Not Another Cinderella Story

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Chapter 15: The Evil Queen has an Evil Plan

~ The prince told him to send her to him, but the mother answered, “Oh, no, she is much too dirty. She cannot be seen.” ~

Peyton was over the moon.

He’d never felt this way about a girl before. Believe it or not, his only real relationship had been with Evelyn back when he was a freshman. Everything after that were arraigned publicity stunts with other stars and the occasional model.

In fact, he was pretty sure that if he just showed his father the kind of girl Cindy was, he’d immediately find her just as perfect as Peyton did and this whole thing could have a happy ending.

But, of course, the rational part of his brain crushed that fantasy.

There was only one way to get his father to be okay with Cindy. He liked girls with talent and connections? Well, he was going to give Cindy just that.

“You want me to what?” She exclaimed.

They were currently in theater, the day after she’d officially told him that she was his real mystery girl.

“I thought I was being clear.” Peyton titled his head in confusion.

Cindy sighed in frustration. “You can’t be serious. I can’t do that at the Charming Records Music Festival. I’ll never win.”

Yes, you heard right. At the end of the year, which was only a couple weeks away by now, his father wanted Peyton to sponsor a music contest. The contest was to get a new face signed onto the record label, hopefully a pretty young one with a good voice.

Peyton was also absolutely certain that the contest would be rigged. He had no doubt in his mind that after the merger with Evelyn’s parent’s record company, they were planning on Evelyn herself becoming their next big artist. It would explain why she was so confident that she could leach her fame off of him and launch her own career, even without her lies spreading about him. Their parents were already planning it.

But Peyton had something else on his mind. Somehow, he needed to find a way to make Cindy perform, expose Evelyn for the monster she is, and have everything go back to the way it should’ve gone after the dance.

“Sure you’ll win, your voice is amazing.”

She scoffed. “I only want to perform, not win. Besides, you’ve only heard me once, and that was a couple months ago.”

“And so did everyone else, they all heard your voice.” He pushed.

Cindy looked confused, so he tried again. “They know what my mystery girl sounds like. You sound like my mystery girl, Evelyn doesn’t.”

Her mouth turned into a big O as she slowly understood. “So, if you get the public on your side, maybe they can discredit Evelyn before she even tries to discredit you.”

He smiled. “Yep, I’m a genius, aren’t I?”

Cindy laughed and punched his arm playfully. “Sure you are.”

“But we still need proof of what she did.” Cindy pointed out after a long silence. “I’m the only witness, besides my family of course, but why would they help me? They’re the ones who told Evelyn about me in the first place.”

“Yeah, why did your sisters do that anyway?” Peyton asked.

Cindy almost laughed. “They aren’t my sisters. They’re my step-sisters. My stepmother hates me, so they hate me. Tracy thinks her daughters are golden, and I stood in the way of them getting their big break with you.”

Peyton gave her a shocked look. “She thought that I would’ve chosen them if you hadn’t gone to the dance?”

“Yep, they can do no wrong her eyes.”

Peyton laughed. “I wouldn’t have chosen them; not even close. I was specifically looking for a girl who I had actual things in common with. I don’t think the twins and I share any similarities.”

Cindy thought for a moment. “You guys kind of have Evelyn in common.”

Peyton gave her an are-you-kidding-me stare. They both laughed again at the awkwardness of the situation.

Mrs. Hanson addressed the class, “Keep working on your new assignments, I just need to make a run to the copy room really quick. If there is any horseplay when I get back, you will get a detention.”

But, as soon as she left, the whole class just took out their phones and started to get lost in their screens. This is what will always happen if you leave students on their own in a school with a strict no phones policy.

Peyton and Cindy didn’t pull out their phones, though. They stayed in their conversation, not even reaching in their pockets.

“Hey, superstar.” Brian greeted as he pulled up a chair and sat in between them at the table.

“Umm, hi?” Peyton said uncertainly.

“I happened to have ease dropped on your conversation earlier, and I think I have something that might help.” Brian said slyly, sliding his phone across the table.

Cindy was stunned. “Wait, you know that I’m-“

“Yes, I was quite surprised actually.”

Peyton couldn’t speak and Cindy was speechless. How had he found out about Cindy being the real mystery girl, and if he could find out, surely it was just as easy for anyone else?

Peyton furrowed his brow. “You know the truth, and you didn’t tell anyone?”

Brian scoffed. “I’m not a total jerk. Besides, you guys could use this information much more than I could.”

Brian opened his phone and started to play a video. It was centered behind the outdoor bleachers, focused on Evelyn and him.

Cindy was listening intently and blushed furiously when he defended her without even knowing who she was. Peyton was glad that she didn’t think he was creepy for liking her before he knew her identity.

“You were spying on me?”

“That’s not the point.” Brian defended. “The point is, you have evidence against Evelyn. Anything she says can be countered by this video.”

Peyton was ecstatic. They had video evidence of Evelyn threatening him and admitting that any rumors that she might spread were lies. This was exactly what they needed.

“Brian, this is amazing!” Cindy basically squealed.

“Wait a second,” Peyton got suspicious, “why are you even helping us? I thought you hated me.”

Brian shrugged. “Sure I do, but I hate Evelyn even more. I’ll never forget the first grade.”

Yes, first grade. Evelyn had told Brian that she liked him and then she told him in front of the whole class that it was a joke and that she’d rather kiss a seal. She was just as much of a spoiled brat when she was six as she was now.

“So, you’ll willingly give us the video?” Cindy asked uncertainly.

Brian nodded. “All I want out of it is to see Evelyn brought off of her high pedestal.”

Peyton smiled. “Great, now let’s hatch a plan to take her down.”

Evelyn Queen prided herself on many qualities, including the ability to twist others to her will against their own.

Maybe that was why she was so angered when she found out that Peyton actually acted on his childish feelings for that stupid Cinders.

Controlling him was supposed to be easy. She held all the cards and yet he still defied her.

This called for some drastic measures.

There was a small chance of Evelyn becoming famous without Peyton’s help. It didn’t matter to her if it was through a relationship with the pop star or through a dramatic sob story of the ‘monster’ Peyton really was.

She just craved fame.

She should’ve fought for Peyton back when he left school to become famous. Of course, she hadn’t known then that he’d actually make it. He was only one young teen in a sea of people trying to make it big.

Evelyn remembered the day he told her that he was leaving school to go chase his dreams, and do what his father wanted him to do.

“Evelyn,” he had said, “my dad thinks that I have a real shot at making it. And, if I’m going to be a real singing star, I’ll be jumping around a lot from place to place, meaning that I won’t have time for school. He wants me to quit school, which would mean breaking up with you.”

She had been stunned. “But, Peyton, you can’t do that! We can stay together!”

His eyes had been pleading with her, “Evelyn, you know that long-distance relationships don’t work anyways. I don’t want you to meet someone else and then feel tied down by me.”

“You know what? You’re probably not even going to make it, Peyton. I’m the best thing that ever happened to you and you’re just going to throw that in the trash because your father ‘thinks’ that you’ve got what it takes. Well listen here, Charming, just because you post singing videos on YouTube and your father owns a big record label doesn’t mean that you will be any better without me! Just know that I won’t be here for you when you come crawling back to me!”

After that he had walked out and slammed the door on her. The next day he left school and by that time next week, she heard his first single on the radio.

Okay, so maybe she had been wrong and she probably shouldn’t have been so hard on the guy, but she was feeling emotional.

But after he decided to come back to Dewar high to finish the last half of his school year in an actual school instead of being homeschooled, Evelyn found her chance. If she just got him to apologize, they’d be back together again and she could jumpstart her career from him.

And then Cindy Woods had to go and just ruin it all for her, didn’t she?

Now, don’t misjudge her yet. Evelyn may be using controversial means to grab her chance at stardom, but she isn’t a total monster.

Evelyn was also trying to save Peyton. Dating Cinders would be media suicide, dating a rising star would promote both of them even more. He didn’t really want Cindy, he wanted the idea of her. He was just being a bit delusional.

Evelyn was planning on curing him of his delusions soon enough.

“Ana, Drew, I need your help.” Evelyn said as they sat in the back of Pre-Calculus.

The two sisters looked all too excited to do whatever she needed.

“Cinders just might be getting us too much trouble. What can I do to completely crush her spirits and maybe even destroy her ludicrous feelings for my boyfriend at the same time?”

They thought for a second, Ana biting on the eraser of her pencil.

Drew suddenly lit up. “We can convince Peyton that you’re his Mystery Girl and take all the evidence away from Cinders.”

Evelyn slapped Drew’s arm. “We already tried that you imbecile. That was Plan A, we’re trying to think of a Plan B that will hurt her even more.”

The three sat there for almost a full five minutes thinking of ideas. Just when Evelyn’s head was starting to hurt from the overthinking, Drew had another idea.

“What if we tell Peyton that you lied and it’s not actually Cinders?”

Evelyn groaned. “Drew, it’s already too late for that. She’s told him the truth. She knows specific details from that night, of course he believes that it’s actually her.”

Ana spoke up, “How about we do something that convinces her that Peyton actually stills likes you in a romantical sense and have her witness it. She’ll be devastated and give up any hope of Peyton ever liking her in the first place. Cinders has a couple self-esteem problems, it would work out perfectly. And, best of all, she won’t want to come out as the mystery girl if she thinks Peyton is a lying bastard.”

Evelyn was stunned. “Ana that idea isn’t totally horrible.”

She shrugged. “I saw it in a movie once.”

Drew nodded, “Yeah, it was a good movie.”

An idea was already starting to form in Evelyn’s head of what would happen. Yes, if she just controlled a few variables and such, she would be golden.

“Ana, Drew,” she smiled slyly, “I think we have some work to do.”

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