A/N: As a teacher, it really bothers me that none of the teachers did anything during the cheerleaders' skit. Really, that's blatant bullying. Here's an alternative if any of the teachers had their heads on straight.
The cheerleaders, along with Brianna and Gabriella in costume, continued to come out on stage while Shelby narrated. Sam continued to stand and watch as Carter commented, "this isn't good."
"One night, after the slimy frog broke up with his super-hot, senior-poll-most-popular-girlfriend, he- "
"And that's enough." Mrs. Wells had run up on stage. "Thank you cheerleaders! Wasn't that great? Okay."
Shelby looked furious at not being able to finish her plan and stormed up to the intervening teacher, "Mrs. Wells, you don't understand, we weren't finished"
Mrs. Wells shot her a look that clearly said she understood more than Shelby thought. "Yes, dear, I believe you were done. Take your seat." Mrs. Wells gave out some final announcements and reminders about the upcoming game.
Sam would be forever grateful to the teacher usually seen as nosy. She had stopped what was clearly going to be a joke about her if Gabriella in the poofy white dress was any indication. This also meant that Shelby knew she was Cinderella. She needed to get to Austin before Shelby did, or who knew what the cheerleader would tell her former boyfriend. She began to fight her way through the crowd, most of whom were still booing Mrs. Wells interruption of what they clearly thought would have been an entertaining play.
Austin had also realized that Shelby knew the identity of Cinderella. He wondered if he could get her to tell him. Ignoring his dad's continued questions; he jumped up from his seat and ran to find Shelby. Coming up behind her, he grasped her around the elbow.
"Shelby, that skit- "
Shelby wheeled around with a dazzling smile. "Made you realize just how wrong you were to dump me? I know. Luckily for you, I'll take you back." She reached a hand up to his shoulder as she said this.
Austin took a step back, "no. Absolutely not. But this means you know who Cinderella is. Shelby, you have to tell me! I've been going crazy trying to figure it out.
"Austin, people like her don't belong in our world, You know that you and I belong together."
Sam came around a group of students to see Austin already talking to Shelby. She was too late, he would hear it through Shelby's skewed version. What would Shelby say? She obviously had her information from Brianna and Gabrielle, so who even knew what those two had told her?
"Don't belong in our world. You know that you and I belong together." Sam heard Shelby say. Really? She knew that Shelby didn't like her, but don't belong in our world? That stopped Sam dead in her tracks. She saw Shelby reach an arm toward Austin.
Austin batted that hand away. "What did I even see in you? How can you say that about someone? Either tell me who she is or just don't speak to me." Austin stared Shelby down for a few seconds and when it was clear by her expression that she wasn't going to say a thing, he turned around and walked away. Walked toward Sam.
"Austin?" He looked up and recognized the girl from the Diner he'd had the conversation with yesterday. He tried to muster up a smile despite the conversation he'd just had.
"Oh, hey, hope you'll come to the game tomorrow." And with that he'd planned to continue walking. Maybe he could trick Madison into telling him, if Shelby knew, her friends knew right? Or, what were the names of those two girls dressed up as him and Cinderella? Those two who had come to the car wash and tried to lie to him. Clearly, they weren't too bright to suggest she had dropped a fish. The name couldn't be that hard to get out of them.
"Austin, wait." That girl was directly in front of him and he didn't want to be rude.
"Look, I'm sorry I've just got a lot on my mind." With that he tried to side-step her.
"You mean figuring out who Cinderella is? I think I can help you with that." She was smiling slightly.
"You can? Please, you've gotta tell me who she is!" Austin knew how desperate he sounded and just didn't care.
"Well, uh, she's me. I'm her, Austin. I'm Cinderella." Austin had frozen. She had even tried to tell him yesterday at the Diner and he hadn't put two and two together. Sam only noticed the unchanging features. "And you don't seem to like that answer very much, so if you can just give me my phone, I'll be on my way." The smile had disappeared and she was shifting uncomfortably on her feet as she held out her hand.
This jarred Austin into a reaction. "No! No, sorry, I just- I'm shocked. I wasn't sure I'd ever find you. And you, you tried to say it to me yesterday and I didn't listen. I'm sorry." He shook his head and stepped closer. "Wow, I actually found you." His smile lit up his whole face and she looked down, blushing.
"Yeah, you did, you found me." Austin reached for her hand and laced their fingers together.
"So, you knew who I was, why did you ignore all my emails after the dance? You could've saved me a lot of trouble, you know?" He started to chuckle, "I mean, one of my buddies tried to interview every girl in the school and had them in a line for me."
Sam felt like she was soaring that he took her hand here in public. She felt so good that she almost missed what he was saying. "Umm, I guess I was just worried. I'm not what anyone would be expecting. I'm just Diner Girl. How could I be what you were looking for?"
"We danced and talked all night at the dance. You didn't believe me when I said I wanted to see you again?" He asked, disbelief clear in his voice.
"Austin, you've never been on the other side. You've always been popular. People have always known you and you probably don't even know my name other than PrincetonGirl, right? It's Sam by the way."
"Sam." He let the name roll off his lips. He finally had a name for his Cinderella. "I'm sorry you doubted me. If you'll give me the chance, I'd like to prove to you that I really am the guy from those emails."
She smiled up at him, "I think I could give you that chance." They set off hand in hand, away from the crowd.