I am SUCH Disney kid. I luv the Disney movies and Cinderella is in my top five (Mulan, The Little...
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My mom died of some sort of sickness when I was barely three so I barely knew her. My dad had to raise me. I had grown used to the idea of not having mother and could depend on my dad for anything at anytime.
He worked at home all the time, managing our home farm and teaching me how to, too. It was fun coming home from school and being able to get down to business of feeding the goats and then milking them, shaving the sheep and storing their wool, caring after the baby animals, and watching over the old, tired ones. The feeling of love was mutual between the animals we had – horses, cows, goats, chickens, and that unusual duck.
It was nice that way. We had a nice, cozy, pleasant life. That is, until my dad lost his mind and actually took a liking to another woman – a deranged woman. He started showing actual affection for Mai Cremaine, who he called his special angel when they were dating. My nine-year-old self was scarred. Mai and her daughters would act nice to me in front of Dad for show, but would reveal their absolute witch-like selves when he was up to ten feet away and out of earshot. I knew they were bad news and would have to deal with their bullying. I wanted them to go away and never come back. But of course, nothing can stop two people from falling in ‘love’ (though I could barely call Mai taking a liking to our famous farm and the publicity and money it gets us love), so they got married and – poof, like magic – I had a hideous stepmother and two equally hideous stepsisters apart of my family.
I’d always considered my dad as a smart man, but now, after I found out that he was actually going to go through with marrying that fallen angel, I’d had second thoughts… Sure out loud, I accepted that Mai Cremaine was now my step-mom, but inside, she’d be the old witch that was lucky enough to snag my dad. So legally, she became Mai Rella – she took my last name. Well, no, no, no! I was not going to accept that! When she told me in confidence to never call her ‘Mom’, ‘Mother’, ‘Mommy’, or ‘Ma’, she gave me permission for Lady Rella. Well, you can imagine what I did – I laughed right in her face. She was no Lady Rella and never would be. Even though I didn’t really know my mom, she would be the only ‘Lady Rella’ in my heart, not some manipulative wannabe trying to be the queen of our farm. So for me, it was either Lady Mai or – my preference – Ugly Toad (privately, of course)
Anyway, when I was eleven, Dad went on one of his runs to do a massive errand in Toronto. He would usually let me come with him, but this time he didn’t because it was getting a little gray and chilly outside. Dad didn’t want to take me out on the wet roads so he made me stay home with my ‘new family’ that hated me as much as I hated them.
I was counting down until Dad came back to put me out of my misery. It would usually take him between 45 and 60 minutes to get there, go through his shopping list, add extra sweets, and get back. It was supposed to be the regular old routine. Dad left at 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, but by 4:30, he was back.
Just a few minutes late, I told myself, no biggie.
But by 5:00, he still wasn’t back and I was getting worried – so worried, in fact, that I went to talk to Ugly Toad about it.
“Calm down!” she snapped as she flipped through some bills. “He’ll be back soon enough.”
But he never was.
We found out later that he had been in a car accident and hadn’t survived. I was – and still am – heartbroken. Ella and Anna were a little upset that they wouldn’t have another personal slave to wait on them like how their mother did, but other than that, they didn’t show any sympathy.
If Lady Mai felt anything in her heart, she didn’t show it. I had to beg her, convince her, complain to her, and threaten her to help me organize of funeral for my father and I was eleven.
Now I’m fourteen and treated worse than before because I was fatherless and no one even cared. My only source of true happiness was my old dog, Bruno. He was smart, though, and spent most of his time in the barn with the other animals for fear of coming in contact with Lady Mai, and the sassy sisters. He also steered clear of Lucy because he knew that if he did anything to him (which he really wanted to since she was always pestering him), he would be out of the picture faster than my father.
It was a shame that I was a lone prisoner stuck in this house. My only escape was the barn, which was smelly enough, so I pretty much had to wait it out in here and –
“Where’s my breakfast?” Anna demanded in the morning just as I got downstairs.
I rubbed my temples, already feeling a headache coming on. I had barely gotten four hours of sleep, studying and finishing up my homework. Now, the first thing I got when I came downstairs after a cold shower was the most irritating voice a girl could be given screeching at me for breakfast. What ticked me off the most was that she was literally a foot away from the refrigerator. Anna was leaning on the kitchen counter, waiting for me in front of the source of her food that would fatten her up even more, to fix her something satisfying.
“I just got down here, Anna,” I said, opening the fridge and peeking inside.
“I know!” Anna said with a narrow-eyed head shake. “Lazy, lazy, lazy! How can I get down here before you?”
I pulled out some milk and a bowl from the cupboard. “Cheerios or Frosted Flakes?”
She looked thoughtful. “Waffles.”
I sighed sharply and rammed the milk back into its pocket in the fridge and took out the box of waffles. “One or two?”
“Is it possible for you to stop eating?” I mumbled to myself as I got out the orange juice I knew she’d demand for later.
Anna hummed happily to herself as I fixed her breakfast up for her. She stopped a few times to comment on what a nice, long, interruption-free sleep she got and I found myself slumping forward with my eyelids pulling my head to the ground quite a few times.
“Here you are,” I said, pushing the plate of waffles into her hands.
Ella skipped into the kitchen and greeted Anna good morning. She turned to me with greedy eyes after spotting Anna’s good-looking breakfast. “I want that.”
“Of course you do.”
“What was that?” Ella asked, her ear twitching slightly.
In ten minutes, I had five pancakes ready for Ella’s never-resting stomach and served her. In less than ten seconds, the plate was shoved back at me and Ella made a disgusted face. “Never mind. I’ll take cereal.”
“What? Why?” I demanded, grabbing the plate from her angrily.
Ella pouted a bit. “I don’t feel like waffles anymore.”
“Here.” Anna’s empty plate got shoved into my hands, too. “Do what you do. Get rid of it. I’ll be working on my tan.”
Don’t you mean your sunburn? I thought bitterly.
I rolled my eyes and dumped her dish in the sink as she took her orange juice from the table without a thank you or any sign or recognition that I was the source of her morning nutrition.
This was basically how all my weekday morning was. It was quite sad, how they depended on me for everything. I would pay to see the day that they did something that had to do with a real working effort by themselves. That would be an opposite day. Imaging Ella and Anna doing their own homework and cleaning their own rooms was just too much for me to handle. It seemed so painfully real, like maybe one day, when I finally ran away or got kicked out of the house, it would actually come to that resolution.
But that was just fantasy. And from my experience, fantasies are just a waste of time – it was just useless time wasted when I could be finding ways to deal with my painful reality.
“Uh, cereal?” Ella prompted, pulling me out of my in-between fantasy stage. “Now?”
I blinked at her and tried not to snap her wrist that was moving around as she waited for me with attitude to comply. “Cheerios or Frosted Flakes?”
“Sorry!” a girl said after she had bumped into me in the halls. “Didn’t see you there.” She hurried ahead in the hallway to join a group of her friends that were giggling and whispering about a boy that was down the hall from them.
That was normal for me, though. My presence at school didn’t really sink into the minds of my classmates because I just blended in… Or rather…didn’t.
I didn’t really belong to a specific group of people so I didn’t have title like Cheerleader or Nerd or Artist. I’m just sort of… In The Middle. I’m not an idiot, but I’m not really smart in all academics at all. In the toughest subject for me (French), I have a 77% average, but in my best subject (science), I have a 96%. And for other subjects, it really just depends on the mood I’m in. If it’s a horrid day where Lady Mai makes me make her breakfast and scrub her feet on a day of a Math quiz, I’ll barely pass, but if it’s a better day where Ella and Anna fight over which one is getting their schoolwork organized first, I’ll probably get an A on my English test.
Today, after having to make Ella’s cereal five times until perfection and assuring Lady Mai that I had helped Anna study for her history test, and guaranteeing her at least a B+, I was feeling okay. I did have science class first period, so that was at least good.
“If I fail that test, Cindy, it’s on your head,” Anna said to me as she past her locker on her way to class with Ella and four of their other friends.
“It’s not like my life will have a difference,” I said to myself as I dug around my locker for my science binder.
Finding it in its usual spot on the top shelf, I stood on the tips of my toes to retrieve it. When I hopped down off the ledge of my locker that I was standing on, I got slammed right back into my locker. The blow took me by such surprise that I couldn’t even make a sound as I twisted and heard a loud crunch as I accidentally stomped on my pencil case.
“Aw, come on!” I groaned as I pushed on my locker door that was holding me captive. But when I pushed up against the door, it wouldn’t open. I pushed harder and harder. I even jumped against the door.
I am not getting out of here, I realized with a pathetic growl.
I squirmed in the small space and took in the limited air I was having mixed with the gross, distinct smell of gym clothes. I regretted not taking them home this weekend for my laundry round now.
I pounded on the door loudly but I could still hear the buzz of kids in the hall running around and going crazy in the hallway. “Hello? Can someone get me out of here?”
But the noise went on for at least a minute more. Then, RIIIING, the bell went and the daily sounds of the halls momentarily got louder while all the late people made their final turns to class and teachers slammed doors closed.
They it was silent and I was alone.
“Uhhhh!” I groaned as I half-heartedly pounded on the door. “Can someone. Please get. Me out. Of here.”
My glow-in-the-dark watch said 9:04. Great, now I’m late for class.
I knew who had done this. It must’ve been Ella. It was probably still payback for yesterday since I insulted her and called her stupid. Or maybe she got someone to do this for me since I had given her ‘attitude’ when serving her breakfast this morning. Or it easily could’ve been because I had pushed her off the swing one time when we were nine and we had just met (I had hated her right away when she said my dress was ugly). Who knew? Ella was the master of holding grudges and getting revenge.
“I hate you Ella,” I muttered as I tried to find a comfy position in the locker. I would be in here for awhile. “I hate you and your stupid sister, Anna, and your stupid ugly mother Mai and your stupid annoying voice and stupid loud demands and your stupid –”
I shifted in my uncomfortable coffin. “Hello?!”
“Is someone there?” a voice asked. It was a boy’s.
“Yes!” I said, leaning on the door. “In this locker! Um…135!” I pounded on the door to get the stray boy’s attention.
I hear fumbling and saw the locker door shaking a little bit so I knew that the anonymous guy was at least trying to get me out. But I doubt he would be able to open it. There was obviously a lock on it, so there wouldn’t be some certain combination that he would know.
“Listen, I think you should get the janitor…whoever you are,” I called to him after a few more seconds of fumbling. “He could help.”
“Nah, it’s good,” he said. “I can get it.”
I rolled my eyes. Who was this guy, thinking that he would be able to crack the correct numbers of all the different possibilities in the world of lock combos? “Doubt it!”
The locker door swung open.
“How did you get it open?” I asked him.
“Are those doubts gone?” he asked with a smile. He swung the lock around his fingers playfully. “It’s my lock.”
His lock. Hmmm. It was his lock that had locked me in my own locker. That’s not causing any me any suspicion at all.
“Yeah, well, thanks for nothing,” I grumbled as I stepped out of the small space that was giving me cramps. “Now I’m late for class!”
The boy cocked his head. “Now, I never said that I locked you in there.”
“Then?” I asked, expecting…well, I don’t know actually. If it was his lock, he must’ve locked me in, and he must’ve been proud of himself, not willing or even thinking of apologizing.
He shrugged. “Must’ve been some of my friends.”
Uh-huh. So either he was telling the truth and was stupid enough to not notice his missing lock this whole morning or he was lying and had obeyed Ella and locked me in my locker.
I didn’t care for his reasoning. I didn’t care that he looked sorry. I didn’t even care that he was Jonathan King, the student leader of the school. Whether he was considered the coolest guy in school or not: I was angry because I was late for class and still a little sore from being kept in that confined space.
I grabbed my books again in a huff and stormed down the hall, hearing the humour in his voice as he called to me again that he was sorry and didn’t have anything to do with my capturing and sealing. I didn’t reply to Jonathan. I just kept moving toward my science class in the same half-running/half speed-walking pace, hoping that time would get turned back and I wouldn’t have to deal with the loud “You’re late!” exclamation when I got to class.
“You’re late, Cindy!” my science teacher, Mr. Bales said as soon as I entered the classroom.
I glanced at the clock: 9:13. “I know, sir,” I said slipping into the only seat left, which was up at the front of the room. “I was stuck in a –”
“Never mind that,” he said dismissively. “The point is that you’re here and ready to apply your knowledge on paper. Here’s your test.”
I nodded and was glad that I didn’t have to really explain why I had been late. I didn’t need public declaration of the embarrassing prank pulled over me. The whole eighth grade didn’t need to find out I existed by one of my stepsister’s idea of a funny joke and brilliant revenge.
Anna was sitting right beside me and she snickered as I hastily pulled out two pencils and an eraser from my broken pencil case. Mr. Bales may be the teacher of my favourite and best subject, but he was still tough and he made hard test – one that I only have approximately 45 minutes left to write.
“Good luck…” Anna cooed quietly with a smirk. I glanced over at her paper and saw crazy circles around the letter options. I looked down at my paper, and started circling my answers: none of Anna’s answers were the same as mine. She was going to fail and she knew it.
I would need good luck to get out of my upcoming punishment. Because if Anna or Ella failed, the revenge fell, and it wouldn’t lessen until a sudden prevail. Knowing that wouldn’t happen, I tried to block out what would greet me home the day Anna got her test back.
“How did your test go, sweetheart?” Lady Mai asked Anna as she pushed past me to get into the house.
I snorted: sweetheart. Yeah, right!
“It was a toughie!” she said, nodding vigorously. “So if I get a bad mark, it isn’t my fault, right? Mr. Bales thinks we’re all some sort of geniuses!”
I snorted again to myself as I dropped my bag on the floor. No, not all geniuses…
“Anyway,” Anna said. “It’s either his fault or Cindy’s. Neither are good teachers.”
Lady Mai’s hand rested on my shoulders and I felt the slight prick of her too-long fingernails. “You had better have been satisfactory for Anna.”
“I am!” I said, offended. Science was my ball game! If Anna’s tiny brain could process my teaching, it wasn’t my fault.
Lady Mai eyed me as if I dared to say anything more that was on my mind. I kept my mouth shut so I wouldn’t end up with double-duty dishes.
I moved my bag up to my room and sighed when I saw the state in which it was in – uncontrollably messy again. Pushing some of Lady Mai’s stuff to the corner of my room, I was able to make a path to my bed and flop on top of it.
“Okay,” I said to myself, “if I can just get half my math done –”
“CINDY!” Ella hollered from downstairs.
I groaned and buried my face in my pillow to try to block the sound out. It was no use, though. If the princesses wanted something, they would get it. My life was like a terrible TV show, and today was the beginning of the most annoying re-run.