A Not-So Cinderella Story

When I felt like I was being swept off my feet in a Cinderella story, someone had to be there to drop me, right?
Let's backtrack a little.
Cher Topman. A simple name for a complex girl like me. I'm an orphan at a little orphanage in London, but don't be fooled. Just because it's in London doesn't mean that it's extravagant.
When a rich American single woman makes the fatal decision to adopt me and take me back to America, my life is turned upside down by some people I never thought I'd meet.


16. HO HO no.

"We are now landing in Doncaster. Thank you for choosing Delta airlines," the air hostess says and we get out of the plane. 

"Are you alright?" Haylee asks me and I nod.

"I'm just taking some time to be off without him. If he tries to reach me, don't answer. Are you ready to go?" I ask her while we're quickly being escorted to our limo.

"This is so exciting!" Haylee squeals as we drive back to the familiar orphanage where I spent most of my childhood. We quietly walk inside and into the bedrooms.

"HEY GUYS!" I scream. Their faces snap up and start squealing and running over to us, giving us hugs.

"CHER! HAYLEE! YOU'RE BACK!" they all yell. Sarah walks in and gasps, hobbling over to me.

"Cher! What a surprise!" she smiles.

"And I have a surprise for you! Pack up your bags right now! You guys are moving!" I tell them and they look back at me confused.

"All you need is your suitcases and stuff! Don't worry about the furniture! Hurry!" I say and they all scurry back to their corners and throw the little they have into suitcases.

"What's going on Cher?" Sarah asks me.

"Don't worry, just grab your files. There's a suburban outside waiting for you guys! Go!" I urge and she goes out of the room to find her papers and belongings.

In 15 minutes, we have every one of them squished into the suburban we had arranged. Haylee and me get into the limo and meet them at their new house. 

The second the kids get out of the car, their faces light up. The older ones and Sarah even start to tear up.

"Don't you guys want to see your new house?" Haylee asks them and they scream and run inside to find it decorated for Christmas, complete a tree, lights everywhere, and a lit fireplace. They run upstairs to find their own rooms, full of things that match their interests, with a new wardrobe in the closet. The girls' bathroom is stocked with every makeup and hair styling product you can think of and the boys' is stocked with cologne and hair gel galore. 

"Kids! Come open your early Christmas presents!" I yell and they run downstairs and we hand them each their first real Christmas Present. For Sarah, I hand her the book of letters I wrote, and the keys to the suburban and house. 

"Cher, how could I have been so blessed to know you?" she cries and pulls me in for a hug.

"Whoa! A real skateboard!" JJ yells.

"A guitar!" Tessa squeals.

"A PRINCESS GOWN! AND TIARA!" Martha screams.

"A science kit! And a labcoat!" Mason laughs and adjusts his glasses.

"A hair and makeup book! Now I can know how to look awesome for the guys," Emily laughs.


"Do you think that's it? Boy, you are mistaken," Haylee laughs.

I hand Tessa a card for all of them and she opens it.

"It says, 'Go down the stairs,'" Tessa reads confused.

"There is no downstairs," Mason observes. I get up and pull the bookcase open. Haylee made sure they had a secret room.

They peer in to see a staircase going down to every kid's paradise. There's a treehouse in the corner that's a replica of ours, because they wrote back in awe of it.

There's a door that goes off to a movie room with real seats in it and a stage at the bottom with a screen in the back. It could be used as a movie room or concert room, and it's exactly like ours too, stocked with every movie imaginable.

There's a basketball court, dance room, music studio, computer room, and hangout space.

"CHER WHAT IN THE WORLD!?!?!?!?!? THIS IS LIKE A DREAM!" Tessa cries and hugs me.

"I love you guys and you deserve the best. This house is paid off completely. Even the electrical bill and everything is pre- paid for years to come, and when that ends, we'll pay it again. I've left enough money for food for a small village every month and you guys can finally live the way you should," I say, a tear escaping my eyes. This is so special to me.

Nobody in the room can reply, they're either crying or fighting future tears. 

"Alright, how about you guys get dressed for bed? I'm beat, I don't know about you," I yawn.

They all nod happily and sprint to their new rooms, exploring their new wardrobes for pajamas, and then bounding back down the stairs. 

"What are we going to do?" Martha asks. 

"How about we...... watch a movie?!" I say with enthusiasm. I know they've never seen a real movie. 

"YESSSSSS!!!!" They all scream in reply and race each other into the theater room. 

"What should we watch?" Haylee asks, flipping through the movies on a shelf in the room.

"Princess movie!" the girls scream.

"Superhero movie!" The boys scream, and then start fighting on which it should be.

"How about both? You guys are on Christmas break. No curfew," I smile and grab "Tangled" and "The Amazing Spiderman" off the shelf. They all giggle excitedly in reply. I decide to do superhero first and pop Spiderman in. We all lift the arms of the seats up so we can come closer together and enjoy the movie.

It was the best feeling in the world to watch their reactions to their first movie, and first home. Now I know how Haylee felt with me.

After Spiderman is over and the kids have done a bit of re-enacting their favorite scenes, I change it to Tangled, and the kids are relieved to not have to be scared. Throughout the whole movie, Martha is the cutest thing in the world. It's always been her dream to be able to see a princess come to life out of her fairytale books and it's finally happening.

Right at the part where Rapunzel and Flynn are seeing the floating lights, everyone suddenly remembers that I have a relationship.

"That's like you and Justin, I bet," Tessa winks.

"Is Justin as cool as Flynn?" JJ asks.

"Cooler," I reply with a smile before I realize I'm supposed to be angry at Justin.

I want Justin back.

I miss him already. I need his arms around me. I need to know everything will be ok. I need to feel like a princess.

But then I remember everything he said. And how he was before we dated.

I can't.

"Don't you think we're letting you off the hook. You're telling us everything after the movie as a bedtime story," Mason reminds us, wanting more information as always.

"Alright, alright," I sigh. I just can't say no to them. 

Soon enough, the movie ends and everyone brushes their teeth and gathers on Tessa's bed. 

"Tell us!" Tessa squeals. 

I sigh and tell them everything from where I left off on the letters. As I cross telling them about the fight, they're all whispering and gasping. 

"And then I came here for you guys," I smile weakly, ending the story.

"No! That's not how it's supposed to end!" Martha pouts and crosses her arms.

"How is it supposed to end?" I ask her gently.

"You're supposed to be with the prince and living happily ever after! Not hanging out with a bunch of Dwarfs!" she says with a stern look in her eyes, almost daring me to stay.

"I hate to say it because then you'll leave, but Martha's right. You have to go back. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. You're not going to make him suffer through Christmas!" Cheese replies with a nod.

"There is a flight back home for tomorrow," Haylee says, checking her phone.

"Alright. I'll go back tomorrow. But only if you monsters head off to bed, alright?" I laugh and ruffle Mason's hair. 

They all say their goodnights and head off to bed. I lounge in the guest room with Haylee, not being able to sleep of course. All I can think about is tomorrow.

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