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My Best Friend Prince Charming

My Best Friend Prince Charming

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They were best friends. He’s always wanted more. Will his newfound fame destroy them?

 

Main Tropes

  • Friends to Lovers
  • High School
  • Rags to Riches

Synopsis

Shannon

Ryker and I have been best friends since third grade. We were the poor kids in the school, but that didn’t matter. We always had each other. And we had big plans to get scholarships and make something out of our lives. But now he’s been discovered by a big time Hollywood film director who wants to cast him as Prince Charming in an upcoming production of Cinderella.

Our college plans have been flushed down the toilet overnight, and now Ryker’s become famous with a ridiculous amount of money coming his way.

Thanks to the paparazzi, girls are swarming him both in person and online. And Ryker seems to love every minute of it. It’s so annoying.

I feel like I’m losing my best friend in the worst way possible, and I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’ve been lying to myself about my feelings for Ryker for a long time.

Ryker

I’ve secretly had feelings for my best friend Shannon for years, but she’s solidly kept me in the friend zone.

When a famous Hollywood director sees me as the lead in his niece's high school play, he casts me on the spot as Prince Charming in his upcoming Cinderella film. I’m in shock and on top of the world as my biggest, wildest dreams are coming true. I’m finally leaving behind my old life of poverty and moving up in the world.

But now Shannon’s acting super weird and withdrawn. I don’t understand why she can’t just be happy for me. I wish she could see that I don’t care about the fangirls. Shannon’s the only girl I’ve ever wanted, and nothing, not even fortune and fame will change that.

But I’m afraid that all this luck may prove to be unlucky after all. Because if I lose Shannon, will it really have been worth it?

Intro into Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Ryker

I bowed to the cheering audience and followed my fellow cast members off the stage.

“Boom!” my friend Liam hooped when we got backstage and out of earshot of the crowd. “No more musical for the year. I think I’m going to sleep for a week.”

“Come on,” I said. “We still have to greet the audience outside the auditorium.”

When we got to the hall outside the auditorium, I took my place next to Camille, who had been cast as Cinderella.

“Can you believe this is over?” she asked.

I shook my head. I wouldn’t even
know what to do with myself after all the hours spent memorizing lines and rehearsing.

“Ah! The prince,” a man with graying hair and aviator sunglasses perched on his head approached me with a wide grin.

Camille’s face lit up. “Uncle
Stephen!” She jumped between us before he could finish speaking to me and wrapped her arms around him in a gigantic hug.

“How’s my favorite niece?” he asked her.

“I’m so glad you came,” she said to him.

“You know I wouldn’t miss your
performance. Especially since I’m in town anyway.”

He reached out and shook my hand. “It’s, ah, Ryker, right?” he asked, glancing at my name on the playbill. “That was an impressive performance.”

“Thank you, sir,” I said.

“I’ve been looking for someone like you for a while, actually.”

“Someone like me?” I echoed. Well, that was cryptic.

“Would you be interested in
auditioning for me next week?”

“Auditioning?” I asked.

“I may have a job for you. It’s, ah,
paid work. Do you have any film experience?”

“No, sir,” I said, my heart drumming in my chest. Film? Who was this guy?

“Have my niece give me your
information. I have to get going. I’ll reach out to you later this week with a time and place to meet up. It was nice meeting you.”

And just like that, the guy
disappeared into the crowd.

I turned to Camille. “What was that all about?”

“Do you have any idea who my uncle is?”

“No. He seemed pretty cool, though.”

“You’ve never heard of a Stephen
Christopher film?”

“Nope.”

“He’s a big-time Hollywood director. He’s worked on lots of blockbuster movies, some with Owen Hadley, the actor who
opened the restaurant, Hadley’s, in town.”

“Oh yeah. I love that place.”

“Right?” she grins. “I can’t say for
sure, but I think he may have just picked you out for his upcoming Cinderella movie. He’s been looking for a Prince Charming for months. The audition is basically a formality.”

I stared at Camille in shock. There
was no way the audition was a formality. He couldn’t tell how talented I was in front of a camera based on my stage performance. “What’s he doing in Maple Creek?”

“He’s my mom’s brother, and he’s driving through on his way to the beach. He wanted to see my performance in Cinderella, since he’s in this part of the country. He’ll be back next week for my mom’s birthday. If you accept this role, you would basically become rich and
famous overnight.”

My head began to spin. I couldn’t
begin to imagine that I’d be able to land a role like that. “Why would he want me?”

“You’re a lot better than you
realize. And you fit the vision he’s had for a while, I guess,” Camille said with a shrug.

Shannon came up to me with her long, reddish-blonde hair tucked behind her ears. She had on a t-shirt with Aiko on it, a character from Katana Warrior, our favorite anime show. We were even writing a Katana Warrior fan fiction together. 

“Hey, you,” I said.

“You were awesome, Ryker,” she said. “Like, seriously.”

My heart lifted. Shannon’s opinion mattered most of all. I met her when her family moved in next door when we were
in the third grade, and we’d been inseparable ever since.

“Where are we going to celebrate?” she asked.

“I didn’t know that was a thing.”

“It is now. I just got paid
tonight.” Shannon worked after school and on the weekends at Toppings, an ice cream shop in town.

“You know I’m not going to let you pay for your food, right?” I said.

Shannon rolled her eyes. “Ok, fine. Burgers and shakes at Skippy’s?”

“Oh sure, just pick out a place
where we eat free anyway, so I won’t be able to pay for your meal,” I said. My aunt owned Skippy’s, the local diner, so we never had to pay for anything when we ate there. My grandpa started the place when my dad and aunt were kids, and
now she owned it. When my dad lost his job at the lumber mill, he was desperate, and my aunt hired him to take over the newly opened manager position at
Skippy’s. It didn’t pay as well as the lumber mill, and Dad had to work much longer hours, but since I waited tables at Skippy’s, I got to see him more than
I would have otherwise. 

I hated letting Shannon pay for
anything. She probably would have fought me on it, but she worked herself to the bone, trying to help her mom make ends meet. I didn’t like to see Shannon suffering financially. But that had been the harsh reality of both our lives for as long as either of us could remember.

We lived on the “wrong side of the tracks,” according to Mom, who ran off when I was ten. To me, it meant that my future was severely limited. I had to miss out on a lot of opportunities that
other kids had, like after-school programs and sports that cost extra money. There was never money for stuff like that. We were lucky to get a new pair of
shoes for the school year.

Before Mom left, she spent a lot of time sitting on the couch watching reruns. She got really bad postpartum depression when my younger sister was born, and she never seemed to get over
it. One day, eight years ago, she just snapped and left in the middle of the night. We never saw her again.

That pretty much left me to raise my little brother and sister. It wasn’t too bad. I loved those kids, but it didn’t leave me much time for working a paying job. We didn’t see my dad much. He
spent a lot of time working. And when he did come home, he spent a lot of time on his phone trying to unwind. It was like he’d checked out.

I gathered my stuff backstage and then met Shannon out front. “Want to take my car?” I asked. My aunt Kristen had given me her old car when I turned sixteen. The 1998 Nissan Sentra wasn’t
pretty to look at, but it ran and didn’t guzzle too much gas.

“Sure,” Shannon said. She shouldered her bag and followed me across the parking lot.

We could have invited other friends, like Camille and a few of the other cast members, but Shannon and I usually liked to hang out alone. We were the nerdy, Katana Warrior-obsessed members of the senior class at Maple Creek High.

Shannon and I had been writing our fan fiction together since freshman year, and we were still going strong. When we hung out, we usually discussed complicated plot points that none of our
other friends would understand. That meant that I got Shannon all to myself most days. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Shannon didn’t know how deep my feelings actually went. The truth was, I’d been in love with her for a long time. I wasn’t sure when it started exactly—it kind of snuck up on me. I’d always thought she was pretty, even in third grade, when girls were supposed to be gross. But Shannon had this gorgeous reddish-brown hair that fell around her shoulders in waves that were so soft they always begged to be touched. And her
eyes? They were a piercing blue, the color of the ocean in the tropics.

The problem was, Shannon didn’t feel the same about me. She’d been dating Austin on and off again for the past two years, and I wasn’t a fan of the guy.

Shannon and I discussed some of the research we’d recently done for our fanfic while we drove the short trip to Skippy’s. I pulled into the parking lot behind the diner, and we laughed about
the irony of our latest chapter. In that moment, everything was perfect. It was almost like I’d forgotten that Shannon had a jerkface boyfriend and that I’d
just been offered an audition for a big Hollywood movie.

“Hey, you two.” Aunt Kristen beamed at us as we walked into the diner. “Booth seven’s open,” she said, pointing to the corner booth, our favorite spot.

“Burgers and shakes?” she asked once we were settled in the booth.

“And some onion rings,” I said.

She shouted our order to Joey back in the kitchen and turned back to us. “How was the musical?”

“You’ll never believe what
happened,” I said. I told them about the big-time film director who wanted me to audition for him.

“That’s huge, Ryker! If you get this role, it could completely change your life,” Aunt Kristen said.

Shannon sat quietly, twisting her
ring around her finger. It had been her grandmother’s, and Shannon always twisted it around when something was bothering her. 

I shrugged. “I’m not sure I’m
going.”

“What?” Aunt Kristen said. “Why
would you pass up an opportunity like that?” She knew how much I loved acting, so I understood her surprise at me not wanting to audition. It wasn’t that I didn’t want the part. I’d always dreamed of making it big one day. But that was just a far-off fantasy. Like something one of my fan fiction characters would dream about doing. But that wasn’t reality. Shannon and I used to have big dreams. I was going to be an actor, and she was going to be an author. But we weren’t kids anymore. We were both staring down adulthood. We’d each seen how
hard life could be without a stable career. That was why college was so important. It was reliable and practical.

“We already have our future all
planned out,” I told her.

“Ryker.” Aunt Kristen shook her
head. “Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn with better results at the destination. You can’t give up on something amazing just because you’re too
attached to the outcome you had in mind.”

I brushed off her advice. "Shannon just heard back from Virginia Tech. They’re offering her a full-ride scholarship.” They’d just offered me a full ride as well, and it meant that we’d both be able to go to school together. It was huge news.

She had been really excited for us
to go to school together. I didn’t want to mess that up. Her top school was UCLA, but since VT offered her the scholarship, that was where she’d decided to
attend. It was her second choice, but it wasn’t like she had a rich daddy to pay the out-of-state tuition. Her dad couldn’t even pay child support. Couldn’t
. . . or wouldn’t.

“Maybe it doesn’t matter. I probably won’t get the role anyway. Just because the director liked my stage performance
doesn’t mean he’ll like me in front of a camera. It’s a totally different
acting style. No one sees my face up close while I’m on stage.”

“You should at least go for the
experience of auditioning in front of someone that famous,” Aunt Kristen said. “And I’ve seen you on camera. Remember all those silly videos you used to make
back in middle school? You were actually really good.”

I shrugged. “I guess.”

“This is your chance to see what’s
beyond Maple Creek.”

Everything I wanted in life was
right here in this small town. And she was sitting right across from me. If I couldn’t be with her romantically, at least I could be in her life every day as her best friend. I would take whatever I could get.

Our food came, and we sat eating, discussing more of our fan fiction. I loved watching Shannon’s face as she talked about her story ideas. She was so passionate about her writing. She came alive whenever she talked about it. I wanted to see her this happy every day. If I could bring her this kind of joy, then I knew I was living my life the right way.

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