Title: No Fairy Tale Endings
Rating: clean as a whistle!
Length: 500ish words
Once upon a time there lived a beautiful princess. Only she didn’t regard herself as a princess. Princessing was something she'd shrugged off long ago. She believed in it less than anyone around her although being a mannerly sort she wouldn't admit to it most of the time.
The princess was a Businesswoman. A woman whose business it was to set a man's heart pounding, to fill up his dreams and then make them come true. As long as the man could pay. And men would pay with their currency as well as their hearts.
The man who had far more heart than currency stood in a shadowed corner watching as the Businesswoman picked her way around the battered crates that littered his hold. She looked particularly fine which wasn’t saying much since he found her looking particularly fine on frequent occasions. The deep burgundy color of her formal dress was a pleasing contrast to her dark hair.
It was never easy to see his princess going off to meet paying frogs and even less easy to keep his mouth shut. “That’s a mighty fine getup for a rainy evening such as it is.”
He knew he had startled her but she gave no indication of it, merely giving him a cautious look before she continued to the open cargo bay door. She walked out as far on the ramp as she dared without getting wet.
“Day like this…” He approached her, standing close enough to see the short wisps of hair that couldn’t be contained in the elaborate comb. “By the looks of that sky it’ll be a big storm rolling in.”
He moved closer, her scent overpowering the rainy smell. “My mother hated the storms, always worrying about some natural mischief of a kind but me… I loved them.” Looking at her neck, he willed her to turn around and face him and he was not surprised that she kept her gaze carefully averted. “Loved getting caught in one when I was out on the range. I’d settle on my back flat on the ground and just watch the lightning play about the sky.” He couldn’t resist touching her. His finger caressed her bicep just above the edge of the black gloves that covered her arm.
“Mal…” She glanced at him quickly not meeting his eyes. “He’ll be here soon.”
She was right; her carriage approached. They watched as a sleek, black hover-limo, far too fancy for these docks, quietly and gracefully landed a dozen feet from Serenity. A man emerged from the vehicle. Not a Prince but from the looks of him a hired man charged with whisking away his princess to a castle far away.
Holding a huge black umbrella, the man stopped on the edge of the ramp and waited for Inara. She didn’t speak to the man but Mal saw her nod in greeting before she she walked alongside him to the limo. Before the door slide closed, she glanced back at Mal, her expression carefully blank. The man closed her door and Mal couldn’t see her anymore.
“Don’t go, Inara.” He whispered, his words getting lost in the wind.