Second Best Cinderella

I pucker my lips in the mirror, applying my baby pink lip gloss and hoping it looks okay, tucking my fringe behind my ears and fluffing up the ends of my middle-neck length brown curls. I look down to my sister's – Beth's – mascara and eye it nervously.

I'm not sure whether to wear it or not. I mean my little sister's only twelve, and she wears it. She wears eyeliner for God's sake. But I've never been one to really wear make up –except for gloss- because this one time I wore this tiny bit of slightly-darker-than-my-skin-shade eye shadow, and the most popular boy in class pointed it out to everyone.

He went along the lines of, "Abby's wearing make up, LOOK, Abby is wearing make up! ABBY FREAKIN JOHNSON! That's right, nerdy art maths girl is wearing MAKE UP! Look at you, Abby, don't you look pretty today?"

The thing is he wasn't even trying to be mean about it; he totally winked at me and everything. He just likes to tease, that boy. All boys like to tease. And I know that was when I was like twelve. But still. It's totally humiliated and scarred me for life, and all the girls in our class that already wore make up – came up and started giving me tips.

Tips like, "Abby you should wear like highlighter green, or mint green, it's totally go with those eyes you got going on. You'd be a hot babe. Wear it tomorrow; you can buy some at the two dollar shop, even. That's where I get mine since my mum never buys me any."

All in front of my best friend.

I pick up the mascara, and bring it out of the tube, and then I think what the hell? and start imitating my little sister's actions, brushing the mascara wand through my lashes, and each of them a couple of times.

I put the mascara wand down, and look at myself. I'm dressed in my pink chiffon party dress, and it really is the prettiest thing, and my shoes – wedges – are made of glass, with a pink ribbon lacing them up my legs.

I hate to say it, and even Beth will have to admit when I come out, but I look pretty nice.

"Are you decent?" a voice calls from the other side of the door, and my heart speeds up. It's Quinton, my best friend – who I've had a total crush on since like, we met in kindergarten and gave me his salami sandwich for my cheese one.

I look at the door, absentmindedly touching my hair and wondering what on earth he's doing here. "I'm decent," I say, bemused. I mean he's not even the one that's taking me. His older brother, is taking me. And not him.

He's also supposed to be taking Annie McQueen, and should be around at her house, and not mine.

Quinton pushes open the door, and I turn to him, nerves taking over my body. Quinton's eyes widen, and he lets out a, "Whoa," which makes my face totally redden, and my heart skitter in my chest, the way he says that whoa. He usually saves whoa's like that when he watches MTV awards, and pretty girls come out dancing on stage. Or for Angelina Jolie.

I look down at my self, "You think I look okay?" I try and say breezily, although inside I'm feeling so not breezy, especially with the intensity of his gaze as he looks me up from head to toe.

"You look fine," he says, although he says fine like fine, and he then holds out his arm to me, "congratulations, Annie bailed on me and is sick as a dog – you get to be my dance partner, since you were going stag and all anyway."

I look at his arm, and hurt bubbles inside my chest. Of course he doesn't know that he's the one I wanted to go with in the first place. I wanted to go with him more than anyone else in the school, more than any celebrity that could ever ask me. But even though he's my first choice; I'm obviously his second.

"Quinn, are you kidding me?" I look down at his arm, feeling all miserable inside. "I'm not going to go with you."

"Well we'll go as friends of –" he starts to say, sounding a little taken aback.

"That's not it at all," I say and shake my head, and his eyes look curiously down into mine as I look up at him, "Quinton I can't go with you, it's not even fair of you to ask. I'm not going to go with someone with whom I'm their second choice. If you wanted to go with me, you should have just asked."

Quinton looks down at me, tight-lipped. And then looks away and stares at the wall, his hands on either side of the door frame, blocking my exit even as I hear the doorbell ring outside, and my mum go to answer.

The doorbell snaps Quinton out of his trance, and he looks down at me, sighing, "Come on, please," he pleads, "it's not like you have anyone else to go with."

I stare at him coldly; annoyed that he'd just assume something like that.

"Actually Quinton," I say and put a hand over one of his that rest on the door frame, and he glances down and back at me as I do so – until I pull his hand down from it and side step him, "I have a date. So you're the one who's going stag."

"Abby, your dates here, he looks lovely," my mum calls from down the hall, and I give Quinton a look before I start to walk off, only he follows me down the hall. Follows me very closely, might I add. He follows me so closely that if I stop, he'll run right into me.

"Who's your date?" he says the word 'date' like it's dirty, and seems a little...bitter? My lord, he does seem bitter. For once in my life I get to experience Quinton jealous over me...that is unless it's just a trick of the ear, and my imaginations running wild and putting my own personal desires into reality.

The door swings right open, as my mum ushers Cohen Callahan into the hall, who smiles charmingly at me, "Hello Abby," he looks over my shoulder to where Quinton's standing, frozen, "and hello brother dearest, aren't trying to steal my date, are you?"

"You're going with my brother?" Quinton spits.

"Oh, I can't be stolen," I say sweetly and walk right over to Cohen, taking the arm he holds out, unlike the one of Quinton's I dismissed minutes earlier. "Oh, but you look like a prince, Cohen."

Cohen looks like he's smirking inside, and then he brings out a corsage of cherry blossoms, and I suck in my breath with a big smile, even though I knew it was coming. "It's beautiful, Cohen," I say milking it for all it's worth, "just beautiful; I love cherry blossoms, did you know in Japan they call them sakura? Like that little girl on Cardcaptors?"

"No, I didn't, wasn't that show totally ace? Bit girly though." He says and picks up my wrist to slip the corsage on, and then turns him and me around, "Photos Mrs Johnson?" he asks my mum and she nods her head, bringing a camera from behind her back.

All the while Quinton is standing back where I was before, hands shoved in his pockets, staring at us wildly. Not sparing him a second glance, I turn my eyes back on to my date, who really looks lovely, as mum said. He looks hot, even, with his hair so blonde unlike his brother's almost black brown, and eyes so bright of a blue against his brother's dark evening blue.

He's sporting a tux, and out his pocket sticks a red rose, his grin as charming as you like. He's a catch, Cohen Callahan. But while he's blonde and beautiful, his brother is dark and handsome. His grin, as of right now, is especially dark. In fact it's not even a grin. More of a scowl.

I throw an arm around Cohen's shoulder and he around mine, as my mum takes one last picture. "Okay," I say, dropping my big smile for a more natural one, "let's go then, Cohen."

"You're going with my brother? This isn't some kind of joke?" Quinton wants to know, and his brother rolls his eyes at him and takes my hand in his, about to lead me out of there but I can't resist one last word or two to Quinton.

I mean, he deserves it, being angry at me for having one date – even if it's with his brother – when he's been going out with heaps of different girls for years, and has never once even looked at me. In that way, anyway.

"There's not really a problem with that, is there?" I ask innocently. "I mean, your brother's so nice, and we've practically grown up together – it makes sense that we might, somewhere in our growing friendship, decide we like each other much more than friends."

I eye him for a bit, looking passive, and he eyes me right back.

But then I turn my head back around, "Maybe you can get Beth to go with you Quinn," I walk outside, and Cohen closes the door behind us.

He takes my hand again and eyes me, blue eyes twinkling, "He's so totally jealous. He was looking at me during those photos like the time mum let me play with his favourite action figure, and I wouldn't give it back to him for about half an hour just to tease him."

I shrug, "and do I care if he's jealous?"

Cohen's eyes twinkle even more, and he shakes his head in good humour, "Let's go, Cinderella."

I'm sitting at one side of the dance hall, and Quinn is on the other, hands at his knees, back up straight, and eyes staring right into mine. I gulp, and look back to Cohen, twisting in my seat. Cohen is staring into space, with this faintly amused smile on his face.

I eye him, tilting my head, curiously, and as if sensing my gaze on him, he turns his eyes right to mine and offers his hand, "It's a dance, so let's dance." I look at his hand, and give a sideways look to Quinn. He sets his jaw and I sigh and take Cohen's hand, smiling at him but feeling a little sick to the stomach.

Cohen sympathy sighs, "Just have fun, Cinderella, your prince will realise how stupid he is sooner or later," and I just shrug, like, what prince? I don't have a prince and let him pull me up with him. His hand is warm on mine as he leads me, stepping backwards and still facing me, out onto the dance floor just as Candy Girl starts.

"Now," he smirks, "show me your moves, girl."

A small smirk crosses my face. As Cohen has no idea how well I can dance; Quinton and I took dancing lessons together one summer while bored and since he spent all his time crushing on this other dancer, practicing with her – I was left to myself, and made good use with that time too.

And not the lame (well not lame, but not the kind of dancing you'd use to songs like this) ball room dancing either, I learned to dance dance, like the girl's on MTV video clips kind of. Only better. Because personally, some of those girls don't even know what they're doing.

I start to sway my hips and place my hands on either of Cohen's shoulders.

Okay. I have to admit. It's a lot different dancing with a boy, than without one. It's actually kind of hard, when you're really doing it. All I know is that I'm swaying my hips to the max and getting closer to him every single second, and that's not how I planned it.

I'm kind of dancing in the sort of way that Buffy dances with Xander, when she's all mean-Buffy after nearly getting killed, and does it just to spite Angel. It's the only thing that came to mind. Although it's not very good, in this situation.

But it goes on, and on. My face gets redder and redder, and finally, the song stops as I'm slinking down, back pressed to Cohen's chest, swinging my hips as I go. But as soon as it stops I shoot back up and step away, Cohen laughing quietly behind me as I turn, red-faced, to look at him.

"Sorry," I say forcing a laugh and bringing a hand to the back of my head, scratching it awkwardly.

"Oh that's quite fine and I've had worse; I have that effect on girls." He smirks winningly at me and I smile, batting him on the shoulder with my hand as he lets out another big laugh at my expense, looking sideways, his lips crinkling upwards as he does so. "I think I'm going to go get some punch."

"What? Oh, okay." I say and he lets out a breath, looking sideways and walking off backwards, look out, he mouths. And I do. I do look out, and what do I spot heading straight for me as Cohen makes his way quickly off to the refreshment table? Quinton.

I shift my weight and look around awkwardly, my face turning pink all over again, wondering what I'm ever going to say to him to explain it. Wondering whether I can run away before he can make it. But it's too late, he's closing in on me, and his stare is death itself.

"Nice song, huh?" I say, breaking the ice as he pulls to a stop in front of me.

I wanna smell like roses, not a baseball team.
And I swear one day, you're gunna wanna
make out, make out, make out with me!

Nice. Nice time to say something like that, Abby. Perfect timing really.

But it doesn't matter; he ignores my comment, and cuts straight to the case. "Did you just sexy dance with my older brother?"

"What?" I spit out at his rudeness. I mean…I didn't, it wasn't, that obvious was it? I mean it had to be only a little bit of a sexy dance, right? Not a big one? Just a little?

"I did not sexy dance. That wasn't a sexy dance." I protest, reddening; even though I know it kinda was it's not like I wanted it that way. It's not like it's any of his business who I 'sexy dance' with anyway. I can dance, and sexy dance, with whoever I like.

"That, was a sexy dance if ever I saw one," he laughs mockingly at me, and I press my lips together and glare at him. He just shakes his head, laughing humourlessly at me, and then he plants his hands on my shoulders. "And congratulations, now you're just like everyone else at this stupid dance."

I look at him inquiringly. I mean, I don't even know what he means by that. But it doesn't sound like something I'm going to like. I wish Cohen would hurry up with the punch. Because it's getting kind of awkward around here.

"Oh?" I say just to keep him happy. Only not, because he doesn't seem very happy if you ask me.

"Slutty." He says with a shrug, and a forced smile.

My jaw drops, and I stare at him, and I can't believe what he just said. Me? Slutty? I don't even look slutty. I'm not a slutty kind of girl. Besides which, he's supposed to be my best friend, what is he doing calling me slutty? Best friends just don't do that.

"Quinton," I say as tears start to fill my eyes, and as his brother comes up with two cups of punch, one I grab off of him and, shaking my head, tip it right over Quinton's head. "Grow up. And. Get. Lost. Because I," I point to myself as a tear drop slides down my cheek, and about a gazillion drops of punch drop down his, "honestly don't want to talk to you for a little while." Long while.

I'm not crying because I'm sad, either. I'm so mad. So mad that he'd even call me such a thing. So mad that he doesn't want me the way I want him. So mad that even though he called me a slut, I still do. I still do want him, and I still do love him, too.

It's a hard habit to break after being in love with someone for twelve years.

Quinton stares at me, his eyes wide, and his hair and face dripping, and I turn away and start walking out the side door, into the garden to think.

I walk through the blossom covered arch, looking out at the garden, and spying the little fountain right in front of the gazebo, and watching it spout out blue water through the red heart at the centre of it. I lock in on my target and walk faster, and when I reach, I collapse down on the gazebo steps in front of the fountain – and cry.

Stupid Quinn. Stupid, stupid Quinn. I brush tears from my eyes with my finger tips furiously but they pour out just as quick, and so I give up and hug my knees to my chest, and cry my little heart out. Stupid, stupid Quinn.

I pick up a rock from beside the stairs, and throw it, hard as I can, at the water. Only it hits the little man statue holding up the heart, and his hand falls over, with a plop, into the water. Oh crap.

I get up, blurry eyed, and rush over, inspecting the statue with a wild beating heart. My English teacher, Mrs Rose, loves that water fountain. She's going to totally kill me if she walks out and spies it's hand gone.

"Oh no, oh no, oh no," I say and bring my hands to my hair and pull.

"I'll take the blame," a quiet male voice says, and I look around, spotting Quinton and glaring at him something fierce – although it loses most of it's effect through all the tears.

"No thanks," I spit and then turn away from him, bending to my knees close as I can to the fountain and reaching out for the broken off hand; but I just can't reach, and more tears of frustration squeeze out of my eyes because of it. "I don't need or want your charity, thanks," I start to lean over the edge, keeping one hand clamped on the cement, "so you can just go away."

I hear him sigh behind me, and I try and block it out, focusing on the broken off hand.

"Abby," he says and he sighs again, stepping closer to me as I'm stretched out to the max, reaching for the stupid broken off hand, and then he lays his hand on my shoulder, "please can you just –"

The tingles that shoot through my body from my shoulder, and the fact that I'm leaning at the moment, cause me to lurch forward into the fountain. Head first; when I pull my head up and sit in the fountain, I spit water all over his pants.

And then I look down at my dress, and see that some parts of it (not the chest area thank God) have gone completely transparent, and I also see I just plain don't look like a princess anymore. I bring my hands to my face next, and when I pull my fingers away black smudges are left on the tips.

"Ah, now I look like I've peed," he groans and I look up at him, incredulous. He just pushed me – accidentally, albeit – into a fountain, and he's worried about his pants? Especially when, if the water weren't blurring the view for him, he could totally see my underwear now that the majority of my dress is transparent.

Little pink polka dots stare up at me as I give another downwards glance, and then look up to him, a sudden rage overcoming me, "Now look what you've done! Is this some challenge you set yourself? Ruin my whole night for me? Because you're passing with flying colours!"

I step up out of the fountain onto the path and hold out my hand, bringing up my dress a little more so it's not so transparent in that area. Quinton looks down at my hand, confused, and I roll my eyes, "Just give me your jacket, and I'll get your brother to return it to you."

He stares at me, as I shiver in the cold spring night, holding out my hand, waiting. I shake my hand a little, raising my eyebrows at him in a hurrying kind of manner. But he doesn't hurry, and he doesn't hand me his jacket either. But he does speak.

"Do you want to go on the swings with me?" he asks softly, his gaze flicking over to a little further into the garden to a swing hanging underneath this big oak tree surrounded by tiny little wild flowers. His gaze lingers there a little while, and his eyes glaze over for a bit there, before he shakes his head and looks to me questionably.

I look at him, eyebrow raised, "Um, no way."

He can't honestly believe I want to go on the swing with him. I mean, after all he's just put me through. As if I'd ever want to go on a swing with him again, let alone now.

"Why not?" he asks, sounding almost disappointed, and so much so that I want to laugh at him for even thinking I'd say yes.

"Well. I'm wet, I'm cold and to be honest – I don't really feel like going on a swing." I hiss at him quietly, "I want to go inside. I want to go home. So you can just give me your suit jacket and I'll go inside, find Cohen and go home."

He looks at me again, and then looks away, and then finally – he actually pulls off and holds out his jacket to me. But when I smile in triumph, reaching for it, he holds it out of my grasp, "Go on the swings with me and you can keep it for all I care," he says, hiding the suit jacket behind his back.

I drop my jaw in indignation, and then, pressing my lips together I step toward him, getting right in his face, only centimetres from his face, and glare right into it. "Give me it." I demand, but his expression stays the same, and so I change tactics.

I smile sweetly, "Okay," I say, moving my hand to his waist. His eyes go down and his lips part as he looks to my face. I continue smiling sweetly as I move my hand –

His other hand snatches mine as I reach around him to grab the suit jacket from his hands, "Not that easy sunshine," he says raising both his eyebrows at me, "better luck next time."

"Ugh." I growl under my breath, and then, in female teenage rage, I hawwwk back in my throat, and spit a great big one on his shoe. "Fine," I stay and stamp on it, turning around prissily and heading for the swings angrily.

When I reach it I sit down angrily, and cross my arms, and he joins me a second later, dumping his suit jacket under the tree and stepping behind me. Without another word, he pushes the swing forwards, and as I sway forwards, he starts to speak.

"I'm sorry, you're right, I should have –" he starts but I hold up a hand.

"Uh-uh, you said if I went on the swing with you. And there isn't even two swings. And I didn't agree to listen to you." I tell him, but he ignores what I say. He continues his little speech on me.

"-asked you to the dance before anyone else. It's you who I wanted to go with, and not Annie but if I'm honest I –" he starts but again, I hold up my hand.

"Bullshit." I say and shake my head. I don't believe a word of it. I don't believe a word that is coming out of his mouth. It is so obviously all lies. I mean why would he want to go with me instead of Annie? I twist around in the swing to look at him, "And Annie's here, she's not sick – what is that about?"

Because I saw her. When I was inside, and dancing with his brother, I saw her over his shoulder, dancing with some guy that isn't and wasn't Quinton.

He doesn't answer me, and instead pushes me forwards on the swing, shrugging.

I shake my head and roll my eyes, "God, I've swung, can I go now?"

He lets go of the swing and instead steps in front of it. As I am about to crash into him, he grabs onto the rope above where I'm holding my hands, and it swings suddenly to a stop, shaking for a small while. I stare at him, defiantly, and let go of the swing ropes, "Move, and give me your jacket. I'm asking for the last time."

"Yeah, well," he laughs humourlessly right into my face, leaning his face down so close his breath puffs onto my cheeks, "I'm asking you for the last time to listen. Before. I. Make. You." With each word he shakes the swing by the rope, and in turn shaking me around a little.

I eye him, and read his expression. But it can't be read. "How are you going to do that?"

"You'll see if you don't listen, so listen. I wanted to go to the –" he starts but I interrupt him, wanting to test the waters. Wanting to see what exactly he'd do to get me to listen, trying to call him on his bluff.

"Lalalalala, lalila, lalulaa –" I sing, sticking my fingers in my ears and scrunching my eyes up. I hear him scream at me in annoyance, something along the lines of stop acting like a child! before my face is yanked from my ears and up, and as soon as my eyes flutter open in shock, my heart bursts into song – he kisses me full on the lips.

Only in the heat of the passion; I kind of forget I'm mad at him. It's kind of easy to do that, when you've had a crush on the guy since forever basically. My hands shoot to his hair, and they weave through it, and as I'm doing this he pulls me into his arms as I'm dangerously being pressed into nothing over the other side of the swing.

He growls into my lips as he kisses, and my eyes flutter open from when they'd closed in my passion, and I put my legs down from where I've apparently flung them around his waist, and I turn my head away from his lips, and they press into my cheek instead, "Abby," he says breathlessly.

I step away, and grab up his jacket, bringing it around my shoulders, not looking at him. "You can't just kiss me and expect me to just accept what you said." I mutter under my breath but as I go to walk off and leave him with the tree swing, his arm reaches out and his fingers go around my wrist.

"But you're not mad at me anymore," he says confidently. "And you're going to listen right now," as he says right now he backs me into the oak tree, hands either side of my waist. His face comes real close to mine all over again, and I feel resulting tingles regarding our before kiss. "I didn't ask Annie. I said I did so when the day arrived I could go with you, saying Annie was sick, and not seem desperate about it."

I stare at him. Feeling no pity whatsoever.

I blink, "That doesn't excuse anything. You could have just asked me. I waited for two weeks for you to ask me, and on the day beforehand – you still hadn't. So I asked your brother to come with me instead. Speaking of which," I look over his shoulder to the doors to the dance, "he's waiting for me right now."

"I didn't know if you felt the same way about me as I did you," he says pleadingly, begging me to understand.

"I was crazy about you." I whisper, glaring at him.

"Was?" he wants to know. "You know you still are."

I look away, back to the dance, trying to ignore my pummelling heart, and the way his hands and fingertips are tickling my sides, silently telling me don't ignore me. "You're confident aren't you," I say finally, but I still don't look at him.

"Bite me, you love it. You love me." He nods and I narrow my eyes at him, but he just smiles, his hands tightening around my waist as he presses his lips down on mine for the second time that night. All the sparkles and butterflies come back, and I can't help but kiss him back a little. Just a little.

Our first kiss was fast and furious, our second; long and lingering. His hands are gentle, and they move up and down my back soothingly. I bring my hands to his cheeks and brush them softly with my fingertips. He opens his eyes, and looks at me cross-eyed.

"Dance with me," I breathe.

"What about my brother?" he wants to know. "He brought you here. Not me. I'm going to have to ask him if it's okay."

"Well. Bit backwardly polite; you've already made out with me and you want to ask if you can dance with me now?" I want to know, raising an eyebrow at his etiquette.

"I want a sexy dance." He confesses with a cheeky grin, and my cheeks redden. I didn't even mean to do that. Looking at my redness, and noticing the way I stiffen in his arms as he says it, he rolls his eyes and pouts adorably at me. "You gave him one. Can't you give your own boyfriend one?"

"Boyfriend?" I splutter and he grins. "Okay. I agree to all terms, but Quinton; I don't want to be your second best Cinderella anymore."

"You were never second best," he whispers as he drops his arms from my waist only to sweep me off my feet, literally, into his arms, "let's go dance."

Just Dance, it'll be okay, doo-doo-doo-doo DANCE!

Hope you liked my one shot sweets. One way to return that 'like' if you do; is review. And I just rhymed. Yay. Joy. To the world. Merry Christmas. Oh and WISH ME LUCK! I'll probably update before I go (in fact I'm going to update my cliché oneshots with a maid of honour/groom runaway story) but STILL!

I'm going to get my learners (as in drivers) on Tuesday, and I have to do this test with all these multiple choice questions and if I fail my parents spent 35 bucks for nothing. Besides. I get a little bit of my chrissie present early if I get it. So lucks!

You know you love me,