I can tell you two things about fairy tales. First, it’s absolutely false that only a princess can de-frog a prince. I’m not a princess, and one kiss from me released my prince, Mack, from his wicked curse.
Second, the endings are totally wrong. It’s been a month now, and I’m starting to think whatever hope Mack and I had for our happily-ever-after is doomed. No one approves of our relationship because I’m not royalty, and because Mack…well, Mack’s still sort of a frog.
I want my fairy tale back.
The palace is a riot of colorful strobe lights, music, and laughter. I’m standing to one side of the dance floor, corralled by Princess Allison. She’s a true princess, from the tines of her towering tiara to the painted petunias on her tiny toes.
She eyes my newly green hair and says, “Listen, Cindy, I’m really happy you like kissing frogs, and I’m especially grateful you saved Mack. But you have to give up this silly idea he’s going to be your boyfriend. He’s not for you, sweetie.”
“Of course he is, Allie.” I scratch my elbow and smile at her. “Haven’t you ever read a fairy tale? Only the prince’s true love can free him from the evil curse.”
“You only half-freed him. And it’s time for you to buzz off so a real princess can finish the job.”
“Nope. Not gonna do it.”
She crosses her arms and scowls. “You do realize there’s a reason he was turned into a frog in the first place, right?”
“He mentioned your mom,” I say, as Mack hops up next to us.
He grins at me. At least, I think he’s grinning at me. It’s hard to tell, since his eyes are on opposite sides of his face. He says, “Want to dance?”
“Love to,” I say, at the same moment Allie says, “Yes.” I guess she can’t tell who he’s looking at either.
I grab Mack’s hand. “Sorry, Allie. First dibs.”
When Mack and I are face to face on the dance floor, I gaze into the eye that’s aimed at me. He says, “I like your hair. Frog green suits you.”
“Thanks.” I lean toward him and whisper, “I’m shedding.”
A hush descends, as if the band and the chattering nobility surrounding us have left the ballroom. Mack leans away, and I half-expect him to walk off the dance floor. Instead, he lowers his head and whispers back, “Goes with the territory. Still happens to me once a week.”
“Allie could change that.”
“I’ll pass. I like being me.”
“Yes,” he says. “It changed both of us.”
“You okay with that?”
“Yep.” He pulls me closer. “I’m thinking of ditching this clambake and going for a swim in the lily pond. You interested?”
“Absolutely,” I say, and think, this fairy tale might have a happy ending after all.