Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Mirror (June)
Her eyelids fluttered open, kissed by the sunlight streaming through the windows. Beside her, he stirred, and she turned towards him, her lips barely brushing his day-old stubble. She blew gently on his neck, and she was amused to see his eyebrows furrow.
“You awake, darling?” His voice was hoarse. And sexy.
She wrapped her arm around his belly in response, and slipped her hand underneath him. She could almost feel his smile, as he planted a kiss atop her head. “Breakfast?” She spoke into his chest. “I’ll ring for it,” he said, but didn’t move.
She sat up and stretched, lifting her arms high above her and exposing her naked breasts, as big as pomegranates, as the covers slipped from her shoulders. She watched him watch her, his eyes travelling from her heart-shaped face, to her delicate neck, her small shoulders, taut stomach and tiny waist, the rest concealed by the sheets. And she glowed, like the palest moon on the darkest night. She was conscious of his hungry stare, and took delight in it.
“You’re the most beautiful woman in the world,” he breathed, as he pulled her down to him, the length of her pressed against him. Before anything else could happen, however, a little girl with rosy apple cheeks had unknowingly snuck into their room and started bouncing excitedly on their bed. “Wake. Up. Wake. Up. WAKE! UP! The sun’s awake!”
She swiftly wrapped the sheets around her, neatly, and pulled the excited little Jack in the Box in a tight embrace, laughing. “Alright, Snow. We’re up. Let’s get some breakfast.” Her father ruffled Snow’s hair, and her giggles tinkled like wind chimes in a soft breeze. She gave Snow a flurry of kisses, and Snow playfully pulled away. “I’m hungry, Mother.” “Okay, let’s head downstairs to the dining hall and see what they have for us.”
Her husband had furtively slipped out of bed and got dressed, already putting on his robes. There was a knock on the door, and a muffled, “Breakfast is served, Your Majesties.” She watched as he silently lifted the crown from its place on a purple velvet cushion, and carefully placed it on his head. He was handsome, commanding, regal—a king. One she had fallen completely for.
He glanced at her, and winked just for her.
“Carry me, Father!” Snow’s chubby arms outstretched, her raven black hair shining as bright as her eyes. “Oof! You’re getting heavy, little one. You’ll have to carry me soon!” More tinkling giggles.
“Come down when you’re ready, love.” He kissed her right on the lips, drawing her breath into his own so she was left breathless. Their laughter disappeared behind the large wooden doors, and she wondered, fleetingly, if maybe her fortune had been wrong. The old woman had said that a terrible fate awaited her should she marry the king, someone who was hers to neither possess nor covet, but this morning had been anything but.
She shrugged into her robes too, finally putting her crown on, the jewels glittering in the sunlight. She hesitated in front of the full-length mirror by her dresser, staring at her reflection. She held her head up, and reminded herself, again, as she did every day, that she was the queen. As she turned her back, her reflection watched her leave the room and heaved an inaudible sigh.
She stood, unmoving, before the mirror, thinking that there must be some kind of mistake. She must have heard wrong. She took several steps back and crumpled to the floor, sobbing.
He had loved me for my beauty, she thought. What am I without it?
She missed him. Not a day went by where she did not; her heart ached remembering his boyish smile, his playful wink, his touch, his voice, his desire for her, as if it were only yesterday instead of almost a decade ago.
He had been her everything, her whole world. That he had left her a mere couple of years after they were married was a cruel fate indeed. Though she had an enormous castle and countless servants at her beck and call, she had never felt so alone.
She did not want to live. She hardly slept, hardly ate. She shied away from the servants, shrank back from Snow, who only reminded her of what once was, which was too painful to bear. Snow wasn’t hers to begin with; had been his and that woman’s—as she took to referring to his previous wife—and though she tried, she could not truly love someone who, with each day, grew to be more like the woman she despised.
Oh, she had noticed, certainly, her newfound womanly gait. The way she laughed, spoke, moved, even the way she unconsciously tucks her hair behind her ear. At 16, she possessed grace and poise, regal and elegant, befitting a princess. But she was also opinionated and intelligent, inquisitive and argumentative, just like her mother.
She hated that. So much that she drove Snow away, much to Snow’s bewilderment. She hated that Snow was just like her mother, hated that she was not hers and would never be, hated that she reminded her too much of her father, her only love, who was gone and would never return.
Hate. Hate. Hate.
She grew determined. She slowly gathered her dress about her and stood before the mirror once more. She wanted to hear it, one more time, to be sure.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” she whispered, her voice quivering. Her reflection shifted and swirled before her, morphing into Snow, younger, fairer and more beautiful.
“I am, My Lady,” Snow replied, eyes downcast, hands clasped before her, as if apologetic.
“No, no you are not,” she snarled, gripping her fists so tightly they turned white. “I am the most beautiful. He loved me for my beauty. I was the most beautiful to him.”
From the corner of her eye, she spied the bowl of apples the servants had left on a table, ruby red and gleaming. She remembered the former queen, how she was so easily tempted by the apples’ crimson glow, took a bite from one that she had offered, without even thinking twice. Not knowing the poison it held, the death that awaited.
She held her head high, reminded herself again, that she was the queen. The new queen.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall,” the queen whispered, “Will Snow White make it after all?”