Chapter One - Time Heals Most Wounds.
Its been 8 years. Charming smiles at Charella as she quietly sips her orange juice at the breakfast table. The sunlight shines through the magnificent windows of their cottage mansion, echoing off the chandelier that hangs over the table. It’s been almost a year since Charming re-married. Embracing the love of another has been the hardest thing, other than letting go of Sno, he's ever had to do in his life. The loss of his daughter and his wife still plague him everyday.
“Mother. We’re going to be late again.” Chlorinda complains making her day down the stairwell down the hall.
“If you didn’t take so long to get ready, we wouldn’t … ” Andra protests, but their mother puts her hand up as she reaches the bottom of the stairwell.
“Girls. Girls. That’s quite enough. Its time we hurried. The carriage will be along shortly, no reason to doddle any further.” she wisely states.
Charming looks up from his plate, he can hear his wife and her daughters in the hall. Not wanting to be social this morning, he gets up from the table. He plants a kiss on Charella’s forehead and then rushes out the door, letting it click behind him.
“Where is your father this morning Charella?” Treshara asks.
“He’s left already.” Charella says looking down.
With Charming gone, Treshara’s smile fades. “Will you ever finish!?” she shouts impatiently. “We must be on our way, do hurry up!’ she says even more irritated.
Charella nods her head, “Yes stepmother.” she replies. She’s barely touched her breakfast, but she knows better than to cross her stepmother, and she stands and follows her and her stepsisters outside to the waiting carriage.
That night at dinner, Charming seems more run down than usual. Charella notices he isn’t acting like himself. She isn’t extremely worried until he excuses himself from the table without hardly touching his dinner.
“Hmm.” Treshara says knowingly. “I wonder what’s the matter with your father?” she says pointingly. Charella doesn’t like the tone in her voice.
Once dinner is finished, Charella hurries up the stairs to find her father. He’s in his study.
“Father, can you tuck me in?” Charella asks with an innocent smile.
Charming looks up from the book hes reading and nods, he stands and accompanies Charella to her room. He picks her up and sets her into her bed, kissing her forehead as he pulls the covers over her.
“No story tonight?” Charella asks, heartbroken.
Charming sighs and picks up the book sitting on the nightstand, and begins to read. Charella is confused, and she knows something isn't right.
“Father? Are you alright?” she finally asks him as he closes the storybook.
“Yes sweetheart, everything is fine.” he says with a tear in his eye. “Dearest Charella, Never forget, that no matter what happens, everything I ever did, I did out of love for you. I love you sweetheart. Please never forget that. Ok? he asks pulling her into a hug.
Charella frowns, “Yes Father. I promise. I’ll never forget.” she says confused and slightly worried.
Charming leaves the room, and pulls her door shut to just a crack. He lingers there a couple minutes in the light, watching her get comfortable. Then he heads to bed himself.
Downstairs, Treshara rinses out the dishes from dinner. She picks up each of the glasses and sniffs them. Then once she’s found the one she’s looking for, she rinses it out and places it into the cupboard, away from the others.
“Don’t want to use that on anyone by accident.” she chuckles to herself.
The next morning, Charella wakes and heads downstairs to the breakfast table as usual, but finds no breakfast waiting, confused she heads back upstairs to her Father and Stepmother’s room. For as long as she can remember, her Father has cooked breakfast, its routine. She enters the room and tiptoes to her Father’s side, she reaches for his hand to wake up him, but when she touches it, she jumps back.
It’s ice cold.
“Ahhhhh!” she screams.
“You ignorant fool. What are you doing in here!?” her stepmother demands awaking from beside her Father.
“Apologies Step mother, but Father is very cold. Why is Father so cold?” she asks confused. “Is he alright? And why hasn’t he gotten up to start breakfast yet..?” Charella asks demanding an answer.
Charella. Leave now.” Treshara says pointing with her finger toward the door.
Charella leaves, sad and confused, somehow she knows he’s gone. Somehow she knows he was saying goodbye last night to her, and somehow she knows things will never be the same. . .