Prince Charming sat nervously in the waiting room. After a short while, Dr Hexe walked in and invited him into her office. She was a striking woman, elegantly dressed in black. He entered her office, a dim room, lit by a brightly burning fire. Above the fireplace, there was an ornate mirror and, on top of a small coffee table, a vase of thorny roses. There was a bookshelf filled with old, dusty books, and a stuffed raven on a large wooden desk. In a corner stood an antique spinning wheel. The room was filled with the pungent smell of wood mingled with the fragrance of apples. Prince Charming sat down. Dr Hexe sat down opposite him, pulled out a pen and a notepad, and looked at Prince Charming sternly.
“Well, what seems to be the problem?” she asked.
“It’s a bit awkward,” he said. “You see, I’ve had three relationships now, but I haven’t found my happily-ever-after, despite always thinking that each of them was my true love. It always starts off well enough, but then, things change.”
“Things change? Like what?”
“Well, the relationship always starts off beautifully. She seems like the perfect girl. But, after a while, a different side of her is revealed.”
“My dear Prince Charming, if you want me to help you, you are going to have to be more specific. Tell me exactly what happened in these relationships. Apple juice?”
“Would you like some apple juice?”
“Oh, yes please.”
Dr Hexe stood and fetched the jug of apple juice. As she passed the mirror, she stopped and tucked back a strand of her long black hair.
“You know,” said Prince Charming. “That apple juice reminds me of my first relationship.
Dr Hexe turned slowly from the mirror and said softly, “What do you mean?”
“Well, I was dating the fairest girl I’d ever seen.”
Dr Hexe frowned slightly. She turned back to the mirror, and continued fixing her hair.
“Unfortunately, she was allergic to apples,” continued Prince Charming.
Dr Hexe smiled.
“As soon as I found out, the relationship was pretty much over. I love apples – apple tart, apple juice, apple stew, cider – you name it. But it wasn’t the fact that she was allergic to the apples. No, it was that she was so darn precious about it. Couldn’t even stand the sight of apples. She forbade me from having apples in the house!”
Dr Hexe finally turned from the mirror and said, “That does seem a little extreme.” She walked to her chair and sat down. “Does anything else remind you of your relationships?”
“That spinning wheel. It reminds me of my second relationship, with a beautiful girl called Dawn. She had this obsession with fashion. She wanted to be the next big designer.”
Another smile flitted across Dr Hexe’s face. Prince Charming carried on, oblivious. “Things were going pretty well until I bought her a spinning wheel for her birthday. You know, so she could make her clothes. Turns out, she is terrified of the sharp spindle. Thinks she might cut herself and bleed to death. Absolutely ridiculous, if you ask me. When she saw the spinning wheel, she nearly had a heart attack, collapsed to the floor, and knocked herself out.”
“Impressive. I don’t know many men who can knock a girl off her feet!”
“Haha – very funny. But it gets much worse. You see, shortly after breaking up with Dawn, I met Cindy. She was stunning! We hit it off pretty quickly, and things were going smoothly. I really thought that she was the one. Then I discovered that she hates cleaning. Absolutely hates cleaning. Now, I’m all for being the modern man. I’ll help with the cleaning and dishes. But she refused to even lift a finger! The relationship didn’t last long after we moved in together, and now, once again, I’m a handsome, lonely bachelor.”
Dr Hexe sighed, and began tapping her long, red nails on the arm of her chair. “So sad. Do you have any idea what your problem might be?”
“I don’t know. I suppose, they’re all too ‘precious’ really. I think I prefer a woman who’s strong, in control.”
“I see. So perhaps you prefer… bad girls?” suggested Dr Hexe.
“I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it.”
“Well, why don’t you think about it? “ said Dr Hexe softly.
“But, I… I want good girls,” protested Prince Charming.
“Do you? Do you really?”
“Yes! I’m good. I’m perfect! I’m the prince who rescues the princesses! I can’t possibly like bad girls.”
Dr Hexe smiled. “Why not? Bad girls like you.”
Prince Charming looked puzzled. “What? But they’re always in my way.”
Dr Hexe leaned forwards and murmured, “Maybe, they just want you to notice them?”
“Why would they want that?” Suddenly, a look of surprise crossed Prince Charming’s face. “What if…? What if I am attracted to the bad girls?”
“Well, why wouldn’t you be? I mean, look at me…”
Prince Charming looked at Dr Hexe. “Sorry, what did you say?”
“I… I said look at them. I mean, aren’t they often enticing? Enthralling?”
Prince Charming continued to stare at Dr Hexe. He looked around the room slowly, as if seeing everything for the first time – the spinning wheel, the raven, the apple juice. Realisation dawned across his face.
Dr Hexe got up and walked slowly towards Prince Charming. She sat down next to him, and stroked his face lightly. Prince Charming moved as if bewitched. His eyes locked with hers and, mesmerised, he slowly lent in to kiss Dr Hexe. Their lips met, and he pulled her closer. Suddenly, there was a blinding flash of light.
“That’ll stop you once and for all from riding off into the sunset with a princess,” said the doctor triumphantly. She closed her notepad and put her pen away. She walked out the room laughing, leaving behind a croaking frog on her desk.