Nancy Tremaine was a hopeless romantic.
It had all started when she was growing up. As a child, she was acquainted with fairy tales of princes and princesses, magical creatures, and the romances or adventures of storybook heroes. Nancy liked the idea of marrying a prince and living happily ever after, just like those princesses.
But as she got older, that idea became less of a possibility, and more of a fantasy. The boys, and later men, that she dated, weren't princes - not even knights. And Nancy herself felt like she wasn't suited for the role of a fairy tale heroine anymore.
Fairy tale heroines didn't struggle through high school, and then college classes, to earn a degree in fashion design. They didn't have to work themselves to the bone getting their business off the ground, and then making sure that business stayed afloat.
Nancy wasn't that little girl who wanted to be a princess anymore. She had become a self-sufficient woman, the manager of her own design studio. She would be fine on her own, which was why she didn't need a prince - just someone who respected her.
Perhaps that's what drew her to Robert.
He was kind towards Nancy, but theirs was not a whirlwind romance. Disappointing as this might have been to a younger her, Nancy was satisfied with Robert. They both knew exactly what to expect from the other.
Which was why it was all the more shocking, after she arrived at Robert's apartment one morning, to find an unknown woman sprawled on top of him.
Nancy had left angrily, taking the cab to her studio. Robert sent dozens of apology texts afterwards. Part of her understood that Robert wasn't that kind of guy, but the other part didn't want to listen.
When a pair of doves, bearing heart shaped roses, and a ticket to the King and Queen's Ball, surprised Nancy, she was even more astounded to discover they were from Robert. The rest of Nancy's anger faded away, replaced by anticipation for the upcoming ball.
She and Robert danced, and generally had a good time. Nancy thought it'd be the end of the matter, until the redheaded woman, Giselle, showed up with her date Edward. And even though they had just met...
Nancy knew that he was like everything she imagined a fairy tale prince to be.
He graciously asked for her hand, and invited her to waltz with him. Nancy enjoyed dancing with Edward, but she couldn't help observing Robert and Giselle. Nancy politely excused herself, then proceeded to switch dance partners. She could tell though, Robert's mind was elsewhere.
The rest of the night's events happened in a flash: the arrival of Edward's step-mother, Giselle's poisoning, and finally, the defeat of the evil queen.
Not only did she have to accept that magic was actually real, but that Robert was happier with another woman. And they were perfect for each other! It was true love's kiss! How could Nancy argue against that? Giselle was even willing to fight a dragon to save Robert!
Yes, the best thing Nancy could do was wish for their happiness. But where did that leave her? On the floor of the ballroom, holding onto Giselle's forgotten shoe.
"Why so sad, beautiful lady?"
Edward kneeled and tilted his head slightly, his expression perplexed.
"She forgot her shoe... figures."
Nancy smiled ruefully at Edward. For a moment, he looked at the shoe in her hands, and then gently took it into his grasp. Edward gazed at Nancy, as he asked her,
She nodded, confused, but gave Edward her permission. To Nancy's amazement,
"It's a perfect fit."
Edward took her hands in his, and helped her to a standing position. Nancy looked at Edward, who was gazing at her with wonder, and she knew that she must be doing the same.
o - o - o - o - o
One wedding later, Nancy Tremaine had officially become the new Queen of Andalasia.
Nancy could hardly believe that everything that had happened wasn't a dream. But when she woke up the next morning and pinched herself, she was still in bed with the most charming man she'd ever met.
She smiled, as she looked at the soundly sleeping Edward.
After the marriage and the after-party celebration, they had retired to the royal chambers. Contrary to her enthusiasm when following Edward to Andalasia, Nancy now felt calmer as the excitement wore off.
Of course she still felt delighted about being in a fairy tale, but Nancy had things to do before enjoying her happily ever after.
For one, she needed to sort out her affairs: the design studio, her apartment, the paperwork and legal procedures...
Nancy groaned, as she imagined all of the work that had to be done, just to make sure she wouldn't end up on New York's Missing Persons List.
Evidently, her groaning was loud enough to wake up Edward, as she could feel him stirring beside her. Edward yawned, rubbed his eyes, and then propped himself up to gaze at Nancy.
"Good morning, my beautiful queen!"
"Good morning to you as well, my handsome king."
Nancy smiled, but then her happiness faded after remembering that, yes, she was the queen now - which meant more work that needed to be done! Edward noticed Nancy's distress, and gently questioned her.
"My love, what's wrong?"
"Well, I... I was just thinking of my home, Edward."
"Your home? The kingdom of castles in the sky?"
Nancy looked puzzled for a moment at what Edward could be alluding to. Then, she felt a light bulb go off in her head.
"Oh, you mean the buildings! Yes, I was thinking about New York City."
"What an odd place it was! So many steel beasts! And yet, no one seemed happy when I freed them from the clutches of those nefarious creatures!"
"Okay, if I'm understanding you correctly, which I'm pretty sure I am, you're talking about cars? Or buses? And how exactly did you free them, Edward?"
"Why, stabbing the beast with my sword!"
Nancy sat up in shock, her eyes wide, after she heard Edward's response.
"Oh my God, Edward! You can't do that! Someone could have gotten hurt!"
"But Nancy, they were unharmed!"
"For goodness sake, Edward, of course they were! Those weren't beasts! They were armored carriages used to transport people!"
Nancy sighed, trying to relax herself. She closed her eyes and opened them again, glancing at Edward, who had a kicked puppy look on his face. Nancy couldn't stand to see him unhappy, so she decided to forgive him. But she would make sure that Edward was well informed the next time he visited Earth.
"Well, it's hardly your fault that you don't know what cars are. But promise me you'll never attack someone with a sword again, okay?"
"I promise, my love!"
Nancy giggled at how quickly Edward bounced back. She wondered how to explain to Edward what was on her mind.
"Anyway, I was just thinking about what I needed to do back home. If I don't deal with them, I can't stay with you in Andalasia..."
Last night, Nancy and Edward had talked with each other until they both fell asleep. Edward had apologized to Nancy that they could not go on a "date" before marrying each other. So they proceeded to talk about their likes and dislikes, their interests, and other topics that came up in their conversation. Nancy was happy that Edward was so different from Robert.
Robert was a good man, but it was hard for him to open up to her. Nancy now understood that Robert was coming off of a bad marriage, and a partner who had left him alone to care for their daughter. As for her, she was a busy career woman, who was also dealing with the unexpected loss of her single mother.
At that time, Nancy and Robert functioned as the stable presence that the other needed in their lives. But it wasn't the right moment for them to fall in love. Maybe that's why it was so easy for Robert to fall in love with Giselle, and for Nancy to fall in love with Edward.
"So, if magic exists, you wouldn't happen to know any fairy godmothers, would you, Edward? Or even just a fairy?"
"As a matter of fact, my dear Nancy, there's something I would like to show you later!"
Edward and Nancy got out of bed, and rang for the servants to help them prepare for the day. After getting dressed, Nancy joined Edward in the dining room for breakfast. Once they finished, they briefly met with a royal advisor to hear about the ongoing work in the castle, now that Narissa was gone.
Finally, Edward led Nancy to a nondescript door in the castle. When he placed his hand on its surface, there was a flash of light, and Nancy could see something akin to a lock being opened.
Inside the room was a wand on a dais. The wand was sculpted from golden brown wood, with ornate carvings on its handle.
"Wow! Is this a magic wand?"
"Not just any wand, but an Andalasian Wishing Wand! Or simply, a Wand of Wishes."
"You can make wishes? Edward, that's wonderful! Are there rules on how to use it?"
"Only that you must be a true son or daughter of Andalasia."
"That's too bad then... I wasn't born in Andalasia..."
Edward chuckled, and Nancy blushed, as she wondered what Edward thought was so funny.
"My dear, but you are a daughter of Andalasia! You married me, a son, which makes you a daughter of Andalasia."
Nancy gasped, as she realized that Edward was right.
Walking up to the dais, Nancy gingerly picked up the wand, and gave it an experimental wave. Deciding to start with an easy wish, she remembered her phone, which she had thrown away during the wedding.
"I wish... I had my phone, perfectly still intact."
For a moment, nothing happened. But then, Nancy could feel something materialize in her hand, the one that wasn't holding onto the wand.
She gasped for the second time that day. In Nancy's hand was her old phone - not a single crack to be seen!
"It works! It really works!"
Nancy jumped into Edward's arms, and he responded by enthusiastically hugging her.
"Thank you so much for this, Edward! With a magic wand, anything is possible, even in New York!"
She stepped back, and anxiously met Edward's gaze.
"Will you be alright while I'm gone? Can you manage things in the kingdom alone?"
"It's a daunting task, to be sure. But that's what the royal advisors and council are for! To support the king and queen of Andalasia."
Nancy saw how confident Edward was, and knew that she had nothing to worry about. She gave Edward one last embrace, and then wished that she was in New York.
o - o - o - o - o
According to her wish, Nancy found herself standing in her apartment.
Everything was just as she left it, right before she had gone to the ball with Robert. Nancy decided to change out of her queenly dress, and into a more casual outfit. Afterwards, she dug through her belongings to find her important documents.
Nancy had wondered what to do regarding her design studio. Not only was it a product of years of hard work, she had to consider her employees who would be out of a job if Nancy suddenly retired.
This left Nancy in a predicament. If the design studio was here to stay, then who would manage it?
Someone who'd know about Nancy's circumstances... Someone who was aware of magic. More importantly, someone who had a keen eye for fashion.
Only one person came to mind - Giselle. Nancy had noticed that the redheaded woman looked beautiful, in her purple halter dress, the night of the ball. Perhaps it was a stretch, but Nancy didn't exactly have many options at the moment.
Gathering her documents in one arm, Nancy left to head towards Robert's apartment. When she got there, Nancy steeled herself, and then knocked on the door. She waited in the hallway, until she heard footsteps approaching.
"I'm so sorry, I'm a bit busy at the moment... Nancy?!"
Robert stood at the door, with a shocked expression on his face. He was wearing a business suit, with the jacket off, leaving him in just a dress shirt.
"Hi, Robert. Mind if I come in?"
"O-of course not..."
Robert moved aside to allow Nancy into his apartment. She looked around, searching for Giselle, and stopped at the sight of a certain man.
"You're... Edward's manservant, Nathaniel?"
"Oh! My lady, how nice it is to see you again."
Nathaniel stood up from the couch where he had been sitting, and bowed at Nancy.
"Um, you don't need to do that..."
"Don't I? Are you not Prince Edward's beloved?"
"How did you...?"
Nancy was surprised that Nathaniel was aware of her and Edward's relationship.
"I saw you two at the ball. You returned with him to Andalasia."
"...Nathaniel told me about what happened with you and Prince Edward. I'm - I'm sorry for hurting you, Nancy..."
"It's okay, Robert. I'm happy for you and Giselle, truly. I've had some time to think about our relationship, and, well, I think we're better off as just friends."
She gave Robert a small smile, and Robert smiled back uncertainly. Nancy walked towards a chair in the living room, then sat down. She noticed that the table in front of the couch was full of papers. Nancy questioned Robert, and he explained that he was working with Nathaniel to get him citizenship in the US.
Nancy realized she had forgotten that Nathaniel, Giselle, and Edward weren't US citizens. Without that, Giselle couldn't manage her design studio.
She asked Robert again, how long it would take for all of the paperwork to go through. He shook his head exasperatedly, and said it would take months at the least. He also had to worry about Giselle's citizenship. Nancy smirked, and took out the magic wand in her purse.
"I think I have the solution to both of our problems."
"Is that... a stick?"
Robert looked skeptical, until Nancy wished that Nathaniel and Giselle were citizens of the United States. On the table appeared passports, birth certificates, and other documents for both Nathaniel and Giselle. Robert examined the passport for Giselle, and was amazed to find that it looked like a real passport.
After he finished examining the passport, Robert stared at Nancy and the wand in her hand. Not knowing what else to do, Nancy put the wand back into her purse.
"So, magic wishing wand... it says a lot, that this isn't even the weirdest thing that's happened to me. How do we know these documents are real though?"
"Well, you could try looking them up on the internet? Try looking for when Giselle 'graduated' high school."
Robert took Nancy's advice, and grabbed his laptop to look up the school that Giselle had "graduated" from. He found a yearbook on the school's website, and when he opened it, he saw Giselle's photo along with the other graduates.
"Hold on... so the magic wand altered reality?"
"It's true, Sir Robert. In my mind, there exists memories that did not exist before. And a life that I previously had not led..."
Nathaniel seemed to be somewhere else, as his gaze focused on something that Robert and Nancy couldn't see.
"If that's happened to Nathaniel, then Giselle..."
There was frantic knocking on Robert's front door, and Robert hurried over to open it. Giselle was panting, and Morgan worriedly stood by her.
"Oh, Robert, it's terrible! I arrived here with Morgan after going out to the park, but when we came back, I felt a sudden rush of memories! But, but, they aren't my memories! At least, I don't think they are! So we ran up to your apartment as quickly as possible, and... oh my!"
Giselle covered her mouth when she spotted Nancy, and Nancy awkwardly stood up to wave at Giselle.
"Hi? Sorry about that! I kind of made a wish for you and Nathaniel to have new lives here on Earth..."
"Really?! Thank you so much, Ms. Nancy!"
"Please, call me Nancy - oof!"
Nancy's breath left her lungs after Giselle enthusiastically hugged her. They separated, and Nancy could feel herself taking in oxygen again. Meanwhile, Giselle was eagerly examining her shiny new passport. Nancy remembered the documents she had brought with her.
"I have another surprise for you, Giselle. You see, I'm a fashion designer, which means I make clothing for other people. And I run my own... shop. I sell the clothes I make to people who want to buy them. I need someone to take my place now that I'll be living in Andalasia, and I think that person should be you."
Giselle raptly paid attention to Nancy's words, and she covered her mouth again when she heard this shocking news.
"M- me? B-but, how can I accept, especially with what happened at the ball...!"
Giselle was crying, both tears of happiness and regret, as she felt underserving of Nancy's generosity.
"No, please don't cry Giselle! I'm doing fine now! Robert and I have agreed to just be friends, and Edward gives you and Robert his blessings."
The redheaded woman brushed her tears away, and smiled at Nancy. She whispered her thanks to Nancy again, and then went to the bathroom to wash her face. Nancy handed Robert the documents that she had brought with her.
"Here you go, Robert. This is everything you need for the design studio. I've included the deed of transfer of business ownership, which I've signed and dated. You'll need to get Giselle to sign it, and then go to have it officially notarized."
"This is amazing, Nancy! You've done so much for all of us today..."
"Like I told Giselle, you really don't need to thank me. Besides, you still have a lot of work ahead of you. Teach Giselle how to run her own business, and also how to live in New York. Oh, and please don't let wild animals near other people without properly sanitizing and training them first."
Nancy frowned when she remembered conversing with the woodland animals at her wedding. She learned from them more about Giselle's past, and how she was an orphan abandoned in the forest to be raised by them.
Giving Robert, Nathaniel, Morgan, and Giselle one last goodbye, Nancy headed to her (former) studio. It would still be open today, since she left her assistant, May, in charge of running the place whenever she was gone.
Arriving at the studio, Nancy greeted the secretary at the front. Then, she went to find May, who was deep in a conversation with one of the designers.
"May! I have great news to share with you!"
"Nancy?! Oh my gosh, what are you doing here? You weren't supposed to come in for a couple more days!"
May looked pleasantly surprised to see Nancy.
"Yes, yes, about that... something happened at the ball, something big."
"You're telling me! I heard all about it on the tv! Man, those actors did a really great job with their performances. And that dragon was soooo realistic!"
Nancy was amused to hear that everyone at the ball thought the events of the night had been fake.
"That's big news, yes, but not what I want to talk to you about. May, I'm leaving the design studio."
"What?! You are?! Isn't this too sudden...?!"
May grabbed Nancy's hands, and squeezed them anxiously.
"I know how this sounds, but you were right May. I never actually gave up on my dream of finding a fairytale prince. And, well, I've found him. He's different from Robert, in all the right ways. For once in my life, I want to be spontaneous. And hey, if this doesn't work out, I can always come back to New York."
Unbeknownst to May, Nancy was being literal. If things didn't pan out in Andalasia, Nancy could always go back to Earth, maybe even start a new business.
Nancy and May shared a heartfelt embrace, as May wished Nancy the best in her future endeavors. Nancy thanked her, and told her about how she'd already found a replacement for the studio. That being said, it would take months for Giselle to be ready, which was enough time for the employees to finish the designs from customers who had already ordered. Meanwhile, the studio would no longer be accepting new commissions from customers.
May was not only in charge of the employees, she would eventually help Giselle adjust to her new role as boss.
Before going back to her apartment, Nancy walked to Home Depot to buy a pair of high visibility safety vests, and hardhats. She and Edward would need these whenever they visited New York through the wishing well/ manhole. Nancy also went to a clothing store to buy a casual outfit for Edward.
Nancy ate a small meal for herself, and then returned to her apartment.
Glancing around, Nancy smiled mischievously. She knew that she would have to return the wand when she was back in Andalasia. For now though, there was one last wish she could make.
"I wish my purse was bottomless, so it could fit anything I wanted inside, without affecting its appearance on the outside."
Nancy waited for the magic to be cast, and then got to work stuffing things from her apartment into her bag. Books, articles of clothing, technology - everything she wanted to bring with her, she stored inside her purse.
Deciding that this was enough, Nancy held onto the wishing wand, and wished that she was back in Andalasia.
o - o - o - o - o
Time passed, and Nancy adjusted to her rule as Queen. Running a kingdom was like running her design studio, except on hard mode.
She ensured that everyone had relatively equal opportunities, that the kingdom's budget was being handled appropriately, and that non-human creatures could have a say in what laws and ordinances were passed.
Nancy also learned that in Andalasia, no one ate meat. Nancy was glad that she was already a vegetarian back on Earth. It was actually rather enlightening for her to learn that animals in Andalasia weren't like animals back on Earth. There weren't any carnivorous animals at all, and even animals who appeared to be carnivores, like owls, could subsist entirely on fruits, veggies, and plants.
She had a theory that the magic of this fairytale world made it so animals evolved differently, and that they could live in harmony together.
Because animals here were able to communicate with humans, humans needed to trade and barter with them for supplies. For example, if one wanted wool, they would barter with the sheep. No animals were domesticated as livestock in Andalasia. Some preferred living in the wild, while others didn't mind interacting with humans.
It was fascinating to Nancy, and she enjoyed learning new things everyday. While it was easy to deal with the animals, it was harder for Nancy to reason with entities like dragons or trolls.
Trolls, as it turns out, liked to chase humans. It was a sport for them to pretend to scare humans into thinking they'd eat them. This led Edward and other "troll hunters" into actually believing the trolls would eat them, if they didn't catch them first. After tying the troll up, they'd send the troll to do work like mining.
Nancy was frightened when she met the first troll Edward had caught since her time in Andalasia. She reminded herself though that this was unlikely to be the last time she'd meet a troll. So she steeled herself and attempted to communicate with it.
To her surprise, the troll actually spoke to her. He answered slowly and awkwardly, but Nancy could understand him. So Nancy decided to ask him questions, like why trolls "ate" humans. Apparently, no one had ever actually questioned a troll.
The troll, named Fred, told Nancy that trolls liked to chase things. It was in their instincts to chase after fast, moving objects - like humans. Nancy inquired after what happened to the trolls in the mines, and she also found out that the trolls actually liked mining. It was good for them to focus on the labor intensive work, as it required them to use their strength.
So it was really a big misunderstanding all along! Humans and trolls didn't communicate, which was why people misconstrued an activity of the trolls as trying to eat them. Trolls needed an output for their natural instincts, but otherwise, they could be well meaning citizens of Andalasia.
Nancy brokered peace with the trolls, and gradually, more trolls integrated themselves into jobs like law enforcement.
A year passed, and Nancy was proud of herself of how much progress she'd made in that year. She was a queen who was respected and loved by her people, none more so than her husband Edward.
Nancy was grateful for Edward being by her side, as they learned how to rule the kingdom together. Edward knew when to be prideful, but also when to be humble and earnest. Nancy could not forget how he and other "troll hunters" had apologized to the trolls for hunting them (and vice versa).
She wanted to do something special for Edward, since it would be their one year anniversary together.
Edward had shown Nancy his "memory tree", which was a tree planted in the royal gardens. It contained all of the memories of the royal family. Memories of what they held near and dear to their hearts.
Nancy planned to meet Edward at this tree, and do something she had never done before in Andalasia - sing.
She wasn't a bad singer, but Nancy had only ever sung in school choirs and parties. She didn't think that she could pull off what everyone from Andalasia did so effortlessly - proclaiming to the world about her innermost thoughts and desires. But for Edward, she would try.
On the night of their anniversary, Nancy led Edward to a table she had set up underneath the shade of the willow tree. They dined together, and laughed about their memories of the past year.
Nancy gazed at the wonderful man who was her husband, and she could feel something stirring in her heart. In that moment, she knew what she would say to Edward.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love
Seasons of love
Seasons of love