Chapter 7: Rebelling isn't a Prince's job
~ The Prince said, “No one shall be my wife except for the one whose foot fits this golden shoe.” ~
Peyton flinched as his father’s voice boomed throughout the building. He could even see the image of his father as he searched through the halls for him, smoke coming out of his ears and all.
“Peyton!” He yelled again as the door to the conference room flew open.
Peyton’s father looked angry. Well, angry was an understatement. His face was as red as a fire truck, which he assumed would be needed to put out the apparent fire in his head, seeing as he was a second away from spurting smoke from his ears.
“Yes, dad?” Peyton acted dumb.
The advisors around the table slowly rolled their chairs as far as possible from Peyton’s father. They knew from experience to stay far away from him when he was angry.
“Explain this to me!” He slammed a magazine article on the table.
Peyton casually picked up the article and looked at the front. It was titled ′Charming finds his Cinderella?′ and had a paparazzi photo of him and the mystery girl. Specifically him holding her arm as she tried to run away.
“Page three” his father glared.
Peyton turned to page three and saw immediately why his father was so raging mad at him at the moment. I was a huge article - complete with pictures - about the mystery girl and the fact that he’d chosen her to win his contest. And the fact that Peyton had asked the public with help in finding her.
“And . . ?”
His father was literally red in the face by this point. “We had a plan.”
“No, dad, you had a plan.”
He ignored the comment. “You were supposed to choose Evelyn Queen, the nice girl whose parents own the second biggest record company in town behind ours. It would’ve paved the way for a great partnership, Peyton. And you’ve just thrown it away for some girl you don’t even know!”
“I don’t care about some stupid partnership between the recording studios!” Peyton yelled at his father.
“Also,” he added as an afterthought, “Evelyn is a conceited bitch.”
“Peyton, you don’t know this girl! For all you know she’s just some crazy fan who wanted to win that contest.”
“But I do know her, father.” He countered. “I know that she was the only girl at the party who wasn’t trying to search for me, the only one who openly insulted my own music. She was kind and honestly different from everyone else there. She was real.”
“How far is a girl who is kind going to get you in the future? She won’t be able to get you farther in your career like Evelyn’s connections will.”
“No, “Peyton’s voice was level, “she won’t get you the things that you want for your career. I don’t care if the whole world forgot about me tomorrow, I’m the only one who has nothing to lose here, father.”
Peyton’s father looked shocked and then infuriated at him.
Peyton was just supposed to be the good little pop star. He would sell albums orchestrated by his father, sing songs written by his father’s staff, and do publicity stunts that would assure the rising popularity of his father’s record label.
Peyton wasn’t supposed to think for himself. He wasn’t supposed to realize that his father didn’t care about him, just the money that he made.
But he did, and that sure made his father mad.
“Boy, you don’t know what you’re saying. I’ve given you everything! Do you think that you would’ve gotten anywhere had I not owned this company? You are nothing without me.”
Peyton looked down. “Maybe that is true, but it doesn’t mean that I have to like it. Besides, this whole Cinderella business is probably going to get me more publicity than ever. Isn’t that al you’ve ever wanted?”
Before he could answer, Peyton pushed past him and slammed the door on his way out into the hallway.
He was literally shaking with anger towards his father and everything that had happened. Why couldn’t that thick-headed man get it through his skull?
Peyton didn’t care about the publicity and the deals that could come out of dating Evelyn.
He just wanted to control one aspect of his life for once. He wanted to take control of his own destiny. He wanted fate to be on his side for once.
Then he got the idea.
He quickly dialed Duncan’s number.
He answered on the second ring. “Hello?”
“Duncan, remember what you wanted me to do at school tomorrow?”
Peyton sighed. Let’s hope this isn’t the death of me, he thought.
“Get your printer ready, I’m coming over.”
Cindy woke the next morning to the shrieks of her sisters.
She got out of bed, but couldn’t get dressed since one shoe was missing. She always lost the other shoe, didn’t she? It took a full two minutes of destroying her room to find her shoe.
(Which was hiding under her bed might she add)
She tidied up her room and headed for the kitchen, where she prepared breakfast. She had just plated the pancakes when Ana and Drew came rushing into the room, both already dressed and ready for the day.
That fact scared Cindy. The step-monsters were never up early on a weekend. They never even got dressed before they got food in their small stomachs.
“Cindy,” Drew started with a mouth full of blueberry pancakes, “we need you to leave the kitchen as soon as possible.”
“Yeah,” Ana continued, “Evelyn is coming over and she doesn’t need you stinking up her atmosphere.”
Wow, she thought, such a big word for her to use.
“Whatever, I was about to go to work anyways.”
Cindy went down to the basement and changed. She was about to leave her room when she heard Evelyn’s yelling through the paper thin walls.
Cindy prided herself in being a good person, but she let herself have this one moment of eavesdropping on their conversation. After all, what was the harm?
“. . . told me that Peyton would choose me! And instead he goes for . . .” there was a pause for a sniffle, “A . . . A nobody! Who does he think he is?!”
“Peyton Charming?” Ana’s voice drifted down the hallway.
“Oh, shut up!” Evelyn’s voice boomed.
Cindy took that as her verbal cue to leave. She dashed the other way down the hall, out the back door.
The last thing Cindy needed was Evelyn Queen finding her eavesdropping while she was in full beast mode. Cindy shuddered at the thought.
She walked to the coffee shop and thought about the girl Peyton chose. It obviously wasn’t Evelyn, which wasn’t too much of a surprise for anyone. Evelyn was a controlling personality who yearned for power. She could see how anyone, even celebrities, couldn’t stand her.
She felt sad at the thought that it most likely wasn’t her. She scolded herself immediately after thinking that. How could he choose her? He didn’t even know who he was choosing.
She also felt that the competition had been rigged, though. Someone had told Evelyn that she’d be picked, someone close to Peyton.
Cindy wished that she could tell Fanny of the strange mixed feelings that she felt. But Cindy knew that Fanny wouldn’t understand. No one could understand.
She just hoped that the whole dance would be erased from her memory sooner rather than later.
Too bad that Monday morning after the dance she was woken by the shrilling screams of her step-sisters.
“Cindy! Where’s our breakfast?”
Cindy sighed and rolled over in her bed. She had not slept well that weekend. Not at all. It was always too cold, then too hot. Her stomach had been queasy and her head had hurt worse than ever.
“Almost there!” Cindy yelled back.
She rolled out of her bed (literally) and got together clothes for the day. She threw on a pair of skinny jeans, black converse, a tank top, and her favorite light blue hoodie.
Of course, her step-mother disapproved of her whole outfit almost every day.
She walked into the kitchen and took out the cereal. Soon there were three bowls of cheerios, each with a slice of fruit next to them. Her sisters came down the stairs not long after that.
“Cinders, about time you got up.” Drew sat down at the counter and started to eat her breakfast.
“Yeah.” Ana agreed.
Cindy sighed and ate her cereal as quick as she could. She had woken up late, which meant that Fanny would be there any minute to take her to school.
Now, you might ask why a perfectly able to drive eighteen year old girl like Cindy didn’t drive herself to school, and the answer was simple. Tracy didn’t think it was worth it to buy Cindy her own car, a waste of money that could be spent on more sushi.
(Tracy’s words, not her own.)
Cindy was just putting her bowl in the sink when she heard a distinct honk from outside the window. She rushed to the door, grabbing her backpack form the floor along the way.
“Good Morning, Cindy!” Fanny greeted her with an over exaggerated smile when she entered the car.
Cindy was cautious of her friend’s newfound enthusiasm. “Which One Direction member accepted your friend request?”
“No, not that,” Fanny pulled out of Cindy’s driveway, “did you not see the news, or a magazine, or go on any sort of social media?”
“No, Tracy took my phone after she thought that the patio wasn’t sparkly enough. I told her that the patio wasn’t supposed to be as sparkly as the glitter on her eyelids and she put me under house arrest for the week, the only exception being school, of course.”
Fanny started to bounce excitedly in the car, which was something she did often when she was keeping a huge secret and wanted to tell me really bad.
“Okay, spit it out.” Cindy said.
“Spit what out?” Fanny acted dumb.
“What did I miss? And why wouldn’t you just tell me straight out?”
Fanny chuckled. “Oh, you’ll just figure it out at school.”
Cindy sighed and they spent the rest of the ride in silence. Well, if Fanny singing along to every song on the radio as loud as she possibly could counted as silence.
When they got to school, Cindy realized that this secret might be bigger than she could’ve possibly realized. Especially considering that there were two news trucks parked outside the school.
“Fanny, did someone at the school win the lottery or something?”
She just grinned and pulled me after her into the school, but not before I heard a glimpse of what the reporter was saying to the camera.
" . . . Charming surprised the world at his welcome home dance last Saturday. He released out a statement saying that the girl who won his contest was none other than the mystery girl who he brought up on stage minutes before she fled the scene. Peyton is setting out a citywide search for this girl, even offering rewards for information on her identity. It seems that Hollywood’s biggest heartthrob is now stuck on his mystery Cinderella. Also . . .”
Cindy was rushed into the school before she could fully process what had happened. A citywide search, for her?
That was when she saw the flyers. All around the school there were light blue papers stuck on lockers, windows, and bulletin boards. They all advertised the same thing.
Are you Cinderella?
Want to prove that you’re the girl that sang with Peyton Charming at the dance?
You dropped a charm bracelet on your hurry to get out.
Name the four charms on the bracelet correctly to prove your identity.
I’ll be waiting Cinderella.
The stupid flyer was complete with a cutout of a girl with a huge question mark on her head under the title.
Cindy reached to her wrist in a panic. The bracelet wasn’t there. She briefly remembered Peyton accidently pulling it off of her as he tried to keep her on the steps. He must’ve had it.
That thing was one of the last things she had of her mother’s and now it was being used to orchestrate some sort of contest for a pop star’s love.
“Fanny, what’s happening?” Cindy turned to her friend.
“You won the contest!” She whisper shouted.
Cindy looked around before turning back to her friend. “Go ahead and announce it to the whole school, why don’t you? Can’t you speak any quieter?”
Fanny frowned. “I thought you’d be excited by the news.”
Cindy scoffed. “Please, as soon as he finds out that it’s me he’ll probably say that the whole thing was a mistake. I’m not exactly his kind of girl.”
“I thought that you said that you guys had a fun time at the dance and that he liked that you were different.”
“Yeah, but I’m the kind of different that scares guys away.”
Fanny scoffed at Cindy, but didn’t say anything. Cindy hoped that meant she agreed and would keep her mouth shut about Cinderella’s identity.