Entry #174: Cinderella felt tired, too.
~ The Cinderella Deception by Juliette Harving
After fourth period, I manage to catch Nicolette Simmons in the locker hallway.
Nicolette, or Nicole, as everyone calls her, is the babysitter of Josie and Jared. She's one of the most popular girls in school, but my parents hired her because she needed the money.
It may seem kind of awkward to have a sixteen-year old work for my family, but Nicole and I have known each other for quite some time already. For starters, she's Callie's good friend from cheer, so I see her quite a bit.
"Hey, Nicole!" I greet, cheerfully, and nod at the girl.
"Jules!" She grins, and saunters up to me. "I'm babysitting for you again this afternoon, right?"
"Yepp, if you don't mind. I have dance practise, and I have to be present because Cal has to attend cheer practise."
"Actually," She says, fiddling with her fingers and looking down at her shoes. "I can only babysit later in the afternoon, because I've got cheer too." She glances up quickly. "But if you're busy then it's totally fine, I'll be there…"
"No!" I say, immediately, feeling bad about the whole thing.
I mean, it's not like Nicole's shirking her babysitting duties anyway. She's always been punctual, and actually babysits over-time sometimes when I have school activities…and my parents don't even pay her for the extra hours!
"No, it's okay. I wouldn't want you to miss cheer for anything, I know how difficult Delilah will make your life if you skip practise."
Gratitude floods her face. "Thank you, Jules. I feel bad about it, but…I want to be an active member in cheer, you know?" She smiles, lightly. "I really hope to be cheer captain someday."
"I'm sure you'll make it!" I say, hugging her. She definitely will. Nicolette has great potential, and is a huge favourite even amongst the seniors already! And she's only a freshman. "See you at six, then?"
Nicole smiles and walks away. "At six." She promises.
Goodness, now I've got to wiggle my way out of dance practise, so that I can pick up Josie and Jared. But how? Cal's got to be at her cheer meet, and that means that I'm the one in charge.
Before I can make any plans, Cal comes up and grasps my elbow lightly. "Hey, you!" She says, and smiles cheerfully. "You know," She starts, lowering her voice to a whisper, "It's a good thing I stopped you from interfering with Grady Sullivan and Mr Wilfred this morning."
"Grady got his just desserts! He's being sent into detention for the rest of the week!"
"Serves him right!" I grin, before sobering up. "Cal, I need to tell you something. Nicole can't babysit at three. And that means I'll have to nanny Josie and Jared, I'm afraid. What do I do?"
Cal purses her lips for a moment, thoughtfully. Finally, she purses her lips in distaste. "There's only one thing to do," She says, at last. "And that's to get Isabelle Hawkins to take charge of today's practise."
I stare at her. Isabelle Hawkins is, like, my arch-nemesis in this school! Everyone in school knows that Delilah Reynolds and Callie Miller are sworn enemies, and Isabelle Hawkins and Juliette Harving are also at loggerheads.
This feud between the two of us has lasted forever, since preschool. And I have no idea what I've done to offend Isabelle, but she's always been unhappy with me. Even now. She hates that I'm vice-captain of dance, and has always been trying to steal my position.
Of course, Callie, as head of dance, never lets that happen. She keeps a sharp eye out for any possible sabotage that Isabelle might have planned in mind, and ensures that my position is safe.
Isabelle will be just so delighted to find that the head and vice-head captain of dance wouldn't be around today. She'll just love the chance to lord it over the others. But if I don't leave today's practise in Isabelle's hands, I won't be able to pick up Josie and Jared on time.
It's time to weigh your responsibilities and prioritise, Juliette, a voice inside me says. Which comes first? Dance, or family?
Family, I admit to myself, grudgingly. A long time ago, when I had tried to wiggle out of babysitting Jared, my Mom had given me a talking to I never forgot.
"Family first, Juliette. Family always comes first. You're the eldest, you need to show some responsibility. It's time to stop playing the fool and pretending you're still a kid, because you're not. Grow up."
Those words come to my mind again, and I feel my cheeks grow hot. From that day onwards, I never put anything before family.
I sigh. "I'll pass the attendance book to Isabelle, then."
After school, Callie tells me to take her car to fetch Josie and Jared.
"I'll be fine," She says, when I take the car-keys with much hesitation. "I'll just get one of the girls to drop me off home. My parents will be fine knowing you have my car."
I grin at that. Cal's parents never trust her with the car. She crashed it twice before, and between the two of us, it's safe to say that I'm the more careful driver. In fact, her parents would rather I take the car, and ferry Callie around!
"See you tomorrow, then!" I say, lightly, and exchange a quick hug with her. Once I leave school, I won't be able to call her or chat with her on Skype. That's just how busy I will be. I hardly even have time to text her.
"Take care, Jules."
I watch Callie walk towards the school field with her cheer friends. As soon as she disappears out of sight, I turn and head towards her silver-coloured car. A couple of minutes later, I'm pulling out of the driveway and heading towards Collard Elementary.
As soon as I'm on the road, I turn on the radio and blast the music on, loud. I just adore music. It's my best outlet to vent out any stress that I have.
It's already fifteen minutes past three when I pull into Collard Elementary driveway. Josie and Jared are standing on the curb, waiting patiently. They just look so cute, and I smile to see them. I pull the car to a halt in front of them, and, spotting me inside the car, they scramble in quickly.
"Hey, kids!" I say, cheerfully.
"Jules!" Josie squeals, throwing her arms around my neck from behind, and Jared asks, "Where's Nicole?"
"She's busy today, so she'll come babysit later on, alright?" I say, kindly, and the two of them nod. "We'll go to the mall for lunch, okay?"
They nod, and Josie clambers to the front seat. "I made a picture for you during Art." She says, happily, and flashes a coloured drawing in my face. "It's pretty!"
I take it, and observe it slowly when the traffic light turns red. Josie's drawn…well, me. She's drawn me. Even though it's badly drawn and coloured, there's no mistaking my long, light-brown curls that reach all the way to my lower back, and my big brown eyes.
In the picture, I'm wearing a floaty blue dress and white high-heels outlined in black crayon. Those are distinct characteristics I immediately recognise. Don't tell me…
"You're Cinderella!" She squeals, at last, after waiting impatiently for my reaction.
Please kill me right now.
Swallowing my horrified feelings, I smile brightly at her and give her a huge hug. "Thanks, Josie. It's really pretty and I shall frame it up on my wall, okay?"
"Yes!" She grins widely.
The traffic light turns green, and I start driving. Suddenly, Jared's bony fingers clutch my shoulders and he yells "BOO-YAH!" into my ear.
"Arghhhh!!!" I shriek, and the car immediately swerves left and then right. "JARED!" I yell, as soon as I've recovered from the shock. "You could've gotten us killed!"
"Sorry," He says, looking sufficiently guilty. He lies back on the backseat and asks, "So, did you get a blue fit?"
I consider it. Well, I am feeling rather blue now, because of my horrible, responsibility-filled life. And I kind of threw a fit earlier and lost control of the car.
Yes, I think it's safe to say I've gotten a blue fit.
"Yes," I sigh. "I finally did. Now, what do you two want for lunch?"
Fifteen minutes later, and we're at the shopping mall. I grasp Josie and Jared's hands tightly as we weave our way through the place, so I don't lose them.
After a long argument between Josie and Jared, Jared won, and we're now having Japanese food for lunch. Then again, Josie wanted cotton candy for lunch, so it wasn't that sound of an argument on her part.
We lunch at a Japanese restaurant, and the total bill amounts up to $40. I pay up without batting an eyelid. Money has never been a problem with my family. My dad works in the bank, and my mom's a real estate agent. Josie, Jared and I have been lavished with expensive gifts and huge amounts of pocket money since young.
The problem with our family is, as Callie said, good communication. And not good communication between me, Jared and Josie. Because as far as I can see, the three of us can talk about practically anything under the sun.
It's between my parents and us.
After lunch, Josie and Jared insist on playing at the roof-top playground, and since the day isn't too hot, I let them.
Once I make sure that Josie's got a secure place on the swings, and Jared isn't hanging upside down on the monkey bars like he usually does, I whip out my journal and start writing.
Finally! Some alone-time for myself.
Writing has always come naturally for me. I've been keeping a journal since I started high school. The journal is another outlet for me to vent, and express my feelings. Actually, it's only through writing can I think what I want to think, and feel how I want to feel.
I start on Journal Entry #174:
And yet another exhausting day. Late for school again, but what else is new?
Callie thinks I desperately need a day off and I totally agree. But my parents are always not around, so how the hell am I supposed to ask them?
I'm so tired. Tired of my life in general.
Imagine waking up to the same routine every single day. I'm the only twelfth-grader without a life. When's the last time I've been out shopping? I haven't been to a pedicure in ages. I've only attended one party throughout high-school so far.
I wonder if Cinderella ever felt tired. Of everything, and of everyone around her.
I write for a little while longer, and finally, I glance up. And then stare in horror. Jared, that little monkey, is hanging upside down on the monkey bars again!
He is so going to get it.
I leap to my feet, shoving my journal haphazardly into my bag. "JARED!" I yell, and run towards him. "YOU GET DOWN NOW!!!"
I'm too caught up staring at Jared that I accidentally collide into someone. Hard. "Oof!" I let out a groan. "I'm so sorry!"
"Blind much?" The other person mutters, loud enough for me to hear.
What is with this person? I just apologised!
I want to snap and say something cutting to this rude person, but I let it go. Jared first. I run up to the little monkey, and catch him by the waist. Jared lets go of the monkey bars, and falls on me. Losing my balance, I fall back onto the ground heavily. Everyone's staring at me.
Geez, Juliette, I think, annoyed and blushing red with embarrassment. Klutzy much?
"Jared!" I scold, angrily, as soon as I catch my breath. "You know that's a dangerous thing to do!"
He sticks out his tongue at me rudely.
I glare at him. "You have just earned yourself a time-out. Now let's go home." I say, pulling him up and going towards Josie to pull her off the swing.