A Cinderella Story
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. This was written because someone requested it so you should review.
"Please?" Bob sighs and adjusts his tie. He can't exactly understand why his fifteen-year-old daughter would want to attend a boring, bland function like a cocktail party. He even has no desire to attend such a function but when Arthur Petrelli hands you a personal invitation you can't exactly decline. Bob is a Company man and considers this "taking one for the team" so to speak.
"I thought I made it clear to you that you're staying here," says Bob as he looks at Elle, "I know how it will turn out if I let you go, Elle. You'll get bored, have one of your little 'accidents', and then I'll have to arrange to have it cleaned up."
"But it's so boring here," whines Elle, "I never get to go out and do things."
"You can stay here and keep an eye on Adam," decides Bob. Most fathers joke about locking their daughters in the closet for all of their teenage years in order to keep an eye on their whereabouts and their activities. Bob never feels the need to make such jokes. It isn't as if his daughter is a normal, hormonally-crazed girl. Elle is a hormonally-crazed girl who can discharge lightning on command. The fact that she is "special" adds an extra layer of complexity to her upbringing that often gives Bob a headache.
"Adam is a perv," states Elle, "You should see the way he looks at me, Daddy. It's very, very dirty. Are you really sure you want to leave me alone with . . . that?" Elle knows exactly what reaction this will receive and coincidentally it's exactly the reaction she wants. Elle is never above manipulating her own family in order to achieve a desired result especially when the result in question is so harmlessly innocent like this one.
"Adam and I will have a talk," assures Bob icily, "Fine, pick out something very, very nice to wear. I will have someone watching you all night. If you cause a scene then I am never letting you leave this place again. Are we clear?"
"You're the best dad ever," declares Elle happily as she hugs him and kisses his cheek. Bob rolls his eyes. He is always Father of the Year when he gives in to his daughter's flights of fancy. He tells himself this will be good practice for Elle. Eventually, she will have to go on field missions and blend in with the normal people. This will be a suitable test run. Elle quickly hurries off, excited at the prospect of playing dress-up and going to a fancy party. She has already bought outfits for just these occasions even though this one tonight will be her first. Elle promises herself she will be on her best behavior tonight. She won't screw this up.
Peter Petrelli isn't a huge fan of cocktail parties. His parents throw a lot of them and, per the rules of social etiquette, he is forced to make an appearance at each and every one of them. Peter learned long ago that it is pointless arguing with his attorney of a father. He already knows he also won't get any sympathy from his mother either. It's clear who the favorite son is in the Petrelli household and it isn't Peter. He decides as he checks himself in the mirror that he will humor his parents once again and attend another meaningless social function for the requisite thirty minutes before returning to his room to spend the evening with his PlayStation. Peter thinks he really should look into getting his own apartment. He is already eighteen and will be starting college soon. It really wouldn't look cool if he still lived with his parents.
"You ready to go, Pete?" asks Nathan. Peter turns to see his brother decked out in his cleanly-pressed military uniform complete with an assortment of shiny ornaments that make him look a little too much like a navy-colored Christmas tree. Peter's glad his brother is on leave but he's never been a big fan of watching Nathan parade around in his uniform.
"I guess," replies Peter in a tone that indicates he is clearly not a fan of boring, pointless parties. He and Nathan have had this conversation many times before. Nathan sees the world as a large collection of resources that he can mine for his own personal use. These parties are all about meeting the right people and making sure those people remember your name when it matters. Peter isn't about that. It's not that he doesn't have the drive and determination to do big things like his brother does. Peter is just more comfortable working on the ground floor than up in the penthouse.
"Lots of important people here tonight," reminds Nathan.
"You know that's your thing, Nathan," replies Peter as he gazes forlornly at his TV, the pause menu of Final Fantasy VII taunting him.
"Yeah, well you never know," says Nathan, "Maybe you'll meet a girl, one who's a little less . . . polygonal."
"Ha, ha," says Peter drolly as he shuts the door to his room and heads down the stairs with his older brother. He feels the suffocating buzz and hum of activity threaten to engulf him. Nathan leaves his side almost immediately in order to make the rounds. Peter politely smiles and nods to all the right people. He weaves his way through society's finest with a significant amount of poise and grace that he picked up from watching his father and his brother. This isn't really Peter's world though. He tries to blend into it but it never feels quite right for him. His eyes move from one familiar face to another, making small-talk when necessary. Mr. Nakamura is here from Japan. Peter never knows why but his father is always slightly irritated by Mr. Nakamura's presence. Peter notices things like that, notices the moods and temperaments of those around him. He isn't exactly sure what to do with this skill but he knows it will come in handy some day down the road.
Peter sees Nathan talking to the governor which he thinks is typical of his older brother. Meanwhile, he continues smiling and nodding to all the right people, feeling as if he could very well go mad from such tedium. That is when his eyes promptly land on her. He hasn't seen her before and wonders why not because she seems to scream for the attention of everyone around her. Peter feels his eyes fix on hers and suddenly nothing else seems to matter.
Elle is bored. She thought pretty people were supposed to be fun and interesting. This had seemed like such a wonderful idea about an hour or so ago. She thinks maybe it's because she doesn't really fit here. Truthfully, she doesn't really fit anywhere. Sure she is dressed to look the part in her beautiful, shiny, blue gown that she saw in a catalog and knew that she had to have but just because she looks like she belongs doesn't mean she does. Just because she feels a little like the princess in some fairytale doesn't mean that she is. Elle wishes she had more time to do her hair or fix her makeup just right but her father was nagging her to hurry up. She has managed to not mess anything up but this party is dreadfully boring and a little voice in the back of her head is screaming at her to do something about it.
Elle thinks Daddy's friends are no fun. They all talk about business and she hasn't seen anyone around that looks fun to play with. At this point, she thinks maybe it was a better idea to stay home with Adam. Elle feels little butterflies in her stomach about that. She knows how mad her father would be if she took Adam up on the offers his stares make. Her mind races with girlish glee at the idea of defying her father until her eyes gaze upon an unfamiliar yet undeniably handsome face. Her thoughts of Adam quickly vanish and her attention is completely captivated by this new potential playmate. She simply cannot pull her eyes away from his. She envisions this like a scene from a movie as she finds herself helplessly lost in Peter Petrelli's eyes.
"Who is he?" asks Elle as she unglues her eyes from his and turns to her father, "Who's that boy, Daddy?"
"Peter Petrelli," replies Bob as he adjusts his glasses, "Don't do what I think you're going to do, Elle. You know the agreement we made." Bob knows that look Elle has in her eyes. He has seen that look before when Elle sees a brand new, oh so shiny toy that she simply must have.
"I just wanna talk to him," explains Elle, "Can I, Daddy, if I promise to be good? Please?"
"Remember the rules and remember that I'm always watching you," says Bob with a dismissive wave of his hand. He needs to talk Company business with some people and it would be better if he did it without Elle around to divert the conversation. He has an extra set of eyes watching her tonight. He will know if she screws up.
Peter resigns himself to sitting on a sofa in a corner of the room where he can see everything yet not be a part of it. The furniture that used to be in the middle of the room is now pushed against the walls to allow for more space in the middle so that people can mingle with ease. Peter isn't twenty-one just yet so he decides to pass on the alcohol that everyone else seems to enjoy consuming. Again, Peter manages to be a part of something without really being involved in it. He seems to be an expert at this skill. Peter knows he's meant for a different world than one full of shiny, happy people. There simply has to be more to life than this.
"Hi," chirps a voice. Peter turns his gaze from the social elite and his vision is filled with blue as a girl sits down next to him on the sofa. It's the same girl from before only now Peter is getting a better look at her. He can't deny he enjoys what he sees as the girl settles herself with a hint of nervousness and looks back at him.
"Hi," replies Peter in a slightly breathless tone, "I'm Peter."
"Elle," says Elle, her eyes never leaving his face, "You looked lonely."
"I was just thinking," says Peter absently.
"Well I'm about to fall asleep," admits Elle, "I had no idea these things were so boring." She hopes she's doing this right. If this is a fairytale as Elle desperately wants it to be then she imagines that it's most likely Cinderella, the story of the poor orphan girl who magically becomes a princess for a night. Elle likes that story because she feels a lot like Cinderella sometimes. She never seems to quite "get it" when it comes to meaningful social interaction. This world full of beautiful people is a world she can only dream about being a part of but no matter how many smiles she fakes or pretty dresses she buys she's never going to get invited to the ball and she's definitely never going to meet the handsome prince that will save her from her crappy, miserable existence. However, if this is her Cinderella story then Elle really hopes she is doing all this right because she thinks that Peter is the most gorgeous thing she has ever seen.
"Yeah, it's kind of an acquired taste," admits Peter, "How come I've never seen you before?"
"My father is kinda . . . overprotective," explains Elle hesitantly, "I don't get out much."
"The guy with the glasses?" asks Peter and Elle nods. Peter has never thought twice about Bob. The man is so incredibly average-looking that Peter has never spared him a second glance. He wonders why he never heard about Elle before. He has at least seen pictures of Mr. Nakamura's children even though he has never met them but he hasn't heard or seen anything about Elle.
"I like your house," says Elle, "It's . . . a lot nicer than mine." She knows she is usually smoother than this. She knows how to play the game but being around Peter is messing her up somehow. She feels slightly lightheaded and there are butterflies in her tummy.
"You wanna get out of here?" asks Peter suddenly, "Maybe go . . ."
"Do something fun?" finishes Elle tentatively, "I'd love to but not somewhere too far. You know, overprotective father and stuff." She knows she shouldn't be doing this because her father will be so mad at her but Peter is so very handsome that she simply can't resist him.
"I think I know a spot," assures Peter as he takes her hand. He smiles and leads her away from the party and the world that neither of them can belong to. Usually he isn't so forward but there is something about Elle that is different from most girls. There is this vulnerability in her eyes that she tries to hide but it still manages to stand out. Peter helps Elle slip through a side door and out into the cool air. They stand on the patio and look at one another, neither of them really sure what comes next. Elle always hates it that this part of the fairytale is never very specific. "Happily Ever After" isn't exactly much to draw from and she can't copy what she doesn't know about. Both of them are good at trying to blend in but they can't exactly seem to get it perfect. In this moment though, it doesn't matter to them because they finally feel as if they belong in this place, belong with each other.
"You do this a lot?" asks Elle skeptically.
"First time," admits Peter shyly, "You can stop me if . . ."
"You should really do it more often," interrupts Elle as she kisses him. It feels good, warm and good and somehow . . . right. Elle thinks this is how the fairytale is supposed to go. Her skin feels prickly and tingly and the butterflies in her stomach are going nuts. It's her first kiss and it feels so magically wonderful that she really believes for just a moment that she is indeed Cinderella and this awkward, nervous boy is her Prince Charming. Their kiss is so deliriously good that Elle feels all control suddenly start to slip away like grains of sand through her fingers. The lightning is going to come out of her any second but she suddenly remembers the rules. Elle jerks away but the lightning still arcs from her lips and connects with Peter's. He is on the ground in a second and out like the proverbial light.
"Oh God, I'm sorry," whimpers Elle as she kneels down beside him and sees that at least he's still breathing, "I didn't mean to . . ."
"Elle." Elle turns to see her father standing in the doorway along with the nameless boy from Haiti.
"Daddy, I'm sorry," pleads Elle as Bob grabs her wrist and almost drags her away from Peter, "Please don't be mad. It was an accident, Daddy."
"We're leaving," states Bob as he looks at The Haitian, "You know what to do." The Haitian only nods and moves to Peter's unconscious body.
"It was an accident!" whimpers Elle tearfully, "I'm sorry, Daddy. I'm so sorry!"
"This is why you always stay at home," states Bob as he points to the car, "Get in and wait for me."
"Daddy, I'll behave," promises Elle, "I swear I'll be good. Please just let me apologize to him."
"Get in the car," orders Bob. Elle stops sobbing long enough to do as her father tells her. Midnight is here. Her carriage has turned back into a pumpkin and her beautiful dress is back to being rags. Her fairytale, Cinderella story is over and this time there is no happy ending.
Elle cries into her pillow. Her father just got done grounding her for the foreseeable future and she feels so worthless. She just can't seem to make the story turn out right. She finally felt like she could get a happy ending and then she had to go and ruin it for herself. Elle knows what will happen now, knows exactly what The Haitian can do. Peter won't even remember her and there isn't a glass slipper that will lead him back to her. It's all gone now, gone forever.
"Did Daddy send you?" asks Elle as she looks up and see The Haitian in her doorway, "Are you gonna make me forget too?" He silently shakes his head and moves closer to her.
"Does he remember me?" asks Elle hopefully. The Haitian again shakes his head but he hands her something. Elle takes the picture and looks at it. Peter looks so very handsome and charming. He looks like a prince. Elle hugs the picture to her chest and starts crying again. The Haitian simply leans forward and kisses her cheek before leaving the room.
"I'm starting to like it. I'm starting to like you." Elle feels like she has waited a lifetime for this moment. She begged and pleaded with her father to go with him to the hospital to pick up Peter. He looks even more handsome now and oh how wonderful it feels when he finally kisses her again. Elle finally feels like she fits right in, like she has finally played her part well enough to earn her reward. In this moment, Elle is Cinderella all over again and this time she's going to make sure she keeps her Prince Charming forever and ever.