swing girl

An Evening Away

2165 Words. One-Shot. Rated PG.

Pretzel Week - Fake Dating Trope in the Enchanted Forest

One drink. It was all Emma needed to steel her nerves. Pulling the hood up over her long plait of blonde hair, she ducked into the small tavern nearest the castle. It was a seafarer’s haunt, so she knew the patrons would largely be those passing through Misthaven on their way to other destinations. She swept in through the door and made her way past a crowd of burly sailors before settling at a small table nearest the window. She turned her back to the outside and looked around for the nearest serving wench.

“What can I get you?” A pretty young girl asked, swinging her skirts up against the table as she collected the tankards left by the previous occupants.

Emma kept her head down and hood on to avoid being recognized. “An ale, please,” she slid a shiny silver coin across the table. The girl picked up the coin and hurried off to the bar to place the order. Looking up, Emma watched the girl go before relaxing into her chair. The day had been long and arduous.

Negotiations were taking place amongst her father and the heads of several other kingdoms. Emma was required to sit in on the talks, considering she seemed to be the largest bargaining chip King David had to his name. Her future was up in the air. She would be sold off to a single King or Prince; whoever presented the largest bid. No matter how much she begged her father to reconsider an arranged marriage, he always gave her a painful smile and promised he would find the best suitor possible.

It was maddening for Emma, especially given that her late mother had spent every night in her youth telling her own beautiful love story. Queen Snow had promised the Princess an opportunity to find True Love and yet, her opportunity had never come.

“You’re somethin’ special, aren’t ya?” Came a gruff voice from the corner, snapping Emma from her thoughts. She glanced in the general direction of the sound before looking back down to the table and shifting her position to show disinterest.

“Aww, come on now,” the voice continued. There was a scraping of wooden chair legs against cobblestone floor, and heavy footsteps made their way toward her. Emma closed her eyes tightly and swallowed hard. Confrontation was absolutely the last thing she wanted. “Give us a smile, would you?” The man continued, placing two large hands on the table in front of her.

“Please, just leave me be,” she sighed, keeping her head low. “I’m not looking to be social with strangers.”

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If she could pinpoint her feelings down to the point where she could explain them to someone, she would. But the thing is, feelings aren’t exactly stable objects, ones that you can hold down and classify as one thing over another. Her feelings were mood swings, lunging upwards and downwards the way roller coasters work. She searched within herself, trying to make sense of what she felt, only to find out that she was blindly pulling bits and pieces of her heart out, like a toy, at the same time refused to acknowledge what her mind already knew.

Swinging London
Beautician Lesley Jones adorns Jean Wood with the exciting new ‘happy flower kaleidescope eyes’. The latest trend in make-up to hit England,19th September 1967. Photo by Ian Tyas