Chapter 1: Celeste
Celeste stretched her arms upwards in a ballerina pose, arched her back, and put just the right pout into her lower lip.
"No, no, no," the photographer barked. "She won't do at all." He turned to one of his crew. "We have to get another girl. This one isn't editorial enough. Find me a blonde and make sure she doesn't look she's just binged on candy and cake."
Celeste watched as her agent, Missie, crept over to the photographer and whispered something in his ear.
"I don't care who her parents are!"
Celeste's pout turned into a frown and she dropped her arms. Her agent came over to her and put an arm around her back, in an attempt at comfort.
"Don't touch me," she hissed at Missie. "This is all your fault."
After stalking off into the dressing room and changing out of the horrifically uncomfortable wool shift, and throwing it onto the marble floor, Celeste fell into one of the plush red velvet lounge chairs. She would not cry. She would not. This was her fifth shoot this month to fall apart. She hadn't told her parents. She hadn't told her friends. How could she? It was so embarrassing. She was a two. Success was supposed to fall into her lap. Success was her birthright. Wasn't it?
Celeste moved over to the full-length mirror and stared at her reflection. She wasn't fat. She turned to check out her profile. She didn't look fat, but she didn't look emaciated either. She followed a careful diet, but did splurge a bit more frequently then she ought. She sucked in her stomach. It didn't help. Damn it. If they wanted a starving waif they should drag an eight out of the slums and take pictures of her.
She pulled her designer bag out of her locker and threw out the half eaten chocolate bar. She'd have to try harder.
Her cell phone buzzed, jarring her into action.
"Cellie, where are you?"
"Nowhere important. Where are you?"
"I'm at my house. You will never believe what came in the mail..." Her friend, Ani, said, a breathless tone to her voice.
Celeste took a deep breath. There was only one thing that would warrant Ani exhibiting anything but perfect calm. "Are you serious?"
"I'm completely serious."
"It seemed like it would never happen..."
"Alright I'm going home now. I want to hold it in my hands and read every word, and soak up my future."
"Wait. You should know. I heard, that they're going to take pictures, when we register for the selection. And those pictures are going to pretty much decide whether we get picked."
"You sure you're not going to register?"
"Well, I won't lie. As I read the letter, I was tempted. But... Well you know why I can't."
"Yes. I do. Remember that," Celeste warned her best friend. "Because I will be extremely unhappy if I find out that you've registered behind my back. Maxon is mine."