By Wendy Richards <email@example.com>
Submitted: February 2002
Summary: Another story written in response to the Fairy-tale Challenge on the Message Boards. In this, CinderEllen, also known as Lois, wants to go to the ball, but will her fairy godfather — or temporal pilgrim — arrive in time to help her?
Author's note: In February 2002 Meredith made the mistake of issuing a challenge on the fanfic boards. This was to write a Lois and Clark fairy-tale. And she got rather a lot of stories as a result… ;) This was one of them, written one rainy Sunday afternoon a couple of days after I'd read Loispunzel and the Prince, by LabRat, and almost made myself sick laughing. I hasten to add that this is *nothing* like Loispunzel, but some people seemed to enjoy it. Thanks again to everyone who posted comments on the boards, including Meredith, who directed me to some typos. :)
And subsequently, another writer added a postscript to the story — read on to find her identity… <g>
All rights in recognisable characters belong to their respective owners. All insanity within belongs to me. <g>
CinderEllen leaned on her broom in an attempt to prevent herself falling over, and sighed. This was the fifth time she'd swept out the scullery since being awakened at four o'clock that morning. Her step-sisters and stepmother had been even busier than usual today.
Mrs Cox was teaching her daughters household management. In practice, that meant training them how to instruct servants and then check the work once it was done — which meant that a mess would be created and then CinderEllen would be ordered to clean it up. Thoroughly. And in as quick a time as possible, under the beady eyes of whichever of Linda or Mayson was giving the instructions.
"There's a scrap of slate over there you missed," Mayson said snippily, pointing and shoving CinderEllen in the direction of the fire. "And what's slate doing in here anyway? Have you been trying to *write* again, CinderEllen?"
"My name's not CinderEllen. It's Lois," the poor step- sister protested, trying to distract Mayson's attention from the evidence of her night-time activities. She'd thought she'd managed to hide all trace of that broken piece of slate she'd found. "Ellen was my mother's name. I've *told* you that."
"You'll answer to whatever you're told to answer to," Mrs Cox replied coldly, from her position ensconced in a deep armchair to one side of the warm fire. "Now that my poor Peregine's no longer here for you to pull the wool over his eyes, you lazy slattern."
Her beloved adoptive father, who'd loved her in return and had treated her like — no, not like the pampered, spoilt princess her stepmother had constantly accused him of, but like an intelligent, competent human being. Papa Perry had never let his love for her blind him to her faults, or prevent him from correcting her when she needed it.
And who had called her *Lois*.
*They* wouldn't call her Lois; Mrs Cox had long ago dismissed it as too pretty a name. Ellen, she'd declared, was much more appropriate for someone who wasn't even a proper member of the family. It had been Linda's suggestion to add 'Cinder' to the name. Lois — or Ellen — had been banished to sleep in the scullery once her former bedroom had been appropriated for one of her step-sisters. The scullery was cold at night once the fire had gone out, and on more than one occasion Lois had curled up in the hearth in an attempt to stay warm. Ashes and dust stuck to the one ragged dress she possessed, and Linda, mocking, had called her CinderEllen. The name had stuck, and now not even the servants — the *other* servants, Lois reminded herself bitterly — remembered that she'd once had another name.
But Papa Perry was gone, and now she was alone with three women who loathed her and treated her as their servant. She wasn't even allowed to write any more.
Writing was Lois's passion. Sometimes, especially now, she dreamed about a magical, handsome prince who would come and sweep her off her feet and away from this life of drudgery. She'd written down a couple of her fantasies, too. But her dreams weren't the subject of most of her writing. She wrote about injustice, about political scandals among the king's courtiers and barons, and about crime. Her main source had, in the past, been Papa Perry, who'd been a favoured baron at court and who had loved to feed Lois's interest in writing. Now, she picked up rumour and gossip from the various deliverymen who called at the widowed baroness's castle, and she wove her articles around that.
Some of her stories had actually been published in the Weekly Kingdom — Papa Perry had sent them for her, and they'd appeared under the name 'Doggerel'; she'd been quite proud of that pseudonym, since the 'Dog' referred to a nickname she'd had when she'd been a child, and 'El' was the first part of her mother's name. But 'Doggerel' wasn't a name anyone would associate with Lois, or CinderEllen.
Since Papa Perry's death, she'd only managed to smuggle one closely-written slate out of the castle, via a sympathetic coal-merchant's boy. But the difficulty in getting hold of slates, and the extent to which she was supervised, meant she hadn't managed to do anything else since.
Mrs Cox flounced out of the scullery then, bringing Linda with her. Mayson crossed her arms and glared at Lois. "Get a move on! You're far too slow!"
Lois gritted her teeth as she pushed the broom around the uneven floor. "It's not fair," she muttered. "Why couldn't LabRat be writing this? Then at least I'd have some decent dialogue so I could tell you what I think of you!"
Mayson smiled triumphantly. "Tough, CinderEllen. You just have to take what you can get."
One week later, the castle was in uproar. The Prince had announced that he was seeking a bride, and every eligible young woman in the kingdom was invited to a special ball at which he would make his choice. Mayson and Linda were both equally convinced that he was going to choose them, and hundreds of groats had been expended on their sequined, low-cut gowns. Mrs Cox was also attending — as she reminded her daughters, she was also a widow, and why shouldn't it be she who caught the Prince's eye?
"You're too old, Mother," Linda said dismissively as the three were getting ready, all shouting orders at Lois simultaneously.
"Old? I was a child bride," Mrs Cox protested. "Both times. My poor Peregrine couldn't believe that I wasn't your sister!"
Linda and Mayson exchanged glances, and Lois saw them share a sneer.
"Come on, CinderEllen!" Linda ordered then. "Hurry up and finish my hair! Olsen's already outside with the coach and I don't want to be late!"
As if the Prince would be remotely interested in either of her step-sisters, Lois thought cynically. They were so obvious. If they thought it would improve their chances of getting a rich man to propose, they'd strip naked in front of him. In fact, Linda had already only just managed to survive one scandal, when she'd sneaked into the bed of a titled visitor to the castle, hoping to compromise him into marrying her. He'd slept with her, but then the following morning pretended he'd thought she was a housemaid. Papa Perry had refused to force the young man to marry her, which had caused some bad feeling in the household.
"I'm doing my best!" Lois retorted. "I only have two hands! And my hair's too long and it's getting into my eyes. You know, if Tank was writing this he'd have made sure my hair was cut by now."
"Well, he's not, so tough, CinderEllen. You just have to take what you can get."
Turning her back on the other women, Lois stuck her tongue out at her step-sister
Soon, the three women were in the coach and on their way to the palace for the ball. Heaving a sigh of relief, Lois collapsed in her corner of the scullery, taking advantage of the peace and quiet. Before long, she knew, she'd have to go back upstairs and tidy the mess which her step- relations had left in their bedrooms, but she could let herself rest for a few minutes.
If this was a real fairy-story, instead of just her normal drudgery of a life, Lois mused bitterly, her fairy godmother would be appearing right about now to send her to the ball. Instead, she was stuck here with loads and loads of horrible work to do before she could curl up on the stone floor and get some sleep, before…
A tentative knock sounded at the back door. Lois jumped to her feet, still half-lost in her fantasy of going to the ball.
A small man, wearing some very odd clothes and a very peculiar piece of head-gear, stood there, frowning slightly. "Miss Lois, isn't it?" he asked.
"How do you know my name?" Lois demanded.
"Well, let me see. You have two ugly step-sisters, don't you? And an evil stepmother. And they have all just gone off to the ball, leaving you behind. You would like to go to the ball, wouldn't you, Miss Lois? I think I might just be able to help you there," he told her, his manner courteous. His accent sounded strange to her.
"You're not from around here," she said, puzzled. "Are you from the next kingdom?"
"Something like that, Miss Lois. But, really, if you want to go to the ball, there's no time to waste!" He brushed past her, stepping into the scullery, and looked around him with distaste.
"Hang on a minute! I know how this is supposed to go," Lois protested. "Aren't you supposed to be a fairy godmother?"
"Err… well, yes," her visitor said apologetically. "But, you see, Miss Richards is writing this, and so —"
"So I have to take what I can get. I know," Lois finished, sighing. "So you're a fairy godfather, then?"
"Errr… well, not precisely," he said. "I'm a temporal pilgrim, you could say. I have a mission to fulfil, and that is to get you to the ball."
A temporal pilgrim? Lois blinked. Of course, had Hazel, or perhaps Chris Carr, been writing this story, Lois might not have merely blinked, but instead said something extremely cutting, then pushed the 'temporal pilgrim' out of the castle and slammed the door in his face. But since they weren't writing this story, she just blinked at the revelation and absorbed the pilgrim's words.
(And, if Kaethel or JoMarch had been writing this story, they would have complained about the repetitions in the above paragraph. But this is not their story, and therefore the repetitions go unremarked.)
"But…" Lois looked down at herself in desperation. "I can't go like this!"
"Of course not," the pilgrim agreed. "But I think I can help."
He produced a strange-looking box from his pocket and pressed something on it. The back door flew open then, and a middle-aged woman entered. "You called?" she said cheerfully.
"I did indeed, Martha! Can you make this young lady a ball- gown? We have about… oh, half an hour."
Lois looked at this latest visitor in disbelief. Not even the most accomplished seamstress could make a gown in anything less than three days. But yet Martha winked back at her before saying, "Of course I can. Now, dear, just let me take your measurements…"
Half an hour later, Lois was dressed in the most beautiful ball-gown she'd ever seen. Her hair was swept up on top of her head in a very becoming style — "Isn't that *much* better than having it all cut off?" Martha had said once she'd finished arranging it — and some small lumps of coal had, somehow, miraculously been transformed into what looked like dark blue sapphires, linked on a thread of spun gold.
Finally, Martha had produced a pair of delicate dancing shoes, which matched the dress and gave Lois an extra couple of inches in height. She felt like the princess her real father had always called her — and yet she also felt as if she'd been set free. Tonight, she was her own woman, free to go to the ball and dance with whomever she wanted. Free, even, to dance with the prince should he ask her.
"There is just one thing you must remember," the pilgrim told her, while Martha oversaw the preparation of a *very* strange vehicle, like nothing Lois had ever seen before. It was oval in shape, and seemed to be able to move without requiring horses to pull it — in fact, it appeared to float!
Lois climbed into the strange craft, listening to the pilgrim's last instruction. "You must leave the ball by midnight, my dear," he told her. "At midnight my magic will come to an end and you will be mere CinderEllen once more, with lumps of coal around your neck and no transport to take you home."
"Midnight," Lois echoed. That still gave her at least two hours — and she intended to make the most of them.
A couple of hours later, Lois was having the time of her life. She'd been asked to dance by many men, and had loved every minute of it. Though there was one man who hadn't approached her yet…
She'd seen him across the room soon after arrival. He was tall, with sleek, dark hair brushed back off his face in a smooth wave. His eyes, which she'd noticed when he'd looked straight at her, were a beautiful brown, and he was quite the most handsome man she'd ever seen. He wore the bright colours and expensive garments of a high noble — of a prince, in fact. Perhaps, Lois had thought, he *was* actually the prince?
Her guess as to his identity seemed to be confirmed when she saw how women thronged around him; every time she looked at him, he was dancing with someone different. This had to be the prince.
If only he would ask her to dance…
Once, she noticed him dancing with Mayson; it pleased Lois to notice that his expression seemed to be one of bored patience as she chattered on and on. At least one of her step-sisters would be disappointed tonight, Lois knew.
Finally, the man of her dreams approached her. Ignoring another man, who was just about to ask Lois for a dance, he came right up to her and asked, "Are you free to dance, my lady?"
Her heart skipped a beat. His voice was every bit as gorgeous as his body. "I would be delighted, my lord," she murmured, dropping into a curtsey.
He offered his hand as she rose again. "The pleasure would be all mine, my lady. But I come at the command of another."
Disappointed, Lois stared at him. "Another?"
"Yes, my lady. The Prince desires to dance with you. Will you allow me to accompany you to his side?"
"You… you mean… But I thought you were the Prince!" Lois stammered, deeply disappointed.
"I am but his courtier, my lady," the man said. He bowed over her hand, adding, "But I am flattered that you thought otherwise. Perhaps… but wait. The Prince is here."
Another man stood in front of them. This newcomer wore garments even more expensive and eye-catching than the courtier's. He was tall, with wavy brown hair which had been allowed to grow long and was caught at the nape of his neck in a queue. His eyes were a striking clear blue, and he was smiling at Lois. He had a beautiful smile, she thought.
But the courtier also had a heart-stopping smile. Perhaps she could ask the prince about him, she considered. After all, the prince wasn't going to be interested in marrying *her* — but maybe his courtier…
"My lady Lois," the Prince said smoothly. "I feel as if I have been waiting for you all my life. May I have this dance?"
With a wave of the Prince's hand, the courtier was dismissed; seconds later, Lois was whirling around the ballroom in the Prince's arms. He was a fantastic dancer, she thought. And he was tall and handsome and, by the look of it, very interested in her…
"You dance beautifully, my dear," he told her then, smiling down at her. "We complement each other perfectly."
"Thank you, your highness," Lois said shyly.
"Call me Lex," he invited smoothly. "My name is Alexander, of course, but among close friends I am Lex."
The Prince wanted her to call him by his first name! All thoughts of the courtier forgotten, Lois nestled closer to the Prince. The first dance ended, and she waited for him to release her — but he simply tightened his arms around her.
"You are beautiful, my dear," he murmured, his mouth against her hair. "I don't think I want to let you go…"
Suddenly, Lois heard the clock chime. "What time is it?" she asked, alarmed.
"Midnight," Lex told her. "It's early yet, my dear — this ball will continue until dawn."
For a moment, Lois was tempted to stay. If the Prince liked her as much as he seemed to be suggesting, surely he wouldn't mind that her normal apparel was rags? That she would be wearing coal around her neck? And wouldn't he ensure that she was seen safely home? After all, he had wealth beyond compare. He didn't need to marry someone with money of their own.
But there wasn't just the Prince to think of, she realised. She couldn't face the thought of the humiliation of being seen by everyone as just CinderEllen.
Tearing herself from the Prince's arms, Lois hurried towards the exit.
The last stroke of midnight was dying away as she raced out onto the grass outside the ballroom. Suddenly, her beautiful dress began to come apart at the seams, all Martha's careful work letting her down. Lois put her hand to her throat; it came away black. And, as she looked helplessly towards the dark corner where she'd left the strange floating craft, it vanished before her eyes.
With a sob, she began to walk towards the Palace gates. But, as she turned away from the ballroom, she realised that someone was watching her.
It was the Prince's courtier.
She didn't want him to see her like this. Lois broke into a run, ignoring his shout of "Wait!"
A few yards on, her shoes started hurting, and she stopped to pull them off. Running barefoot, she barely noticed when one shoe slipped from her fingers; she was just concentrating on getting home before anyone saw CinderEllen anywhere near the Palace.
But it was a dark night, and the path was strewn with stones and other obstacles. She stumbled against something and fell, hard, hitting her head and winding herself.
She'd never get back to the castle at this rate…
Lois was floating. And at the same time she was being held against something hard and firm and warm.
She was imagining it, she told herself. She was just dreaming. This felt exactly like being held in Papa Perry's arms as he carried her up to bed, on one of those nights when she'd fallen asleep downstairs.
Dreaming. It had to be a dream. And the sound of rushing wind, the feel of the night air against her skin… well, she must have left the scullery door open. That was all.
The next morning, her step-siblings and Mrs Cox were furiously discussing the mystery woman who had appeared out of nowhere and who'd monopolised the Prince. No-one, it seemed, knew who she was or where she'd come from. And, apparently, when she'd disappeared just as midnight struck, the Prince had refused to dance with anyone else all night.
Lois listened to the complaints and smiled softly to herself. At least she'd had a magical night to remember — and she'd turned the head of a Prince.
She knew that if Tracey or Kaethel or Sarah had been writing this fairy-tale, her Prince would ride in on a white charger to sweep her off her feet and marry her. They wrote beautiful romances with happy endings, and so any of them would give her the happy ending she longed for.
But none of them were writing this fairy-tale, and so she'd just have to take what she could get.
Since her step-sisters were completely occupied in speculating as to the identity of the mystery woman, and working out how to get rid of her if she ever darkened the gates of the kingdom again, Lois seized the opportunity to purloin a new slate and went and hid in a corner of the scullery, where she began to write a scathing article on the waste of public money spent on last night's ball while people in the kingdom were starving.
Later that afternoon, riders carrying the royal pennant arrived at the castle and demanded entry.
"We are on an errand for the Prince," they announced. "When the mystery woman ran away from the ball last night, she left her slipper behind. The Prince has commanded us to find the lady it belongs to. Whoever it fits, he will offer that lady his hand in marriage."
Excited and loudly determined to be the Prince's bride, Linda and Mayson tried to shove each other out of the way, each insisting on trying on the slipper first.
Mayson eventually got there and stuck out her left foot. "It's mine!" she screeched, wiggling her bosom in front of the Prince's messengers so that they couldn't see that her heel wasn't even in the shoe.
"Liar!" Linda yelled, pushing her sister off the stool and grabbing the slipper. "It's *mine*, I tell you!"
But her foot was too wide, and one of the messengers took the slipper from her to prevent it getting ripped.
"Let me try." Mrs Cox's voice was smooth and sultry. But the slipper was too small for her too.
"Are there any other young women in this household?" the messenger asked.
Mrs Cox was shaking her head when another man entered the room. "I understand that a young lady called Lois lives in this castle," he said firmly.
"There's no-one called Lois here!"
"Lois? Who's she?" All three women answered at once.
But then Jimmy Olsen, the groom, pushed his way forward. "That's CinderEllen, sir. She's in the scullery."
The group went into the scullery, surprising Lois, who immediately shoved her slate into the coal-scuttle. She stared, immediately recognising the newcomer as the Prince's courtier. He didn't give any indication of having recognised her, however.
"Will you try on this shoe, my lady?" he asked formally, but winked at her. Then she knew he did know who she was.
Lois slipped the shoe on her foot. It fitted perfectly, which was understandable given that it had been made for her.
"Send a messenger for the Prince!" a cry went out. "We have found his bride!"
Lois was watching the courtier. She saw an expression of deep sadness cross his face. She didn't understand why she also felt disappointed; she was going to marry the Prince, wasn't she? So why did she feel so drawn to this man?
"Lois, my sweet!" the Prince exclaimed as he entered the scullery, looking about him in disgust. He offered her his hand, only to withdraw it again as he saw the dirt on her palm.
"You can't really mean to marry *her*, your highness!" Linda protested. "Look at her! She's a nobody!"
The Prince looked her up and down. "You're suggesting that I should marry you instead?" he enquired, his voice silky.
"Well, why not?" she asked.
"You were an itch," he told her dismissively. "You've been scratched."
Gesturing towards Lois then, the Prince said to Mrs Cox, "Have her cleaned up and dressed appropriately. I will send a carriage to have her conveyed to the Palace later."
Lois watched the man who'd declared his intention of marrying her… and suddenly he didn't seem as wonderful as he had the night before. It was as if the fantasy had come to an abrupt end; in the cold light of day, Prince Lex simply didn't seem to be the fairy-tale hero she'd imagined him to be.
He was quite a bit older than she'd imagined. And his blue eyes were cold.
She'd seen the way he'd looked at her — at her clothes, her hands, her hair, the dirt on her face, her position in the scullery. And he'd been disgusted by her, she knew.
Worse still, she'd seen the way his lascivious eyes had raked her stepmother's well-toned figure and sensual curves. It seemed to Lois that the Prince would not make a faithful husband… and, if her guess was right, she could be sharing her husband with her own stepmother.
"No," she whispered then. "I won't marry you." But no-one paid any attention.
Except the courtier. His gaze flashed to hers, and Lois met his eyes with a shock. He'd heard her, despite being further away from her than anyone else in the room.
"Marry me instead," his lips said, though she heard no words.
How? she thought. The Prince was determined to marry her. And, she could tell from his arrogant manner, no-one said no to Prince Lex.
But, unable to resist the powerful feeling of attraction between herself and the courtier, Lois let her lips form the word "Yes."
He smiled, and then turned away to face the Prince. "Your highness, if you wish I will remain to escort the lady Lois back to the Palace."
"Good idea, Clark," the Prince said. Lois could tell that his attention was distracted, however; he was busy running one hand up and down Mrs Cox's arm.
Clark — so that was his name!
Clark began to cross the room to Lois, but Mayson was in the way, somehow. The two collided, and Mayson stumbled. Clark caught her, but as she fell, she knocked over the coal scuttle.
Something fell out of it, and Lois just knew that it was her slate.
"What's this?" Mayson demanded, breaking free from Clark's grasp. She seized the slate and began to read it aloud. Lois cringed as her words filled the sudden silence in the room.
"This is *disgraceful*!" the Prince roared. "*Who* has dared to be so disrespectful?"
"CinderEllen!" three female voices screamed at once.
The Prince paused. Then he said, "That is no mere female's work. That is the work of that scurrilous traitor, Doggerel!" Looking around angrily, he declared, "The wretch must be somewhere in this castle. Find him and kill him!"
"Wait." Clark's voice wasn't raised, but still he commanded attention. Lois swung around to look at him. He was standing in the centre of the scullery, his arms folded across his chest and a resolute expression on his face.
"What?" the Prince demanded curtly.
"Supposing that the lady Lois is Doggerel. You wouldn't want to marry her in that case, would you?" Clark asked smoothly.
"You're crazy!" the Prince retorted.
"Not at all," Clark said. "As a matter of fact, she *is* Doggerel. And, since you no longer want her, I'm going to marry her."
"But… what…? You can't!" the Prince exclaimed, furious.
"Try and stop me!" Clark retorted, grabbing hold of Lois. Suddenly she was floating again, just as she'd imagined the previous night, and in seconds they were far away from the castle.
"So you're the real Prince?" Lois asked, incredulous, as Clark finished his story.
"Yes, and Lex is a usurper. I'm very close to proving it, too. I got the job as his courtier so that I could get close to him and expose the truth. But then you walked into that ballroom and my heart stopped — I fell in love with you right at that moment, Lois. I couldn't let Lex have you. Unless you really wanted to marry him, of course… although even then I think I'd have tried telling you the truth to see if you'd have me instead."
"I didn't need to know the truth about you, Clark," Lois said softly. "I already loved you. And I'd still love you, even if you were just an ordinary man, and not a prince. Even if you had no powers, either, I'd still love you."
Clark leaned over and kissed her, his lips sweet and firm against hers. If they hadn't already been drifting in the clouds over the castle, Lois knew that she'd have felt as if she was floating on air.
So Lois — no longer CinderEllen — married her Price Clark. After the wedding, they moved into Clark's fortress hidden deep in the palace forest, and they worked hard to expose Lex's lies and deceit.
In the meantime, Lex married Mrs Cox and moved her into the palace with him. She was frequently to be seen wrapped sinuously around him as they paraded around the kingdom, much to the disappointment of many heartbroken young ladies. Though it was fortunate that Yvonne was not writing this story, because were she the author, Lex and Mrs Cox would be doing rather more than simply parading.
Mrs Cox proved to be just as dedicated to evildoing as was her Prince, leaving more corruption for the investigators to uncover.
Finally, one day, Princess Lois and Prince Clark had all the evidence they needed. Bursting into the palace, they laid it all before the steward, Henderson, who quickly saw its significance and ordered Lex to be arrested and stripped of his royal titles. But Lex ran away, determined not to be caught and humiliated.
Running up onto the palace ramparts, Lex was pursued by Mrs Cox, his wife. "Don't leave me, my darling!" she screamed. But before she could catch up with her husband, Henderson grabbed hold of her and offered her immunity from prosecution and her own house on the outskirts of the kingdom if she would testify against her husband — once she'd divorced him, of course. Smiling broadly, the loving wife agreed to everything Henderson asked.
"Give yourself up, Lex!" Clark yelled as he and Lois strode through the ferocious wind across the ramparts towards the one-time prince.
"Never!" Lex cried in return. "Prince Lex will *never* live in a cage!"
With that, he threw himself off the roof of the palace.
Clark wanted to fly down to rescue Lex, but he realised suddenly that he couldn't fly. He had no idea why, but as a result Lex crashed to the ground and was battered to pieces on the rocks below.
With Lois held tightly in his arms, the once and future Prince Clark returned to the palace to greet his people and begin a new era of kinder, gentler rule. As he commenced his speech to his subjects, Clark noticed out of the corner of his eye that Mrs Cox was being led away by two palace guards.
'That's a rather unusual — and attractive — pendant she's wearing,' he thought as he paused mid-speech. If Tank had been writing this story, then maybe Clark would have decided to find out where she'd got that green stone, and have one set for Lois too. But, as it was, he just forgot all about it.
And Cinders: The Postlude
By Yvonne Connell <Yvonne@firstname.lastname@example.org>
Princess Lois leaned over to her nightstand and blew out the single candle lighting their bedroom. The room was plunged into a warm, magical darkness. Smiling in contented anticipation, she turned back to her Prince and settled into his arms, resting her head on his broad chest.
"Did I tell you I love you today, my dearest Prince?" she said.
She felt him twirl his fingers through her hair. "Only twice, my Princess. Yesterday you told me three times. Have I offended you?"
She heard the chuckle in his voice, and knew that he was merely teasing her. "No, my Prince. If you remember, you have been performing your courtly duties and so I have been unable to speak with you as often today."
"Ah, yes. Then I have not offended you?"
"Not at all." Princess Lois began to slowly trace a fingertip around his chest. "But I must inform you that you are neglecting one of your courtly duties, my Prince."
Clark's fingers ceased toying with her hair. "I am?"
"Yes. A very important duty." Lois kissed his chest.
"I don't understand, Lois."
Lois kissed him again. "When you are King will you not require an heir?" she asked a little impatiently.
"Oh!" exclaimed Prince Clark. "That."
"Yes, that, my dear," replied Lois. "Do you not desire me?"
"Oh, yes!" said Prince Clark. "Of course I do."
As if to demonstrate, she felt him tip her chin upwards with a single fingertip so that he could sink his warm, soft lips onto hers. She enjoyed the kiss, but then drew back.
"But is there no more to your desire than kisses?" she asked plaintively.
He sighed; a long, regretful sigh. "If Yvonne had been writing this, then perhaps I could have made love with you, Lois. But this is Wendy's story, and we're on the PG board, so I'm afraid…"
"…I just have to take what I can get?" she finished heavily.
He kissed her forehead chastely. "Yes, my love."
~ Really the End