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...

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5. Chapter 5

I'm an idiot. I burn Easy Mac, so I sit back and watch him cook. I was surprised to see that even though his apartment is in a bad neighborhood, his apartment is nice. He told me it was cheaper this way, and I didn't doubt it.

What was cute was the way he tried to hide his messiness, kicking clothes into piles and stacking dishes.

"This is the real reason why I didn't want you over yet," he admits to me, chagrined. "I'm pretty messy, just because I'm always working." I smile, and offer a hand, because it's the least I can do. After all, I'm crashing. But he refuses, saying it's his responsibility. I roll my eyes. Just because my family is rich doesn't mean I don't know how to clean. Or fold, or wash laundry.

"You can sleep in my bed," he shouts from the kitchen. "I'll take the couch." I shake my head, then realize he can't see me from his angle, bent over the stove.

"That won't be necessary," I call. "I can take the couch, it's your bed after all."

"No, no, no, take the bed. Please." I awkwardly accept. He sets up some candles and pulls up a ratty chair. We're just about to eat tacos de lengua, with avocado, onions, cilantro and salsa verde when the door bursts open.

"Xavi!!" A voice whines from outside. "Te extraño, ayy cuando saliste, tus-" A woman flounces in with two younger boys, presumably her sons.

"Mamacita, no te preocupes-" he responds. I have no idea what he's saying.

"Xavi!! Quiero comer, donde está la comida-" interrupts a boy.

Xavi sighs.

"Vanessa, this is my stepmother and my two stepbrothers. They're hungry, because they're not used to cooking for themselves and I leased out this apartment yesterday. Normally, I'm a lot cleaner, but as I've just moved, it's a mess."

"Stepmother? I thought you said your parents moved here when you were younger-"

"They did, but then my mother was deported back to Chihuahua, where she died, and then my dad died from syphilis after marrying Rosita over here. They're the only family I have left." He starts putting more plates around the table. 

"I lied to you. I told them I was supporting them but the truth is-"

"Xavi, quien es la chica?" the woman asks, her voice shrill. She's decked in head to foot in Ralph Lauren clothes, as well as her sons.

"Mi novia." he says simply. I still don't understand what they're saying. I studied French instead of Spanish, and now I'm regretting it. 

"Xavi, necesitas regresar a la casa. Hay cosas...necesitas hacer las camas, cocinar la comida, limpiar los cuartos...es necesario. Eres mi hijo."

"Mamacita, no. Ahora, tengo mi libertad. No voy a limpiar nada, pues voy a limpiar esta," he motions around the room, and I pick at my food, feeling stupid.

"Ay, Xavi!" She flounces about and grabs her sons, one of them wolfing down a taco still. He gives me a wide smile, cilantro stuck in his teeth and I grimace. They're animals. They remind me a lot of my own brothers.

"What was that all about?" I ask, as the door slams behind them.

He sighs.

"My father married someone wealthy for his visa. She didn't realize he was poor or undocumented until after the marriage, and then it was too late to do anything. She never forgave him for it. After he died, she made me do all the chores and work, told me I was worthless scum like my father while she spoiled her own sons. I lied because I told you I was working to support them, that's a lie, I was working to support myself, to save up enough to get away, after slaving for them for so many years. I'm nineteen. It started when I was only nine, so ten years of scrubbing and mopping in between public school." He laughs bitterly. "And the only reason they let me go to public school was so that the government wouldn't come after them."

We pick at the food for a bit, burdened by the unwelcome visit.

"At least you're free now," I say, trying to get him to look on the bright side.

"That's the thing," he says grimly. "You're never free from family, especially if they're rich. If they want something from you, they'll track you down at all costs."

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