#RainbowSnippets: At Her Service

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a variety of samples from different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

For mine, I’m picking up where I left off last week in At Her Service, which I’m rewriting and expanding from its original form…this is a little longer than six sentences, forgive me…

“You will address her as the Lady Ariella.” The lady of the chateaux spoke in an icy tone as flat as her eyes. “This is not your home, not any more. You may no longer dance around as if you owned it.”

“Mother…” Ariella began, but her mother cut her off. 

“This is our ancestral estate, the Lady Ariella’s and mine.” She advanced upon me. I half expected her to draw a dagger. “Even if your ancestor managed to steal it from ours, we have taken it back.”

Wednesday Words: Paula’s Prompts

On November 18, 2020, P.T. Wyant posted at ptwyant.com a Wednesday Words prompt involving cheese, a sore foot, and regrets.

This poem was the result…

My foot is sore

I shouldn’t have eaten so much

I’ve gotten heavier, so it’s harder to walk

It’s hard to resist the cheese

I should only eat a little

It’s so easy to overindulge

Have a little more with a little more wine

Wine, chocolate, cheese, it’s so hard to devour them

Gobbling down larger quanties than I should

Drinking enough so I’m left fuzz-brained

Carrying around the other in lumps of unused energy

Together they increase my overall lumpiness

Making my whole body harder to move

A bigger burden for my sore feet

Yet sometimes the world feels like it’s throwing misery at me

2020 left me feeling especially doomed

It feels like the end so why hold back?

It’s hard not to reach for the cheese or the chocolate

Now I’m heavier than I’ve been in a long time

I regret the sore feet

I regret the clothes which no longer fit

Even as I suffer the consequences of my gluttony

I cannot bring myself to regret the cheese. 

Conversations with Christopher: Cinders

Christopher sits facing a young woman dressed in a long green gown tapering in at the waist and flowing out into full skirts, her golden-brown hair arranged naturally with a few beryl pins which most of it to fall over her shoulders in shining waves. Upon her feet are a pair of glass slippers which fit perfectly. 

Christopher: Cinders…you look beautiful.

Cinders: I’m guessing you never would have recognized the girl who left smudges everywhere. Sorry about that. Welcome back to the Cauldron. 

Christopher: Thank you. It’s good to be back. How is At Her Service coming along?

Cinders: It may have happened before in earlier editions, but I never cease to marvel at how my fairy godmother makes all my cinders disappear in an instant, leaving me clean and wearing this dress.

Christopher: Plus your mistress’s glass slippers. 

Cinders: I know. I’m not comfortable at that myself. (glances down at her feet) I’d better clean them when I return from the ball. 

Christopher: Are you in the middle of the ball?

Cinders: Yes, but the scribbler stopped in the middle of the dance when I revealed something which happened in the past. This made her go back and make it part of the beginning of At Her Service. It’s a something which makes me wish I was dancing with my mistress, not the mysterious prince. No matter how handsome and charming he might be. 

Christopher: What was this something in your past? Or is it too much of a spoiler to ask about?

Cinders: I don’t think so. Once upon a time my mistress asked me to dance with her. We almost dance together but the lady of the chateaux’s, my mistress’s mother stopped us. Huh, I think I can sense the scribbler getting an idea for more dialogue for that scene. She’s always rewriting my beginning. 

Christopher: I know exactly how you feel. Why did your mistress’s mother stop you?

Cinders: Well, I can’t say it’s because the Lady Ariella and I are stepsisters because the lady of the chateaux has never acknowledged that. She loathed me. She loathed my family too, my very bloodline. I think she would have loathed my father but he played the feeble and helpless invalid. This made the lady decided she needed to take care of him, so she set aside her loathing. 

Christopher: She was able to do that?

Cinders: She’s a very peculiar and particular woman, the Lady Ariella’s mother. If she decides she loathes you, you’re filth. If she decides she’s going to take care of you, you’re her charge, no matter what. I’ve seen her kindness to others, such as Claude. Something about my father kindled, well, not exactly kindness but a sense of purpose. She decided she was going take care of him and his estate, no matter how much she loathed him and his bloodline. This was exactly what my father wanted since he couldn’t be bothered to take care of either.

Christopher: It sounds like your stepmother married your father for his estate while your father was more than happy to be married for it, if his wife was willing to take on his responsibilities for him. 

Cinders: Father was an invalid or pretended to be one. He fussed a lot, tried to get out of doing everything if he could. He exhausted Mother. When she died, he became worse than ever. I used to be the one who had to take care of him. I was actually relieved when he remarried. I didn’t mind the Lady Ariella’s mother assuming full authority over the chateaux and my father. It’s made me happier than I can say to live with the Lady Ariella. I just wish her mother hadn’t hated me. 

Christopher: Is this why the lady of the chateaux didn’t want you dancing with her daughter?

Cinders: The Lady Ariella’s mother had grand plans for her daughter, schemes of marrying her to a prince which Ariella herself had no interest in. My mistress’s interest in girls always annoyed the lady. She felt this interest was an unwelcome distraction from her plans. To show an interest in me, a descendent of the man who’d stolen the estate from hers was a betrayal. Never mind that the lady had married a descendent of that man herself in order to regain the chateaux she regarded as rightfully hers. 

Christopher: It sounds like this woman was as angry with her daughter as she was with you.

Cinders: Perhaps but she blamed me for the whole thing. She believed I was scheming to manipulate her daughter through her interest in me as the lady had schemed to manipulate my father. This was the first time she hit me. I haven’t danced since. I’ve been more than a little clumsy.

Christopher: Are you really clumsy? Or does the Lady Ariella’s mother agitate you to the point that you knock things overs. 

Cinders: She can’t agitate me any more. She’s dead. I’ve been awkward ever since. I trip and knock things over far too often. 

Christopher: Are you tripping a lot at the ball? 

Cinders: I did at first, but I’m getting more relaxed. The prince is an excellent dance partner. I’m started to really enjoy myself which makes me feel like a traitor.

Christopher: Why?

Cinders: My mistress hates the prince. She got so angry when she thought I wanted to go to the ball, to dance with him. To be with him instead of her. She was really hurt. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m enjoying the dance but I wish I was dancing with her. One of the reasons I’m enjoying the prince’s company is because he reminds me of her. Seeing a similarity between my beloved mistress and the prince she loathes makes me feel like even more of a traitor. I shouldn’t be enjoying myself but I am. It’s nice not tripping over my own feet. It’s nice knowing I can dance even if it’s just for one night. I just really wish I was dancing with the Lady Ariella. 

Christopher: Well, you have a fairy godmother. She might just grant your wish. 

Cinders: I hope so. 

#RainbowSnippets: At Her Service

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a variety of samples from different LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

For my own, I’m going to continue where I left off last week on the expanded version of At Her Service I’m working on…

Ariella herself stiffened, turning to face its owner at the same moment as I did. Repressed violence tingled in the air. This violence frightened me. 

“Ariella was only showing me how to dance…” I began, trailing off when I saw the chill expression in the lady of the chateux’s eyes. How could she look so much like Ariella herself, yet be so different? 

Z is for Zenobia

Crafter of chains and culture

Empress opposed to Imperatrix

Allies in imperial opposition to the Serpent

Wise enough not to rust your ally in all her guide

Hungry for her power, land, and Serpent-Born

Keen on chaining them and one in particular

Seeking to seize a Jasior prince as yourself

Your empire is powerful, yet fragile

Qualities you share with your rival in her deceptive eternal glory

You’re more than willing to accept A Suitor’s Challenge

Determined to be the suitor who shall take it all

The prince and the chained Serpent-Born will both be yours

Even if you have defy Dragons and Serpents alike to claim them. 

Y is for Yuri

Finding the pattern in streaks of graphite

Streaks of chalk, swirls of pastel

Bringing form and character within the paint

Searching for meaning beyond most concepts

Beyond gender, beyond what’s accepted

Beyond everything that’s considered real

A Portrait Is Worth a Thousand Words

Your ancestor’s portrait spoke volumes

Becoming so much more than paint on canvas

More than a ghost, a wily enchantress

Betwitching her wide-eyed, adoring descendants

You worry about what Judith Cross may have awakened

You worry about what you yourself could awaken

Kindling passion and madness, adoring obsession

All the things you see in Westerleigh’s eyes

Devotion to an unworthy ghost

Devotion akin to what your ancestor felt

There may be envy mingled with your concern

Envy of a dead woman capable of taking ‘Leigh’s breath away

Awareness of this envy makes you comply with ‘Leigh’s wish

You help him transform into the heiress Fiona Hartford believes him to be

Westerleigh makes a prettier Gothic heroine than many a girl

Such heroines always end up in dire peril

You’re not sure if you can be the hero who’ll save him

‘Leigh has to face his demanding ghost

Even if means embracing her before letting her go

You’re trying not to notice Elizabeth’s pale face at your window

Her greed to increase the ranks of worshippers is endless

You’re hardly the devotee Westerleigh is

Why is she stalking you, watching you?

Is it love for your dead ancestor?

Perhaps she can’t see your face

Obscured by the memory of Judith

Or maybe she wishes to punish you for your illusion

The guise you help ‘Leigh to assume

Helping him enter her home, encounter her ghost

You wish Elizabeth far from your life

You’re haunted enough without ghosts. 

X is for Xian

Keeping up a veneer of courtesy and respect

Scheming and plotting your way to the Serpent’s side

Stealing Her power and Her secrets to don yet another mask

Too majestic for any to see behind

Scheming your way to the other Serpent-Born

Young, powerful, malleable

Only too easy to manipulate

Getting them to accept A Suitor’s Challenge

Your heart isn’t nearly as detached as you think

Keeping it close, fearing it will be devoured

In a dualistic, ladylike game of deception

Only you know what all the rules are

As you keep trudging to lofty heights

Never allowing yourself to be cowed

Sensing an inevitable fall awaits you

Trying to accomplish as much as you can

While you continue the journey up. 

W is for Westerleigh

Fixated upon your ancestor

Elizabeth Hartford’s life, deeds, and face

A legendary legacy you can’t live up to

You can only worship and enshrine it

Shyly touching upon it in any way you can

Becoming a person worthy of being her descendant

Dressing and embodying what she would want

No matter how much you defy convention

You live, breathe, and taste her spirit

Allowing that spirit to devour your devotion

How much of your mask is what you want?

How much is what she wants? 

Yuri’s questions beat within my mind

Flickering your conscience into thought

Just what did Elizabeth accomplish?

How many people did her accomplishment hurt?

You allow her will and spirit to overwhelm you

Letting her dominate your thoughts

Moving you to achieve her goals

Her thoughtless arrogance is like a blow

You ignored the hints, the clues suggesting this

In her painting, in her letters, in her journal

So enamoured with her boldness

You overlooked her disregard for others

A trait her spirit fails to overcome

You learn to please her, to have her look at you with pride

Does she even see you from her painted prison

Or are you simply an impefect vessel for herself

How far will you let her schemes play?

A Portrait Is Worth a Thousand Words

The lift of her chin tells a tale of stubbornness

A stubbornness you always admired

Not realizing it hurts too many people

Not the least yourself. 

V is for Vanessa

Coveting power you wear with awkward flair

Showing off all your extra arms

Flashing your additional eyes

Intent on being better than Duessa

Painfully aware you can’t touch her

Coveting Duessa’s beautiful nephew

Flaunting your Marriage Feasts 

Wearing tradition like an armour

Letting the briars of the Gardens of Arachne bind you

Never realizing you’ve stirred another’s hunger

Laughing at all the signs of her forbidden passion

Ladies never feed upon each other

Certainly not arachnocratic ones

Part of you wonders what it would be like

Taking Duessa’s power directly from the source

She’s spinning a Web of Inspiration

One you long to be at the center of of

Never dreaming you might be a dupe

Of a past victim you never took seriously

You’ve made the Gardens less tranquil

Stirred the mists with your discontent

Threatening a fragile peace

You arrogantly took for granted. 

#RainbowSnippets: At Her Service

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a variety of samples from LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

Have you ever begun the process of rewriting something, reach the middle, and think, “Oh, the beginning would fit with the rest of the story if I changed this!”

Yes, it happened to me. 🙂 Here’s the revised beginning of At Her Service…it’s a little longer than six sentences, forgive me. (bows)

I’ll never forget the first time my mistress offered me her hand. 

“Every woman should dance once.” She wasn’t my mistress yet. She was just Ariella, the bewitching girl with sapphire blue eyes and a husky voice I could feel caressing the inside of my ear, gliding down my spine, raising the hairs of my neck. “Shall I show you how?” 

Shy, uncertain, I dared to raise my hand to touch hers. 

“Ariella, stay away from that girl.” The coldness of those words sucked all the joy out of the room.