Passionate For Him

The King's Daughter is all Glorious Within

Category: Writing (page 1 of 2)

Retelling of the Frog Prince

The Frog Prince

Once upon a time, there lived a king.  He had two daughters, the elder was beautiful, sensible, and happily married to a neighboring prince.  The younger was a little conceited, and proud of her looks, for she was ten times more lovely than her beautiful sister, but the core of her heart was good.  Her favorite pastime was to sit at the edge of a pond in the garden, and stare at her reflection while tossing and catching a small golden ball encrusted with gems.

One day, while she threw her ball up and caught it, she caught sight of a frog watching her from a lily pad in the middle of the pond.  Frogs were frequent around the water, but this one was different, and a little shiver ran up the princess’s spine when she looked into its big eyes.

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In the Coffee Shop Part 3

Coffee Mug

I established a routine after that.  I woke up, made myself breakfast, and got ready for work.  At exactly 7:30 AM, I walked through the door of the coffee shop and sat down at the same table every day.  Ethan was usually there, and he smiled as he slid my chocolate latte over the counter.  After about a week, he made it before I got there.  We would talk for a while, and sometimes he sat down with me, if there were no costumers.

When I finished my latte, I would look at my pocket watch, sigh regretfully, and start for the office.  I tried not to think about work much.  I did my job honestly and well, biting my tongue as my boss found fault with everything I did, my silence irritating him more than if I’d talked back.

In the evenings as I walked home, I passed the closed coffee shop.  In the apartment above it, one window was always bright.  The vines of a houseplant trailing out onto the sill.  And many times music drifted out of the open window.

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In the Coffee Shop Part 2

Coffee Mug

Of course I went back the next day.  I couldn’t help it, even if I’d wanted to.  The coffee shop was exactly what I had been needing; a place to relax and rest on my walks.

When I entered, the delicious smell of fresh coffee greeted me in a great billow of warm air.  Ahh.  My mind instantly softened into rest.  Maybe it wasn’t the coffee shop itself, but the way I looked at it that affected me this way.  Whatever it was, I enjoyed the peace and quiet I had associated with this place, and I fell in love with it.

I hadn’t brought a drink today, since it would seem awkward to spend so much time at a coffee shop and never buy anything, so I walked up to the counter and ordered a chocolate latte from a young girl who took her job very seriously.

She assured me that my latte would be done soon, but that it would be a minute, so I sat down at the table I had chosen the day before and waited.  A business man came in with a couple of colleagues and as they ordered and sat down I watched them subconsciously, my brain floating in a sort of fog created by lack of sleep.  Yesterday’s busy work day was catching up to me, and I leaned my head against the wall, partially supported by one hand.

Someone clearing their throat jerked me out of the trance I’d slipped into.  My latte was placed in front of me, and I looked up quickly with a smile to thank them.  It was the young barista I’d seen yesterday.

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In The Coffee Shop Part 1

Coffee Mug

I sat down in an old chair and set my hot chocolate on the table in front of me.  By cupping my hands around the insulated mug I was able to thaw them out a little.

Wisps of steam touched my face as I took the lid off and bent over the cup to smell the rich chocolaty aroma.  The steam made my cheek wet as it hit my cold skin, and I wiped it away.

Normally the chilly air wouldn’t have bothered me, but I had taken an extra long walk this morning, and ended up farther away from home than I had intended.  I pulled the long neck on my sweater higher.  I would have a long walk back, but I kind of liked it.  I should come this way more often.

The peace of the coffee shop  relaxed my shoulders, and I sat watching the baristas mix orders and joke with their customers.  One employee in particular caught my attention.  He was a little taller than medium height, with light colored hair.  Clean shaven, with a finely chiseled face, he was good looking without being too handsome.  He was serving an older man and the customer’s gruff humor was answered quickly by the younger man.

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Ellie Coulter Part 11

This is the final part of an 11-part short story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures and is posted on her blog https://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/

Part 11.

I’ve never been so happy in my life!

“Look what I found, Ellie!”  Andi rolled a wheelchair in.  Ellie sat up on the settee and a big smile curled her lips.  “Where in the world did you get that, Andi?”

An unusually serious expression filled Andi’s eyes and Ellie could tell a story was coming.  “This is the one used a few months ago.”

As Andi filled her in on the events relating to her horse Taffy’s death and her own near fatal injuries, Ellie was shocked.

She wiped away the tears that compassion had wrung from her, and gave Andi a quick hug.  “I’m so sorry, Andi.”

Andi returned the embrace, and smiled in a way that showed not only her ability to move on from the accident, but think with pleasure about the times she had enjoyed, even if a slight pain lingered.

Ellie glanced dubiously at the contraption that Andi had brought in.  “Do you think the doctor will let me use it?”

Andi shrugged.  “Why wouldn’t he?  You were supposed to stay off of it, but he never said anything about not using a wheelchair.  And after two weeks, surely it would be okay.”

Ellie looked from her splinted foot to the wheelchair. “How am I going to get in it?”

Andi pushed the chair as close to the settee as she could. “If you scoot into the wheelchair, I’ll support your foot.”

Ellie hoped the doctor wouldn’t be angry, but she was so tired of being stuck inside, that she gave Andi a delighted grin and followed her instructions.

When she was settled comfortably in the chair, Andi lowered her foot gently onto the rest.  “There!”

Ellie held on to the arms as Andi pushed her quickly through the house and out onto the porch.  A waft of fresh air blew over Ellie’s face and caught her hair.  Auburn curls streamed in the wind and Ellie pushed them back with a laugh.

Andi leaned over the back of the chair, and Ellie looked up. “Thank you so much, Andi.  This is wonderful!  I’ve missed being outside.”

Andi directed the chair toward a ramp off of the porch. “I got Riley to put this up again, it’s the same one I used.”

They rattled down the boards and out into the yard. Dark clouds bunched up in the distance, muttering low threats.

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Ellie Coulter Part 10

This is the tenth of an 11-part short story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures and is posted on her blog https://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/

Part 10.

If Chad hadn’t been there… I don’t know what I would have done.

After church Sunday, Ellie rode out to the ranch with the Carters.  Lunch was superb, and afterwards Ellie looked forward to a brisk ride on Magic.

Chad slapped on his hat.  “Ready, Ellie?”

Ellie hurried down the stairs in the split skirt she had brought.  “Of course!”

They saddled their horses and started off.  The day was bright and crisp, big white clouds blew quickly across the sky, making shadows on the ground.

Chad led the way to a bubbling creek surrounded by a scattering of oak trees and dismounted.  Ellie did the same.

“Ellie-” Chad began.

Suddenly, Magic snorted fearfully and Sky pawed the ground.

Chad attempted to calm them both, but they began to go crazy.

Sky reared and pulled the reins out of Chad’s grip.  He bolted away and Magic fought to follow him.

“Let her go, Ellie!”  Chad yelled over the horse’s frightened whinnies.

Ellie let go of the reins and they whistled through her gloves as the mare spun, then galloped after Sky.

Their stranded riders looked after them in shocked surprise.

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Ellie Coulter Part 9

This is the ninth of an 11-part short story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures and is posted on her blog https://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/

Part 9.

I’m so excited…and nervous.

Next Saturday evening, Ellie let Mrs. Stewart help her dress for the engagement party.  She had planned on not going, but Chad had convinced her otherwise.

“Take a break for one evening.”  He’d told her.  “I’ll teach you how to dance, and you’ll have fun.”

So, here she was as jittery as a wild horse over her first real ball.

Mrs. Stewart wasn’t helping her nerves, either.

“There’ll be lots of well-to-do folks there, so behave yourself.  And mind you don’t let anyone kiss you during a waltz.”

Ellie turned around from where she was trying to find the small buttons at the back of her dress.  “Mrs. Stewart, surely no one will be so improper.”

Mrs. Stewart fussed over her hair.  “You never can tell, dear.  Now tilt your head so that I can pin this curl where it’s supposed to be.”

Ellie obeyed and Mrs. Stewart finally announced that she was ready to go.  She gave Ellie’s hair a final pat.  “You look lovely, Ellie.  That pale pink is perfect.”

Ellie gave Mrs. Stewart a grateful hug.  “Thank you.”

A knock at the front door made Ellie jump.

“Calm down.  I’m sure it’s just some young man wanting to have the first dance.”

Ellie was short of breath, and it wasn’t just because of the corset she wore for the occasion.

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Ellie Coulter Part 8

This is the eighth of an 11-part short story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures and is posted on her blog https://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/

Part 8.

I feel safe here.  I never want to leave.

“It started the first day I arrived in Searles Valley.”  Ellie began.  “A man named Mr. Stark picked me up from the train station.  I could tell at once that he was …too friendly.”  Ellie clenched her jaw in anger at the memory.

“He told me as soon as he could that he was a widower with two children in the school I would be teaching.  I was as cold as I could possibly be without being entirely rude.  When he left me at the boarding house, he expressed a wish to see me again soon.   I gave him a negative answer, and went inside.”

Ellie shivered.

“The boarding house was horrible.  I’ve stayed in many, but this one was the worst.  Cold drafts whistled through chinks in the walls at night, and it was infested with rats.  The couple that ran the boarding house were old drunks.  I told the school board, but they did nothing, even though several of them lived in fairly nice homes

“The children were unruly, and they played nasty tricks behind my back.  I got into the habit of brushing my chair off before I sat down after a couple of episodes with a tack.  I could have handled them, but the stubborn school board refused to listen to any of my ideas!” She pounded her fist on the table.

Ellie lost her far-away look and met Chad’s disgusted gaze. “And then one evening after supper, Mr. Stark came to call.  I crawled out of a window and hid in the pigpen until I thought he had left.  I went back inside, but when I went upstairs, I saw him prowling around the house.  I stayed awake for the rest of the night, watching and listening, ready to hide at the slightest noise.  I prayed more during that term of school than I had prayed in my entire life, and God protected me.

“As soon as the fall term ended, I quit.  I went home and Pa, Jem and cousin Nathan exploded when they heard about it.  They made me take a break, so I rested at home for the rest of the year, until it was time to find a new school to teach.  Jem insisted that I apply for the Fresno Grammar School; he claimed that it would be safer, and made me promise to write him when I had news about you. I think he wanted to know that I had someone I could go to if anything happened.”

Ellie smiled.  “Your family has been so welcoming.  I feel like I’m at home.  I can’t thank you enough for befriending me.”

Chad cleared his throat.  “Don’t mention it.  It was my pleasure.”

Ellie pushed her chair back.  “Well, I should go put Magic away.  I left her standing in the sun.”

Chad’s feet hit the floor with a thud as he stood up. “I’ll come with you and take care of Sky.”

As Ellie unsaddled and rubbed Magic down, Andi tore into the barn again.

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Ellie Coulter Part 7

This is the seventh of an 11-part short story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures and is posted on her blog https://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/

Part 7.

I had a wonderful day.

Ellie took Mrs. Stewart’s advice, and Saturday after lunch she donned a sturdy shirt, vest and split skirt, slapped on a hat she had “borrowed” from Jem, rented a horse from Blake’s Livery Stable, and headed out to the ranch.

She rode up to the house and dismounted.  A ranch hand wandered over and took her horse.  Ellie thanked him, and then stood in the yard wondering what to do.

A door slammed and Ellie was nearly run over by a figure bolting from the house.  Andi stopped herself just in time.  “Ellie!”

Ellie smiled brightly.  “Howdy.  What’s the matter?”

Andi looked beside herself with joy.  “Chad said I could learn to trick ride!”

“Really?”  Ellie concealed her pleasure with difficulty.

Andi grinned broadly.  “Yes!”  She took off running again.  “I have to go tell Riley!”

Ellie watched her race to the barn in search of Riley, then turned to the house.  Chad leaned against a column of the porch smiling.

“I see you kept your promise.”  He called with a wave.

Ellie smiled back.  “I see you kept yours.”

He jumped off the porch and came to stand beside her. “I couldn’t help it.  You were right.”  He ran a hand through his hair, then plopped his hat back on.  “I’m glad you came.”

A little embarrassed, Ellie shrugged nonchalantly. “Thanks.  I was hoping Andi would show me around the ranch, but I suspect that she’s busy, now.”

Chad started walking toward the barn.  “Well, don’t just stand there!”  He teased.  “Come on!”

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Ellie Coulter Part 6

This is the sixth of an 11-part short story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures and is posted on her blog https://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/

Part 6.

I’ve never been more surprised in my life.  I wonder what new secrets I’ll discover next.

A light was burning in the window of Mrs. Stewart’s boarding house as Chad helped Ellie down from the buggy.

Ellie opened the door cautiously, and made her way quietly to her room.  A squeaking floorboard made her jump.  This felt like the time she had snuck out of the house with Jem to see the full moon. Pa had caught them and sent them back to bed, smarting from his rebuke.  The memory made Ellie smile.  A sudden rush of tears caught Ellie unawares.  She wiped them away, and pushed open her door.

“Miss Coulter.”

Ellie jumped.

Mrs. Stewart stood in the hallway, a candle in her hand.

Ellie let her shoulders sag.  Not another lecture, not now!

“Miss Coulter, I apologize for my rude behavior last night.” Mrs. Stewart’s voice was cold and distant.

Surprised, Ellie couldn’t say a word for a minute.  Then she remembered herself.  “No, Mrs. Stewart, Iapologize.  I had no right to speak to you in that manner, and I have regretted it ever since.”

A slight tremble in Mrs. Stewart’s lips betrayed her feeling. “Thank you, Miss Coulter.”

Ellie reached out to hug the older woman.  “Just call me Ellie.”

A sob shook Mrs. Stewart’s shoulders.  The usually stern woman suddenly dropped her mask and clung to Ellie.  Bewildered, Ellie held her in a hug and waited for an explanation.

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