Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PRIDE (inflated opinion of one’s self) (02/19/15)
TITLE: Suddenly a Star
By Ellen Carr
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Ever since she was a little girl she had wanted to be a star. People kept telling her that she ought to be a singer. Right from primary school she got the starring roles.
Now here she was, winner of 'Today's Talent', with a recording contract and the media buzzing around her. Not bad for an twenty-year-old.
Usually the winners' families came on stage for the cameras to capture their hugs and tears. But Jacqui didn't want that to happen. She told the producer that her mother wouldn't be able to handle it, but really there was another reason.
Jacqui was ashamed of her family, her overweight mother, and her sister, Rosie, who had Down Syndrome. She told them the producer didn't want families on stage this year.
The next few days were a whirl of excitement. A manager was assigned to her and she was flown to Molverstone and put up at a five star hotel. Every time she stepped outside the paparazzi were there. At every gig there was an enormous crowd. She was interviewed on television and featured in 'The Herald'.
It was three weeks before she had a break and headed back to Walthorpe. She was craving some time to herself, with her family.
“Three days off, Jacqui,' said Reg, her new agent. “Just lie low and get your energy back. I'll fend off the paparazzi.”
Jacqui took a taxi home, one with tinted windows so no-one would see her. She needed some private time, but there was another reason too.
Her family lived in a housing estate. This was her home, a humble brick house with a run-down garden. Her mother never had time to work on the garden, nor could she afford to pay a gardener. Jacqui did not want people to know where she lived.
Her mother and Rosie were thrilled to see her. Rosie couldn't stop hugging her and kept calling her 'my sister star.' It was wonderful to just put her feet up, and sit around in her pyjamas. But then the phone rang.
“It's probably for you, Jacqui,” said her mother.
“Not likely,” answered Jacqui. “No-one knows I'm here.”
“It's your manager, Jacqui,” said Mum, handing her the phone.
“Sorry to interrupt your break, Jacqui, but the 'Women's Weekly' wants to do an article on you, and we can't turn that down. That's the one everyone wants to get into. They'd like to do a photo shoot of you at home.”
Jacqui froze. This was not going to happen. No way was she going to let the 'Women's Weekly' see this house, or Mum and Rosie. She thought quickly.
“OK Reg, I think I can get that organised, for tomorrow afternoon.”
It was a brilliant idea. Mum cleaned the Dyers' home and Jacqui knew that they would be out on Wednesday afternoons. They both worked full time. And she knew where Mum kept the key. The Dyers had a beautiful home and a manicured garden. It would be perfect.
Next afternoon, Rosie was at day care and Mum was over at Simons', cleaning their place. Rosie knew she had a couple of hours to pull this off. She pulled a hoodie over her head and headed over to the Dyers' place.
She unlocked the door and took herself into a bathroom to change and smarten up. The 'Weekly' people were due at two o'clock. They would find her relaxing in the tastefully decorated living room, with a half-drunk juice and an open book.
The doorbell rang and she sailed calmly to the door. The 'Women's Weekly' van was outside, the cameras were rolling. She smiled her widest smile and invited them in. This was going really well.
That very moment a dog came leaping down the stairs barking furiously at everyone, especially Jacqui. She tried to pat him but he snapped at her. Then a voice followed the dog.
“Fido! What's up baby? Who's there?” It was Elsbeth Dyer, dishevelled and in her pyjamas.
Mortified, Jacqui stood up and bolted for the door, Fido barking at her heels. How was she ever going to explain this?
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