Glass slipper to Glass Ceiling and beyond…

Old, Old Fairy Tales: "Cinderella". ...
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Twenty-First Century Cinderella

(This is the second of my modern fairytales series – see previous post for introduction)

Once upon a time – well, back in the year 2000 actually – there lived a twelve-year-old girl called Cinderella.

    She lived with her dad, her step-mum and her two step-sisters, Chantelle and Chardonnay. Cinderella’s step-mother was the chief executive of her own multi-national cosmetics company. She worked extremely hard for her high salary and hoped her daughters would follow her into the business.

    Cinderella’s father didn’t need a job as he was distantly related to the royal family and had inherited lots of money. However, he’d spent most of that money unwisely and now relied on his wife’s income. He spent most days developing daft business schemes that never came to anything. But he was always cheerful and Cinderella’s step-mother said that was why she loved him. He didn’t have any ambitions for his daughter.

    As Cinderella’s step mother worked long hours, Cinderella and her step-sisters were supposed to help around the house. She’d drawn up a rota of after school and weekend jobs. Cinderella’s father wasn’t included on the rota as he apparently didn’t know how to operate a vacuum cleaner or a duster.

    Chantelle and Chardonnay couldn’t really be bothered with doing chores. They preferred to do each other’s hair in the latest styles or to try out new makeup. But Cinderella didn’t mind helping out. She usually ended up doing her sisters’ jobs as well as her own. She would hang out washing before she went to school and then, when she got home, she would tidy up the kitchen and the living room as well as her own bedroom. Sometimes she’d peel the potatoes and set the table for dinner.

    Cinderella also worked hard at school and, every evening, after she’d done all her housework jobs she would get down to her homework. Chantelle and Chardonnay laughed at her. They said she was daft to do so much housework. They said that was their mother’s job not theirs and, anyway, she didn’t seem to notice if they didn’t do it. They also said why bother with homework – the teacher couldn’t do anything if you didn’t do it.

    But Cinderella didn’t let their mocking laughter bother her. Of course her step-mother didn’t notice that her two daughters hadn’t done their chores. That would be because Cinderella did them. She also knew that doing her homework helped her with her school work and she wanted to do well at school.

    Cinderella’s best friend was Brian Button – everyone called him Buttons. They’d been friends since the beginning of primary school and stayed friends all the way through high school too. Buttons sometimes helped Cinderella with the housework and they often did their homework together. Chantelle and Chardonnay poked fun at Buttons saying he was a geek and a nerd. It was the only time Cinderella got cross. She always defended Buttons when her sisters had a go at him. He also stuck up for her when the sisters and their friends called Cinderella names and made fun of her plain and dowdy clothes and lack of makeup.

         The sisters failed all their exams. When they left school and didn’t even try to find jobs, Cinderella’s step-mother was very disappointed and stopped their pocket money. She said it was because she loved them and was being cruel to be kind.  They could no longer afford makeup and hair products and so they didn’t go out. Instead they sat watching daytime TV all day. They got very fat.

    But both Cinderella and Buttons did very well at school. They went to university to do business studies.

    And when the night of the university graduation ball came, Cinderella’s step-mother offered to help her to get ready. Cinderella was delighted to accept the offer.  Her step- mother did her makeup for her and styled her hair. She told Cinderella how lovely she looked and how proud she was of her and then she gave Cinderella a surprise present. It was a beautiful, blue silk dress and a pair of silver high-heeled shoes.

    Before Cinderella left for the ball, her step-mother hugged her and told her how much she loved her. Then she said that she’d like Cinderella to come and work in her cosmetics company and that she would like to hand over the business to her when she retired.

    Cinderella was amazed and delighted. She’d always dreamed of running her own business and of having a successful career. Cinderella kissed her step-mother and thanked her.

    But her step-mother had one more surprise for her. She’d organised a pink, stretch limo to take Cinderella to the ball. She told her to have a wonderful time and to stay out all night if she wanted. Chantelle and Chardonnay were in a gigantic huff and wouldn’t even wave Cinderella off.

    When Cinderella arrived at the ball everyone gasped at the transformation. Normally she just went around in jeans and a fleece. But here she was looking elegant and beautiful. Even the guest of honour – Prince William – who had got his degree from the university a few years before – couldn’t take his eyes off her.  As he was on a break from his girlfriend Kate, he asked her to dance several times. Poor Buttons felt miserable watching the two of them dancing together.

    The prince was so taken with Cinderella that, even though they’d just met, he asked her to marry him. He told her she would live in the palace and be waited on by servants. She wouldn’t have to work and could have all the money and beautiful clothes she liked. But Cinderella turned him down. She didn’t want to be dependent on some prince. She wanted the job her step-mother had offered her. She wanted to work and be in charge of her own life. The prince shrugged and went off to dance with the other pretty girls.

    Buttons was pleased to see the prince turn his attention to the other women. He asked Cinderella to dance. They ended up dancing until morning and by then the limo had long since gone.

    Buttons walked Cinderella home. On the way, he said that he planned to start his own cleaning company. He said he’d always wanted his own business and all the hours he’d spent helping Cinderella with her chores had shown him he was good at cleaning. Cinderella told him about the job offer she’d had. He was very pleased for her. 

    It was a very long walk home and, despite their exquisiteness, her silver high-heels were pinching, so Cinderella had to remove them – and somewhere along the way she dropped one of them. She didn’t notice the loss until they were back at her front door. She was so dismayed that Buttons immediately turned back in order to look for the lost shoe. He sent Cinderella a text an hour later to say he’d found it and would call round that evening to return it to her.

     When he arrived he was carrying a huge bunch of red roses in one hand and had his other hand behind his back. He gave Cinderella the flowers and asked her to sit down.

    Then he went down on one knee and produced the silver shoe from behind his back. He handed it to her and told her to look inside. Cinderella did so. Something sparkly nestled down at the toe. She reached in and took the object out. It was a pretty, glittery keyring with a key attached.

    Buttons told her it was the key to his flat. He told her he loved her and hoped she would come and live with him.

    Cinderella said yes and moved in with him the very next day.    

    A year or so later Buttons asked Cinderella to marry him. He said they would both continue to work hard at their careers and then, when they had children, they would share looking after them.

    Cinderella thought this sounded great and accepted his proposal. They are now married.

    They have a lot going for them so it is reasonable to assume that they will most likely live happily ever after.