Pairing: none- Seohyun-centric (featuring Jessica and Heechul)
Genre(s): um...fairytale genre...and some humor
Word Count: 1,380
Summary: Seohyun isn't allowed to go to the prince's ball. But she has bigger plans anyway.
a/n: Part of my rewritten fairytales series.
Sleeping Beauty | Beauty and the Beast
Seohyun wiped at the thick layer of dust that coated the base boards with her dust cloth, wondering how on earth so much dust could accumulate over the course of one week. Just then, she felt the brush of smooth fur against her ankle and she was immediately reminded of one of the culprits.
“Heebum!” came the voice of her step brother, his foot steps loud against the wood floors as he got closer, “There you are!” he cooed when he came upon his precious cat who was currently rubbing up against the bottom step of the staircase next to where Seohyun was dusting.
Seohyun scooted over to give Heechul enough room to bend over and scoop up the animal before she returned to what she was doing.
“Yah, make sure to tell me if he comes near you when you're dusting,” he told her, “Heebum has allergies, you know.”
“I will. I'm sorry oppa,” she apologized, eyes downcast.
Heechul made a sound of acknowledgment before he strode away, sweet talking the cat.
A loud knock at the door interrupted Seohyun from the task of stitching up a tear in her step sister's skirt. Gingerly setting the material aside, she got up and made her way to the front hall, opening the door to find a well-dressed man standing there with a cream-colored envelope grasped in his hands.
“Please give this to the lady of the house,” he instructed, apparently able to tell from her somewhat worn and raggedy clothes that she was not, in fact, the lady of the house.
“Yes sir,” she bowed, taking the envelope and closing the door after he'd walked away.
“Who was it?” Jessica, her step sister, asked, striding into the room and immediately snatching the letter from her hand.
“That's for-” Seohyun started, but Jessica waved her off.
“It's fine,” she said, tearing open the paper and extracting the letter.
After a few moments of silence, an excited shriek sounded from her throat, bringing Heechul and their mother running.
“What is it, angel?” her mother asked, taking the piece of parchment from Jessica's hands.
“The prince is having a ball!” she announced, “And every woman under the age of thirty is to attend so he might find himself a wife!”
“Yah! I'm not invited?” Heechul exclaimed, indignant, as he ripped the paper from his mother's hands and quickly read through it himself.
“Surely they'll want a few men there, if only to look nice,” his mother assured him, “I'll inquire into it and get you an invitation.”
“Thank you, mother,” he said, smiling his charming smile that his mother always thought was so handsome.
“Don't you mess this up for me,” Jessica hissed at him when their mother had left the room, “Don't think I haven't forgotten that time you lured my gentleman caller into your bedroom.”
Heechul smirked, “I doubt with how easily he went that he was here for you at all.”
Jessica scoffed and rolled her eyes, leaving the room in a huff.
Seohyun wondered if anyone had even remembered that she was there at all.
“I hope you don't think you're going to the ball,” Jessica said casually when Seohyun was pinning her gown a week later.
“No, I don't,” Seohyun answered honestly, focusing on pin-tucking the material at Jessica's waist.
“That's good,” she replied, watching her own reflection in the mirror, “No offense, but the prince surely meant the invitation for refined women and not for girls who don't even have a living parent to speak of.”
Seohyun sighed, wishing that Jessica would just let her pin in peace.
“I have no interest in going anyway,” she assured her.
“You wouldn't,” Jessica observed, “You've never shown interest in the finer things in life like silk gowns and lavish parties.”
“No,” Seohyun agreed.
“But surely marrying a prince is at least the tiniest bit appealing?” Jessica pressed.
“Not really,” she admitted.
Jessica was silent for a moment.
“I'll never understand you at all,” she finally said.
The small bell tinkled as Seohyun pushed open the door, the comforting smell of books greeting her as she stepped inside. Her father used to read to her before he died, so she visited the bookstore as often as she could. She knew that her stepmother wouldn't be pleased with her wasting time like this, but she'd been quick enough getting the food for dinner that she could spend a few minutes before she had to return home.
“Hello Seohyun,” the shop owner called from behind the check out counter.
“Nice to see you Mrs. Lee,” Seohyun replied, smiling at the older woman.
“My niece has recently gotten married, you know,” Mrs. Lee told her.
“Yes, I did hear that,” Seohyun acknowledged, “Please give her my congratulations.”
“Why thank you, but that's not why I brought it up. You see, she used to work in the book shop in the next town over, but she had to quit her job when she found out that she was pregnant. And I immediately thought of you!”
“You did?” Seohyun asked.
“Yes! I know how much you love books and I'd always wished that I had an opening to offer you a job here, but we just don't bring in enough to hire another person right now,” she explained, “So as soon as my niece told me about how she quit her job, I asked her to inquire into the open position.”
“And she told me that they'd be more than happy to hire an intelligent, polite, and hardworking girl like yourself.”
Seohyun stared, at a loss for words. A job? She never imagined that she'd even have the opportunity to get out of her stepmother's house.
“The job is yours if you want it,” Mrs. Lee told her.
“Thank you, Mrs. Lee,” Seohyun began, bowing in gratitude, “But the job is in the next town over. I wouldn't have a place to stay. And I have no money saved up.”
“There's a small apartment over the shop where my niece stayed before she moved in with her husband. You would be welcome to stay there.”
Seohyun tried to process this new information. She could really escape. It's what she'd always secretly wanted, but...
“I don't know if I could just leave...” Seohyun paused, “My stepmother and step sister and brother are the closest to family that I have.”
“It's up to you, my dear,” Mrs. Lee told her, “I'm sure they'll hold the job for a few days while you think it over.”
“Make sure to dust my room while we're gone,” Jessica told her, running her hands over her full silk skirt.
“And don't forget to feed Heebum,” Heechul added, admiring himself in his tuxedo in the front hall mirror, “You know he gets grumpy when he's hungry.”
“And I expect that the silver is polished by the time that we return,” her stepmother finished, adjusting her coat.
“But don't wait up,” Jessica smirked, “We'll be out late.”
“God, I can't believe that you talked to the prince for a full ten minutes and he only spoke with me for two measly minutes,” Jessica complained, bursting into the front door in anger, “You always ruin everything for me!”
“It's really not my fault that I'm more charming than you are,” Heechul gloated, bending over to pick up his beloved Heebum who had begun meowing at his feet at soon as they'd walked in.
“What's this?” their mother shrieked, emerging from the kitchen with a piece of paper in her hands.
Jessica snatched the paper and quickly skimmed over it.
“She just left?” Jessica exclaimed, “To work in a lowly bookstore?”
“She better have fed Heebum his dinner before she left,” Heechul said, stalking away to check the cat's bowl.
“What an ungrateful child,” their mother sniffed, taking the note back from Jessica and throwing it in the trash with relish.
Jessica sneered and Heechul lamented about that fact that there would be no one to iron his slacks for the party he had to go to the next day.
But at that very moment, Seohyun was on her way to the next town to start a new life- a life that she planned to live for herself.
a/n 2: I really meant nothing against Jessica or Heechul. I love them both. It's just fun to write them like this /hides