The muse had finally released its inspiration on Claire and she was working on her photo from the time she finished dinner until about eleven. She knew she had been working for a while because the house was quiet and even Shadow left the room. At the moment she was fidgeting with the color of the word she was going to use. She had in grey and looked around to see if maybe she could get in sliver, so it stood out better. She leaned back in her chair and looked at the clock on the computer: 10:45. Her eyes fell back on her photo and she was feeling more proud. It was starting to come together. She had the photo, the lighting, the word in Spanish, and the color. All she needed now was change the font. She tried a couple of them out. She wanted something pretty and elegant and gentle. Font: Fangsong. It was close, but no. Freestyle script, no. Too elegant. Lucinda Handwriting? No, it seemed to fun. She then tried it in Pristina. She still didn’t like it. “Don’t give up now Claire, your almost there” she told herself out loud. After a few seconds, she realized it was late, she was getting a little tired. “All I have to do is the font, and maybe add a little something else, and I should be done?” questioning, but reassuring herself. She saved the work, and decided to browse the internet for a while. All the loyals were buzzing about this contest, and many claimed they were entering. Claire was wondering how Criss’s crew was going to select seven from all this submissions. She looked over at her AIM list and saw that Kate, another loyal was on. She IMed her, and ask her how she was doing, and if she was entering the contest. She said yes. Kate, who was younger than Claire was also from New York, but lived in the city near where Criss grew up.
LoyalClaire4Criss: So what photo are you using?
LoyalKate: The one on the cover of Criss’s book
LoyalKate: ya, I am! My mom gave me the whole “don’t get to excited, you may not win speech.. blah.”
LoyalClaire4Criss: OMG! My mom said the same thing! What is it with parents?
LoyalKate: I know, I don’t know. At least my older sister is a little happy for me! =)
LoyalClaire4Criss: well that’s good.
LoyalKate: uh huh. So what photo did you pick?
LoyalClaire4Criss: The one of Criss with Hammie where Criss is holding him close and has his eyes closed?
LoyalKate: Oh that’s a nice photo! What did you do with yours?
LoyalClaire4Criss: I’m not gonna tell you
you’re gonna have to wait and see.
LoyalKate: okay, okay, well I’m gonna go k?
LoyalClaire4Criss: ya, that’s fine. Good talking to ya! Good luck!
LoyalKate: you to! Goodnight =)
Claire signed off and decided to change the home computer’s background from a boring background to a picture of Criss for fun. She knew her dad would ask her about it.
The breeze was so soft and gentle and not hot at all. Oh ya, its December she reminded herself. She was so nervous. She was up soon. She took a deep breath. She had come this far. Why are you so nervous? Just be yourself and Criss will love you. Another girl was presenting her photo to Criss and his family. His girlfriend wasn’t there. All Claire saw was a photo of Criss with long hair. Sharp and dark but amazing the graphic design was. “Thank you” she said and came to sit next Claire. They called her name. An assistant to Criss was holding all the photos and gave Claire’s hers. Claire faced Criss and his family. Hello everyone, I’m Claire, this is the photo I chose, she turned it around. She really hoped Criss would like it. She looked at him for just a second before starting, from what she could tell he was taken away.” This photo depicts how I’d always like to feel.”
A few hours later Claire woke up before her alarm went off. The sun was on her face. She woke up slowly. “wow, what a dream.” She said out loud. “That would be crazy if we had to present our photos.” She got dressed and went into the kitchen. “good morning!”
“Morning hun” her mom said. “Hey honey, can you come in here.” Her dad called from the computer room. She walked in. “yes?” Shadow was sitting on the chair next to her dad who was on the computer. She picked him up and gave him a kiss. “what?” Her dad minimized what he was doing. “What’s this?” “Oh, look,” Claire sounded excited, “It’s my muse”. “ Hun, muses don’t exist.” “Ya, that’s cuz you haven’t had one.” Claire shot back. “I just wanted to know why you changed the screen.” Her dad asked calmly. “Cuz I’d thought it would be more fun, that other one you have is boring.” She pointed to the screen. “Ooo you know, let’s put a picture of Cabo instead!” She started reaching for the mouse when her dad reminded her that he was in the middle of something.
In Las Vegas:
“So tomorrow is the day for everyone to submit photos, right?” Criss asked as he was sitting in the production office with just Tommy and Eliza at their usual meeting. They were still waiting for Criss’s brothers and some of the other crew to come down. “I believe so” Eliza his assistant told him, as she flipped the page on her light pink notepad. “Yup, here it is.” The doors were shut to the office, and a note on a whiteboard in the window was there: Remember everyone, were not filming anymore. Mindfreak should be premiering soon. A few people were standing at the window as if Criss was going to do something. Other’s knew to read the sign and walked away. “Alright, Eliza, I’d like an announcement to be posted on the site tonight asking everyone when they submit their photo’s to: He started using his fingers to make notes. One: their name, two, where they are from, three, how long they’ve been a loyal and an email and phone number we can reach them at.” Eliza was writing it all down as everyone else in the room were working on the computers. Tommy was sitting in a chair next to Eliza drinking coffee when Criss then started with what he wanted for this trip. He stood up and paced a bit as everyone’s attention was on Criss. “Tommy I want to make sure that as my body guard you’re there with me like you always are, but don’t try to treat these loyals who do win as crazy fans like we see all the time.” They won for a reason and I want them to remember that this time with me is special, so if they get out of hand, let me handle it until I need you. But for instance if we are in a crazy place, help me try to keep everyone together. Hopefully some older loyals win to help out with the younger one’s if we have one or two. Also try to get to know everyone, in case we have someone who’s posing as a winner. “You got it” Tommy said. Tommy always took what Criss said seriously and they never had a flight. Tommy knew what his job was, but always listen to Criss in case there were days when Criss wanted some space. When he came up with this idea, his family tried to talk him out of it, they knew something crazy could happen. But Criss wanted to do this. This was a chance to show the loyals how much he loved them and all their support, and wanted to get to know them better. “I think it would be cool if Perry was there to.” He went back to Eliza. “And Eliza,” he decided to sit down. “When everyone enters, make sure you organize it, have all the photos with information attached and get it to the crew ASAP?”
“Absolutely” she kept writing as she was told. Criss was really excited about this. Just then the door opened and in came JD with Costa with coffee and breakfast. Criss’s favorite was coming over. “Thanks guys.” Criss took a sip of his coffee. “I can’t wait to see what all the loyals made. I get all these gifts from them. There all so creative!” “I know” Costa replied. “I especially love the banners they made for you for your show.” He pulled up a chair next to Tommy. JD was already eating as he sat on the couch. “Good morning JD”. Criss turned his attention to his quiet brother. “Morning” he replied with no enthusiasm. JD was not a morning person.
Back in New York:
Out doing errands with her mom, Claire wanted to buy a new bikini. As they were getting out of the car and walking towards a store, Claire’s phone beeps. She looks at it. A new twitter message from Criss: Just letting all you know tomorrow is the day to submit your photos for the contest. Cant wait to see them all, have a great day! xoCriss. “ What was that?” as her mom asked. Claire put her phone away. “Oh, Criss just tweeted that tomorrow is the day to submit our photos.” “You excited?” “Of course” Claire’s eyes lit up. “Tonight I’m gonna have to work for a good few hours and get the photo to perfection. I cant wait to see when it’s finished.” They were looking around when Claire spotted it.
“What do you think hun?” as her mom asked Claire as she stood outside the dressing room door while Claire was trying it on. “Oh mom, I really like it.” “Can I see it?” “Okay” Claire sounded compromising. She opened the door. “Ta da” with her arms up. “Oh wow, it does look really good! black always looks good on you. ““Thanks mom.” Claire went back into the dressing stall.
Claire came walking briskly through the kitchen on her way to the computer room, quickly catching dessert sitting on the island out of the corner of her eye. “No one bother me for a while, it is finally time to finish this photo.” “Good luck” her parents said in unison. She walked into the other room, and realized she wanted something, and came right out. Claire peeked her head out. “Oh my god is that chocolate mousse?” “yes” her mom said smiling. “Well I’m sure a little dessert won’t hurt” as Claire walked over and took some, and walked away hugging her bowl. At the computer, she didn’t like she was clicking the mouse more than she wanted to. She knew she was just nervous. She decided maybe she should look up fonts on the internet, and then find something that was close to what she wanted. She looked under script and calligraphy. She saw a type called Champignon, and thought it was really elegant, but kept scrolling down. On her way she looked at English, and then after a couple more until she found something. “What is Heavy Morgan hand?” She then decided to go back to her photo and try it out. The minute the text changed she was drawn to it. “wow”. She got out of her chair and looked at it from a farther distance. It finally seemed very put together. The problem with Claire was that sometimes her own judgment got to her. She was wondering if this was the best she could do. She saved it and decided to get an opinion. “hey mom, could you come in here” she yelled to the kitchen. When her mom came in, she turned her back to the computer so her mom couldn’t see the screen yet. “ok, so I want your opinion, I think I’ve got it.” She stepped away. “What do ya think?” Her mom came closer to the screen. “oooo it’s very pretty, it’s got a very relaxed feeling about it.” “Yes” Claire said while clutching her fists and looking at the ceiling as if she just won an award. “Is that what you wanted?” her mom asked. “yes, exactly.” Claire told her. She looked at her mom while standing next to the desk. “Do you think I have a chance?” “To me, I love it. But remember the hundreds of submissions that are going to be looked at, all you can do is take a chance.” Claire nodded. “hey dad?” Claire called out.
In Las Vegas:
It was six o’clock. Criss was having dinner in the production office. A place he usually wouldn’t eat, but they had to have another meeting to discuss tomorrow. Criss’s girlfriend was sitting next to him but not eating anything. He had some of the graphic design team with them there. “What time do you think they should submit the photos by?” Criss asked for an opinion before he took a bite of his chicken. “Eliza spoke first, in her organized but sweet voice. “I think 11 am, that’s not to early right?” Then she added. “That way after lunch we can sit down and look at them.” “11 am. I like that, what do you guys think?” Criss asked. Everyone seemed to agree. One of the graphic designers said. “How about we get this room set up starting at like ten?” “Ya, what we were thinking was that we would bring in a big scale drawing/ bulletin board where we can tack everyone’s photo’s we print out, all lined next to each other and vote that way.” Another designer spoke of the plan. “After that, we can bring you in and whoever you want to help you choose. We’ll give you the ones we like best, but of course leave it to you to have the last say.” The first designer spoke again. “That’s a very good idea.” Criss agreed. “Can I help?” Criss’s girlfriend spoke up. “Sure hun.” “How about you and Eliza meet me here tomorrow at?” He looked at Eliza then back at her. He then looked at the two designers. “How long do you think it will take you to look at all of them?” “It depends how many were getting.” One of them said. “If it’s more than fifty I’d say probably at least two hours?” He looked at his coworker. His co worker nodded and looked back at Criss. “Alright how about this” his put this finger up to his lips waiting for himself to swallow his food. “We only allow the first 35 to enter?” Eliza spoke. “35, I think that’s a good amount.” The two designers agreed. “Ok cool. Eliza?” “um hum?” She was in the middle of eating and put her food next to her as she was preparing to take the next set of notes. Criss really liked her. She was such a good assistant. He turned to her. “lets make a schedule.” Criss’s girlfriend starting checking out her nails. “You guys can go, thanks” He said to the designers. Eliza started writing. “ 10 am production office set up. 1: 15, designers look over photos…”
Hello everyone! I hope all of you are very excited! Here are the final details for the contest: Please submit your photos to the address stated in the first announcement. In the text box, write your name, where you are from, your age, how long you’ve been a loyal and an email address and phone number we can reach you at. To send the photo, please send it as an attachment, that way we can print them all out. On the subject line, write something along the line of Cabo contest, or photo for Cabo contest. After you send them, please do not email us asking when you will hear from us. You will receive a phone call and an email from us if you have been chosen. On a final note, please do not send in your photos later than 11am West Coast time. Thank you!
Claire read the email one last time as she was writing out her email. The address was there, and she wrote on the subject line: Photo for Criss Angel Cabo Contest. She wrote all the details in the text box. Last step: attach photo. She looked at it one last time before sending it on its way. Before she sent it she took a deep breath. She finally clicked send at 1:15. She closed her eyes. “Please, please, please” she whispered. She heard a meow outside the door; she got up and opened the door. “awww hi Shadow, did you want to come in?” She picked him up. She had Shadow in her arms and looked back at the computer. What was she gonna do now? The wait was going to kill her. Time to join her parents for lunch. She opened the door. “Hi mom, hi dad.” “hi hun.” “I assume you just sent the photo?” Her mom asked, and her dad looking at her as Claire sat in a chair across from her dad. “Could be in Vegas now as we speak.” She said as she pet Shadow. “Sweetie, could put the cat down?” I don’t want hair getting on the table.” Her dad asked. “ Oh ya, sorry.” “Her mom handed her a plate of food like a butler would. “ Oh thanks, mom, I would have gotten it myself.” “Oh, a little treat for you.” Her mom went to get her own food. “ Claire you don’t sound too excited?” “Ya, I know yesterday I was feeling pretty good.” I guess I’m just really nervous about not winning.” “Ya, I’m a little shocked,” her dad said as he put his magazine down. “Not winning? What are you gonna do when you have to board that plane alone?”. “ One step at a time please dad?” She raised her eyes at him. “I’m sorry” he chuckled.
Back in Las Vegas:
Eliza was in the design room with the three designers. It wasn’t hectic. They had everything organized. Adam was in charge of watching the emails coming in, and send them to the printer. Cody was to give them to Jeff who would file them and hand them to Eliza who would then bring them to the production office, and all of them would put them up on the boards. By 10:20, Adam was calling out the names of everyone who was sending theirs. So far they had received four photos from Arianna, LeAnn, Claire, and Rhiannon. They didn’t want to ruin the surprise of taking a peek at them, so they just carefully handed them to Eliza who was putting them in a box face down. “And, I just got one from Kate.” Adam said as hers was being printed with her information.
Later that afternoon Criss was finishing getting dressed and his girlfriend was in the kitchen eating something before they left, and reading Cosmopolitan magazine. “ Hi hun.” She looked up as he came in. “hey” he came in and gave her a kiss on the forehead. “I was nice and let you sleep a little later.” She looked up at him as he looked at her dish to see what she was eating. “ Aww thank you” as he saw she was eating leftovers from Opa last night. “He was too lazy to get food and wanted to get going. He opened his mouth to her. She looked at him. “What?” he indicated that he wanted her to feed him. She gave him a bite. He took a sip of her drink. “Okay, lets go,” he went to get grab his keys. He looked back at her. “You’ll need to eat more than that.” she said as she put the magazine down. “Fine, bring the food with you, and you’ll feed me at every stop sign we hit.” “What?!” she said giggling while she grabbed her purse and followed Criss.
Back in New York:
Claire was watching TV downstairs on the big screen they owned, under a comfortable blanket, and Shadow on her lap no doubt. She needed something to do after lunch to take her mind off of waiting. She could have gone to the mall or out with her mom to do errands, but wanted to stay home. Her dad was at work when he called her. “hey Hun” “ hi dad, whats up?” “Hey listen, I was wondering if maybe you’d like to go out to dinner tonight.” “Sounds good to me” Claire replied. “Where to?” “Perfect Sunrise”. “Oh, they have the best peach crisp!” “I know.” Her dad said. “Alright, well I’ll see you when I get home.” She hung up, and put the TV off mute. She decided to look and see what movies were on. Just then another tweet from Criss came in: Hello everyone, heading to the Luxor now to check out the photos all of you submitted. Believe! XoCriss. Claire just smiled, and went back to the TV. She was browsing until she got to something. Anvil? Wait, isn’t this the movie Criss recommended? She decided to click for more info. Yes it is! “Okay Shadow, lets check this out.” She looked down at him, and he was sleeping. She decided to tweet the photo like Criss does. She changed the channel, and starting watching.
Back in Las Vegas:
Criss entered the production office holding hands with his girlfriend. He was shocked. One side of the wall was all covered in graphic designs from 35 loyals. “Afternoon everyone.” “Hey Criss.” Eliza and the three designers were sitting in chairs waiting for him. He let go of his girlfriend’s hand, and came closer to the board. “Are these all of them?” All three of them nodded. He was looking them over for a few seconds when Cody asked Criss “would you like us to let you know which ones we chose?” Criss looked at the board one last time and went over to the table they had set up. His girlfriend was already sitting and waiting. Criss sat next to her, and Eliza came to sit on the other side of him while Cody. Jeff and Adam sat on the opposite side. “Alright, let’s see these.” Cody had two photos in his hands, Jeff had two, and Adam had three. They handed them to Criss and with help from Eliza and his girlfriend spread them out. Eliza was the first one to speak. “I really like this one.” Criss looked over. She did a good job.” What do you think?” he asked his girlfriend. She casually looked over. “Ya, it’s pretty good.” It was obvious she didn’t care. “Well I like it.” “Keep?” Criss nodded. Eliza handed it to Cody. Criss was looking at them, and realized how hard this was already. He then found the second one. It was by Xesca. Criss was intrigued by her name, it was so different. Of course Eliza being so smart was able to pronounce it for him so he repeated it. “I hope I can get that right when I met her!” he had everyone amused. She had chosen a photo of Criss when he announced the partnership of Cirque Du Soleil and himself to create his live show Believe. The photo was him walking on stage with a peace sign, with red highlights in his hair. The word she chose was lealtad. In English it meant Loyalty. She created an effect to the photo that when Criss looked at it, it felt like it had just happened yesterday. Criss nodded, and it was given to Cody again. Criss’s girlfriend left to go to the bathroom, and Criss was beginning to see how the photos should be talking to him, without much assistance from anyone. So it was okay that she left. She wasn’t doing much to help anyway. The next few Criss went through he wasn’t too impressed, and it looked like not a lot of effort was put into them. He then saw Arianna’s. It was refreshing to see. She had chosen a photo from ScreamFest 2007. Criss had blonde highlights, wearing his olive colored hat, and wearing his very expensive jacket with skulls on the front. The word she chose was misterioso, which meant mysterious. His face was so flawless in the photo, and at the same time the word made such sense with the blank expression that the photographer captured. Criss was starting to enjoy the process. As he was getting to the next one, he said “I really love how they take a photo of mine and let their imaginations take over to create something without having to explain to me what they want me to see.” Criss’s girlfriend had come back from the bathroom, and knowing her, she probably got distracted by seeing something in a store window. Three loyals down, and three more to go. Who would be the lucky three? It had only taken Criss an hour and forty five minutes to sort through all the photos with help. Adam, Cody and Jeff put the discards on another desk in the room. Criss and Eliza, and with the somewhat attention of his girlfriend, they spread the photos on the table. Criss then stood up to take a better look at them. He counted them out loud. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”. His girlfriend looked up at him. “ that’s only six?” “That is only six.” He said. He counted again. 1, 2, 3, 4, he paused. “5, 6.” “Did I not pick a seventh one?” “I don’t know” Eliza said. He briskly walked over to the other desk, and started looking through the discards. Everyone just looked at him and waited. Didn’t find one. Cody then told him “There are still some on the boards.” “Oh right” Criss replied and turned around. He walked over and scanned them over. It didn’t take very long. “ Ah, this one.” Cody looked at Jeff and Adam. “Damn. we forgot that one” he whispered to them. Criss brought the photo back to the table and set it down. He counted again. “1, 2, 3, 4, and in unison, Eliza, Criss and his girlfriend said “ 5, 6, 7.”
She didn’t know what she wanted to wear for dinner, looking in her closet. She then decided on wearing her green Juicy Couture tracksuit: Very comfortable, her favorite color, and her ideal of positivity. She straightened hair and pulled it parted halfway in a clip. A little makeup, and a matching green bag. When she came to the kitchen, you would have thought she was having a business dinner with a leprecon. On the car ride, listening to the radio, she was singing along. Then: “Oh dad, please turn it up.” Her dad did so. Claire started singing loudly. “Do you believe in Magic, in a young girls heart, the music can free her whenever it starts..” Something felt good about how the night was going.
They then arrived and made their way inside. The idea of Perfect Sunrise was the theme of an island. The choice was meat or fish with some kind of fruit. There were no French fry substitutes, potatoes, or rice. It was catered to people who wanted to be smarter about food choices. Dessert was all made from fruit to. They only had one ice cream dish and it was usually a sorbet. Claire already knew what she wanted. The summer peach crisp. She had looked at her phone a couple of times during dinner although she knew it didn’t ring. When they got home she was going to check her email.