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Her voice trembled as she said, “The market was exceptionally crowded this morning, since there appears to be a dance Ball tomorrow and everyone is out preparing for it! I had to wait in line for 2 hours to get the fresh bread from Ove’s that you so like!” All I could remember were my bare feet and my parched throat, so I took a step forward and slapped her across her left cheek. As it was reddening, she turned on the kettle, ran upstairs, fetched my slippers, and poured me a large cup of hot tea. She then took 2 mugs of chocolate milk up the stairs into the girls’ room, and softly knocked on the door before entering and placing it carefully on the table between their beds.
As I was getting ready to go about my day, she buzzed about the kitchen, scrubbing the floors, making some stew and flavored bread for lunch. I cannot stand her, but I want her to do all the work. She is young, and innocent, and good. And I… Well I am not. And that is all that needs to be said about this issue. My hatred for her is deep rooted and so ancient that I cannot now remember what triggered it or if something even did. All I want is for Drizella and Anastasia to grow up with all the help and luxury and marry wealthy noblemen who can help the beautiful girls start a family and keep a home. And I do not have enough strength in me to include another person in this. Yes, Ella will have to be the downtrodden vermin for all of our sakes.
She still needs to remove all the soot from the chimney – my two girls did leave on the fire for longer than needed – they do that sometimes to give Ella a bit more work to do. It is their private joke – I have seen them giggle in their rooms when they see her soot-stained dress or black toenail! As for me, I would really want nothing but to let that girl know that life is not a basket of strawberries – it is cruel and harsh, and you are not spared. She might have been born to loving parents and had a father who doted on her and brought her necklaces and pretty dresses, but good fortune does not last, and she must learn that – she is almost 19 after all.
My thoughts are returning to my two daughters – they must be given off to good, wealthy men. Ella mentioned some dance Ball tomorrow. There will definitely be some noblemen attending that. It might not be a bad idea to dress my pretties up and send them off to the Ball. Ella can help – she does a good job tying corsets correctly, and myself and my girls love pinching and hitting and snapping at her and watching her hold back tears and bite her lip. She is good entertainment in the house. I must make sure she doesn’t want to attend the Ball herself though, although the state of her one single dress will not be worthy of even a trip to the market without a few washes first, so I am not too worried.
My daughters will be thrilled at the prospect of going to the Ball and cordially dancing with the men and making polite small talk while they scout around for the wealthiest ones. I have taught them well. It is time to go to bed now, and I hope I will wake up tomorrow to the sweet smell of hot tea, and my slippers where I can find them. I am pretty sure I will. That slap this morning would have sufficed. Tomorrow is the big day, the Ball. And my daughters are excited. I sincerely hope everything will change for the good from tomorrow, and we can all live a new life!
That is all for now.
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s Stepmother)