That morning Claire got up at a good time and made her way to the kitchen to make some coffee. No one was in the house. She saw that her mom left her a note on the island: Out for a few errands. See you in a bit. When the water was boiling she got out her “Las Vegas” mug, and the ingredients. Less than half the mug was to be coffee, and the rest, cream and sugar. When she turned around to get the cream from the fridge, she saw her black cat come in. “Aw, hi Shadow.” She bent down to pet him and he meowed. She giggled. She just loved him. Her parents got him for her as an early birthday gift. It was a very happy, but shocking moment. As she got the cream he jumped up on the counter next her. She wondered if all the winners would get to meet Hammie. She then decided to turn on the radio next to the stove; she was searching and searching until she heard some Spanish music. After she poured the cream into the mug, and stirred it, she turned around to Shadow. “This outta help me get in the mood” with a smile and danced over to where he was still sitting, licking his paw. She sat down her mug, and picked him up, and then her mug and told him “ok, you and me lets go to the computer and make this photo happen.” The computer room was right next to the kitchen. She put him down on a chair and placed her mug on the desk. She liked the song that they were now playing and danced again back into kitchen. “What to eat, what to eat” she couldn’t decide until she looked around in the fridge again and looked at the eggs. “ooo I haven’t had eggs in a while”. She decided to make scrambled. While she was making the eggs, the music stopped, and the radio announcer was talking, and since she didn’t speak Spanish fluently, she didn’t know what they were saying, but then he just happened to mention Cabo. “oooo Cabo!” she said out loud. “hear that Shadow, Cabo, where I plan to be in due time”. She grabbed a plate and headed back to the computer after turning off the radio. She looked at Shadow who happened to be looking back at her when she came in. “Ok, eat and work, no more distractions.” Shadow laid down. “And no being cute, that doesn’t help.” She sat down. Took a bite of her eggs and opened Photoshop with the photo, and looked at it for a few minutes, and took a sip of coffee. She began talking to herself: I know I want something that will bring out what I see in this photo, but I don’t want the effect to be too soft. She started by playing with the lighting first. She knew she had to stay away from bright colors, or a warm colors such as red, yellows, and oranges. She knew that cool colors such as purples and blues were best to stick by. She fiddled with different lighting ideas, but she didn’t like a lot of them. “ugh, no”. She kept saying out loud. There was too much light, or too much black. “Ok, relax Claire.” She knew she could figure this out. But she then wondered about LeAnn. This must be much harder for her. She stopped for a minute because she knew if she tried to push it, it wouldn’t come. She took a couple of more bites of her eggs which weren’t hot anymore, and a bit more of her coffee which wasn’t either. She looked back at the screen as the picture just sat there. The rolling of the chair’s wheels moved as she pushed it back from the desk, sat Indian style and closed her eyes for a few moments. She thought of nothing, nothing as what she saw was just blackness. No sounds, and no mental pictures. This was the beginning of what she called mini mediation. She was three minutes in, until she heard the sound of the garage door closing. She opened her eyes and sighed and looked at Shadow who looked back at her. “So much for my mini mediation.” She saved what she had. Her creativity was just starting like water starting to boil. She decided to browse the internet a bit while she held Shadow in her lap. “hi hun” her mom was in the kitchen. “hi mom.” She stopped what she was doing, and went into the kitchen. “hey” her mom said again as Claire walked in.
“Aw, hello shadow.” She gave him a rub behind the ears. “So what did you do?” Claire asked as she sat down in a chair, and Shadow jumped down. She noticed her mom did a bit of grocery shopping. Shadow made his way over to his water dish. “nothing special” as she started putting the groceries in the fridge and motioned for Claire to help. As Claire was sorting through, her mom says, “but I did reserve you, your seat for the flight to Cabo.” Claire shocked, looked up.“ What, I didn’t even win yet?” She looked at her mom, who looked at her. “Kidding.” “haha” Claire sarcastically laughed. “Supporting me now mom?” Her mom didn’t answer, assuming it was a rhetorical question. “But mom, speaking of trips, I guess now, or unless you did it already, you’ll have to cancel our trip to Vegas.” “Really?” her mom wanted to know more. “Well ya, I don’t want to be in Vegas if everyone is in Cabo.” “You won’t get to see Criss right.” Her mom knew her. “Ya, no Believe, nothin.” You’d rather be home, then on some kind of vacation?” “ Ya” “Okay, if that’s what you want, I’ll go do it soon.” “Thanks.” Claire said. “Plus we’ll get our money back, and then you can use it to get me something as a consolation prize.” She waved her hand sounding kinda of sad even though it was humorous and her mom smiled. As the groceries were almost put away, her mom mentioned what was on Claire left wrist still after all this time. “Hey, when you arrive in Cabo, everyone will know how old you are, as she looked at Claire’s wrist. Claire followed her mom’s eyes. “Oh, psssht,” Her mom was looking at the bright yellow band that had been worn for months now, but Claire didn’t want to take it off. She didn’t care. “Ya, if no one “sees it” then, they’ll just have to guess when I order a drink at the bar.” She didn’t laugh, but smiled. “Ya, I’m sure Criss will really be impressed when you say hey bartender, can I get a bad girl?” her mom said as they laughed. A bad girl was a drink she had a couple of times, and wasn’t too strong for her. “Haha, I should do that.” “Again, I was kidding. Her mom says. “I think the bracelet makes enough of a statement. It’s like seeing a gay guy walking towards you.” They laughed again.
The reservations for Vegas had been cancelled, and Claire was now determined to get this photo finished. She went into chat room and found Arianna and LeAnn. Between the three different colors of the text Claire found that with LeAnn, she said she asked one of her friends who knew a bit of graphic design in order to help her. She picked on one of the photos when Criss had long hair, and Arianna had picked a photo of when he had blonde highlights. She said that her photo was done and ready to be sent in. LeAnn and Claire were a bit jealous, but knew that just because she had it done, didn’t mean she would win. Just as Claire was typing something, the door to the chat opened, and in came an older loyal. Zoe. Most of the loyals like Zoe, because she was like a mother figure of the group, and helped everyone when they needed advice.
Zoelately : hey girls!
LeAnn says: Hiiii!
LoyalClaire4Criss: Hey Zoe!!!
Zoelately: How are you guys? Hear about this contest? Exciting huh?
LoyalClaire4Criss: :Of course, we’ve all been busy working, well trying to on my end.. some of us, already have our photos done! * looks at Ari*
Loyal_Ari: Aww, leave me alone :P
LoyalClaire4Criss: So Zoe, your entering right? I mean we only have a few more days until we have to submit them!
Zoelately: I don’t know, I think this would be a good chance for you girls, if I can get to Vegas to go to signings and seeing Believe, that’s good enough for me.
Loyal_Ari: Oh come on, this is a chance to meet all of us, and hang out with Criss!
Zoelately: Ya, you do have a point. I guess I just said that because half of it is true, but the other half is that I don’t have any idea what photo I want to use.
LeAnn- Well in my case, I don’t know anything about graphic design, and I’m still entering.
Zoelately: hey Arianna, Claire said something about yours being done?
Loyal_Ari: Ya, when I read about it, my mind sort of went into overdrive, suddenly I felt inspired and knew what photo I wanted, so I didn’t waste any time
Zoelately: well good for you. Do you like it?
Loyal_Ari: Oh yea!
Loyal_Ari: I cant wait till you guys see it! And I can’t wait to see what the rest of you did!
LeAnn: How can you be so sure?
Loyal_Ari: I just know. I can feel it
LoyalClaire4Criss: really? Who are you? Uri Geller? Lol
Zoelately: Claire, you are funny!
Claire left the chat room feeling much more excited. What if she really won, and got to meet all these loyals? She felt a lot better and got back on the computer. When she walked into the room she saw Shadow and her dad there. “Oh hi dad”. Her dad was on his laptop doing something, and of course couldn’t ignore Shadow. “hi buddy” she gave him a pat before sitting down. She felt a little nervous, as she looked at the photo. But she knew that she really just needed to concentrate. She started with the lighting like she did the first time. Staying away from all those bright colors, she went clicking away at applying some blue tones, something light, but still giving it that relaxing feeling she always felt. It took her a few minutes, and without getting frustrated, she applied something and kind of like it. “yes” she said in an out loud whisper. “what happened?” her dad now peeling away from his concentration. “I think I may have just hit on something” as she leaned back to look at it. “Good, can I see it?” “uhh ya sure” Claire replied unsure. “There’s nothing on it really, just some lighting.” Her father came over and looked at the screen. “I do like it.” “You do?” “Yes, I think though you should make the blue just an inch darker.” Claire took the mouse and with her dad watching, adjusted the scroll bar. “Not that much of an inch.” She giggled, and her dad smiled. She moved it again. “There you go” He said, as he patted her shoulder and went to look at his laptop top. Claire really liked it now, although her creativity was starting, her mother then called that dinner was ready. “Dad, can I just eat later?” “No, come on”
“Please, if I walk away now, I may never get back” “ How about we eat and then you can be excused” She saved what she had and went into the kitchen. When she saw the meal on the table she felt happy. Spaghetti and meatballs. “Thank you mom” she sat down. “Your welcome” she said as she put some rolls on the table with olive oil. “Can I start?” as Claire said while reaching over for a roll. “In a hurry much?” her mom questioned, as she went to the fridge. “ A little” as she gave an insincere smile to her mom. Her dad chimed in. “She wants eat quick because she’s now on a roll with her photo, and doesn’t want to spend any time with us” as he gave a fake sob. “Oh I see,” as her mom now brought the parmesan cheese to the table. Claire was already giving herself some spaghetti as her mother sat and they both looked at her. As her mom started to give herself a helping of food, she replied “Don’t eat too much or too fast, you may not be able to fit into your bikini.” Her dad chuckled. Claire stopped mid air before putting the fork in her mouth and glared at her mom. “Don’t worry hun, you will look fab” as she took a sip of wine. “ Ya, with my luck, there will be 6 other females to compare myself to.” Ehh, wont get hung up on it too much, I mean besides, I’m not there to look at them .After a few minutes, Claire and her dad agreed that dinner was really good. Claire excused herself as her parents still sat at the table. She opened the photo once more and got to work. Her dad was right, eating really did help. She then realized that she hadn’t had a word in mind and hadn’t been thinking of one. She paused for a few minutes as her fingers tapped her cheek as she looked at the photo. “a word in Spanish, a word in Spanish” as she conjugated dream, she saw they listed : un sueńo hecho realidad. It meant, a dream come true. She really liked the sound of that, but didn’t know it they were only allowed one word. She took out her phone, and decided to text Arianna. “ Hey honey, how is the picture coming along?” her mom asked from the kitchen. “It’s coming” she replied. Hey, Arianna, question, since your done with your photo.. do you know if we can use a few words, or is it just one word only?
She waited a few minutes, as she looked over what color she may want to use for this font when Arianna said: hey, oh I think it’s gotta be only one word. That’s what I have on mine.
Claire signed. “Ok” she said outloud. Where could she get some inspiration? She went into the kitchen. “mom, dad” “ yes hun” her dad looked at her when commercials were on. “I feel really stupid, I cant think of a word for this.” Her dad looked over at her. “Well your gonna feel really stupid in a min.” “Claire, why did you get that necklace?” asking in all seriousness. She had a few on her neck. She looked down. “oh my god, oh my god, wow” she went back into the computer room. She found her word. Well her dad did. Maybe she needed his help afterall.