Chapter 12: Best friends know what's best
~He said that she was not the right one, and that the other sister should try on the shoe. ~
The first thing Peyton did after finding out that Evelyn had been lying to him the whole time was call up his best friend in the whole entire world, Duncan Grand.
“Wait, what?! You’re actually being serious right now?”
Peyton sighed through the phone microphone. “Yes, Duncan.”
He stifled his laughter. “Alright, I’ll be there in twenty to do damage control.”
And true to his word, Duncan showed up at his door nineteen minutes later, a smirk evident on his face.
“You got tricked by a blonde.” He taunted.
Peyton sighed, again. “Yes, I know. Come inside before I throttle you.”
When they reached Peyton’s room, Duncan immediately took over the beanbag chair. Duncan, in case you haven’t noticed, treated everything Peyton owned as his own.
Peyton even remembered the first day they ever met, kindergarten in Ms. Cameron’s class.
“Watcha drawing?” a 5 year old Duncan had asked over Peyton’s shoulder.
Peyton looked at his drawing, a quite hideous interpretation of Ms. Cameron. Her head took up half the page, with no neck or body. Pink arms sprouted where her ears should’ve been and two gruesomely long legs came out where her neck would’ve been, too skinny to provide any real support.
The hair was a fiery red mass that made him look like he was setting her on fire. The blue eyes took over the top half of her face, no pupils or white, her whole eyes were huge blue circles. Her lips were orange and drawn out in a shaky smile that showed huge contrast between the dark purple color of her head.
“It was supposed to be Ms. Cameron.” Said Peyton, a plastic fire man’s hat almost falling off of his head.
“Is it not still her?” Duncan asked, confused.
Duncan grabbed a black marker, “Maybe I can help you fix it.”
They then proceeded to black out the entire page, drying out the poor black marker and getting blueish ink all over their hands and T-shirts.
Ms. Cameron had rushed them to the bathroom as soon as she noticed the catastrophe, definitely not happy with their antics. It took a whole roll of paper towels to clean them off, especially since he and Duncan ran around the classroom, refusing to be cleaned.
Peyton remembered that being his favorite day of kindergarten. Although, it probably wasn’t Ms. Cameron’s favorite day.
It also made him think about what his old teachers thought when they’d see his name on posters or hear his song on the radio. They knew him when he was a feisty little kid, and now he was internationally famous.
It made him think of what little kids he knew that could one day be famous.
Back to the present, Duncan was staring Peyton down with an amused glare.
“What?” Peyton asked, annoyed.
“I still can’t believe that she tricked you.”
Peyton let out a frustrated sigh. “Look, she knew the charms and she even brought me over to her house. She had the dress in her closet, and the shoes. How could she have not been my mystery girl?”
Peyton quickly glanced at Duncan from his bed, “You didn’t tell her the charms, did you?”
“No, of course not. Why would I want you to be back together with that witch? Sorry dude, but I never believed her for a second. I only pretended to for your benefit.” Duncan explained.
Peyton was starting to wonder just how much he himself had pretended to like her for his own benefit.
“Well, then how did she find out who my mystery girl was and gain enough black mail to get her to giveaway all her evidence of even being my mystery girl?” Peyton questioned into thin air.
“Evelyn is very convincing. Maybe she threatened her, I wouldn’t put it past the witch.” Duncan answered.
He was right, Evelyn was capable of many things, black mail and threatening wasn’t past her.
“But, then who is my real girl?”
“Dude, did Evelyn ever say her name?”
Peyton thought for a second. “No, she just said something like cinders. Maybe it’s like her default curse word nowadays?”
Duncan sat upright. “Cinders? Dude, you must’ve heard wrong. What kind of name is that?”
Duncan was right, it was probably nothing.
It was silent for a while until Duncan spoke up. “You know, at least you still have some grasp at her identity.”
Peyton gave him a disbelieving look. “We have nothing.”
“But we do know that she can sing. And, where do you find the singers in Dewar High School?”
Peyton smiled. “The choir room.”
“Fanny,” Cindy whined, “Why are you taking me to school so early? You know Tracy is going to punish me with long hours if she notices I didn’t put in a shift this morning.”
Fanny smiled mischievously. “Well, I have Varsity Women’s choir practice, and you need to practice for the Music Festival.”
Cindy groaned. “Fanny, I’m telling you for the last time, I don’t want to enter that stupid contest anymore. I’ve already heard Evelyn bragging about how her parents are going to make sure she wins. It’s going to be rigged.”
Fanny fake pouted and pushed open the choir room door. “But that doesn’t mean that you can’t try anyways.”
Cindy gave her an incredulous look. “Yes, yes it does.”
Fanny ignored Cindy’s logic and headed straight to the seats in a crescent moon formation, picking up her binder with her sheet music on the way.
Cindy had never been in the choir room before. Despite having a good singing voice, she thought the idea of actually singing in front of a crowd was terrifying.
(The masquerade dance didn’t count, she had a mask on. Technically, the crowd couldn’t hurt her if they didn’t know her identity.)
Fanny, however, loved choir. She was probably the most enthusiastic member there ever was. Her family has even donated a ton of money to the choir program.
Cindy never joined, not just because of her stage fright, but because Tracy would never let her. Tracy would never pay money to have Cindy singing on a stage, probably convinced that she’d scare half the crowd away.
Cindy sat in the back of the room whilst Fanny and the rest of the choir practiced. Apparently they had their musical coming up soon, The Sound of Music. Let’s just say that, as of right now, they didn’t sound very musical.
It took an hour until they finished (and Cindy wasn’t sure if they even improved or just got worse) and Cindy was as bored as Evelyn Queen in a library.
“So, what’d you think?” Fanny asked when she’d packed back up her sheet music.
“Umm . . . you could use a lot more practice.” Cindy tried to be honest.
Fanny laughed. “You don’t think I don’t know that? Why else would we be at school so early? This is why we need people like you or Mister Pop Star in here. All the good singers have stage fright or are too famous to care about a high school choir.”
Cindy nodded and made her way to the door. Hopefully Fanny had forgotten her reason for dragging Cindy there.
“No you don’t, come back here Cindy.” Fanny scolded and dragged her back by the collar of her jacket.
Cindy pouted as Fanny sat her down at the piano. Another fact about her best friend, Fanny could also play the piano pretty dang well.
Fanny played the starting notes of Stupid Boy by Keith Urban and Cindy almost let out a laugh.
You see, a couple year ago, Fanny had gone through an intense country phase. She was obsessed with country music. But, over the years, she’s slowly grown out of it. If you looked through her phone music, you could still see the remnants of that phase. Songs like this one riddled her phone.
But, Cindy herself was not a stranger to the song. Cindy liked all kinds of music, her tastes ranging from Taylor Swift to pop rock to show tunes.
“She was precious like a flower . . .” Cindy sang as much as the song as she remembered, which was quiet a lot seeing as to how long ago she’d last heard it.
When they got to the end of the long song, Fanny smiled and clapped. “That was amazing!”
Cindy laughed, she doubted it was that good.
Brian, the one from her theater class, was also in choir. He was also one of the few members in the choir. Him and a couple other choir members had stayed behind and were clapping along with Fanny.
“Your voice sounds really familiar.” Brian commented.
Cindy froze and remembered the dance. She’d sung a sing out loud in front of the whole school, no wonder her voice would be familiar. She couldn’t let Brian make the connection.
“Fanny, I think that it’s time that we go. We can practice some other time.” Fanny tilted her head in confusion and Cindy strained her next words. “I have to tutor you in the library, remember?”
Fanny caught on and nodded, grabbing her backpack from the floor. They glided to the door, but Cindy was soon knocked to the ground as a figure entering the class bumped into her.
You’ve got to be kidding. The universe must hate her.
Peyton helped her up and Cindy gave him a weak smile. As far as she knew, Peyton hadn’t seen her at the piano singing, so he didn’t know.
“You guys have to stop meeting like this.” Fanny said.
Cindy laughed halfheartedly and brushed off her jacket. “Yeah.”
Peyton, however, looked occupied. Duncan also had a look of concentration on his face.
“Hey, did you by any chance hear anyone in here singing? I was down the hall and I heard a familiar voice.” He looked strained and Cindy wondered if his mind had already made the connection to the dance.
Cindy shook her head. “Nope. Maybe you were just hearing things, Charming. You know, the fame might be actually messing with your head.”
Fanny gave Cindy a sly smile, “You know, Cindy, actually I think we might have something to tell-“
“Our history teacher.” Cindy saved quickly. “Yeah . . . um . . . we should be going there now actually. Come one Fanny.” Cindy dragged Fanny unwillingly away from the two boys and down a different hallway.
Wow, that was a close one.
“Fanny, why did you do that?”
She scoffed. “You have to tell him eventually.”
Cindy nodded. “I know, but not now. I want to wait until he doesn’t believe Evelyn anymore. If I tell him and he still thinks she’s the freaking messiah, I’ll lose any chance of him ever believing me. Just wait, please?”
Fanny huffed and crossed her arms. “Fine, but if you two ever do get together, even if I have to wait fifty years, you better introduce me to his friend, Duncan. He’s a good chunk of eye candy.”
Cindy sighed. Well, at least she dodged that bullet.