Four months later, Red did not celebrate her birthday with her Granny.
They did not go to market where Granny allowed her to pick out a brand new dress pattern or a small trinket that took her fancy.
Instead, she woke up, alone.
Peter was gone and there was no telling when he would be back…
Five miles away in their court district, Peter had retrieved the court license, which he and Red had signed the night before.
Peter was nearly home with the officiated document that stated formally Red was legally his bride.
Despite the feelings of dreaded guilt he felt for his behavior the last year, Peter was actually excited to be heading home to his wife…
Mmm… what lovely children they would make…
Feeling his blood heat, he rode home in earnest, urging the horse to ride faster.
In the middle of the forest, near the fork in the road, Peter rode by a deserted camp fire and a mysterious blue light.
The blue light happened to be a fairy.
“Where are you going?” She asked with a smile.
“Home” he said, “I have returned from the courts to file a license of marriage.”
The fairy smiled. “Who is the lucky bride?”
Peter smiled, wondering vaguely if he should say.
“Red. Red Riding Hood.”
The fairy winced. “I see… I am very sorry for you”
“Why is that?” Peter asked, his heart pounding; he’d been an ass, but he’d never forgive himself if Red were hurt.
“Why? I love her!”
“You may believe that, now… sooner or later she will turn on you.”
“Why would she do that?” Peter asked, confused.
The fairy shook her head. “Dear Peter… she is the daughter of the Dark One”
What? Peter thought in a panic. What had he done?
“I see she never told you.” The fairy winced, glancing at the license as if it were diseased.
“Best wishes on your marriage, young Peter…”
I’m not so sure about that… Peter thought to himself, feeling better about his own actions.
How could Red never have told him of her heritage?!
He threw the license into the fire, and continued home.
Red had some explaining to do…
Red enthusiastically met Peter at the door, nearly throwing him off of his feet.
“So, how did it go? Did they accept the license?”
Peter, not having the heart or stomach to crush her hopes, nodded.
“Yes, yes of course…” Red continued to chatter on happily, even as they climbed into bed that night as man and wife.
She snuggled up to him and settled down to sleep.
In the dark of the night, Peter watched Red sleep.
How could he marry her? She never told him who she was!
And their children… would they too be dark…?
He rolled over and tried to sleep.
Two weeks passed, and Red still had the belief that they were man and wife.
Peter felt that someday he would feel better about what he’d done.
As the days passed, Red never questioned about the license, where it was, or what happened when he rode home.
A year after they were happily married, Red started to feel ill.
In the mornings her stomach would feel queasy, and she wasn’t able to keep anything down.
Peter noticed this and insisted that she stay in bed.
“But who will cook your supper?” she asked.
“I will get some as I am out.” Peter smiled, kissing her forehead.
Red nodded reluctantly, watching as he left, and then fell into a fitful sleep, not knowing she had received a visitor...
As his daughter lay sleeping, Rumpelstiltskin watched Red, a frown on his face.
She looked sallow as if she hadn’t gotten much rest.
“Sleep well, young one” he whispered, kissing her hair.
Rumpelstiltskin decided to pop in on Granny Lucas.
Apparently the matron had heard him from a mile away.
“What do you want, imp?” she groused.
“For you to write your granddaughter and tell her to return home.” The imp answered curtly.
Granny looked at him, turning from her position of pulling turnips from the garden.
“What for? She is happy with her husband” Granny spat, still hurt that her granddaughter left.
The imp stared at her, not saying anything.
“What? What has that wastrel done to my girl?” Granny barked.
“One, he has not fulfilled his oath to marry her” the imp growled.
Granny looked at him confused. “She wrote me… he went to the court and retrieved the license…”
The imp shook his head, clenching his fist.
“You mean they…?” Granny asked, feeling the environment spin around her.
“Yes. That’s not all” he hissed.
Granny feared the worst was yet to come…