Once upon a time, there was a boy named Michael (though we call him Mike), with a mop of brunette on his head, & eyes as blue as the sky. Spirit as high & fast as the wind. Kindness as warm as the glowing sunshine. He had a father & a mother, it would seem that this could be the perfect family, for it was. They lived in a beautiful mansion by the edge of the forest. Calming & full of life as his father would always say whenever Mike asked about the peculiar location of his home. Though he wasn't a prince, his father wasn't a king, his mother wasn't a queen, but in his heart his mother was the most beautiful queen he has ever seen. Full of love & kindness, she drew every creature to her side with that caring smile. His father, a king he looked up upon as a hero, who would always win the battle in swordfights they always played together. & he, young Mike, may not be a prince, but to his mother & father, a precious jewel to their eyes, who filled their life with laughter & joy.
On one fine morning just like any other mornings, young Mike was out in the courtyard, running freely, feeling the wind blowing around him. His eyes looked around. He saw Fig, a 50-something year old man who looked after the animals they reared. He went over to the old man.
"Hey Fig! Whatcha doing?"
"Well hello there, Mike! I'm feeding the animals."
"Can I help?"
"Well of course! That's very nice of you."
What a fairytale it may seem about this happy family, sadly, this is real life. & in real life, the sun sets. Days will turn to nights. Light into darkness. Happiness into sorrow. & for this household however, they too find themselves exiting paradise. As cheerful & lively his mother was, fate destined that she would have to leave early. His father looked far & wide for any doctor that could possibly bring them hope, but to no avail. During her final moments, Mike was at her side, alone in her room. With teary eyes,
"Oh Michael, don't despair when I leave, if you ever miss me, look up to the sky & I'll be there, watching you from above. I will never leave you. Just remember this, as I won't be here any longer to constantly remind you, be kind & have courage. Remember these words & you'll triumph over any obstacles that may block your way. You have more kindness in your little fingers than anyone else have in their entire body. Don't ever block that side of you no matter what. Will you promise?"
"I promise, momma."
& with that, she reluctantly closed her eyes, & was gone. His father came in, & the 2 of them hugged her tightly. Tears pouring down their eyes as they mourned the woman they both loved dearly. Mike looked up to have one last look at the queen he adored.
Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. & finally, months turned to years. Our young Mike has now turned into a young man of 14. Cheerful as ever as he greets the people in town. With the memory of his mother still in his heart, it was as though she never left. Watching him from a distance through his cries, & laughter, every highs & lows & mischievous things who knows. Realizing the time, he ran straight back to his home as his father was about to come back from a business trip. Just in time as he reached the gates of the mansion, he heard his father's carriage coming. As he ran towards the carriage,
"Mike! Oh my boy!"
"I'm so glad you're home, poppa!"
"Me to, son!"
They hugged each other tightly as if it's their last hug they'd share for they knew anything could happen. So they cherished every single moment they had together.
The next day, as Mike was passing the reading room,
"Mike, my boy, come here. Have a seat."
"There's something I have to tell you. Do you recollect about Lord Stitch?"
"Well you see, the lord recently passed away, & he left a widow. & I.. you see I... what I'm trying to say is I..."
"You'd like to marry her?"
"... Yes. I'd very much like to marry her. But only if you allow."
"Oh poppa. You don't have to ask me to allow you to do something. As long as it makes you happy. If you're happy, I'm happy, for you."
The worry lines on Mike's father disappeared.
"Oh, thank you, my boy! Thank you so much. D... do you really think I might have another chance?"
"Yes poppa. You deserve every chance to be happy."
& so a wedding was held. & as Mike stood beside his father, the carriage arrives. First to step off the carriage were his stepsisters, Anastasia, the younger one, & Katarina, the older one.
"Nice to meet you, Michael."
"Nice to meet you too, Anastasia. & nice to meet you, Katarina."
With a look full of disdain,
"Ugh nice to meet you."
Then a beautiful lady, with a complexion so fair, & lips so red. But with eyes so cold, only a man not in love could see.
"Oh well hello there, Michael. You're a very fine handsome young man."
Mike blushed a little but wondered if the complement really was sincere. & so the life began for Mike with living with a stepmother & 2 stepsisters. All was well... enough.
A month passed, his father was about to leave for another business trip.
"Be safe, poppa. & please come back home."
"I will, son. I will."
& with that, his father's carriage left. With an uncomfortable heart, he returned to the mansion. As he passes the living hall,
"Michael, come here. Please sit. Now, now, we must be patient. You father won't be gone for long, it's only just a few months."
"Stepmother? Oh, madam will do."
Mike wondered with confusion.
"You know, my two daughters have been complaining about the small room they have to share."
"Well, they can have my room, it's much bigger."
"Oh thank you, darling."
"Then I shall sleep in the"
"Well, yes. So we won't bugger you with our presence."
"Fine then, I shall sleep in the attic."
You see, the attic is located at the far end of the mansion with 2 500 steps leading up to it. & at night, it would be extremely cold.
"Are you sure? I can always request that my mother give you back your room."
Mike replies with a smile,
"It's ok, Anastasia. The room you two are living in is small anyway."
Unlike he older sister, Katarina, who was much too proud & cocky for her own good, Anastasia was the only one who treated Mike like family.
Usually when his father went on business trips, they would send each other letters regularly, sending their love & missing to each other. Mike was always leaping with joy when he receives a reply form his father. But something was odd this time. Initially, the replies would come, but after a few weeks they were getting sparse. Then they stopped. Finally on a cold September night, there was a knock on the front door. Mike went to open it.
An old man replied,
"It's about your father... he fell ill. He's... gone. You were the only thing he talked about during his last moments. He told me to tell you that he was sorry. He couldn't keep his promise this time."
Just a moment away from breaking down, Mike replied,
"Thank you. It must've been hard for you."
& with that he shut the door, turned against it, collapsed, & wept.
With the economy going down & the main source of her income gone, she sacked all the workers & made Mike the servant. Whenever Anastasia tried to help him, she would warn her not to. But at times, Anastasia would help out of the knowledge of her mother. On one morning, Mike was setting the table for breakfast. He laid down 4 plates. His stepmother said,
"Oh did we overlooked a person in this house? Who's the using the 4th plate?"
"Uh that would be me, madam."
Anastasia glared at her mother disapprovingly. Disregarding her daughter, she said
"Oh it would be too much to let you sit at the table with us when you're the one who prepared the food. I bet you wouldn't mind eating after we're done?"
With disbelief & a slash of anger, Mike ran back into the kitchen in tears. He put his head down on the counter top & wept. He was about to lose it so he ran out of the house. He took his horse, Chestnut, & rode out into the woods. He was so angry at his stepmother that he didn't realize he was riding at a dangerous speed. He struggled to slow down when he realized how fast he was riding.
Nearby, the prince & his men were out hunting. He was chasing after a deer with his horse when he saw Mike on his horse zapped by. Taken aback at the beauty that just passed by & at the fact that Mike was obviously losing control of his horse, he rushed to help the poor guy.
Mike didn't know what was happening. Suddenly he was riding too fast & struggling to slow down. Then he heard a voice from behind, a guy's voice. & suddenly the guy was right beside him, on a horse, trying to slow his horse down. Finally they both stopped. With a sigh of relief, Mike said
"Thanks for the help."
"No problem, I... were you crying?"
Mike tried to conceal his puffed out eyes as a result from crying too much.
"Yeah right, I can see those eyes..."
The prince was mesmerized by the striking blue of Mike's eyes. He shook himself out of the trance.
"I'm Daniel, by the way."
"Nice to meet you, Daniel. I'm Michael, just call me Mike."
Mike took a view of Daniel, he was at least a few inches taller than Mike, hair so blonde it glowed in the sunlight, eyes - emerald green, & when he flashed that killer smile, Mike's stomach did a flip-flop. His smile was so dashing it could bore into Mike's soul, yet so carefree.
"So Mike, what are you doing out here in the woods?"
"Nothing, I just needed some fresh air. What about you?"
"Hunting, we spotted a deer just over there."
"Oh please don't hunt the deer. What has it ever done to you?"
"Well, I admit I've never met it before but... you know... that's what's normally done."
"Just because it's normally done doesn't mean it should be done."
"... Correct. I guess you have a point."
There was an awkward silence...
"So... what do you do? I see lots of men hunting with you... are you like running a business or something?"
"No, my dad is, I'm his apprentice. You?"
"I'm just a servant..."
"You seemed pretty good with horses there, wanna ride with me?"
Mike laughed at Daniel's remarks.
"Sure, why not."
& so began a friendship that blossomed in an unusual place. Almost every day, Daniel would sneak out of the palace & into the woods to hang out with Mike. So would Mike, he'd sneak out of the mansion during his chores to meet Daniel. Both felt a growing feeling deep in their guts, getting stronger with each passing day, but both never admitted it to each other, not even to themselves. This continued for several months & both would go on daily adventures just exploring around, having a laugh & getting to know each other more.
Once Daniel took Mike deep into the forest until they entered a clearing at the far end. There was a creek in the middle of the clearing. With a smile, Daniel stripped & jumped into the water.
"Well, what are you waiting for?"
Mike was so stunned looking at Daniel's naked body that he froze into place. Daniel called out but he wouldn't respond. Finally, Daniel splashed water at him.
"Hey! What was that for?"
"You were gone for a second there. I thought I lost you. So now that I have your attention, would you mind joining me in the water?"
Mike felt his cheeks blushed a bit & stripped naked joining Daniel in the water. They splashed around, dove underwater trying to playfully drown each other out, just doing what normal boys would do. After growing tired, they came back out of the water & lay on the ground, side by side, both still naked to let their bodies dry. Mike closed his eyes & drifted into a light sleep. Daniel tried to close his eyes too but his mind would start thinking about Mike the moment his thoughts were free. He looked at Mike's naked body lying next to him. Instinctively, he came over Mike, his head getting closer to Mike's when suddenly Mike awoke, saw the face in front of him & jerked his head. Their lips met. Both became wide-eyed & Daniel fell back. Shocked at what just happened. The awkward atmosphere soon rises. Mike got up & put on his clothes.
"I... should be going."
& with that, Mike took his horse & rode back. Leaving Daniel with his thoughts. He laid there, caressing his lips with his fingers, remembered how it felt, the soft touch of the lips that just met his. He pushed it aside, put on his clothes & rode back to the palace.
While riding back, Mike replayed the scene in his head, how he had felt something hard touching his right inner thigh, then opened his eyes suddenly, saw Daniel's face just centimeters away from him, then jerked. He never intended for their lips to meet, but it did. It happened. Their lips met. They kissed. The realization of it made Mike completely confused. Wondering why was he so happy to have kissed Daniel. Wondering what was this feeling inside of him. Somehow, he sensed it was love. But he dared not let himself admit it. No, he wouldn't.
A few weeks passed & Mike stayed home all day. He didn't sneak out like how he used to. He was afraid of the feeling developing inside of him. Afraid of seeing Daniel's face & remembering about the kiss. While Daniel did continue to sneak out of the palace, he was dying to see Mike again. He wanted to know if Mike felt the same way as he did. He was getting restless when Mike didn't show up like usual. His heart ached at the thought of not seeing Mike again. He worried if he might have ruined the friendship that he & Mike had together. Finally, Mike decided to sneak out of the mansion. He rode Chestnut into the woods, where their normal hangout spot was. Sure enough, Daniel was there waiting for him. With a concerned look in his eyes,
"Where have you been? I was worried sick when you didn't show up."
"I'm... sorry. I didn't know what to do... after..."
"I think I love you."
With a shock, Mike replied,
"What? You're crazy! A guy can't fall for another guy!"
"Don't tell me you didn't feel it!"
Mike went silent.
With a pleading look in his eyes,
"Tell me you feel what I feel."
Mike collapsed. His head hung down & he cried.
"No, no, no, no!"
Daniel went over to Mike & put his arms around him. Mike in turn, placed his hands on Daniel's arm, still crying. Daniel laid down on the grass bringing Mike with him. They laid there silently, only the birds chirping & Mike's weeping could be heard. Mike's head was laying on top of Daniel's chest. His arm still around Mike. They laid there for a while until Mike spoke,
"So, what's gonna happen with us?"
"I don't know... all I know is that I wanna be beside you. Just like this very moment we're in. I hope it's the same with you."
Mike nodded. Slowly he tiled his head up towards Daniel's. Their faces getting closer. & finally their lips met. Sensual & passionate this time. Both saw sparks fly behind their closed eyelids. Tears streamed down from Mark's eyes. This was the feeling, that captivated him but scared him too. He pushed it all away. All he wanted to focus on is right now. With their lips touching, their bodies intertwined, both felt complete. Happy to know that the each wanted the other as much as themselves. Mike laid an arm around Daniel, & they both went to sleep.
So, I guess it's pretty obvious that they're dating from this point onwards. Their hangouts became dates. & Mike would be riding on the same horse with Daniel. Daniel in front of him so he could wrap his arms around Daniel's waist. His head resting on Daniel's back. Just enjoying this feeling of togetherness. & they would talk for hours & hours. But both would confess their love for each other each time before their date ends & swore that somehow they will be together for real.
Back at the palace, Daniel was called to meet the king at his chambers.
"You wanted to see me father?"
"Yes my boy, come in. Daniel, as you know you are already 16. It's time you pick a princess."
"But father, I"
"That's enough, Daniel. I have decided. You will pick a bride. & to help you with it, I will hold a ball, & all the maiden in the land is to attend."
With his head hung down in disappointment,
& with that he ran back to his quarters. He flung himself onto his bead & wept.
Back at the mansion, Mike was in great spirits. With a teasing look, Anastasia said,
"You've been acting all strange & bubbly recently. Wanna tell me what's going on?"
"Nothing? You're in looove..."
"I've seen you sneaking out of the house you know..."
"I was just getting some fresh air."
Mike looked at the clock & realized it was time. He snuck out of the mansion & rode into the forest. Once there, he wondered why Daniel wasn't there yet. He decided to wait. As dusk came, he was so worried as to why Daniel didn't show up but had to go back home.
In the palace in Daniel's quarters, there was Daniel, in the corner of the room, knees below the chin. Occasionally, the tears would streak down his cheek. He hadn't seen Mike for days for he didn't know what to do. He couldn't bring himself to tell Mike that they couldn't be together. So he decided to never see Mike again, hoping his absence would drive Mike to forget him. With that thought, he cried.
At the center of the town, a proclamation was made.
"HEAR! HEAR! THE KING HAS PROCLAIMED, THERE IS TO BE A ROYAL BALL HELD IN THE PALACE. ALL MAIDEN IS TO ATTEND. FOR ONE LUCKY MAIDEN IS TO BE THE PRINCE'S BRIDE!"
The whole town freaked out. Anastasia was so excited that when she came home, she ran straight for Mike to tell him the news.
"That's wonderful! Go get him, sis!"
As the weeks roll by, & the royal ball nearing, Mike would still sneak out with the hope to see Daniel. But every time he was left hurt & broken as there was no sight of Daniel at all. & so the royal ball arrives, his stepmother & stepsisters were off to the ball. Mike was left all alone in the mansion, weeping for his broken heart.
"Where are you? You said you loved me. How could you run away with my heart & never return? I need you here now... WHERE ARE YOU!"
A little after midnight, stepmother & Katarina returned. Mike said,
"Welcome home, madam. Where's Anastasia?"
"Oh Mike, you will not believe it! Anastasia has been chosen to be the prince's bride!"
"Really?! This is great news!"
"YES! We are to leave for the palace tomorrow morning! Now go pack up!"
& so the next day, the whole family moved into the palace. The wedding was to be held after 2 days. Mike took this time to explore the palace. He found a place in the garden where a swing was hanging from a branch of an old oak tree. It gave him a kind of peace in this foreign place so he decided it would become his favorite spot to spend the time. Miraculously, Daniel & Mike never met during 2 day period. Daniel was busy with the preparation of the wedding & some royal stuff I don't give a damn. While Mike was busy helping Anastasia with her fitting with the wedding dress. Both Mike & Daniel would go to the swing when they were free, but even more amazing, Mike would leave when Daniel was about to come, or vice versa.
Finally, the big day came. Anastasia was no nervous she could pass out. Mike was there by her side to calm her down.
"Oh my god! Oh my god! Is my hair ok? Is my makeup alright? Is my dress perfect?"
"Yes, yes & yes. Relax, sis. You look dazzling. Take a deep breath & walk through the doors & down the aisle. This is your moment, you can do it!"
*deep breaths... (a couple of times)*
"Ok, ok, here goes."
& Anastasia glided perfectly down the aisle. Mike stood by the door, watching the ceremony from a far. As Daniel turned to see Anastasia walking towards him, he saw Mike by the door. He went wide-eyed. At the same time, Mike saw the prince for the first time. To his shock it was Daniel, standing right there where the prince should be. His brain jammed. He couldn't process it.
"Why is Daniel standing in the prince's place?" he thought.
Then, the hard truth hit him. He ran, feeling hurt, his heart crashed into a thousand pieces, tears poured down his cheeks. He ran without thinking where to, just anywhere but there. He ended up in the garden, sitting on the swing. Tears still poured.
"You said we'd be together. You said you loved me. You said this was love. How could you."
Back at the hall, Daniel saw the hurt on Mike's face. Saw him ran away. At that moment Daniel wanted to chase after him, but he caught himself before any sudden moves. The wedding went on as planned. The whole kingdom rejoiced when the newlyweds, Prince Daniel & Princess Anastasia, stood at the balcony at the palace.
"Shall we kiss?"
They kissed. Daniel struggled to hold back his tears. For in that moment, he knew that Mike was the one he truly loved, for this kiss he shared with Anastasia was barren, empty & cold. Anastasia felt it to, she opened her eyes wondering what went wrong.
At the wedding dinner, Daniel was struggling to front his high spirits. He couldn't take it anymore, so he ran out to look for Mike. He searched everywhere. Finally he reached the swing in the garden. & there, the love of his life, the soul he cared for the most, & yet the soul he broke the hardest. Sitting on the swing, tears still pouring down from his now puffed out red eyes, there was Mike. Mike heard the footsteps nearing, but he didn't care. Nothing mattered now. What Daniel did had ripped all the life out of him. Then, he heard someone landed on their knees.
"I'm so sorry."
It was Daniel's voice, Mike turned to see him on his knees, crying, the tears gushing out of his eyes. But Mike didn't cry now. His eyes became dry. He just sat there staring at Daniel. Daniel saw those soul-less eyes looking back at him.
"Please, don't look at me like that. Don't just stay silent. Scream at me, spit at me, hit me! Say something!"
But Mike just sat there with his dried eyes still staring at Daniel. After seeing that Mike still wouldn't respond, he went over to Mike & wrapped his arms around him tightly.
"Don't do this to me! Please, I love you!"
& with that Mike choked up. Tears started flowing from his eyes again.
"If you love me then why did you do this to me! If you love me then why did you steal my heart, disappeared, then come back & let me crash so hard! If you love me... then why did you marry someone else?"
The tears wouldn't stop. His head rested onto Daniel's shoulder.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know. I didn't mean to. I never wanted you to get hurt. I never wanna see you cry."
That was all Daniel replied, tightened his wrap around Mike, still crying.
Time passed, Daniel didn't know how long. But before he knew it, his eyes had dried up. Mike too had stopped crying. The rays from the moonlight shone down at them, spotlighting them.
"Mike?" he whispered softly.
There was no response. Only Mike's calm breathing could be heard. He was asleep. Daniel couldn't help but to smile at him. He was perfectly smaller in size than Daniel that he fits perfectly in Daniel's arms. Gently, he carried Mike to his quarters. Once Mike was plopped comfortably in bed, Daniel laid there looking at him. He caressed Mike's cheek softly then landed a light peck on it. Then laid down on a couch & slept.
Sunlight shone in through the large window, hitting Daniel. He woke up. After a stretch, he looked at Mike on the bed, still sleeping soundly. With a light kiss on Mike's forehead, he crept out of the quarters, slowly closed the door, not wanting to startle Mike up. & as he started walking away, he was startled at Anastasia standing in front of him.
"We need to talk."
They head to Anastasia's quarters.
"I'll request to the king for a divorce."
Daniel was shocked.
"I saw what happened."
"Anastasia, it's not how you"
"It's ok, I know. I'm the one in between you guys. Not him in between us."
"He told you?"
"Well, not exactly. But I could piece the whole thing together after I saw you two in the garden."
"I'm so sorry, Anastasia. You don't deserve to be put in such a situation."
"Don't worry. I know my place & I know what's the right thing to do. & I won't tell on you guys, by the way."
"Thank you so much, Anastasia. You don't know how much this means to me, to us."
"It's fine, Daniel. Just promise me this, don't ever break his heart again. He deserves so much more after what he's gone through."
"Don't worry, I will."
& with that, Daniel hugged Anastasia, turned around & left the quarters. While Anastasia let out a few tears, but was certain it was the right thing to do.
Let me tell you what happened last night. You see, Anastasia could sense Daniel's uneasiness at the dinner. So she followed him outside when he left. Finally, she followed him to the garden. There, she saw Mike, saw the emotions between the two of them, saw the hurt in Mike's eyes. Based on what she heard, she pieced together the love between them & realized she was the third one. She cried with him, feeling like she had wronged him. She stayed there until Daniel carried him away. Followed them to Daniel's quarters. Then she left for hers.
Back at Daniel's quarters, Mike slowly opened his eyes. He scanned his surroundings then realized he wasn't in his own room. Then he remembered what happened last night. As he hastily got out of the bed & out of the quarters, Daniel came in.
Mike put out a stop sign.
"Just let me go. I'll let you go. Just treat her right."
Mike ran out into the hallway & disappeared.
In the garden, Mike & Anastasia were talking.
"But sis, you don't have to do this for me."
"It's ok, Mike. You truly deserve him. After all my mother put you through."
"Let me do something for you, Mike. Besides, I'll never be truly happy if Daniel's heart is with you. & I know yours is with him. He loves you, Mike, & you love him. Go for it!"
& so Anastasia requested a divorce to the king. He was upset at first & wouldn't allow it. But as Anastasia was pretty persuasive with her words, the king finally gave in. She gave Daniel & Mike her blessings & wished them the best.
"You two are good for each other, don't ever forget that, both of you. Just listen to your heart."
She left the palace with her sister & mother, leaving Mike behind. Mike was appointed as Daniel's butler so that they would always be together. Since then, it would be almost impossible to not see the two of them together. They were basically inseparable. On their spare time, they would mostly hang out by the creek in the woods, where they had their very first kiss.
So here they are, by the creek, both of them lying on the grass. Mike's head on Daniel's chest. Daniel's fingers running gently through Mike's hair. Mike tilts his head up & smiles. Daniel looks down.
"Nothing, I just wanna look at your face."
Daniel tightens his wrap, then kisses Mike on the lips.
"I wish we could just lie here forever & forget about everything else."
"We'll come here often, I promise."
Mike stretches his neck to kiss Daniel, then rested his head back on Daniel's chest. Both fall asleep.
So, I watched Cinderella about a week ago & I pretty much had the storyline in my head by the time I got home. Hope you enjoyed it. Forgive me if the story wasn't enough because it's my first time writing. Feedbacks are welcome.