Chapter 10: The Evil Queen prevails
~ With her mother standing by, the older one took the shoe into her bedroom to try it on. ~
Peyton was starting to regret his decision to interview the girls in the school to find his mystery girl. Like, seriously regretting it.
For one, he was pretty sure he’d seen some of these girls yesterday. They thought that if they put on different clothes and guessed different totally random charms that they’d miraculously guess correctly and get to go on a date with him.
Also, his mystery girl had still failed to show up.
“Lighten up, Peyton.” Duncan said. “She’s bound to show up eventually.”
Peyton sighed. “Maybe.”
“Look on the bright side.” He put an arm around Peyton’s shoulders. “No one can resist a pop star.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.” Peyton whispered under his breath.
He’d had his fair share of girls (and boys) willing to do anything for him. One time, a girl gave him a burn book of every celebrity that had ever dissed him, claiming to want to murder them all for him.
Of course the police had gotten involved, and it turned out that she had been a crazy fan. A crazy fan who had a couple actual mental disorders that could’ve driven her to actually murder those people, or at least try, if he wanted her to.
It sometimes scared him what lengths people would go to for recognition from other people.
Evelyn rounded the corner and put on her biggest paparazzi smile as soon as she saw him. He’d been avoiding her as much as possible, he didn’t need her trying to change his mind about the contest.
“Hi, Evelyn,” Peyton forced a smile.
She looked around at all the girls waiting in line to tell him that they were his girl and shooed them away. “Oh, you girls can go now. Peyton’s already found his mystery girl.” A couple actually left, but the rest were confused.
“No I haven’t. What do you mean, Evelyn?” Peyton said slowly. Maybe she was going a little mental.
She showed her sparkling white teeth my way and giggled. “Why, me of course!”
He resisted the urge to scoff. After all, he had promised to himself that he would give all the girls a fighting chance, even if that meant having Evelyn embarrass herself in front of the whole school.
“Then what are the four charms on the bracelet you dropped when you ran away from me at the dance?”
There was no way that she could know the charms. He was just going to go back to interviewing random girls and she would go back to using her connections to-
“A music note, the letter E, a Teddy Bear, and a heart.”
He was in shock, so was Duncan, who he’d told all four charms in case someone came up to him with the correct answer. Was she really his mystery girl?
Peyton coughed to hide his amazement. “That’s correct.”
She smiled. “Duh. I just can’t believe that it took me so long to tell you!”
Then she practically tackled him with a hug. Evelyn Queen was not the type of girl to hug people, so this was kind of a surprise. Peyton remembered her as a heartless monster, not a carefree teen.
“Wow,” he pulled away from the hug, “you just seemed so different at the dance.”
She actually blushed. “Yeah, it’s been, like, so long since we really talked to each other. You were gone for a couple years, I’m a totally different person. That’s why I ran, I didn’t think that you’d believe that it was actually me under that mask.”
Peyton doubled back. Evelyn was actually worried? Wow, maybe she had changed.
Though he was still doubtful, there was no way he could reject Evelyn after such a publicized search to find her. For now, he had to believe that she was his mystery girl.
“Cindy, you can’t be serious!” Fanny scolded her after Cindy explained the whole ‘Evelyn-is-pretending-to-be-Peyton’s-mystery-girl-just-to-spite-her’ situation.
“It was horrible. Tracy made me tell her specific things that Peyton and I talked about and even gave her the dress you made me.” Cindy said.
They looked over to Peyton’s locker, where Evelyn was hanging all over him and flaunting her charm bracelet to every girl that walked by. Cindy’s bracelet. It hurt Cindy more than she cared to admit to see Evelyn wearing her mother’s bracelet.
“But what are the step-demons and step-devil going to get out of Evelyn winning that stupid contest?”
Cindy scoffed at the thought. “Evelyn promised Tracy’s Band a record deal and she told Ana and Drew that they could be her backup when she leeched off of Peyton’s celebrity status.”
Cindy looked back over at the lockers, Peyton was laughing at something Evelyn had said.
God, was it supposed to hurt this much? She thought.
Fanny forced her to look away. “Cindy, why did you even let them do this to you? Why didn’t you stand up for yourself and refuse to give them anything?”
She sighed. “Fanny, it’s not as easy as you think for me to fight back. Ever since my dad died, they’ve been bullying me around and telling me that I’m not worth a damn. It’s almost impossible to go from that to actually standing up to them. Besides, Tracy controls whether or not I go to college. She owns the coffee shop, and therefore she owns my paycheck. And lord knows that she won’t give me a penny of her own money.”
Fanny slouched. “I don’t like your decision and I hate the fact that Evelyn Queen has my dress, but I won’t fight you.” She paused. “But if I ever figure out that they break up I’m shoving your ass his way. It doesn’t matter if he’s halfway across the planet on a world tour.”
The bell rang and they were forced to leave their comfortable spot next to the air conditioner in the hallway. In fact, one of the only working ones in the building at the moment.
By the time Theater rolled around, Cindy was quite sick and tired of every student gossiping about the fact that Peyton’s mystery girl was none other than his ex-girlfriend.
She was starting to debate whether or not throwing certain kids out the windows was legal.
“Man, I bet it was all some big setup” Brian preached to the class before the bell rung, and before Peyton had arrived. “I mean, what are the chances that his mystery girl was his ex? Yeah, none.”
Man, Brian didn’t know exactly how right he was.
The bell rang right as Peyton ran through the door, barely making it without getting a tardy pass.
“Thanks for joining us, Mr. Charming.” Mrs. Hanson said as she handed out scripts to the students who lost theirs.
Peyton immediately walked Cindy’s way, ready to partner up for another day. Cindy was, however, still plotting a mass murder, and couldn’t be bothered by pop stars at the moment.
“If I pay you money, would you go away and partner with someone else?” Cindy wondered aloud. “I’m not having the best day and I’m currently plotting the death of at least ten of the students at Dewar High. If you don’t want your name at the top of the list, I suggest slipping quietly into the shadows and never talking to me again.”
Peyton smiled. The jerk actually smiled at her openly admitting that she hated him.
“You know, I doubt you have enough money to pay me off, I’m quite rich, and my body guards and about a million teenage girls will tackle you if you even lay a finger on me in attempted murder.” He pointed out.
“So? What’s with your chipper attitude anyways?”
He gave Cindy a ‘are you serious’ look. “Haven’t you heard the news?”
She scoffed. “Oh, right. An international pop star finds his ‘mystery girl’ and suddenly the whole world should bow down and have a celebration?”
He tilted his head in confusion. “You don’t think that Evelyn is really my mystery girl?”
(Oh, yeah. Actually, your mystery girl is sitting right in front of you, you dumbbell.)
“She has enough connections to fake it. I wouldn’t put it past her. And, besides, you broke up with her for a reason, why would she be any different a second time around?”
She seemed to have hit a nerve. Peyton was actually taken aback by her words. This made her smile. Maybe she was doing something right.
“People change.” He argued.
“Yes, people change, Evelyn Queen isn’t a person. She has no soul.”
He looked at her again. “You don’t seem to like her that much, do you?”
She scoffed (which was now becoming a habit in the presence of him) “Let’s just say that she ruined my life and stole the only thing I had going for me since my dad died.”
That shut him up.
Of course, it probably wasn’t fair for her to mention her dead father, like she was rubbing it his face. It was like she was holding a big neon sign: My Dad is dead, pity me! But, it also wasn’t fair of him to be so dumb and blind not to see what was right in front of him.
“Anyways, let’s get back to Shakespeare.” Cindy decided that she’d rather get an A than to be pitied in silence any longer.
Peyton stuck to rehearsing the lines for most of the period, which upset Cindy much more than she’d like to admit. Maybe she shouldn’t have been so rude.
Cindy finally got tired of the awkward air and threw down her script.
“Look, if you want to date Evelyn that is fine with me. Just please don’t mention her while I’m around. Maybe she has changed.” Cindy knew for a fact that Evelyn hadn’t changed, not one bit, since Peyton’s absence and return. If anything, she was worse. But Cindy also knew that if she was to ever find a way to conceive to Peyton how much of a witch Evelyn was, she’d have to gain his trust first, which she couldn’t do with awkward theater exchanges.
Peyton looked up from his script. “Okay, but only as long as you agree that we are friends.”
“Look,” he sighed, “I might be a pop star, but I don’t have many friends. And, besides, I think your disdain for me and my career is the perfect foundation for a friendship.”
Cindy seemed to consider this for a moment. Being his friend would mean that she would be spending more time with him, which also meant that she might have to be around Evelyn and see her flaunting Peyton like he was a toy.
But, if Cindy was around him more, maybe she could find a flaw in Evelyn’s stance for being his mystery girl. Maybe she could tell him the truth . . .
No. There was no way she’d tell him the whole truth, he wouldn’t believe it. She at least wanted him to know that Evelyn wasn’t his mystery girl, he deserved as much.
“Fine, Pretty Boy,” Cindy put her hand out for a shake, “just know that it doesn’t make me hate your girlfriend or your career any less.”
He smiled and took her hand. “Perfect.