alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2013-07-04 02:48 pm

Bloom Where You're Planted [freebie for the July Fiction Fishbowl]

There are two ways to achieve multicolored flowers on a single rosebush. One is to plant roses that have two colors to the blossom—red edges and a golden heart, say.

Another way is to graft a branch of one bush onto another bush.

My name is Eleanor Joanna Sullivan, Elle, given me by the people of English ancestry who adopted me when I was quite small. English and Irish, Scottish and Welsh, with a touch of French: my parents know where they came from. My sisters Bridget and Maeve know where they came from.

I know only that I am brown.

Am I African, South Asian, Native American? I don't know even that much. I have blue eyes, so it is likely that some of me is white on both bio-parents' sides, but I don't know.

(Where did you come from? Where did you go? Where did you come from, cotton-eyed Jo?)

I was found in a cardboard box outside the door of Saint Mary's on the June night that we call my birthday; I weighed little enough, I'm told, that it probably was the day I was born. Maire and Edward Sullivan volunteered to take me home until a biological parent of mine could be found, and no one ever was. Bridget, I am told, found me a fascinating new toy, and Maeve would not be born for nearly a year.

I'm told I was a strange child, but aren't all children unusual in some way?

Tonight there is a costume party at the house of a friend of Bridget's. We're all invited, but I can't go; I have homework to do. As soon as my sisters have left, I light a scented candle to fill my room with jasmine—Maeve will grouch at me if she smells it, but she won't be home for hours—and I open my textbook.

"But of course you can go—you'll have fun, you know," says an unfamiliar voice. "What's a ball without its belle, or prince with no Cinderelle?"

I grab my textbook, standing, and hold it ready to whack anyone who comes in range. It's quite heavy enough to be a decent weapon. "Who are you?" I demand. "What are you doing here?"

"You, a daughter of the fae, don't wish for a fine array?" asks the unimpressed woman in my room. (All the doors are locked. Aren't all the doors locked?) "The admiration of your clan, the wedding to a wealthy man? All that is yours if you'll go to this party—hurry, though."

She's a fine-looking woman, golden-brown skin and dark hair, wearing lavender fabric draped like a Greek chiton. But—fae? "You're my fairy godmother?" I ask, the chorus to P!nk's "Most Girls" playing in my head.

The woman folds her arms and frowns.

"I don't want to be Cinderella," I inform her. "I want love and money and all that, but on my terms, no one else's. Cinderella's love story is on everybody's terms but hers."

"I'll tell your mother what you've said," the woman says. "She did hope to see you wed..."

"I won't be guilt-tripped over someone who abandoned me, either," I say, guessing she doesn't mean Mom.

The woman's mouth opens and closes.

"Get out of my house," I say.

The woman vanishes without a word.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, they say, and I've read enough stories to know that the fae are worse. But did I just kick out the only chance I've ever had to find out who I am?

I think I'll go to Bridget's friend's party. I wanted to, anyway, and the homework can wait.


Creative Commons License
Bloom Where You're Planted by Elizabeth Conall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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