Beauty pushed her empty plate away from her just as her mother entered the room. Amelia stalked down the narrow room, fingers rapping against a brown, leather covered book. Beauty slunk down into her chair when Amelia got close enough for her to read the title—Secret Life of Fairies.
“Dawn, what is the meaning of this?” Amelia said. “I went to the sitting room to say good morning to you and all I found was this book.”
Beauty stared at her empty plate without answering. Amelia didn’t move. The scraping of Thaddeus’s chair across the floor as he got up to leave only emphasized the unnatural stillness between the two women. Amelia’s fingers beat out a steady rhythm on the book’s cover once again.
“I was just doing some research.” Beauty still avoided her mother’s eyes. When Amelia made no comment, she continued, “I wanted to see if there were any clues. To breaking this curse.”
“And you didn’t think that maybe we have already been through every book in this house? There is nothing, Dawn. Nothing.” The words echoed hollowly against the walls. “We’ve talked about this before. There is nothing you can do to change the curse. We have tried everything. Just be glad that you are only going to fall asleep. It could have been worse.”
“I don’t understand how you can just accept this, Mother.” Beauty pushed away from the table and slammed a small fist onto the wood. “It’s not you that has to wonder if you will ever see another sunrise. It’s not you who has to constantly wonder if they will ever figure out what love is. It’s not you. It’s me. And I don’t want to just sit her and wait. You keep saying that I need to wait, but what if that isn’t good enough?”
“Your father and I have spent your entire life trying to protect you from this curse. The only thing we can do is wait until your birthday. If nothing happens by then, you will be safe. Please, just trust us.” Amelia put the book on the table and slid into a chair. She took the hand that Beauty had slammed down onto the table into her own and patted it gently. “We love you, Dawn, but I will protect you. Until your father comes home and we can talk about it, you are forbidden from reading any more of these books. The library will be locked from now on. And I will be sitting with you in the mornings. It’s for the best.”
“Anything else you want to take away from me? What’s the point of having a life if I can’t even live it?” Beauty shook free of her mother’s grasp and rushed away from her.