Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SMEAR (03/10/16)
TITLE: Who Kissed the Teacup?
By Francy Judge
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Each morning, Prince Sam rode his chestnut horse to the Happy Beginnings Café to order the Caramel Latte. He was always careful to dress in disguise and avoid talking with anyone other than the cashier…but once upon a time, a girl strolled in and ordered the same Caramel Latte. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her—her auburn hair, woven with strands of gold and red; her green eyes, accented with yellow specks; her skin, creamy cinnamon. She smelled of wildflowers, and her lips were lightly painted a dusty shade of rose, a color he would never forget.
“In a sudden whim with his racing heartbeat urging him to stop, he decided to approach the young lady. Would you care to join me for a chocolate filled croissant and a latte?”
She nodded. “I’d love to.” She wore an emerald green gown, a bit overdressed for the café, but sat down with grace and attracted the eyes of all patrons.
As they sipped the hot cream from their teacups, they talked about poetry and the emerging art style called Impressionism.
“I would love to travel to France and see this art.”
“Why don’t you?”
“I’m the only one to take care of my little brother since our parents died.”
Before he could comment, she looked at the clock, and said, “Oh, my. I have to run.”
He called to her as she gathered her dress and skipped out the door. “Wait! What is your name?”
A whispered answer faded with her in the breeze as she rode off in a carriage.
“I didn’t hear…wait!” But it was too late. Prince Sam plopped back in his seat. “Don’t tell me her carriage turns into a cucumber at nine o’clock! She didn’t finish her latte.” Would he ever see her again? “Now I understand why my brother carried a shoe to hundreds of homes.” He stared at her teacup, held it up, and noticed a smear of lip coloring.
“That’s it!” He paid for the teacup and dumped the liquid.
Back at the castle, he asked his friend, Valet Darryl, to whip up some posters asking young maidens to display their teacups smeared with lip color.
“Pardon my honesty, but what a strange request, sir.”
“Yes…but searching the kingdom with a slipper worked for my brother.”
“True…and chances are she won’t be locked in the attic.”
“You’re a good sport, Darryl.”
Once Prince Sam was assured every home had received a flyer, he handed Darryl the teacup, wrapped in cloth. He could still remember the rich scent of mocha while meeting her. “Here. Now go forth and find the matching lipstick smudge. I will pray for your safe and successful journey.”
Ladies everywhere spread the news: “Kiss a cup, and you may end up a princess! This prince likes lips…he doesn’t care about foot size!”
Darryl and the footmen rode across the vast land, visiting maidens who waited at the door with teacups to be inspected. Red lip smudges, mauve, and pink, but none the perfect dusty rose color on the teacup he held. Eventually, they rode back to the castle without a match.
Prince Sam fiddled with his gold cufflinks as the pipe organ began playing Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. His brother made a handsome groom, but was too traditional in Sam’s opinion. He had to admit Cinderella looked stunning in her bridal gown and was even more beautiful on the inside. He prayed silently, “Lord, please rip this jealousy from my heart.” But his heart ached for the girl he’d never find.
Church bells rang with celebration cheers as the Prince and Princess Cinderella shook hands with the guests. Sam wrapped his arms around his brother. “Congratulations! You deserve your beautiful bride.” Cinderella blushed. Then Sam noticed a smudge. A familiar smudge. “Cinderella, who kissed your cheek?”
“My friends and cousins have been fussing about me all day. Here’s my favorite cousin who traveled many miles to be here.”
Prince Sam turned around and nearly tripped over the church steps.
“Grace, this is Prince Sam.” He bowed and kissed her soft hand.
“What a pleasure to meet you.”
They danced every dance together that night. Prince Sam placed the Happy Beginnings teacup in a glass case, and of course they lived happily ever after.
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