The Magic Moment
With the Prince close on her heels, she was hurriedly climbing down the stairs. She tripped. But instead of falling headlong, she landed in the arms of the Prince. Cinderella heard the palace clock strike twelve. The look of disbelief in his eyes told her that the magic was over, just as it was supposed to be. The Prince was dumbstruck. A moment earlier he was holding a beautiful princess in a blue satin gown in his arms and in a jiffy he was staring into the face of a woman wearing a plain housemaid’s dress. The innocence in those liquid eyes was unmistakable, though.
“Hey, who are you?” the Prince quizzed. “Look, let me make this very clear.” Cinderella was unabashedly frank. “I just wanted to visit the palace and this was my only opportunity. I never intended to deceive anybody.” “Of course, you deceived everyone. You pretended to be someone that you are not.” “Would your guards have allowed a woman in an ordinary dress inside the palace?” The Prince really had no answer. He could not help but admire her honesty. He was already bewitched by her beauty and now he was falling more helplessly in love. She was indeed his ideal partner, his future Queen.
“You don’t have to go back to your stepmother. Stay with us, in the palace.” “Is this some kind of a joke?” Cinderella snapped at the Prince. “No dear, I want to marry you. You would be the future Queen of this kingdom. It’s good that the magic wore off at the right time or else I would have never known the real you. And it also spared me the ordeal of trying to find you,” the Prince added in good humour. “I would have to go now, but I would wait for the moment when you come asking for my hand with due honour.” Saying this, Cinderella walked along the gravel path leading to the imposing main gate. This time she was in no hurry. Time was on her side.