February 1, 2011

Just Outside the Closet by Mandy Manning

“Again with the damn shoes?” Cinderella stood just outside the closet. “I can see you, you know?”

Prince Charming sat on the floor with Cinderella’s glass slipper in his hand. He licked the toe of the shoe. When she burst in, he almost dropped it.

She stood at the door with her hands on her hips. “What is wrong with you?”

Prince Charming’s socks lay on the floor next to him. The hair on his legs was mashed haphazardly against his pale skin and he had a red elastic imprint on his upper calf. Cinderella’s black pumps adorned his feet and he wasn’t wearing any pants.

Cinderella snatched the slipper out of his hand. “You’re going to break it!”

He tried to grab it back, managing only to touch it with one fingertip. His breath shortened and he swallowed hard. “I was just washing it. It had a little smudge on the toe.”

Cinderella bent over and pulled the pumps from his feet. “You stretch them out when you do this.” She placed them on the shelf. “They slip off my heels when I walk.”

“Put them on and show me.” Prince Charming licked his lips.

Cinderella wrinkled her nose. “Gross! Knock it off!” She wiped the spittle from the glass slipper and placed it back onto the pillow next to its twin in the lockbox. “Where did you get the key?”

“Key?” Prince Charming struggled with his stockings. He’d put on a few pounds since the wedding and the socks were a little tight. His pants were also a bit snug, but he could still get them zipped if he sucked in.

Cinderella, on the other hand, had grown even more beautiful. She’d taken to jogging in the mornings to keep her waist trim, and the diamond tiara nestled in her hair brought out the amber flecks in her eyes. She held out her hand. “Give it to me.”

“What?” He looped his belt around his waist, avoiding her eyes.

She tapped her foot. “The key.”

“What key?”

“Don’t play stupid! The key to the lockbox.”

Still not looking at her, he put his own shoes on, lacing them slowly. “I didn’t use a key.”

Cinderella whirled around and studied the lock. “You broke it.”

Prince Charming stood up, put his hands on his hips, and nodded once. “Yep!” He brushed past her. “You don’t have a right to keep them locked up.”

“Yes, I do!”

“No, you don’t! They’re as much mine as they are yours.”

Cinderella followed him out of the closet. “How do you figure that?”

“They brought us together.” He sat down on the edge of the bed, positioning himself so that he could see past Cinderella into the closet. Her shoes were lined up in their little cubbies. Perfect. He smiled.

“Wait a minute.” Cinderella looked at the floor and shook her head. “What are you saying?”

“You did leave one behind. Don’t play like you didn’t know what that would do.”

“I guess, I mean, you used the shoe to find me.” She moved closer to him, blocking his view. He craned his neck to see around her again.

“No, I brought it around to find the other shoe.”

Cinderella looked again at the floor. “You mean you’re not even interested in me at all?” Her face burned red. “Then why did you even marry me?”

“Don’t be like that Cindy. I had to marry you.” He stood up and put his hands on her shoulders. “No one wears the slippers like you.” He looked into her eyes and shook his head. “Believe me, I’ve tried.”

“So, you just wanted the shoes?”

“No.” He turned her toward the closet. “I want your feet in the shoes.” He gave her a little push. “Go and put them on.”

Cinderella’s shoulders drooped. She lowered her head and walked into the closet. The lockbox was still ajar. She reached in and took out the slippers. For a moment she held the shoes above her head as if she might smash them.

“You do like being a princess, don’t you?”  Prince Charming sat on the bed watching her.

Cinderella slowly lowered the shoes and slipped them onto her feet.

Removing his own shoes, Prince Charming called to her. “Bring the black pumps, too.”


  1. This story deserves to be published! It's just a little bit crazy (fun) - I like it.


  2. Just enough creepy to keep me glued - what a fun twist to this story!

  3. Like me some fairy tales. Like me some fractured. so natch I loved this.

  4. Love it! It does deserve to be published, you naughty girl :)