Muse Calliope's Choice: Picture 1
She spun and spun, her short purple skirt fluttering around her waist as she danced to the orchestra’s quick paced melody. Daddy had brought her here for a special day, just the two of them, hiding from the Court and the Wicked Stepmother in a time and place no one would ever think to look. Daddy had tried to make extra, extra sure that this day would just be the two of them, their special, special day.
Already they had gone to the park and played on the swings and visited the zoo where most of the wild animals had forgotten they were wild. She thought that was sad but Daddy said it was best for them to forget what they couldn't have so she guessed that was okay. For lunch, Daddy had brought her to a restaurant with a big yellow M above it and she'd had something he called a 'happy meal' with flat little chicken lumps. She had seen lots of other little girls and their daddies doing the same things. And now … now she and Daddy were at a party just so she could spin and twirl in her purple dress and blue tights and black shoes surrounded by a sea of mortals spinning and twirling right along with her.
Suddenly Daddy scooped her up, coming out of the crowd as if it wasn't even there. He gave her his special smile - the one he kept just for her - and tossed her high into the air again and again. She giggled and laughed, flailing in the air like a wiggling bird. When Daddy caught her and brought her close, she wrapped her arms around Daddy's neck, hugging him tight.
"Gráím thú, puisín," he murmured. I love you, kitten.
"I love you too, Da," she told him. She pulled back so she could see his face. Her and Daddy had the same sky coloured eyes and when they didn't hide it with magic, their hair was the same bright red and their ears had the same pointy tips. Her nose was Mommy's though; that's what Daddy always told her and she was happy she got to look like Daddy and a little like Mommy too. She laid her hands on Daddy's cheeks and smiled. Daddy smiled back. "I wish we didn't ever have to go home."
Daddy sighed and for one whole second he looked tired and kind of sad but then she blinked and Daddy was smiling again, his eyes twinkling with stars. "Me too, kitten," he said, "me too."
"I know we have to, Da." They always had to because her and Daddy were special - everyone needed her and Daddy to go home and Daddy said it was their duty. "I just wish, wish, wish we didn't. Home ... home won't be home forever."
"No, kitten," he agreed, "it won't be. But it will be home long enough, I hope, and then you will find a new home."
She nodded; she already knew that. Daddy told her that all the time, but she liked to hear it anyways. Auntie Bhan called her Cinderella and she was a big enough girl now that she understood what that meant; one day she wouldn't have Daddy to keep the monsters away and keep her safe, one day she'd be all alone. She didn't have Auntie Bhan's powers. Her mommy was Auntie Bhan's sister but Mommy's powers had been different; Auntie Bhan saw ahead but Mommy saw beyond. Her powers were like both Mommy's and Daddy's but not exactly the same. Daddy said that was good; that meant her powers were just hers. And that was why she knew Auntie Bhan was right; because her powers told her so.
But Daddy knew too and told her not to worry so she didn't.
Instead she laughed and giggled as Daddy held her hands and spun her around and around, her short purple skirt fluttering around her waist as they danced to the orchestra’s quick paced melody on their special, special day meant just for the two of them.