Ever After - By Heather McBride

Chapter 1

How it All Began

In every person to some degree, there is a pull to please or to be accepted by the ones we love or by the ones we hope love us. The drive, depending on the relationship, may be very strong or very weak; each person is different of course.

I had been living my life to this exact day, this exact second, to please my father; it was all I thought about. The thoughts that filled my head always were what my actions would mean to my father. He and my grandmother were my world growing up. What they thought of me, was everything.

My mother died two months after I was born. I was named after her (Corrine). My dad says I look just like her, and that makes me happy. I have long blond waist-length wavy hair with reddish highlights in it. I have a picture of my mom on my nightstand. She was five feet tall, just like I am now. We could have been twins people always tell me.

I think because she was gone, I had gotten the twisted idea that it was my job in life to make my father happy. I felt continual pressure to excel at everything I did. I always hoped it would be what he wanted. This as you might imagine was exhausting, but to see him smile was worth it to me.

I gained a stepmother five years after my mother’s death or got one dumped on me if you want me to be real about the whole mess. Her name is Sara. I do not think of her as a mother. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t think that either. The woman is cold and as maternal as a dog turd. I know that’s not a very poetic description, but it is what it is.

My job, she told me many times, is to keep our family name clean and marry into a family as wealthy as ours or even more so. I guess I shouldn’t have expected my dad to grieve for my mother his whole life. I just I hoped he would pick a more motherly woman. I guess I thought my father had better taste in women, but sadly, I was wrong.

My father’s name is John Andrew Whitmore he is listed as number four on the top ten most successful businessmen in the United States. So for him to have married a gold-digging hag, well, I guess I should have seen that one coming. My dad’s success in his work automatically pushes us all into a social circle based on wealth, power, and achievements. I had grown up in this world. It was what I knew it was all I knew. I could have never guessed it might just be the reason I nearly died just a few short months ago.

I was head cheerleader all four years of high school. I headed up charity groups for the underprivileged in our city, and I played volleyball and soccer. All four years we made state finals in both sports. I was on track in my perfect life if you want to call it that. I was on the perfect track, my parents expected me to be on. I had no idea what I ever wanted to do; it was always all about what they wanted and what our social group expected me to be doing. It was like autopilot for over teenage over achievers.

High school graduation came just last year. I was at the top of my class. That of course would have been the only thing acceptable to my dad and Sara. I studied my butt off to make valedictorian, so much, so I began to get migraine headaches from sitting at my computer for so many hours. Dad beamed with joy at my gradation, so it made me happy despite the horrible headaches.

I was accepted into Harvard University with no trouble. I as usual was expected to join the top sorority at the start of my freshman year. I did just that. I joined Delta Kappa, one of the oldest and most popular houses on campus. I socialized with the other children of the “best” families in our social circle at school. Life was easy, even boring sometimes.

I was naturally expected to date one of the most promising guys in our social circle too, according to Sara. I did that (against my better judgment) his name was Todd Downs. Todd was captain of the football team of course and