A Teenage Version of Pretending

Smoke. Smoke is everywhere, and the multicolored lasers fire off to the beat of the music. The crowd pulses and moves to the bass slamming through them, and there were no drugs needed at this party to feel blissfully happy. Sitting up high on the beam where the lights hang from, watching friends mix with complete strangers in the elegant ballroom, I inhale and relax back into the metal bar behind me and feel my legs sway to the electric tune as they dangle down below me.

Yes, it was good to be a Princess. Lonely, of course, and a bit detached, but still good. These parties were definitely a bonus, and it gave me a sense of pride to see just how many people would show up. Tonight, though, I’d never felt more alone. I’d bet quite a bit of money that nobody in the wild congregation below even knew it was my birthday. And certainly none of my family remembered.

Mom, wherever she was, probably didn’t even remember I existed, much less that I had a birthday. Not long after the name Cindy was written on my birth certificate, she fell down the East Wing Tower stairs in our castle and suffered an awful concussion, forgetting the majority of her life. During her long stay in the hospital, Mother dearest fell deeply, madly in love with a cafeteria worker. Once she was released, they ran away and haven’t made a return to Valdicatia since. Dad was livid and depressed at the same time, of course. Shutting himself in his study for months on end, clinking glasses late at night and sending aids out for his ‘depression medicine’, he’s probably got more haze in his mind than this whole ballroom.

No, I was not important enough for anyone to remember me. Princess Cindy of Valdicatia is forever alone, just like that silly meme that was popular a few years ago. Sighing, I stand up and walk over to the end of the lights beam and lean forward, snagging the rope hanging from the musty and severely outdated ballroom curtains. Jumping, I put the rope between my sneaker-clad feet and slide down, landing on the stage with the DJ. The other teenagers see me and go even crazier, screaming and jumping up and down. Seeing their drinks sloshing onto their clothes and the floor, I decide that if I snag one of those and pretend to be my father for a night, maybe I could forget it was my birthday as well.

Not really feeling like finding my own drink, I just take one from someone else. The girl didn’t even notice, too busy dancing away with someone who was probably a complete stranger. I sigh again, and attempt to make my way onto the balcony that overlooks the city. Pushing and shoving through the dense room of kids, I finally reach the open doors. Taking a sip of my drink, I let my eyes slide close, and walk forward. Right into a brick wall.

My eyes shoot open as my drink soaks my shirt and shorts, and I begin to stumble back before someone behind me slams into me, jolting me forwards and into the wall again. Gasping, I look up to see what exactly I just ran into. And man oh man, am I glad I did! The most gorgeous boy was standing in front of me, laughing slightly. I’d never seen him before tonight, but as he leans down to talk to me, I’m so mesmerized by him that I almost don’t catch what he’s saying.

“Your Snapchat name has a little birthday cake next to it, so happy birthday, Your Highness!”

Looking into his eyes and smiling, I realize that even though I don’t love this boy and I never will, it could be fun to pretend I do. Just for tonight, seeing as it is my birthday, after all.

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