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A Cinderella Story: Chapter 1

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Once upon a time -- I only say this for future readers. For those of the present era, it's more like a few years ago -- there was a little girl named Ella. She lived in the suburbs of Washington DC, the only child of a rich couple. She was spoiled beyond imagine, and she got everything she ever wished for. For that reason, she was quite haughty even though she was young. But things turned worse for her: when she was 8, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and even money couldn't save her. After her mother's death, she was devastated, but not as much as her father. He was in so much turmoil that he nearly committed suicide. Advice from his psychologists said that he should remarry, and so he followed it, and found a new wife of the same class, a widow herself with twin daughters only a year older than Ella.
They lived as a family for quite some time, but Ella's father was still in remorse. Because of his isolation, and even partial rejection of his new wife, Ella's stepmother became controlling and bitter. Ella's new stepsisters were equally as mean as she was, and she would often fight with them. But the stepsisters were always favored by their mother, and they would always win the fights. Everything Ella owned was coveted by them. Ella could hardly bare the situation as it was. She still missed her mother terribly, and wished she was back.
But this was just the beginning.
When Ella was 11, her father had a heart-attack. Not a severe one, but it put him in the hospital for days. What came to be worse was that he contracted a severe illness in the hospital, one of those diseases only found there, and the doctors could do nothing about it. A week later, he died.
Before he had died, he left a will. When his wife opened it up, she scrutinized it, and declared:
"He left everything to me and my daughters."
"What about me?" Ella exclaimed.
"No, it's just for me, Jane and Joan."
"That can't be!"
"But it is! I don't know why either, but it is!"
"Let me see it."
"No, there's no need, it's hardly comprehensible to young girls like you."
For the rest of her life, Ella felt betrayed. She never was allowed to look at the will, but she always knew her father had left something for her.
Immediately after the funeral, Jane and Joan, the 2 stepsisters took everything she had.
"It's ours now! The will said so! You can sleep in the attic too! We need a bigger room anyways, we're older!"
Moreover, Ella's stepmother began bossing her around to do more and more chores.
"You're so lazy, Ella! Don't you know your sisters have so much work to do in school? It's your job to clean the windows, vacuum the house and dust the drapes every week."
Ella's stepmother used their new fortune unwisely in many ways, and most was wasted on other things like clothing and jewelry. Not maids.
Ella became depressed beyond relief. She lived with a family that was not her own, and her loving parents were lost. Her once glamorous life was now in ashes. She had nothing, and had no one. All her pride had fallen apart now, as doubts began to rise in her. What if she really did get nothing from her father? The more she thought about it, the more guilty she felt. She hadn't really deserved anything.
For 6 years, she lived like a slave to the family. She went to school, but she never ceased to work for them, and hear their scorn. Nor did she have many friends at school who she could talk about herself. No one seemed to notice her insignificant self.
It was now her Junior Year of high school, and she was 17 years old.