Dinner was almost over, and Ella hadn’t heard a word anyone had said at the table, she’d been so lost in her thoughts. Rome knew who she was. He wanted to meet her. In real life. That was both amazing and terrifying at the same time.
Ella wasn’t that pretty. She had been told for most of her life that she looked like her mother, who happened to be a famous model. But she knew now that she hadn’t inherited her mother’s beauty. Her stepmom told her all of the time that she had a witch’s
Rome called Ella every day, sometimes twice a day if he didn’t get to talk to her too long the first time. Some days she had more time to chat than others. Every time he talked to her, he became even more fascinated with the girl. Within days of meeting her, he knew how extraordinarily special she was. He wanted to be with her so badly, but every time he asked her out, she said she was busy.“What about your aunt’s birthday party tonight?” Rome asked Friday afternoon. He’d called her a little earlier than normal because he wanted to see i
Ella hung up the phone and then went over to the dress she’d been working on all week. She had no idea how this would work. If Tim came to get her, and she was locked in the attic, she’d be screwed. Her stepmom would just tell him that she wasn’t there. If he didn’t come to get her, she’d look ridiculous coming to dinner in her dress. But… she didn’t really have a choice. She needed to put it on now in anticipation of her stepmom coming to let her out. Would she just shove her back into the attic and lock the door when she realized Ella intended to go to the party?
In the half-bath, Ella hung the bag Tim had handed her on a hook on the back of the door and unzipped it. She gasped at what she saw hanging there. The gown was gorgeous. A crystal blue color, with lovely gem embellishments all down the bodice, the skirt was full and flowy, and she knew it would look lovely on anyone--even her.Quickly, she took her soup-covered gown off and tossed it in the garbage, thinking there was nothing anyone could do to get that stain out. As carefully as possible, she slipped into the blue gown, which fit her like a glove. He’d even go
Rome stepped out of the shadows once he was certain they were alone. There she was, standing by the fountain, her gown flowing around her, the moonlight casting a silver hue around her dark hair and making her skin glow in a soft light. She had spoken as if she were ordinary, perhaps even ugly, but even with the mask on her face, he could tell that Ella was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.They’d spoken to each other several times over the phone; he almost felt as if he knew her. Yet, as he approached, the ordinary words that would’ve normall
Tim’s fingers seemed cold compared to Rome’s warm ones, and even though her cousin was a graceful dancer, Ella couldn't help but think about what it would be like if it were Rome twirling her around the dance floor.She’d stolen his phone. She hadn’t meant to. Well, that wasn’t exactly true. She had meant to. But only because she didn’t want Tim to see it. And also because it had occurred to her that if she could sneak the phone into the attic, her stepmother wouldn’t know she had it. Then, Rome could call her whenever he want
Blinding light had Ella covering her face and blinking. “Where is it!” her stepmother screeched, pulling the chain to the bare bulb above Ella’s bed but continuing to shine the flashlight in Ella’s face. “Where the hell is that gown?” she demanded.Ella hadn’t fallen asleep yet, but she had been on her way. Her thoughts had been on Rome, of how peaceful it had been to stand in the garden with him, to hold his hand, to kiss his lips. She’d been so relaxed; it had been like floating on a cloud, in the world’s best dr
Everyone in LA knew where the Sinders’s house was located, but Rome didn’t know for certain that’s where Ella lived until he borrowed Bart’s phone and tracked his own to that location. “You’re crazy,” Bart said, pulling his car over behind Rome’s and getting out.“Why do you say that?”
Ella couldn’t believe Rome was crossing her yard. How brave must he be to dare climb over the tall barrier in the wall and make his way through rows of hedges and bushes as well. She muttered to herself, “My goodness!” watching him cross toward the yard.Resting her head on her hand, she considered what she should do. If she opened the window, she’d have to shout to him, but that wasn’t feasible. She could wake up everyone in the house doing that.