#7 She is different from others
There was no one at the place where I was supposed to pick the guest.
I drove along the road and stopped as I heard the shouting.
“Looks like she’s broken something,”
“What’s going on?” I reached one of them and asked.
“It’s a stupid girl who ran straight to the slippery road in her high heels,” he explained to me, “we tried to warn her, but she thought we were attacking her-”
“Go away,” he stopped as we heard the shout. “Go away...get away from me!”
I froze at the voice.
It’s very familiar for me; it was the same voice that disturbed me when I was at the canteen.
“Give me my USB...”
...and the same voice that interrupted my class.
“Why did you reject my application?”
I put the bike on the stand and ran to the edge of the road.
There she was at the very down, trying to move back as the guys were trying to get her out.
I closed my eyes for a moment.
Of course, who else would take the wrong way into the riverside and end up like that? Who else wouldn’t know something as basic if it’s not the princess!
“Move back, I will help her up,” I told the guy next to me as I moved down.
My body is aching all over and I couldn’t move.
I watched in horror as all the guys were closing on me.
I never thought I would die like this.
I tried to crawl back; I don’t care if I fall into the river. I really don’t want to die in their hands.
“Cinderella, stay still, don’t move,” I heard a voice but I inched back again.
“Cinderella!” I heard it again and my heart skipped a beat.
I looked around with my tear-streaked face; I blinked back the tears and looked straight into the warm and kind eyes of...
“Mi...chael..?” my voice cracked and he nodded.
“Are you alright?” He asked me and I threw my arms around him and started to cry.
“Micha...el...Save me...I...I can’t move...I can’t...I am scared-”
He was frozen inside my hands as I cried my heart out.
I was shocked as I felt her hands around me, she was hugging me tightly and sobbing like a little kid and I suddenly wanted to protect her.
“Relax...” I placed my hand on her shoulder “look, I will help you to-” I stopped as I felt her jerk slightly and falling back to my hand.
Her eyes rolled up and she was turning blue.
“Cinderella!” I shouted as I shook her.
“She...I think...She’s having an asthmatic attack, search her bag, there must be her inhaler!” I shouted as the guys ran frantically.
“Cinderella, look, don’t worry, you are safe...you are safe...don’t worry,” I keep on repeating as one of the guys appeared with the inhaler.
“Here it is,”
I took it and held it for her and gave her two puffs.
She looked struggling to breathe for a moment before she took her breaths.
I sighed in relief.
“Is she okay?” The guys asked me as I carried her out of there. “She’s still unconscious,”
“She is breathing, I am sure that she will wake up in no time,” I told them. “But can you arrange an auto or a car for me to take her back? I can’t bring her back on my bike,” I said.
“That’s easy,” one of them took out their phones.
“Thanks a lot for helping me,” I nodded at them.
The guy in front of me laughed. “Michael, we are glad to help,” he said. “Just take good care of her,”
“You know my name?” I am surprised now.
“Who doesn’t know the genius of our place who had the perfect score all throughout the school,” he smiled, “but I should admit that I am surprised, I never thought you will have a girlfriend,”
“Err...um...she’s visiting my sister,”
I don’t know what I should tell them.
I looked down to see Cinderella clutching my shirt tightly even as she was sleeping. I was holding her closely and her head rested against my chest.
It won’t be convincing to deny that she’s my girlfriend in this kind of situation.
Hopefully, nobody’s going to know about this anyway...
I opened my eyes slowly and my eyes reached the only moving object in the room.
So it was not a dream?
I smiled slightly as I watched him pacing up and down the room, looking anxious.
Michael is worried about me!
“You...” he noticed me and stopped. “Are you smiling now!?” he asked me incredulously.
“You saved me.” I said, trying to get up.
The blanket fell down and I saw the shirt that I was dressed in.
My face burned red.
Michael changed me! Wow! Just like in the movies!
“How can you smile in a situation like this? Do you know that your stupidity almost cost you your life!?” he moved to me and I looked at him shyly.
“Did you change me?” I asked him the obvious question.
“What!?” he looked confused for a moment, and then his face morphed to shock as he realised my question.
“No...No...No...No! Don’t misunderstand, it was-”
“How are you feeling?” I heard another voice coming and turned to the door.
A young woman came to the room.
“I am Jenni, I am sorry; I should have sent you the location. How are you feeling now?”
What’s going on? Professor Abraham said that I should reach Jenni’s house, but then what’s Michael doing here?
I looked around.
“Where am I? How come you came for me?” I am totally confused now. I looked at Michael.
He looked like he’s finally back to his senses. He looked calm and collected.
“This is my place, I took you here since it was easier,” he said calmly. “And this is Jenni, I am her guardian, She took care of you when you were...um...sleeping,” he said.
“You got it wrong, Mike,” Jenni gave him a look, and then turned to me.
“Cinderella, I am Jenni, Michael’s elder sister,” she told me.
What! Then I was supposed to teach Violin to Michael’s niece and nephew!?
and here I thought Michael doesn’t have any relatives!
“Cinderella?” I came back to the present as I heard his voice and realised that Jenni is still holding her hand out to me.
I shook her hand and smiled back, “Nice to meet you, Jenni, Please call me, Ella,” I said.
“Okay, Ella.” she had a warm smile and a firm handshake. I liked her instantly.
“Looks like you guys know each other well, Michael was quite worried about you when he brought you here,” she said.
I smiled happily at the information.
Michael cleared his throat. “She is my sub-junior, that’s all...” he said but Jenni ignored him.
“Professor Abraham?” I asked them.
“He is my husband’s best friend and like family to us,” Jenni said, “he is the one who said that you got lost at the riverside,” she stopped and I nodded.
My brain started to work slowly, piecing everything.
That’s how Michael reached there to pick me up...
“But where is he?”
He told me that he will be here.
“He waited for you a while you were sleeping, but it’s past two hours and he took the twins outside so that we could take care of you-”
“What!” I shrieked, “two hours? Did you just say that two freaking hours?” I removed the blanket and started to jump up, but pain shot through me.
“Aww...” I clutched my left leg.
“It’s sprained; you need to stay calm,”
“Stay calm!? My Mama is going to kill me! I need to get back by eight or she will never ever let me go out ever again!” I stopped as I saw Michael watching me with shocked eyes.
Don’t scare him off.
Men like gentle and beautiful ladies.
“Um...so what I mean is...” I said, smoothing my hair and trying to smile. “I need to go back home since there’s only half an hour left,” I looked at him.
Multiple personality disorder?
She just changed completely in front of me!
“I will take you home,” I said and she looked at me like a little kid with bright eyes.
“You will?” she asked me.
And there was something in her eyes that stopped me from voicing out my frustration.
“I promised the professor to drop you off...” I dragged.
“Thank you so much, Michael! You are saving my life twice today,” she said.
I waited as she was trying to get on her feet.
“Here, I will help you,” Jenni moved to help her.
“I am sure Michael will help me,” she looked at me and said.
It was such a casual tone, but I was taken aback for a moment, even Jenni looked surprised.
“You want me to help you?”
“Yup!” she chirped, “You are much stronger than her,” she told me as if it’s the most obvious thing. Jenni chuckled at that; she gave me a mocking look.
“I will open the car for you then,” Jenni said before walking out of there.
I didn’t voice my opinion and moved forward to help her.
“Here,” I offered her my hand and she looked at my outstretched hand for a few seconds.
What? Does she want me to carry her again!
I withdrew my hand to hold her elbow at the same time she lifted her hand to take mine, causing her to lose balance.
“Hey,” I moved in a reflex and supported her before she lost the balance completely. “Are you okay?”
I realised that I have just brought her closer and had her pressed to me while she had her fist tightened on my shirt.
My eyes met her’s and there was a moment when we stared at each other’s eyes.
“Ahem...the car is ready,” I took away my eyes as I heard Jenni’s voice from the door.
Cinderella let go of my shirt and balanced herself. I took her elbow as she limped forward.
It was odd to see her on my t-shirt that was loosely hanging on her sides.
She was wearing my unused three-fourth cargo pants, but it reached a little above her ankle.
Her dress was completely ruined and I know that she can’t use it now.
Jenni had arranged our own car instead of the one I used to bring Cinderella here.
I helped her on the steps and we reached near the car. She looked very happy as I helped her to get inside.
As soon as I closed the door, she rolled down the window and said goodbye to Jenni.
“I will introduce you to the twins the next time you come here,” Jenni promised while she waved at her. “Take care, Ella.”
Looks like Jenni has a liking to her...
I changed the gear and took the car forward.
“Wait! It’s the wrong way, I didn’t come through this road,” she exclaimed as I started driving.
I gave her a look before turning back to the road.
“It’s the right way, why did you take the longest and bad route to reach here?”
“The auto driver said that is the right way!”
“He tricked you,”
“What! I knew it! I knew that he was a cheat! He even tried to get Rs 500 from me!” she said incredulously.
“He must’ve known that it’s your first time hiring an auto,” I said.
“Ha! I hate cheating and lying, good thing that I dealt with him like that, I was feeling sorry earlier,” she said matter of factly.
"You dealt with him?” I raised my eyebrows.
“Yup! I didn’t give him Rs 500, I bargained and reduced it to Rs 350,” She said proudly.
I don’t know if I should laugh at her or not, she looked really happy to have “dealt” with his greediness.
“Well done, you just paid him Rs 350 instead of the normal charge, Rs 150, that’s quite impressive,” I said and she looked outraged.
“Well...ignorant people often get cheated and they make a big deal out of that,” I looked at her, “but in my opinion, It’s the ignorant people who are to be blamed, because they are giving others a chance to trick them, don’t you think so?”
She purses her lips and turned to the other side.
I smiled at her expression before she screamed.
“What is it now?”
“My Mama will faint if she sees me like this! Wait,” she took out her phone and dialled.
“Uncle Jose? Really! She’s not home yet! Oh...Thank you.” she said gleefully.
I waited till she disconnected and turned to me.
“Mich...Um...Senior Michael, Drop me here, I don’t want her to see you dropping me off at home if she checks the CCTV. It will be difficult the next time you come,” she smiled before stepping out.
“What...wait, next time? But-”
“Thank you so much for all the trouble today,” she smiled again.
I watched as a luxurious car stopped beside her.
She waved at me before getting into the other car.
Jenni was waiting with the kids when I reached back.
I guess Professor Abraham left after dropping the kids back.
“I didn’t know you were close with a girl at college,” Jenni smiled knowingly as soon as I walked out after parking the car.
“I am not close with her,”
“You talked to her as if she is very close to you,” she probed. “You were always formal and polite with others,”
“Cinderella is different from others,” I said and Jenni smiled widely.
“That’s exactly what I meant,”
“Uh...I mean, she always causes trouble, look at what happened today,”
“And you seem to put up with her,”
“I have no other choice in this matter; she is working with me on a project,”
“You would have kicked her out long before if you didn’t want her in your group,”
“I would really love to do that, Trust me,” I said.
“But you won’t,” Jenna smiled. “Because you have a soft corner for her, I could see that,”
And that was it. I just decided to not reason with her.
“Think whatever you want,” I shrugged and walked to my house.
“Uncle Mike,” I looked down to see Jiji holding a red stiletto heel, “Mommy said that Princess Cinderella left her shoe here,” she said innocently. “I too want to see Princess Cinderella,” she added.
I looked at Jenni who was still there in the sit-out of her house. She laughed at my expression as I tried to glare at me.
I sighed and took the shoe out of Jiji’s hand.
“Your Mommy is crazy,”
“But now I know why I was feeling slightly familiar with Cinderella,”
“Oh I forgot to mention that some guys brought your bike here and took their car back that you used to bring your girlfriend here,” she said before I entered my house. “Mike, why did you tell them that Ella is your girlfriend?”
I didn’t tell them that she’s my girlfriend! I just didn’t deny it when they said that!
“Mind your own business, Jenni,” I entered my house and closed the door in her face as she was laughing at me.
I smelled the clothes that I was wearing.
I smiled widely at the mirror.
I still can’t believe that I am wearing Michael’s clothes!
“Ma’am please, your Mama will be shocked to see you,”
“Just tell her I am asleep, I don’t want to come down,” I told my maid and she nodded uneasily.
“Don’t worry, I won’t go out of my room in this,” I assured her again.
My alarm beeped and I pressed it.
I opened my eyes and stretched.
I changed to my tracks and got ready for the morning run.
I started to move and-
“Ouch!” I supported myself on the wall before I lost the balance.
“Cinderella!” I groaned as I see her high heels on the floor that has tripped me.
She took my slippers as her foot was twisted and didn’t even bother to take her princess shoe with her.
Who does she think she’s anyway? Princess Cinderella?
Uh...she really is...
And just like that, all the memories from yesterday started to come.
What an eventful day it was!
I pity the guy she’s going to end up; He will have a handful to deal with!