If you want to read the entire Grimms' fairytale that this is written around, you can find it at You'll find it to be very different from the Disney version...
Dedication: To Stephie-duh! And David, since, you know, he started it.

"The wife of a rich man fell sick, and as she felt that her end was drawing near, she called her only daughter to her bedside and said, dear child, be good and pious, and then the good God will always protect you, and I will look down on you from heaven and be near you. Thereupon she closed her eyes and departed. Every day the maiden went out to her mother's grave, and wept, and she remained pious and good."


"I'm not going."

I've lost it. I'm talking to myself. My reflection in the mirror is staring at me with a look of pity on her face. My hands are shaking, so badly I think that I will drop the piece of paper that is in them. The piece of paper that has caused my hands to shake, caused my lips to tremble, caused my entire world to crumble. Again.

I can't remember why I opened it. I knew what it was. I could see her name written in her perfect handwriting across the left-hand corner. But I opened it anyway.

It's very beautiful. Very elegant. Hearts and flowers, that sort of thing. There is a poem written on the front of it, something about the beauty of two lives joined together as one.

Part of me wants to laugh at myself. This is silly and I know it. It's been five years since everything happened. Five years since he was mine. Well, no, not mine... but five years since he wasn't hers.

But part of me wants to cry. The part of me that keeps hoping to open the door one day and find him standing there, having realized that he lost the best part of himself. That part of me is aching. Because I can't keep pretending that he misses me. I can't keep pretending that wherever he is, he is really wishing that I were there with him.

"I'm not going," I tell myself again. That's it, my reflection says back. Keep on lying to yourself.


"When winter came the snow spread a white sheet over the grave, and by the time the spring sun had drawn it off again, the man had taken another wife. The woman had brought with her into the house two daughters, who were beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart. Now began a bad time for the poor step-child."


"Do you want to go?"

I sigh and close my eyes. Please, just say that you don't want to go, I'm thinking. "We should," I say firmly.

He nods and looks away. "If you want to."

Don't put this on me, I think. Don't make this my decision.

He always lets everything be my decision. I used to like that. I used to want it to be that way. I liked being in control. I had never really felt in control before.

The first time we went out, it was awkward. It was sort of strange, going out with someone that you knew so well. But on the way home, somehow the awkwardness lifted and-

He has always let everything be my decision. It was me who leaned over and kissed him. It was me who took my own clothes off. It was me who took his clothes off. It was me who decided how often and when and everything about it.

There was one thing that he decided. He decided that he loved me. He did that on his own.

He reaches over and puts his hand on mine. His eyes hold the same pity that my own did earlier in the day.

I don't like making the decisions anymore. I'm not good at it. I just keep getting myself into situations that I don't mean to be in. I live with a man that I use. I use him to forget the man that I loved. Love. The man that, after five years of all of this pain and hurt, I would still fight tigers, and drink poison, and die a slow death for. The man who is marrying a girl that I loved like a sister once.

I still do love her. It's just different now. Because, if given the opportunity, I think that I would kill her. She doesn't deserve him. But then, no one does.


"When he reached home he gave his step-daughters the things which they had wished for, and to Cinderella he gave the branch from the hazel-bush. Cinderella thanked him, went to her mother's grave and planted the branch on it, and wept so much that the tears fell down on it and watered it. And it grew and became a handsome tree. Thrice a day Cinderella went and sat beneath it, and wept and prayed, and a little white bird always came on the tree, and if Cinderella expressed a wish, the bird threw down to her what she had wished for."


"How are you holding up?"

I laugh at that. "I'm fine."


There is concern in Liz's voice. There is always concern in Liz's voice when it comes to me anymore.

"Yes," I reply. "It could be worse. She could have asked me to be a bridesmaid."

Liz laughs at that. Because she's the matron of honor.

"You don't have to go if you don't want to," she tells me.

"I'll be fine," I say, tired of having to assure people that I'm okay with this. "It will happen whether I'm there or not. It was nice of them to invite me. So I'm going to go."

There is silence on the other end of the line.

"Maybe I'll finally get it through my head that he's not coming back," I say, more to myself than to her.


"It happened, however, that the king gave orders for a festival which was to last three days, and to which all the beautiful young girls in the country were invited, in order that his son might choose himself a bride. When the two step-sisters heard that they too were to appear among the number, they were delighted, called Cinderella and said, comb our hair for us, brush our shoes and fasten our buckles, for we are going to the wedding at the king's palace. Cinderella obeyed, but wept, because she too would have liked to go with them to the dance, and begged her stepmother to allow her to do so. You go, Cinderella, said she, covered in dust and dirt as you are, and would go to the festival. You have no clothes and shoes, and yet would dance."


Alex sleeps most of the way there. I like that, it leaves me alone with my thoughts.

I'm trying to prepare myself for this. I'm trying to picture Isabel in her wedding gown. I'm trying to picture the Evans' as they will be at this wedding, smiling and happy. Finally, Michael Guerin will be a part of their family. For better or for worse.

Of everyone involved, I think that I'm the happiest for Max. Because now he will finally be Michael's brother. He loves Michael so much-I think more than anyone else does on Earth. More than Isabel does. Maybe even more than I do.

I know this because Michael was the reason that Max pulled away from me. Max wanted me that night that I found him alone outside of the Crashdown, watching Liz close up. He wanted me like no one ever has. He saw me standing there, watching him watching her, and this deep, wanton lust filled his eyes. He was pushing my back against the wall before I knew what was happening. I think that he wanted to pretend that I was her.

I wasn't pretending anything, though. I wanted to hurt Michael. I wanted him to know what it's like to have the person you love be with someone else. Even if you're only with that person out of necessity, or destiny, or whatever the fuck you want to call it.

Max didn't kiss like Michael. With Michael there was intensity, but there was also something a little softer. I think that I'm quite possibly the first person that Michael ever kissed. Or kissed like that anyway.

Max kissed hard though. So hard that it almost hurt. He bit my neck, he bruised my back, he clawed his fingers into my skin. It was wonderful.

He pulled back and stared into my eyes. No one has ever looked at me like that. Animal-like. He kissed me again, harder. I felt like he was pushing all of my breath out of me, that I could quite possibly die if he didn't stop, but I didn't particularly care.

That's when he pulled back and something had changed. I think-I don't know-but I think that Max had a vision. And I think that vision was of Michael.

He pulled away from me then and started running his hands through his hair. "What have I done?" he kept saying. And I just sort of stood there, a little dazed. My back began to ache a bit.

"Maria," he said, coming over to me. He wrapped his arms around me. "Oh, Maria, I'm sorry."

He kept saying that over and over. You know, it's funny. I don't remember going home that night. I don't remember Max and I ever talking about it, or even acting like it happened. There was never any awkwardness between us. We just went back to being what we were before, both of us aching to be as close to Liz and Michael as possible. Only I was closer to Liz and he was closer to Michael.

I do remember of envying Max. I remember wishing that I were the one that Michael was forced to turn to, whether he wanted to or not. I always wanted to be that for Michael-his strength, his wall. But he had Max for that. Max had been designed for that. I was just a flaky girl that had accidentally come along for the ride.

Alex starts to snore beside me. I smile over at him.

Alex always sleeps when he's depressed. During finals, that's all he does. He doesn't study, he doesn't eat, nothing. He just comes home after class and goes to sleep, and then he gets up the next morning.

This is bothering him more than he is letting on. But I don't think that it has anything to do with Isabel. He and Isabel ended long ago. They ended because of different lives and different paths. I don't think that he ever expected it to last.

This is bothering him because of me. He would love for Michael to just marry her already, so that I will come to my senses and fall in love with him. He wants me to understand that this is happening, that this is reality. I cannot keep living in my fairytale world.

I don't think that I can stop.


"You cannot go with us, for you have no clothes and cannot dance. We should be ashamed of you. On this she turned her back on Cinderella, and hurried away with her two proud daughters."



My mother comes bursting out of the house and throws her arms around me. She hugs me tightly and then pulls back and stares into my eyes. She can read them, I'm sure. She knows what this is doing to me. But there's no way to stop it.

She moves onto Alex, who hugs her back and tells her how we've missed her.

I wonder if it occurs to my mother that Alex always talks like that. Like we're a unit. We have missed her, we have a lot to tell her, we are hungry from the drive.

She has, of course, made a pie for us. She and Alex sit and talk. She wants to know about college and our grades. She wants to know about our apartment and our neighbors. Alex tells her everything about our lives, while I eat my pie and stare at the wall.

I suddenly realize that the talking has stopped. I realize what she must have asked. She wants to know about my trip to New York. My trip to meet my father.

"It was fine," I say, smiling because I don't know how else to react. "The weather was really nice. It was beautiful."

She nods.

I can't believe that I'm talking about the weather.

"He, um, he met me for coffee," I say, stumbling a bit over the words. "We talked for about an hour. He never married again. I don't have any brothers or sisters. He has just been off, working here and there."

My mother's gaze does not waver. Even though I am hurting her with every syllable that comes from my mouth.

"Well, I think that's wonderful," she says.

I nod. I understand exactly how my mother feels. Except that her Prince Charming never found another princess.


"As no one was now at home, Cinderella went to her mother's grave beneath the hazel-tree, and cried - shiver and quiver, little tree, silver and gold throw down over me. Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her, and slippers embroidered with silk and silver. She put on the dress with all speed, and went to the wedding."


"The bachelorette party is tonight," Liz says.

"That's okay," I say into the phone. "I'll just hang out here with my mom."

"You could come," Liz suggests. "Since Alex is going to the bachelor party..."

"No, I don't think that would be a good idea," I say. "I'll be all right. And I'll see you tomorrow."

"Tomorrow morning," Liz says. "I promise, I'll come over before I have to be a the hairdresser."

"Okay. Bye, Liz."

I hang up the phone and look around my room. It still looks the same. Perhaps my mother wanted to pretend that someday I was coming back. She never moved a single thing.

"Hey," she says, walking into my room.


She sits down on my bed. "Is this your dress?" she asks, reaching out and touching the blue material of the dress that is hanging on the back of a chair.

I nod.

"Mom," I begin, wondering how to word this.

She turns her head to look at me.

"Do you ever wish that Dad had stayed? Or do you wonder what life would have been like if he had?"

She looked deep into my eyes. "Life is not made of 'what ifs,' Maria."

"Are you mad at me for seeing him?"

"No," she says, shaking her head. "He's your father. You have a right to see him."

"I love you, Mom," I say, hugging her.

"I love you too."

I pull away. "I have something that I have to do."


"She put on the dress with all speed, and went to the wedding. Her stepsisters and the stepmother however did not know her, and thought she must be a foreign princess, for she looked so beautiful in the golden dress. They never once thought of Cinderella, and believed that she was sitting at home in the dirt, picking lentils out of the ashes. The prince approached her, took her by the hand and danced with her. He would dance with no other maiden, and never let loose of her hand, and if any one else came to invite her, he said, this is my partner. She danced till it was evening, and then she wanted to go home."


I don't know for certain what I am planning on doing. I think that perhaps I can use the pretext of Alex, say that I need to tell him something or that he forgot something. Both of them will know that is a lie, but I don't care.

I am just about to knock on the door when I hear his voice.


I turn to look at him. He is sitting at the other end of the hall, near the steps. He is holding a bottle of beer.

"What are you doing out here?" I ask.

He shrugs.

I walk over and sit down beside him.

"Why are you here?"

Because I love you. Because you love me. Because this is stupid and dumb and why the hell don't we just get in the car and leave this place.

"I don't know."

We just sit beside each other for a long time. I watch his hands. They are so rough. Anyone can tell that his life has been hard. There are calluses all over them. And they are never gentle. And I miss the feel of them on my body more than I can stand.

"Are you ready to do this?" I finally say.

He doesn't answer. He just looks at me. A look that could make me melt. I have to bite my lip to keep from kissing him.

"She loves me," he says.

"Yes, she does," I answer.

I know this to be true. I have seen it. I have pressed my lips against his and heard her say, "I will always come for you."

He takes a drink and offers it to me. But I say no.

"Forgot," he says, smiling.

I smile back. Because he knows and I know that I will never be a risk-taker. I will never drink a beer unless I absolutely have to, and even then I won't enjoy it. I'm too practical for that. Wacky I may be, but I'm not fearless. That was always the problem.

I want to tell him. I want to beg him to come with me. I want for him to understand that I don't know how much longer I can exist like this, wanting him, needing him, more than I can stand.

He reaches up and pushing my hair away from my face. I can see, I know that he wants me to say it. That if I say it, he will have a choice. And he might not choose me, but at least he'll know that he could have. He'll know that he made the decision.

But I don't say it. I just sit there and stare at him. I had forgotten what it felt like to do that. I want to remember now.

"Goodbye, Michael," I say, standing up to leave.

"Goodbye, Maria," he says, watching me walk away.


"But the king's son said, I will go with you and bear you company, for he wished to see to whom the beautiful maiden belonged. She escaped from him, however, and sprang into the pigeon-house."


The wedding is beautiful. Isabel, of course, is radiant. She smiles as she walks toward Michael. She smiles as she promises to love and honor and cherish.

Michael is happy because she is happy. That is all Michael ever really wanted. He wanted someone to watch over and protect. Michael does not love Isabel because she is beautiful, or because others want her. He loves Isabel because she is his.

Alex squeezes my hand. Alex is mine.


"The king's son, however, had employed a ruse, and had caused the whole staircase to be smeared with pitch, and there, when she ran down, had the maiden's left slipper remained stuck. The king's son picked it up, and it was small and dainty, and all golden. Next morning, he went with it to the father, and said to him, no one shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits."


Isabel smiles at me. I smile back. I am happy for her. She has married the man that she loves and I cannot hate her for it.

She steps toward Alex. "Care to dance?" Alex nods and walks off with her on his arm. For one small second I allow myself to believe that it is them who are together, that they are the ones who stayed in love. But the moment ends as Michael walks toward me.

"So, you did it," I say.

He nods.

"I wish you and Isabel the best of everything, Michael," I say, kissing him on the cheek. Tears are threatening to fall, so I hurry away.

"Maria," I hear a voice behind me call.

I wipe my eyes and turn around.

"Hi, Max."

"How are you doing?"

God, I will be so glad to be home where no one asks that twenty times a day.

"I'm fine," I answer. "It was a lovely wedding. Almost as nice as yours and Liz's."

He nods.

"Maria-" he starts to say. He chokes on the words.

"It's okay, Max," I say. "I understand. They're happy."

He is still searching for words.

"Really," I say with more force. "Isabel will make a much better wife for him than I ever would have. She will let him take care of her. She wants nothing more than for him to be happy."

"He loved you," Max says. "He loves you."

I nod. "But he loves her too."

That's the difference between Isabel and me. She was willing to share his love. I'm not.


"Then she seated herself on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, which fitted like a glove. And when she rose up and the king's son looked at her face he recognized the beautiful maiden who had danced with him and cried, that is the true bride."


"Care to dance?" Alex asks, extending his arm to me.

I smile. "I'd love to."

Alex is a good dancer. He took a dance class to fulfill one of his gym requirements for college.

"So, my lady, what do you say we ditch this one horse town tomorrow and return to normalville?"

I laugh. "I thought you'd never ask."

My eyes catch Michael's. He is dancing with Isabel. Her eyes are closed and she is leaning against him.

For one second I allow myself to imagine that I am Isabel. That I truly am Cinderella and that all of my wishes have come true.

I wasn't willing to give up a part of myself for him. And I'm angry with myself for that. But I'm proud of myself too. The shoe that he offered did not fit and I was not willing to mutilate myself to make it. She was.

Alex pulls me closer.

I have never told Alex that I love him. And he accepts that. He accepts me as I am.

That's the happily ever after.

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