Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free Read faery tale...The Princess & the Pea

I am a seasoned faery..yep, I confess, its' true...right down to the slap of a magic wand--we won't say when or where..what happens at RT , stays at RT.

But we fae are a creative group and over the years have come up with various fun things that highlight the fun we have in presenting the Faery Court ball each year at the Romantic Times Booklovers convention.  Since this came up the other day on Cecile's blog..I thought I might post it here as a free read!

Just for fun, my modern day version of ...

The Princess & the Pea

Once Upon a time there was a young executive. Her name was Rosa O’ Flannery, named after her Irish grandmother and her Hispanic grandmother. She was very bright and her skill and determination had taken her far up the corporate ladder in the successful industry of advertising.

She’d become the only female officer on the board of ‘Sweet Slumber Mattress’ by being self-sufficient, independent, and working night and day not concerned whether she might ever find her ‘Prince Charming.’ Who had time for that?

Certainly not her, she didn’t have time for such trivialities…not when her boss and half the board constantly kept their beady, ancient eyes on her. Ancient all, except for one and Gerald, well, Gerald didn’t count. He was the resident geek, personified.

Rosa’s cell phone vibrated against her hip, startling her in the middle of her ten o’clock meeting with the all-male board. She smiled contrite at her boss, who paused momentarily in the midst of his ten-minute dissertation on bedspring quality.

Mentally she wished whoever was on the other end of the phone would dissipate in a puff of smoke. Rosa tugged the cell phone from her suit pocket and frowned at the unknown number flashing on the tiny screen. She sighed and snapped the lid shut to disconnect the annoying caller. No sooner had she tucked it back in her pocket however when it began to buzz again, vibrating like an angry bee against her hip.

Gerald Hopper, junior associate for ‘Sweet Slumber’ slanted a side look at her over the top of his thick black rimmed glasses. Though he was likely (to her best guess, and not that she noticed) close to her age, Gerald had a penchant for dressing at least thirty years in the past. Perhaps he thought it gave him greater credibility with the aging board members, to Rosa it was plain annoying.

In the mattress business, Rosa had never thought about it much, feeling that she was above the all male contingency by virtue of being the only female on the board. As such, she’d earned the nickname Princess among her fellow board members. And most often, she gritted her teeth each time one of them referred to her with the name using it instead to fuel her belief that she was more than capable and uniquely qualified to ‘reign’ over this tribe of aging misfits.

Granted, maybe that’s the reason she didn’t feel that she needed a man in her life.

To add to the frustration, however, she was none to happy when she was passed over by the board and instead Gerald received the Junior Associate position. Fortunately, he hadn’t let it go to his head, geeky as it was.

“Sorry, wrong number, “she whispered leaning close to Gerald and offering a weak smile.

Rosa purposely averted her eyes from her boss, sensing his frosty gaze.

“Ms. O’Flannery, is there something you wish to address with the rest of this board?” her boss spoke in a dry, even tone.

Her gaze snapped up and she found eleven sets of eyes fixed upon her. If one didn’t take into account Mr. Higgenfield’s glass eye that was forever straying in the opposite direction.

“Sorry sir, wrong number. I apologize.” She pressed the off button on her phone and shoved it back into her pocket.

Her boss cleared his throat. “”I don’t need to tell you people how crucial this new ad campaign is to our sales. It’s vital we come up with a strategy that will knock the sheets off our competition. You have exactly twenty-four hours to come up with a brilliant market plan for our new ‘Royalty Slumber’ line. Now get busy and I want every idea on this table no later than ten a.m., tomorrow morning. Don’t be late.”

His stern gaze fell on Rosa and she lowered her eyes to the table.

“I leave my phone at my desk,” Gerald whispered to her from behind as they shuffled like livestock from the boardroom.

The hairs on Rosa’s neck bristled with awareness of his mouth near her earlobe. “Thanks, I’ll remember that next time.” Mentally she took his horn-rimmed glasses and twisted them into small pieces.

Oblivious, Gerald tucked his file under his arm and retrieved his day-planner, perusing its pages with the giddiness of a child with a new toy.

“Okie dokie, Princess, what are you doing today for lunch?” He pushed his geeky glasses up the bridge of his nose.

For a split second, she imagined the form-fitting blue tights beneath his out-of-style business suit. There was potential that given a massive makeover and a few lessons in social skills, that Gerald could be attractive. The operative word, of course, being could. If he could tone down the whole ‘Clark Kent’ image just a hair. Moreover, speaking of that, why did he feel the need to plaster down his gorgeous raven locks with tons of gel? Maybe it was to prevent flyaways. Rosa held the grin that threatened to lead to disaster if she allowed him to see it. After all, in all likelihood, the way things were going, Gerald could one day be her boss.

Rosa shuddered, yet kept her smile congenial. “Paperwork,” she replied as she checked her watch to be sure she didn’t miss the mail carrier’s next round at ten seventeen on the dot.

“Again? You know Rosa, its not good to skip meals. It lessens the vital nutrients needed to produce brain cells, and without those, well then you can’t very well think of the perfect ad campaign, can you?”

He gave her a grin that exuded his self-brilliance.

She held his geek-personified gaze a moment not wanting to hurt him, yet once again reminding herself that if this was the only nibble she ever got from a man (and that was using the term loosely) then she’d just as soon starve. Still, when he screwed up his face like a grumpy ten-year old who didn’t get his way; it produced the most adorable little dimple at the corner of his mouth.

“I have an absolute mountain of work. I’d planned to grab something from the break room and eat while I work. Sorry Gerald, maybe another time?” She forced her gaze from his mouth and back to the hazel eyes blinking at her from behind the thick lenses. There were moments, though rare, when she wanted to immerse herself in their depth. She shook her head from her ridiculous thoughts.

“It’s been great talking to you, Gerald, but I’ve got to run. Time waits for no man, or woman.” She smiled as she walked between the shoulder high cubicle walls.

“And all work and no play makes Princess a dull…uh, girl, er…woman,” he called after her. Sure, it was meant to be funny, but she couldn’t help but feel the ill-timed jab as several co-workers turned to look up at her as she passed by.

She waved her hand in dismissal, keeping her chin high and her smile as bright as possible. Who had time to play anyway? Maybe Gerald did, but not her. If the powers-that-be wanted a kickass advertising campaign, then by golly they were going to get one they couldn’t refuse. She would show that board that she was more than a Princess; she was a passionate force to be reckoned with.


Gerald watched the defiant flounce of her skirt as she walked away. He admired her grit against the geezers still running the company. His fa├žade of dressing down was meant to satisfy their egos, in hope that they would listen to his ideas. The administrative heads of Sweet Slumber were a bit behind the times, make that atrociously behind the times when it came to selling their products. When other companies appealed to the bright, youthful zesty ads to instill a sense of passion into the customers, Sweet Slumber instead held the concept that everyone who purchased their product was geriatric and therefore no longer interested in passion in bed.

Gerald slowly but surely hoped that he could change their minds with a campaign that he hoped would appeal to Ms. O’Flannery as well. He’d been trying to get a date with her for months, but when Princess made up her mind on something there was little else that changed her mind. He wondered why she stayed, when it seemed the elder board members handled her like a child on occasion. His attention snapped back to Prin—Rosa, as she stopped to sign off a chart for her secretary. She gave the woman a carefree laugh and flipped her dark hair over her shoulder.

Gerald had dreamt of how her silky hair would feel between his fingers, had thought of it for months in his private fantasies. With a final glance over her shoulder, she offered him a barely perceptible smile and closed her office door.

Stay tuned for tomorrow!