The Other Side – The Shoe

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25/01/2016 by paulinebsc

The rumours that spread around the town after my mother’s marriage to the baron were quite untrue.  She wasn’t after his money, even if we enjoyed having it.  Of course he didn’t feel he could tell anyone that they met in a dominatrix club which he liked to visit.  My sister and I led a weird life before they married.  We didn’t learn to clean.  There was a steady stream of men eager to do it for Mum.  At first the baron was just another client, then he started coming several times a week and all her other clients disappeared leaving him as the only one as they fell deeply in love.  I was fifteen, my sister, Wilhelmina, was sixteen when they married.  Mum insisted on us being bridesmaids, along with the baron’s eight year old daughter.

The wedding was a nightmare.  Like most teenagers we were embarrassed to be put in the limelight but we needn’t have bothered we were totally ignored in favour of the baron’s kid who was blond, tiny and beautiful – everything we weren’t.  Looking back on it, we may have bullied the kid just a little because of our resentment.

 

The baron had a cleaner coming in three times a week, but he sacked her immediately, not wanting anyone to see him running around our house in the frilly maid outfit my mother insisted he wore unless we had visitors. The baron was, therefore, responsible for all the housework, laundry and cooking.  In the first few weeks Mum punished him repeatedly with her flogger.  I avoided watching it, but couldn’t avoid hearing the screams.  Unfortunately my bedroom was next to theirs so I also heard the disgusting events that this led to.  Nobody should have to hear their mother having sex.

 

His kid heard the screams, but not the making up, so she tried her best to help him, taking on a lot of the cleaning herself.  Unlike the baron she was good at it, and I soon had her clearing up after me, so did Wilhelmina.  Over the next ten years life continued to follow this pattern.  The baron was getting older so he found housework more difficult and the kid took on most of it.  She took to sleeping in the kitchen, claiming it was to avoid our snores – cheeky cow! I think it was so that she could be close to her menagerie of injured animals which she kept outside our kitchen door, hoping to heal them.  By now the kid had long blond hair, a bust big enough to gain male interest and a slim waist.  Her hands were dainty, her feet were tiny too delicate looking to be real.  Men seemed to find these attributes attractive, but the kid was shy, spending most of her time in the kitchen whenever the baron had male visitors, which wasn’t often.

 

As we grew older boredom became a problem.  Wilhelmina sat in the kitchen one day watching the kid bake bread, she started to ask questions.  Next time she persuaded the kid to let her help. They quickly found Wilhelmina’s talent.  She refused to cook dinners, but her desserts were far better than the kid’s, and then she turned to fancy cakes.  Within a year she had a shop in town, close to the castle, where she sold handmade cakes and confectionaries.  Her wares attracted staff from the castle and they talked to their masters.  Soon Wilhelmina had a staff of four to help her supply cakes for all the king’s events.  Wilhelmina loved it.  I was pleased for her but it left me alone in the house with nothing to do all day.

 

I found my gift in a similar way, a year or so later.  I had torn a favourite dress and asked the kid to mend it for me.  She was busy washing clothes so she showed me how to do it.  If I say so myself I think the dress looked better when I finished than it had before I tore it.  I had taken care in pulling from her box of scraps to use a patch which blended in well, and she showed me how to stitch a fancy border.  My size makes clothes difficult.  I have always been somewhat big boned … a little plump … overweight.  Wilhelmina’s cooking is no help.  Next time I visited the dressmaker for a new dress I spent time looking at fabrics, choosing the trims and fancy buttons.  There was only one dressmaker in town, and with no competition her work was often shoddy.  When I got the dress home I examined it carefully, bearing in mind what the kid had told me.  Carefully I unpicked its seams remaking the dress so it fit me better.  I followed my sister’s footsteps, gaining a reputation by working from home before I bought the shop next to hers.  Remodelling the dresses worn at the castle gave me a stock of high quality trimmings which I could recycle.  Now I too had money of my own.

 

For their tenth anniversary the baron took Mum away on holiday.  When they came back there was a letter waiting for them.  We had placed it on the mantelpiece where they couldn’t miss it.  Wilhelmina, the kid and I all waited breathlessly to see what was in it.  Letters from the castle were rare, and by the elaborate decorations printed onto it, this was something exciting.

Mum read the letter – the baron wasn’t allowed to open his own mail any more.

‘You are invited to a ball at the castle celebrating Prince Jerome’s twenty-fifth birthday party.  All women in the kingdom over the age of eighteen are invited to attend.’ She read, her voice showing excitement. She hugged the baron tightly.  ‘You know what this means?’

‘No, my goddess, my light.’

He always had to address her like that, the rest of us tried hard to ignore it.

‘The king has decided that Jerome need a wife, my slave.  It’s about time.’ She looked at me, then Wilhelmina.  ‘Perhaps he’ll choose one of my daughters.’

Wilhelmina winked at me, I smiled back.  Mum had no chance of marrying us off to that conceited popinjay.  We weren’t fools, we knew Prince Jerome was one of those shallow men who would go for looks every time. We didn’t have much to offer in that department.  Wilhelmina was thin with no boobs and knock knees but at least her hair fell into nice ringlets.  No matter what I did to mine within ten minutes of putting down the comb it was sticking out at all angles.  My lips were thick ugly things, and I had hairy moles in three different places on my face, two more spoiled my neck.  We knew we were not going to be chosen, even if Mum was right about the purpose of the ball.

I stole a glance at the kid, it was a good job she was too young, she had exactly the looks Prince Jerome would fancy.  I tried to think back on her last birthday, had she been sixteen or seventeen? Too young anyway, thank goodness.  None of us wanted to lose our chief cook and cleaner.

‘Hey, slave, perhaps we can persuade Ermintrude to make you a ballgown for the occasion.’

The baron wasn’t pleased.  Ten years marriage had taught Mum how far she could push him. She backtracked quickly. ‘You can wear it after the ball, to show the four of us. I’ll get Pru to get you some new fancy shoes.’

Pru was a friend of Mum’s.  The baron had tiny feet for a man, the same size as Pru wore.  It allowed Mum to get him high-heels without any suspicion.

‘You’ll wear stockings and ladies underwear though?’ She asked him.

‘Of course, my goddess, my light.  I always do.’  Another fact I would rather not have known, although I was not surprised.

 

The ball was to take place in a month, which wasn’t enough notice as far as I was concerned.  Suddenly everybody in the kingdom, not just the castle, wanted new clothes, or new trimmings on old clothes.  I was working from dawn to dusk, so was Wilhelmina in her cake shop.

Three days before the ball I struggled into my clothes before dawn, lighting a lantern to guide the pair of us to our shops.

‘Will you be back tonight for the birthday party?’ the baron asked.

Vaguely I remembered his asking Wilhelmina to bake a special cake for tonight.

‘Sorry, I can’t. I’m too busy.  I have to finish eight dresses, start two more, then mend the Earl of Kernak’s uniform.’

‘Oh, alright then.’ He sounded slightly miffed.

I caught up with Wilhelmina, so we could walk together.  I wondered who the birthday cake was for, but was soon caught up in mentally planning my day’s work.  We walked in silence; presumably Wilhelmina was doing the same.

 

The day of the ball arrived.  Mother was still excited about the thought of one of us marrying the prince, but in truth neither Wilhelmina nor I expected much.  One of the jobs I had taken this week was to let out the uniform of Henry, Duke of Slowen.  His build was much like mine and he too had a hairy mole.  He talked to me as I worked, showing himself to be a great conversationalist with a cheeky sense of humour which worked well for me. I would much rather end up with him than with the Prince.  He seemed just as keen on me.

 

I did feel a little sorry for the kid as she helped me stuff my body into a corset and tie it tight.  I could hardly breathe, I hoped it was worth it.  While I was fixing make-up she did the same for Wilhelmina.  It was a shame she was too young to go, it would have been her first ball.

The baron had been responsible for dressing Mum, and she looked stunning.  The dress I had made for her (free of charge), was low cut, her chest above it was covered with the diamonds on the beautiful necklace the baron had given her for their anniversary.  I had worked on his uniform as well, and it fitted him immaculately, with thankfully no sign of what he was wearing underneath. The baron had hired a grand coach so we squeezed our long skirts into it.  I had a brief glimpse of a flash of light after we waved to the kid but I kept quiet as we drew away.  Perhaps she had polished the mirror, so it caught the light of our lantern, I don’t know.

 

The ballroom was magnificent.  The crystal chandelier which was rarely used had been polished; it shone with the light of more than a hundred candles.  I don’t know how the staff had got up there to light them.  On one table there was a pyramid of silver coloured chocolate balls It was a good job this party was limited to adults or one of the younger princes would have been sure to have sent them all flying.

 

Henry approached me.  He lifted my hand to kiss it truly romantically before leading me onto the dance floor with him.  We stayed together throughout the evening.  Henry helped me with the buffet, since he was tall enough to reach things that I couldn’t.  Afterwards he invited me to a nearby room to ‘see his etchings’ with a glint in his eye.  I knew what he meant, and I was eager.  Henry had his hands inside my panties, feeling wetness, when we heard an uproar from the main room.

‘Sorry, love, I’d better go.  My prince may need me if something is happening.’

Henry had already told me he was part of Prince Jerome’s security battalion.  I pulled my dress straight to hurry after him, curious.

 

The prince was standing on the castle steps holding a shoe and looking baffled.  He turned to Henry.

‘Henry, find out who this shoe belongs to.  I am going to marry her.’

All the guests were pushed out.  We drove home in silence.  At one point I thought I saw the kid walking in barefoot through the mud beside the road from the castle. She appeared to be holding a shoe.  Because of the darkness I couldn’t be sure it was her, but I was aware that if I had said anything the coachman would have stopped, holding up a long line of coaches moving along the road, so I kept quiet. There was no reason for the kid to be on the road after dark, so I doubted it was actually her.

 

The kid wasn’t at home when we reached it.  It was only after Mum had dragged the baron off to bed, whip in hand, that Wilhelmina felt free to tell me what happened.  Mum had been upset when I had disappeared with Henry before the prince could notice me, which explained her silence on our journey.  Wilhelmina told me she had been chatted up by one of the castle bakers, Auguste.  Prince Jerome had spent all evening dancing with a pretty blond girl, ignoring all the other would-be-princesses.  The pair had danced so closely that nobody else had a good look at her.  At midnight she  had pulled away from him.  Those standing close to the prince said she looked shocked and ran out of the castle without stopping, leaving her shoe behind.  This explained the scene Henry and I had run into.  Wilhelmina was as puzzled by the events as I was.  We got ready for bed, unfortunately being interrupted by being forced to view the baron in the totally over-feminine lacy ballgown I had made him, with a long blond wig on his head.  The heels Mum forced him to wear must have been six inches high, maybe higher.  The baron, as always, looked embarrassed at wearing ladies clothing, but this time he must have been drunk as he was giggling at his image in the mirror.  Mum looked fierce as she picked up a riding crop. I fled towards my bedroom, and heard Wilhelmina running behind me.

 

The kid was back in the morning.  She sat by the fireplace looking tired, sad even.  The floor was swept, the place looked tidy, breakfast was laid, but she wasn’t her usual cheery self.

‘What’s the matter with you?’ Mum asked her. ‘We were out all night at a ball, you should have gone to bed early.  Rest is important when you have to get up early to start work.’

‘Yes, you’re right.’ Her voice was listless, clearly something was bothering her as she cooked our breakfast.

Her father was nursing a hangover.  He clasped his hands to his head in pain as we heard bugles outside.

‘Who the Hell is making all that noise so early in the morning?’ he gasped.

‘Language!’ Mum’s slap on his leg didn’t help his temper.

‘I’m sorry my goddess my light.’ The answer was automatic, ingrained over years.

There was a knocking, no a pounding on the door.  The baron hastened to answer it, making sure his trousers uncreased enough to hide his stockings.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you this early in the morning, but Prince Jerome has ordered me to make sure every woman in the land tries this shoe on until we find the person that it fits.’

I gazed at Henry in awe as he delivered his speech.  He gave me a finger wave before putting the shoe next to my foot.  It wasn’t worth trying it on; he could see my feet were too big for the shoe.  He handed the shoe to another of the men, who walked towards Wilhelmina.  Her feet are even larger than mine, so I knew it wasn’t going to be her either.

The Prince was watching from his grand carriage parked outside, too grand to come into the house of a mere baron.

‘I’m glad it wasn’t you.’ Henry whispered ‘I want you for myself.’ He kissed his hand and held it against my thigh.  I did the same for him, lightly brushing his cock, which caused him to blush.  Luckily everybody else was watching Wilhelmina.

‘Are there any other ladies in the house older than eighteen?’ Henry intoned; he had probably had to say it in every household they visited.

‘Well there’s Cinderella.’ Wilhelmina said.

‘She isn’t eighteen yet.’ I called out.

Wilhelmina stuck her tongue out at me.

‘Yes she is, I baked the cake.’

I thought back three days, when the baron had mentioned a birthday, only then realising who the cake was for.  I had not seen the kid at the ball, and when I thought I had seen her on the way home she had been dressed in rags – and carrying a single shoe. But she could not have been at the party dressed in rags like those, everybody would have noticed.  Had the flash of light I’d seen been magic?  Did anyone still believe in rubbish like that?

 

While I was ruminating Cinderella had been ordered out from the kitchen.  Henry put the shoe next to her tiny feet and the truth dawned.  Magic did exist.

‘It fits!’ He cried out, bringing the prince bounding from his carriage.  Cinderella ran back into the kitchen and re-emerged carrying a match to the shoe Henry had held.  The prince and Cinderella kissed for a disgustingly long time before he led her away from us.  Cinderella followed him regally with no glance back towards us, her family.

 

Epilogue:

The shoe-fitting took place a year and a day ago.  I can be so exact because Prince Jerome upset all of royal protocol by marrying Cinderella the next day, and this is their anniversary.  Wilhelmina and Auguste have opened a new, larger bakery.  They are getting married next month.  My beloved Henry is still working at the castle, his influence led to me making all the castle uniforms.  It is hard work, but I enjoy having all those men in my workshop rather than the almost exclusively female clientele I had before.  It brightens up my day, while Henry brightens up my nights by being playfully sexy.  We have been married eight months now.

 

The kid (I must get used to calling her Princess Cinderella) has a kid of her own, Prince Tobias, and a whole zoo of animals to look after, although now she has help.  Her father and my Mum are still together.  He is now paying for a regular cleaner.  I don’t know where they found him but the cleaner seems to come complete with a domineering woman who wields a whip.  I am careful not to ask questions about it – I don’t want to know.

 

The baron has considered selling his story to a ghost writer, but I don’t know.  I worry in case they twist this story to favour the prettiest couple and ignore the rest of us.  I love Henry and Wilhelmina loves Auguste just as much as Cinderella loves her prince even if our wedding portraits don’t look so good.

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