This is the story of a modern Cinderella Zawadi. Zawadi is the daughter of a wealthy man, but she is the maid. Her stepmother takes advantage of the fact that her father is not in the country to mistreat her. Finally, her luck is changing, she gets an invite to Rafik’s party. Rafik is the most famous musician in the land, a prince among men. They have a spark but Zawadi like the fairytale Cinderella has to leave the ball at midnight. Zawadi goes to design school and this is her graduation night. Her secret has been discovered that she is the mystery princess who was at Rafik’s party. Find out what happens next. If you have not read the rest of the story here is where the story begins.
Angelica called her boyfriend backstage. Zack came, and hugged Zawadi and Susan congratulated them. Then he kissed Angelica and spun her around saying “you did it, baby!” Angelica explained the situation to him. They agreed to disguise Zawadi so that she would not be recognized. Zawadi changed into her jeans, t-shirt and some shades. Angelica gave her a sweater with a hoodie. Zawadi went out with Zack as Angelica and Susan caused a commotion with the reporters outside telling them Zawadi was going in for an interview with an international TV station so they would have to wait.
Angelica had told Zack to drive Zawadi to the house they would find them there. She needed to pick Zawadi’s stuff from the lockers and she needed to wait until the reporters left. She planned to take a cab.
Zack took Zawadi to a restaurant to have dinner. She had been too nervous to eat before the event and after she had been terrified of meeting reporters if she went to get something to eat. Zack texted Angelica to tell her where they were.
Zack and Zawadi made some small talk as they waited for their meal. Although Zack was rich, he did not have the air of a rich boy. He was very down to earth and he really loved Angelica. It is just that he knew he could not marry a girl of Angelica’s class who had no papers or pedigree. That is why he had paid for her to go to design school. So that people wouldn’t say that she was going out with him for his money when she finished and became a successful designer. It didn’t stop people from saying it but it didn’t matter. He loved Angelica and would do anything to make her happy. Angelica also loved him back so that was a blessing.
The restaurant was showing some late-night art shows. Soon it was time for the 11 pm news. The news headline was “mystery lady spotted at a catwalk in design school. After the headlines, the news anchor came back to the story.
“If you have been following the story of the mystery princess at Rafik’s party then we have good news. The mystery lady, who our favourite musician Rafik has a crush on was sported at Elite Designs College in Lavington. Zawadi it seems is a fourth-year student of design at the college. Today during their finale design exam and graduation, Zawadi emerged victorious as the winner of the class designer of the year. She also got a 200,000k cheque and a prestigious internship with well know Italian designer Ricardo. To find out more about this story we go live to the venue where our reporter is waiting for Zawadi who we have been reliably informed is in an interview.”
The focus then switched to a reporter at Elite Designs College. The reporter on the other end talked about how she was waiting for Zawadi to come out soon so that they could interview her. She talked about how people were excited that the identity of the mysterious woman was finally known. Also, the questions that many of the people who attended the fashion show had.
“It seems that nobody really knows a lot about her. She came in 4 years ago and her fees are always paid on time. She does not seem to be from a rich or famous Kenyan family as none of the girls seems to know her from their circles. It seems we will have to wait for Zawadi to emerge so that she can tell us her secrets. Back to you at the studio.” The TV station then showed Zawadi going down the catwalk in her different outfits.
When the next story came on Zack asked her, “now that your secret is out, what are you going to do?”
Zawadi said, “I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about what would happen when my secret finally came out. I was so focused on finishing my projects and staying out of Madam Asila’s way while she was in a foul mood. She was hoping that one of her daughters would catch Rafik’s eye. She spent a lot of money on new clothes and jewellery so that her daughters could shine on that day. She was not happy that somebody else took the limelight. If she had known it was me I don’t know what she would have done to me. I guess I will just have to deal with the issue one day at a time.”
Zack said, “Consider Ricardo’s offer. I know it will hurt to leave your friends but maybe this is just what you need. A fresh start where nobody knows you and nobody judges you. I know Angelica wouldn’t want you to leave but maybe you need to start afresh. We will miss you though if you go!”
Zawadi said, “I will think about it. Thank you for always being there for me. I know it is because of Angelica but I appreciate it all the same.”
Zack said, “it is not because of Angelica. You are a good person Zawadi and it is not hard to be nice to a good person. If you need anything… help with anything let me know. I know a guy who can get you a passport in 2 days.”
Zawadi thanked him again. Just then Angelica and Susan came into the room. They were carrying Zawadi’s bags and things. Zack ordered for Angelica and Susan food which they carried as takeaway. Susan would also be staying at Angelica’s for a couple of days before travelling back to her rural home the next week. She had been living in school as one of the boarders.
The girls talked and giggled late into the early morning hours unable to sleep because of the excitement of finally finishing school. At around 3 am they left Zawadi in her new room. She stood at the window looking at the full moon that was shining brightly outside. Zawadi thought aloud, “I wonder what tomorrow will bring?”
Zawadi stayed indoors at Zack’s house for 3 days. It wasn’t that she was hiding, well yes she was, but she was strategizing on her next step. She had already decided to take the job in Europe. She would be able to get the exposure that she couldn’t get here. Also, she would be able to do some modelling which would take care of her expenses. She had been asked severally to model but because her stepmother expected her to be home every evening by 530 PM to cook she had not been able to take advantage of the opportunity.
Zawadi was thinking she needed to go to the village for a week or 2. She hadn’t been there since she came to the city. Madam Asila did not give her any time off. Even over the holidays, she was expected to be available to work. But now things would be different. She no longer had to work for that evil woman. She wanted to go see her childhood friends, and also see her mother’s and grandmothers graves.
The media had the last couple of days been trying to find out who she was. Zawadi saw her picture everywhere, on TV, in the daily newspapers, on the blogs and even in the gutter press. Everybody wondered who she was and why she was hiding her identity. The gutter press had some very disturbing theories about who she was.
Zawadi was bored of staying in the house. “When will I get my life back?” She asked herself. Then she remembered that she didn’t really have a life to go back to. She couldn’t go back to Madam Asila’s, not that she wanted to. She had her fashion diploma and she was going to go places. Where exactly is what? She was wondering.
Zawadi had spent the whole morning looking at fashion magazines and redesigning on her sketchpad some of the designs she had liked. At about 11 am, when she was taking a break she realized that she had left her phone upstairs. She went to get her phone and saw that she had 10 missed calls from her friends.
She called Angelica. Angelica asked “Zawadi I have been trying to reach you. Have you watched the news?”
Zawadi said, “no I haven’t. What is going on in the news?”
Angelica said “a reporter bribed somebody at the school to get your admission records and he got your dad’s address. He went to see Madam Asila. She has disowned you and said that you were a nobody. That you were a poor relative who they were paying school fees. She also said that you were their maid and that you had run off after winning! That you are an ungrateful person who took advantage of them and didn’t even say thank you for all the things they did for you. She also said you run off with some money.”
Angelica paused, “it’s awful. Everybody is talking about it. Most of them are not saying nice things.”
Zawadi didn’t know what to say. She was silent. She knew that one day her secret would come out but she hadn’t thought Madam Asila would be so cruel as to say that she was a thief. She was hurt and angry.
Angelica said, “don’t worry Zawadi. She won’t get away with it. That was the final straw. We will deal with her. We will talk about it when we get home. I have already talked with Zack.”
Zawadi went downstairs and switched on the TV. There in glorious technicolour was her evil stepmother. She was wearing a high-power navy blue suit; her hair and makeup were flawless. Her fake smile fooled everybody that she was a good person in place. She looked every part the successful lawyer everybody knew her to be. Who would believe Zawadi over her? Nobody. At that thought, Zawadi felt depressed. She sat on the floor and cried for an hour.
Then Zawadi got up, made herself a cup of tea, and composed herself. She was tired of being the victim, the one who was always stepped on. She thought aloud, “just because I am poor doesn’t mean I don’t have dignity. I am tired of being treated like dirt. I need to clear my name otherwise I will not be able to get a job in this town if everybody thinks I am dishonest. But what can I do?”
Can Zawadi clear her name? Fighting Fire With Fire