It was an almost cloudless day in Biona. The streets were filled with people rummaging about preparing for the annual Gala, or so it seemed from my balcony.
I heaved a deep breath, one I am sure didn't come from exhaustion. Another month of seeing the limelight. Another month of pretence. Then let it out.
Though the seeming cloudless sky, the atmosphere plays a rather cool role as it sweeps my jet black hair away from my face and settles it behind my ears. I quickly use my hands to straighten the strands of hair. There shouldn't be any hair out of place, I just dyed it. I had promised dad, I wouldn't dye it any longer, but I couldn't help it. I just can't stand having to stare at the mirror and see the Celene that looks so much like her mom.
I avert my gaze from the tons of people moving down the street and focus my attention on my goals for today.
One, take my bath. Two, go to the rankings. Three, watch the news. My list was simple, I didn't have to do anything much in the house anyway. Nobody wanted me to.
I don't linger much in the balcony as I find myself heading for my bathroom. Once inside, all that comes into bmind is how I have to hate the limelight. It was so vague as to why I did this, but I do it anyway, not like I have much of a choice - my sisters fan to much over them, and I wouldn't be caught dead taking interest in anything that they'd like.
After a while I am done freshening up, that's one thing to cross off my list. I throw in a lemon green T-shirt, black kaki pants, and a pair of black flats for the day as I carefully open my drawer, and in fold my night gown neatly. Quietly hoping to wash this, this night or after I watch the evening local news. That's something new to add on my list.
I search my eyes around my room, and realize nothing here looks like a home. A blue queen sized bed is placed directly opposite the door and a short wooden table besides it that holds my night light and a few valuables. A black wardrobe to the left of my room, occupying any vacant space in my bedroom. Two huge windows on both sides of my bed. A mini glass shelve stacked with my favorite novels, and therapy books. And finally a bathroom to the right of my room. Basically, the only colors my bedroom has are blue and black. Except for the bathroom of course.
I run my hand through my shoulder length hair and heave a deep breath as I begin to walk down the staircase - today would be the announcement of this year's Gala date. As I move I can't help but reflect on my previous thoughts. How can I hate the limelight.
All through my life I've admired them, fanned over them like all of my quintuplets, but did it secretly - because I want to be different. It's hard enough having to share the same face with all four of my sisters, but having to share the same interests with those same people, who for a fact hates me and makes me cry at night is the least bit comforting. More or less of the same mother.
My heart begins to race uncontrollably, thinking about that woman, my mother, is giving me chills. My hands are shaking and beads of sweat are beginning to drop down my face - funny how one person can have this effect on people. On me.
Luckily, I was able to manage all the way to the parlour without breaking down. On getting there, I spot all four of my sisters sitting in pairs as they wait for the limelight to showcase themselves on the platinum screen. I breathe a heavy sigh knowing that they are too occupied to see me coming, until a head finally snaps in my direction, "Hey, Celene did you just come back from a marathon? " Then another one adds, "Go wash up before you pollute the air. " that was Jacklyn and Madalyn. They both made me feel like breaking down now and here. I can feel the tear drops slowly slipping down my face, how could they take advantage of my situation like that. I sweat yes, but that's only when I am trying to holding in the tears. It's hard - and for one thing, I don't smell. Nobody in Biona does.
I rush back to the stairs and into my room, shutting the door with a huge amount of force, albeit I broke something important.
I snatch the first clothes that come into my reach, then enter the bathroom and change. The first thing that comes to mind when I look in the mirror is that, I'm good under pressure.
Standing by the bedroom mirror, stood I. I wore a white floral gown, a thin black belt at the middle, a zip up black cardigan and the same flats from before. This time as I go down, I rid my minds of every thought. Every emotion.
On getting there this time, I am greeted with the wonderful smell of toast in the morning, and hot cocoa. Standing at the dinning table was dad, with six plates in his right hand, an apron around his body, and a kettle in his left hand. I rush over to where he is, quickly taking the plates from his reach and placing them accordingly on the table. I assist him with the kettle too and the serving of toast on the table, but he doesn't even utter a thank you.
Through all those times he didn't stop me, for the first time he didn't bark at me to leave. Was he finally accepting me?
"Girls, time for breakfast. " he plainly states, removing his apron and dismissing it in a corner. Jacklyn finishes first, Madalyn next, Ashlyn follows, Katelyn and dad. Only me is left on the table to my food. As I eat, I take only small consecutive bites, before deciding that I can't have any more.
I am about to keep my plate and clear up the tables when I hear Ashlyn speak up, "Are you trying to waste that perfectly good food. Dad worked hard to make that. " as she says so she sends me menacing glares. Just then dad chooses to grace us with his presence. Ashlyn repeats as if she hadn't told me before and my dads eyes turns red. He marches up to where I stood dumb founded and gives me a slap. The pain lingered there for just a second before I sit back down and begin chowing down. When i am done, I keep my plate like nothing happened. I'm used to this, it happens everyday.
When I get back to the parlour, the TV is already on. . . . The screen showed two people on seat, looking directly to the camera - usually they would have been talking to themselves and have us ease drop on their conversation. That means, whatever they were saying at the moment was alarming.
I sat on the carpet, giving my sisters a glance only to see them scowling, but I tuned them out then focused my attention on the screen. Hopefully they won't say anything till the news ends.
". . . .Preparations for the annual Gala is all set. Reports show that the Frequeens are trying to out run NA. Which proves that there is going to be an up going completion between the Frequeens, and NA. "
According to what I heard last time the Frequeens were the ancient France. The second speaker -a man in his twenties - turned his head to the female.
"But I heard Frequeen has seven members, here in NA we only have six limelight members. How is it possible Anna? " apparently that's the females name.
"Good question Stan. The limelight manager Mabel has officially released a statement that the hunt for a new member has started, " cue dramatically gasp from my quintuplets. "It's not a competion though, rather it's like a raffle draw. So just remain where you are pretty looking, and Mabel will personally come pick you."
"Are you sure Anna? "
"Hundred percent, Stan. "
"OK viewers, the date for this year's Gala will be announced by eighteen hundred hours; so I suggest you prepare painstakingly for it, because this year, everything changes. " the scene faded as a bunch of meaningless commercials took over.
My mouth hung open. An opportunity to be picked by the famous Mabel Ross is beyond understanding. This is the chance to make all my dreams come true. I could make friends, have a life, be famous.
"Earth to Celene!" Katelyn snaps her finger around my face. "Go get your bag, we have to get going."
Let me describe Katelyn, apart from her physical appearance, she was the closest to a friend I had. She wasn't my friend but she was a bit nicer than the rest.
I gather myself together and give her an approving nod. She complies and leaves me alone to myself as I walk back up the stairs case. I don't waste time in there either, as I grab my bag and leave in one swift motion.
Hope is like a waking dream; I am not sure if that's the correct term for it but I do know one thing. I am completely lost in this maze of people.
Just thinking about me makes me depressed.
I glance away from the crowd of people and focus my attention on the hem of my gown, such fine embroidery; it was all curved up in a swirly pattern on the black material, matching perfectly with my blue top. If anything, the last thing I want to do is watch them fight and biker among themselves, about who they thought was best fit to rule the rankings. Desmond of course, Desmond Cullen N/A's sweet heart. I very well understand why the people like him, he was charming, romantic, good looking, sweet and generous, all the girls of Biona could do was swoon over him, and the guys hope to be like him.
"Seeming bored there miss? " says a voice. I stop fiddling with my dress, I hadn't even known that someone joined me on the wooden bench, no one ever joins me on the wooden bench--they were too busy checking ranks.
I hesitate. Dad taught me never to talk to strangers, now here I am about to start a conversation with one.
"Oh.. I Um.. Yes? " I mange to cough out. He looked partly surprised, makes me wonder if he thought I was confident. Although the small conversation his trying to make, I can see it in those hazel eyes of his, that hatred for the limelight. He flicked his wrist and looked me dead in the eye
"You don't have to be so afraid of me, I'm on your is side. If anything I'd hate the limelight, too good to be true. " he says.
I wonder if that's what he thinks, 'I hate the limelight' the thought seems a bit foreign to me. Although I don't blame his assumptions I am way far from what my mates are to be doing as I am sitting on a bench at the edge of City Hall, and although the crowd makes it look like I am closer to the rank list, I know just as well that I am extremely far from it. I nod at his request, I needn't let him know that I am just another hopeless fan, it was an image I was trying to build at home so why but build it here.
It was so vague as to why I did this, but having to share the same life with another corrupts a person's mind, makes them strive to be different. In every way.
"So, I'm Antonio, what about you? "
"Can you promise me something? " he asks and I nod.
"Never join the limelight. "
"Huh? "I speak, unsure of what to say.
"Never join them. They like to choose unsuspecting and sad individuals." he replies, flashing me a smile and a glimpse of those hazel eyes of his.
"Do you think that they'll pick me? " I ask and he shrugs.
"They could. "
"Beautiful name by the way, " he says, "Time to go now, the limelight will be arriving soon. No need to make them wait now is there?"
I jolt up, "What?" He nods and leaves my side. I blink repeatedly at this. Something about him makes me feel like he knows them, aside from that I thought they never make entrances here. I wouldn't dare come here if I knew they did.
I don't get to seat back down when I hear screams, howls, and Wolf whistles. The limelight are here.
Twelve body guards begin to come close asking the crowd to shift back. I cautiously brush a piece of hair behind my ear, then smoothen my clothes with my palm, the thought of being chosen makes my cheeks flush pink. I could be part of them someday, just someday.
I watch as the guards roll out the red carpet setting up limits for us to reach. Reporters begin to flood the place, each creek and corner.
First comes Mabel, the head and manager of the limelight group. She was responsible for the name they carried 'limelight', she said it was inspired by the need to be known.
She was also very beautiful, blond hair, brown eyes, and a small height but physically strong. She always wore a silver ring with the bolt sign on it. Just little details fans like me notice-- even though I don't show it publicly.
Next came Abigail Felix, N/A's sister. Big baby blue eyes, shoulder length blond hair, and a flawless body. She had the most beautiful smile and the kindest heart. As she passes by, she stops every once in a while to greet the crowds and send them kisses.
Then, Desmond Cullen. Muscled arms, a well defined eight pack and a dreamy personality. As he passes by, he pecks most of the girls, then leaves his arm out for the guys to tap when he is done. This is the same act practiced by the rest, Carson McCallum, Daisy Bridge, and last but not the least Jake Palmers.
Jake Palmers didn't do it though, he didn't bother interacting with the crowd. He just flashed the public his dreaming smile and it was enough to satisfy us--even I myself.
I watched as the limelight members showcased themselves, posing for the crowd at intervals. 'Til they came to a stop. Mabel was speaking.
"Today everyone, is the day we pick our seventh member, I recon you've heard about it havent you?. Well today we choose, but I won't be the one to choose this time, I'll give it to our man in the spotlight Desmond!." He bows, it doesn't take long for him to pick a member though, because in a matter of seconds Desmond has dived into the crowd of people, he wasn't minding the amount of people crowding him, he was reaching for a person and that's what mattered, he was reaching for me.
I received a rough push from behind as I fell first first to the floor, Desmond helped me up then carried me bridal style unto the red carpet. On reaching there he sets me down and that's when I realized that I am in front of the stage.
I shrill ran down my spine, and I stared at the flickering lights in amazement, all i could hear were the camera men shouting above the noise 'over here!' to which I turned heed to some. It is as if the time is going in slow motion, as I can't help but smile. I turn my head happily as I register the faces at the front row. My sisters all standing there and they are staring menacingly at me.
I look up at Desmond, what has he done..
A microphone pipes up. "The annual gala, is in two days time." oh my God..