Her sisters flitted around her like butterflies, radiant in bright silks, trailing ribbons and laughter. Her father stood next to the groom, all puffed up in pride.
And the groom…
Her prince. Golden and noble, no trace of the Beast he’d been. Handsome. Courtly. And she the envy of her sisters, of everyone; she, who transformed him with a kiss.
Her, with the bravery to kiss the Beast.
They assume she knew. They imagine late nights in the library, researching his curse. They imagine her crying “Eureka!” and “Aha!” and running off to meet with him, perform the distasteful act…
She stood before the priest, numb; her prince’s joy infected the gathered crowd, and no one noticed that the bride was silent.
He is perfect, after all.
She lies beside him in bed later, watches him sleep. The moonlight illuminates those cheekbones, that mouth, that chest, that so-smooth skin. He was gentle and courtly even in this; she had felt little pain.
She cries as quietly as she can.
It was not the prince she wanted, after all; not a prince that she fell in love with, not a prince that she desired. It was the Beast.