Skater Cinderella

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Chapter 17 (unedited)

I wonder what is being served for lunch today? I think as I walk to the exit of Miss R’s classroom. My fingers absentmindedly hold my mother’s necklace as I do so.

Today is... Thursday? That means... that we’ll be eating...

“So!” A voice chirps as I walk out of the classroom, causing me to have a-ahem-minor freak out.

“OH MY GOD! DON’T MAKE ME GO ALL NINJA ON YOUR ASS! I’M A DANGEROUS TIGER!” I scream, shutting my eyes and flailing my arms in a way that I hope looks like a ninja.

Yep. Only a minor freak out.

After yelling my ‘ninja’ noises that sounded more like a whale giving birth, and swinging my arms around as if I were a windmill, I freeze on the spot at the sound of doubling over. And by freeze, I mean standing on on leg whil the other is suspended midair and arms floating above me head. I peek open one eye, searching for any danger, only to see Will bend over, hands on his knees, cackling away like a Salem witch.

Okay maybe his laugh was more velvety... And smooth... And deep... And hot... And... Well...

He’s laughing at me so I won’t admit to any of that.

You saw nothing.

I instantly bring my arms and one leg down, straightening my clothes before clearing my throat awkwardly. Will laughs a little longer, all the while receiving death glares from me.

“That was ah-” He laughs again, but attempts to cover it up by faking a cough and bringing his fist up to gnaw on it. “-that was something.” He tells me, a boyish grin plastered on his face.

I groan and bury my hands in my face. “Ugh, I am such an idiot.”

Large hands wrap themselves around my wrists and pull on them lightly, causing me to slowly drop them from my face. I look up to see deep ocean blues staring back at me.

“You are not an idiot.” He tells me seriously.

I sigh in relief as my shoulders relax, glad that he chose not to make fun of me for it.

“You’re a dangerous tiger.” He says, a smug and amused grin growing on his lips.

I spoke too soon.

I groan and lazily stomp away, followed by a cackling Will.

That conceited jack wagon.

“Wow,” Will muses, catching up and falling into step with me as I walk to my locker, “you never cease to keep me entertained, Princess.”

I roll my eyes as I adjust the strap on my shoulder, intent on keeping Will from noticing the evident blush on my cheeks. “What can I say? I just live to entertain the Will Thatcher.” I mutter sarcastically.

“You know it.” He winks at me, causing the blush on my cheeks to become even more noticeable.

I roll my eyes yet again before punching him in his well defined bicep.

Well, that is a nice discovery.

“Calm down, Thatcher, I am not that infatuated with you.” I tell him playfully.

He scoffs and slings an arm over my shoulder. I turn my head and narrow my eyes at him as he replies. “We both know that you love me, Princess. When are you going to admit your feelings for me?” He replies, wiggling his eyebrows for effect.

I pretend to ponder this, placing a finger on my chin. After a few moments of me making this awkward pose and him looking at me with amusement, I open my mouth and give him a response. “When I admit to a secret love for Celine Dion.” I tell him with an innocent smile, shrugging off his arm and turning on my heel.

He lets out an exasperated sigh as I continue walking toward my locker. He catches up to me, draping his heavy arm over my shoulder again. “So, say I sing Celine Dion for you, would you proclaim your love for me?” He asks me mischievously.

My eyes widen and I quickly wipe it away, putting a bored expression on my face. “Um... no. Not even then.” I tell him, watching him for a response.

He smirks as we reach my locker, and I walk out from under his arm to open my locker. “Okay, Princess. Whatever you say.” He says in a ‘I-don’t-believe-you’ manner.

I roll my eye again as I do the code to my locker and open it up.

“So...” Will starts as I shove my books in the metal box and pull out the ones needed for my next class. “What did Miss Rayley want after class?” He asks me casually.

I raise and eyebrow at him and lean my shoulder against the locker, crossing my arms as I address him. “Why do you want to know?” I ask him.

He shrugs and inspects his nails as if they were the most interesting thing in the world. “I don’t know, just curious I guess.” He replies nonchalantly.

I nod my head slowly. “Yea... ah-hah... sure...” I reply sardonically, not believing him.

Should I tell him about the competition?

Don’t bring it up. You don’t need to panic unless he asks about it.

What do I do if he does bring it up? Lie and say I am not going, or tell him about my plan?

Good thing you don’t need to tell him anything as of now.

“Calm down, Princess, it doesn’t really matter to me.” He tells me, probably catching the guarded expression on my face.

“Okay...” I say, scrunching my eyebrows together as I try and think of something to lighten the conversation.

Maybe ask about the weather?

Great, Tessa. Amazing idea. Just ask about the single most awkward topic in the history of competitions.

Well what else can I talk about?!

Maybe food? Yea, I still don’t remember what the meal for today is! If today is Thursday, that means that we must be having-

“Anyways, are you ready for the skating bash this Saturday?” Will asks me, interrupting my thoughts.

Great. Just great. He asks me about the ONE THING I didn’t want to talk about.

Just freaking peachy.

“Ah... about that...” I mumble, scratching the side of my head as I strain to find the right thing to say.

I could tell him. What’s the worst that could happen?

He could end up snitching to Jill and get your mother’s few remaining photos destroyed.

Yea, but he wouldn’t do that right? He can keep a secret?

“What’s wrong?” He asks me, clueless to the debate going on inside of my head.

You know what they say, the only way to keep a secret is if the other person is dead.

What, so we kill Will? I would prefer not, thank you very much.

But it is easier to keep a secret if less people know. It is less risk of it getting out.

That thought finally decided it. I wasn’t going to tell Will. I know that if he knew I lied to him, he might just hate me, but I can’t risk the secret getting out. If Jill were to know of me even thinking of going, I wouldn’t want to think of the consequences.

“I ah, can’t go.” I tell him, internally wincing at how unconvincing I sound.

He scrunches his eyebrows together as I shift uncomfortable on my feet. “Why not? I thought you loved skating? What changed your mind?” He asks me suspiciously.

I sigh and conjure up the first thing that comes to my mind. “I, ah, am going to be on my period this Saturday... and I... don’t skate.. when I... you know...”

Oh God.

My period?!

Way to go, Tessa. Way to look like a freaking idiot.

He gives me one of those ’you-really-think-i’m-that-stupid?′ looks. “Your period? You are telling me, you are going to miss out on the skating competition that offers two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars, simply because mother nature is paying you a visit?” He asks me incredulously.

I laugh nervously and rub the back of my neck, looking down at the floor with a new found interest in my worn out converse.

My, what lovely converse I have.

They are so old and... worn...

“Princess,” Will says, stepping closer and hooking a finger under my chin. He tilts my head up so that I am staring into deep ocean blue eyes. “Please tell me the real reason you aren’t going.” He pleads.

I take a breath and open my mouth to respond.

Just tell him. Tell him and hope for the best.

“I have PSAT’s that day and I can’t miss it because I already missed the last ones because I skipped out on them to go to a skating competition.” I blabber out, internally slapping myself for spitting out yet another lie.

He considers this as his hand drops his hand, but makes no move to back away from me. “I see.” He says plainly. “Why didn’t you say that before?”

I audibly gulp as he still stands within a foot from me. “I... ah... was a little embarrassed... and... yea...” I trail off, wanting nothing more than for the floor to open up and swallow me whole.

I can’t lie to save my life.

“Princess...” Will starts, placing a hand on my cheek and looking at me with caring eyes.

Crud he saw through it. I’m caught.

Fracken Fudgeballs.

“You don’t need to be embarrassed around me. About anything. Am I clear?” He tells me in all seriousness.

Wait... he bought it?!

Fudge yes!

I nod my head, noticing that he had gotten just a smidgen closer. “Crystal.” I reply in a whisper, suddenly completely aware of him invading my normally strong personal space bubble.

“Good.” He says in the same voice, slowly coming closer to me.

What are we doing? Do I want this? Us? Do I want him?

Our lovely little moment-that would’ve been extremely awkward afterwards-was interrupted by the warning bell for the next class. I jump back about three feet, putting a good amount of distance between us.

Will glances around the hall before looking at me with a deep intensity within the depths of his ocean blues. “Tessa...” Will says before I quickly cut him off.

“Well! I have to go to class! And so do you! We both know that education is very important, so we had better get moving!” I rush out before practically dashing past Will and towards my next class with one thought on my mind:

What in the flying monkey bananas was that?!

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