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I know that I have been dedicating things to you too often, Nicole, but this time, I think we both believe in the same thing. This little excerpt is something I experienced and realized over a single course of day, and my belief in magic is definitely strengthened. Because it does exist, whether you choose to believe it, or not. :)  

I closed my eyes, blocking out every scorn, every hiss, every look of disgust those people gave me. Nothing mattered at this moment. None of them mattered because they had nothing on me. They didn't have what I had, and they didn't know what I did. They didn't know the wondrous gifts that lay above, the gifts that every single one of them would covet, if only they knew the true value of it. 

  "Alentine!" Her chirpy voice echoed across the huge studio. 

  I opened my eyes and stared at her. I remembered her words, her words that grated in my mind and scratched on plastic surfaces like a penknife.

  "Alentine! It's your turn! Don't fall down!" She smiled at me sweetly, giving the audience who sniggered at me a little curtsey. 

  I took a deep breath again and smiled at her to begin. 

  Her eyes narrowed and she pressed the button on the radio. Immediately, the piano notes drifted out of it, like soft peals of bells mixed with the twanges of the guitar. I waited, and then suddenly, I wasn't there anymore.

  I was in a beautiful room, almost like a throne room. The floor was made out of wooden panels, glossy and beautifully rich brown that gleamed under the orange light of the chandeliers that glowed above. I could hear the quiet hum of guests from the sides, all the dukes and duchesses that hovered around with glasses of wine in their gloved hands. Right in front stood three chairs with their majestic occupants already sitted on them. Their beautiful features were cast by the torches that stood by their right side, emphazing their royalty and pristine positions.

  There he was, the King of the Five Kingdoms, his face deep set with wrinkles and sun crinkles around his eyes. His eyes, though weary and tired of seeing as much as he had, shone with a slight twinkle as he took immense pleasure from the happy faces of his guests. His white beard was well over grown, but he had no moustache. His hair, streaked with silver and white, glowed under the lights and his sword, silver etched and gold plated, stood by his right.

  And there she was, beautiful and breathtaking, even dignified at her age. Her emerald eyes glowed as she surveyed the room. Her brown hair, also streaked with silver, was pulled back from the crown and held with a diamond filigree clip. The tiara on her head shone under the glow of the torches and her hands were folded in front of her, covered by lace. She seemed happy at the scene she saw, but perhaps her true happiness came from her pleasure at her husband’s happiness.

  My breath stopped as I took in the last occupant. His green eyes were brooding and bored as he looked at the ball in obvious dread. His black hair was swept to the side and he rested his head on his hand, staring past those duchesses who giggled and smiled flirtatiously at him. He seemed to be looking for someone, but that someone wasn’t there.

   Then, the music came on louder and I remembered what I was here for. I breathed in the perfect air of the ballroom and the guests who stopped to look at who was dancing. I smiled, taking in all their energy and took on a perfect spin. I felt my heart beat faster as the sensation of my feet in those wooden shoes touched the floor, the simple but commandeering hardness as it balanced on a single piece. I felt the swish of my skirt, skimming my fingers once in a while as I turned in circles, the material flowing out in a perfect flower. I could feel the slight burn in my upper arms as I extended them into a perfect oval, and I could feel my hair brushing my shoulders once in awhile, resting there only when I stopped.

  I couldn’t feel anymore because all I cared about was the dance that I was showing. All that mattered at that moment was that I was dancing, even if my toes were hurting, even if my arms were burning, it all faded away under the magic of the music and the slip and slide of the satin that grazed my fingertips once in awhile. I barely noticed the end of the music until my feet did, and I could barely look at the audience that had erupted into applause. My eyes sought out the boy…the one that didn’t enjoy the ball…the one that was smiling happily now, his eyes glowing and sparkling at the same time.

  “What took you so long?” He demanded as I curtseyed to the King, the Queen, and finally, to the Lord Prince.

  “I was held up.” I smiled as the King nodded at me in favor.

  “Surely not for so long?” His grin grew bigger as he walked down the steps to take my hand.

  “For a moment, I couldn’t believe in this,” I gestured towards all the people.

  “Believe in?” He looked bemused.

  I smiled and felt the ache of my feet that was encased in the wooden shoes that looked beautiful with its pink satin and ribbons.

  “For a moment, I couldn’t believe in magic and dance. But now I do.”

  I truly did.

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