Have you ever received an invitation from a fairy? You know what it looks like? It’s much like a Christmas card, and Christmas had passed a while ago, and Bellflower Sweetwill didn’t expect one at all. For it was so cold in the Enchanted forest that outside the temperature was just right for staying inside. So the invitation asked: “Come have tea with me, this Sunday, 4 PM, in my Kitchen in the Fae Keep, Isabelle Dazzlesparkle.” It had been a long time since her best friend and worst rival had invited her to a regular tea party, and for good, even great reasons. So on Sunday at 3 PM – she dressed her chequered dress, and tied her hair in a bun, and took the mohair hat, she had knitted as a present and filled a basket with chocolate muffins, best muffins in the forest. She stood in front of the mirror and changed the color of her hair from dark brown to fiery red, and the color of her eyes to forest green, and just for pretense, she made her nose a bit sharper than the usual. There – she was ready to visit Isabelle.
So, Once upon a wintertime, in an Enchanted Forest, in a lavish, fairy castle called Fae Keep, in a shabby-chic kitchen, a kettle was boiling over a wood-burning stove. Two fairies were sitting next to a rickety wooden table, each holding an exceptional cup of tea: slices of orange, Hibiscus blossom, brier fruit, pieces of apple, slices of almond, cinnamon, vanilla. That fruit tea was their favorite thing to drink in the midst of winter, especially after the holidays. Next to them on the wall, there was a huge magickal mirror, which showed what it was told to show. Both of them were gossiping – their favorite thing to do during all seasons.
Fire was roaring under the kettle, and Bell and Isa were sitting close to the stove. Isa served hot beverages in a beautiful, ancient, porcelain Chai set – oriental in style. The luxurious flower-patterned tea set looked like it belonged to the king of an ancient civilization. It was imported from the Kingdom of Angelique, where the most sophisticated people live. Indulging in food and warm beverages Bell and Isa also managed to discuss the lives of the forest inhabitants, including their own. They loved it and they hadn’t done it literally for months.
Know that in the midst of the winter, after the Christmas holidays, it is so cold in the Enchanted Forest that only hot tea and coffee can keep you spirited. Humans usually warn each other not to eat what the fairy folk offers them – but in the case of Bellflower Sweetwill – you simply must feast on her chocolate muffins. It is one of the best things to do in the dead of winter.
Isabelle complimented her nicely:
“You are a muffin artist! These are intense!” – she declared to her and she was sincere.
Bell knew perfectly well that she was the Goddess of chocolate muffins, so she accepted the compliment without a hint of ceremony, and was immediately ready to share the recipe:
“They are moist, tender and extremely chocolatey. So to do them right, you need a double dose of chocolate. The muffins are nothing healthy – they shorten your life but they have got a divine taste. ”
“How have you been lately?” Isa implored her guest, for fairies are renowned for their courtesy and at the same time – their impropriety.
“Well, these days I haven’t been well. I’ve been turning into a toad several times a day” – Bell complained of her health. “We are getting older, aren’t we?”
“Well, I have sleep problems. I have been dreaming the same Lycanthrope over and over for the past few days.”
“How horrible! But since when we have become old enough to talk of illnesses when we can talk of elves?” – Bell summarized the feelings of both.
Both turned to the mirror and commanded it:
“Show us Oberon Whitesparkle!”
“I delight in his darkness” – Isabelle Dazzlesparkle sighed at the morning sight of the Oberon in the magickal mirror. In this particular winter morning, he was sitting in front of a huge pot of hot coffee and watching the snow falling outside like small dancing ballerinas, whirling in the air above, in the oldest melody the Enchanted forest knew how to sing. She bit her lips impassioned at the flash of his very private smile.
“Yes, even at Halloween, when he wears horns, he appears so gorgeous” – her best friend had to admit, sipping happily from the cup of tea. She had thought she was about to freeze to death when she knocked on the door of Fae Keep. She loved cold and the way it pinched her cheeks, but this was an exceptionally freezing and snowy winter day.
“Oh, that is so, that is so much so!” Isabelle delighted in the words she spoke. They rolled in her mouth and came out fair and coated in her bell timber. “Dance not with him, for he will enchant thee!”
“Oh, I already have been enchanted!”
“Haven’t you!” – Isa winked. “Look at the way he’s wearing his crown tilted to one side…Can you guess what he’s thinking, smiling like this?”
“You must try that chocolate praline made by a small chocolatier from Motley Hill.” – suggested Bell.
“Well, I guess yes! Thank you…” Bell and Isa had something in common – both fairies indulged in treats. Bellflower was prone to snatching anything on the table that caught her eye – weird thing is Isabelle was the curvy one. So Bell managed, but only for a minute, to divert Isa’s attention from the gorgeous King of Elves, who was yawning in his Sunday pajamas, probably smelling like coffee, and having stayed in bed late thinking about…
“I think he is thinking about you!” – Isa returned to the subject. – “I hate you for this!”
“Well, that would have been lovely…” Bell admitted. Wasn’t that the dream of every fairy in the Enchanted Forest?
“But we both know that it is not true. For the other day, he had a heart – to – heart with Scarlet Eveningflash and he told her he is really a lot into you. This is almost as paying the town crier to announce it to the entire village.”
“If you must know the other day he visited me in my night dream, only to treat me a cup of hot chocolate and share that he, in fact, has got a crush on you! That happened because I had made myself a spell to dream of my soul mate! So the love of my life is in love with you! Like in some freaking paperback love novel!” – that was real soap drama for Isabelle Dazzlesparkle, who was very jealous.
“Obviously, he lied about one of us… for some peculiar reasons. But who, and why? We have to find out.”
At this very moment, the doorknob knocked a few times. A freezing white polar bear was carrying a small envelope with a silky, red ribbon. Poor animal! Isabelle rummaged into her winter wardrobe and found a smart black scarf, which suited the bear well, and Bellflower gifted it the knitted mohair hat. After sending the thankful animal off, they got back in the kitchen and opened the envelope.
Have you ever received an invitation to a party in the Enchanted Forest? You know what it looks like? It is much like a birthday card, and their birthdays had passed long ago, and Isabelle and Bellflower did not expect one at all. But it was going to be such a beautiful event, organized by Scarlet Eveningflash, who dictated the fashion, the customs and the manners in the Enchanted Forest. To visit a masquerade evening ball organized by her would be an honor and a highest privilege even for Isabelle Dazzlesparkle, the Queen of Fairies herself.
What better way to check who was the lady in the heart of Oberon Whitesparkle, most wanted man in the Enchanted Forest – you know the alpha elf, all fairies secretly and openly dreamt about? The eyes of both fairies started sparkling in the warm nuance of honey. Who can get bored on a masquerade ball, with cinnamon rolls, with unicorn noodles, with burlesque rose, with porcelain tea sets, with chocolate coffee, and violet cake? Oh, this evening was going to be awesome!
Soon the kitchen was full of crinoline dresses and both of them were trying them in front of the mirror, which showed what it was told to show. Bellflower was superstitious, so she would never try a brown dress – fingers-crossed, and Isabelle was into red, orange, white and black. Isa’s straight hair was neatly rolled in a bun by Bell.
They rode in the crispy air on two unicorns covered by warm blankets to Scarlet’s Winter Room For Brunch Affairs, which was floating upon the Eternal Cloud. At the door, they were greeted by two Siamese cats with awfully fashionable bow ties. Each of them received an ornate mask. Isa liked Bell’s mask more, and Bell liked Isa’s so they both smiled at each other. “You look wonderfully stunning!” – said Isa. “Give me that!” – said Bell.
Soon the Room For Brunch Affairs was packed with flamboyant fairies, elves, humans, apparitions, witches, and animals – the refined folk who had attended the magickal university and were eligible to appear on Scarlet’s Eveningflash events. Scarlet herself was attended by three masked men, and at present, all of them were offering light for her cigarette. She had always complained about being so popular with humans, and unable to find one decent magickal prince elf for herself. Her bored complexion could not be hidden even by her black lace mask, but she was the hostess, so she was kindly trying to smile the entire time.
Most of the respectable elves and men were wearing black, for that is the most masculine and trendy color to wear on an elegant masquerade. So at Isa and Bell’s table on adjacent chairs were sitting two elves, which looked like Oberon Whitesparkle – every bit, and the voices of both had that angelic timber. So they made with both girls eye contact and smiled almost simultaneously, starting a movie-like talk with both of them, with the lamest pick-up line:
“Well, darling, you look wonderful!” Then they continued as twins: “I lie in bed every starry winter night thinking about you!”