Tis the season for fairy tales and happy endings, the season for giving and good cheer. I tend to be a grinch where all
the commercialism this time of year is concerned, but I came across a story I’d written long before there was a K D Grace and found myself smiling to think that the power of fairy tales and the power of a good dead done and a kind gentle heart truly is timeless magic.
I wrote the story for fun. It’s not erotic or sexy. In fact it was written in my pre-erotic romance days. It’s light, it’s definitely airy fairy, and it’s just the kind of thing that seemed right for a season of love and good cheer. Enjoy! And remember, it’s an oldie, written while I was still learning my craft, so consider me kindly as you read it.
Jackie and the Bling Stock: A Fairy Tale Revisited
Once upon a time, a woman called Jackie got tired of having her boss feel her bum, so she slapped him, magically transforming him into her ex-boss.
As Jackie left Prince Charming Jewelry for the last time, an old woman beckoned her to a nearby cart. “You want bling? My bling’s blingier. Cheaper too. Best bling you ever seen.”
The woman was right. Her jewelry was exquisite, unique. Jackie held up a pair of earrings similar to expensive ones in Prince Charming’s, but prettier, and only a few pounds – one last splurge before destitution, she thought, holding out a fiver.
“You work there? The woman pointed to the Jewelry store.
“Not any more. Mr. Prince fired me.”
“Disgusting man,” the old woman spat. “You work hard, he gets the dosh. You were the brains in that shop.”
“How do you know that?” Jackie asked.
“I got eyes. You got money?”
“Two hundred pounds. Why?” It was the money from her final paycheck.
“For that I’ll sell you my cart, complete with its magic bling stock. You could use some magic, no?”
It made no sense. Jackie didn’t believe in magic, and still she bought the cart.
The old woman said, “You treat people good, the cart treats you good. Them’s the rules of the bling stock.” Then she was gone.
Jackie shivered. Had the woman cast a spell on her?
Next morning, dawned cold and rainy. Jackie gave her umbrella and a bracelet to a girl in a tattered jumper. She gave a child some purple beads and an old man some earrings for his ailing wife. All day people came to Jackie’s cart, strangely avoiding Prince Charming’s. Unfortunately her generosity meant her cash box wasn’t overflowing. But when she inventoried her bling in the evening she found it mysteriously replenished. She went to sleep with no dinner and dreamed of ruby slippers and fairy godmothers.
All the following day people queued at Jackie’s cart. If they had no money, she gave them bling anyway. She couldn’t help herself. The harder she tried to be entrepreneurial, the more she gave away. Some magic cart!
“I’m in trouble.” A handsome man in an expensive suit leaned over the cart smiling sheepishly.
“Today’s Mum’s birthday party. I had my eye on a necklace at Prince Charming’s, but traffic was bad. Shop’s closed.”
Jackie showed him a silver locket set with amethysts.
“Exquisite! I’ll take it, with matching earrings.” As he paid, he lifted her hand to his lips. “Rescued by the fair maiden.”
The next day almost every woman in queue wanted a locket and earrings like the man had bought. A lady thrust the newspaper at Jackie. “It’s what Lady Valentine wears. It’s all the rage. A gift from her son Thomas.” the woman swooned. “Most eligible bachelor in London.”
Jackie stared down at the photo of her handsome customer with his smiling mother, resplendent in bling from her cart.
A week later the newspapers announced the engagement of Vanessa Valentine, Thomas’s sister. Everyone speculated on who would design the wedding gown and where the honeymoon would be, but the bride’s jewelry, no doubt, would come from Prince Charming’s.
Jackie was taking a tea break, when the Valentines arrived unexpectedly — mother, sister, and Thomas all smiling at her.
Thomas took her hand. “Mum wanted to see what lovely bling you have.” Jackie blushed. It wasn’t her bling Thomas was looking at.
She offered them tea from her flask and the last of her Jaffa Cakes. As the Valentines oohed and ahhed over Jackie’s jewelry, Mr. Prince trotted across the street in a jealous panic. “I’ve been waiting for you,” he simpered. “Surely you wouldn’t buy cheap trinkets for the wedding.”
“Don’t judge a rock by its price tag.” Thomas said.
“Indeed,” Lady Valentine spoke around a Jaffa Cake.
The man bristled. “Surely, Madam, you wouldn’t buy jewelry from this… chav.”
“It’s your fault, Mr. Prince. If your store kept decent hours for shopping, we’d have never discovered Jackie.”
“I’ll make you a wager, Mr. Prince,” Thomas said. “Choose your best wedding jewelry, and let Jackie choose hers. If Vanessa picks your jewelry, we’ll finance that second shop you want. But if she chooses Jackie’s, then you sign over Prince Charming’s to me.
“Done!” Prince glowered. “Have your lawyers draw up the documents.”
Soon everyone was talking about the big bling-down. And Alvin Prince was determined to win. He already had plans for that second shop. So the night before, very late, when only thieves and cockroaches prowl, he sneaked to Jackie’s cart with matches and the lighter fluid from his bar-B-Q. He’d lose no more customers to this cheeky mare.
Next morning, Jackie found only ashes where her magical cart had been. She fell to her knees and wept. All her work had been for nothing. But where her tears fell something glistened through the soot. With trembling fingers, she uncovered the loveliest necklace she’d ever seen, then earrings, bracelets, brooches. She scooped them up and hurried off to Valentine Hall.
Vanessa was trying on Prince’s extravagant diamonds when Jackie burst into the salon.
Thomas hurried to her side. “Where were you? I was worried.” He escorted her past a nervous Mr. Prince.
Dusting aside the last bits of ash, Jackie offered Vanessa simple pearls and garnets.
She put them on, studying her reflection in the mirror.
No one dared breathe.
Then Vanessa laughed. “Delightful!” she exclaimed.
Her ladies tried them on too.
“I feel as beautiful as a bride myself and as happy,” the maid of honor said.
All the ladies agreed.
A grumbling Alvin Prince signed over his shop to Thomas, who handed the deed to Jackie. “Prince Charming belongs to you now. You’ve earned it.”
All the Valentine’s applauded.
“You’re coming to the wedding, of course,” Vanessa said.
“She has to.” Thomas folded her arm over his. “She’s far too kind to leave the bride’s brother unescorted.”
As for Mr. Prince, well CCTV had captured his whole pyromaniac act for posterity. It gave several of his other female employees the courage to come forward to the police about his abusive behavior, and he was given a nice rent-free room in the local prison.
As for Jackie and Thomas Valentine, well I’m not a gossip columnist, but I will say that Jackie did catch the bouquet.