A short story on personal underwear by Anne Kerr
Once long ago, in a big house with many rooms and staircases, lived a not so nice stepmother, her two daughters and Cinderwella. As you know from stories past, Cinderwella was miserable most of the time. Her two stepsisters treated her with contempt and despised the ground she walked on. As time passed she became their errand girl and was forced to sleep in the dusty attic bedroom.
“Get my hair brush Cinderwella!” they would shout. “Make my bed Cinderwella!” “Tidy my bedroom Cinderwella!”
On and on it went without so much as a please or a thankyou. Poor Cinderwella had no time to herself. She was constantly on the go.
On very rare occasions, when the two stepsisters and her stepmother were out shopping, she would take a break from her chores and walk outside in the garden to breathe the fresh air, listen to the birds and gaze at the clouds in the clear blue sky. In her heart of hearts she knew that sometime, somewhere, all things would be put to right and she would meet her handsome prince and live happily ever after.
On the day that the invitation to the Prince’s Ball came, Cinderwella was busy scrubbing the kitchen floor. She heard the excited squeals and screams through the heavy wooden door. Her two stepsisters burst into the room startling her with their continuous demands and constant chatter. She was bombarded from all sides with errands to run and chores to complete. She raced to the hairdressers to make appointments, to the dressmakers to bring back dresses to be tried on, to the florist to order flowers. At day’s end her head was spinning and still they demanded more.
Finally, very late at night, the big house was at last still.
On her way to the attic bedroom Cinderwella saw the invitation to the Prince’s Ball on the table. Gingerly, furtively she picked it up. Oh how beautiful it was. In the softest of pink with ribbons that trailed down floating in the breeze. The gold lettering spoke of three nights of dancing and laughter at The Ball. She sighed the softest of wishful sighs. It would be so wonderful to go. She knew in her heart of hearts that this would never be. Placing the invitation carefully back on the table she sadly went off to her cold attic room.
The following weeks were a flurry of activity as the first night of The Ball drew nearer. The stepsisters were busy preening and fussing over themselves. Each thought themselves the most beautiful. Each thought that it would be she that the Prince would fall in love with and marry. Cinderwella’s stepmother was very keen for this to happen and so ensured that both girls would look their very best. Not a thought was given to Cinderwella. She was kept busy running from one sister to the next catering to their every whim and fancy.
The first night of The Ball finally arrived. The two stepsisters and their mother were off in a flurry of excitement and chatter to the castle on the nearby hill. No backward glance was given to poor
The big house was quiet except for the sounds of Cinderwella’s tears plopping quietly on the kitchen floor. Oh how she wished she could have gone too. Her heart was heavy as she made her way up to her bedroom and gazed at the Prince’s castle from her window.
It was ablaze with lights that seemed to shimmer and sparkle in the night sky. Even from this distance she could hear the muffled sounds of coaches arriving, the clatter of horses hooves on cobblestones, the high sounds of violins tuning up ready to fill the night air with their strains. It was nearly more than her lonely heart could bear.
Suddenly, a soft light filled her drab room. Turning from her window Cinderwella could make out the shape of a young woman in the darkness. She held out something for her to take. As she reached for them the young woman disappeared and the room was in darkness once more.
Cinderwella was a bit taken aback with what was in her hands! She looked embarrassingly around. Who…? What….? In her hands she held what appeared to be underwear! At first glance they seemed no different to any other pair of undergarments that she had seen. Turning them over in her hands Cinderwella couldn’t help but feel how soft and silky the material was. It seemed to flow and slip through her fingers. As she did so a soft cloud of purple powder that scented the night air lavender wafted from the undies, was caught on the night breeze and was swept out the window. These underpants were irresistible. Without hesitation she slipped them on.
They were a perfect fit. They hugged themselves to her as if to reassure her that all would be well. And in her heart of hearts she knew that it would be. At that very moment she felt different. A warm glow emanated from the undies and spread throughout her body filling her with joy. She felt deliciously beautiful. Turning back to the window she decided there and then she was going to the Prince’s Ball at the castle. And just like that off she went without a second thought.
It seemed to take no time at all to reach the castle. As she walked up the steps she gave no thought to the fact that she had no ball gown, that her hair was mussed up and her nails cracked and brittle. She had stars in her eyes and she saw nothing else.
As she entered the Castle doors all eyes were upon her. Silence reigned. She faltered ….just for a second. Cinderwella felt a hand take hers and whisk her off to dance. It was the Prince! All night he danced with no one else but her. They talked and laughed as if they had known each other for ever. When he held her she seemed to melt into him and they became one. She felt lighter than air. All her concerns vanished, she glowed with a beauty that left all those around her gasping for breath. The Prince whispered sweet nothings to her all night long.
Many dances and hours later Cinderwella felt the new undies begin to slip. As the grand tower clock began to strike twelve she tried to tug them up but to no avail. She glanced desperately around as she fumbled to keep them in place. Just as she felt that she had a hold on them they seemed to slip from her fingers each time. Feeling flustered and extremely embarrassed she excused herself to the Prince as she ran to the castle bathroom. Thankfully it was empty. Just as the clock struck midnight the undies completely disappeared in a puff of purple smoke leaving the fragrance of lavender in the air.
At that very moment Cinderwella felt deflated – more like her old self. All her fears and worries came crowding back to taunt her. In horror, she realised what she had done. Oh! How could she have been so stupid!! What was going to happen to her now! She felt her legs failing her, her head was light and dizzy. How easy it would be to just crumple to the bathroom floor and stay there. But no! She must get home before the others. Taking a huge breath she slipped out the bathroom door and ran away before anyone could stop her. Rushing past the handsome, adorable Prince she dimly heard him calling after her.
When she finally reached her attic bedroom she flung herself on her bed and cried herself to sleep. What a fool she had made of herself! What would her stepmother say about this?
She awoke early and crept down to the kitchen to await her punishment. Her eyes were puffy and swollen from all the crying and tossing and turning throughout the night. Surely there would be recriminations for her actions last night at The Ball. She shuddered at the thought of what would happen to her.
Thankfully, the two stepsisters slept late that morning. They had arrived home in the early hours of the morning. Her stepmother demanded her usual cup of morning coffee, which Cinderwella delivered with shaking hands but apart from that said little to nothing at all to her.
As the day progressed Cinderwella, though mystified, breathed easier. Thoughts of the handsome Prince, his soft laugh and kind face filled her mind throughout the day and made each step lighter. Her stepsisters talked of nothing else but their first night at The Ball. They mentioned the mysterious girl that took the Prince’s attention for the entire evening but not once did they comment about her appearance.
Once again the day was a flurry of activity as they kept Cinderwella busy with preparations for their second night at the Castle. Cinderwella couldn’t believe that this day could be busier than the last and when finally they had left she collapsed with exhaustion on a rickety chair by the kitchen fire. She was grateful that not once had any mention been made of her attendance at The Ball the night before. She was certainly not going this night. How stupid had she been to think that she could go. She resolved to keep herself busy and then get an early night and go straight to bed. She was very lucky to have escaped unnoticed last night. In her heart of hearts she knew that to venture out again would surely be her downfall. She just could not afford to risk this again.
A soft light filled the bare kitchen as she thought these thoughts. Barely able to stop herself she turned in wonder to once again see the outline of the young woman in the darkness.
Once again she held out something in her hands for Cinderwella to take. Without hesitation, she reached to take it knowing exactly what it was. The light faded as quickly as it had come and the room was left in the flickering light of the kitchen fire. As she turned the undies over in her hands she told herself that she was only looking. That’s all. She didn’t have to put them on. As the same soft, luscious, material fell through her fingers she felt herself weakening.
These underpants were heavenly. Coloured a soft pink, with the finest of fine lace trim. The stitching was so delicate as to be nearly invisible. As Cinderwella examined them a cloud of rose coloured powder wafted from them and out the window. The room was filled with the scent of fresh rose petals.
Cinderwella had to put them on. They tempted and taunted her to do so. As with the first pair they were a perfect fit. They hugged her tight and she felt supported. A sense of strength and power surged through her being. She felt she could climb the highest mountain and swim the widest river. She felt invincible. She felt wonderfully light. She felt determined and so off she strode once again to the castle. There was no stopping her tonight.
The Prince was waiting for her at the door. He stepped out to take her hand and she was his for the rest of the night. They whirled and twirled their way through every dance.
They laughed and chatted as they walked in the Royal Gardens. He held her hand and told her how beautiful she was and how much he longed for her. She was what he had been waiting for his whole life. Cinderwella glowed with happiness. It was at the moment that their lips were to meet that once again she felt the underpants begin to slip.
Discreetly, she tried in vain to pull them up. This time she had left it way too late to race to the bathroom. She fled through the Castle gardens leaving a trail of pink rose scented powder in her wake. The Prince chased her, calling her name to the stars in the sky above but she had disappeared into the darkness. All that was left was the delicate rose fragrance of her presence. A layer of pink powder covered the top step of the castle. A gentle breeze lifted it into a pink eddy that floated away into the starry night sky. The Prince was inconsolable.
That night his dreams were of the mysterious, beautiful girl that had come to spin his world around.
As she stumbled home and fell exhausted into her bed Cinderwella smiled to herself. What a wonderful time she had had. Whatever punishment the next day held it was worth it. She fell into a deep sleep with a smile on her lips.
She woke late. Something she just never did. Panic seized her as she headed down to the kitchen with dread. She was confronted by her stepsisters. With hands on their hips they declared that they needed her to help them prepare for the last night of The Ball. This was to be the grandest night of all. The Prince was to choose who he would take to be his bride.
They were sure that he would pick them. Cinderwella smiled to herself when she heard them declare this. She knew that her handsome Prince only had eyes for her. In her heart of hearts she knew that her time had come. She had only to make it through one more day and then she would be free of her life here. The stepsisters wanted everything about themselves to be perfect. They hounded Cinderwella all day. Nothing it seemed pleased them. She ran up and down the stairs all day long fetching this, washing this, finding that. Her fingers ached from brushing hair and polishing shoes. Many times it was on the tip of her tongue to tell them to do for themselves. However, she bit her words back for fear of reprisals.
Finally when the dust from their carriage settled she turned to go back into the house. She was exhausted but the anticipation of the night ahead gave her wings. With eager steps she hurried into the kitchen.
Right on cue a soft light filled the room. The young girl appeared as before and held out the underwear. Cinderwella eagerly reached for it. By now the familiar luxurious feel of the garment did not surprise her. However she gasped when she saw them. They were the boldest and fieriest red she had ever seen. Like blood. The lace that trimmed them was as black as night. Silk embroidery embossed the sides. These undies far surpassed the other two pairs. These undies were a statement of success. Eagerly with hands shaking in anticipation she slipped them on. The material instantly became one with her. It took her breath away. More than ever she knew that she held her destiny in her hands that night.
With unbounded confidence each step to the castle door filled her with joy. Tonight would be the night! No longer would she be subject to the tyranny of her stepmother and sisters. Tonight the stars shone brighter that she could ever remember. Tonight they shone for her. Tonight she would break free.
The Prince was waiting for her. His face lit up with relief and adoration when he saw her. Taking her arm in his he escorted Cinderwella into the ballroom. Tonight he would not let her go. She would be his. All his!
They were inseparable. They had eyes only for each other. As the night wore on Cinderwella completely forgot about the time. Before she had left the house she had sternly reminded herself to watch the time so that she would not get caught out as she had the other nights.
But before she knew it the fabulous red undies began to undo. With a certainty beyond doubt she felt them ping. It was as if they just unfurled like a flag on a ship’s mask and then slipped all the way down. Inwardly she groaned, looking left and right for a way to escape.
The Prince had seen this look before and held her tighter to him. He was not letting her go ever again. He had promised himself. And just in case she did manage to slip away from him, he had set up a ring of palace guards with orders to hold her until he came to claim her for himself once again.
His grip was tight around her waist. Cinderwella struggled and resisted, looking pleadingly into his dark eyes. Oh how she hated to go but she must – mustn’t she?
Without the undies she was just an ordinary Cinderwella who did all the housework for her ever demanding stepmother and stepsisters – was at everyone’s beck and call.
These damned undies – letting her down like this. Why did they have to keep falling down at the most inconvenient times? Her angry thoughts startled her, they were foreign to her. Then another insidious thought, born of the anger and a lifetime of despair started to form in the recesses of her brain. What did it matter if the undies did slip and disappear as the other two pairs had done on the previous nights? What did it really matter? No one would know!
The dark thought formed into action. Well, let the undies slip and disappear she didn’t care one bit! She relaxed against the Prince and his grip loosened enough for her to stand tall.
How strange! The racy red undies had stopped their sliding descent down her legs.
In fact they were tightening up again, so much so that with a little discreet tug and a wiggle she had them back where they belonged.
She stepped back from the Prince reassuring him that she would stay. Reluctantly he released her. Then on bended knee, in front of all, he asked her to be his Princess.
She trembled with unbelief. Her mouth opened incredulously as she gazed into his eyes of longing. She could see how much he wanted to make her his.
His Princess, his wife, his soul mate.
A soft glow behind him drew her attention. There in the shadows was the shape of the mysterious girl that had visited every night. As Cinderwella gazed at her she came more into focus.
With a gasp of amazement she realised that she was staring at herself!! At that moment Cinderwella realised what she had to do. Mouthing a silent thankyou to the girl she turned to the Prince and said “Thankyou but no thankyou!”. The girl in the shadows smiled as she faded away.
Cinderwella knew in her heart of hearts that this was not her Prince.
She knew with an exhilarating certainty that even if she never found her Prince her life would still be wonderful because what she had found was herself!