Chapter 1: Bumping into royalty
~ And because she always looked dusty and dirty, they called her Cinderella. ~
Fairytales are sometimes better than reality.
Or that was just what Cindy Woods thought to herself as she dropped off table two’s orders and went back behind the counter top of Tracy’s Coffee shop to deliver more coffee.
Today was a school day, but that didn’t stop her horrible step-mother, Tracy, from ordering that Cindy go to work in the morning.
Cindy worked at Tracy’s lovely coffee shop (Note the sarcasm). Believe it or not, it was visited by most of the morning commuters and students in the area. Even in LA, some small businesses could find a way to stand out in the crowd.
Back when her father was still alive, the coffee shop was the talk of this part of town. It was lively and even had live music by some of the best bands in town.
Now the only band that plays is Tracy’s Girls. Yes, her evil step-mother was in a band. They were horrible, the worst band ever, but you kept your mouth shut if you wanted thirty percent off on your coffee. It was the step-devil’s way of getting people to see her band play.
Thankfully, her band only played in the afternoons. She also owned the joint, which meant that surprise performances weren’t uncommon.
Cindy sighed as she remembered how great of a singer her father had been. He’d sing at the coffee shop some mornings and it actually brought more people in instead of scaring them away. She always liked to think that his good voice was also something that she’d inherited from him, but she could never even start to compare her voice to his.
“Here’s your cappuccino,” Cindy smiled at the current occupants of table nine.
Cindy already had the evil step-mother, so fate decided to gift her with the twin step-sisters as well. Ana and Drew were horrible, mean, and not too easy on the eyes. They were also the loyal dogs of Evelyn Queen, the meanest and prettiest girl in school.
Ana and Drew were only slightly popular because of Evelyn. They basically got their popularity from hers. She kept them around because they constantly complimented her and gave her expensive purses for her birthdays. Evelyn was only popular because of her parents, who owned a record label in town.
They were also sitting at table four.
Cindy got the extra coffee ready for table two as the news played in the background on the flat screen behind her.
“I’m right outside of Dewar High School, where Teen pop star, Peyton Charming, fresh from his most recent world tour, is about to attend. Following a paparazzi jump where he told the public that he was going to go back to his roots for the second half of his senior year, it seems that he’s actually going to do it.
“The infamous Peyton Charming will also be hosting a masquerade ball this Saturday with a lucky girl having the chance to win a date with the heartthrob himself. So, all you fangirls out there, get your Peyton t-shirts ready!
“Also, the pop star will be hosting a music festival at the end of the year. The best performer of the night will win a record deal with Charming records.”
She looked at the TV in dismay. With an international pop star going to her high school, she knew that she’d get no peace and quiet this half of the year.
Why did he even come back? It was already the second semester of school.
Cindy sighed before going up to the girls to get their order. This was never the best part of the day. “What are your orders?”
“Umm,” Evelyn smirked and looked her way, “Do you have anything that has no sugar, no carbs, and is fat free?”
Was she serious?
“Water,” Cindy smirked back, copying her facade.
She gave Cindy a mean look and flipped her hair over her shoulder. Ana and Drew copied, hoping to win the affections of Evelyn. They were always competing to be her better friend.
“Fine, I guess we’ll be leaving then now.”
That was strange. They never ‘just left’. Was the universe giving her a break? Was she actually going to get off unscathed today?
Cindy turned to go back to the counter, but instead bumped into a delivery guy carrying bags of flour. Her butt hit the floor hard as white dust fluttered around her face. Cindy coughed and rubbed flour out of her dirty blonde bangs and out of her brown eyes only to open them to a bright flash and a click of a camera.
“Looks like that one’s going to be all over school tomorrow, huh, Coffee Girl?” Evelyn says, safely behind her bedazzled phone.
“Yeah, Cinders.” Drew sneered and her sister huffed.
When Cindy was twelve years old, a couple years after the step-monsters moved in and a couple weeks after her father died, she was moved into the basement. Apparently she didn’t deserve a room upstairs because she never finished her chores on time.
The thing about the basement is, it’s stuffy and the heat doesn’t work down there. But there is an old fire place. On cold nights, such as the one in question, she would sleep next to the dead fire to warm her body up. She’d ended up waking up with ash all over her body, so the step-sisters called her Cinders as a clever play on her name.
She guess the nickname just stuck, much to her dismay.
The three girls left the coffee shop, still complaining about how they got a little flour on their shiny new shoes, right afterwards. Cindy sighed and helped the man clean up the flour.
By the time she was able to get most of the flour out of her face and hair, Cindy’s best friend, Fanny Goode, was here to pick her up.
Fanny Goode was the most honest and the nicest person you’d ever meet. With her white blonde hair and striking green eyes, she was stunning.
“Oh my god, Sweetie, what happened to you?” She said, gesturing towards Cindy’s white tinted clothes.
“The step-sisters and little Miss Queen Bee, that’s what happened.”
Cindy brushed off a little bit of flour from her shoulder and tried to roll down the window, but it wouldn’t budge. Fanny was perfect, but her car sure wasn’t. It was old, rusty, and beaten down. She swore that one day it would break down in the worst possible moment.
When they got to school they saw that the entire marching band and the cheerleaders were waiting at the front doors.
You’ve got to be kidding.
It was no secret that the pop star was going to school there, Cindy just didn’t think that the student body would make such a big deal out of the guy - it wasn’t like he was royalty.
They pushed their way inside the building and looked back out the glass doors when the band started to play. A Mercedes rolled up with none other than Peyton Charming as its driver. The hoard of girls outside immediately surrounded his car and Cindy had to hold back a little gag.
It wasn’t that Peyton wasn’t cute. Peyton’s wild black hair and strong build made him hot by any girl’s standards. It was just that she hated how rich and conceited people always got to walk on a red carpet while average people had to roll out the carpet. Cindy already had enough time living with the step-monsters to get tired of people like him.
So, Fanny and Cindy decided to just walk to their lockers and avoid the guy and his crowd all day. It was, after all, the best way to go through another year without being noticed.
“Come one, Cindy,” Fanny begged her once they made it to their lockers, “It’ll be fun! I mean - how often do you get to dress up and pretend to be something you’re not for a night?”
“Fanny, In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t really like parties. I especially don’t like parties that will include Evelyn and her entourage. And, besides, Tracy will definitely find something horrible for me to do on Saturday night anyway.”
Fanny wined and closed her locker, “But I already ordered my dress and our masks. I’m definitely not going alone.”
Cindy grabbed her books for her first class out of her locker and started walking with Fanny to their classes, “I’m just saying, it’s just not the kind of - Oh my god!”
Cindy bumped into a person, a hard person. Her books went spilling all over the floor and she groaned in annoyance.
Why does the universe hate me? She thought.
She picked up all her books, but accidently grabbed the other person’s schedule. Cindy got up to give it to them, but when her eyes meet theirs, she was at a loss for words.
Now, Cindy wasn’t some super fangirl who owned every CD and whose wall was covered in posters, but she was still a little star struck to have bumped into mister Prince Charming himself.
“I’m so sorry,” he said.
I’m used to it. She added to herself.
He held her gaze for a moment longer before being pulled away by none other than Evelyn. Evelyn seemed to have gotten the flour off of her boots, while Cindy probably still had a mountain of the stuff in her hair.
“Hey, Peyton! Aren’t you happy to see me, we haven’t talked in forever.” Evelyn said while holding onto his arm.
“Yeah, sure,” Peyton replied looking a little uncomfortable with her assertive position on him.
In case you’re confused, back in freshmen year, before Peyton’s career had really kicked off, Evelyn and he had had a thing. He broke it off so he could go on his first world tour, which infuriated Evelyn after he became big. Evelyn was the type of girl who couldn’t survive without having power, and Peyton Charming was the perfect source.
“Come on, Cindy” Fanny dragged her away from the scene of the crime.
When they got to their first class, she couldn’t help but to turn to Cindy in admiration, “So, how was it like to bump into someone famous? Did he rub off any of his stardom on you?”
“Fanny, I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.”
She sighed and turned to the front of the room, “I still think that you need to go to the ball. You might even win the contest!”
“Like I would want to actually win,” she says, “We all know that the ball is only on so Peyton can find a new girlfriend while he’s off tour.”
“You’re still going, no if, ands, or buts.”
Cindy sighed. She’d never been fond of the pop star, but, then again, it wasn’t his fault his ex-girlfriend was crazy and his fans were all either star struck teens or crazed preteens.
God, she hoped this wasn’t going to be a huge mistake.