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...


3. Chapter 3

My mother lectures me for all of thirty minutes on how much money I've wasted by sitting on dirt in a Dior dress. That's the thing, when you're rich you buy a lot of shit but then display it on pedestals and in frames and cabinets and hope that it never breaks. Never mind it has no other function aside from aesthetics, never mind it takes up space. Then the lecture turns to one of status.

"Don't get too friendly with him," my mother warns.

"Why not?" I ask, somewhat indignantly.

"He's not rich. You wouldn't be happy with him." Translation: my father wouldn't be happy with him.

"Why not?" I repeat, my voice getting pitchy and shrill with anger. "It's not too long ago that we were almost the same as him. Dad was fired and we shopped with food stamps, counted pennies for toilet paper, before his lucky break." 

I calm myself down, take a deep breath and pick up an antique vase.

"VANESSA CECILIA VANNA! Don't you DARE touch that vase! That cost me-" 

"It cost you nothing. You don't have a job. It was Dad's money that you used." I drop it, and it gives one last scream as it breaks into a thousand shards. Fragmentation. 

"You-" my mother shudders, "are grounded."

Grounded. What a joke. I've never been grounded in my entire life. Neither were my brothers, that's probably why they're in jail for possession and distribution.

Cost. What was the true cost of the vase? Happiness. Oh, my mother's happy when she's shopping, sure, but it's a giddy sort of happiness. Displaced, shallow happiness, and then she comes home surrounded by things and cries. Cries because somewhere in Europe, my father is sleeping with different women and she's trapped here, with her things, and her sons are jailed, and her daughter is a constant reminder of everything wrong.

I'm in my room. Not allowed to leave. I've never really disobeyed a direct order from my parents, apart from dropping the vase. But technically, I'm eighteen. I'm an adult. Homeschooled, and that ended last month anyway. I pull back the curtain, and see Xavi, mowing the lawn now, shirt still gone and chest glistening.

I pull out a small bag. Throw some cosmetics into it, a toothbrush, hairbrush, and a change of clothes. Put on a small sundress that I bought for ten dollars and boots that cost twenty. Cheap, but more comfortable that the stiff starched fibers of high fashion, more comfortable than Louboutins with winking red soles.

I stroll out of my room.

"Vanessa Cecilia Vanna! Where on earth are you going?" My mother ambushes me, but I pass right by her.

"Out." I say simply. "Don't wait up."

My mother stands, utterly defeated by my attitude.

"Keep your phone on you!" she yells, shrilly. "I want to be able to contact you!" I wave it in the air so she can see it, but continue walking just a bit faster.

"It's not charged!" I yell, and smirk.

Xavi sees me, and stops, pulling out an earbud.

"Where are you going?" he asks.

"I'm staying with you." I say, shortly. I pull out a wad of bills. "This should cover it." He waves the wad away.

"I don't want your money. Are you crazy? Do you have your parents permission to do this?" he asks, eyes widening in disbelief.

"No, but I'm eighteen. What are they going to do, file a missing person's report?" I say, snorting.

"No, but they could fire-" 

Before he can finish the sentence, my mom, who followed me outside, interrupts.

"YOU'RE FIRED! And you, Vanessa, how dare you-"

I grab him, pressing the thick stack of cash into his palm. Over ten thousand, my life's savings.

"Consider it severance pay," I whisper into his ear. His brow is furled and crumpled but he doesn't say anything, just walks away holding my hand so hard he's crushing it. My mom continues yelling, but has stopped following. Thank god.

I try to crack a joke.

"Sorry 'bout that, my mom's definitely going hormonal a bit. Ow, you're actually hurting my hand." He looks up, angrily for a second, then drops my hand.

"Sorry. But what the fuck! I need the job!" I roll my eyes.

"How much do my parents pay you?" I ask.

He is silent for a bit.

"Twenty-five each time."

"Twenty-five hundred?"

"No. Twenty-five dollars total."

My jaw drops. Our estate is over ten acres. That's unbelievable. It's not like he's mowing someone's lawn, he's mowing and detailing someone's mansion.

"They're underpaying you." He sighs.

"I know. But in this economy, it's difficult to ask for more, you know? I save everything I can get."

He waves the wad in my face.

"How much is this anyway?"

"Ten thousand," I say, somewhat awkwardly.

He stops walking, stares at me, then shakes his head.

"Maria, Jose, Jesús, dios mio." He whistles, shakes his head again.

"You can't just toss money around like this." I stick my chin out.

"I'm not. It's just, I got you fired, and you were underpaid. Think of it as all the money my parents owed you. Plus, maybe this can just be your part time job and maybe you can go to school now."

I smile at him, but he frowns and pushes me away.

"Do you see me as a charity case?" he asks. He's furious now, hands shaking, crumpling the money.

I roll my eyes.

"You're too proud. Just accept it."

He growls.

"Don't you see? My pride is all I have left to me. I would rather be dirt poor and still have honor than sell my soul as your parents have." He throws my money to the ground and walks away to his truck, revving up the engine. I scoop up the bills and run after him.

"Wait!" I pant. "I take it back, please, just let me stay with you at least tonight, and if it doesn't work out, I can find a new place in the morning. Please."

The window rolls down, the engine turns off.

"Fine. Get in. No more money though."

I nod, and hop into the truck. 


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