What If Cinderella Didn't Make It?
Author's note: I am SUCH Disney kid. I luv the Disney movies and Cinderella is in my top five (Mulan, The Little... Show full author's note »
The PlanThe annoying feeling was back again –the feeling of something so close in your reach, yet so far away. Being ‘really something’ to Jonathan was only good enough to last me until lunch, where I ate outside like an outsider (ha-ha, get it?) in silence until the bell and period four rolled around.
“We need a plan.”
I looked up quickly and shaded my eyes from the bright whiteness of the clouds that were covering up the blue sky that was struggling to take a peek at the world.
“Stephy?” I got up from the grass quickly, managing not to spill over my lunch and blushed. “I mean, Stephanie! I… Um…what?”
Stephanie, the girl that was practically my sister and former best friend smiled at me. “We need a plan. We have to get you at Jonathan’s party this Saturday.”
Stephanie sat down beside the spot that I was previously sitting and motioned for me to sit down next to her. I sat and waited. I’m pretty sure I was waiting up to full minutes by the time Stephanie spoke again.
“Are you thinking?” she asked me.
“About how to get to Jonathan’s party this Saturday!” she exclaimed, making her head of tiny black and brown braids go wild. Her dark brown eyes bore into me like I was the crazy one.
This was just bizarre. Why was Stephanie trying to get me to a party that was impossible to get to? Why was she even talking to me at all?
“Uh, not to be rude or anything…” I said slowly. “But…why are you talking to me?”
Stephanie looked at me like I was stupid. “So we can figure out how to get you to Jonathan’s party. What is that, like the fiftieth time?”
“Stephanie, we haven’t talked since we were eleven,” I said slowly. “So …why? Other than the reason that you’ve repeated only three times.”
Stephanie ripped the grass out of the ground as she spoke. “Come on, Cindy. You’ve liked Jonathan King forever and –”
“Not forever,” I grumbled.
“– And now he’s invited you to his party and you aren’t going?” Stephanie continued. “What are you thinking?”
I sighed. So she really was only coming over here because of Jonathan and his party, not because she missed me and she wanted to be friends. Sure, I could admit that I missed her too, because I did. I just wish that she missed me too for once. I know I’d left her side and isolated myself, but friends could be nice, even though I can totally and completely survive on the company of animals.
Even so, some human company would be nice, so I answered her question: “I want to go, but I can’t. …Too much work.”
“Too much work?” Stephanie repeated. “It’s Halloween, Cindy! Trick or treat! Why don’t you relax?”
If it were only that easy…
“It’s not my choice,” I said to her. “Lady Mai is making me work. I have too many things that need to be done so I have to miss the party. Whatever.” I shrugged to make her think it was no big deal to me, but of course, after years of being joined to me at the hip, she knew I was hiding the truth.
“The witch is making you work, huh?” Stephanie mused as she toyed with some braids. “Don’t worry, I can work on that.”
I had to sneak Stephanie into the barn because I wasn’t positive if having visitors was A-OK with Ugly Toad. The situation had never come up so I had never bothered asking the question and Lady Mai had never bothered yelling the answer.
“It’s not usually this messy,” I said as I saw some more contents spilled on the floor.
“Uh-huh…” Stephanie settled on the hay stack in the corner. “So right down to business? You’re forbidden to go to Jonathan’s party because you must do work, correct?”
I didn’t know what was with all the formality but I nodded. “Yes, that’s right.”
“Will Lady Mai be in on Saturday?”
I didn’t see how that was relevant, but I thought back a bit. What would be Lady Mai doing on the night where everyone but me would be having a good time.
“No,” I said, remembering, “she’s going to some conference but will be home by half past twelve because she picking the twins up at midnight.”
Stephanie giggled excitedly. “Perfect!”
I didn’t even know what I said. “What’s perfect?”
Stephanie looked up at me excitedly. “I’ve got it! I can get you at Jonathan’s party!”
I raised my eyebrows. Not disbelieving in the surprised way, but disbelieving in the way that means that whatever her plan was, it would never work. Whatever Stephanie had come up with, I was pretty certain would never work. She didn’t know Lady Mai; whenever the Ugly Toad wanted me to be miserable, it would happen – she was just that determined and that evil.
“If all you have to do is clean by the time she gets back from the stupid conference, then we can deal with that!” Stephanie said confidently.
“What, you’ll hire housekeeping for me?” I asked her sceptically. Cleaning would be tough. Which reminded me, I needed to get started on the barn right away. I started packing away Chore’s spilled food as I spoke. “I appreciate your optimistic attitude and hand for help, but I can’t go, period.”
“It’s just a simple comma,” Stephanie assured me, as the wheel is her head spun. “You can’t go to Jonathan’s party unless the house is clean by midnight, so I’ll do it.”
It took me an extra second to grasp what she was saying. I straightened up my back and tossed a huge bag back onto the weakening shelves. “Beg pardon?”
“I’ll do it,” Stephanie offered. “I’ll stay and clean the house and you’ll go to Jonathan’s party. Easy and done: your problem is solved and you are welcome.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Would Stephanie really do that for me after I’d pushed her out for three years of my life? After three seconds in a daze of actually considering the possibilities, I took hold of the logical part of my mind again. This was Stephanie! She loved to party and she was even kinda sorta friends with Jonathan, too. She couldn’t stay here while I went.
“Stephanie, you can’t stay here and clean this big house,” I said, waving my hands around. “It’s huge and it’s my responsibility.”
“Yes, but if we do half now, there will be less to clean up later,” Stephanie insisted, getting up off the hay and brushing nothing off her jeans.
“That’s not all,” I said, turning from my work. “You can’t miss the party! You can’t be stuck in here on Halloween!”
Stephanie shrugged as if the thought didn’t bother her at all. “Sure I can. I’ve been to most of his other parties so I know what to expect. Plus, I didn’t come up with a good costume idea so what’s the point?”
She was right. She had been to handful of Jonathan King parties for three years. Maybe…
“But I don’t have a costume either!” I insisted when I came up for another seemingly impossible obstacle for Stephanie to get past. “Stephanie, I can’t go. You can’t stay. Just drop it.”
Of course, Stephanie ignored my protests and reasoning to focus on my excuse. “Costume? Well, what do you have in mind?”
“I dunno. Maybe a…”
“I know!” Stephanie exclaimed. “I know exactly what you want to be and I bet I can get you it!”
I looked at myself in the mirror as Stephanie flattened out the creases in my dress.
“Are you sure?”
“Do I ever do so much work in something I’m not determined in?” Stephanie asked as she inspected me with a look of commitment.
The answer was no.
Stephanie had taken me to her house and had immediately thrown the dress I was wearing into my arms saying that it was perfect. I guess it was rather pretty: it was just above my knees and was a nice pale pink colour with fancy creases along the side of it and sparkles here and there. I had argued with her that it didn’t look like I was going to a Halloween party at all, so she added a white cape to the back of it to make me a “Superhero of Beauty” or something lame like that.
“But Ella and Anna!” I said suddenly, turning around frantically. “They’ll see me and I’ll be busted! Stephy, I can’t do this!”
As the time went by on the walk to Stephanie’s house, we seemed to get more comfortable and things seemed normal again. It felt good to have Stephanie back in my life – even of it was just to help me with this party catastrophe-in-the-making as a one-time thing.
Stephanie muttered to herself as she started flinging junk from her box of junk. In a few seconds, she was behind me again, fixing me up again, in the mirror. I closed my eyes as she pulled something over them.
A mask! Brilliant! It was white and silver and covered the outside of my eyes and my forehead, making me unidentifiable. It would be perfect…if I was going…which I wasn’t.
“You’re going!” Stephanie said right away. “You look great and our plan is foolproof! What do you say?”
I really wanted to go and Stephanie really wanted to help me but… Why did I feel really guilty and like something really bad would happen tomorrow night? Was it just my anxiety making an appearance or was I really having thoughts that I really shouldn’t make an appearance (even if no one could tell it was me) at Jonathan’s party.
But I smiled and spun around in Stephanie’s dress. “Okay. I’ll go.”
Stephanie smiled excitedly at me through the mirror and squeezed my shoulders. “Great! Honestly, what could go wrong?”
Hopefully, I thought to myself with a final happy spin, nothing.