Their sister though, Ella, had a beautiful face to hide her ugly heart. Drizella and Anastasia tried to welcome her into their family, but Ella pushed them away. Her mother’s and father’s death had left her heart scarred and bruised, leaving only an angry, broken pulse behind. Her face, though, was still as fair as ever and when she wished to be, she could still put on a sickly sweet smile to fool others.
A ball was announced for the prince’s eighteenth birthday. All the maidens in the land, beautiful, ugly, kind, or cruel, were invited. Someone would be chosen to be his bride.
As Drizella and Anastasia went out with their mother to find dresses, Ella refused to go.
“I don’t want to be seen in public with you.” She spat the word as if it had a bad taste that went along with it.
Instead, the stepmother gave her money to buy her own dress.
“Be kind to Ella,” the stepmother told Drizella and Anastasia once in private. “She’s had a hard life.”
At the ball, the Drizella and Anastasia were proud in their dresses, one soft rose-colored, the other a natural green. But Ella told them otherwise.
“Your clashing dresses are giving me vertigo,” she said, putting her hands up and backing away.
“She’s had a hard life,” the stepmother said once more when Ella was gone. “I’ll talk to her tomorrow, but let her enjoy the night.”
Ella, however, looked beautiful. Her blue dress draped to the floor elegant and smooth, but still fluffy enough for any five-year-old girl to squeal about. Her hair flowed down and around her shoulders, curling and perfectly windblown. And as always, her face was without a flaw. But the shoes were the crowning jewel: pure glass, carved like crystal to fit perfectly around Ella’s dainty feet. They twinkled as she swept across the floor to the prince.
Drizella and Anastasia put the harmful words behind them and skipped out onto the dancefloor. Laughs and dances were shared with others, and they had a wonderful night.
Ella had been off dancing with the prince. Her smile and eyes sparkled in the light just right and he had fallen for her in minutes.
Ella only went home that night to gather her things.
Anastasia and Drizella went to the now unoccupied room that once was Ella’s the next day. Only one thing remained on a small table. A glass slipper with a note. Only one word was whispered through the room: