After Ever After

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “happiness”…

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It was the kind of bar that echoed regularly  to the clink of pool-cue hitting pool-ball, and almost equally regularly to the thwack of pool-cue hitting head. It was the kind of bar that had a juke-box that played only country & western music, sad songs about how someone’s woman done left them. It was the kind of bar filled with men whose women had done left them, precisely because they were the kind of men who drank in that kind of bar.

It wasn’t actually called The Bar Brawl, but it might as well have been.

It was the last place you would expect to find her, but there, on a high-stool at the counter, swigging back her fifth beer from the bottle, sat Snow White.

Two years had passed since her dramatic awakening at the hands, well, the lips of the Prince. The wedding had been wonderful, the palace was spectacular, Princessness was the businessness. But she was married to a guy that she had met just once, after she had heard him sing “One Song, I Have But One Song”.

She hadn’t realised then that he meant that literally.

He sang the song in the shower, hummed it whilst driving in the carriage, whistled it while he worked. She now hated it with a deep, deep hatred, the kind of hatred people normally reserve only for My Heart Will Go On.

And she was starting to hate him. They had nothing in common – he liked falconry (hunting with falcons) archery (hunting with archers) and husbandry (hunting with other husbands). She, having been hunted herself, did not. She had to drink endless amounts of tea with ladies of high breeding who moaned about their servants, smelled strongly of gin and hinted that they were having it off with their gardener.

Dinner-time conversation between herself and the Prince, along the length of a thirty-foot table, was along the lines of “How was your day?”, “Fine”, and then silence.

So this night she had taken off, stormed from the castle and marched into this bar. It had fallen silent when she entered, thirty sets of eyes looking suspiciously at her. Then someone had said “well, hello, doll”, and patted her on the bum. She had punched him in the face.

The bar relaxed, the man she had punched laughed and bought her a beer. She was in.

Now she drained her bottle, and nodded to the bar-owner.

“I’ll have another,” she said.

“Make that two,” said a voice. The Prince sat down on the stool beside her.

“How did you know I’d be here?” she said, astonished.

“Because I know you, better than you think I do,” he said. “I know that you’re just a simple girl at heart, and I know that the Royal life is not easy for you. I know that you’re not happy.”

“No, but I know that I should be,” she said. “We all live happily ever after. The story says so.”

“Yet none of us are happy,” said the Prince.

“Well, Happy is,” said Snow White.

“Ok, apart from him,” said the Prince. “The thing is, the story stopped there. It never told us how to be a couple.”

“Exactly,” she said. “We’re not really a husband and wife. We don’t even, er….”

“I wasn’t sure if you’d want to,” said the Prince. “The story doesn’t say ‘and they all shagged happily ever after’. I didn’t know how to bring it up.”

She giggled, and he blushed. “Ok, that sentence needed thinking through before I said it,” he said. He looked into her eyes.  “I do love you, you know,” he said softly.

She returned his look , then smiled . “I’ll give you a game of darts,” she said.

They played darts, then pool. They had a belching contest, which she won with a thundering rumble that earned her whoops of appreciation from the entire bar.

They walked home hand in hand. He told her about his plans for the kingdom, the first time he had done so, and listened seriously to suggestions that she made about them. She told him that she believed a princess could do so much more, and again he listened. She told him she never wanted to hear “One Song” ever again.

“I thought it was our song,” he said.

“Nope,” she said, “let’s stick to Wind Beneath My Wings like normal couples.”

They went home. They went to bed.

A year later (it doesn’t work the first time, that would just be a fairy tale) she sat cradling her new-born baby, Snow Whiter.

“Are you happy?” asked the Prince.

“Oh, yes,” she said.

“And I am too,” he said, and a twinkle came into his eye, “about one love,” he continued, “only for you”.

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