Once upon a time not so long ago, lived a beautiful girl named Julie in a small Italian village near Padua. She had long auburn hair and green eyes and had an outgoing, sweet character. Her mother had always encouraged Julie to trust people and to do her best to make other’s happy, this being an important part of her mother’s philosophy of life.
Unfortunately, when Julie was about 17, her mother had a terrible accident and died. Her father though devastated was also one of those men who cannot live without a woman, so not many months after the accident he met a beautiful woman who had two sons and decided to marry her. She was Japanese, her name was Kitsune.
Julie’s father was king in his field, a writer, with his own publishing house. He’d already published some of Julie’s manga, upon his wife’s recommendation. They’d had a certain amount of success. Kitsune though was of the opinion that her new husband shouldn’t publish any more of his daughter’s work.
“Don’t you think that rather smacks of nepotism?” she said, “Besides, it can’t do much for her personality being exposed so young to the public like this. You know, she’s already such a proud girl!”
Ah yes, Kitsune didn’t much like her new daughter, in fact she was completely adverse to having the girl around at all, thinking that she’d take away some of her husband’s affection. In the meantime she did all she could do to promote her own son’s work!
“Now, you should read some of Akio’s and Daichi’s work. They are very good and some of their manga have been acclaimed as poetically erotic by the best critics!” In point of fact though, the critics who’d acclaimed their manga were none other than Kisune’s brother and cousin.
Julie in the meantime try as she might, could do nothing to win Kitsune over to her. She was a helpful and obedient stepdaughter, but this only seemed to anger Kitsune more, until on the day of her 18th birthday, Kitsune ordered her out of the house, since she was an adult! Her father, when she appealed to him could only say: “This is for the better my girl! You’ve been all to haunty and proud thanks to your mother’s suggestion that I publish your work! It’s time you got out there and started living, instead of just taking advantage of me and my influence!”
So, she went to Padua, enrolled at the University, found herself a student’s apartment and a job waiting on tables.
Julie immediately began to make friends and her professors were impressed with her writing talents. One in particular liked her writing so much that he submitted one of her short stories to an editor, a rival of her father’s by the way, who was enthusiastic. The professor set up a meeting between the editor and Julie.
The editor, Francesco, was a brilliant young man, in his late twenties. He was not only very intelligent, he’d been able to create his own publishing house when he was nineteen, he was also very handsome and attracted all sorts of women around him. When he met Julie, he was not only impressed with her personality and talent, he also was smitten by her beauty. He immediately fell in love with her, but thought it would be better to keep his feelings a secret.
He told her that he wanted her to publish a manga based on the short story she’d written. They began to see each other every day, ostensibly to follow her work, he was impressed with her drawings and story line. He was also impressed by Julie herself so that soon his resolve failed him and they became lovers.
Julie wrote to her father daily and told him all about the project, but she never got a reply. Kitsune high-jacked her letters and encouraged her father to think that Julie was being proud and spiteful not writing to him. In the meantime, Kitsune read all Julie’s letters and she was outraged that the girl was having so much success.
She sent her brother and cousin to Francesco’s publishing house with her son’s mangas. Francesco was not impressed with the work and found them lacking in imagination but most of all he found them vulgar, little more than cheap pornography, which he told the two men right to their faces.
Julie’s manga was published in the autumn of that year. Kitsune, who knew when the manga would be published mobilized all her contacts in the world of art, publishing and distribution, pulling in personal favors, asking everyone she knew to give the manga bad critics and destroy all Julie’s and Francesco’s efforts to promote the story! She also did all she could to keep her husband away from the news that day, serving him coffee in bed, then seducing him. He never made it to the office that day.
Francesco realized that something was up. He knew his own aesthetic talents and knew that Julie’s manga was of the highest quality, so he published the first few pages on-line creating a direct link to his publishing house for orders. The public loved Julie’s manga and it was an instant success despite the bad critics in the newspapers.
The next morning, Kitsune went out to visit her sons. Her husband, looking for a notepad, found Julie’s letters in Kitsune’s desk. So he turned on his computer and went to visit Francesco’s web site. He was impressed with what he saw and asked himself how he’d ever doubted his daughter’s talents.
When Kitsune returned home he confronted her with the letters and the web site. The row that followed was terrible. Julie’s father asked himself how he’d ever let Kitsune so seduce him that he’d done everything she wanted him to do for all those months. Kitsune shouted and screamed stamping her feet, suddenly she turned into the witch she actually was. He kicked her out of his home and began divorce proceedings immediately. He also humbly got into contact with Julie, excusing himself for how blind he’d been.
The next day, Francesco and Julie returned to her home, where her father met them with great joy. A few months later, they were married and the two publishing houses merged becoming the largest and most influential publishing house in Europe.
Needless to say, they lived happily ever after…and Kitsune? She returned to Japan and made someone else’s live miserable.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Fairy Tale Prompt
Now the prompt!
Dive into the darker side of story telling and create your own fairytale where a step-mother causes trouble for the main character. By Anja.