Not Another Cinderella Story

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Chapter 5: Running away from prince charming

~ The prince approached her, took her by the hand, and danced with her. ~

Peyton hated the fact that Duncan was always right.

He means - why did Duncan have to know more about his own career than he did?

That actually doesn’t sound any better.

You see, Peyton had no idea how tonight was supposed to go. He was dreading having to announce tomorrow morning to the press that Evelyn had won the contest. Duncan’s solution? Announce a different name.

The only problem to Duncan’s plan was the fact that he didn’t really know any other girl who wouldn’t faint at the idea of going on a date with him.

(The last thing he needed was that)

(Though, picking Evelyn meant that he wouldn’t have to deal with fainting women)

You see his dilemma?

But there was one thing he was sure of: he was going to make sure that whoever he picked wasn’t crazy about him. He wanted someone who didn’t own all of his songs and did a back flip every time he spoke.

It was currently eleven and the dance had started two hours ago. People came dressed in gowns and silk dresses. Apparently his father wanted him to make the event a formal, memorable one.

Peyton himself was also in a tux.

Peyton hated dressing up.

Sure, he wore a tux almost every time he went to an awards show, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t hate the whole ordeal. When he won an award he was supposed to act happy yet humble. When he didn’t win he was supposed to look happy for the winner and a little upset at the same time.

He didn’t understand his father’s logic.

Why couldn’t he just be himself?

The speakers had been blaring music from his latest album, even though he thought that was kind of unneeded since the dance itself promoted him enough as it is.

But now, the cover band his father had hired was singing.

He watched as each girl looked desperately through the crowd so they could convince him to let them win a date with him, but failing miserably. That was probably the only thing that he liked about this dance:

He got to wear a mask.

People weren’t tripping over their own feet to meet him or clearing a pathway and rolling out the red carpet. People weren’t asking for an autograph or a picture.

Instead, people were pushing and shoving him whenever he tried to go places. People didn’t let him skip ahead in line or get to the punch first. People were being complete assholes.

And Peyton loved every second of it.

The only people who had recognized him so far were his father, Duncan, and the band.

He was currently leaning against the wall closest to the stage so he could watch the crowd for a girl to choose that wasn’t Evelyn. Which, in all honesty, was harder than he thought that it would be.

That was when he spotted the most beautiful girl walking down the staircase and onto the dance floor.

She was wearing a gold and silver dress, a gown if you will. Her mask matched that of the girl next to her, who wore a dress of dark blue. He watched as everyone in the room turned to face her. Even the band’s playing faltered. He could see, even from there, that she was uncomfortable in her heels.

When she reached the dance floor, people went back to their normal business. But Peyton could see that occasionally they would look back at her, as if to make sure that she was real.

He headed her way immediately.

“. . . but, what if they see me?” The girl asked her friend.

“They won’t, trust me. Those two are as bright as the polluted LA night sky during a new moon.”

“Excuse me, ladies.” Peyton inserted myself into their conversation.

The one in the dark blue dress gave him a warning expression. She had that If-you-do-that-again-I-will-kill-you attitude and he had to control himself from backing up a few steps.

Peyton cleared his throat and tried again. “Would you care for a dance?”

“I . . .” the girl in the gold and silver dress looked over to her friend in an unsure manner.

Her friend inclined her head as if to encourage her to take his outstretched hand. She blushed and put her hand in his.

The girl looked startled when he asked her to dance. Her expression of confusion told it all.

“You want to dance with me?”

Peyton was the one who was confused now. “Of course.”

He led the mystery girl through the edges of the party. When they reached a metal door, Peyton pushed it and they went through.

The door had led to a small pavilion. It was probably the only reason that he was okay with his father choosing the place. The pavilion was outlined with a garden full of beautiful flowers. The lights that snaked up the poles holding a wooden roof over their head were brilliant.

The girl was in shock, just like he had been the first time he’d seen it. He was glad they now had something in common.

“I though hat we were going to dance?” She asked tentatively, tilting her head in confusion.

“We are,” Peyton smiled, “but that place is too crowded with teenage hormones.”

The girl laughed and Peyton smiled brighter.

He felt bad for bringing the girl away from the party, she must’ve wanted to dance. So, he took her hand and rested his other hand on her lower back. The girl put her hand on his shoulder and blushed.

Not only was Peyton a superstar, but an incredible slow dancer. When you accidently get enrolled into the wrong class in middle school with a teacher as hot as the sun, you don’t ask questions. Though, he did learn quite a lot from those days in Mrs. Miller’s dance class.

“So, what’s your name, Mystery Girl?” He asked.

He could see her falter. What reason could she possible have for not wanting to tell him her name? It wasn’t like she was an international superstar who was trying to avoid the limelight.

“Umm . . .” The girl looked down indecisively.

Peyton smiled down at her and lifted up her chin. “How about I just keep calling you Mystery Girl? You don’t have to tell me your name if you don’t want to. Besides, I could be a serial killer.”

She looked panicked for a second before realizing that it was a joke.

“If you’re a serial killer, then I’m Peyton Charming.” She laughed incredulously.

Peyton chuckled uncertainty. Did she recognize him?

To cover up his suspicions he decided to play a game. “Then, seeing as we know nothing about each other, let’s play ten questions, Mystery Girl.”

Mystery Girl’s brow furrowed. “Isn’t it normally twenty?”

“Yes, but I have a feeling that my absence from the dance won’t go unnoticed for too long.”

She looked saddened by that information. Maybe she didn’t know who he was.

“You do actually go to Dewar High, right?” Peyton didn’t want this girl to turn out to be some creepy Peyton Charming fan who sneaks into all of his events.

She laughed. “That’s a silly question, of course I do. What about you? How do I know that you didn’t sneak in here?”

“Well,” he chuckled, “I would have to be a ninja to sneak past all the guards in the place.”

She gave him a quizzical look. “So then what makes you think I could’ve snuck in? I’m no ninja.”

“Obviously.” Peyton muttered under his breath.

She hit him in the arm. “I heard that.”

Already this girl was different from the others at the school. She wasn’t afraid of banter with a complete stranger and wasn’t frantically searching the crowd for him.

She sighed. “But it does seem silly, doesn’t it? All these guards and precautions all just because some pop star is hosting the dance. I mean – what’s the big deal?”

Peyton stopped dancing for a moment and took a step back. “You don’t like Peyton Charming?”

She shrugged her shoulders and crossed her arms. “I don’t know really, I haven’t met the guy. But all the fuss over him is stupid. He is just a person after all.”

Peyton smiled and took her hand to dance again. It was official, he wanted to know where this girl had been his whole life. She was amazing.

“Do you play any instruments?” Peyton asked out of the blue.

“Yes, I actually play the guitar.” She answered. “But God forbid I ever play it in the house, my family would have my head.”

Peyton chuckled. “I can play the acoustic guitar too, but my father has different visions about what I do with my free time. He believes that it’s a waste of my time.”

Mystery Girl gasped sarcastically. “Whatever shall you do?”

He smiled down at her. “Next question, given the choice, would you have a salad or a Big Mac?”

“Neither,” She said, “I could really go for some wings right now though.”

Peyton gave her a quizzical look. So she wasn’t like Evelyn and she wasn’t too messy. Just the type of girl he always wanted.

“Why?” She asked.

“Because you just eliminated about seventy five percent of the student body.”

Mystery Girl laughed.

“God, I feel like I should remember a smile like yours.” Peyton stared deeply into her eyes.

She faltered again. How was she not used to people being interested in her? From what he could pick up, she was amazingly funny and charming. But, yet, she turned away. “You wouldn’t. I’m not exactly the most memorable girl at Dewar High. In fact, I doubt that you’ve ever even looked my way.”

Peyton put his hand on her chin and made her face him again. “But I did look your way. And I think I like what I see.”

She blushed a deep shade of red and Peyton’s head started to lean in almost against his own will.

A shadow danced towards them on the wall. They heard the voice of a security guard yelling at them like they were robbers. Immediately they both ran back to the door from where they came, the awkwardness of the previous situation forgotten as they giggled like four year olds.

When they got inside they were still laughing. Peyton had never laughed so hard with someone who wasn’t Duncan or, well, he didn’t have many friends.

Then it seemed that he got a new idea. The band that was playing was a Green Day cover band that his father had booked for the event. Or, knowing his father, maybe it was Green Day.

He dragged the girl along with him to the front of the crowd. The song that they were playing was his favorite.

But as soon as they got to the front of the crowd, something horrible happened. The lead singer of the band suddenly stopped singing and doubled over. He groaned and two security guards dragged him off stage. A medic was brought to the man, he spoke to the guard, who grimaced at the man’s news.

“What happened to him?” The girl questioned.

Peyton sighed. “He’s been having stomach pains all day, I should’ve told him to go to the hospital earlier.”

If the Mystery Girl wondered how he knew about the band’s problems earlier in the day, she didn’t ask.

By then the guard had spread his news to the rest of the band, who all groaned in frustration. It seemed like they weren’t going to get their lead singer back.

He caught a sliver of their conversation: ” . . . and where’s that Peyton Charming when you need him?”

Peyton sighed. Perhaps this was his least favorite part of the job. He was always needed.

The crowd had started to get angry at the band by this point as well. They couldn’t dance without music. The band couldn’t play without their lead singer.

Peyton was debating whether or not to go onstage and sing when Mystery Girl did something uncalled for. She hiked up her dress and climbed onstage. The band was still arguing with the guard, so they hadn’t noticed her intrusion on the stage.

But the crowd sure did notice.

When the band members noticed her, Peyton knew he had to do something. He climbed up onstage after her.

He made sure to give her a look that suggested that she was crazy for jumping onstage, but he knew why she did, and then turned to the band. The band seemed to sit straighter in his presence onstage.

The band recognized him, even with his mask on. He’d been here almost before they had, so they probably were able to spot him out quite easily.

“I think I found your replacement, boys.”

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