Chapter 1

  Louisa's POV   "Hey, do you have any plans tonight?"   I stared at the man standing in front of me with an incredible look on my face.   Justin Davidson, the deputy captain of the school football team, is asking me out on a homecoming night?!   I bit my lips for a while and said, "But I thought you were going to the party with Jessica Bracco..."   "Well, I'm asking you out right now," Justin said with an impatient frown. "This is the time when you say yes, Miss Louisa Falco... unless you have some better things to do tonight." The truth was, I didn't have anything to do tonight.   Nobody wanted to ask a poor girl like me out for the homecoming party because, apparently, I was worse than cancer to them.   I didn't know what was wrong with me, but it seemed that my vibe was just too dreadful in a posh place like Stanton Woods College.   This college was way too out of my league. All my classmates were either rich kids who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths or nepobabies from influential statesmen.   In stark contrast, my stepfather owned a dry cleaning business in the downtown area and my biological mother passed away several years ago.   My stepfather had no intention of paying anything for my further education in the most expensive medical school in town, so I had to take five part-time jobs to pay for the student loan.   It was hard. I knew. However, I made the unwavering decision to become a doctor after I lost my mother to pancreatic cancer.   I knew it was naive, but I simply didn't want anyone in the world to die in pain like my mother did.   "Thank you for asking me out. I'd like to be there with you." I replied in a low voice.   "Great! Go dress up and I'll pick you up at your place at seven."   "No! Please don't do that!" I said in a panic. "I mean, don't come over to my place. Meet me at the school gate."   My stepfather would kill me if he found out that I was going out with a dandy boy from college.   He had a very strong opinion of the boys in my school and made it very clear that he would break my leg if I dared to hang out with them.   "Then, gate it is." Justin grinned and winked at me.   He looked so damn hot in a white T-shirt. I was kind of curious about what he would look like in a suit.   My heart was pounding fast all the way while I was going home.   I still couldn't believe it was true while I was standing in front of my wardrobe.   Then, I realized that I had nothing to wear.   Nothing but jeans and plain T-shirts.   I couldn't show up at the homecoming party with Justin in jeans!   Everyone would be laughing at me and it would embarrass him!   Feeling desperate, I covered my face in distress.   "What's going on, honey? Wardrobe failure prior to a party? I'd cover my face if I were you!"   I looked back and saw my stepsister Laura Falco standing behind me with her hands behind her back.   I freaked out and tried to cover her mouth.   "Don't let Greg hear it! I don't know no party!"   Laura dodged away and giggled.   "Louisa has got a date tonight! My little girl has finally grown up!"   "Be quiet!" I became frustrated.   Laura smirked and said, "Dad's not at home tonight. He went to Ivory City to meet up with his old marine gangs. You don't need to worry about him!"   Feeling a bit calm, I asked, "How did you hear about the party?!"   "Words travel fast in this town. I came across some maids picking up laundry at the dry cleaning shop. I might have overheard them talking on the phone about Master Justin asking you out for tonight's party."   "Oh, shut up!" I exclaimed with embarrassment and fear. "Please don't tell Greg about it! He will kill me!"   "He won't know anything about it and..." Laura took out the stuff behind her back.   It was a beautiful white nightgown embroidered with laces and diamonds and everything!   It was the kind of gown that girls like me would only see in movies or dreams.   "Where did you get this?! It looks so expensive!" I was amazed, stroking it with my fingers.   It if felt like heaven.   "You bet it's expensive." Laura batted her eyelashes. "It belonged to my mom back in the old days."   The old days. Laura talked a lot about the glorious old days.   When she was little and her biological mom was still alive, she used to live a luxurious life.   But she was a strong girl. She didn't let her mother's death or her father's bankruptcy to destroy her life.   Now, she's proudly working at the dry cleaning shop to help around Greg's business.   "Laura, it means a lot for you to do something so sweet and kind like this, but I can't take it. It's too expensive and..."   "It's your first homecoming night! You deserve to dress up like a princess and surprise those mean girls at school!" Laura insisted.   "But I'm not a princess. I'm just an ordinary girl with student loans. I can't pretend to be..."   "You will still be yourself, just in a nicer dress. Come on! You deserve a perfect homecoming experience and this dress deserves to be admired by others!" Laura said.   I will look good in this dress, standing next to Justin Davidson. They might even vote us Homecoming King and Queen.   My face blushed as I picked up the dress.   -   I didn't see Justin at the school gate at seven o'clock.   I sent him a message and he asked me to meet him at the Grand Ballroom.   Feeling disappointed, I walked to the Grand Ballroom by myself, not knowing what was going to happen to me.   My face turned like a tomato when I walked into the Grand Ballroom.   Everyone was looking at me with surprise as if they had never seen me before.   I took a glance at myself in the mirror.   I was glowing like a floating angel.   Everything seemed to be so perfect except...   I couldn't find Justin anywhere.   "Hey, ghetto bitch! Why are you here?" An annoying nasal voice asked.   I turned back and saw Jessica Bracco standing behind my back, holding a glass of cranberry juice in her hand.   "I got an invitation from Justin Davidson. But I can't find him now." I saw as I took a glance at the minions behind her back.   They were all sizing me up with disgust on their faces. Some of them took out their mobiles to videotape me.   I immediately wanted to walk away.   That batch of mean girls were like a plague. Nobody wanted to mess up with them.   But Jessica blocked my way.   "Hey, bitch! Where do you think you're going?" She said as she pulled my arm.   "Let go of me." I stared at her and said.   "I will let go of you," she gloated. "But you have to explain to me first. How come you're wearing my dress and claiming that you've got invited to this party by my date?"
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