“You broke the fucking glass slipper.”
“I didn’t hear that. She didn’t say that. I’m still asleep. I’m in a better dream right now and can’t be disturbed. Leave a message and I’ll talk to you later.”
Her hand on my shoulder. I sigh. The loving touch of my bride. I relax. I start to wake up. I’m happy. We’re still on the honeymoon. I know what happens next. I’m about to become even happier.
The grip tightens. “She’s never gripped my arm like that before. She must be really…”
The grip now hurts. She shakes my shoulder trying to wake me. I open my eyes. I look up. Her face is in mine, her skin on my skin. I feel her heat. I feel the hiss of her breath.
“You broke the fucking glass slipper.”
Red skin stained by tears fill my view.
“She’s just upset. I’ll just reach out and comfort her. That’s what worked last time. Besides that’s what she’d want. That’s what’s they’d expect.”
I can’t. I can’t even move. I’m now fully awake. We’ve run out of time. I wiggle my shoulder. I duck down into the bed. Her grip follows me now even stronger. Her full weight pushes against my shoulder. Her face is still in mine. Her eyes blaze but there are no tears. She gasps then sobs then gasps.
“This looks bad. I’m going to have to fake it.”
I smile. I go for the joke. I say.
“Ella! My darling Princess! You’ve never sworn before!”
“You broke the fucking glass slipper. It’s fucking shattered in fucking pieces.”
I twist left. I twist right. I break her grip. I wince in pain. Comforting her will just have to wait. There’s a bigger crisis to solve.
I reach across the bed. My fingers fumble for the phone. I must turn off the stream. Right. Now. There is no phone. I can’t find it.
“Isn’t she the one to lose things and then find them?”
My eyes scan the bedroom, the floor, everywhere. Nothing. I whistle for it. Nothing. No response.
“What the hell is she talking about? I haven’t broken any glass slipper. Why would I do that? Besides that’s what happened when every woman in the country found it didn’t fit. And we went through hundreds. Hundreds.”
“What would they want me to do?” Without a phone, I couldn’t ask my followers for help. I had no idea now how to play it right. Until now that was my secret. And it had worked out beyond my expectations. I had married the woman of my dreams. We were social media superstars. We were on the way to making billions. We just had to play it right.
But now I have to think on my feet. I choose apology and appeasement. I say.
“I’m sorry. Did you want me to get you a new glass slipper?”
“And did you turn off the webcams?” I mouth silently.
“Besides I didn’t break the glass slipper.” A whisper now.
I may have made things just a little worse. I push further away. I reach under the bed. I can’t feel anything.
“Where the hell is the spare one?” I look down at the floor. I can’t see it. I push aside the bed curtain. I bend over and look under the bed. Nothing.
I look across the bed. She’s closed the curtain on he side. I just hear her harsh hoarse whisper.
“I’ll just put on the other fucking slipper won’t I?“
She growls, “Then they’ll know. They’ll know…when they see me walking like a fucking lop-sided hunchback on that one good one! Mine! They’ll know you broke that one bad one… yours…that they will.”
She yells, “Your royal fucking Highness! Then if I trip and fall, they’ll troll us again. Won’t they? Of fucking course! Then I’ll lose everything. Everything. Just as I knew I would.”
A rasp as she tears open the curtain at the back of the bed.
“My slipper”, she points to herself and then drops her voice, “doesn’t have a worn sole and a heel. My slipper isn’t now in pieces…like the one you gave me.”
Her voice trails off. She heads towards the shoe room. She opens the door and disappeared.
“Hopefully this will end soon and no-one will know…perhaps we’re not live either.” I think.
In seconds, she’s back. As promised, she’s walking, lop-sided on the remaining glass slipper. She limps and sways and stops at the end of the bed.
“How can she stand like that?” I start to crawl across the bed towards her. But she answers my unspoken question. She reaches out and steadies herself against the post.
I stare. “Another joke perhaps?” I start to open my mouth.
I see a flash. She kicks off the slipper. She catches it in mid-air. “Nice work,” I think. She then draws her arm back. Slipper in hand, she bends her arm.
I shut my eyes tight. I think to put up my hands. I’m too slow. A soft thud. A tinkle of breaking crystal. The throw is wide. Barefoot, as she was before me, she runs from the room.
I look left. The silken pillows and bed-clothes are silver white.
I creep out of bed. “What about the other shoe?” I stumble-walk in a daze to the shoe room. ”Is it true what she said?”
I open the door. I see it all. Now I know. The dark is silvered with crystal. The other slipper.