01-08-2013, 04:20 PM
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm:
The grueling rehersals went on. Lyn was in total caffene withdrawl by now. She felt that she would absolutely die if she didn't get a cup of coffee soon. But she was stuck on the stage, endlessly going over the dance steps with the rest of the cast. She was reaching the boiling point when the choreographer blew the whistle and yelled "Okay! Take twenty!"
At last! Lyn dashed for the break room in spite of her aching legs, hoping a pot of fresh-brewed coffee would be waiting for her. Her caffeine jones was the joke of the troupe. It was said there was two coffeemakers backstage, one for Lyn and the other for the rest of the cast. If none was made, look out! Lyn would go ballistic if she didn't have her fix.
Lyn didn't care what the others said. She would have drained an entire pot of coffee at that point. It kept her going and calmed her down. It was her lifeblood, her fountain of youth. It was the element in which she swam. She was the first to arrive at the break room.
"JAAAAAVAAAA!" she yelled the minute she caught sight of the black brew steaming from the glass pot on the warmer. Lyn siezed the biggest mug she could grab and dumped half the contents into it. As the hot liquid streamed down her throat, she felt life returning, surging through her veins in a glorious rush. It was bliss, pure unadulterated bliss, the ultimate legal high.
A couple of dancers could not help but be amused by the look of ecstacy on Lyn's face. "Oh, man," joked one, a lean, muscular male named Josh. "Lyn's tripping out on caffeine again!"
"Yeah," laughed Kwame, a tall African American in blue leotards, "she's just, like, whooooooo!"
Lyn sat on the couch, ignoring if not totally oblivious to the two men's teasing, savoring the warm sensation only coffee could bring. She drained the last of her mug and rose for a second round. "Wait! Whoa!" Josh laughed as he stopped her. "Save some for the rest of us, okay?"
Lyn backed away reluctantly. From now on, she was going to bring an extra-large Thermos of coffee just for herself, so she would not have to share with her fellow performers. She cared for them deeply, no question about that, but two small pots of coffee for thirty people just didn't work for her.
She was just beginning to settle down when the choreographer came into the break room. "All right! Break's over! Everyone back on stage!" she shouted.
Already! It seemed as if they had just gotten here! Reluctantly, Lyn set aside her giant mug and trudged back onto the stage. At least with coffee in her veins, she could once again function like a normal human being.
JD Sarantakos waited for his mother at the airport terminal. It was almost four-thirty; her flight had been delayed by thunderstorms back east by an hour and a half. He had read all the newspapers lying around the waiting area, had a cup of coffee, checked his cell phone for any messages (there were none), watched the overhead television screen tuned into CNN, had another cup of coffee, flipped through a copy of Newsweek from the previous month, went to the men's room to relieve himself of the two cups of coffee he had, returned to the waiting area, sat on one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs and cleaned his nails with a corner of a magazine subscription card he found on the floor.
"Flight 507 from New York, now arriving at gate twelve," came the announcement over the PA system.
Finally! JD shot up from his seat, waiting for the double doors to open and his mother to step through. The gate attendant unlocked the doors, releasing a stream of arriving passengers. JD craned his neck over their heads, searching.
He spotted her, a small woman with long black hair and a gentle face, a little wrinkled with age but no less beautiful than she had been in the past, at least to her sons. "Ma!" JD called out.
His mother, Dimitra, looked up. "Darling!" she smiled, reaching out to embrace him.
"How was your trip?" JD asked almost routinely.
"Fine," she replied just as routinely. It had in fact, been miserable. An hour and a half delay due to thunderstorms, too much turbulance, the passenger beside her white with terror, threatening to vomit, the dinner lukewarm at best--she was relieved to be free at last.
"The limo's waiting," JD informed her. "Let's go get your bags."
Dimitra smiled. Her Christopher always sent a limo instead of a cab whenever she came to Las Vegas. Ever since he made it in showbusiness, he had been spoiling her outrageously. Expensive jewelry, designer clothes, her own hotel suite. Even Criss' fans held her in the highest esteem, called her Mother Angel, or Mama Angel, or simply Dimitra. Every Mother's Day bought hundreds of greetings from Loyals. When she had emergency heart surgery two years ago, the fansites were flooded with prayers and get-well wishes for her. The Loyals had adopted Dimitra as a second mother, and cherished her as deeply as Criss and his brothers did. In Vegas, Dimitra Sarantakos was Queen Mother of the Luxor, with all rights and privileges therein.
Her suitcase retrieved from the carosel, JD and Dimitra made their way to the main exit where the limo was waiting. Dimitra was temporarily blinded by the bright desert sunshine; she pulled out her sunglasses from her purse and slid them over her eyes. Mac, the limo driver, took her baggage and stored them safely in the trunk. Then he opened the side door and allowed Dimitra and JD to enter the cool dark interior of the limo.
All this was witnessed by Tracy Cullen, a sixteen-going-on-seventeen Goth chick with elbow-length curly henna-colored hair and a deep tan from too many visits to the tanning salon. Recently emancipated from her parents, she lived with her best friend, five years her senior (whom her parents said was a "bad influence" on her for her Gothic dress and indifferent attitude towards school), and she desperately needed the work to pay her share of the rent. Las Vegas hotels paid very well, she had heard. When she spotted the Sarantakos' at the airport exit, she spotted her opportunity. Maybe they could give her a lift to the Luxor, arrange for her to get a job, she thought.
But it was too late. The limo door closed, the driver got in, and the car drove away. Disappointed, Tracy realized she was on her own again.
Maury Brighton realized she was on her own again as well when her parents took off for the afternoon, Dad to the casino, Mom to the shops, and there was no food in the suite except the courtesy basket of fruit and chocolate covered strawberries. Well, it was better than nothing. She pulled off the cellophane wrapping and picked up an orange, her favorite fruit. She found the TV remote and turned on the set. Television had been her lifelong companion, her escape from the harsh reality of her home life. It kept the lonliness at bay, drowned out the angry shouting of her parents' fighting. There were times when she wished she could crawl through the screen and join the characters on the screen, leaving the real world with all its strife behind her.
She finally located Nickelodeon and settled down to watch SpongeBob SquarePants, one of her favorites. The chipper sea sponge never failed to cheer her up with his upbeat attitude and goofy looks. The hotel television was much better than the one back home, she thought. Free at last from her bickering parents, she began to enjoy her own little vacation as she munched on juicy orange slices and watched SpongeBob annoy his uptight neighbor, Squidward Tentacles, once again.
Athene Christopolous stepped out of the stretch Mercedes in all her resplendant glory, as befitting the heiress of one of the biggest technological corporations in the world, Omicron, Inc. She had no idea just what Omicron, Inc., produced, much less cared. All that mattered to her was the prestige, the fame, and, of course, the money and all it could buy. It existed only to provide her with the things she wanted most, and she was a woman who was accustomed to getting what she wanted when she wanted it.
At this moment, as she stood in the giant atrium of the Luxor Hotel as attendants busied themselves with her mountain of luggage, what she wanted most was Criss Angel himself. Ever since she saw one of his shows from her last visit to Las Vegas (he had performed at the Excalibur at the time), she was intrigued, then attracted, then infatuated with this darkly mysterious man who could work such unbelievable magic. She immediatly booked a suite as close to his as possible (paying extra for the privilege, but it was worth it), and had arrived from Los Angeles where she had been hobnobbing with the Beautiful People.
Athene swept aside her long, silky black hair and waited as her personal assistant made the arrangements for her check-in at the front desk. She hated waiting, even for a minute. Delayed gratification was not in her vocabulary; she ordered, people obeyed.
Crito, her personal assistant, a mousy little man with a slight Mediterranian accent, scuttled up to her with her key card and presented it to her as if it was the Hope Diamond. "What kept you?" she demanded sharply.
"Forgive me, madame," Crito apologized in his faint European accent. "The clerk at the desk, she was too slow."
Athene took the card and ordered him and the staff to the elevators. She was tired after her long trip and felt the beginnings of a headache. She fished around in her handbag for some pain reliever and found none.
"Crito!" she snapped. "Go and get me some Tylenol or something, and be quick about it! I have a bursting headache."
"At once, madame," Crito aquiesed and scuttled off to find a pharmacy.
Athene was whisked away in the elevator to her suite, as close to the top as was possible, just beneath Criss' own penthouse. She smiled at this. It was apropos to be beneath the man she loved, even if it was only one floor below him. Soon she would be below him in more ways than one, she thought wickedly to herself.
It had been a long day, and Criss was feeling the strain. He needed to get out, have some fun. He hadn't been to Body English for a while; maybe he should go there for the evening. He hoped they still had those drink specials, not that it really mattered. Being the biggest star in Vegas to date, he practically drank for free anywhere he chose to go. Of course, that in itself posed some danger--the last thing he wanted was a DUI charge. It would ruin his career, not to mention set the show back, costing millions of dollars in lost profits. He had been on a rigorous fitness program since Believe went into rehersals, curbing his alcohol consumption and exercising every day in the gym instead of partying all night. He had to be on top of his game for this show. The Luxor was expecting a healthy return on their investment in him.
Still, one night out couldn't hurt. All work and no play made Criss a dull boy, not to mention an irritable one. He had been in overdrive for months, planning, rehearsing, organizing, building--he deserved a little R-and-R. A few hours at Body English, just to relax and be waited on was just the ticket. Two drinks would be his limit, and back to the Luxor via limo; he dared not drive, just in case. He hoped they got a good band tonight. Body English didn't book crap acts, true, but still...
Suddenly, he remembered, slamming the heel of his hand on his forehead, angry at himself for forgetting. His mother was due today from New York. He had to be there when she arrived. Damn! How could he have forgotten? He'd have to forgo Body English for the night.
Or did he? He calculated that his mother would be too tired to go out for the evening after her long trip, and at her age she would not be up to any late-night entertainment. Unlike her famous son, Dimitra kept regular hours and went to bed at the same time every night. Dinner at a nice restaraunt, some early evening family bonding, and the rest of the night was his. As much as he adored his mother, he had a life of his own and wanted to live it to the hilt. Body English didn't really get going until tenish anyway. It would work out after all.
Last edited by Veritas; 01-08-2013 at 10:57 PM.