Read A Fairy Tale Online

Authors: Shanna Swendson

Tags: #FIC010000 FICTION / Fairy Tales, #folk tales, #Legends & Mythology, #FIC044000 FICTION / Contemporary Women, #FIC009010 FICTION / Fantasy / Contemporary

A Fairy Tale

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A FAIRY TALE

 

 

 

Shanna Swendson

 

 

 

 

To the adult ballet class at the Ballet Academy of Texas.

Because ballerinas are tougher than they look.

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

One
,
Wednesday, 1:30 a.m., Eastern Daylight Saving Time

Two
,
Wednesday, 1:30 a.m., Central Daylight Saving Time

Three
,
Soon Afterward

Four
,
Wednesday, 3 p.m.

Five
,
Not much later

Six
,
Wednesday 3:40 p.m.

Seven
,
4:10 p.m.

Eight
,
Immediately Afterward

Nine
,
Wednesday 5:00 p.m.

Ten
, Immediately Afterward

Eleven
, Wednesday, 5:45 p.m.

Twelve
,
Soon Afterward

Thirteen
,
Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.

Fourteen
,
Immediately Afterward

Fifteen
,
Wednesday, 8:15 p.m.

Sixteen
,
Later

Seventeen
,
About the Same Time

Eighteen
,
Soon Afterward

Nineteen
,
Thursday, 6:30 a.m.

Twenty
,
Later

Twenty-one
,
Thursday, 2:00 p.m.

Twenty-two
,
Thursday, 3:30 p.m.

Twenty-three
,
Thursday, 6:00 p.m.

Twenty-four
,
Thursday, 7:00 p.m.

Twenty-five
,
Twilight

Twenty-six
,
Meanwhile

Twenty-seven
,
Thursday, 8:45 p.m.

Twenty-eight
,
A Moment Later

Twenty-nine
,
Friday, noon

Thirty
,
Friday, 4:00 p.m.

Thirty-one
,
Meanwhile

Thirty-two
,
Friday, 8:00 p.m.

Thirty-three
,
Meanwhile

Thirty-four
,
Saturday, 1:00 a.m.

Thirty-five
,
Later

Thirty-six
,
Saturday, 6:30 a.m.

Thirty-seven
,
Later

Thirty-eight
,
Saturday, 11:00 a.m.

Thirty-nine
,
Saturday, 11:00 a.m.

Forty
,
Meanwhile

Forty-one
,
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Forty-two
,
Meanwhile

Forty-three
,
Meanwhile

Forty-four
,
Immediately Afterward

Forty-five
,
Meanwhile

Forty-six
,
Soon Afterward

Forty-seven
,
Meanwhile

Forty-eight
,
Meanwhile

Forty-nine
,
Meanwhile

Fifty
,
Meanwhile

Fifty-one
,
Meanwhile

Fifty-two
,
Meanwhile

Fifty-three
,
Meanwhile

Fifty-four
,
The Next Moment

Fifty-five
,
A Moment Later

Fifty-six
,
Minutes Later

Fifty-seven
,
Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

Fifty-eight
,
Saturday, 9:00 p.m.

 

 

About This Series

About The Author

An excerpt from
To Catch a Queen

Also by Shanna Swendson

 

 

One

 

The Theater District, New York City—Fay’s Diner

Wednesday, 1:30 a.m., Eastern Daylight Saving Time

 

“It’s official—you’re magical and enchanting.”

Emily Drake leaned forward eagerly at her friend’s words, resting her forearms on the table. “Really? You’re not just messing with me?”

Olivia Washington turned her iPhone to face Emily and pointed to the screen. “There it is on one of the biggest Broadway blogs.”

Emily’s other friend, Will Carter, raised his hand and waved imperiously at the waitress. “Garçonette, another round of coffee for my good people here,
s’il vous plaît
.”

The waitress rolled her eyes at him as she topped off the cups on the table. “You keep that up, and you’ll find itching powder in your dance belt the next time we’re in a show together.” She smiled at Emily. “So, the word is good?”

“It doesn’t sound like I sucked.” Emily was almost afraid to say it out loud. She couldn’t help feeling she might wake up at any moment and learn that this whole evening had been a dream.

“You definitely did not suck,” Olivia insisted, then she added to the waitress, “Becky, she was brilliant. You should have seen her.”

Becky sighed. “And now she’ll become a star and forget all of us still toiling in chorus after chorus—when we can even get a job.” She brightened. “But hey, that means a chorus spot just opened, huh?”

“That’s if the show doesn’t close now that the big name has left,” Emily said, worried they were tempting the Broadway fates. “We may all be looking for jobs again soon, no matter how much the blogs like me.”

“Let’s hope not,” Olivia said. “I’ve enjoyed not going on auditions for a while. You know, this could be like a
42nd Street
understudy-becomes-a-star story, only instead of the leading lady breaking her ankle, she went off to Hollywood to be in a teen vampire TV series.”

“I’d rather break my ankle,” Will said dryly, tossing his blond hair out of his eyes.

A silver-haired man sitting across from Emily and her friends looked up from his apple pie and studied Emily intently. His gaze sent shivers down her spine—not bad shivers, but a very funny feeling. It was a vaguely familiar sensation, but she couldn’t quite place it.

Becky shoved a paper menu and a pen in front of Emily, drawing her attention away from the man. “I want your first autograph as a star,” Becky said.

Emily signed the menu with a flourish. The silver-haired man got up from his table and approached Emily’s table tentatively, holding a
Playbill
from her show. Up close, he didn’t look as old as she’d thought. The hair that had looked silver was really more of a white blond, while his face was smooth and youthful. And yet he dressed like an old professor, in a threadbare tweed jacket with a faded and sagging sweater under it. “You are Emily Drake?” he asked, his voice soft and shy. “You were Emma?”

“Yes,” she said, trying not to giggle at the thrill of being recognized.

He put his
Playbill
on the table in front of her. “I saw your performance. I would like you to sign this.”

“Oh, wow, my first real autograph.” Her stomach fluttered in pleasure. “Who do you want me to sign it to?”

He didn’t seem to understand the question. Frowning in confusion, he said, as though it should be perfectly obvious, “Me.”

“Do you spell that M-E?” she asked with a laugh, then she added, “Or do you just want the signature so you can sell that
Playbill
on eBay when I’m famous?”

Now sounding unsure of himself, he said, “Yes, that.”

She signed the
Playbill
carefully, using the autograph she’d been practicing since high school, then handed it back to him. “There you go. I hope you enjoyed the show.”

He smiled and gave her a slight bow. “I did, very much. It was the bee’s knees.” He frowned, then said, “No, that’s wrong. Radical? No.” He shook his head. “It was very good.” He abruptly turned and walked away, muttering under his breath.

“You’ve got a fan!” Olivia whispered with a glance at the man. “And he’s cute, too.”

“Cute, but kind of weird.” Emily checked the time on her phone and said, “Oh, no, I was supposed to call Sophie, but she’d kill me if I called her at this hour. But would that be worse than her killing me for
not
calling?”

“I think you’re safe from your sister up here,” Olivia said with a grin. “But we should probably call it a night. We’ve got a matinee tomorrow, and you have hype to live up to.”

They got their checks and settled up before heading out. Olivia tried to flag down a taxi, but it passed them by. “You’ll be sorry when she’s famous!” Will shouted after it.

Laughing, Emily struck a haughty pose and added, “Yeah, don’t you know who I am?”

The next two cabs that came by were occupied. “We may as well hoof it uptown,” Olivia said. “Then we’ll be heading in the right direction if another cab comes along.”

The strange silver-haired man had left the diner around the same time they had, and he’d made no move to hail a cab for himself or to walk away. He approached them. “If you are planning to walk uptown, would you mind if I joined you?” he asked. “I do not believe it is prudent to walk alone at this time of night. I read the newspapers. I know what can happen.”

Emily and her friends glanced at each other. This wasn’t a city where it was wise to trust strangers at any time of day, no matter how polite they were. As if sensing their doubts, he smiled and spread his hands helplessly. “The three of you outnumber me,” he said. “I believe I am more at risk in trusting you than you are in trusting me.”

“Well, come on, then,” Olivia said with a shrug and a wry glance at Emily as she started walking. “Home isn’t getting any closer with us just standing here.”

As they walked, Emily studied the man out of the corner of her eye. Olivia was right; he was cute. He was definitely a fixer-upper, but with raw material like that, it would only take one good shopping trip to make him more than presentable. Granted, he was a little strange, but not in a creepy way. It was more like he was unearthly, from some other time or place. Based on his wardrobe, Emily guessed that he might be an academic who seldom left his ivory tower. Not her usual type, but variety was the spice of life.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name,” Will said to him.

The man hesitated, then finally said, “I am called Eamon.”

“Thank you for coming to our show, Eamon,” Olivia said.

“Do you think our Emily’s going to be a huge star and forget all her friends?” Will asked.

Any normal person would have said something like, “Of course she’ll be a huge star, but I doubt she’ll forget her friends.” Eamon said, “They do often forget,” his voice solemn and mournful.

“Okay!” Will said in a “changing the subject now” tone. He, Olivia, and Emily continued chatting about the show as they walked. Eamon listened attentively, smiling as though he enjoyed hearing the conversation, but he made no effort to join it.

They reached Columbus Circle without running across an available cab. “So, park side?” Will asked. “That’ll put us in position for an uptown cab. I don’t know about you people, but I have no desire to walk thirty more blocks.”

“Good idea,” Olivia said. “We’ll put you big, strong men between the park and us ladies, so you can protect us from things that lurk in the darkness.”

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