Ignoring the squeals of her friends, some new guy in town had become the centre of gossip, Val scrutinized her reflection. Clothes are sexy without being slutty, make-up enhances rather than smothers, hair is…passable, she thought making a face at the last part. I swear it has a life of its own sometimes. Well I look good enough to make that bastard regret cheating on me like that and that's what matters. Her lips slowly curved upwards at the thought.
"Now that's something I haven't seen in a while," Jodie called, catching sight of Val.
"Yeah not since that bastard showed his true colours," Francoise added
Val grinned. "I'm about to show him what he's never getting back."
"Atta girl," Naomi encouraged. "You had us worried but we should have known you're too strong to put up with that bullshit. Especially from a man."
"Well I'm swearing off men as of now. No more idiotic, self-centered cheating bastards for me. I refuse to be tied down by anyone or anything."
"Well unlike Val here, I am quite interested in what's on the man market so given that we're all ready, let's get going!" Jodie announced.
Laughing, the others followed her out into the clear night air, the stars seeming to twinkle in time to their laughter.
Darren resisted the urge to smirk. This I could get used to, he thought, surrounded by a small cluster of pretty girls. Catching the eye of Lyel over the shoulders of the current girl who had herself pressed against him in a mockery of a dance, he made a gesture to indicate her body and how much of it could be seen due to her clothing. Lyel glared making Darren grin. He had known that Lyel wouldn't find it amusing. Lyel was happily engaged and it was only the fact that Darren was his best friend that had enabled Darren to pry Lyel out of the arms of his fiancée.
Again Darren scanned the dimly lit room. Flashing lights and sudden bursts of smoke made it hard to see much but the mass of writhing bodies that was the dance floor. The ceiling, walls and floor were all covered in an unidentifiable sparkly material that caught the light and threw it back, causing the place to give off a sort of tacky glitter. Sweeping the room one last time, Darren felt it. Finally! Time to get to work, he thought before giving Erramun the nod.
With a pained look, Erramun disappeared into the crush, eeling through the sardine-like crowd with surprising ease. It only took him a few moments to return, with a microphone in one hand.
Excusing himself from his 'dance' partner, Darren took the mike and stepped back, waiting for the current song to end before he began.
Val was sitting in one of the booths with her friends, nursing her third drink and idly watching the crowd when she froze. There he was. His black hair was all she could see over his wide smile, but she knew, though she didn't know how, that his eyes were bright blue, he topped her by half a head and that if she let herself, she'd end up falling for him. No! Oh hell no! I…I refuse. I don't even believe in fate or love at first sight or any of that bullshit. This…I'm not letting this happen. And certainly not with him! She thought, angry and more than a little freaked out. Val unfroze her self and turned away, sickened by the sight of him smirking at his companion over the harem that had sprung up around him. And he's a prick to boot. Lovely. Well if I can just avoid him everything ought to work out fine.
Just then, the music in the club stopped, causing an angry murmur to arise from the assemblage. Val took a quick peek and saw to her horror that the blue eyed man was getting up onto a table, a microphone in hand.
"If I could have your attention for a few moments, I have an announcement to make. My name is Darren. I've travelled quite a way to end up here. Anyway I'm looking for the girl who will be my queen. She's here somewhere, I can tell. So princess, if you'd please come find me I'd be grateful. That's all."
Amidst the stunned silence, the man, Darren, hopped down off the table, handing the mike to the taller of his two companions as he did so. The silence was quickly broken as everyone began talking at once while a small stampede of girls rushed towards Darren. Val took several deep breaths to calm herself down before digging around her purse for a pen.
After sending the initial swarm of girls that had appeared, Darren threw himself down onto the couch beside Lyel while Erramun loomed over the pair of them. "Well I think that went fairly well," Darren remarked.
"How do you figure that?" Lyel demanded, irritated. "You don't know what she looks like, her name or even what type we're looking for!"
Darren shrugged unconcernedly. "We know she's here. So that's a start."
"I don't like it. The…women here are not proper ladies," Erramun said.
Rolling his eyes, Darren retorted "That's because you're a prude, Err."
"Hey, I think this is for you" A brash male voice called.
The three of them turned to look at the young man who stood in front of them, something small and white in his hand, which he was offering to Darren. Before he could even reach out to take it, Erramun put himself in front, taking the item in question.
Only after he had thoroughly checked it over did Erramun hand the napkin to Darren, much to the amusement of the would-be messenger. Moving closer to the window, where the light from a nearby street lamp made it easier to see, Darren could see that on the front of the folded napkin in bold blue letters were the words To the Prince Charming Wannabe. Flipping the napkin open, he was able to read the whole message.
Leave! Now! I like my life the way it is now. I refuse to be tied down and I absolutely refuse to be your Cinderella. So get the fuck out!
Darren was surprised. He hadn't been expecting this. A Cinderella should be grateful! He grumbled mentally. And of course it's a Cinderella. I was hoping for a Snow White-Rose Red or a Sleeping Beauty or even a Pea Princess. Well I'm not to be gotten rid of so easily. A sudden idea made a wide grin break across Darren's face. When Darren caught Erramun's attention and nodding once again, his bodyguard, who was clearly ill at ease with the expression Darren was wearing, sighed heavily but complied.
Taking the microphone from Erramun as soon as he returned, Darren leaped back up onto the table to address the whole club once more. "Well then princess, since you don't wish to come out and I have no intention of leaving, I propose a game. A wager really. If I win, you come away with me. If you win, I leave and never bother you again. The game itself is simple. I have to find you. Figure out which of all the girls here in this town you are. And since tonight is a full moon, it makes sense for the limit to be one moon. When next the moon is full, if I haven't found you out then you win. How does that sound?"
As a second silence, something that rarely happened prior to that night, swept the nightclub, the crowd began looking at one another, waiting for some kind of answer. After a few minutes people began whispering, then talking and soon the place returned to its normal level of din though no one resumed dancing.
Darren, a grin seemingly plastered onto his face, hopped down and returned to the couch to wait. He knew she'd answer. She wouldn't be able to resist.
Val waited a good ten minutes before writing her reply. She spent the time discussing the weirdness of it all with her friends. They were excited. When did something as exciting as this ever happen?
"I want to know who this princess he keeps talking about it is," Jodie said, whole face alight with interest.
"If what he said is any indication I don't think he knows either," Francoise offered.
"Maybe she doesn't know herself?" Naomi murmured.
"No way! You heard him. She wants him gone," Jodie insisted.
"I'm more concerned with the fact that he is under some kind of delusion that he's Prince Charming," Val told the others, giving them pause.
"You know…Val's right. He could just be crazy," Francoise said slowly.
"Don't say that! He's hot! It would be just our luck for the hottest guy to ever show up in this damn town to turn out to be a nutter," Jodie complained.
Val chuckled. "I'll leave you three to bemoan losing your latest eye candy. I'm going to get another drink."
Laughing and making comments about Val not being any fun, the three girls continued their discussion on whether or not Darren was insane. Shaking her head, Val headed towards the bar; surreptitiously leaving the new napkin note on one of the empty tables she passed by.
Sliding back into the booth claimed by her and her friends, Val covered her smile with a sip of her drinks. She'd show the Charming wannabe. No way was he going to win this game.
It was a good half-hour before Darren received a response, during which he began to get antsy and irritated. When the note finally did arrive, Darren snatched it out of the hands of the girl who'd brought it, ignoring Erramun's protest and the shocked look on the face of the girl. Folded like the previous napkin, the front this time said To the Idiot Prince. Darren all but ran over to the window where he could read the rest of the note.
Since it seems I won't be able to get rid of you any other way, fine. But the game starts tomorrow. It's hardly fair since you know I'm here. Any cheating on your part and the deal is off. And I expect you to leave immediately after I win. No going back on the agreement.
Darren smirked, handing the napkin to his two companions to read. "She's quite confident she's going to win. I'll show her. I'm going to win this Cinderella Game."
Lyel and Erramun froze. "Did you just say Cinderella?" Lyel asked, eyes wide.
Darren nodded. "She named herself as one."
"But if she's a Cinderella she should jump at a chance to get away," Lyel said, confused.
"This whole place is different. I don't think the normal rules apply," Darren replied absently, already planning how he was going to find her out.
Erramun and Lyel exchanged a look before shrugging in unison. It was out of their hands. They were Darren's sworn companions and bound to help him see this through. Even if things didn't make sense.