Chapter 2: Step-monsters
~ They were beautiful, with fair faces, but evil and dark hearts. ~
Cindy still remembers the day that the step-idiots moved in to her father’s house. It was the day after the honeymoon and Cindy was around ten years old.
“Honey, I’m home!” Her father had called out to her.
She had ran to the door, only to fall back when she saw that he didn’t just have with him the wife he’d been talking about all summer, but two girls as well. One girl was holding a small fluffy kitten. She wasn’t fooled by its seemingly cute outside, its eyes were full of malice.
“Cindy,” he had said, “these are your new sisters, Ana and Drew.”
“Hello, I’m Cindy,” She smiled warmly at them.
The two had given her a strange look and one scowled at her, “We know already, it wasn’t like your father wouldn’t stop talking about you the whole ride over.”
Cindy still smiled brightly at the two, certain that they were just grumpy during the ride. She’d never been to Beverly Hills, where they came from, but had assumed that it was far enough away to cause them to be so grumpy.
“Cindy can show you two to your rooms and I can show your mother hers,” her father had said.
She kept her smile bright and showed them to their room, which was considerably smaller than hers. Cindy was, after all, her father’s one and only favorite.
Then, she started to notice, a little bit after her new mother moved in, that her father was spending more and more time with her new mother and less and less time with Cindy. She was jealous, who wouldn’t be?
“Don’t worry, Honey,” he had told her after she voiced her concern to her father, “you’ll always be my best girl.”
He’d also given Cindy her favorite bracelet. It was a simple silver charm bracelet, but it had been her mother’s. It had only four charms: One of a music note, for her father’s musical talents, another of an E (For her mother’s name was Ella, which also happened to be her middle name), one of a teddy bear, her favorite toy when she was little, and the last of a heart.
In short, it was the best thing she owned.
It was a couple weeks after that that her father became dreadfully ill. He stopped singing at the coffee shop and stayed home more often. He could barely get out of bed without feeling tipsy and whenever he did eat, he would only throw it back up an hour later.
Around four months of him staying in bed passed until he died. Cindy was moved into the basement a little after the funeral and her two step-sisters moved into Cindy’s room.
She was now eighteen, as were her step-sisters. Although, they weren’t the brightest for people who were technically adults.
Ana was nicer than Drew, but only because she was more naive and a little less like her mother than Drew. Ana and Drew weren’t very pretty, but they had their strong suits.
Ana was a red head while Drew had black hair. She used to joke with Fanny as a kid that they only followed Evelyn around in hopes that her beauty would rub off on them, but Cindy soon learned that Evelyn’s beauty didn’t go below the first layer of her porcelain skin.
Fanny, however, was pretty through and through. She always seemed to be there when Cindy needed her most, when her father died, when she sprained her ankle in freshmen year, and when she had her first heartbreak. She seemed to be there through all of Cindy’s falls, which she was thankful for.
“Cindy!” She heard her step-mother scream at her through her phone microphone, “Come down this instant and deliver my lunch. I’m outside with the girls.”
Cindy sighed. “Coming.”
Ever since the day Cindy moved into the basement, she has been the equivalent of her slave, figuratively and literally. She did most of the cooking, cleaning, and management around the house. Whenever Cindy wasn’t working at the coffee shop, she was cleaning the house.
She grabbed a plate of Tracy’s expensive sushi rolls from the counter in the kitchen and walked outside. It was supposed to be the dead of winter, but apparently LA had other ideas.
The girls were tanning by the poolside along with their mother. Although she didn’t think that you could get another tan over a fake orange spray on. Would it even show?
“Oh my god,” Ana talked with her sister, “I think Peyton will totally love my dress! He’ll totally choose me because of it.”
Drew looked at her sister, “Please, we all know that I’m the prettiest. My dress is also so much prettier than yours.”
“No it isn’t”
“Yes it is”
And they went bickering on and on. Cindy had to back out of the way when they stood up, causing her to trip over her step-sisters’ cat from hell, Lucy. In result, she ended up spilling the sushi on the pool tiles at their feet.
“Cindy!” Tracy yelled at her, “How could you?”
“Tracy, I am so sorry, but they were-”
“You honestly think that you can blame this one your sisters? What have they ever done to you?” Tracy scolded her.
“And, besides, “she added, “that fish was imported from Japan and that towel you spilled it on from Turkey. This is coming out of your allowance, Cindy.”
It’s not she got paid much in the first place.
“Now, go clean yourself off. I don’t like being seen with you normally, let alone when you’re covered in fish. We need to go get the girls their masks and shoes for the party on Saturday.”
“Yes, Tracy,” Cindy repeated the same phrase that was melded into her brain since the age of eleven.
“Don’t sass me.” She scoffed.
Cindy sighed and cleaned up the deck whilst the girls boasted on where they’d go with Peyton on the date when they won it.
It was an hour later when they had finally left the house and arrived at the mall. Cindy was only allowed to tag along so she could carry her sister’s bags as they shopped. And, she can tell you, Tracy literally let them shop until Cindy dropped under the weight of their clothes in her arms.
“Cindy, here’s another bag, don’t drop it,” Her step-mother threatened as she gave her yet another bag full of god knows what.
She was standing in the middle of the store with three bags around each arm and a scowl on her face. Cindy watched as Ana and Drew tried on a multitude of dresses, even though each had claimed that they already had their dresses.
And then, for a moment, she let herself imagine what kind of dress she would wear to the dance if she officially agreed to go with Fanny. The flyers all around the school said it was formal, which meant that if she did go, she’d have to buy a good dress, an expensive one at that.
The only dress she owned was an orange monstrosity that she was forced to wear whenever Tracy brought over company and forced Cindy to serve them their food like a waiter.
You might want to ask why Cindy even put up with Tracy and her devil spawns, and the answer is easy.
Tracy was how Cindy was going to pay for college. So, the more she complied with her, the better chance she got to go to college.
Cindy was hoping to one day become a famous singer, but that plan was on hold until she could get away from her current life. There was no way that Tracy would let her become anything worth a damn without claiming it all for her own.
Not for the first time, she wondered how much easier her life would’ve been if she had a regular family, with a real, caring mother. Or if she was born into a privileged family like Peyton Charming’s. Then she wouldn’t have to work for Tracy to earn her way to becoming a star.
“Cindy!” Drew screamed at her, “Stop spacing out and carry this bag, we have one more shop to go to.”
Yeah, it was one now, but twenty later.
She grabbed the other bag and followed them out of the store. Cindy saw them go into Victoria’s Secret and thought it best to wait outside instead of walking into that putrid store. She had never been in and never want to go in that store. It would feel awkward buying things in the midst of married men looking for anniversary presents and teenage girls with too much free time.
Cindy turned to go find a bench to rest on when she bumped into a body. Being the clumsy self she was, Cindy fell on her butt and dropped all the bags on the mall floor.
“I’m so sorry.” She hurriedly apologized.
“It’s no - hey aren’t you the girl I bumped into at school the other day?”
You’ve got to be kidding me. She though dreadfully
Standing right there in front of her was the wonder boy himself, Peyton Charming. He held out his hand for her to get up and she took it.
“Yeah, I guess we’ve got to stop meeting like this.” Cindy replied, avoiding his eyes and picking up all the bags she’d dropped.
He put his hand out for her to shake and she took it again, “I’m Peyton Charming.”
“I already know, how could I not?”
He looked a little taken aback by her harsh tone, but recovered quickly, “So, what’s a girl doing carrying so many bags full of,” he looked in one of the bags he’d picked up from the floor, “sparkly shorts?”
Cindy sighed, “These aren’t mine, they’re my step-”
“Oh my god! It’s Peyton Charming!”
She got pushed to the floor again as her sisters and a hoard of other teenage girls basically attacked the teen pop star in front of her.
She quickly grabbed all the bags she had dropped and backed away from Peyton and his admirers. She sat down on the bench she’d been heading for earlier and waited for a full thirty minutes until Peyton found it in himself to leave, causing the herd to disperse.
“Why didn’t you tell us that you met Peyton Charming?” Ana asked after they were all walking back to their car.
“Because, I just bumped into him, it wasn’t like I even talked to him for that long.”
“Right,” Drew commented sarcastically, “So, what did his voice sound like?”
“You are so useless, Cinders” Drew sneered.
Cindy sighed and packed all of their bags into the trunk of the car. By the time they got home, they were still talking about their encounter with the star.
Cindy locked herself in her room not long after that and turned her music up loud. That was the one upside of being forced to live in the basement, it was basically soundproof.
Fanny freaked out as soon as Cindy told her the next day at the coffee shop. She was no super fan like Cindy’s step-sisters, but she knew a celebrity when she saw one.
“You can’t be serious!”
Cindy laughed at her antics, “I am.”
“Does this mean that you’ve changed your mind and want to go to the dance?”
She sipped her lukewarm coffee and gave Fanny a confused look. “How does meeting him have anything to do with going to a dance meant to publicize him even more?”
“Well, I wouldn’t be lying if I told you that I did think about it.”
Her face immediately brightened, “You did?”
“Now, that’s not a yes, but-”
She jumped up from her chair and hugged Cindy overly tight. “This is going to be so much fun!”