Ashleigh moped in her room in the third tallest tower of her sister’s castle. Her satin slipper dangled from her toe. Her finger traced patterns on the rock of the open window. Her silken gown crumpled as she curled up and stared sightlessly out the window.
“I wish, I wish,” she whispered. “I wish I knew what to wish for.” She didn’t blame Pierre for leaving her. She was tired of catering anyway, though she didn’t know how to do anything else. Her sister had kindly taken her in and treated her as a noble lady, even though everyone knew that Ashleigh was only a silk-gowned kitchen maid.
“I’m doomed to be a secondary character.” She put her arms around her silk-stocking knees and poked out her lower lip. “If only I had chosen the prince, I’d be the queen now.”
“Unfortunately,” said Maven, appearing with a minimum of flash and sparkle, “it is impossible to grant a wish for the past. You have to decide what you want in the future.” She glanced around at the tapestries, the well hung bed, the carpet on the floor. The view from the tower included a forest and a lake where the sun sparkled on the water. “Looks like you’re doing all right to me.”
Ashleigh sprang to her feet. “YOU!” she shouted, pointing a quivering finger at Maven as her face turned red. “Why do I always get you? Aren’t there any other fairy godmothers?”
“Not on your case. In fact, there is a shortage. So you’re stuck with me.” Maven held up her wand. “Now if you don’t know what you want, I’ll just….”
“No, wait. Wait!” Ashleigh grabbed Maven’s sleeve. “You rushed me last time, and I didn’t get what I wanted!”
Maven pulled the gossamer from Ashleigh’s hand before Ashleigh could stretch it out of shape. Maven snapped her fingers, and a list appeared in her hand: “bath, dress, horses with white feathers on their heads, coachmen, coach, glass slippers, food you didn’t have to cook.” She handed the list to Ashleigh. “I can only give you what you ask for. It’s a rule.”
“But I did ask for what I wanted.” Ashleigh leaned back on the window seat. “It just didn’t work out right.” She hung her head and picked at her perfect fingernail.
“I offered you the second chance if you came back by midnight.” Maven shrugged. “You made your choices. It was out of my hands.”
“But why are you here now?”
“You said the magic words.” Maven raised her wand to poof out. “I thought you might have a true wish this time. When you figure out what you want, wish for me.” She poofed.
Ashleigh stood speechless for a moment, but she began thinking about what she did want, and it wasn’t the third tallest tower. But she would have to be more careful this time, not to be tricked into making a bad decision.