posted on 19-Jan-2003 12:22:58 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
fcaafb90


This beautiful banner was made by the incredibly talented Talena! Thank you sooo much, Talena! *happy*

Story: A Rose Of Cinders

Author: Me! (Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer! (a.k.a. Katie))
You can still go and hide if you want to... *big*

Disclaimer: Cinderella and Roswell do not belong to me... If they did, I'd be a millionair by now...*big* No infringement intended, so please don’t sue!

Summary: Cinderella – Roswell style – with a twist. Based upon one of the wonderful challenges by Dia... Thank you, Dia!!! *happy*

Dedication: To my wonderful(!!!) muse and beta-reader: Josephin and Dia, to whom the challenge belongs...

Reviews: Yes, please! A lot! The more reviews I get, the sooner I tend to update!!! *hint, hint* *wink*

Please note that I'm Dutch, so there might be some (grammatical) errors in this fic. If you find any, please let me know. It's always useful to improve my English.

Okay, this was the formal stuff... Let the story begin!

Oh, and btw, the prologue may be a little bit boring, but I promise that I'll try to make the chapters that follow more thrilling! *happy*

Love,

Katie

*big* I'm really nervous about this...


[ edited 20time(s), last at 9-Feb-2003 2:26:28 PM ]
posted on 19-Jan-2003 12:24:13 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
A Rose Of Cinders

Prologue

Once upon a time, in a country far, far, very far away from here, there lived a very beautiful girl. Her name was Elizabeth Parker, but everyone close to her called her Liza. She didn’t have many friends, for she was never allowed to leave the house. Her best friends were her brother, Alexander, and the girl from next-door, Maria DeLuca.

Alex and Liza’s mother had died in childbirth six years ago, when Liza had been ten and Alex eleven years old. Their little brother, an afterthought, had been born dead. Liza, Alex and their dad had been devastated, and had grieved for over a year. Their father often went on business trips, unable to stay home, where everything reminded him of Christina, his former wife.

Alex and Liza were left to take care of their own, but their father only left them after making sure that they could go to Amelia DeLuca in cases of emergencies. Their neighbor was always willing to cook for two more, and she loved the interaction between Maria, Alex and Liza. They were incredibly close, inseparable actually, and even one who didn’t know them could easily notice the tight bond between the three of them.

Four years ago, their father had brought a woman and a girl about Liza’s age back from one of his weekly trips. He announced to no one in particular that he would marry Bertha, and that she and her daughter Tess would come and live with them.

Liza and Alex had looked at each other, absolute horror etched on their faces. Bertha was a rather fat woman, and it was even impossible for Maria, who always tried to see the good in the looks of people, to find anything concerning her attractive. Bertha had fierce eyebrows, lips that were drawn in a thin line and eyes that could freeze the sun with their coldness.

Tess hadn’t been more gifted with her looks than her mother had been. She may not be as ugly as Bertha, but her eyes were just as cold, her breasts fake and too large for a twelve-year-old and her hair resembled straw that had been curled with a pair of defect tweezers.

There wasn’t much that Liza and Alex could do to keep them from moving in, though. Their father had decided to marry Bertha within two weeks, and there was absolutely nothing that could change his mind: he didn’t even bother to listen to Liza, who’d always been his eye apple, and Alex’s very vivid speeches left him cold.

Bertha and Tess immediately took over the control in the Parker residence, bossing everyone around. Alex just huffed at them when they commanded him, not willing to be nice to the – according to him – invaders of their house and peace. He didn’t bother to answer any of their questions (or rather, demands) and tried to ignore them as much as possible.

Liza also had much trouble trying to remain polite to both Tess and Bertha, and even though she - just like Maria - always tried to see the good aspects of people, she wasn’t able to discover any nice features or traits of character in them.

Alex kept trying to reason with their dad about his sudden needs and wants, but it was useless. Their father seemed different, somehow changed. He was no longer the warm and loving man they used to know, but had turned into an emotionless person, almost numb.

All the hope Maria and Liza had for a marriage between Amelia DeLuca and Jeffrey Parker, who’d always liked each other, had fled the moment her father decided that no one was allowed on his wedding with Bertha, except Tess and Bertha herself.

To say that the years that followed were horrible would be an understatement. They were often stuck with Bertha and Tess because of their father being away on his weekly business trips. Alex believed that Tess did everything in her power to make their lives a living hell.

Tess had nabbed both of their rooms and was currently using one for her countless dresses and make up, and one for her bed and other possessions. She had a bathroom of her own since her mother didn’t find it fitting for her to share one with Liza and Alex.

All of Liza’s dresses had been given to Tess, who put the ones she liked into her own closet, and burnt the other ones, her face twisted in a grimace of distaste and disgust.

Bertha and Tess weren’t too hard on Alex in the beginning, but when he spoke up for his little sister, their whole demeanor towards him changed. They confiscated his clothes, sold most of them, and burnt the ones that held no value.

Liza and Alex were ought to sleep on some straw in the kitchen, close to the fireplace, between the ashes and cinders. They only had a thin cotton blanket, and often cuddled up together to keep each other warm.

Bertha and Tess tended to use Liza and Alex as their own personal servants. Liza and Alex had to cook, set the table, work in the gardens, clean the house and do all the other nasty chores for which Bertha and Tess were too lazy. Liza also had to fill Tess’s bath, wash her hair, dress her and do her make up: needless to say, a very tough job.

Alex and Liza weren’t allowed to leave the house without permission, which was only granted when they had to shop for groceries and other errands.

Every Wednesday and Saturday night, Maria would sneak into the kitchen to see them and keep them somewhat in touch with the outside world. They looked forward to Maria’s visits, eager to hear more of Amelia and Maria’s little brother, Domenic.

Maria would gossip and speculate about the girls in town and tell them the latest news about the war against Ceria, that had been going on for six years. Often they would just chit-chat with each other about everything and nothing, or discuss their gifts.

Almost everyone in Antar, their country, had been gifted with a power, born with some sort of gift. Some of the gifts were barely noticeable, others were very prominent and powerful.

Alex was gifted with a logical mind, and he quickly saw answers to the most difficult problems. His logical way of thinking enabled him to think fast, and come up with funny jokes that could crack Liza and Maria up for hours.

Maria’s gift was even less perceptible but all the more amusing. She could easily talk to people, connect with them, comfort them when they were hurt or sad and she was great with little children.

Liza’s gift must have been the most special gift of all of them. She could ‘talk’ with animals. It wasn’t really talking, but somehow she was able to connect with animals and send them some of her feelings, thoughts or some images and pictures.

All animals loved her, and she loved them. When she had been little, she had been a little bit afraid of spiders, but she quickly learned that there was nothing to fear. Spiders were fun to play with, and were smarter than many thought.

She had an incredible good relationship with the birds and mice in and around the house. When she had to scrub the floors, they’d often accompany her, the birds happily performing their latest symphonies and the mice listening and watching with friendliness in their beady eyes. They were befriended, all of them, and tried their best to keep each other happy.

Maria had been convinced that Bertha or Tess had mind-warped Jeff into marrying Bertha and saying all the things he had said. He showed all the symptoms, she asserted. Tiredness, insensibility, numbness, sudden changes in behavior… All of these were very prominently present in the case of Jeffrey Parker.

When Alex had tried to reason with her, telling her that their dad had already been dead-tired when he had left, she would use his arguments to support her own statement. She’d say that Jeff’s tiredness had probably been what had made him more vulnerable and defenseless against a mind-warp to begin with.

Maria usually felt people due to her gift. She could feel their presence, their essence. Bertha and Tess were giving her bad ‘vibes’ as she used to call her feelings, and that was why she didn’t trust them. She also knew how Jeff’s presence used to feel, but after his trip his presence had somewhat changed, altered and weakened. What was left was just a vague impression of what his essence used to be.

Alex did see the logic in her speech, but he didn’t want to trust his mind this time, he didn’t want to believe that his dad had been stupid enough to let himself get mind-warped.

Maria’s retort was simple: did he want to believe that this was his dad, then?

When their argument had been about to escalate, Liza had intervened, telling them that it didn’t matter whether or not their dad had been mind-warped since there was nothing they could do about it.

The only way a mind-warp could be broken or stopped was by killing the person who was performing it or weakening the person so badly that he or she wouldn’t have any power left to continue or carry on with the mind-warp. Of course, when the person self would decide to stop the mind-warp it would also cease to exist. Since Liza, Alex and Maria weren’t murderers or torturers they could only wait for the mind-warp to stop; there was nothing else left to do for them.

They lived this way for four years, putting up with Bertha’s rudeness and Tess’s jealousy and hate, but something was about to change drastically - for all of them - and it wasn’t to be stopped…
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[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Feb-2003 11:56:16 AM ]
posted on 19-Jan-2003 12:29:49 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
A Rose Of Cinders

Chapter 1

Liza softly hummed along with the melody of the bird’s songs while wiping the floor. It was early, and the sun had yet to rise. She loved to be awake at this hour of the day, to be able to finish her chores without Tess or Bertha bothering her. She’d sit down when the sun would come up, watch the sky turn purple and violet, red and pink, yellow and orange, and see the moon slowly dissolve and disappear.

The thing she loved most about the rising of the sun was how the world around her would come alive. Horsemen and coaches would ride on the main road close to their yard and everywhere around her windows would be opened and laughter could be heard. There wasn’t any laughter in the Parker residence, though. When Tess and Bertha would awaken, they would be in a very bad mood, even in a worse one than the moods they usually had. That was why Liza dreaded yet loved the daybreak, the coming of dawn, and all of its consequences.

Lost in her musings, she softly patted a mouse on its back with her broom, silently challenging it, daring it to play with her. The mouse squeaked quasi indignant and tried to climb onto her leg but failed miserably. Liza’s leg was too slippery and steep for the mouse and it kept sliding down when it reached her calf.

Liza quietly laughed, cautiously as to not awaken anyone, and bended forward. She picked the little fellow up and placed it upon her shoulder, allowing it to nibble at her earlobe for a little while, giggling at the tickling sensation it caused. When the mouse softly bit her she gave a little scream, but quickly berated herself for making such a noise.

She sat down and let the mouse descend her shoulder and leap into her lap. A few other mice joined them and together they sat and watched the sun begin its lonesome climb across the horizon. They were silent, somehow revering the rainbow of colors, the wonder of the rising and the awakening of the world. It was one of Tess’s screams that disturbed the peaceful silence.

“Liza!”

Liza quickly stood up, gathering her broom and bucket. She practically ran into the house, knowing it wasn’t wise to keep Tess waiting too long. She nearly bumped into Alex, who just smiled at her apology and took the bucket and broom from her.

She arrived in Tess’s first bedroom, completely out of breath, and noticed that the curtains were still drawn.

“Open the curtains, and then make me some breakfast,” Tess commanded her. “Scrammed eggs and two rolls dressed with sugar.”

Bertha entered the room, her hair tousled and tangled - it was full of little knots - dressed in only her flannel pyjama, that was hanging loosely around her large body.

“Now where are your manners, honey?” she asked in a mock chastising tone.

Tess smiled conspiratorially at her mother before directing Liza.

“Of course, I forgot…” she began in a sugary sweet voice, the syrup almost literally dripping off of it.

She gave Liza a fake sympathetic smile.

“Now!”

Liza sighed, and tried her best not to show how hurt she was inside.

She nodded, not trusting her own vocal cords to be as emotionless as her appearance, and went downstairs to prepare breakfast for both Tess and Bertha. She also made a few slices of bread for Alex and herself, putting his onto the kitchen table, covering it with a linen cloth to prevent flies from sitting on it.

She made her way upstairs again and served both women their breakfast. Tess ordered her to fill the bath with warm water and retrieve her red dress out of her closet. After dragging five buckets of warm water upstairs, silently wincing every time she spilled some water on the recently scrubbed floors, she had completely filled the large bath.

She was curling Tess’s hair when Bertha – now fully dressed and made up, but still very unattractive – barged into Tess’s bathroom. Both Liza and Tess looked up, alarmed, for they had never seen Bertha as flushed and excited as this. Her eyes were opened wide, an excitement mingling with the ever-present coldness, her cheeks rosy, mocking the rouge that now looked ridiculous, and her nostrils were flaring as rapid as a ventilator. Usually, Bertha was the role model of a boring, overly controlled person, but she was close to bouncing up and down at this moment.

She ran over to Tess, wildly waving with a letter with a broken seal in her hand.

“Look! Sweety, this is your chance!” Bertha barely managed to say in between of her breaths for fresh air. “This is our chance! You’re going to meet the Prince! The Prince! she stressed.

Tess gave a squeal of delight and started bouncing along with her mother.

Liza just kept quiet, standing in the background, her heart feeling oddly warm and tingly all of a sudden. Would the Prince come to their house? That would be great…

She involuntarily shivered. She had met the Prince once, a long time ago – her mum had still been alive – but it had been enough to get her falling in love with him. She hadn’t realized it at the time that the feelings she had were the ones of love, but she did now.

She, Alex and Maria had sneaked out of their houses and had gone to the Great Plaza, where a carnival would be held. They’d never been to a carnival before, and were impressed and overwhelmed by all the new experiences and the diversity of people. They had seen people spitting fire and there had been jugglers, dwarfs and women with beards.

She sighed happily. The memory of that day was seared into her brain, not just because of the funfair, but mostly because of the boy she’d met that day.

She’d lost Maria and Alex in the bustle, fuss and excitement and had been on the verge of a breakdown when a boy about her age had noticed her, his wonderful warm amber eyes worriedly examining her. He had asked her softly what was wrong and promised her – as genuine and sincere as promises of children are – that he would help her find them back.

He had taken her hand, causing a surge of a tingly sort of energy to flood through her body, artilleries and veins, and had led her to a man in his thirties, who had taken her up on a stage. Maria and Alex saw her and rejoined them in no time.

It wasn’t until she, Alex and Maria had hugged in the joy of being together again that she noticed the small, yet very precious crown on top of the man’s head, and realized that he had to be the King. The King put his arm around the shoulder of the boy – Prince, Liza silently corrected herself – and winked at her, twice, a smile gracing his handsome features. The King and the Prince turned around and walked away, and she lost sight of them in the crowd.

Maria, Alex and she just stood there, mouths agape, watching them leave, disperse into the fuss. Suddenly they appeared out of the crowd once more, and the Prince had looked back and smiled – a sort of a conspiratorially smile, meant for her – a smile that made his eyes light up and her heart beat a little faster.

That day had been the best day of her life, despite of the severe punishment that had followed after her mum and Amelia had found out about it. It had been worth it, they all agreed, and they hadn’t regretted their little trip for a single second. Until the present day, Liza had been looking forward to meet the boy, the Prince, again, to thank him for helping her and her friends, to look and get lost into his eyes just once more.

Liza weakly smiled at the memory. She often thought back about that day, or to be really honest with herself, she often thought back about the Prince. How he would look nowadays, and whether or not he would recognize her, remember her. Maria had told her that the Prince was said to be really handsome. Soulful amber eyes, thick raven hair, a body to die for and full kissable lips... Liza remembered the eyes, but hadn’t really paid attention to his other ‘qualities’ when they had met.

She was shaken out of her reveries by the sound of Tess’s high squeals. By that time, Bertha had regained some of her sensibility and had calmed down a little. In vain she tried to silence her daughter, but soon she realized that the only way to do that was to read the letter to her.

She took a deep breath before starting her mission to quiet Tess, a very tough one, needless to say.

“It’s directed to every young girl in the Kingdom of Antar and across the borders,” she enthusiastically began, “the Prince is giving a ball to find himself a young bride. Every girl is welcome and can take one companion along with her: her mother, father, friend or brother.” Bertha read.

Tess started another series of squeals and actually laughed out loud.

Liza felt her heart swell even more, almost flooding over with joy and hope. Every girl in the Kingdom was invited…

So, she was also allowed to come, right? She grinned and turned her full attention back to the rest of the letter.

“The ball is being held tonight, and there will be two more dances on the next two days. The Prince promises to dance with as many girls as possible…” Bertha continued, looking significantly at Tess.

“He’ll love you, sweety,” she told her. “You know what this means?” she excitedly asked her daughter. “He’ll take you as his bride, and you and I are going to live at the palace!”

Tess nodded eagerly. “We’ll finally be able to leave this place!” she happily sighed. “And you, of course,” she added, looking at Liza with disgust.

Liza felt another pang of hurt, but in her heart she knew that Tess was just jealous… At least, that was what Alex asserted. She had no clue as to why Tess would be jealous at her, but Alex seemed pretty sure, and he was the one with the logic mind, right?

She listened quietly while Tess and Bertha were making plans about the right dress, make-up and hairstyle. How she wished that her mother could be here right now, planning the ball with her…

She sighed, and suddenly noticed that Tess and Bertha were silent now, and looking at her expectantly, as if they had just asked her something.

“I’m… I’m sorry… Wh-What?” Liza hesitantly asked them, berating herself for stammering.

“Get Tess’s best dresses out of her closets,” Bertha impatiently commanded her. “Now!”

Liza cringed and was about to leave, but stopped dead in her tracks and turned around.

Tess and Bertha were discussing the ball again, and she looked at them, envying Tess, and at the same time trying to be not so jealous.

“Bertha?” she quietly asked, a hesitant hint in her voice.

Bertha didn’t hear her and just went on talking to Tess.

“Bertha?” Liza asked again, a little louder and more self-confident this time.

Bertha looked up, angry for being interrupted in her discussion and an impatient look disgracing her face.

“Yes?” she asked, rather furious.

“Could I… could I” Liza stammered and she sighed, frustrated with her sudden inability to talk without stuttering. She took a good, long, deep breath before looking Bertha deeply in the eye.

“Could I go as well?” she breathed out, shivering at the cold glares she was receiving from both Tess and Bertha.

She expectantly looked at them.

“Please?” she added.

---------------------------------------------------


Thank you sooo much, Josephin, for your immediate fb... *big*

You're the bestest beta-reader in the whole wide world!!!

And for anyone who still doesn't understand: please leave some feedback! It means a lot to me!!!

Love,

Katie *angel*



[ edited 2 time(s), last at 5-Feb-2003 2:06:12 PM ]
posted on 19-Jan-2003 2:47:16 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!

I didn't expect so much fb after the first part...

Lol... *big*

Thank you sooo much for it!

So you really think I should consider continuing this fic? I wasn't too sure about it at first... *happy*

A question about the story itself... should I follow the original script, and keep this story G-rated, or do you want a more adult version of the story, having it PG-13 or NC-17 rated? I've been wondering about that for some time now, and decided it would be wise to ask you... *happy*

Please let me know!

Love ya all, *big*

Katie *angel*



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 19-Jan-2003 3:08:38 PM ]
posted on 20-Jan-2003 2:09:39 AM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
An adult version it will be...

*giggles*

Although I don't consider myself an adult yet... *big*

Love ya all!!!

Katie
posted on 22-Jan-2003 2:15:04 AM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Hey everyone!

Just stopping by to thank you all for your bumps, and to tell you that I must have the new chapter ready by tomorrow.

For everyone who's reading TC, I'll try and post a new chapter Friday/Saturday, okay?

Love ya all, *happy*

Katie

posted on 22-Jan-2003 2:26:08 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
A/N:

I've just mailed chapter 2 to Josephin, so I'll have a new part ready tomorrow (or today). *happy*

I'm just gonna go and thank you all for the bumps right now, okay?

Josephin: Not much to say...

Except that she's the best beta-reader you'll ever find, and that her reviews are worth gold *big*.

Josephin, thank you so much for everything!!! *happy*

BTW, I soooo agree with you that RoswellFanatics is the best fanfic-site. FF.net is very confusing, and often you can’t update or edit your fics… *sad* Very frustrating…

Glad I made you blush… *happy* You deserve every compliment!

LizHalliwell: We'll see if you're right, won't we?

*evil grin* *big*

Thank you for your reply!

Salonica: Answers to your questions in the nxt part. And yes, I totally agree with you. Tess and her mother need to be stopped.

Jeremiah: Glad that you're also reading this story... *happy* You're a loyal bumper and fb-er!

Jessica: Agree with you on torturing Tess and Bertha *big* Thank you for your fb... It rocked me off of my socks!!! *big*

Dia: I'm a little worried about what you think. After all, it was your challenge, your idea. Did I do alright? Was this the way you wanted it to be, or did you have something completely else in mind?
Thank you for your wonderful idea, and your fb! *happy*

A Rose Is True Blue: I love your nickname! Is there a story behind it, or did you just like the ring of it? *happy*
About Fairy Godmother... We'll see about that... *big*

qt4167013: Any peticular reason why you've chosen this nickname? *happy* Thank you for reviewing!

Marteloise: Thank you for your reviews! You're from France... Where approximately? North, South? I often go on vacation to South-France, like Provence (Avignon) and to Bordeaux. I can even talk a little bit French! *happy* Not much, but it’s sufficient to read a little... Thnx for the fb!

Roswellluver: Thnx for the fb! *happy*

Cinder: Yes, you do have some affinity with the title… *big* I wasnt too sure about it at first, since in Dutch, Cinderella is called Assepoester, which literally translated means Ash-wiper... Weird, I know Anywayz, at first I was thinking of something like From the Ashes/Cinders but theres already another story at this board named like that, so I decided that that wouldnt do. After discussing it with Dia, to whom (or who, havent figured that part of the English language out yet) the challenge belongs we chose for A Rose Of Cinders. Very interesting, isnt it? *big*
Thank you for your review and your bump!!! *happy*

Angelic, Frenchkiss70, The Better Twin (lol… what does your twin says of this?) and everyone else who I forgot to name: Thank you sooooo much for your replies, bumps and reviews! They’re what keeps me going!

Toodles!

Katie *angel*


posted on 22-Jan-2003 3:59:32 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
With special thanks to Josephin for reviewing and beta-reading so quickly and thoroughly *happy*...

-----------------------------------------------
Previously, on Roswell... *happy*

The end of Chapter 1:

“Bertha?” Liza quietly asked, a hesitant hint in her voice.

Bertha didn’t hear her and just went on talking to Tess.

“Bertha?” Liza asked again, a little louder and more self-confident this time.

Bertha looked up, angry for being interrupted in her discussion and an impatient look disgracing on her face.

“Yes?” she asked, rather furious.

“Could I… could I” Liza stammered and she sighed, frustrated with her sudden inability to talk without stuttering. She took a good, long, deep breath before looking Bertha deeply in the eye.

“Could I go as well?” she breathed out, shivering at the cold glares she was receiving from both Tess and Bertha.

She expectantly looked at them.

“Please?” she added.

-------------------------------------------------------

A Rose Of Cinders

Chapter 2

Tess looked at her mother, a horrified expression etched on her face. Her eyes were silently begging her mother, pleading her to forbid Liza from going along.

Bertha looked at her, a conspiratorially smile drawing her lips in an even thinner line than usual. The wink she gave Tess was sufficient to let her know that Liza tagging along with them was out of the question.

Tess released her breath, immensely relieved with this knowledge. She wasn’t likely to admit it, but she envied Liza. She envied her beauty, her kindness, her intelligence, but – most of all – she was jealous of her gift.

Tess hadn’t been born with a gift, and did everything thing in her power to keep this a secret. Bertha used to blame her late father, since – according to her – he hadn’t had any powers or a gift either.

Bertha did have a gift: she could mindwarp people, and she didn’t hesitate to use it to achieve things, even though it could be very risky at times. Once, a man had found out he was being mindwarped by her, and had tried to have her arrested. They nearly managed to escape from the King’s soldiers that were after them.

Jeffrey Parker had been the perfect victim for Bertha’s mindwarp: a rich widower with no close friends – except Amelia DeLuca, but she was eccentric, and nobody would believe her – and, besides that, he had been very tired and sad, something that made him extra vulnerable for the mindwarp. The only problem had been his children, Alexander and Elizabeth, but they were minors so there was nothing they could do.

A problem.

That was how Tess had always regarded Liza. As a huge problem. The only thing she was good enough for was cleaning the house and helping her dress up, which, Tess had to admit, she was very good at.

Bertha turned towards Liza, smiling sweetly – a false smile, Tess knew – and raked a hand through her already tousled hair.

-------------------------------------------------

Liza swallowed and said a quick prayer. ‘Please,’ she begged, to no one in particular. ‘Please, let me go.’

Bertha smiled at her, but the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. Those cold, shallow pools of blue, impenetrable, remained as unmoved as they ever were. They didn’t allow anyone to see her thoughts, her soul.

And suddenly, Liza felt sorry for the woman. And regardless to the fact that she had every right to despise her, to hate her for everything that she had done to her, she didn’t. She pitied Bertha. She pitied her for the lack of feelings, for the lack of emotions, for the lack of humanity. And even though she knew she shouldn’t feel sorry for her, that it was ridiculous, she did. It must be awful to not have feelings, to be unable to love.

Bertha was still smiling, but somehow, it didn’t appear as a smile to Liza, it being more ominous than friendly, more a smile of deceit than a smile of sincerity, genuineness.

She swallowed again, trying to clear the lump that was rapidly forming in her throat. They weren’t going to let her go to the ball. They weren’t going to let her go.

Bertha reached out to touch Liza’s cheek, her long, thin fingers forming a major contrast with the rest of her huge body, the sharp, red-polished nails scraping painfully over the tender flesh of Liza’s face. She slowly tilted her face to one side, studying it intently, the coldness of her bright blue eyes piercing right into Liza’s soul.

Liza shivered. Bertha’s eyes were so different from Maria’s, even though they were both a shade of bright blue. Maria’s eyes were sparkling with hope and joy, whereas Bertha’s were solid like ice. Maria’s eyes expressed love, kindness and friendship, yet all Bertha’s eyes were able to express was disgust and hate.

Liza looked at Bertha while she was taking a deep breath, a breath that made her chest swell and that made her appear even huger.

“Do you really want to go?” Bertha asked her.

Liza nodded slowly, cautious as to not get her hopes too high, or look too eager.

Tess watched, her worries growing with the minute, a frown creasing her forehead. It was obvious that she wasn’t content with the way things were going.

Bertha gave Liza another one of those deceiving smiles before giving her her answer.

“Well, in that case,” she replied, “you can go.”

Liza looked at her, surprised with the sudden permission, a feeling of immense relief being uttered by a huge grin.

“Now,” Bertha said, without any sign of her earlier smile, “go and get Tess’s dresses. We don’t have all day, now do we?” She tapped impatiently with her right foot when Liza didn’t show any sign of an answer.

Liza quickly nodded, carefully trying to avoid any reason that would make Bertha retreat the earlier given permission by obeying as fast as possible. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Tess looking at Bertha, her mouth agape, somewhat resembling a fish gulping for fresh air.

Liza suppressed the urge to giggle and managed to keep a straight face. Even fishes didn’t breath like this. They had gills, after all.

She silently thanked her secret, unknown God and hurried to the door to find Alex smiling at her, switching amused looks between her and Tess. He bent forward and whispered in her ear:

“Bet she can catch a lot of flies like that...”

Liza softly giggled and playfully slapped Alex on his arm. She gently pushed him out of her way, retrieving seven of Tess’s best dresses out of her closet.

She sighed at the feeling of the soft fabric against her skin, silently admiring the material, the embroiled figures and pearls, the fringes, the lace and the suede. She especially liked a red dress that was made of silk. She softly let it slip between her fingers, imaging herself in it.

What dress would she have to wear to the ball? The only clothes she had were the dress she was wearing now, and another very old, very worn and very tattered dress. This one was thin, the cotton smeared and dirtied with ash, filth and other stains that refused to disappear.

Maybe she could borrow one of Tess’s dresses. It wasn’t like Tess could wear them all, right? Maybe the red one...

She seriously doubted whether Tess would lend her a dress. She hadn’t seemed all too happy with the information that she’d go along.

Maybe a dress of Maria’s... Maria didn’t have as many and as beautiful dresses as Tess had, but they were clean. Amelia and Maria weren’t very rich, since Maria’s father had left them with huge debts, but they made enough money for a living and for a few luxuries.

Liza was still lost in her musing when she entered Tess’s bedroom and carefully placed the dresses on Tess’s bed. Bertha nodded at her, waving with her hand, signalling to her that she was dismissed. Liza flashed a grateful smile at Bertha, determined to show her gratitude, and turned around. She was just across the bedroom, intending to leave it, when – all of a sudden – Bertha’s cold voice stopped her.

“Oh, by the way, Liza, I forgot to tell you something,” she said, acting as though it just came to her mind at that very moment.

Liza turned around, only to be faced with a giggling Tess and a very serious Bertha.

“There is one condition on going along with us,” Bertha told her.

Liza slowly nodded, confused, but prepared to do whatever needed to see the Prince. She shot shy and worried glances at Tess, who was still giggling on her way down.

Bertha walked into the kitchen, nearing the hearth and thus nearing the straw that was Liza and Alex’s bed. She took a large bowl, filled to the brim with beans and looked challengingly at Liza.

Liza refused to shut her eyes; ready to take whatever challenge Bertha was daring her to do.

Bertha turned the bowl upside-down, throwing the beans on the ground and between the straws. She mingled them with the cinders and ash in the fireplace and shoved a few of them under the – neatly made – blankets of the “bed”.

“When you’ve selected all the beans out of the fireplace and when they’re back in the bowl in less than two hours, you can go with us,” Bertha said, that deceptive smile back on her face once more.

She winked at Tess, who was openly laughing at the moment, and Liza didn’t move until they had left the room.

Liza sighed. She needed to do this in less than two hours?

She’d never manage to do that... There was no way she’d be able to attend the ball now...

She leaned back into the wall, sliding down against it, putting her head between her hands. She could just smash herself on the head at that moment. She should have known that Bertha wasn’t just trying to be nice to her. She should have known that.

Why did she always trust the wrong people?

A little sparrow landed on the windowsill and chirped softly when it noticed Liza’s sadness and despair, silently asking her what was wrong.

Liza laughed, startling the little bird with the bitterness in her voice.

She managed to ‘tell’ the sparrow what she had to do and let her defeat and despair seep through through their connection.

The small bird moved its head, making it look like a nod of understanding.

Instead of comforting her, or cheering her up, it turned around and flew away.

How Liza wished she were a bird, how she wished that she could be the one to fly away and leave this place. She longed for freedom, to make her own decisions, and see more of the world.

To see the Prince...

She sighed again and moved over to the straws next to the fireplace. Gone was her chance to meet the Prince again. Gone was her hope to see his eyes just one more time. She’d die as an old and lonely spinster or maid. ‘No,’ she corrected herself. ‘I won’t even have the chance to become old. With this work, I’d die in my early fifties or sixties, or perhaps even before then.’

Suddenly there was the sound of wings in the air, and she looked up, surprised to find that the little sparrow had returned with all sorts of birds. There were a few pigeons, some other sparrows, blackbirds and all other kinds of birds she had never seen before.

They nodded at Liza and started to peck at the beans, picking them up and placing them in the bowl. They left the filth and cinders on the ground and selected the beans out of the straws and ashes.

In less than half an hour they had returned almost every bean in the bowl, and when the last bean joined the others, the birds looked up at Liza, and nodded again.

Liza happily smiled and thanked the birds for their help, the tears of sadness in her eyes replaced with tears of gratefulness, affection and hope.

She ran upstairs with the bowl in her hand and entered Tess’s bedroom with an enormous smile plastered on her face. She proudly presented the bowl filled with beans to Bertha, convinced that now, she’d let her go.

Bertha looked at her and smiled wryly while she gave Liza a look-over, the expression of pure astonishment quickly turning in one of coolness.

“Did you really think we’d let you go with us?” she asked her, mock disbelief clearly evident in her voice.

“You’re dirty, you don’t have a dress and you cannot dance. You’d embarrass us.”

It wasn’t until then that Liza’s smile faltered. Alex, who had overheard the whole conversation, suddenly spoke.

“Liza can dance,” he piped up, defending his little sister. “Our mother taught us when we were little.”

“Liza is still little,” Tess said, taking every opportunity to hurt Liza.

“She isn’t little,” Alex replied, “She’s petite. Just like you,” he retorted.

Tess kept silent, indignant, knowing she wasn’t a match for Alex’s words or mind.

“The filth can be washed off, and she could borrow one of Tess’s dresses,” he continued.

His last words provoked quite a few squirts of outrage from Tess.

She?” Tess spat out. “Borrow my dress?”

She vigorously shook her head. “Oh no, she won’t! Over my dead body.”

Alex took Liza’s hand and softly squeezed it.

“She could borrow a dress from Maria,” he proposed, positive that their friend would be happy to help Liza out.

“Mind you own business, Alexander,” Bertha said. “She isn’t coming with us. Period. Discussion closed.”

“Discussion? Which discussion?” Alex defiantly asked her. “You don’t even give her a fair chance!”

“Shut up, Alex...” Bertha threateningly started. “Go and feed the horses and prepare the coach. Now!” she yelled when Alex didn’t show any intention of obeying.

“And you, Liza,” she continued when Alex had left the room. “Do Tess’s hair and her make-up. Make sure she’s all set to go by eight.”

Liza bit on her lip and tucked a strand of hair back in her ponytail, trembling from the strength it took her to control herself. Tess looked at her, an evil glint in her eyes when she started talking.

“Can you believe it, sister dear?” she asked, faking disbelief. “I am going to meet the Prince tonight. The Prince,” she continued, a grin stretching itself from ear to ear. ”Tonight,” she emphasized.

Liza just looked at Tess, succeeding in keeping an emotionless front.

When Tess didn’t receive the reaction she’d expected to get, she repeated her words, talking slowly, word after word, as if talking to a little child, or a foreigner.

“I, “ she started, while pointing at herself, “am – going – to – meet...” she inserted a long, dramatic pause, “the – Prince,” she finished. “The P-R-I-N-C-E,” she spelled, obviously disappointed with Liza’s reaction, or rather: lack of reaction.

Tess sat down on the stool, which loudly protested under her weight. Ignoring the cracking, she bended forward, lifting the brush of the closet and handing it to Liza.

“Brush,” Tess commanded her.

Liza started to drag the brush through Tess’s hair and pulled hard at it when it got tangled – harder than necessary.

------------------------------

Review, please? *big*

Love,

Katie

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 5-Feb-2003 1:38:13 PM ]
posted on 23-Jan-2003 10:34:11 AM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Hey everyone...

I really needed your kind words...

I got in a fight with one of my friends (not my closest) over something little, and it escalated...

I hate rows and I feel horrible... Depressed... *sad*

I'm all worked up now, can't concentrate, have a mindsplitting head-ache, and I still have to study for this huge biology test...

So...

To say that your words cheered me up a little is an understatement... *happy*

I don't think I'll be able to answer your questions and bumps, (or your e-mail, Josephin) but I promise I'll do that later...

Reviews for certain fics *happy* will come later, okay?

Just to let you know, Josephin, I loved the new part of Lethal Whispers... *happy*

Well, thank you all very very much...

Love,

Katie


posted on 23-Jan-2003 2:31:59 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!

Hey everyone,

Feeling a little better... *happy*

Well, I'm just gonna go and thank you for your sweet words... *happy*

Marteloise: Yes, I've been in Bordeaux, but it was very long ago... I was 9 at the time, so I don't remember much (I'm 16 now). I was there, but just for one day: we often go on vacation in smaller towns and visit a big city one or two days. I've also been to Disneyland Paris! That was soooo funny... *big*

Been to Avignon and other cities in the Provenance, seen the Tour de France, you know... Things like that... The Eifeltoren (how do you guys call it?) and the Arc de Triomph... *happy*

France rocks....

Anywayz, I'm gonna go now...

*guilty smile*

I still have to study...

Love ya all!!!

Katie

PS. Josephin, you made me blush, too... *shy*
posted on 27-Jan-2003 12:34:14 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Just dropping by to show you guys the banner...

Hope ya all like it... icon_rolleyes

It's only temporary, though... *happy*

Well, here it is...

Tadada!
fcb8a5eb

As to your question, Marteloise, I honestly do not know. I've never been good with prizes in Francs, but since everything is in Euros now, it’s a lot easier. Bread here costs about 1 Euro, Milk (1litre) 0.50 Euro ehh… At our school, a can of coca cola is 1 Euro, but in the supermarket it will be about 0.33 Euro. They’re thieves, the direction of our school… *big*

Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of France, but that’s b/c we almost go every summer holiday. I’m 16 now, so I think I’ve been to France about 10 times. I’ve also been to Portugal, Greece, Germany, Belgium (duh… that’s just a few miles) and Austria. It’s that much, but I’ve seen something of Europe *happy*.

New part will be out soon, but first I’ll have to type my new part for my other fic, which will take a lot of time, since I intended for it to be extra long… *happy*

So… Expect a new part before Saturday, if school will allow me…

Love,

Katie



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Jan-2003 3:54:57 PM ]
posted on 27-Jan-2003 3:57:55 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Okay, you guys should be able to see the banner now...

*shy* Stupid me... Linked it wrong, somehow...

And Josephin: Thank you so incredibly muchos!!!!

You are the best!!!

Love,

Katie

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Jan-2003 9:47:17 AM ]
posted on 31-Jan-2003 9:50:04 AM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Quickly dropping by to let you know that I'll continue this fic ASAP.

I'm very sorry I haven't posted a new chapter yet, but I've been busy with school (oral report Dutch and a very difficult test in Physics) and True Colors, and since it's weekend and I've finished chapter 13 a of TC, I'll be able to post again very soon... (at least, that are my intentions) *happy*

Well,

Thank you so much for all your kind words and bumps!

Please continue... *big*

Love,

Katie


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Jan-2003 9:50:28 AM ]
posted on 2-Feb-2003 3:20:52 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Hey you guys!

I just mailed Josephin the new part, so it should be out really soon... *happy*

Just letting ya know...

Thanks for all your bumps!

Lots of love,

Katie


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 2-Feb-2003 3:21:10 PM ]
posted on 3-Feb-2003 12:12:12 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Disclaimer:

Yay!

For the first time in my writing career (about two months…*wink*), it’s really necessary to write a Disclaimer…

I mean, everybody knows that the characters belong to JK, Melinda Metz, and others, but you guys don’t know to whom the lyrics of the song that’s used belong…

Or maybe you do… *big*

Anyway, the song used is called “Children’s Lullaby” by “Vertical Horizon”. The song is nice, but it were the lyrics that touched me…

Oh, and since we’re doing the disclaimer anyways, I’ll just tell you, that, in case you recognize some of the sentences used in the part where Max talks to Christian, that you probably knew them from a fluff fic I wrote about a year ago, for English class. I didn’t post it at Roswellfanatics, but I did post it at ff.net, so maybe you read it there, although I seriously doubt that. Besides that, I enhanced the part a little, so it’s not that obvious… *happy*

And guys, thank you soooo incredibly much for your great reviews and sweet words! They encouraged me to write faster, type faster, and kinda inspired me. So, please, please, pretty please, keep them coming!

Enough of me babbling. Without further ado, here’s the new part:



------------------------------------------

A Rose Of Cinders

Chapter 3

Children’s Lullaby
Little girl was down by the waterside,
The sun so hot and the roses so red where she lie,
As little boys sit and watch as she twirls all around,
Sunny smiles not a rain cloud could bring that girl down,

But now....

What's behind those big brown eyes,
Do you dream at night, without your lullaby?

Little boy sits alone as he sings in the dark,
Wondering if his own dreams had pulled them apart,
He sings a song of tomorrow he never can see,
Mostly sings of a lost little girl's memory,

And now...

As his dreams go flashing by,
He begins to hear a lonely lullaby

Well now…

We used to sing,
And we used to cry,
Through everything,
In our children's lullaby

Little girl on the street with nobody around
Has her head in the air, dirty feet on the ground
She shuts her eyes and she wonders ‘is this a mistake?’
Now she's gone from the warmth of her little boy days.

And still...

She believes that she'll get by,
On her own without,
Her little boy's lullaby

Little boy prays to God to answer his song,
To hold her hand when everyone else's are gone,
Time goes by and the wounds slowly turn into scars,
So he makes his final wish on the midnight stars,

And he screams...

Little girl won't you hear my cry,
Won't you come back home,
To your lover's lullaby

Little girl down by the waterside

Goodbye, goodbye

Goodbye…

------------------------------



The lyrics of the song slowly drifted towards Max, kept lingering in the air, drenching him with their hidden meaning. He didn’t know where the song was being sung, or by whom, but the words were so true to him that they could be derived from his own soul.

The sun was slowly setting, its celestial journey across the cloudless sky being almost completed. The shadows it was casting were getting longer and wider, and even though the sun was nearly down, the temperature didn’t decrease.

It promised to become a long, very long, sultry summer night.

Max looked down from his balcony at the people swarming around his second-in-command, Michael, who was currently trying to stall Max’s arrival in the Grand Hall.

He took a closer look.

Girls.

A lot of girls.

Thousands of them.

Well, hundreds maybe, he rationalized.

Anyhow, there were plenty of them. Enough to turn every man’s dream – a ball with beautiful girls that were practically begging him to marry them – into a nightmare, albeit a very realistic one.

He’d have to try and dance with every single one of them, as promised in the Royal Letter.

And why?

He knew that he wouldn’t find the right one.

Over the years he’d been introduced to decades of young girls, most of them being princesses, and – he had to admit – some of them had been excruciatingly beautiful. Somehow, he couldn’t imagine marrying any of those girls. He knew why, though.

The girl at the carnival. Brown hair, big doe eyes. Eyes that were able to swallow him, that allowed him to get lost in her essence. She had been young at the time, and so had he. He doubted that she would remember him – at least, not in the way he remembered her – and if she did, it’d probably only be because of his Royal status as a Prince.

Not because of him.

He had no clue as to how she looked nowadays, but he knew that he would recognize her immediately. He had dreamed of her, countless times. In some of his dreams, they were happily married, and were playing with their children.

Other dreams were more… err… arousing, and to say that they were inspiring would be an understatement…

Max cursed under his breath for the blush he knew was adorning his face, being arisen just at the mere memory of those dreams. He tried very hard to regain his composure by thinking of anything but Her.

It worked for twenty seconds, but somehow his thoughts always managed to drift back to her.

Maybe she’d be among those girls, although Max knew that he would have felt her in some sort of way, like he would have recognized her presence. It was ridiculous, he was aware of that, for he couldn’t be able to distinguish any of the girls from this far away, but, at the same time, he couldn’t deny his heart’s knowledge.

“Your Majesty?”

He swivelled around at the sound of Christian’s voice and walked into his room, where Christian was waiting for him. He breezily acknowledged the servant’s presence with a friendly nod.

Christian cleared his throat.

“We received an answer from Lady Ann and Lord James, sir. They were very honored by your invitation and will surely attend tonight’s ball.”

“Good, good,” Max replied, “very good indeed. How about the preparations?” he asked, walking over to his closet to retrieve his blouse.

“Her Highness Isabel decided to do the planning herself, Your Majesty.”

Max smiled inwardly. If Izzy would take care of the ball, it was bound to become a splendid party.

“Good,” he answered. “Well, that’s all, Christian. You’re dismissed, I’d like to change now.” Max gestured at his blouse.

Christian nodded quickly. “Yes, sir.”

“Oh, and Christian?” Max said, looking at the retreating servant.

Christain revolved around his axis, almost tripling over his own feet, but was just in time to prevent a huge embarrassment. “Yes, sir?” he asked when he had recovered from the almost-fall.

“Loose the whole your-majesty-stuff, would you?” Max semi-ordered him, a friendly undertone present in his voice. He had known Christian for over 3 years now, and Christian still wasn’t able to call him by his first name.

When Christian answered with a solemn “Yes, sir,” Max let out an exasperated sigh.

“The sir-crap, too, Christian,” he said. “You can call me Max.”

“Okay, sir,” Christian responded, but quickly corrected himself when he saw Max arching his eyebrow.

“I mean Max, sir,” he said, curtsied and quickly walked away.

Max smiled weakly, and walked over to his window, bracing himself on the windowsill. He could see the farmers working on the countryside and had a bird’s eye view of the world.

It was all going to be his.

His kingdom.

He thought of the question he’d been asking himself the whole month. Did he really want to do this, get married to one of those girls and be bonded for the rest of his life? He’d been taught from childhood that the kingdom demanded sacrifices and that it was a gift to be asked to give an offering.

He sacrificed a lot.

He gave up nearly everything, but could he give up love? Because that was what he would do, by getting married. He did not like any of those girls, and he didn’t know how he ever could. The Council wanted him to marry, though, and he couldn’t go against the will of the Council. He was supposed to do his proposal this week, at the ball or in the after hours of it, so that the survival of the Unity would be guaranteed. Maybe they were women who he had to learn to love.

Or perhaps, he thought, perhaps he was doomed to live a life without love…

He shook his head, trying to get rid of those depressing thoughts.

‘Think happy thoughts,’ he told himself.

And, as usual, his mind raked up the image of his dream girl, at least, the way she looked in his dreams. He was yearning for a name, for a way to call her his.

Pretty soon he was lost in his daily fantasies and reveries about her, and he was startled when Michael called him, pulling him back to the harsh reality.

“… waiting for you, Maxwell,” were the only words he managed to constitute out of Michael’s sentence.

His eyes fluttered open and he looked right into the eyes of his best friend and second-in-command.

“I’ll be right down,” Max said with a curt nod, and he was about to get lost in his dream world again when Michael resisted.

“Maxwell!” he cried out, only partially faking despair.

“You can’t be serious! Those girls are literally pulling the clothes off of my body, clinging onto me, begging me, beseeching me to get at least one dance with the Prince! You can’t stall any longer!” he stressed.

“Michael…” Max warned, his voice filled with an authority, determined and persuasive, a way of speaking that he didn’t use very often. “I said that I would be right down,” he firmly stated.

Michael reluctantly nodded. “Of course, sire,” he mockingly said, a bitter undertone audible in his voice.

Max averted his gaze and looked at Michael, and when he saw the hurt in his friend’s eyes, he felt guilty.

“I’m sorry,” he hastily apologized, “it’s just that… I don’t want to do this…”

Michael raised an eyebrow.

“Maxwell, please… Those girls want you… They love you!” he loudly tried to reason, not even bothering to keep his voice down in front of a member of the Royal House.

”They don’t even know me, Michael,” Max flatly replied. “All they care about is the prospect of a life at the palace, a life as a Queen, a life of wealth. They only want me,” he said while forming quotation marks with his hands, “because of what I am, not because of who I am…” he trailed off and turned to look out of his window again.

The sun had finished its long hike, only to start it all over again tomorrow.

It was, astronomically seen, totally incorrect, Max knew that, but it was an excellent metaphor for how he felt at the moment. He lived one day, ended it, and the next morning, he had to start all over again.

His life held no meaning for him.

His dreams did.

His dreams were beautiful, marvelous, filled with Her. They made him feel, they made him alive.

She made him feel… As well in the spiritual sense of the word as in the more physical meaning of it…

He felt his ears starting to glow again, a blush covering his cheeks. He thanked his lucky stars for the fact that twilight had settled down on them.

When he turned to look at Michael again, he found him staring at his face, his expression – as usual – unreadable. Michael smiled weakly at him and nodded a silent, unknown agreement. “I’ll tell them you’re on your way,” he softly said, care and pity both present in his voice.

“Thank you, Michael,” Max timidly uttered his gratitude towards his friend.

Michael disappeared, leaving Max alone with his thoughts. He swiftly walked over to his balcony and threw one last glance at the sky. Closing his eyes, he mentally prepared himself for what was to come.

The inquisitive chirping of a bird shook him out of his trance.

It was a little sparrow that could fairly easily fit into Max’s hand. Its brown, shiny feathers glistened in the pale light of the moon, and when it moved its tiny intelligent head, one could see a little red spot just below its gray throat. Max took a closer look, and for a moment, he could have sworn that he saw Her in the pitch-black eyes of the little bird. The sparrow nodded at him, yes, Max was sure, nodded at him, and a second later it spread its wings and flew away, disappearing into a dark night.

Max watched until the bird was out of his range of vision and then leaned back, tracing the adornments on the railing of the balcony. He turned his eyes up, ready to face the lonesome moon, its usual companions, the stars and planets, lost in the inky sway of the night.

He inhaled the warm air deeply, but wasn’t able to find any calmness in it, the humidity making the air thicker and clammy. After one last look at the moon and a quick prayer to its Goddess, he left the balcony and bristled through his room, not ready at all to face his nightmare, but aware that he couldn’t remain in his room any longer, as well for Michael’s sake as for his own…

------------------------------


What did you think? Please review! *big*

I’ve already written part 4 (Josephin already beta-read it, she’s the bestest beta-reader in the whole wide world!!! *big*) and if I get enough reviews, I might post it tomorrow or on Wednesday *hint, hint* *happy*

Lots of love,

Katie





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Feb-2003 1:55:50 PM ]
posted on 3-Feb-2003 12:39:09 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Aww... Poor Josephin... *sad*

Good luck with Chemistry, girlfriend! I know you can do it!!! *big*

Oh, and 'Have a nice meal'!

Love,

Katie

posted on 3-Feb-2003 3:03:38 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!

*smiling wickedly*

I think I'll keep the new part till tomorrow... *tongue*

Oh, and I'm selfishy bumping this to the front right now... *big*

Love,

Katie

PS. If you guys really, really want the new part today, you'll have to hurry reviewing... or bumping... It's about 9 PM here, and I'll go off-line around 10.

So... *big*

I'm mean, ain't I? *happy*

posted on 3-Feb-2003 4:23:36 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
10.27 PM...

Guess no new part today... *sad*

Good night everyone... I hope I can get some sleep...

Love,

Katie *angel*



posted on 4-Feb-2003 11:17:05 AM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!

Hey guys! Thank you soooo much for your great fb!!!

I'm afraid that the new part will be a little shorter than usual... *sad*

BTW, did any of you had any problems getting on the board today? I couldn't get on it any sooner...

Well, here goes part 4:

---------------------------------


A Rose Of Cinders

Chapter 4:

Alex sat in the kitchen, toying with a wooden walking-stick. He had made it for his dad a couple of years ago, intending to give it to him at his birthday, but he never had had the chance to do so. His fingers delicately traced the lines of the head of the man that was curved into the wood. He missed his dad. Not the man that was supposed to be his dad at the moment, but the man that used to be his dad. The man with whom he had played soccer, whom had taught him all about girls and horses. He missed that man.

The clock stroke eight, and a little cuckoo appeared, proudly chirping the time.

Alex sighed. He was bored out of his mind. Every minute he would look up to check on his sister, to see if she was okay. Her state or position never changed. She’d lay there, softly sobbing, silently hoping that he wouldn’t notice it. Her knees were pulled up to her chin, her thin arms surrounding her legs, in a fetus-like position.

He wouldn’t say a thing, or make any noise. He could understand why she felt like this. He couldn’t comprehend it – he had never missed out on a chance to see the love of his life – but the least he could do was to try and understand Liza.

Another one of Liza’s sobs broke through the silence, it resounding in the room, and Alex’s heart ached at the sight of his little sister being this heart-torn.

He, Maria and Liza never held things from one another, but Liza had never told Alex, nor Maria about her crush on the Prince, which was why they knew Liza had it bad. It wasn’t some sort of puppy-love; it was a very serious crush on the Prince, and not just because he was the Prince.

The atmosphere in the room was heart-wrenching, it was almost as if their mother had died again. Maybe something had died today. Maybe the most important part of Liza, her hope, had died. It had been Liza’s hope that had gotten them this far. Liza’s hope had made him hope, had made him believe in a better future, for both of them.

That hope, the hope for a better life, had died tonight. She’d hoped for a meeting with the Prince. He knew that – maybe unconsciously – she had hoped that when she’d meet the Prince, he’d fall in love with her, too, and marry her. She could see the Prince later on in her life, but it wouldn’t be the same. He would be married, and any possibility for a marriage between them would be ruled out.

He sighed again, looking at the petite form of his sister, wishing that he could comfort her, help her, but he knew that it wasn’t possible. Bertha and Tess had locked them up in their own kitchen. He had huffed at them, telling them that they couldn’t do this, but they hadn’t paid any attention to his protest.

It surprised him that they’d even bothered to leave the little window above the door open, in order to make sure they would get some fresh air.

He heard a mouse softly squeak somewhere close to the fireplace. When it made its way to Liza, Alex couldn’t suppress a little smile. Maybe the little fellow could cheer Liza up, comfort her like Alex couldn’t.

There had been times that Alex had been jealous on the bond Liza had with animals. He had envied how she could handle horses, and he had envied the friendship she had had with the mice and birds around the house. Now, when Liza needed a friend more than ever, he was glad that another person, or rather: another animal, could be there for her.

The mouse crept under the blankets and gently nudged her, pushing its little snout against her face. Alex saw Liza opening her eyes and smile weakly at the sight of her little friend. She turned her eyes up and looked at Alex. He sent her a sympathetic smile, ready to comfort her in whatever way needed.

The melodious chirping of a little bird caught their attention. A brown sparrow had flown through the little window, and was carefully trying to land on the kitchen table. The bird looked at Alex, an inquiring look on its face. Alex suppressed the sudden urge to make a face at it, and was relieved when it turned its gaze at Liza. When it flew up again, a little red spot on its throat became visible.

Liza let the sparrow land on her finger, and softly stroked its feathers, making them gleam even more. All of a sudden, she stood up, walked over to the sink, filled a little tray with water and held it out to the bird. The sparrow drank the water greedily, and the tray was empty in a matter of seconds.

Alex closely watched as his sister interacted with the bird. She looked deeply immersed in thoughts, and he knew that she’d connected with it. The bird peeped softly, as if talking to Liza, and Alex saw her face lighten up, brighten with hope. Maybe her hope hadn’t died after all, and had it only been dormant for a while, waiting to be ignited again.

The sparrow left the kitchen and Alex was just about to ask Liza what happened when it returned, a large key dangling between its beak. It flew tremendously low, the key obviously way too heavy for it. Liza quickly reached out to catch the bird, and it landed safely in her hands, handing her the key while doing so.

Liza took the key between her fingers and held it out to Alex, smiling triumphantly.

“Let’s go to Maria’s,” she said, happiness radiating off of her. “We still have two hours to get ready,” she added, a mischievous smile plastered on her face.

“Why, Liza,” Alex replied, faked shock etched on his face.

“You are not… You are not intending to disobey an order of Bertha, now are you?”

Liza giggled softly, and Alex thanked all the gods that he knew of for it.

“Take it, or leave it, bro,” she teased him, and took a dirty, stained shawl off the coat-hook, wrapping it around her head and neck.

Alex watched at his sister opening the door and at the little bird leaving the safe harbor of her hands.

Liza turned around and looked back at him, a smile still gracing her features.

“You coming?” she asked him, “or should I lock you up again?”

Alex vigorously shook his head. “I’m on my way!” he yelled, and quickly grabbed his hat off of the table.

The door was almost closed when he reached it. He quickly put his foot between the wall and the door, it nearly being crushed in a most dangerous way. He heard Liza giggling and he pushed the door, hard, until it opened. Letting out an ominous growl, he slammed the door close behind his back.

Liza was nowhere to be found.

He growled again. He had a sister to chase…

--------------------------


So, what did you think? Please, please, pretty please review?


posted on 4-Feb-2003 12:22:53 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
I have a question for you...

Umm...

I asked you before how I should rate this fic. I also post this at fanfiction.net, and there isn't any NC-17 allowed on that site, so I will write a PG-13 or R version of some parts for that site anyways.

I was wondering whether or not you'd like to see some NC-17 in any upcoming parts. Maybe I'd do the Cinderella-story wrong by doing that, I don't know. I've never written NC-17 before, but I could try.

So, tell me what you want, and I'll try to fulfill thy demands... *big*

Well, lots of love to you all, and thanks for all the reviews (I've given up answering you all personally long ago, it takes me waaaaay too long to do so...)

frenchkiss70,
Josephin (I always love your special bumps... *big*),
Marteloise,
LttleMrmade,
LizHalliwell,
Dia,
Wildchilde (welcome to this fic, btw! *happy*),
The Better Twin,
Lilac Stardust (you, too, welcome *big*)
Oh, and frenchkiss70 again! *happy*


Love ya all!

Katie *angel*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Feb-2003 12:24:17 PM ]
posted on 5-Feb-2003 2:32:02 AM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!

Shhh...

*puts her finger in front of her mouth*

I'm not here, okay? There's no way that I'd ever ever selfishly bump my own fic... *big*

Thanks for sharing your POV with me! I think I'll go with the 'light' NC-17, seeing that almost everyone of you agreed with that... *happy* Great idea, Josephin!

Oh, and BTW, Josephin, I didn't read your review when I posted my earlier post... *shy* So, that's why I didn't answer any of your questions, in case you were wondering...

You guys, about the bird...

Yes, it was the same bird, but I hadn't thought of the possibility that it could have told Liza about Max...

That’s a very good question... *big*

Umm...

Let me see...

Hmm... Yeah… Let's just say that it didn't tell her about Max, okay? It just said to Liza that it could get the key in order for her to go to the ball. That's what made her so happy, and made her hope reappear...

And yes, Tess and Bertha are indeed b*tches in this fic, but don't we all like them that way? I just love to hate them...*big*

About an update… Don’t expect one today. I have this major English test tomorrow and have to learn, like, 200 words. Some of them are fairly easy for me, since I use them all the times (like to linger, to caress, etc) but some are a tad more complicated, like indefatigable or something like that…I just have to learn them by heart and make sure that I never ever forget them. They could come in handy while writing a fic… Maybe I’ll update tomorrow or Friday. On Thursdays, I have two periods off, and not that much homework, so maybe it will fit into my agenda…

Okey-dokey...

This was intended to be a short bump for my own fic, but turned out to become a little longer than expected... *happy*

Well, I’m happy to see some new faces and thank you all for the fb. Hope to see you later!

Toodles,

Katie *angel*


posted on 5-Feb-2003 12:40:34 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Josephin! I am sooooo loving your signature! *happy*

Did you make it yourself, cuz, really, it's marvelous! I especially like the roses... *big*

Tons of love,

Katie


posted on 8-Feb-2003 11:07:27 AM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Just dropping by to tell you that the new part is written and typed, and that it just needs to be beta-read to filter out my silly, silly mistakes.

So...

Expect an update today or tomorrow, okay? *happy*

Thank you all for the bumps and encouragement!

Lots of love,

Katie

posted on 9-Feb-2003 4:52:52 AM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Okay... So, I'm here with part 5... *happy*

For a moment, I wasn't sure whether or not I should continue, since everyone was talking about plagiarism and such... I feared that my take on the Cinderella-story could be regarded as plagiarism, so I asked one of the moderators (Kath7) about it, and she thought that the fic wasn't plagiarism, since it's so well-known, and b/c it's Cinderella with a twist.

Well, enough of me babbling, let's get on to the story...

-----------------------------------


A Rose Of Cinders

Chapter 5

Liza slowed down, diminishing her speed when the DeLuca residence came into view. Crossing the main garden, she leapt over the small brook that surrounded the little front yard, and jumped the stairs that led to a little porch. Impatiently, she knocked the front door, hard, but she didn’t pay any attention to the hurt it inflicted to her knuckles, being too occupied with seeking refugee.

Somewhere behind her, over the sound of her own irregular breathing and gasps for air, she could hear Alex’s yells, and every now and then – when he knocked his big toe at a rock or stepped into the dirt – she heard him cry out obscenities and rather indecent words.

She knocked again, louder this time, quietly begging for Maria, Amelia, anyone to open the door. She shuddered involuntary at the thought what would happen when they wouldn’t be in time to let her in…

Alex would grasp her, and tickle her to death…

‘C’mon Maria,’ she thought persistently, and she threw a glance over her right shoulder, seeing Alex closing in on her.

‘Hurry up…’ she silently added, as she watched Alex jump over the brook.

Alex ran hard, not even bothering to diminish his speed as he came closer and closer, and he neared her with every second that passed. He looked very funny, running that fast, Liza suddenly thought. His arms were flinging back and forth, and his mouth was half-opened in order to get as much gallons of air as possible.

Her attention once again shifted to the door, and she impatiently knocked again. A muffled “Yeah, yeah,” could be heard, and when she heard someone – probably Maria – fumbling with the lock, she allowed the breath she’d been holding for the last few seconds to escape her throat.

She prepared herself for another run, and as soon as the door opened even the slightest bit, she threw herself against it, enlarging the opening far enough to leap through it. She flew into the hall, and gently pushed a very astonished Maria out of her way.

Alex followed suit, and after almost running into Maria, he called a loud “Sorry!” over his shoulder, and continued his chase.

Liza barged into the kitchen and hid behind Amelia, who had a flabbergasted expression plastered on her face.

“Help me,” Liza begged her, “please, Amelia, please, you gotta help me…”

Amelia worriedly watched her – a tad confused – and she stroked Liza’s hair, her fingers hooking themselves under the dirty shawl that was wrapped around her head, and carefully untying it.

“Are you alright?” she asked Liza, concerned, and her fingers gingerly caressed her cheeks.

Liza opened her mouth, and was about to reassure Amelia when Alex ran into the kitchen, panting like a madman. She shrieked and ducked behind the kitchen table, partially covering herself with the checked tablecloth.

Alex, who pretended that he had neither seen nor heard her, came to an abrupt halt, and tried to catch his breath.

“Where is she?” he quasi ominously asked Amelia, and, urgently, he added: “Where did she go?”

Even though he sounded serious, it was obvious to Amelia that he didn’t mean to sound so harsh, and that he was just teasing Liz. To make sure that Amelia wouldn’t take him wrong, Alex winked at her, and an amused, contagious smile was spreading itself on his face.

Amelia decided to play along with him, and when Maria appeared, she laid her finger on her lips, indicating Maria to be quiet. Maria raised her eyebrow, but obeyed her mother without uttering her questions, and watched with growing interest.

“I don’t know,” she answered Alex, but while she gave him her answer, she pointed at the kitchen table and mouthed ‘there’ to him.

A stifled giggle reached their ears, its previous destination being the kitchen table, or rather: the space under the kitchen table, and Alex smiled warmly at Amelia, showing her his gratitude. He quickly tiptoed to the table, his arms stretched out, ready to grab Liza.

Turning around the corner of the table, he suddenly growled, pretty much resembling a predator and leaped forward in a canine-like-way.

Amelia watched the scene unfold itself, the amused smile still playing on her lips. Her facial expressions changed quickly, though, when Alex shrieked and stumbled backwards, his face wan, and about ten shades paler than it had been before.

She hurried herself towards the table, fearing that something might have happened to Liza, but found her sitting happily on the floor, a large spider crossing the palm of her hand.

Alex’s neck hairs were standing upwards, and a fear that he couldn’t veil was visible in his eyes. He extended his index finger and pointed at the spider.

“P-p-p…put… that – that away…” he stuttered and Liza smiled gently at him.

“What do you mean, Alex?” she sweetly asked him, the teasing tone that had abandoned Alex’s voice now audible in hers.

Alex pointed at the spider again, and tried to creep further into the wall.

“Th-th-that,” he elucidated, stumbling over the four-letter word.

Liza extended her hand with the spider on it, bringing it closer to Alex.

“You mean this?”

She stooped forward, intending to let the spider walk away.

“As you wish, dear brother,” she quasi submissively told him.

“N-no!” Alex screamed, trying to make himself as small as possible. “No! No! Outside, outside!” he urged her on. He closed his eyes, murmuring reassuring words to himself, and Liza stood up, deciding that Alex had had enough punishment and walked to the kitchen door.

She smiled and thanked the spider, allowing it to escape into the night, its destination unknown.

Alex let out a relieved sigh when Liza returned without the spider, and shakily stood up. Amelia and Maria had watched the interaction between brother and sister with amusement, and it wasn’t until then that Liza and Alex noticed Maria’s dress.

Liza gasped, while Alex whistled approvingly.

Maria smiled proudly at their reactions, and when Alex motioned for her to turn, she twirled around her axis, showing the marvelous dress off.

It was the most beautiful dress Liza had ever seen. It was made of velvet, and the sky-blue color of it brought out the bright blue color of Maria’s eyes. A few pearls were embroidered on the front of the dress, surrounding a little blue, stitched lily, and the sleeves widened at the ends. The fringes of the dress were made from a darker shade of blue, and Maria looked – in one word – stunning.

“Isn’t it pretty?” Maria asked them, and Liza smiled at her, nodding her agreement.

”Yeah,” she breathed. “It’s amazing…”

A sudden pang of jealousy hit her, and she tried to ignore it. She really was happy for her best friend, but how she wished that she could have such a dress… It was bound to attract the attention of the Prince… She tried to get rid of her envious thoughts and, after making sure that none of her jealousy would shimmer through, she spoke up.

“Where did you buy it? It looks so expensive…”

Maria’s proud expression didn’t change, and she beamed up at her mother.

“Mom made it for me, you know, with her powers,” she explained.

Alex whistled again, and clapped his hands. “Great work,” he complimented Amelia. “It looks really real to me.”

Amelia gratefully smiled at him. “Thank you, Alex,” she softly thanked him. “It isn’t that hard to make it look real, it’s just the carrying on of it that tires me.”

She nodded her head in the direction of the shed that adjoined their house. “I’ve also changed the coach into a more royal version,” she continued, “would you go and check the horses?”

Alex nodded enthusiastically; he loved Ebony and Amber, Amelia’s horses. A surprise awaited him: there weren’t two horses in the stables, but six. When he came closer, he realized that the four new horses belonged to Mr. Stephens, the very old and kind neighbor of the DeLuca’s.

He gently stroked the nose of Snow, the white mare, and softly patted Crystal’s nose. Raven, the black stallion, snorted impatiently, and Ginger followed its lead. Alex calmed them down by whispering soothing words and started to prepare them for the journey to the palace.

---------------------------------


Meanwhile, Amelia and Maria were occupied with designing the perfect dress for Liza.

---------------------------------


Amelia circled around her, inspecting the old dress she was wearing. “Color?” she asked.

Liza looked helplessly at Maria, not really knowing what to do or what to say.

“Red,” Maria decided for Liza, “wine red.”

Amelia waved over Liza’s dress, and the stains and tears disappeared, vanishing under her hand. Miraculously, the filthy white color of the sundress turned into a much deeper, richer shade of red.

Liza’s gasp was answered by a warm smile from Amelia, who just continued her work.

Maria propped her hand under her chin, and looked inscrutably at Liza.

“I’d go for a long dress, mom,” she declared, “long would be more elegant.”

Amelia nodded, agreeing with her daughter, and the material of the dress stretched itself. To Liza, with her scientific mind, it almost looked as if the dress was growing, like a cell that grew by osmosis.

Amelia took a step back and looked at the result.

”Hmm… That looks more like it…” she murmured to herself. She walked around Liza again and got rid of the spots and patches she’d forgotten.

She proudly inspected her work before she started contemplating – out loud – about the material of the dress.

“Silk, maybe?” Maria suggested, and Amelia looked questioningly at Liza, who eagerly nodded at Maria’s proposal.

“Yes, please,” she happily agreed, already imagining the feeling of the soft fabric against her skin. Amelia waved once more over the dress, and added some lace fringes to the dress, following Maria’s advices.

When Amelia twirled Liza around, she noticed how deep-cut the back of the dress was, and hesitated, lifting her hand, intending to get the bare patch of skin covered up, but she was stopped in mid-air by Maria’s loud protests.

She gave Maria a reprimanding look, but didn’t change the gown. “Anything else?” she gently asked Liza, who just shook her head, being more than content with her new dress.

“Jewelry!” Maria happily squealed, and Liza noticed the little silver cross that hung on a small collier around Maria’s neck, the plentitude of bracelets that dangled around her wrists and the large ring around her index finger.

Amelia smiled at the enthusiastic reaction of her daughter, but didn’t make Liza any jewelry before she had changed the socks Liza was wearing into a pair of small, glass mules.

A few seconds later, Liza was attired with a silver necklace that carried a little rose and a few bracelets that surrounded her slender wrists.

“There,” Amelia said when she had finished, and she looked approvingly at the result of her handiwork.

She moved her hands upwards, letting them hover above Liza’s hair for a minute, pondering about the most fitting hair-style for a ball, and quickly swooped Liza’s dark tresses up, firmly piling them upon her head. She placed a few glistening hairpins with little diamonds in the brown cascade of hair and allowed a few strands to fall down, while Maria had grabbed a mirror from the closet.

Liza looked at her reflection in the mirror. Was it really hers? She looked so different. Older, somehow, maybe even beautiful. “Are my two favorite girls ready to perform?” Amelia asked Liza and Maria. Liza smiled gratefully at her, and looked one last time in the mirror before turning to her best friend’s mother. She loved Amelia; the thought had leaped into her head, and it kept echoing and resounding in her mind. Amelia was a sort of surrogate mother to her, and for a moment, she felt guilty.

Guilty for thinking about someone else than her mom like this. It quickly passed, though, as she realized that her mother had wanted this, that she’d always liked Amelia and Maria, and that she just wanted Liza to be happy.

She diminished the distance between her and Amelia and fiercely hugged her, tears stinging her eyes, a wistful smile adorning her features. “Thank you, Amy,” she softly whispered, “thank you so much.”

Amelia smiled understanding, loving, and hugged her back. “You’re welcome, dear,” she replied, “you always are…”

Liza nodded against Amelia’s chest and her smile broadened, but a moment later, it faltered, as she realized what was to come.

The ball.

She’d been looking forward to it, and had anticipated it, but now that it really was about to happen, a flicker of fear had been ignited, and she wasn’t so sure anymore. What if the Prince didn’t like her? What if he thought she was an annoyance, or, even worse, a snob? What was she expected to say, what would they want her to talk about?

The latest fashions, maybe?

She wasn’t aware of those…

The war against Ceria?

She only knew what she’d heard of Maria…

Amelia seemed to sense Liza’s worries and gently cupped her cheek. “You’ll do fine, Liza, believe me,” she assured her. Liza nodded hesitantly, smiled shyly and thanked Amelia again.

Amelia pinched her cheek softly and Liza nervously giggled. “You’d better get Alex, sweetie,” Amelia told her. “He also needs a make-over if he’s to go along.”

She turned to Maria. “Maria, could you get me some water?” Amelia tiredly asked her daughter.

‘Two done, one to go’, she thought. Mindwarping so much molecules into a different structure was draining as hell, and she wasn’t sure how long she’d be able to keep it up. Until midnight, perhaps, when everything went well.

Liza gave Amelia and Maria one last smile and went to the shed. It was dark, and she could hear the horses’s nervous neighing. She shivered. Not because it was cold; it was a sultry night, and the atmosphere in the shed was suffocating.

It was the lack of light, the darkness. The darkness held secrets, memories, plots that couldn’t be foreseen. The darkness held fear. The light of a candle flickered against the walls of the shed, and she heard a person rummaging, the sound of it ominous in the darkness.

She softly wandered further into the shed, nearing the horses, the shuffling of their hoofs getting louder and louder.

She never saw it happen.

The hand was firmly clasped to her mouth, preventing the A of Alex, that had already formed itself on her lips, to escape her throat, and another arm pressed her into a muscular body.

She closed her eyes in distress as her aggressor swiveled her around, not only because she didn't want to see his face, but also with the thought that if she just wished hard enough, her attacker would be gone and it would appear to be only a dark, twisted game the darkness was playing with her, a trick it was playing on her.

---------------------------------


Max slowly closed his eyes and softly sighed as the girl nestled her head on his shoulder, her blonde, curly hair gently touching the crook of his neck. His arms lay on her shoulders, and her arms were possessively wrapped around his waist. He was aware of the envious looks the girl was receiving from the rest of the female population in the room, but he decided that he didn’t care what they thought. He sighed again and they danced on and on, the dance seemingly taking an eternity.

-----------------


That was part 5! Hope you enjoyed... *big*

Pretty please review? Please? I might consider posting sooner... *happy*

Hugs and kisses,

Katie



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Feb-2003 4:53:56 AM ]
posted on 9-Feb-2003 2:26:03 PM by Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer!
Hey you guys, look at the wonderful banner Talena made for me!

fcaafb90

Ain't it pretty? *happy*

Lots of love,

Katie