Chapter 17: Cinderella lost more than a shoe
~ But the prince said, “I will go along and escort you,” for he wanted to see to whom the beautiful girl belonged. However, she eluded him. ~
Cindy was devastated. All of her worst fears had been reassured in one moment. Peyton had been using her – he never even wanted to break up with Evelyn in the first place.
God knows what would’ve happened if she hadn’t shown up to his house. He was probably planning some sort of big reveal at the festival. He was going to show the world what an idiot shed been. He was going to announce how stupid she’d been to believe him.
Well, maybe it wouldn’t have been something so large, but he had gone to great lengths to cover it up. He’d even staged a pretend fight with Evelyn to convince Cindy to even go to the festival.
As soon as she was off of Peyton’s property, she collapsed on the curb and let out a strangled cry. He had dug the nail even deeper when he said that he loved her. He was saying everything he could to give her maximum pain. He must’ve known that she loved him, even if she’d never even admitted it to herself. And he used that against her, taunting her with it.
But even with what was at hand, she needed a way to get home. She’d been planning to spend the night with Peyton (not in that way you horny teenagers) but that plan was obviously crushed.
She couldn’t call up Fanny, there was no way she could tell her what happened without breaking down even more. And there was no way she could crush Fanny’s feelings about Pendy.
So she did the natural thing and waited for a cab.
Ten minutes later, she finally caught a cab. Inside it was musty and one seat was a little sticky, but she couldn’t complain. She deserved the worst for falling for someone she knew she wasn’t right for.
She gave the driver her address and sat back in the seat. She’d wiped away most of her tears by then, so she didn’t want to break down again. She just had to wait until she got home and then she would let herself cry. There was no need to make this stranger feel uncomfortable.
“Do you want the radio?” The driver asked in a thick accent that she couldn’t place.
“Sure.” Maybe some music would cheer her up.
“There’s no way to describe your perfection, baby”
Cindy’s heart tightened at the familiar lyrics. “Can you please turn that down?”
“The way your hips move just right, oh it-“
“Turn it up?” he questioned. “Okay.”
“And now that you want my heart
Just know that you’re a work of art”
“Just turn it off!” She yelled at the driver.
“Okay, okay.” He defended himself as he turned off the radio, leaving the car in an awkward silence.
Peyton’s voice had threatened to push her over the edge. His singing about a girl that he liked just reminded him of what he did to her.
The car gratefully stopped at her house a couple minutes later, and Cindy handed him a couple bills before darting out of the vehicle, not even looking at the amount she was giving him.
She entered the house through the backdoor, not wanting to wake up her step-family and having to answer some unwanted questions.
“Good morning, Cinders.” Cindy was greeted with a sly smile as she entered the door.
“Ana, Drew, just let me pass. I’m not in the best mood and I just want to go to my bed.”
Drew pouted. “But then we wouldn’t get to find out how your night went. Evelyn informed us of what you did.”
Cindy was furious. “What I did? What about what she did? Evelyn and her pop star boyfriend were hatching a plan to embarrass me in front of millions all because I had the audacity to be nice to a total stranger at a dance. So don’t you tell me that any of this is my fault. If anything, you two should find a new idol, because Evelyn is only out for her own gain and she will never give you a chance at stardom.”
Ana tried to but in, “But-“
“No,” Cindy cut her off, “you two don’t even understand. Do you? All my life I’ve always done what you’ve said. Maybe it was because I was afraid of Tracy taking away my college money or maybe it was because I didn’t want to upset my father’s memory by being rude to you, but, you know what? I’m done. Whatever pleasure you two find in tearing me down, you can forget it, because from now on I am a cold and empty shell of a person.
“You, Evelyn, and Peyton all ruined my life, and I hope you’re happy now. I hope you found some sort of bliss because you succeeded. You smashed my heart and soul into so many pieces, I’ll probably never be able to fix them again. So, the next time you want to make fun of me – call me Cinders – go right ahead. You’ll just be talking to thin air.”
Cindy pushed past Ana and Drew, ignoring their shocked faces. They deserved all that came to them anyways.
All her life, Cindy was pushed around. She let Evelyn take her moment and she never even told Peyton who she was in the beginning in fear of the exact moment that she lived through less than an hour ago.
But Cindy was done with being pushed around.
When she got to her room, Cindy collapsed on her bed and immediately started to write. She wrote about everything she was feeling in that moment. All of her frustration and anger at what they’d done. The words spilled out of her like a waterfall. When she was done, she picked up her guitar and started to write the melody.
One hour later, Cindy had a song written.
Peyton was planning on embarrassing her at the festival? Fine. She already had a spot in the festival, so she might as well perform. But she was performing something a little different than what they’d planned.
“Cindy! I’m so glad I finally found you!” Fanny declared, popping up next to her locker. “How did you even get to school this morning without me?”
Cindy shrugged and closed her locker. “I walked.”
Fanny’s mouth fell open. “But you live like a forty minutes’ walk from the school.” Cindy shrugged again and Fanny pouted. “Okay, what are you trying to hide from me?”
“Nothing,” Cindy defended, “I’m just not in a talking mood right now.”
Cindy tried to duck around Fanny to walk away, but she blocked her with a red manicured hand. “Tell me.”
Cindy looked behind her and saw a disgruntled Peyton, running straight in their direction. “Cover for me!” Cindy ducked around the corner.
Fanny had no time to argue, because Peyton appeared only seconds after Cindy ran for cover.
“What brings you around these parts?” Fanny asked awkwardly and loudly.
Cindy sighed and risked a look around the corner. Peyton’s hair wasn’t gelled or styled, it looked like he had a bed-head, which wasn’t too bad of a look for him. His eyes had dark circles under them, like he hadn’t slept all night. His button up shirt was one button off and one shoe was untied.
All in all, Mr. International Pop Star looked like a wreck.
“Fanny.” He said breathlessly. “Have you seen Cindy? I really need to clear something up with her. Please, it’s important.” His eyes were so pleading and soft that Cindy almost believed his sincerity.
“Umm . . .” Fanny glanced Cindy’s way and she gave her own puppy dog eyes. “I think she’s in the choir room. You know, practicing.”
Peyton grinned through his exhausted exterior. “Thanks,” and then he ran back down the hall on his way to the empty choir hall.
Fanny turned Cindy’s way and gave her a judgmental expression. “Okay, you better tell me what the hell is happening between you two.”
Cindy sighed and fumbled with the zipper of her backpack. “He’s been lying about everything.”
Cindy’s eyes must’ve been tearing up against her will because Fanny’s body language softened and she pulled her in for a hug. “Tell me everything, Cindy.”
And, after pulling Fanny into the girl’s bathroom, Cindy explained the events of the night before.
“He did what?!”
Cindy nodded and furiously wiped away her tears, still mad at them for falling.
“That uneducated swine of a fucking son of a-“
She apologized, but her expression showed that she still had an infamy of curses to call Peyton Charming.
“Just, don’t make a big deal out of it, please. I’ve already dealt with it, and I don’t need you making a big scene in front of anyone. As far as anyone else is concerned, he and Evelyn are young and in love, it would be no use to call him out on what he did in public.” Cindy said quietly, crossing her arms protectively around her.
Fanny nodded, “Okay, but if I find him in private while he’s unprotected he is going down. No one hurts my best friend without facing the wrath of Fanny Goode.”
Cindy let out a small laugh and grinned, happy that Fanny was showing an effort to cheer her up.
“See, there you go.” Fanny commented. “Don’t let that stupid idiot of a man ruin you.”
Cindy smiled to herself. She had taken out most of her outlying anger towards him the night before anyways. The song she wrote was proof of that. She just needed to find a way to avoid him during the one class they shared, theater, and she’d be home free.
When Cindy entered theater and found that Peyton was already there, she freaked. It had already been hard enough to avoid him during lunch (she’s eaten in her favorite teacher’s classroom) but now?
She decided to take a seat in the front of the room, avoiding her and Peyton’s normal spot near the back. Peyton hadn’t seemed to see her enter, he was too busy writing in a journal of his. Cindy remembered seeing it from the few times she’d been to his house.
“Alright class,” Mrs. Hanson greeted them when the bell rang, “This week I need some volunteers to go work on the set for our competition play, Big Love. It seems that the advanced art class and woodshop are too busy on sets for the festival this Saturday, leaving us to make the competition sets ourselves. I need around five of you.”
Cindy immediately shot her hand up. If she could be one of the five volunteers, and make sure Peyton wasn’t one of them, she’d be safe from hearing his plead-full lies all week. She knew that if he tried to apologize again, she might cave.
“Okay, I’ll take, Gerard, Anna, Cali, Brian, and Cindy.”
Cindy sighed in relief, but maybe a little too soon.
“Can’t you add another number to the volunteers?” Peyton asked hopefully.
Cindy turned around and glared at him. There was no way she was going to let him get close to her again.
“Mrs. Hanson, I believe that adding Peyton to our group would only slow our progress. After all, he seems a little preoccupied with his festival on Saturday and all.”
Mrs. Hanson nodded, it was no secret that she disliked the festival for taking away her set builders. “Cindy has a point, Peyton. You can use the week to think about the importance of your grades versus your stardom.”
Peyton’s face fell and his gaze turned back to hers. His eyes were wide and pleading. He looked so sorry that Cindy almost believed it.
She turned back in her seat roughly and got up to follow Mrs. Hanson to the auditorium along with the four other students chosen to help, leaving behind Peyton Charming and his lies.