Story: Not Quite Cinderella (chapter 2)
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[Author's notes: A/N: I realize that I’m crazy for trying to essentially rewrite a ‘Disney story’. But crazy is one of the things I do best. So here I am, typing like a psychopath. A psychopath with an overactive imagination.
Since work on ‘Dual Fighters’ and ‘The Lost Years’ seems to be going slow, and I seem to be on a roll here, the second chapter’s here early.
Remember this: Constructive reviews often inspire me to write better, and provide more frequent updates! So...
(whips out giant megaphone)
BRING ‘EM ON!]
Chapter 2: LUG
At first glance, everything seemed to be alright. One cold reading and she could at least claim that she tried. But as she read over the paper, she could tell something was up.
“...I think you’ve mixed up the shows again. This isn’t a comedic piece.”
“No? It’s not Jane’s monologue about the monkeys from the Disney version of ‘Tarzan’?”
“No. Now that I think of it, this is from Superman.”
“Really?” Erika handed the sheet of paper back to her teacher, who promptly chuckled at her own folly. “Alright then. Let’s do this one instead.”
“Erika, every comedy has its tender moments. While there’s no real romance in ‘The Odd Couple’, there are less comedic moments. Besides, I am already aware of your comedic prowess- your performance in ‘Oklahoma!’ proved that. Now that I think of it, going with the original would’ve been redundant. Let’s just go with this one, and figure out what happened later.”
Was Mrs. Thatcher serious? Was she asking her to perform a dramatic monologue for a comedy audition? ‘That’s almost too impossible to be true.’
Just as she was about to ask her teacher to look for the other script, the door opened again, revealing a distressed blonde girl who appeared to be a little frazzled.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Thatcher, but I think I left my Calculus folder in here.”
The theatre master handed the girl a slightly tattered red binder, smiling as she took it. “Yes, Miss Kingsley. I was actually about to send this to the Lost and Found.”
Erika couldn’t believe it. She was in the same room as Kelly Kingsley. THE Kelly Kingsley, the girl who was considered by most to be nothing short of a ‘King’ in a school of girls. The one girl in all the school whom not even her stepsisters could dupe, bribe, badmouth, and/or seduce.
Kelly was about to leave as quickly as she’d come in, when she finally noticed the presence of a third person in the room. “Oh, I’m sorry; did I interrupt your audition? Please, I’m sorry.”
Erika couldn’t find any words to say- THE Kelly Kingsley was apologizing to her! Whatever guardian angels had been ignoring her for the past seventeen years appeared to finally be giving Erika something she might never forget!!! ‘Quick- say something! Anything!’
Fortunately for Erika and her twisted tongue, Mrs. Thatcher stepped in. “Oh, it’s not a problem, Miss Kingsley. She was actually about to start.”
Oddly enough, Kelly backed away from the door a little. “Can I watch?”
Erika’s eyes widened at the question, but shrank down back to normal at her teacher’s response. “I don’t think so, Miss Kingsley. You probably have class to go to.”
Kelly just shook her head. “All we’re doing in AP Government is watching some low budget movie about the three branches of US government.”
Mrs. Thatcher eyes closed shut tightly when she heard the word ‘Government’, which, in turn, caused the nervous actress’s eyes to widen once more. One thing that made her teacher’s blood boil was the History Department; her views of those ‘stuffy uncreative snobs’ were well known throughout the Theatre Department.
“Well, I don’t suppose it can hurt this one time.” Kelly leaned against the wall behind the English woman. Erika could’ve sworn that the President’s hazel eyes were staring into the very center of her soul. She peeked at the ancient watch on her left wrist. 1:45.
Mrs. Thatcher rubbed her hands together, sighed, and said once more, “Fire when ready.”
For what seemed an eternity, there was something caught in Erika’s throat. Her palms were cold and wet from sweat that hadn’t been there a moment ago, her eyes involuntarily moving from Kelly to the paper to the door and back to the paper. If stage fright truly existed, then it must’ve felt something like that. Father Time, once again, seemed to be working against her, as everything seemed to creep by so slowly.
Finally, Erika found the courage to speak. She finally remembered what part of ‘Superman’ this particular monologue was from. It was Lois Lane, giving Superman that really cheesy speech.
“Can you read my mind?” Erika ended up focusing her sight at a point on the wall between Kelly and her teacher. “Do you have any idea what it is you do to me? I don’t know who you are. Just a friend from another star.”
Erika started to laugh a little bit. The nervousness was being replaced now by overexcitement; she felt exactly like her character as she recited her next line. “Here I am, like a little kid out of school. Holding hands with a god. I’m a fool.”
Her eyes slowly went closer to meeting Kelly’s. “Will you look at me?” As their eyes met, Erika’s world stood still. The moment was, for Erika, as if someone had rejuvenated her with a modest jolt. She laughed under her breath, commenting, “Quivering. Like a little girl, quivering. You can see right through me. Can you read my mind? Can you picture the things I’m thinking of? Wondering why you are... all the wonderful things you are.”
Erika shook her head as she searched the paper for her next line. “You can fly. You belong in the sky. You and I...” She blinked twice as she read the rest of that sentence, refusing to believe her eyes. ‘...What the hell?’ Nonetheless, she had to say it. It could’ve said, ‘I’m wearing a pink polka dot thong and a dog collar,’ and she still would’ve had to say it.
“You and I... can belong to each other.” Erika could hear the words coming from somewhere, but couldn’t believe that they were coming out of her mouth. She couldn’t say that, not to THE Kelly Kingsley. “If you ever need a friend... I’m the one to fly to.”
‘No.’ She couldn’t say THAT, even if it was a cold reading, even if it was for a senior show, especially if Kelly Kingsley was in the room. Her hands were clammy now, and she was fighting the impulse to flee. Her heart was racing mad, like a fox from hounds. An image of her two sisters with horns, pitchforks, and voices that sounded eerily like Darth Vader’s echoed through her head, taunting her, telling her that she couldn’t do it, that she’d never be anything.
And then a voice, a tiny voice came out of a petite angel, reverberating through her skull. ‘You’re letting them take away the one thing you know you love.’ And in a split second, before the other voices could beat the solitary vote of support down, she made the decision. She said it.
“If you need to be loved... here I am.” The two damning voices in her head fell silent, their pitchforks falling out of their hands, while the tiny angel seemed to have a foam finger on her right hand, which said, ‘Erika’s #1’. It was time to finish it... then she could run far, far away from her fear.
“Read my mind.” She looked at the watch. 1:48... make that 1:49.
Kat’s line of sight was directly on the backstage area. “How bad do you think she’s going to be coming out of that audition?”
Mary shook her head as she looked at her watch. “A little shaken, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary.”
Just then, a brunette who had put her hair into a French braid sat next to Mary. “Sorry I’m late. What’d I miss?”
Her comment was followed by a pale Erika, shuffling slowly out of the backstage region. Mary looked at the new girl before saying, “Julia, you’re late. It’s your turn to audition, we’ll explain later.” With that, Kat and Mary swiftly carried the weakened Erika out of the theatre.
After a good ten seconds, the three finally made it to the girl’s bathroom. The two lovers set her down gently, allowing Erika to grip the edges of a sink, neither of the friends trusting Erika’s legs to support her weight at the moment.
Both girls immediately started asking for the info, and Erika supplied every little detail. The alternate monologue, Kelly’s abrupt arrival, and the struggle within, she covered everything.
Kat ran a finger through her hair. The tale was taller than a lot of stories she’d heard in the past couple of years, but this one had the ring of truth to it. “What happened after the audition?”
After Kat splashed Erika’s face with some water, Erika finally finished her story. “Well, Mrs. Thatcher loved it. And Kelly... she said, ‘I wish I knew someone half as passionate as you.’” She shook her head, refusing to accept her memory as correct. “She actually gave me a compliment.”
Kat hugged her friend, shouting, “See? You did great, and you even got a compliment from Kelly Kingsley herself!”
“Who’s getting a compliment from the school slut?”
Almost as if on cue, one of Erika’s stepsisters came out of the large stall.
“Fiona!” All three girls turned to face the more intimidating stepsister. Fiona smiled sadistically as she realized just who was in the center of their little group.
“Hello, Erik.” Erika hated that nickname, HATED it, it made her sound like a guy... which was why both Jade and Fiona used it.
“Hi, Fiona.” She couldn’t fight back; she couldn’t try to give her stepsibling a verbal lashing, because Erika always lost. It was a god-given rule: Erika Andress always loses.
“So, rumor has it that you auditioned for the show.”
Mary stepped in front of Erika. “She’s part of the Theatre Department, Fiona. Back off.”
“This has nothing to do with you, Mary.” Fiona’s cold cobalt eyes turned to meet Erika’s green-blue. “Did you audition?”
Erika nodded. ‘Better to get nailed now with witnesses than later at home.’
Fiona’s gaze narrowed. “If you get called back, then I want you to do what you did for Jade back in the fifth grade, alright?”
Erika couldn’t believe this latest threat. “You want me to take a dive?”
And now it was Kat’s turn for virtuous rage. “You can’t make her do that!”
Fiona’s witty response was to slap Kat in the face. Mary hugged the green haired one in an attempt to comfort her, whispering soothing memories into her ear. Fiona stood resolute, demanding, “Take a dive, or else.”
Mary’s normally cool exterior was now red and livid, and that was a feat in and of itself; nothing ever got Mary pissed. “Leave. NOW.”
“No, I think you’ll leave. I have... unfinished business in here.”
Mary looked at the stall that Fiona had come out of, noticing two shoes in the stall that didn’t belong to an Andress. “Emily? That you?”
The face of a black-haired freshman with freckles peeked out of the stall, a blush on her face. Mary closed her eyes, not wanting to see her there.
Kat, meanwhile, saw the opportunity for payback and took it. “Emily, a warning before you lose your virginity to this bitch, alright? She’s a LUG.”
Like a man getting out of Dodge, the freshman quickly pulled her pants back up and ran out of the restroom, quickly telling Kat, “ThankyousomuchIcan’tbelieveherohmygodohmygod...”
The brunette stared evilly at the trio, cracking her knuckles. “Why the hell did you tell her I was a LUG?”
Kat nodded, eyeing what the Andress girl was doing. “If you’re going to do the ditty with a girl, at least let her know that you’re a Lesbian Until Graduation.”
Before Fiona could even the score, all three Theatre girls ran out of the bathroom, returning to the theatre before the stepsister could give chase.
Mary looked back at the theatre door. “What happened in the fifth grade?”
Erika took a step away from the entrance before replying, “Jade broke one of our neighbor’s windows with a baseball, and she blamed me.”
Kat’s jaw hung slack; she couldn’t understand why someone would do that. “But you knew you were innocent!”
“They threatened to burn my manga... that’s one of the few things I can do at home and not get in trouble for, is to just stay in my room and read.”
Kat refused to let this go, though. “You could’ve told your mom-”
Mary interrupted, saying, “And what good would that’ve done?” She put her hand on Kat’s shoulder, adding, “We both know that her stepmom doesn’t give a damn about her. So even if she knew the truth, Erika probably still would’ve been punished for it.”
Erika smiled bitterly, silently observing how wise and caring her friends were. If Kat was the embodiment of emotion, then Mary was logic personified.
As the friends walked back to their seats, they came across Julia once again. “So just what happened back there?”
The story was explained once again, but with Mary and Kat giving out the goods this time. Once they mentioned what Fiona was doing, however...
“SHE DID WHAT?!?” Mary, Kat, and Erika all gestured for Julia to lower her voice. Nonetheless, her whisper was still laced with displeasure. “She tried to do what to my sister?”
Mary gestured once more, this time telling Julia to stop. “She’s fine. We stopped it before Fiona could take ‘it’ from her.” Julia seemed relieved, but more importantly, she no longer seemed on the verge of exploding. The stage manager knew to tread lightly on the subject, because Julia was fiercely protective of those she cared for, including her younger sister, Emily.
Julia shook her head, saying, “I’m gonna have to have a talk with her ‘bout this when I get home.”
Deciding to change the subject, Erika asked if Kelly had left yet.
Julia then turned to Erika. “Yeah, I actually got to talk to Kelly a minute ago. She was coming through right after you guys left.”
Erika’s curiosity was raised. “What’d she say?”
“She said that she didn’t think that it was possible to see someone act with such fervor. And then she went back to class.”
Erika had no response, her face becoming a blank stare and a grin. THE Kelly Kingsley was telling the truth! She liked her acting!
Julia noticed this, and waved her hand in front of the girl. “I think I broke her.”
Kat disagreed, though. “Nah, she’s just on cloud nine right now. We’ll snap her out of it once class is over.”
The bus ride was uneventful, especially since neither of her stepsisters were riding the cheese wagon today. Despite that little fact, she still had to get off at Buck’s house. Jade and Fiona’s posse got off at the normal stop, and if she tried to get off at her sister’s stop, they’d hear about it, and once they heard- she shuddered at the thought.
As she stepped off the bus, she noticed that the rain had cleared up from earlier. Nonetheless, Erika kept a tight grip on the purple umbrella, almost as if her life depended on it. According to her father, this was the very parasol that her mother was using the day they met.
Buck was standing on the front porch of his house, eating a sandwich. “Oi! Erika!” He waved the girl down as she approached his home.
“Afternoon, Mr. Daniels.”
“Erika, you’re almost eighteen, and I’ve known ya’ for years. I think you’ve earned the right to call me Buck.”
Erika blushed a little. “Auditions were today.”
“For the fall show?” She nodded, which led Buck to laugh with gusto. “I guess you did pretty good then, ‘eh?”
“Yea, but a couple of weird things happened to me today.”
Buck’s laughter died down quickly. “Like what?” He led her inside, and they both sat down at the kitchen table.
“I got the wrong audition piece.”
Buck’s eyes narrowed slightly. “You mean, you got a different comedic monologue?”
Erika shook her head. “No, that’s the thing. I didn’t get a funny cold reading at all. The cold reading came straight out of ‘Superman’!”
Buck blinked, and swallowed spit. “Superman? There’s not many female monologues in that movie, except for-” The remainder of that sentence never came out of Buck’s mouth, as he finally realized just what she had to perform.
“-except for the one with Lois’s confession.”
Buck’s eyebrows arched, but wasn’t too shell-shocked by the turn of events. After all, Mrs. Thatcher always had an unusual way of doing things. “Well, okay, that’s the gist of it. I’m sure you did alright-”
“-That’s not the end of it.”
Buck’s breathing appeared to have quickened a little by that last comment. “I don’t understand.”
“Kelly Kingsley was there.”
Buck Daniels raised his hands in the air, stunned that the last comment could even begin to be true. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on a second! Are you telling me that the Kingsley girl was there?”
A nod. “And she was allowed to watch?”
Another nod. “And she saw you essentially perform the equivalent of a confession of love?”
A third nod. Buck appeared ready to comment, but then a buzzing sound came from a nearby room. Erika recognized that noise from earlier that day.
“Isn’t that the red phone?”
Buck nodded, his eyes hesitantly edging towards the phone. “Yeah, but it shouldn’t be going off.”
Erika began getting confused, commenting, “How often does that phone ring?”
“Usually? Once a month. I don’t understand, that’s the second time today.” He got up from his seat, and walked towards the phone, with Erika following him.
As they entered the room, Erika noticed a custom wooden sign hanging on the wall with red painted lettering, ‘Buck Daniels, Attorney at Law.’ Next to the little table where the phone was ringing was a desk littered with two or three neat little piles of papers, an old fashioned pen, an ink stamp, and a calendar.
Buck picked up the phone. “Hello?”
Erika took a step closer to Buck, but he shook his head. The lawyer covered the mouthpiece, and said, “Sorry, Erika. This call’s extremely important, more so than usual, I have to take it. I’ll call yo’ cell phone later, ‘kay?”
As Erika left the house, she passed by the window for the room she’d just left. She took a quick peep at the glass pane, and saw a nervous Buck, smiling a little bit.
And with that, Erika started to walk home. It would take her about fifteen minutes to get to her house. It would’ve taken two if she’d been able to get off at Jade’s stop.
As she finally made it to the steps of her house, she noticed a little sticky note on the door.
Have a slew of Parent-Teacher Conferences today for my other Calculus class. Won’t be back until late.
Don’t make a mess when you make yourself dinner, and clean the litter box. Lucy also needs to be fed, as well.
PS: Do your homework.’
Erika folded the piece of paper twice and placed it in her pocket. Her stepmother never made any attempt to recognize her as a daughter. In fact, out of all the creatures in the house, Lucy the cat was probably the kindest to her.
As she walked out of the entrance hall and into the kitchen, only one thought entered her mind. ‘I think I’ll have grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner.’
[End notes: A/N: I originally meant to put a comedic monologue there. But right before I found the ‘Tarzan’ one, I found the ‘Superman’ one, and it fit so perfectly that I made it a plot point. I’ve never actually seen that movie- something for me to do before Christmas, eh?]
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