The President's Daughter

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 7

Paige's POV

I woke up the next morning, my head pounding so hard it felt like my heart and brain had switched locations. Hmm, wow.. I actually thought of such an idea so early in the morning. I was getting good at this.

I rolled out of bed, stretched, and headed out of my room. I really needed some java, some tylenol, and a fluffy pillow. I still had not fully recovered from the "news", and I was still brooding over him.

"Hey," I heard Brittany say softly, sitting across from me. "You okay?"

"About as good as I'll get for now, I suppose." I replied, giving her a somewhat sincere smile, while pouring myself some coffee. "News still brewing?" Brewing... like my coffee. Niice. I was on a roll.... what?

"Actually, no. I haven't seen a broadcast about you since late last night." I looked up at her oddly by this, because normally the news would continue the story on some channel... "Which is odd." She finished, echoing my thoughts.

I was about to reply when there was a sharp rap to the door. I snapped my eyes to meet with Brittany's, to find her own eyes widening too. "I'll get it." She said, heading for the door, albeit slowly.

I don't know what made me think, I think it was a sixth sense maybe, but I suddenly felt dark ominous clouds above me, a deep foreboding of what was on the other side of that door. I highly doubted it was Christian coming to pour out his sincerest apologies, and I doubt it was Pierce coming to try and hook up with.. I dont know, one of us?

I held my breath as Brittany opened the door, and I saw her stiffen slightly. And not seconds later, she plastered herself to the wall, trying to avoid the 3 people storming into our little apartment. The 3 people I had easily, and dreadfully, noticed to be two bodyguards...

... of none other than Kathy -the evil stepmother.

She looked back at Brittany, whom then decided that then was the perfect time to throw herself at "The First Ladies" feet, and I swear she was close to kissing those feet had Kathy not moved back, obviously appalled.

She ignored Brittany completely, and was still looking around the apartment distastefully when I stopped her with my voice. "So.." I began, my voice slightly hoarse, my eyes burning as though I was about to cry. "You found me, eh?"

I doubt that was the right thing to say, because at that moment the evil wench snapped her eyes to me, glaring as though I would immediately combust. A fleeting thought in my brain wished I would. And then she clicked... clicked her tongue so hard that I thought perhaps her tongue would fall off.

Interesting....

"You. Ungrateful. Little. Brat." She said slowly, coming to me like a panther would its prey. She stopped beside me, and grabbed my arm forcefully, her manicured nails digging into my flesh, making the coffee cup in my hand shake slightly from the pain.

"Was it worth the fun, huh?" Click of tongue. "Was this pesky little apartment, and your lowly accommodations,and your lowly excuse of a roomate, worth the risk?" Click of tongue. "Because I assure you, Paige, that when I am through with you, your father will be shipping you off to the farthest boarding school just so he doesn't have to face your lying and manipulative face."

I winced as she applied more pressure to my arm, and that was when I saw Brittany storm up to Kathy, grab ahold of her shoulder, effectively wrenching the woman away from me. "I don't know who you think you are, but I have a guess on what you are- an ugly, wrinkly, mean old bit-"

Unfortunately Brittany could not continue, because Kathy's bodyguards grabbed her before she could finish, seeing as she did look like a possible threat... I had no idea the girl could look so scary.

Freaky Strong Supermodel 1, Evil Bitch 0.

"Restrain that woman!" Kathy bellowed, fixing her disarray and snapping her cold gaze to me. "And grab the girl too, make sure she doesn't try to run off, again."

Okay, so the points had now lowered drastically.

And with that, the Queen of Ice stormed out of the apartment, one bodyguard with a bellowing Brittany over his shoulder, the other one pushing me along outside, to the waiting limousine. Back home.

Oh, Joy... sarcasm noted and not helping.

The ride was silent and completely unnerving. Kathy sat one one side, her evil eye kept on both myself, and Brittany... whom was in handcuffs, wimpering about how she was so dead, but obviously overjoyed of being able to go to the White House.

And it was a long ride, because after the long suffering I found the doors opening, wanting to kiss the ground, only to be met with a lovely sight of Rudy and Thomas, both smiling down at me.

I hopped out of the car and embraced the two in a large bear hug. Quite inappropriate, but I was on the shit list anyway. One more wrong doing would mean nothing. They hugged me back, and I explained how I missed them, and they seemed to understand me running off completely, though they obviously were disappointed with me.

I noticed that Rudy was a little occupied however, with a bubbly, smiling Brittany whom was so blatantly flirting with the guy, even in her restraints. And he was responding so eagerly.

We didn't have much time though, because soon we were both hauled off inside, where I knew I was soon going to be faced with the wrath of the President.. my father. Of course, Brittany was much happier at this news than I was. Through the march of death, she was constantly fixing her hair while chanting, 'I'm gonna meet the president, I'm gonna meet the president! Likeohmygawdi'mgonnameetthepresident!!!'

The double doors opened slowly, and straight ahead was the desk which behind sat my father. His back was facing me however, but he turned upon hearing the door open. I faintly heard Brittany gasp, and faintly heard Kathy clicking her tongue in the background, but my focus was on my father, whom was advancing on me with 'the look' in his eyes.

"Hello Mr. President, I'm Brit-" Brittany's introduction was cut short as he ignored her and went straight to me, surprising me by picking me up and hugging me like he hadn't seen me in months.

Plausible.

"Dad, I-" I tried rasping out an explanation, but my oxygen was deflating with his fierce hug. Finally, he let me go, and the happiness was gone, replaced by the most stern look I had ever seen my father wear, even worse than his Poker face.

"I'm very disappointed in you. Not only did you take off without telling me, but you never even called, either. And not only that, but the news is out everwhere about your little frolic around the city! Paige, if-"

"I know, dad." I sighed, sounding dejected. "If I try that again I'm going to be sent away. Sorry for disappointing you."

"Let me finish. If you try that stunt again, I think I might go insane." He hugged me again. "I thought I lost you. Don't ever do that again."

I was slightly speechless, my father never spoke to me like this! Obviously, Kathy was shocked too. "But honey, you're not just going to let her get away with this are you? She should be punished! She's caused so much trouble, you should send her away and teach her a lesson!"

My dad turned, his arm still around my shoulders as he gave Kathy a stern look. "You may have been happy she was away so long, but never tell me how to raise my child, especially when you do such a poor job at it yourself. Now would you kindly leave my presence and let me be happy that my daughter is back?"

I was now completely and utterly shocked. My dad... just told Kathy off? Wow! The day was just getting more and more shocking to say the least! I had never seen this side to him after mom died. It was.. completely refreshing.

Kathy stormed off, knocking over a vase in the process, screaming her head off about god knows what. I smiled, turning my head back to my dad and giving him another hug. "Thanks for not screaming at me." I whispered.

He smoothed my hair back and smiled down at me, "It's not completely your fault anyway. It wasn't fair of me being so distant since your mom died, and all the stuff you had to deal with, and all the stuff I demanded of you."

"So we're cool?" I asked hopefully.

"Not quite." He said, giving me another stern look. "I may be civil right now, but what you did still is wrong. I'm grounding you, and not giving you allowance."

I pouted, "For how long?"

"I don't know yet." He said thoughtfully, before turning his head, just know noticing a petite blonde standing there gawking like an idiot, handcuffed. He gave her a peculiar look, and I swear she almost fainted.

"Just wondering dad, but how'd you find me?" I asked.. I don't know what compelled me, but I just had to know.

"After the news was out, we got a call from a young man that tipped us. I dont know his name, it started with a P. Pete... Pier...."

"Pierce?!" Brittany yelled suddenly.

My dad look at her and nodded, "Yeah, thats it!"

The blonde seethed at the spot she was standing, wishing she could strangle something had she not been so obviously restrained. "Why that little ungrateful bast-"

"Who's this?" My father questioned me suddenly, looking at me as though she was psycho. I think Brittany was having heart problems just then, because she seemed to not be breathing right, completely forgetting her anger at Pierce. So being ever the nice friend, I introduced my dad to the girl I had been staying with.

"Dad, this is Brittany. She's a model, and I stayed with her while I was gone. Don't worry, she's not insane. Might have a case of ADD... or OCD. I don't know, there's something not right with her. But's she a good girl." I winked, Brittany finding that the most complimenting thing I've ever said about her, seeing as she was just gushing with excitement. Actually, I don't think she heard a word.

"It's nice to meet you, Brittany. It's nice to know you looked after my daughter." My dad said, giving her a grateful smile.

"Oh, it was nooo problem!" Brittany gushed, "She was awesome, and.. and you're like my biggest idol, anyway! Ohmygod!" She yelled suddenly, causing my dad to jump at her outburst. "I totally have to get your autograph!!"

I grinned, shrinking away from the two, while my dad gave me a pleading look as I left him alone with Brittany. Hey, you never know what she's capable of in her crazy mode. Even in restraints. Which, if my father was smart, he wouldn't take off just yet.

I smiled and took a deep breath, looking at my surroundings as I walked to my room. I was home.. again. After so long. I fell onto my bed with a sigh and smiled slightly. So maybe it wasn't as disasterous as I thought it would be. Actually, it was probably the best it could be.

However, I still felt a slight pang twist my heart, and I decided that perhaps it was not quite the best it could be.

------------------------------------------

3 Months Later

"Hurry up there Paige, or we'll be late!" I heard my father yell from down the hall.

I ran out of the bathroom, trying to slip on my heel and find my earring at the same time. "I'm coming!" I yelled, slipping on the shoe and finding the diamond earring, putting that in as well. I was so busy I did not hear my door open.

"Are you trying for fashionably late? Cause honey, I'm not sure you can pull it off quite as well as I."

The familiar voice made me spin around and almost lose my footing, but I quickly recovered and ran as quickly as I could in my heels. "Britt!" I squealed, giving her a bear hug. "Where'd you come from?"

She smiled coyly, "Your dad sent me an invitation. I figured it'd be rude to decline such an offer. Besides, my chaperone is just so delicious.. I couldn't refuse."

She was so obviously referring to Rudy, and I chuckled despite myself. Rudy and Brittany got together not long after my fateful homecoming, both claiming that it was love at first sight. They were so head over heels for each other, I was proud.

"Girl... you look so amazing!" Brittany gushed, complimenting the golden gown I had chosen to wear. It was strapless, with a sophisticated, yet mysterious look to it. I had matching gloves to accessorize.

"You do too!" I beamed, as she looked lovely in a dark purple shimmery gown, that no doubt cost her a fortune. Typical Brittany.

"Thanks!" She chipped, dragging me along. "Now lets go before your dad freaks and thinks you ran away and calls National Security!"

I chuckled and walked down the stairs with Brittany, and waiting at the bottom were Rudy and Thomas. Rudy, of course, was Brittany's date. Thomas however, was just my escort. I didn't want to go alone, and Thomas had politely offered to be my guest for the evening, for which I was eternally grateful.

"You look beautiful, Paige. You'll knock 'em dead." Thomas praised, and I glowed almost as brightly as my dress. The two escorted us to the limo, where Brit and I sat in the back, while the two men sat in front.

We were headed to a party held in the President's honor. I had to go, since well... duh, he's my father. It wasn't anything special, just another formal occasion, only this time I had to dress nicer. I didn't know there was nicer, anyway, but whatever.

We arrived to the large building, which was exteremely packed. Security was so tight the press couldn't even come close to sneaking a peek, whilst the crowds made way for myself and my guests. Thomas gave me his elbow and led me inside, where I noticed many round tables, some people dancing, and a stage set up with a mellow band playing.

I was led to the table my father occupied, whom was discussing things with his advisor. Upon seeing me he stood and gave me a hug, telling me I looked wonderful. I beamed again, and sat down obediently, Brittany having a seat beside me. Rudy and Thomas, though our escorts, were still my bodyguards, so they opted for standing.

Since the party was for my father, he was quite busy with many issues and people, so I understood he was busy and I didn't really see him much. Brittany and Rudy were off dancing, smiling at each other lovingly, and I had a sad, pathetic smile on my face. I was so happy for them... but...

But what?

I was interrupted from my path of depressive thoughts when a deep voice whispered in my ear, "May I have this dance?"

I turned to face a smiling Thomas, and smiled sincerely at him. "I would be honored, oh gallant fellow." I curtsied, and he bowed dramatically, which made me giggle. I took his arm and he led me to the dance floor, where Brittany waved.

We waltzed and I felt so carefree on the dance floor. I felt no worries, and everything just faded away with the music. I heaved a sigh, and Thomas looked down at me thoughtfully. "I can tell you've changed, Paige." He said suddenly, bringing me out of my thoughts.

"What do you mean?" I questioned curiously.

"I mean..." He began, "That ever since you got back, something in you changed. Its like you're a different person. You used to be so, I don't know, carefree and slightly miserable. Now you're just miserable."

I shrugged, "I had an ounce of freedom and now I lost it. Thats all." I said, not-so-convincingly. "I'm sure I'll get over it."

"Sometimes," Thomas pondered above me, "Freedom is not only a feeling, but it also comes in a person too. Perhaps, one that you grew attached to?" I looked up at him, startled, and he just smiled down at me. "Did you lose that person, just as you lost your freedom as well?"

I was too stunned to say anything, when Thomas bent down and whispered in my ear, "Now is your chance to get that freedom back."

He let go of me, and I suddenly felt a chill down my spine as I heard the strum of guitars from the stage behind me. I looked up at Thomas, who smiled and backed into the crowd, and I was suddenly scared to turn around. Afraid of what he meant. Afraid that maybe, just maybe, my freedom was standing right behind me.... center stage, guitar in hand, black and red hair falling into their eyes.

The epitome of Freedom.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A/N: One more chapter then its done. Hope it wont take me a year to write, though, mwahha... okay. Bad joke.

Thanks to those that didnt mention Christian being overly dramatic, since she technically told him before. To those that did; well, I completely understand and would be compelled to explain thorougly how she was only being sarcastic, and Christian was being stubborn, seeing red cause he's in love and he can't believe she's actually the first daughter, blah blah, it will all come in time... I'm too tired to detail right now. If it bothers you that much, email me and I'll debrief further, chief.. A special thanks to Rachael, whom emailed me and inspired my muse. And a thanks to the band Staind, whom also inspired me by listening to their song "Right Here" for hours and hours til it was done. Mwah!

Over and out.