I entered this into a writing contest earlier this month. The prompt was a twisted fairy tale.
The car pulls up to a house much larger than I had expected. Its iron gates look glam and intimidating.
“You vastly under sold your house.” I tell Kent. He grins and runs his hands through his hair.
“I guess. I didn’t want you to feel like you had to dress up or act weird or anything.”
I look down at myself. My dress is cute but now I’m wondering if it’s stylish enough for his mom. “Act weird? Like how?”
“My mom, she has this weird habit of testing my girlfriends. I don’t want you to feel like you have to play along.”
We get out of the car and are ushered into the house by, I kid you not, a butler. The house looks much more like a castle than any home I’d ever seen.
“Kent? Honey is that you?”
“Yeah mom, in the living room.”
His mom walks in and I can tell you now that my dress is in fact not stylish enough. Her gray hair is bobbed around her face and a simple pearl necklace rests against her collarbone. She is wearing shoes in her own house and those shoes look very expensive. I may be a broke college student but I still know what the red sole means. Her dress is dark purple and fits her like I have never seen a mother’s dress fit.
“You must be Piper.” She says with a smile. “Kent has told me all about you.”
“Oh yes. He is quite infatuated with you.” That’s when I notice that her eyes aren’t smiling, just her mouth. Maybe she is showing me her teeth like the monkeys at the zoo I work at do when they want to intimidate other monkeys. “Should we go in the dinning room?”
I sit across from Kent and watch as more of “the help” comes out to fill our glasses with wine and bring us salad.
“Kent tells me that you actually have a very unusual name. More unusual, in fact, than Piper.”
I shoot Kent a glare. “Yeah, um my parents named me Peach. I go by Piper though, it’s my grandma’s name.”
His mom sips the wine and looks at me over the rim of the glass.
“Your home is beautiful.” I say.
“Thank you. Where do you live?”
“In an off campus apartment.” I leave out my four roommates and the smell of curry from the Indian restaurant downstairs.
Who knows how many dishes this meal will have but now someone is setting little wonton looking things down in front of me. I cut into one and the most amazing smell comes out. Like flowers and deeper spices. I take a bite and have to close my eyes. It is the most delicious thing I have ever eaten.
“Can you place the spices in that?” She asks. I open my eyes and find that she is watching me.
“Um” I think back to the spices I have had. “Cardamom, ginger, and “
She is watching me in a really creepy way.
Her eyes narrow. “How in the world did you guess Hibiscus?”
“I saw it at a store one day and bought some before I knew how to cook with it. I found a recipe online though.”
I take a really big drink of wine. Kent is unusually quiet. I try to kick him under the table but the table is too wide.
As soon as we are finished with out main course the lights go out. With everything so quiet we can finally hear that it is raining very hard.
“You can’t possibly drive home in this.” Kent’s mom says. “You two had better stay the night.”
“No.” He says with a bit more force than I would have expected.
“Kent, dear, it’s fine. I have already made up a room for Piper just in case.”
After desert I am led up to my room. A separate room from Kent.
“I hope you sleep well.” His mom tells me, handing me a candle and closing the door.
I drop my purse and head over to the bed. It is giant. There are at least two mattresses and six mattress pads.
“What the hell?” I ask under my breath. I crawl into the bed and pull the sheets over myself. In two seconds I am asleep.
I am woken up by Kent’s mom barging into my room. “How did you sleep?” She asks quickly and with no warmth or genuine concern in her voice.
“Great. I was really tired.”
“Mother?” I hear Kent say. He steps into my room and glares at her. “Are you kidding me? Again?”
“Kent, I just want to make sure that you get the girl that you deserve.”
“Piper, you slept fine, didn’t you?”
“See Kent, she didn’t even feel the pea under the mattresses. Her skin is too hard and rough.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask, sliding off of the mattresses.
“She puts a frozen pea under my girlfriends beds.” He tells me, coming to stand next to me.
“You can’t marry her Kent. She isn’t good enough for you.”
I laugh. I’m snorting in front of some lady who just put me through a princess test.
“Well mother, we actually came here to tell you something.”
“No” she says, taking a step back.
“Piper and I eloped.”
His mother looks horrified and runs from the room. Kent kisses me and swings me around in his arms.
We get in the car and head back to campus.
“So she wouldn’t have wanted us to get married unless I passed some stupid princess test?”
“Right. You failed hers but you passed all of mine.” He smiles. “You’re funny and kind. You’re smart and beautiful.”
“So I guess we will be going to my house for holidays?”
“As long as your dad wont make me pull a sword from a stone.” He jokes.