"French cheese, French fries, French cakes…" Bunion checked off the list in his hands and rubbed his bald head. "That's what the Lady Emma loves."

"French fries are not really a product of France. Don't quote me on it. Google it." Jaiden Daniels smiled at his bodyguard slash manservant slash driver slash friend. He ran his lithe fingers through his black hair and stretched his tired neck. Running a multi-million dollar company was no walk in the park. Peers his age were enjoying spring break blessed by calm April weather, where as he had been working seven days straight. Being a nineteen year old CEO was remarkable but still ripe with drawbacks. Jaiden peered at Bunion. To have his manservant give him a back rubdown would elicit pervy thoughts in Bunion's hairless head, especially since Jaiden had found Bunion reading yaoi-ninja doujinshi once. (ahem, boy loves boy fan manga)

"You know what would be fun. If we also had French maids." Jaiden rubbed his chin and grinned.

"Or have Mrs. James replace her fuchsia suit with a French maid uniform?" Bunion shrugged and Jaiden shivered as he imagined Mrs. James posing in a skimpy French maid outfit. Mrs. James, the head maid of his mansion, was a few decades shy of a century years old with a spitfire attitude and the manners of the devil himself. (or herself)

"Scratch out that idea and burn it." Jaiden shivered again. "I have a better idea. You know those reality shows on TV-"

"I'm glued to them! You name them, I watch them. Watch them all fanatically!" Bunion clapped his hands together and almost twirled like a princess.

"We should do something like that. I'm in a blowing-cash mode. We can hold an audition for a French maid. For the silliest, wackiest French maid. She'll be here for the week and drive everyone, especially Mrs. James crazy. It'll be a riot. What do you say about that?"

Bunion blinked and shrugged. "I think it's a terribly terrific idea but then again, knowing you my Young Master, it doesn't matter what I think."

"True." Jaiden smiled and slapped Bunion's shoulder. "Come on now, I'm just kidding. You know you're my closest confidant."

"Aww shucks." Bunion almost blushed. He watched Jaiden stretch his arms over his head and crane his neck.

"Time for some masterful Internet advertising then. I can see it now. A horde of girls dressed in French maid outfits lining up before us." Jaiden cackled before he left for his study room.

Bunion watched his young master move with the grace of a prince and sighed. The boy grew up so fast before his eyes and resembled his father Jameson Daniels more and more. At least only physically, Bunion hoped. Jameson Daniels was a strapping, virile, and overly flirtatious middle aged man, who had more affairs and mistresses than he had fingers and toes. At nineteen, handsome and eligible Jaiden had yet to even have a real serious relationship. Bunion blew a raspberry. This didn't mean girls didn't flock to him like mosquitoes to blood. Bunion sighed and rested his face on his palms.

True love. True love eluded his poor young prince, Bunion thought.

Jaiden mused about having a new personal maid for a week. Didn't matter if the maid couldn't clean or cook. All she had to do was wear a French-maid outfit, have some quirks, and keep him entertained for the week. With a click of the Enter button on his keyboard, his ad for a week-long maid crawled throughout the world wide web.

5000 Maid for a week. Be funny, quirky, and entertaining. Doesn't matter if you can cook or clean or look like Jabba the Hutt. Auditions Sunday 4/10 afternoon at Central Park. Follow the big signs.

Blow some cash, have some fun. Holding maid auditions was Jaiden's idea of a Sunday well spent. God I need to find some new hobbies.

Mina watched a train speed by and thanked its conductor silently. Without the timely arrival of that train, Kiterin might have heard the heavy beating of her heart. Still his head was as dense as a cloud when it came to her feelings. Why then did she have to worry anyway? Because I'm weird, that's why.

Mina twiddled her thumbs. The stupid train's still not here! Mina turned her head and caught a glimpse of Kiterin's profile. A long nose, perfectly dark eyebrows, and enigmatic eyes of marble blue. Mina counted the freckles across his nose once. Thirteen cute little light brown dots lived on his beautiful face. Kiterin stared out in front of him with a blank expression in his eyes. Does he have the weight of the world on his shoulders? Having known him for so many years, Mina wondered why he was still such an enigma.

Mina cleared her throat. What should I say? It was just so much easier when I didn't like him! Then Mina caught her opportunity when she noticed a flash of sadness in his eyes.

She cleared her throat. "What's bothering you Kit?"

Kiterin shrugged. "Do I look troubled?" Kiterin turned and gave Mina a half-smile. "You looked more bothered." That remark and Kit's smile burned Mina's cheeks.

Mina's feet screamed for her to run but instead she angled her chin toward the skies. She sat poised like Audrey Hepburn, or at least she thought she did and smiled. "Don't you love this kind of April weather? It's so warm!" Mina's wrists sparked into action and began to fan her face. Kiterin laughed and Mina's heart almost shot out of her chest. He's horrible! Mina turned and sighed. Why is one-sided love so painful?

Kiterin crossed his arms behind his neck and rested his head on them. "I want to be like that."

"Like what?" Mina arched a brow.

"Like that couple. See?"

Mina looked across the platform. An elderly couple shared an orange while sitting close together like new lovebirds, waiting for their train. Or more like the rest of their lifetime of happiness together, Mina thought. Mina felt her heart strike against her chest, thumping like Thumper's furry feet. I want to be like them too, with you Kit… Say something Mina… confess to him!

"Kit… I…"

Mina's moment of bravado disappeared upon the untimely arrival of their train.

"It's here. Let's go." Kiterin stood before Mina and held out a hand like a gentleman, her knight in shining armor, a prince, a... Before Mina's fantasies destroyed her view of the present and reality, she accepted Kiterin's hand. His fingertips and her palm sent shocks of tingle through her spine to her toes. Oh god, I've been reading too many cheesy romance novels. Still… I love you so much Kit…

"Come on, stand up already." Kiterin chuckled and Mina snapped out of her thoughts. Kit, her travel-home buddy, her boy next door, and best guy friend did not have a heart that would beat just for her. She just wasn't his muse. Despite being a poet, a violinist, a painter, songwriter and an aspiring architect, Kiterin was just not very romantic around Mina. Was it because she was not beautiful enough to inspire him? Of course she would have to go through surgery to lengthen her femurs and become model-tall. And then exercise two hours a day to lose the extra adipose around her thighs and belly. Go through hours of Japanese-hair straightening to get beautifully straight and shiny hair. Everyone claimed to love her curly waves but they didn't know the trouble she went through to keep her hair from resembling a clown's wig on dreaded humid days.

She would also need to get dental veneers for perfectly pearly whites and violet contacts to cover her boring, plain brown eyes. Buy expensive pushup bras to give her breasts the extra umph since the only boobs that defied gravity were plastic surgery boobs.

All that just to look like Kiterin's Miss Muse, Alissa Robinkaya, except for the violet eyes part.

Though Mina sat right next to Kiterin on the train, he couldn't have felt farther away to her. His eyes gazed out the window and the knuckles of his fisted hands grew paler each time he saw a cherry blossom tree. The sadness in his eyes, the tight fists- Mina knew what was ticking through his mind. He missed her. Alissa was in Tokyo with her family for spring break.

He was mine first, Mina thought as she fought back tears as visions of Kiterin and Alissa embracing flooded her head like fire ants. They had only met last year at a party—of which Mina was not invited to—and there were instant sparks. Alissa, a freshman at NYU, was as beautiful, sweet and tall-everything as un-Mina as un-Mina could be. Maybe that's why Kiterin only painted portraits of Alissa. Girls like Alissa were girlfriend material. Girls like Mina were best-friend, girl-next-door, and nothing more material.

"You're tearing up…"

Well duh Mister-State-the-Obvious. Mina shook her head and rubbed her nose."Must be allergies. Oak, pollen, dogs, cats, stupidity—I'm allergic to all that." And stupid cherry blossoms. Stupid cherry blossoms that reminded my Kit of Melissa-whatever her name… So what if she's pretty? She's older than Kit!

"You're so cute you know?" Kiterin smiled and wrapped an arm around Mina's shoulders and messed up her hair with a friendly rub. "Now what would I do without you?"

Words so sweet only added to Mina's misery and fueled her inner demons. With Alissa out of the picture for a week, anything could happen right? Bwahahaha…

No! I can't! I'm not like that… Confessing to Kiterin could turn everything around and that could bite her in the derriere. Kiterin might never embrace her like this again or even talk to her again. Mina remembered this one time when she confessed her feelings to a guy—this was years ago—and the next day he moved to Mexico. Maybe that had nothing to do with her but Mina sometimes had the feeling guys could see invisible horns on her head and fangs in her mouth. Rrraa!

Mina sighed. Nothing Kit. It won't make much of a difference without me. You have Alissa. Instead of saying that, Mina just smiled and shrugged before she too stared out the window.

minawinnaXD: Good night schminkleboi

schminkleboi: Night minawinnaxD

schmikleboi has logged off 10:38 PM.

Mina batted her eyes and smooched her anachronistically large computer monitor the moment Kiterin logged off online. She fell to her bed and hugged a pillow to her chest and sighed. A girl could have her fantasies right?

Just tell him. Get it over with. He may realize then he's really in love with you…

No you can't Mina! You might lose everything! And you'll be doing what we go against! Stealing someone else's boyfriend!

Evil Mina and Goody Mina pulled and tugged on Mina's mind. Mina brushed her shoulders and sent the two of them flying into oblivion. "Leave me alone."

"Talking to yourself again?" Emi had sneaked into the room. Mina threw her pillow at her older sister and narrowed her eyes. "What do you want?"

"I wanted to tell you… that I love you." Emi tilted her head and smiled before jumping on Mina's bed. "And…"

"Of course there's an and." Mina raised a brow and kicked Emi away before Emi could tackle her.

"I need a new purse for next week's party."

Mina died. Well that was what it looked like with one look of her expression, her mouth open in shock and her face pale with horror.

"Come on Mina… Please? I really need to fit in at this party. If I get good connections, we'll be able to move out of this dump. Think of me as your investment Min-min."

Mina snorted and wondered why she had a moocher leech as a sister. Long auburn locks flowed down Emi's back. Emi was non-makeup pretty and makeup beautiful—with the right clothing, the right shade of eye shadow, blush, and lipstick, and so forth, Emi was drop-dead gorgeous. With her looks, Emi could land herself a wealthy husband and never work for the rest of her life. Unlike their parents who divorced due to money problems—they had too little of it—Emi was sure money would make her world go round forever and ever. Love was nothing when money ruled Emi's world.

Emi Lin stroked her baby sister's hair. "I don't want to do this to you sweetie but I have to go to auditions this week. Lots of auditions!"

Mina wished she had a hammer in her hands to smash open Emi's head and release the silly dreams of hers. For a twenty-two year old, Emi really needed to smell the stench of reality. Instead, reality piled up upon the "uglier" Lin sister's head. Mina blew the bangs on her forehead and made strands of her hair dance.

Without her hammer, Mina could only face Emi in defeat. Beautiful people had such a way with others. Maybe Mina was the silly one in not believing in Emi and her dreams. Emi Lin as an investment… why not?

Mina sighed. "How much is this bag? Come on tell me!"

Emi raised ten fingers in the air.

"Ten bucks?" Really now Mina, don't be so optimistic!

Emi shook her head and opened and closed her hands three times.

"No way…"

Ten times ten times ten, Emi meant.

"One freaking thousand dollars?" Mina fell off her bed and pulled Emi down with her.

The next morning, Mina stabbed the life out of her sausages and sighed a total of fifty nine times to try to gather her mother's attention. When Kaila Lin did nothing but ignore her baby daughter, Mina finally exploded.

"I'm not making a thousand dollars to let her buy a stupid bag dangit! It's a stupid looking gaudy golden bag that has nothing going for it but its designer brand!"

Mina rubbed her head and gave her mother the best puppy dog eyes she could muster.

Kaila Lin stared at Mina with an expression full of gravity. Silence passed between them. Mina took a sip of her orange juice when Kaila finally replied. "We could try to get a Canal Street knockoff. But then there's a chance I'll be caught and thrown into jail. Then you'll have to work even harder for a bail."

Mina almost choked on her juice. Is this woman really my mother? Or did she find me in a dumpster?

"But this is spring break! And I just wanted to volunteer. It's just one week. How am I supposed to make a thousand bucks just like this?" Mina snapped her fingers.

Kaila shrugged. "Sweetheart… just think of something. Your sister is our ticket to a better future."

"What about me?"

"Darling… we can't expect you to hook in a wealthy tycoon or something with those looks. And we don't have enough for plastic surgery… though I do think Emi should fix that little bump on her nose."

Since Dad left, Mina's mother had changed too much. Her hopes, her dream, and her future were placed on Emi. The Emi Lin investments… For just a second, Mina wished her mother had some faith in her. She would try her best to get into Cooper Union and become a successful architect. Or even apply to Edinburgh University of Architecture! Leave America, Emi, her mom. Leave it all behind! Send back checks. All they wanted was money right? Mina just needed time, a little luck, and a whole load of hard work on her part.

"Mom… why do you believe in Emi's dreams more than mine? Why?"

"Mina…" Kaila took a sip of her coffee. "A woman already has a hard time trying to make it in this city. You're half-Chinese, not incredibly beautiful, smart, or lucky… You don't have a whole lot going for you. Emi is different… She's beautiful. She's a smart girl. She'll be able to make it big." Kaila turned her head but not fast enough for Mina to miss the tear rolling down her cheek.

Beauty fades Mom… You can see that in your face right? "Is it because her dreams were your dreams?"

"Mina… just do something… anything. I'll see you later. Love you." Kaila stood up and left the house within seconds.

This week, I'm Cinderella again. Except for the stepmother and sister part. Scratch out the fairy godmother… And the prince. He's oblivious… Oh Kit… what should I do?

Later that afternoon, Mina sat beneath a tree in Central Park to enjoy her last day of freedom with her chums.

"I'll tell you what you should do. Run away to Maldives. Pretend you drowned when scuba diving. Live with the dolphins for the rest of your life."

"Thank you Danni, you're wonderfully helpful." Mina scratched her head and looked at Kit who couldn't keep his eyes off the clouds. Thinking about her again…

"What do you think Kit?" Danni gave Kit a nudge and Kit finally stirred.

"I think you should just ignore everyone. Spend spring break with us." Kiterin smiled and placed his head on Mina's lap.

"So comfy… say Min, have you gotten um a bit um…"

"Fatter?" Danni blurted.

"Shut up losers." Mina's cheeks blew up in rouge fury or so other people would think. The heat from Kit's head, the warmth from his breath, and his long lashes on his cheeks when his eyes were closed all engulfed Mina and clouded her senses. Danni grinned and waggled a finger at Mina.

"What?" Mina whispered.

"You know what." Danni mouthed back.

Danni, Kiterin's twin sister, was Mina's best girl friend. The trio were inseparable—well of course except when the twins were with their respective girlfriends. Danni could pass for Kiterin when she chose to dress like a male. Her girlfriend Isabelle was one of the prettiest girls in school. At the moment, Danni and Isabelle were on a break from each other. Rumors were spreading about how Isabelle wasn't really a lesbian and how she only used Danni for a popularity-boost.

Danni could read Mina like a book, much unlike Kiterin. Too bad I don't swing that way, Mina thought. In a sense, Danni had more of a macho-male personality, with the sensitivity and intuition of a female—the best of both worlds.

Mina's fingers itched to stroke away the few strands of hair that had landed across Kiterin's cheekbone. His soft lips were so welcoming. If only he suddenly needed CPR, then she'd have an excuse to… Mina shook her head.

"I didn't get fatter!" Mina gave Kit's head a gentle push and stood. "I'm going for a walk. If I don't come back, it's because I've jumped into a pond. Then you can tell my mom and sister I've really drowned so they can just leave me out of their silly dreams."

Life just couldn't get any better… at least I have my health and youth, Mina thought. She walked passed couples of different ages. Children without a care in the world. Happy corpulent pigeons flying here and there. And a whole park-full of girls in French-maid outfits lining up before a table.

"What the heck?" Mina found a place beneath the generous shading of a tree and stood to watch the gathering of girls… too many girls. The one closest by the table juggled balls in her hands. The girl behind her had a poodle on a leash next to her. The silliest one of them all, Mina would have to say, was the girl on stilts. Holy boxers… stilts!

"Has the world gone mad?"

Sitting behind the table was a young man with shades over his eyes, his dark hair slicked back, and his arms crossed.

Like he rules the world. His face was like stone, cold and expressionless as he watched the girls behind his shades. Was he some agent? Sleazy porn director directing a new movie? Hmm… I don't watch porn!

Moving closer, Mina could make out the sign by the table.

Maid audition. 5000 for a week…

Five thousand dollars? That's five times the three times stupid Emi opened and closed her precious fingers! I have to win this… I have to get this job… I have to… holy shhii—

Deep in her scheming and thoughts and sneaking around the get a closer look, Mina tripped over a pile of rocks, placed strategically by the gods of poor storytelling, and flew towards the maid on stilts. Maid on stilts had superhuman vestibular and balance skills, staying put even after flying Mina tried to pull her down to save her fall. Instead of saving her fall, Mina tripped further, her arms flailing in the air, her eeks and acks filling eardrums, and her expressions Kodak-priceless. Her little journey ended when she fell face first on a pile of mud (also placed strategically) and the murmurs of the crowd could crush her. She could just light up into flames and spontaneously combust… Someone save me…

The sound of footsteps filled her ears. Mina peeked up slightly. Slick shiny loafers greeted her nose. She raised her head further. Hard-pressed slack pants… expensive… Beautiful Garmani or something Italian-expensive shirt… Dark shades, slick black hair, tanned skin… a stranger. The young man smiled but the smile was anything but friendly. He bent down and studied Mina as if she were a Martian with man-boobs.

"Audition's over. Klutzy here is hired."

The girls muttered and murmured and some even sent expletives through the air. One girl even stepped on Mina.

Jaiden held out a hand for the muddy-faced simpleton. "You won Klutzy."

"The name's Mina."

"What? I don't understand mud-talk."

"Mina!" Mina screamed into Jaiden's face, sending mud and spit across his shades. Jaiden removed his shades and laughed.

Violet-blue eyes… dark soot lashes, an aristocrat's nose… dimples when he smiled. Cinderella's prince could look like this wacko.