“The Real Cinderella” by Sydney Miller

“Get down here, Ella!”

“I’m busy!”

“I don’t care! I need you to do the dishes before you go to school!”

“I hate you! You’re the worst stepmother ever!”

Ella Smiths stomped down the stairs from the bathroom and glared at her stepmother.

“Ella, don’t give me that look,” Mrs. Smiths said.

“Whatever,” Ella muttered under her breath. She was seventeen and didn’t care about anything her stepmother said.

Blonde, rich and entitled, Ella was practically royalty at her high school. She had a loyal band of followers that she constantly made fun of with her best friend, Faith. She had fifteen pairs of shoes (none of them sneakers) and twenty-six evening gowns.

She also had a father that was always out of town, a stepmother that expected her to do chores, and two stepsisters that never had to do chores because they were at some club or doing some project. It was the epitome of unfair, and Ella knew it.

She complained about her stepfamily to anyone who would listen, including her stepfamily, who didn’t always appreciate how hard it was for Ella to do the dishes and take out her cat’s litter box.

“Do the dishes, Ella,” Mrs. Smiths said as Ella continued to scowl. “Don’t do it so roughly,” she added, annoyed.

“Oh my gosh,” Ella said. “You’re telling me to do something, and I’m doing it, and you’re complaining about how I’m doing it! That’s so dumb.”

“Don’t talk to me like that,” Mrs. Smiths said angrily. “Unless you want some privileges taken away.”

“Whatever,” Ella said again, finishing the dishes and stacking them on the counter.

“Ella, there’s spaghetti left over on this plate,” Mrs. Smiths said, holding it up. “You need to redo it.”

“Excuse me, but all I really need to redo is my hair,” Ella said, storming up the stairs. As she reached the bathroom, she got a text from Faith.

hey whats up?

UGH my stepmom is being so mean shes such a monster why did my dad even marry her??? Ella texted back.

            IDK that sucks tho. wanna meet b4 school and hang out?

            sure but IDK if i can get away my stepmom is complning abt the dishes ill try tho

            OK see u later

            ttyl

            Ella was almost done with her hair when her evil stepsisters knocked on the door.

“Ella, I need to go to the bathroom,” Sabrina called.

“And I need to brush my teeth,” Katie whined.

“You guys are so selfish,” Ella said, finishing with her hair and opening the door. “I hope you realize that you can’t just go around being this mean to people everywhere else.”

“Sorry,” they said in unison, rushing into the bathroom.

“What ugly monsters,” Ella muttered to herself. As she made her way downstairs again, Mrs. Smiths blocked her path, holding a dirty dish.

“Sorry, but I have a meeting with a teacher that I need to go to before school,” Ella lied, twirling her hair.

“Nice try. Do the dishes and then go,” Mrs. Smiths said, handing the dish to Ella. Ella sighed and, burdened with the awful task, made her way to the sink.

After fifteen more minutes, her evil stepmother finally told her she’d done a good enough job to go.

“Wow, thanks so much,” Ella said sarcastically on her way out.

“No more lip from you, young lady!” her stepmother called after her.

“Whatever,” Ella muttered.

+++

That day at school, Ella got sent to the principal’s office because she was caught trying to pass a note to Faith.

“What? I’m just trying to vent about how, like, abusive my stepmom is,” Ella said, looking down like she was going to cry. “She’s so mean and she makes me do all the chores and it’s just, like, not fair.”

“That may be true, Ella, but you can’t disrupt class time like that. We’re going to have to call your parents,” the principal said.

What? That’s so not fair!” Ella scowled at the principal and folded her arms in defiance. He was being a jerk and she knew it. It wasn’t like she was trying to blow up the school or write in a textbook – he was just trying to punish her, just like her mother.

Ella sighed dramatically as the principal picked up the phone. Everyone in her life was against her, always punishing her and being mean to her.

“Excuse me? Hello, Mrs. Smiths, I have your daughter Ella – stepdaughter, right – and we were just calling to let you know she got caught passing a note in her math class. Oh – what it said? It said, and I’m just reading off the note here, Mrs. Smiths – ‘my stepmom is a stupid evil dumb idiot who hates me but not as much as I hate her.’ I’m very sorry about this, Mrs. Smiths – I – no, please don’t yell – do you want to maybe say this to Ella? She’s right – no, I’m sorry, we can’t send her home. You’ll have to wait until the end of the school day, Mrs. Smiths. No – yes – okay. All right. Thank you. Okay. Yes. You’re welcome. Of course. Thank you. Have – have a nice day, Mrs. Smiths. Okay. Yes. Goodbye. Yes. Okay. Goodbye.”

The principal hung up the phone and shook his head at Ella.

“She’s so annoying, isn’t she?” Ella said.

“Go back to class, Ella,” the principal said, opening the door for her.

+++

Ella opened her front door, her arms laden with shopping bags. She had needed to blow off some steam after school, so she’d turned her phone off and her shopping mindset on. She and Faith had hit all their favorite stores three times before Faith had to bail and drove Ella home.

“Ella Kaitlin Smiths, I am so angry at you,” her stepmother said as Ella stepped into the foyer.

“Ugh,” Ella said under her breath, dropping her bags. “I’m so sick of this,” she said louder.

“Oh – you’re sick of this?” Mrs. Smiths said, laughing slightly. “I have never been more sick of you that I am right now. You write a horrible note about me and then disappear after school with your phone off doing who know what -”

“I was shopping with Faith,” Ella said, crossing her arms. “You don’t get to tell me what to do. You’re not my real mom. My real mom would be way nicer than you.”

“Then your real mom must have been deaf because you are the most insufferable brat that I have ever met!” Mrs. Smiths took a deep breath and tried to regain her composure. It was hard to regain her composure, though, because she was so hysterical and over the top.

“Whatever.” Ella picked up her bags and tried to retreat upstairs, but her stepmother stopped her.

“Give me the bags,” Mrs. Smiths demanded.

“Uh, I don’t think so,” Ella said.

“Give me the bags,” Mrs. Smiths repeated.

“Whatever.” Ella tried to push past her stepmother, but Mrs. Smiths grabbed the bags from her.

“I am so sick of your attitude,” Mrs. Smiths said. “Something needs to be done. And I know what it is. Stay here.”

Ella watched as her stepmother ran up the stairs with her shopping bags and sighed. She had more important things to do than this.

hey whats up? Faith texted her.

OMG u would not belve me if i told u!! my stepmom is going crazy!!  Ella texted back angrily.

awn that sux whats she doing??

            shes taking all the stuff we bought!!!

            OMG rlly?? thats so mean

IKR SHES SO MEAN!!! Ella texted, but she didn’t send the text because her stepmother had come back down the stairs, all of Ella’s shopping bags in her arms – along with Ella’s evening dresses.

“Hey!” Ella screamed in outrage. “What are you doing?”

“You’re not going to prom,” Mrs. Smiths said calmly, going into her room and putting the dresses on the bed.

Ella laughed desperately, hoping her stepmother was joking.

“Um, hello, I can’t miss prom. It’s prom. Even an idiot like you would understand prom.”

Mrs. Smiths smiled dangerously and closed her bedroom door.

“You’re not going to prom and there’s nothing you can do to get out of it. I’m sick of you and your attitude and the names you think you can call me. You can sit here and help Sabrina and Katie get ready, but you’re not going.

“You’re the worst person in the world!” Ella screamed, running upstairs and laying on her bad. She took her phone out and anger-texted Faith that she couldn’t go to prom.

WHAT???????????? Faith texted back immediately.

AND SHES MAKING ME HELP MY STUPID STEPSISTERS GET READY I HATE HER SO MUCH!! Ella texted back, her thumbs slipping and typing the wrong letters. Thankfully, autocorrect understood her in her time of need.

and prom is next week!!! u r so out of luck!!! what abt ur dress??

            SHE TOOK ALL THE STUFF WE BOUGHT 2DAY AND MY NICE DRESSES

            hey we can thnk of somthing ok?? calm down can i come over?

            prolly not my stepmom is so MEAN

            ok well i gtg talk 2 u @ school 2morrow

            bye Ella texted, lying back on her bed and thinking about how mean her stepmother was.

+++

On the night of the prom, Ella was in the exact same position. She’d zipped her dumb stepsisters up and helped them do their hair. They were so excited and she hated them for it.

Sabrina and Katie were the same age as her, but totally different. For one thing, their mother loved them. For another, they were total nerds. Nerds shouldn’t get to go to prom, that was what Ella always thought. But there they were, nerdy twins, going to prom, while she, Ella, the prettiest and richest girl in school, was in her bedroom.

Suddenly, her phone pinged. It was Faith.

hey i just saw ur mom leaving with ur stepsisters guess what i have a plan!! meet me @ ur front door in 5mins

            OK … Ella texted back, running downstairs.

Five minutes later, Ella was at the front door, and so was Faith.

“Hey there,” Faith said, all dressed up in her baby-blue gown, her hair piled on top of her head. “How’s it hanging?”

“I’m great, Faith,” Ella said dejectedly.

“You’ll be even greater when I sneak you to prom in this!” Faith revealed a beautiful red gown from behind her back. “Come on! You can get dressed in the back of the limo.”

“You are the best friend ever!” Ella squealed with delight and grabbed the dress as she and Faith took off to the limo on the curb.

Ella got changed and Faith helped her do her hair, and then they were at the hotel.

“Thank you so much,” Ella gushed as she got out of the limo and sashayed towards the door.

“Of course,” Faith said. “But don’t tell anyone who you are. Just a precaution. I paid my little sister fifty dollars to stay in your room and yell out mean things every time your stepmom knocks. But you have to be back home by midnight, because that’s all I could get her to agree to.”

“You are totally the greatest,” Ella said as they walked in.

“Ooh, look, it’s Robert,” Faith whispered. “He’s totally going to ask you to dance.”

Obviously, Faith was right. Who wouldn’t want to dance with Ella?

“Hey, wanna dance?” Robert asked, in the middle of a slow song. He was so romantic.

“Yes,” Ella breathed, and they danced for five songs before taking a punch break.

“So, what’s your name again?” Robert asked. Ella swooned, but still remembered Faith’s warning.

“I’m … Sabrina,” she said, that being the only name she could think of on the spot.

“Nice name,” Robert said.

“You too,” Ella said.

They danced for one more song, and then Ella noticed the time – 11:52 p.m.

“Oh no,” she said, stepping back from Robert. “I have to go. Sorry. I had a great time, I promise,” she said as she ran out the door.

She jumped into the first limo she saw and directed them to her house and they took her, probably because they could charge the people who were renting the limo for any movement the limo made.

She made it back just in time and climbed up the ladder that Faith had left outside her window.

Just as she made it into her room, Faith’s sister was getting ready to climb out.

“Thanks,” Ella said.

“Whatever,” Faith’s sister said.

+++

The next day, all anyone would talk about was the mystery girl that Robert had danced with. Ella wished desperately that she could burst out and say “It was me!” but she knew she shouldn’t.

“What’s your name?” one of Robert’s friends said to her in the hallway.

“Um, Ella,” Ella said without thinking.

“Not her,” Robert’s friend said. “Do you know any Sabrinas, Ella?”

Ella gasped. “No, I d -”

“My name’s Sabrina.”

Ella turned around and saw her evil stepsister standing there with Katie.

“Come with me,” Robert’s friend said. “You’re one lucky girl. You’re gonna be Robert Jones’s girlfriend.”

“Oh, well, no thanks,” Sabrina said.

“But you danced with him!” Robert’s friend said.

“No! I danced with him!” Ella burst out. “I danced with him and then I used my stepsister’s name because I wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place!”

“Nice try,” Robert’s friend said, rolling his eyes. He turned to Sabrina. “That sucks, but it’s your choice. See you around.”

“But -” Ella said.

Sabrina shrugged and she and Katie walked down the hallway, talking about some book they’d both read.

Ella sat down in the middle of the hallway and cried.

“No one is nice to me,” she said, sniffling. “Everyone’s so mean, and my life sucks!”

+++

Ella went on to become a barista at the biggest Starbucks in Omaha. Every time someone named Sabrina orders a coffee, she writes their name as “Stupida.”

Robert played football at the University of Nebraska until he was kicked out because they found out he took steroids. And that he couldn’t read.

Faith worked with Ella at the Starbucks until a talent scout “discovered” her. Now she works at the biggest Starbucks in New York City.

Sabrina and Katie become world-famous journalists and now live with their mother in Orlando.

The End.

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