“Cinderella!” A high scream erupted from downstairs. Cinderella hated being named after the classic Disney princess. And it didn’t help that her situation was similar to that of the Disney princess. However, she didn’t have magical animals helping her do her chores nor a handsome guy in her life. Being sixteen was brutal. Especially, if your Dad remarried a woman who made it her sole purpose to work you 24/7. After Mom died, Dad remarried another woman who was younger and had a daughter of her own.
“Cinderella! I am taken back by this undue lack of respect. You are getting up right this moment and are going to help out in the bakery right this minute!” My stepmother opened up the blinds! It was Saturday for crying out loud! And she did pull a four hour shift yesterday after six hours at school.
Flipping the pillow over my head helped block out the sunlight but did nothing to tune out my stepmother.
“Get up this minute or else!” Screamed my stepmother.
“Ugh, go away! I worked yesterday. Try getting Gabrielle to work it for a change.” I tossed right back at her.
“Why you ungrateful child! I am about fed up with your disobedience. You will not be seeing your friends at all and as for your phone, you’re not getting it back.”
Stomping out of the room, she turned back and said,”get over to the bakery or else you will have everything else taken from you until you do as your told!” Slamming the door shut, I let out a breathe of relief. I couldn’t wait until I can graduate from high school. I am leaving her and Gabrielle to run the bakery themselves. Ha! As if they could succeed without me.
Now, that I was fully awake I got up and showered and dressed in my torn jeans and a pink tee. Then French braiding my hair, I squirt a touch of the cheap body perfume over me. Strawberry is my favorite smell. Dad use to say Mom would always smell like fresh strawberries.
Running down the stairs, I went to pop two waffles into the toaster and then pour a fresh cup of coffee. I turn around and Gabrielle takes my two waffles, what the hell? “Ugh, I don’t think so, those have dropped on the floor.”
Of course it was a white lie, but hey, a girl has to eat. The info finally sunk in and Gabrielle left the waffles back in the toaster saying, I am a disgrace to the human race. Smiling over my tiny victory I eat my waffles quickly and then head out the door.
Fresh air and silence. Freedom.
The bakery was only two blocks away from our neighborhood. I walked in, only to bump into a wall? Looking up, I notice it’s not a wall at all. But rather a hot guy standing right in front of me. My feet were glued on spot. I couldn’t move even if I had too.
“Sorry, I should have looked where I was going. Are you okay?”
His eyes were brown and warm, reminding me of chocolate. I felt speechless.
“I know I have a hard head, but I want to know you’re okay.”
Finally hearing him, I simply nod. Then rush over behind the bakery counter. The guy just looked back over me like he couldn’t figure out what just happened. Neither could I. It wasn’t like me to stare into our male customers. But him, I was transfixed almost like a spell. Which was silly, because magic doesn’t exist. Shaking my head, I glance back one more time and this time a girl is kissing him. Figures a guy like that wouldn’t be single. The rest of the day at the bakery went like usual. I baked dozens of different sweets. And I was all sweated up from the heat in the kitchen.
Heading out, I welcomed the fresh air cooling my heated skin. It felt good. Gabrielle was nowhere around and thank goodness for that. She would have reported my brief accident with a customer to my stepmother which then would have caused me more trouble. The only time I see my friends is at school and when they buy something from the bakery. Other than that I am a loner.
“Hey, you!” A guy shouts out at a distance.
Oh great just what I needed. More trouble. These guys are known to pick on girls my age. Shit. What am I going to do? There’s five of them and one of me. Walking, I hurry my pace. Until I trip over something and fall hitting the concrete sidewalk.
“All fellas, it’s Cinderella.” Then they are start laughing at me. I get up only to be pushed back down again. Damn it. I can’t get out of this unscratched. Be brave. They are just a bunch of jerks your age. Get up! I pull myself up and take a swing at the closest one near me. I must have hit him hard for he swayed and knocked into one oh his guys. Here’s my chance. Run!
I started running as fast as my legs would carry me. My cheek and hand stinging from injury. Fear spreading into me causing my adrenaline to into overdrive. I keep running. I can hear the guys chasing after me. I can’t let them catch me know that I hit one of them. They are madder now, which means my fate in their hands won’t be pleasant at all.
I run taking a wrong turn. An alley with a dead end. Shit. Today, just wasn’t my lucky day. Laughing they guys see my dilemma. “So, Cinderella, what you going to do now?” Backing into the wall as far as I can go, I steady myself waiting for the punishment. Until I heard sirens going off. The guys look frightened and took off running in every direction. I slumped agaisnt the wall. Counting my blessings. Shutting my eyes, I take several breathes to steady my heart.
“Are you okay?” A deep and familiar male voice asked me. Where did I hear that voice before? And then it hit me. The guy I bumped into at the bakery. Opening my eyes, I saw it was indeed him. His chocolate eyes filled with concern at my face. Here let me help you up. Extending his hand out to me, I hesitate briefly before taking it.
“Thanks.” I mumbled back. The strength in his hand made me blush, but luckily he didn’t notice.
“I am Cinderella.” I said looking out at the street. Wondering if the guys were going to come back.
“I am Damon. My dad is the new police chief here. Nice to meet you, Cinderella.”
Smiling with relief, I looked back up into his eyes. Which was a big mistake. My heart started to beat wildly. I wa afraid he could hear it pounding.
“Come on let’s get out of here. I’ll walk you home.”
“That’s okay, you don’t have to. I live two blocks away.”
“I would feel bad if those guys came back to hurt you worse”, he said gently skimming my scrapped cheek with his eyes.
We walked in silence. I wondered what he was doing and how he came to the alley way where I was. Where was his girlfriend? Good thing classes start Monday. I could definitely use a distraction right now. Damon was too good looking and mysterious.