Finding CinderellaBy: Colleen Hoover
“You got a tattoo?”
It’s the third time I’ve asked Holder the same question, but I just don’t believe it. It’s out of character for him. Especially since I’m not the one who encouraged it.
“Jesus, Daniel,” he groans on the other end of the line. “Stop. And stop asking me why.”
“It’s just a weird thing to tattoo on yourself. Hopeless. It’s a very depressing term. But still, I’m impressed.”
“I gotta go. I’ll call you later this week.”
I sigh into the phone. “God, this sucks, man. The only good thing about this entire school since you moved is fifth period.”
“What’s fifth period?” Holder asks.
“Nothing. They forgot to assign me a class, so I hide out in this maintenance closet every day for an hour.”
Holder laughs. I realize as I’m listening to it that it’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh since Les died two months ago. Maybe moving to Austin will actually be good for him.
The bell rings and I hold the phone with my shoulder and fold up my jacket, then drop it to the floor of the maintenance closet. I flip off the light. “I’ll talk to you later. Nap time.”
“Later,” Holder says.
I end the call and set my alarm for fifty minutes later, then place my phone on the counter. I lower myself to the floor and lie down. I close my eyes and think about how much this year sucks. I hate that Holder is going through what he’s having to go through and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. No one that close to me has ever died, much less someone as close as one of my sisters. A twin sister to be exact.
I don’t even try to offer him advice, but I think he likes that. I think he needs me to just continue being myself, because God knows everyone else in this whole damn school has no clue how to act around him. If they weren’t all such stupid assholes he’d probably still be here and school wouldn’t suck half as bad as it does.
But it does suck. Everyone in this place sucks and I hate them all. I hate everybody but Holder and they’re the reason he isn’t here anymore.
I stretch my legs out in front of me and cross my ankles, then fold my arm over my eyes. At least I have fifth period.
Fifth period is nice.
• • •
My eyes flick open and I groan when something lands on me. I hear the sound of the door slam shut.
What the hell?
I place my hands on whatever just fell on me and begin to roll it off me when my hands graze a head full of soft hair.
It’s a human?
A chick just fell on me. In the maintenance closet. And she’s crying.
“Who the hell are you?” I ask cautiously. Whoever she is, she tries to push off me but we both seem to be taking turns moving in the same direction. I lift up and try to roll her to my side but our heads crash together.
“Shit,” she says.
I fall back onto my makeshift pillow and grab my forehead. “Sorry,” I mumble.
Neither one of us moves this time. I can hear her sniffling, trying not to cry. I can’t see two inches in front of me because the light is still out but I suddenly don’t mind that she’ s still on top of me because she smells incredible.
“I think I’m lost,” she says. “I thought I was walking into the bathroom.”
I shake my head, even though I know she can’t see it. “Not a bathroom,” I say. “But why are you crying? Did you hurt yourself when you fell?”
I feel her whole body sigh on top of me and even though I have no idea who she is or what she looks like, I can feel the sadness in her and it makes me a little sad in return. I’m not sure how it happens, but my arms go around her and her cheek falls against my chest. In the course of five seconds we go from extremely awkward to kind of comfortable, like we do this all the time.
It’s weird and normal and hot and sad and strange and I don’t really want to let go. It feels sort of euphoric, like we’re in some sort of fairytale. Like she’s Tinkerbell and I’m Peter Pan.
No, wait. I don’t want to be Peter Pan.
Maybe she can be like Cinderella and I’ll be her Prince Charming.
Yeah, I like that fantasy better. Cinderella’s hot when she’s all poor and sweaty and slaving over the stove. She also looks good in her ball gown. It also doesn’t hurt that we’re meeting in a broom closet. Very fitting.
I feel her pull a hand up to her face, more than likely wiping away a tear. “I hate them,” she says softly.
“Everybody,” she says. “I hate everybody.”
I close my eyes and lift my hand, then run it down her hair, doing my best to comfort her. Finally, someone who actually gets it. I’m not sure why she hates everybody but I have a feeling she’s got a pretty valid reason.
“I hate everybody too, Cinderella.”
She laughs softly, probably confused as to why I just referred to her as Cinderella. Whatever just made her laugh, at least it’s not more tears. Her laugh is intoxicating and I try to think of how I can get her to do it again. I’m trying to think of something funny to say when she lifts her face off my chest and I feel her scoot forward. Before I know it, I feel lips on mine and I’m not sure if I should shove her away or roll on top of her. I begin to lift my hands to her face, but she pulls back just as quick as she kissed me.