Danielle stared hard at the princess, wondering if she was hallucinating. Henry noticed and asked, “Dan, is there anything wrong?” “Oh- no.” she stammered, wondering what her older brother would say if he knew the truth. “It’s just, uh, it’s just, I invited that girl over to spend the night but I’d forgotten- Hey, Helena!” The elegantly dressed girl turned to Danielle. “Shall you help me get back to my palace?!” There was an uncomfortable silence. “Err- Helena, let’s go.” Danielle said, trying to change the subject. They walked the rest of the way back in silence. Danielle’s parents, being used one (if not both) of their children bringing home a friend or two for dinner, weren’t surprised when they saw Helena walking home with Danielle and Henry, but during dinner Henry kept giving her strange looks, and when, in the middle of dinner, Helena got up and announced that she would now retire to her private quarters and would somebody please show her the way, her parents looked rather worried.
That night, nobody slept well. The princess kept getting up and complaining to Danielle’s parents that the sleeping bag they’d pulled out for her wasn’t warm enough, the night-light she’d insisted she desperately needed wasn’t bright enough, and literally something about everything in the room until about 1 in the morning when she finally fell asleep. Danielle lay in bed awake, staring at the ceiling, and listening to the snores of the sleeping beauty on the floor beside her. She wondered how they were going to get Helena back in time, when she was the only one who really knew where she was from. When she had gone back in time, there had been a sorceress to help, but nowadays people didn’t believe in witchcraft and sorcery, and no one would believe her tale. Danielle sighed, rolled over, and fell asleep.
In the morning, Danielle tried to sneak out of the house to the library to check out new books and renew Once Upon A Fairy Tale without being seen, but Helena, of course, followed. “Where dost thou goeth?” she asked, attracting several strange looks from passers by. “To the library,” Danielle responded, walking up to the bright yellow door and opening it. “You can get books here.” “Labery,” Helena repeated. Danielle practically flew to the fiction section. She knew that in regular time she’d been gone just a day, but she’d spent a week in a book with no libraries, and that, to a book loving girl like Danielle, was forever. Helena followed her. “Danielle, when may I travel back unto my home?” She didn’t sound bossy or arrogant, just lonely. Danielle felt a bit sorry for her. “I’m sorry, Helena, I don’t know how to get you back to your castle. But there are pictures of it in this book.” She handed the princess Once Upon A Fairy Tale, and her library card. “Maybe it’ll make you feel better.” Danielle walked over to the next shelf and was just picking up a book, when she heard a whoosh, and a pop, and the sound of a book falling to the floor. She put down the book and raced back to the place where Helena had stood just a moment before. There was nobody there. Once Upon A Fairy Tale lay facedown on the floor. Danielle picked it up, looked at the illustration - and grinned. In a picture of the throne room of a palace, standing before a rather stunned looking king and queen, was a delighted looking princess, holding a New York City Public Library library card.