Horns blaring, tires screeching, headlights flickering, a women's screams pierce the air, my own heart pounding, metal crunching , a sickening thump, whimpers coming from the lady next to me, her breathing erratic and labored.

Then silence.

Ellis woke with a start, breathing heavily; sweat ran down the side of his temple and hand clenched around the chain on his neck.

"Oh yeah what a way to get me motivated in the morning, listening to my mother's dying breaths," he muttered, you'd think that after a year I'd gotten over that crash.

Slowly he pulled himself off his bed wincing a bit when his arm came in contact with the edge of it. After he showered, brushed his teeth, used the toilet and got dressed in one of his more baggy green shirts and loose jeans, he made his way downstairs as gracefully as possible at 5 o'clock in the morning. Ellis stumbled into the kitchen, shoes clicking lightly on the wood floor, grabbed an apple from the counter, yanked his coat off the chair and quickly stepped out of the door onto the sidewalk in front of the house. Hope to god David doesn't notice the apple gone, he probably won't though, much too healthy for his tastes.

It was still dark out, the eastern horizon just starting to gray, and a chill in the air, so peaceful. So much like that night. There was nothing Ellis regretted more than asking her to take him to get his hair streaked; nothing. Oh how I begged, pleaded and whined. Finally she relented though, it might have been the guilt of marrying David; he made no effort to hide his distaste for the man and his two sons. She did like it though, after it was done and she got to see how it looked on me. The ride home had been so much fun, just like old times, before he came into the picture. But all good things must come to an end…and boy did this one end with a bang. David never did forgive him for "killing" his wife…he always conveniently forgot that she was Ellis's mother also.

"Ok enough of these depressing thoughts, I just might get myself upset before school even begins and can't have that, now can we," he grumbled, mentally shaking his head at himself. Looking up he noticed that during his musings he had made his way to school.

"Speak of the devil," he sighed, as he grudgingly made his way up the steep steps of the school, already preparing himself for the day of torture that was to come. Once inside he quickly stopped at his locker and dropped off his coat, then made his way to his sanctuary….the library. The soft glow of the overhead lights and the musky scent of the books always put him to ease. Once he got there he nodded to the dozing librarian who was unlucky enough to get stuck working this early and slowly meandered over to his table in the corner of the room. Slumping into the cushioned seat he pulled out his book and began to lose himself in an enchanting book of love and hate.

"BRRRRING!" The bell reverberated around the small library, snapping Ellis's attention away from the book. Slowly standing up, he carefully gathered his books, binders and pens from the surface of the table and through them into his beat up bag. Making sure not to jar his arm on anything, he made his way out of the library to his first class of the day.

"Does anyone know that answer to number thirteen? Anyone at all?" pleaded Mrs. Shirley, his English teacher. After several moments of staring out into a sea of blank eyes, she sighed in defeat and picked on a random victim.

"Stanley, can you answer number thirteen for the class, please?" a note of desperation seeping into her voice. Yeah, keep dreaming sweetheart, this is the same Stanley who asked you to smell his hair because, and I quote, "It used to smell like weed, but now it smells sooo pretty."

"Umm it's…" Stanley trailed off. Hmm, is that a drop of drool I see? Mrs. Shirley was leaning forward, silently encouraging him to prove to her that all hope was not lost for this class's redemption. Just about the time Ellis had decided that Stanley had died while trying to figure out the answer, he opened his mouth.

"What was the question again?"

It truly is amazing what one question can do to a person. I never knew watching a teacher have a mental breakdown could be this captivating.

"What's this?" jeered a large boy grabbing at Ellis's book while another kid refused to let him get by. The question echoed through the empty hallway, bouncing off of the hard linoleum floor.

"It's a book," Ellis said, taking a deep breath in hopes of controlling his temper. If I snap they'll tell David and I just can't have that happen. He thought, unconsciously rubbing his arm.

"Really?" With most people you would tend to think that they were being sarcastic, but you never had to worry about that with Jessie and Bret. Blondes through and through. I doubt if they could tell someone what sarcasm was, let alone utilize it.

"No, no it's not," he replied, slowly inching away from them before they remembered why they had sought him out. What they lacked in brains they gained two fold in size and strength, a fact that Ellis had discovered first hand.

"Where do you think your going," sneered Bret, his voice dripping disdain, "off to see your boyfriend?"

I wish.

"Yep that's exactly what I'm doing, and as nice as it was having this little chat I really must be off." Ellis said, still backing away from the two boys, "you know the drill, boyfriend to see, rendezvous to be had, and brothers to escape from. Busy, busy, busy."

With that Ellis turned and ran, hoping against hope that by the time they figured out what had been said he would be safe and sound in the library. Once there, and after making sure that no one had followed him, he gracefully plopped down into his chair, grabbed his book from his backpack and begin to read.

Only to have his concentration ripped away from it a few minutes later by a loud yelling match going on in the front of the library. Whipping around, he saw the librarian and a tall boy with messy blond hair shouting passionately at each other.

"---last time, I returned that book a month ago!" snapped the blond haired guy. With a start Ellis realized it was Chris Charming, the prince of the school. How amusing, never thought I would see him in a library.

"Then where is it hmmm? If you had returned it then it should be where it belongs, on the SHELF!" the librarian screamed back, her glasses beginning to slide down the bridge of her nose. I guess all the shushing gave her a magnificent set of lungs.

"And why is it not on there, do you think? Could it possibly be because you didn't return it?" she inquired. If looks could kill…

Chris, taking a long, deep and hopefully calming breath replied in a strained voice, "I do not know why that book is not on the shelf, but I do know that I returned Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister to this very library over a month ago."

Glancing at the cover of his book in shock, Ellis stood up. Walking around all the scattered tables, he hesitantly made his way over to the arguing pair.

"Umm excuse me…" both continued to bicker, completely ignoring the smaller boy standing next to them. Running his hand through his blue streaked hair, he sighed in annoyance.

"Pardon me" his voice a little stronger. Ok this is just silly. Rolling his eyes shoved the book in front of their faces, "Here, I have the book."

Blinking in surprise, both parties stopped their yelling and looked down at him. Chris was the first to regain his senses.

"AHA! He has the book. I told you I returned it, but did you believe me…nooo of course not! Why would you ever believe little old me?" Chris sang, throwing up his arms, blue eyes dancing happily.

The librarian, still staring in disbelief turned to Ellis and glared, "You had that book the whole time, very well then, you get to pay the fine for it." folding her arms over her chest clearly happy to have someone to blame.

"I'm sorry to deprive you of the money you so obviously need, but this book doesn't have a fine on it, it's not even due till next week ma'am." Ellis replied as politely as possible. But the librarian must have not thought it was sincere enough, because she was rapidly turning an unbecoming shade of red.

"Why---'' she spluttered.

"Now if that's all, I really would like to continue reading this fascinating book, good day." He said cutting her off before she could complain anymore. Wow, that felt good, I never did like her.

Sitting back down, he opened his book but before he could even get a sentence read he was interrupted by a polite cough behind him. Tipping his head back he tried to see who was addressing him and spotted Chris staring at him.

"Umm hi, yeah, I wanted to apologize for all the trouble," he said sheepishly "and thanks for telling the old coot off, she really was getting on my last nerves."

"Oh, oh that's fine, it really didn't bother me. I've kinda wanted to say that to her for awhile, you just gave me an excuse." Ellis murmured in a timid voice, lowering his eyes to the speckled floor.

"Well thanks anyways," Turning around he started to head for the door, looking back over his shoulder he called out "I'll see you around!"

Ellis sat there, stroking his necklace and staring at where Chris had been standing just a moment ago.

After the last bell of the day had rung he made his way outside to the street below. Pulling his coat closer to his body to ward off the freezing wind, he quietly walked home.

"OH, Ellis, Ellis over here!" a voice called out as he passed the bright purple house that was right next door to David's house. Looking around he spotted an older lady with wild graying hair, wearing a rainbow dress, and a fedora, sitting atop the roof of her house, waving like a crazed monkey in his direction. Oh no, what did she do this time, I hope to god no fire trucks are needed again. I never want to repeat that experience.

Sighing Ellis looked up, "Harriet, what in the name of God are you doing up there?" This better be good.

"It's a funny story, actually," she giggled. Older ladies should not be allowed to giggle, "You see Music Star, in the wee hours of the morning wanted to go outside like all active cats do. So I got up out of my bed and walked over to the door to let her out. Then, since I'm not the girl I used to be, I wasn't able to stay up and wait for her to come back inside. So there I was sleeping soundly in my bed when I'm woken by the most horrible yowling ever heard by man. So I, of course had to jump right up and go see what was the matter with my little Music Star. So anyways I get out that front door of mine and I don't see her anywhere. That of course sets me off into a panic; anyone could come and snatch my sweetie right up, just like that." Snapping her fingers for emphasis, "but then I look up and there she is, sitting on that roof, so far up off the ground that anything could have happened to her, I mean cats only have nine lives and for all I know she could be on her eighth life. So I of course have to go get a ladder and climb up there to get her down because she obviously couldn't do it her self. So I climb up that ladder and just when I plop down on the roof she looks at me, smirks and jumps right off, knocking the ladder away from the house as she goes. Normally I would have just flown down but I slept on my wings funny and my fairy dust is inside my coat pocket in the house. So do you think you could be a good lad and help me off this roof? My bum's gone to sleep and I can't feel my legs." She smiled sweetly at him, I swear, she forgets that she's pushing sixty sometimes.

Nodding silently, he walked over onto her lawn, stepped over her lawn gnomes and plastic flamingos, grabbed the rusty ladder that had been knocked over and placed it right side up so that she would be able to climb down safely. Just when she reached the bottom, a voice boomed across the yard.

"BOY, GET INSIDE THE HOUSE THIS INSTANT!" Jumping slightly Ellis turned and ran towards his house giving a fleeting wave to Harriet. Carefully stepping through the doorway, he glanced around the dark hallway trying to see if anyone was there. Slowly the door behind him creaked shut and he was left in darkness. Whipping around, absentmindedly grabbing the locket around his neck, Ellis looked up into a face shrouded in the shadows.

"He-hello Dav-vi-David." He stuttered beginning to back up, trying to put as much distance as possible between them. Then suddenly his stepfather stumbled forward and grabbed Ellis by the front of his loose shirt, twisting and stretching it, all the while pulling him closer.

"I came home today, and you know what I found?" David said in a dangerous whisper, "Nothing was cleaned, the house was a mess, and none of your chores were done. I feed you, I clothe you, I give you a roof over your head and this is how you repay me!" He's quite coherent for a man that can barely see straight.

"Well what do you have to say for your self, Boy?" he snarled, breath reeking of alcohol and his face contorted in anger. When he got no response from Ellis besides a blank stare be began to pull him deeper into the house. "Fine, we'll see how long you can stay quiet."

The boy's eye's widened a fraction, Oh god what have I gotten myself into. Last thing he remembered was a fist flying towards his face, and someone shrieking.

"I'm sorry! I'm so, so sorry!"

Ellis was woken up by a stream of light flickering across his closed eyes. Squinting at the clock next to his bed, he blinked in surprise and jumped up, regretting it as soon as weight was put on his leg. He stumbled into the bathroom and looked in the mirror, wincing lightly when he touched his eye. Well this just won't do, some of the teachers are starting the get suspicious. It would be so much easier if I could just use makeup to cover it up. His lip was also swollen and had a jagged cut running through it. Guess David had his ring on last night. Looking at his pale reflection his soulful hazel eyes gazing back at him, Ellis had to wonder why nothing was ever said about the bruises and cuts that would appear at a regular basis on his face. I guess it's just assumed that with Jessie and Bret for stepbrothers there would be some roughhousing. And my hair does cover a good portion of my face, which reminds me I have to go see Harriet about re-dying it. She may have been insane but she sure did know how to dye hair like a pro. After carefully cleaning any new cuts and re-bandaging his arm Ellis walked to the kitchen grabbing a mop from the closet on the way there.

Once there he glanced around the kitchen, taking in the muddy floor and dirt smudged counters. How on earth Jessie and Bret were able to track in that much stuff was beyond him. With a sigh he went over to the sink and filled his bucket full of soapy water. Then setting it on the ground he began to mop, pausing every once in awhile to brush a stray hair from his face or to wipe to sweat off of his brow. This is going to be fun.

The long walk to school was uneventful; before his mother passed away they used to have about the same effect as a nice shower in the morning. But now, lucky him, he had chores to wake up him. Once he arrived at school he went to his locker, unfortunately there was a group of gossiping girls blocking his way.

"Sooo, did he ask you?" a girl wearing pink inquired, wiggling her eyebrows at her friend.

Exasperatedly she replied, "Well, not yet, but I'm sure he's getting there." Then more hopefully she added "I mean he just has to ask me."

"Well you gotta keep in mind that you have a whole lot more competition than you would have with most other people," said another girl from the group.

"Yeah the whole 'him being bi thing' could make it a little more difficult, don't you think?" questioned the one closest to Ellis (who was still standing there, waiting for one of them to notice him and kindly move)

Smirking she answered, "Not a chance, I mean how could he pick a guy over me? It just won't happen. I'm going to that dance with Chris Charming on Friday, you'll see." With that she turned a sauntered away, her group following a few feet behind. A little cocky there darling, don't ya think?

Ellis who had been waiting patiently for them to leave went to his locker and got his things, grimacing at the state of it. Thinking back to their conversation, he headed to class. That dance, I completely forgot about it, which is kinda sad when that's all Jessie and Bret have been talking about for the past two weeks. Isn't it supposed to be a costume ball type thingy? Not that I honestly care, no chance I would ever go to it. But he couldn't help thinking about it, if he went no one would have to know who he was, he would have anonymity for one night. But it didn't matter; he would never be allowed to go. So why am I still thinking about it. With that last thought he stepped through the door to his first class.

Hours later Ellis could be found lying on his bed staring unblinking at the white ceiling, his thoughts drifting back to school. All anyone could talk about was that stupid dance; who's going with who, what everyone is wearing and most importantly is Chris going with a guy, girl or anyone at all. That was one thing that Ellis never understood, how was it that he was taunted and ridiculed because people thought he was gay and yet Chris was able to come out in the middle of high school and still be loved by the masses.

Then after school, wanting to put off going home for as long as possible (which in hindsight wasn't the best thing he could have done, but as they say, hindsight is always 20/20) he went to visit Harriet and her twenty cats. After his mother had married David, Ellis; wanting to be out of the house as much as humanly possible, made it a habit to visit the eccentric women a few times a week after school. When his mother died David had tried to put a halt to his afternoon visits, but then deciding that it might seem a little suspicious he let it go, on the promise that nothing that went on inside his house was ever told to Harriet.

Her cats were the highlight of her life, she doted on them, and so he tried to bring a cat toy or some cat nip for them whenever he stopped by.

"Ellis, sweetie, how was school?" she greeted grabbing him in a bone crushing hug and pulling him into the house. Ellis laughing a bit took a deep breath; he loved the way she smelled. It was what he always imagined a dorm room in the 60's would smell like, incensey with a hint of patchouli.

Bending down to hand Moonshine a plastic ball with catnip in the middle, he glanced up "Hey Harriet, school was…well school was school," absentmindedly scratching Snowphish behind his smoky colored ears. "There's a dance coming up, so that's all I got to hear about today."

Placing a Grateful Dead album into the turn table she turned to him, her eyes sparkling, "A dance! Oh when I was a girl I just loved going to them! What are you wearing?"

Startled Ellis looked up "Going? I'm not actually going. I just find it amusing that people would obsess so much over a little dance. Why would I want to go to something where you dress up in costumes and no one knows who you are and people dance…Dance! No I would never be caught--"

"Ellis you're babbling." She cut him off. "Now while you're here why don't I re-dye your hair, it's starting to fade, unless of course you're going to let it grow out?" the sound of Jerry Garcia's guitar was drifting through the living room, Harriet swaying slightly to the beat as she looked at him

"Why would I do that? I love the way it looks." Answered Ellis, affronted, picking at the thread worn sofa, he glared at her.

Smiling sadly she gazed over at him, "Honey, you know as well as I do that although you may like it, the real reason you keep it is because of your misplaced guilt. Instead of blaming that drunk driver, you think it's your fault. And I know I've told you this before and I could be sounding like a broken record but it's not your fault, there was nothing you could have done."

If it wasn't for me wanting to dye my hair she would still be here he thought, rolling his eyes at himself.

Not making eye contact he shrugged helplessly, "I know it's not my fault, I just-I'm just not ready to get rid of it, I still feel like I need to keep it…for her." Reaching up he grabbed onto his necklace, "Just not ready yet," he whispered.

Turning back around she gestured for him to follow her through the hallway to the kitchen "I know you miss her, and I would never tell you to forget her. Just try to move on. Please?" She begged, then with a sigh she said in a more chipper voice, "Now onto that hair of yours…"

By the time he left her house, she had convinced him to ask David if he could go to the dance. It wasn't his idea but she was so set on him going and thought that if he went he would find the man of his dreams. He personally believed there was a better chance of him getting struck by lighting…twice, than that ever happening, but for her, he decided, he would ask, it wouldn't kill him, well at least he hoped. It took longer than he thought it would to re-dye his hair so by the time he got home David was furious. If I didn't know any better I would think he was worried. The thought was so ludicrous that the urge to snicker was strong but he with strained himself, unfortunately some of his mirth must have showed because David went nuts. Thinking back Ellis didn't really remember much of what was said or done, but he did see the effects in a sprained wrist and a raging headache.

It was time like these that he wanted his mother, to be able to crawl on her lap and cry. A few weeks before she died she had pulled him into her room, said she had something to give him.

Sitting down on her bed she patted the spot next to her, with a bright smile she turned to him, "When I was just about your age my mother, your grandmother, gave me a special gift, that she had gotten from her mother who had in turn got it from her mother." With that said his mother reached around her neck and unclasped a silver chain, gesturing for Ellis to turn his back to her, she place the chain around his neck then turned him back around to face her. "Inside this locket there's a key, that key is for this." She knelt down and reached under the bed, straightening back up she held out a box to Ellis. It was a dark and by the looks of it made out of wood, the top was carved and painted to look like a sunset and on the front there was a place to lock it up. "I know this may seem a little corny, but everyone needs a place to put things, a place where they don't have to worry about someone else every finding it." Smiling she got up off the bed, kissed him on the head and walked out of the room.

Ellis looked at the box then down at the silver locket around his neck, it was a simple design and just big enough to hold the key. Though Ellis had loved the gift when it was first given to him, he truly understood the importance of having a place like that now, it was his life line, if anything were to happen to it he would be devastated, it felt as though it was his last connection to his mother. With that last thought he turned over, pulled the covers up, turned off the light and drifted off to sleep.

The week of the dance went by smoothly…well at least as smooth as Ellis was used to. Earlier in the week he had counted his money that he had saved up from a job he had had in the summer and took it to find a costume for the dance. He stopped at a thrift store after school and lucked out. He found a shirt, cape, pair of pants, and a mask that when put together would make a perfect phantom of the opera costume for an extremely low price.

When the final bell had rung, the Friday of the costume dance, Ellis grabbed his things, threw them into his backpack and bolted from the room…only to run into a brick wall. There he sat on the floor, blinking dazedly. Before "The Brick Wall" could help him up he gathered his senses, leapt up, grimacing at the pain that shot through his leg and half limped half sprinted away, calling back over his shoulder at whoever he ran into that was so very sorry but really had to go.

Cute kid; strange, but cute. Chris mused staring after the small blue boy. Absentmindedly he rubbed his stomach where one of the kid's books had slammed into him. I wonder why he's limping. With that last thought he turned around heading to his locker.

Racing to his house, Ellis began to mentally make a list of everything he had to do before David got home. He had been putting off asking anyone about the dance all week; there just never seemed to be a good time to bring it up. But this was the last chance so he had planned on trying to make the house spotless in hopes of getting his stepfather in a semi decent mood. Finally reaching his house huffing and puffing he opened the front door and surveyed the indoors. Thank god Jessie and Bret won't be coming home till later. Deciding to start cleaning upstairs he grabbed the vacuum and started to do the carpet.
After the upstairs was dusted, vacuumed, glass cleaned and all the rooms straitened Ellis hurried downstairs checking the time on the way there. Have to hurry, they should be home soon. Picking up a rag from the dirty cloths, he started to wipe down the counters.
Just has he wiped to final crumb from the kitchen, the front door swung open. Jessie and Bret sauntered in with David stumbling behind them. Oh no, he's already drunk, this is not looking good.
"Boy! Where are you? Lazing around I bet. That's all you ever do, you good for nothing waste of space" He slurred glancing around the house in hopes of catching Ellis not doing anything.
Peaking his head around the wall, he spotted the group. Slowly revealing himself, he hesitantly inched over to his "family."
"Hey guys…umm how's it going?" shifting his wait back and forth, "I was wondering if…umm that umm-I cleaned the house!" He exclaimed, throwing his hands up in emphasis.
"What in the world-" Jessie started to say, looking confusedly at the small boy in front of him.

"IwaswonderingifIcouldgotothedancetonightattheschoolwithJessieandBretIcleanedthehousesoeverythingisdone…please?" Ellis broke in, running his words altogether in his nervousness.

Blinking at him, all three people stood there, David's mouth slightly agape, Ellis, seeing everyone's confusion took a deep breath and as slowly as possible he repeated himself, "I was wondering if I could go to the dance tonight at the school with Jessie and Bret, I cleaned the house so everything is done…please?"

It was silent for a moment then all three burst out laughing. "You honestly think that you would be able to go?" gasped Jessie, Bret stood next to him grinning foolishly. Does he even understand what's happening?

David, who was laughing along with the other two, finally began to calm down, "You don't even have anything to wear."

"Yeah, what would you use as a costume, a bed sheet?" added Jessie, who then turned around to give Bret a high five.

Perking up he asked "Say, hypothetically speaking of course, if I did have a costume that wasn't a bed sheet would I be able to go?" trying not to look to hopeful.

Looking thoughtful, wow that is unusual, he must be more sober than I figured, David focused on Ellis, "let me see the costume and I'll decide."

This is too good to be true, maybe he finally is going to let me do something! Running up the stairs Ellis skidded into his room and pulled the phantom costume out of his closet where it was hidden behind everything else. Turning to leave the room he slowed down to a stop. This really is too good to be true, something isn't right here. He would never let me go just like that…Shrugging he continued his way to the living room. I gotta stop being so paranoid. Walking over to his stepfather, Ellis presented him with the costume.

David slowly reached over to it and ran his hand over the material ignoring Jessie and Bret's choked gasps. "This is yours?" he asked suspiciously, still staring at it in disbelief.

Nodding proudly Ellis reassured him that he was his.

"So you stole it." It wasn't a question, David was stating a fact.

Affronted he stared at David, "Why I never-" he began to sputter indignantly, running his hand through his hair in aggravation. But was interrupted by a loud ripping noise that echoed through out the small room. He gawked in shock at David, who was holding one of the sleeves in his big meaty hand. "You-it-the-but—YOU RIPPED IT!" He screamed, leaping across the remaining space to try and get the rest of the costume away from them.

Catching on surprisingly quick, Bret grabbed Ellis from behind as Jessie and David tore at his costume, all the while throwing insults his way about how he sunk so low as to steal something, and that they were ashamed to even know him. Finally giving up trying to get away from Bret, after being slapped a punched by David, he slumped down in the hold resigning himself to the fate of his costume, feeling his heart sink. I knew I shouldn't have even gotten my hopes up, why did I want to go anyways. This was so silly…then why do I still feel so rotten?

Smirking, David turned to Ellis after they had finished all their fun with his outfit. "Well looks like you don't have a costume anymore, do you hmm?"

When he got no reply from the bruised boy on the floor he asked again. Turing his face up to meet his stepfathers eyes Ellis shook his head slowly "no sir, I don't," he whispered dejectedly.

Smiling contently David began to walk out of the room motioning for Jessie and Bret to follow him. "My sons are going to be getting ready to go and I'm heading out, when I get home at twelve thirty this house better be spotless." He warned over his shoulder. It already is you moron. He laid on the newly cleaned rug staring up at the starch ceiling till the front door slammed shut signaling the departure his step family, leaving Ellis in raging silence. Turning over he slowly climbed to his feet and then stumbled over to the torn pieces of fabric, picking them up reverently. His eyes started to cloud over and he angrily dragged the back of his hand against them, chanting to himself. I am not crying, I am not crying, I am not crying…

Still running his mantra through his head he silently left the house with the pieces of cloth cradled to his chest. He ran over to Harriet's and banged on the door, pleading with her to be there. After a few minutes where the only thing that could be heard was Ellis's sniffles and the sound of cats meowing in the house. Then the door cracked opened and there stood Harriet in an older tie dye shirt and a pair of patched bell bottoms.

"Hello dear how—my Goddess what happened to you!" she stared in dismay at the child on her front stoop, his cloths were all wrinkled as though someone had pulled on them, his eye was rapidly turning clack, his beautiful (if she did say so herself) hair was all mused and his faced streaked with tears. He looked up at her with doleful hazel eyes, clutching at the ragged clothing in his arms. Isn't that the costume…oh my. "Come

in, come in!" gesturing wildly she yanked the distraught boy in by his arm, and slammed the door behind him. "Now what in the world happened to you honey!" she questioned gripping his shoulders and hauling him over to her couch.

"Well you see, the thing is, it happened like this…" Harriet began to patiently coax the tale out of him. Twenty minutes and a cup of calming tea later she had the whole story.

"So honey, what are you going to now?" Harriet questioned while rubbing soothing circles around his back.

Raising his head he glanced over at her, "Stay here till it's twelve then go home and hope David isn't that drunk?"


That simple answer momentarily stunned him. "Umm ok then…I guess I'll go back home now"

"No" Harriet stated firmly.

"Then what in the world do you want me to do, stay outside for the night!" cried Ellis exasperated.

"No, no, no, you don't understand, you're still going to the dance."

His head shot up from where it had been resting on his hands, "Did you not see my costume?" He questioned confused, holding his ripped costume for her to see. "and last time I checked one is kinda needed to go to a costume dance, and—" he stopped mid-ramble noticing the contemplative look on Harriet's face as she stared quite creepily at him.

Creasing his brow he looked at her in confusion, "Harriet, are you ok?"

Seeming to come out of her trance she stood up, "you stay here, I'll be right back."

A few minutes later she hurried back into the living room holding a bundle of clothe under one arm and a pair of wings in the other hand. She came to a stop a few feet away from him and slowly reveled the fabric and presented a…DRESS! Oh my god she can not be this insane.

"What is that for?"

Her eyes sparkling mischievously as she grinned down at him, that's a Cheshire grin if I ever saw one. "This, my dear boy, is your costume."

"Are you insane, mentally deranged, blind! Have you been burning any of your hemp lately, I thought the patchouli smell was stronger this time," Ellis babbled, looking scandalized.

Harriet burst into laughter, "I'm perfectly sane" she crowed ignoring his snort, "And this is what I wore to my first fairy convention when I was just a girl; eighteen I think. You are just about the same size as me; I always did have such a boyish figure."

Ellis glared at the costume she was still holding up. It is beautiful. The skirt itself was long, made with different vibrant colored pieces of ribbon like cloth to make it look a little like a flower in the middle of blooming. The top part was just as gorgeous, made out of a shimmery forest green and royal blue with a high color and long flowy bell sleeves. And the wings were striking; they looked a lot like real butterfly wings with the colors corresponding to the skirt and a delicate feel to them. Snapping out of his daze he intensified his glare.

"In case you have forgotten, I'm not a female and consequently lacking in some feminine…attributes," gesturing towards his chest area.

"Ahh but you forget I said I had a very boyish figure…ok I was virtually flat, no one will really notice. Why do you think I picked this costume out? It really doesn't make the fact that you are missing something's obvious."

Shaking his head Ellis began to back away, "no, no I'm sorry but I'm not dressing in drag. Do you know what people would say? Do you have any idea the ridicule I would go through?"

Still smirking Harriet walked closer to him, "that's why they won't know it's you my dear child. Now come here we have work to do," with that said she grabbed Ellis before he could move out of the way and dragged him farther into the house pretending not to notice the desperate look he had in his eye. "You said you wanted anonymity for one night and so help me you are going to get it. Even if I have to tie you down to the chair and dress you myself. So once again we have a lot of work to do. You don't happen shave your legs do you…?"

Two hours and a wrestling match later Ellis was dressed in his…fairy outfit and ready for the dance. At least Harriet thought so; he was still refusing to leave the bedroom so she could see how he looked.

"If you don't get your skinny little behind out here this moment mister I'm going to drag you out…you know I will!" she threatened waving her fist at the closed door.

Finally the door clicked open and out stepped Ellis. Oh my Goddess…he is beautiful. My little boy is all grown up…

He stood in the doorway trying not to blush. The dress had fit him perfectly and as it so happened the skirt was able to give the allusion that he had hips. His newly shaved legs were covered by skin colored tights and he had blue sandals on. (She figured it would be the easiest thing for him to walk in…heels just wouldn't work.) The colorful skirt came down a little past his knees, the top fit his form wonderfully and didn't bring attention to his lack of breasts. Harriet had put a bit of makeup on him, some lip gloss a bit of blue and green eye shadow to accentuate the green in his hazel eyes and hide the black eye. To tone his hair down a bit she had streaked it with forest green.

"I look like a girl." He grumbled

Smiling she gazed at him, "That's the point dear, you look stunning. Now come here, I have to put your mask on." She walked over to the couch and picked up a mask sitting there and motioned for Ellis to come over. Putting it on, she stepped back and just looked at him. The mask was made out of the same colors as the wings and skirt. It went down to the nose with holes big enough to see his eyes through. All in all the effect was breathe taking. Yes he'll pass for a female, easily. Looking at the time she gasped, it was already eight, they had to go.

"Come on Ellis we need to get your there!" with that she turned around and ran for the garage with him trailing behind her. I really don't think this is the best idea, why am I even going along with it?

Once in the garage they jumped into her orange mini-cooper, Ellis being careful not to smash his wings, and quickly headed for the dance.

Ten minutes later they pulled into the front of the school. BY that time Ellis's stomach was full of butterfly's and knotting painfully.

Turning to Harriet he tried to plead on more time "Please don't make me go, they'll all know it's me. I can't do it!"

"Get out of this car now." Pointing to the door, "I'll be here at 12 sharp to get you so you'll have time to make it back to your house before David gets there."

Sighing in defeat he climbed out of the car and began to walk away. Looking over his shoulder he saw Harriet role down the window.

"You go find your Prince Charming sweetie!" then blowing one last kiss at him she drove away, with David Bowie's voice blasting out of the speakers.

He looked towards the school, gathered his remaining courage and walked slowly over to the dance doors. A fairy going as a fairy…how apropos. When he got to the doors he grabbed at his locket, Wish me luck mom. And with that last fleeting thought he pushed open the doors and glided in.

The gymnasium where the dance was being held was gorgeous; someone had obviously put a lot of work into making it perfect. It looked like a fairy tale, Just breath taking. On the stage there was an unfamiliar band playing and on the floor everyone was dancing, with the exception of the chaperones, wallflowers and people at the refreshment table. Stepping out of the shadow the doorway created, he gracefully began to walk down the steps to get the main floor. Lost in his wonderment he didn't notice the volume of the room go down, or the whispering that started as soon as people caught sight of him.

"She's beautiful."

"Where did she get that dress?"

"Who is she?"

"I don't know I've never seen her around before."

When Ellis finally became aware of the stares directed at him he felt his face heat up. They all know, oh god I'm going to be laughed out of the dance. But then he actually heard what was being said. Beautiful? Never seen me before? They really have no idea who I am. Maybe I can enjoy this.

Once the crowd had gotten over their shock, the sound began to pick up again and most people turned their attention away from him, except for the few awed glances shot his way every once in awhile as he made his way over to the refreshment table. Pouring himself some punch he leaned against the wall and observed the couples on the dance floor.

Chris was stunned when he first saw the mysterious female walk through the doors. He wasn't able to take his eyes off of her. Who is she? How can I not have seen her before? He stayed focused on her as she weaved her way through the crowed over to the refreshment table. He watched as guy after guy walked up to her and asked her to dance and each time she refused blushing slightly. Making up his mind he decided to approach her and try his luck with. Good thing I didn't ask anyone to the dance. Once in front of her he bowed and extended his hand to her.

"Would you care to dance milady?" he saw the blush spread over the part of her face that was visible. She was absentmindedly playing with the chain around her neck, looking somewhat cautious.

Finally making up her mind she turned to him "Yes, I would like that very much sir." Giggling slightly she placed her hand in his and he dragged her to the dance floor.

"And may I be so bold as to inquire your name gracious lady?" he asked smiling down at her enjoying the game they were playing.

Hesitating she opened her mouth and replied, "My name is…Ella."

When Chris had first headed over to Ellis, he had panicked. But when he heard him ask if he would like to dance he was struck dumb. Should I go with him, if he finds out that it was me all along though he'll kill me, well that was my excuse with the other guys but he's Bi... supposedly? This is my one night; I need to not be so nervous. Throwing caution to the wind he put his smaller hand in Chris's, "Yes, I would like that very much sir." I did not just giggle.

When asked about his name, Ellis was momentarily confused then tried to quickly come up with a name. Not sure of what to say he opened his mouth and out came, "My name is…Ella." Well that will have to do for now, lets hope no one makes the connection, it is really close to my real name.

They slowly began to dance, song after song and Ellis soon forgot that he was dancing with a male, Chris Charming for that matter, that he was dressed as a fairy, or that Chris thought he was dancing with a female right about now. He just enjoyed the moment. Around ten forty five both Chris and Ellis (Ella) decided that they had had enough dancing and left the gym. Crossing the street across from the school they made their way to the playground. Sitting down on the swings they both sighed. Ellis was getting more nervous every as second that went by. Why did I even come out here, this was silly. I shouldn't be here.

"Sooo, did you have a nice evening?" he questioned trying to break the silence.

Flashing a grin his way Chris sat up straighter, "yeah I did. You know, to be honest I wasn't even going to come tonight, but at the last minute decided I would give it a try. Just about the time you came I was just about ready to go…I'm glad I didn't leave." Blinking a bit he added, "Wow did that sounds corny to you to?"

Ellis grinned may have been corny but sure made me feel good, "It's fine, everyone is allowed to be corny once in awhile, some people more than others."

"You know Ella, you look oddly familiar, you in some of my classes?"

Shifting slightly in the swing, "Umm I don't think so, I might have seen you once in awhile in the halls but no classes."

"So what are you favorite…" Chris and Ellis sat out on the swings and just talked about anything and everything. It had to be one of the most pleasant evenings that he could honestly remember ever having.

During a lull in the conversation Chris looked over at Ellis, who stared right back at him. Slowly as if in a trance both boys slowly moved closer together, their heads inching nearer. Soon Chris was so close to Ellis he could feel his breath on his lips. Oh my god what am I doing, I can't do this! Ellis screamed at himself. But seemingly against his own will he moved closer still.

Chris stared into Ella's eyes looking for some sort of permission, her eyes fluttered closed and that was all he needed. Closing the small gap between them he gently placed his lips on Ella's.

All thought left Ellis's brain as soon as those soft lips were on his, he forgot where he even was, who he was, what he was, all that he knew was Chris.

"BEEP!" Jumping back, Ellis stared at Chris in wonderment which soon transformed into fear.

"What time is it?" He frantically asked.

Looking at his watch in confusion he turned back to Ella, "It's twelve exactly, why?"

Oh god, Harriet will be here, I'm late! Jumping off the swing he began to race across the playground calling back over his shoulder "Bye Chris, I had a great time, but I really must go!"

Why does that sound so familiar? Wait a minute she's leaving! I don't even know her whole name. I'll never be able to recognize her at school. Shoot! Banging his head on the chain of the swing he dazedly looked at the ground. Seeing a speck of silver he reached down and grabbed a locket out of the dirt. Wasn't this what Ella had around her neck? Sighing he stood up, pocketing the chain he headed back to the school already coming up with a plan.

Running through the parking lot he spotted the orange mini-cooper waiting for him. Yanking the door open he climbed in panting slightly from his run.

"Sorry I'm late, got a little caught up."

"Ohh really? Doing what exactly?" she asked sending a sly grin in his direction.

Blushing a bit he glanced over at her, "hey Harriet would you laugh at me if I told you I found my Prince Charming?"

Even though Ellis had delayed them a bit by showing up late they were able to get him to Harriet's house, changed and into his room before David, Jessie or Bret showed up. Lying in his bed that night he dreamily thought back to the dance. Wow could I sound anymore like a little girl with a crush? He reached up to stroke his necklace but was met with air. What in the world? Sitting up he felt all along his neck, feeling nothing he started to throw his covers around hysterically. Where is it! Ok, ok calm down, where did I last have it...the dance. Oh my god I lost it at the dance. Giving up his futile search he sank back down into his bed and feel into a restless sleep, deciding to look for it Monday.

Mondaymorninghe rushed to school in hopes of being able to look for it in the school gym where the dance had been. But unfortunately when he got there it was locked. Resigning himself to the fact that he may not ever get it back he began to head to the library. On the way there he started to notice signs on the walls. Slowing down he stopped at one of the posters to take a better look at it. There, right in front of his nose was his locket. Someone found it! Never in a millions years had Ellis considered the fact that someone would go to that much trouble to find the person who lost a necklace. On the bottom of the poster it said that if thought it was theirs they could come to the library after school to claim it. Smiling widely Ellis skipped down the hall. He had found his mothers locket, he had went to the dance and not been recognized and he had gotten his first kiss---Oh my god…Chris! What am I going to do if I see him, will he be able to tell it was me, what should I do. Skidding to a halt he began to hyperventilate. Ok, this is not that serious he won't know it was me, I won't let him. If I see him I'll go the opposite way. Now that's settled I need to get to class.

After his last class of the day he rushed to the library to meet the person who found his necklace. Luckily the only person in the library besides the librarian was a girl that Ellis had seen around in the halls before, who always seemed decant. Walking up behind her he tapped her shoulder.

"Umm excuse me but are you the one who found the locket?" he questioned hopefully.

Smiling brightly she reached into her pocket, "yep that's me, so this yours?" she held it up for him to see.

"Yeah it is, thank you so very much for finding it for me and not keeping it." He gushed reaching to take it away from her, anxious to get it back around his neck where it belonged. But before he could take it she jerked it out of his reach.

"If it's yours you wouldn't mind me asking you a question about it would you?"

Shifting his wait back and forth he quickly nodded "N problem, ask away."

"What's in it?"

Well that's easy, "A key."

Squealing a bit she grinned at him "Yep you got it, here it is, all yours. Oh and there is someone who would like to talk to you."

"Wha-" he started to ask but was cut off from a voice behind him.


Ellis' heart froze, Oh no, oh no, oh no. He was pulled out of his stupor by someone snapping their fingers in front of his face.

"You gotta breath." Chris told him.

"I'm really, really sorry, see I was going to go to the dance but then my costume got ripped up because my uncle thought I stole it but I really didn't he didn't believe me though so then I had to go to Harriet's house and she made me go dressed in her old fairy outfit even though I begged her to just let me stay at her house, but she wouldn't listen, she even made me shave my legs…My LEGS, but then I get there and I'm just by myself and you come over and I couldn't say no so I said yes and then we danced but then we weren't and we went outside and it was so nice just talking to you and then we kissed, but I had to go before twelve and I lost my necklace so I saw the signs and I came and that girl was here and then you were here and now I don't know what to do because I avoided you all day and I'm rambling and you are going to hate me but I don't want you to because I had a wonderful time last night, and you can stop me anytime now because I think I've already made a big enough fool of myself to last the rest of my life." Ellis took a deep breath fully ready to continue on with his tangent but was cut off by a light pressure on his lips that effectively silenced him.

Pulling away slightly Chris looked at Ellis, "I don't hate you, do you honestly think I would care whether you were male or female? They call me Bi for a reason. But I would like to know what your real name is?"

"Ellis, Ellis Cinders."

"Nice to meet you Ellis, I'm Chris Charming." Grinning he gently took the locket from his trembling hands and motioned for Ellis to turn around. He carefully draped it across the front of his neck and clasped it shut. Turning him back around he stared at him,"Yep, it's you."

A/N This is for a school project and I just wanted to post it to see if anyone thought it was any good.