Cinderfella ~A Modern Fairy Tale~

They say that Cinderella was blessed with her prince through her kindness and hard work and a little bit of magic. Well. The magic part's definitely not going to happen for me. Don't mistake me, I'm no Cinderella. But my prince is...


2. Chapter 2

His headphones are in, and I can hear the faint sound of a fast-paced guitar winding through the earbuds, too loud. He's eating a sandwich. Looks like peanut butter and jelly. Eyes focused on the distant.

"Hey," I say quietly, then realize that it's too quiet and he's still rocking out to the flamenco guitar and tapping the rhythm with his work boots. I clear my throat and try again.


This time, he glances up, then pulls out an earbud. The sweat and dirt on his face can't conceal his scowl.

"What, can't a man take a break? I've discussed this before with your family, and now they send you out here to bug me again? I'm entitled to at least a half hour to eat my lunch in peace!" Shoot. He misunderstood. I sit down next to him, ignoring the dirt that's now being mushed into my Dior dress. Brand names are overrated anyway, secretly I found a similar Calvin and Klein dress for over a thousand dollars less at a consignment shop. Twelve dollars for an almost clone of wealth.

"Nah, I just wanted to talk," I say, trying to keep it casual. I sneak a glance at his face, then remember he's not wearing a shirt and focus my eyesight back down at my lap.

He is silent for a moment and then takes out his headphones and savagely bites at the sandwich. He's hungry, but he's listening.

"I don't even know your name," I say, awkwardly.

"Xavier," he says simply.

"Shaveeyer?" I stumble over his name, and a smirk arises to his lips, as though he knows he's better than me at something.

"Just call me Xavi." He says it softly, voice lilting.

"Xavi." I repeat, this time without stumbling and he meets my eyes with a small smile. I feel bad all of a sudden, he's been working for over three months now, and I'm probably the only one who knows his name, my parents just call him "you". Hey, you, trim that over there. You forgot that edge, look at the grass over here, you missed a weed, you forgot to do this too. You.

"I'm sorry," I interject, and he looks at me confused, and I awkwardly explain, "my parents order you around a lot." His brow relaxes a little.

"That's my job." He says it simply again, although a trace of his origins remain in his voice, a little bit of Spanish seeping in. "But thanks for the concern," he adds.

We're silent again, and I stare at the stone steps for another moment.

"What's your name?" he asks, quietly.

"I'm Vanessa." I glance over at him quickly as I say it, meeting his eyes again.

"Vanessa." The way he says it is beautiful, lyrical, a song on his tongue. I look at his mouth, his perfect lips. White teeth. Little crooked, but that's ok, not everyone can afford braces. 


I focus back on his eyes and shake my head a little.

"I'm sorry, what?" 

"Your name. It's a type of butterfly."

I laugh a little, because it's ironic. Butterfly that can't fly anywhere, caged butterfly. Vanessa.

"How did you know my name is a type of butterfly?" I ask.

"I studied in Biology. It's a genus of butterfly, to be precise."

He's smart. Very smart. I didn't even know that, and it's my own name.

"So why is a smart guy like you, stuck here listening to my mom order you around?" He bristles, and I shut my mouth, wondering if I've somehow insulted him with my fat mouth. Or perhaps he thinks I'm being condescending.

"I mean, you could be off in college or something right now, it is only April."

"Carajo." I don't need to know Spanish to know that it's a curse.

"If I had a choice, don't you think I'd be in school? My parents sacrificed so much for me to live here, moving just before I was born and look where it got me. No college for me, my parents are undocumented and I don't have social security. I'm landscaping to support them. I wanted to be a doctor. I can't even afford premed, let alone graduate school." I shut my mouth now for good. I sound like the stupid little rich white girl I am. I've touched on an open wound in his ego, festering, and now he sits next to me, fuming.

"I'm not going to college either," I mention quietly. This gets his attention.

"Why not?" He turns towards me again, his anger replaced by curiosity.

"My father won't pay. There's no way I can get aid either, it's need based, and my family definitely wouldn't qualify me for that. He's marrying me off because I refused to go to Harvard." I smile, somewhat feeling foolish. I bet he'd kill to go to Harvard. 

"I wanted to go to art school. He wants me to be an Engineer. Like him. And now he wants me to marry someone rich." I laugh bitterly.

"I hate it. Not him, but what he's become. Before the Titanium patent, well, you know, we lived in a small house and I didn't have too much but now it's all about the wealth, and keeping it in the family. My mom goes out shopping and drops thousands on things that don't matter. And all I can think about is how I miss eating together as a family."

Xavi is silent for another moment, shoulders tense, and then he sighs, shoulders slumping.

"I was quick to misjudge you. I'm sorry." I offer up a hand as a sign of peace.

"Friends?" I ask. He nods at first, then shakes his head.

"I'd like to ask you out. Una cita, a date. I'll cook you dinner at my place. It's small, but, well," I interrupt him.

"I'd love to go."

Just then, my mother descends like an angry bird, her feathers clearly ruffled.

"You! Back to work!" she squawks. Xavi and I exchange a glance, and we both get up. 

"Vanessa Cecilia Vanna! Look at the state of your dress!" I turn my head to roll my eyes at him, both of us stifling a giggle before we're put back into our respective places, like puzzle pieces.

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