It was an ordinary day at school in the middle of May; at least that is how it all began. A few friends and I were sitting in a cluster, on the grass during lunch. Like any other day, classes seemed to drag on all morning, and when our half hour lunch break finally arrived, I could not help letting my mind tune out the various conversations buzzing around my ears as my friends chatted about the usual high school happenings. As I sipped my diet Pepsi, I noticed the "Barbie" of our school, Candi Conner, talking with her perfect "Ken", more commonly known as Roy Walter, by the front steps. Candi was the girl at school whom everyone envied because of her obviously perfect life. She was tall, thin, tan, and of course blonde. Not only did she have the perfect looks, she had the perfect personality. She was outgoing and sweet in that almost too nice of a way, and she hardly even let her popularity consume her. Guys adored her and girls idolized her. They had every right too though, because she was flawless. She never even swore. I suppose I was somewhat jealous of her and her ideal life. Of course, I couldn't really complain. My life was satisfying. As a sixteen-year-old sophomore, I managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA and still have a social life with my wonderful friends. I may not have been the most popular girl at school, and I was lacking in the boyfriend division, but I was happy.
I was snapped back to the present by the vibration of my cell phone against my stomach from its location in the front pocket of my sleeveless hoodie. Jumping from the surprise of the low buzz I quickly answered the call.
"Hello?" My friends looked at me, curious as to my midday phone call.
"Callie, I have the most incredible news for you!" It was my mom.
"You made it! You're in!" She was nearly hysterical and I wasn't sure what she was talking about.
"Whoa, slow down," I rolled my eyes at her excitement. "Breathe...now explain."
"You got the part!" My mom explained. "The audition for that television show last month...they called today to tell you that you got the part!"
When I realized what she was saying I screamed, causing my friends to stare at me. All my life it had been my dream to be an actress. To act in movies or on TV, or even on Broadway, if I had a better singing voice. So when there was a casting call for a new part on the hit television series, The Eliminator, which was a show about secret agents and their constant battle against their enemies, and it was announced that they were accepting inexperienced teenagers, I nervously responded. I had gone to the auditions and tried out, though with little expectation of being accepted, but now my mom was telling me that I had gotten the part! This had to be a dream. It wasn't though. My dream was coming true and when I went home that day after school my mom and went to the Seattle offices of the network to take care of all the contracts and paperwork.
We were met there by two business people, sophisticatedly dressed. The man, dressed in black slacks and a navy blue polo shirt, appeared to be in his late thirties. The lady by his side looked younger wearing a knee-length black skirt with a white collared shirt. Her short, curly, black hair contrasted with her light brown eyebrows and eyes, and I assumed she was in her late twenties.
"She's perfect," the lady spoke softly to the man as I stood in front of them in their office. The man held out his hand and introduced himself as Joshua Wyatt and then nodded to the woman and introduced her as Jennifer.
Joshua sat in the large chair behind the desk and motioned for me to sit in one of the chairs opposite him. I perched on the edge of my seat and held my purse on my lap. My mom sat in the chair next to me while Jennifer stood to the side of Joshua.
"I am the director, as well as writer, and executive producer, for the popular television series The Eliminator. Jennifer is the casting director for the series. Congratulations." He paused and motioned to Jennifer who set a pile of papers on the desk. "Please review the contracts and then sign at the bottom. Since you are underage, your mother will have to sign too."
He wanted to make sure that I understood all that would be required of me so he handed me the contracts and outlined a few major points for me. "First of all, it will require a lot of time. You must be willing to devote your entire summer as well as part of the school year to the show. During the school year, you will have an on-set tutor. When we are not filming, you will be taking lessons in karate and tai-kwon-doe. Apart from these lessons, you will have a personal trainer to take care of your physical requirements for the show. You must remember that the part of an agent is very active and you may be required to partake in a few partly dangerous stunts. Clearly, you would need to relocate to California, where you will be supplied with a place to live. Then there is the situation of your appearance. The character you will play may require some changes in your wardrobe as well as your hair and makeup, obviously. You will be paid $30,000 per episode as well as other expenses for new clothes and the likes." I nodded my full comprehension of everything he told me and then carefully read through the contract that he handed me. When I finished I read it over again just to make sure that I hadn't missed any details. It sounded great! I would only be signed on for one full season, plus the final episode of the current season. The only part I was concerned about was my family. Joshua assured me that I would be able to fly home as often as I like when we weren't filming, and my family would be able to fly to California to visit me whenever they liked. I decided that this was the chance I had been waiting for all my life, so without any more thought, I found a pen lying on the desk and signed the contract and then handed it to my mom for her to sign as well. Joshua took the contract and shook my hand with a grin. Jennifer, in turn, smiled and congratulated me.
"You will be leaving for Maui to meet with the rest of the cast tomorrow afternoon. There will be a car to pick you up." Jennifer explained and then we were dismissed for me to go home and pack.
The next day as promised Jennifer and Joshua arrived with a black, stretch limo parked outside my house waiting to take me to a private plane. I had already called all my friends to say goodbye and had enough clothes for at least two weeks packed and waiting. I waved to my family as I skipped to the limo and climbed into the spacious backseat.
During the half hour drive to the airport, I explored the various cabinets in the car to discover different kinds of drinks and snack food. Joshua and Jennifer were caught up in deep conversation at the other end of the limo so I flipped on the TV and watched the end of a talk show. It was interviewing kids who were talking about their dreams. Three of the little kids said their dreams were to become actors. Everything seemed so strange to me! Like these little kids on the TV, my childhood dream was to become an actress, and now here I was in a limo on my way to a private jet that would send me off to fulfill my dreams! It was all way too much to absorb at the moment.
Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at a small airport where the private jet was waiting. A man, dressed in a uniform black suit, opened the limo door and offered his hand to help me out. Joshua and Jennifer filed out after me and quickly ushered me onto the capacious plane. I was ordered to buckle in for take off, so I slid into a plush seat close to the front of the plane and fastened my seat belt. Once we were safely in the air and on our way, I stood up and began exploring the plane. For some reason, I didn't feel snoopy as I ventured from section to section, admiring the upholstery of the seats, carpet, and walls of the fancy plane. Instead I felt relaxed and comfortable, and I was sure that no one would mind. Past the first section that I was sitting in, was another large area that was set up with a long bar to the right with soda and snacks set out on the counter. To the left there were chairs and small tables, secured to the floor and wall. I found Joshua, Jennifer, and a few other business looking people in the last section. They were seated around a large table, drinking coffee and reading what looked like scripts! I smiled at them and apologized for interrupting. Joshua stood up and asked me how I was enjoying the flight. Wanting to be completely truthful with my new boss, I told him it was nice, but I was slightly bored. Joshua excused himself from the others and led me back into the first section where we sat on the long couch against one wall.
"Let me tell you where we are going, and what this first week is going to consist of for you." I was excited to know, and listened attentively as he explained. "As you know, we are on our way to Maui right now. It is a tradition for the entire cast to meet up in Maui about this time, every year just before we begin filming the new season. The next two weeks you will be in training for your character on the show. Your training time will include watching every episode of the show so that you may become familiar with the other characters and the events of the show. Also you will be meeting with your personal trainer a few times. These two weeks will be intense, and it is absolutely necessary that you stay in isolation during them. Other than me or Jennifer, or your trainer, you may not make contact with any person, including your family. I want you to be able to develop your character without any distractions. The rest of the time in Maui will be spent getting you acquainted with the other actors, shopping, rehearsing your part, and possibly a couple photo shoots. I know the training sounds long, but I will make sure that you have a good time, and don't become too bored."
After he had informed me of everything I needed to know, I was allowed to make a phone call home, which would be the last until my training weeks were completed. I took the phone and settled into a comfortable position on the couch. I told them all about my first week in Maui. After an exchange of "I love you" I hung up with a promise to call as soon as my training weeks were over. For the remainder of the flight I ate a blueberry muffin and had a Shirley Temple while watching "Bring It On" on the large screen TV.
We landed in Maui late and got in another limousine. Joshua suggested that we stop somewhere for dinner, so he gave the driver orders to stop at a nearby café. If felt kind of awkward eating dinner with a group of adults whom I didn't know very well. I tried to be polite as they asked me questions about my life. I gave them short answers, trying not to be curt but also not wanting everyone's attention to be focused on me for too long. After dinner, Joshua checked me into my giant suite at the Grand Wailea Resort. As we walked up to the room on the top floor, Joshua reminded me about the training I would begin the next day. I assured him that I would be fine and would remember to follow all of his rules, and then sent him away.
My room was bigger than any hotel room I had every stayed at and I was anxious to enjoy it, but I was tired and decided that I had better go straight to bed. I found a comfortable terry-cloth robe in the bathroom to sleep in and then climbed into the queen-size bed and tried to make myself fall asleep. It took an hour and a half before I was finally able to drift off into dreamland.
I awoke the next morning by eight thirty and excitedly jumped out of the bed. I went into the bathroom to wash my face and found a note from Joshua taped to the mirror. It informed me that all the episodes, recorded onto video, were on top of the TV in the front room. After calling for maid service, I dressed in my cheer shorts and white tank top I had packed. I took the first video down to the gym where I was relieved to see that the treadmills each had their own television and VCR. I put in the video and ran for one hour while watching the first episode. When I was finished with it, I went to the mats and did my routine of five hundred sit-ups, one hundred push-ups, and then ten minutes of weights. When I returned to my room, which had been cleaned, I put the video in the television in the bathroom and started the second episode while I drew a bath, filling the large Jacuzzi bathtub with bubbles. I stayed in the bath for forty-five minutes, washing my hair with the rose scented shampoo and shaving my legs with the silky, rose oil. After I dried off I dressed in the same denim pants and black tank top I had been wearing the day before. I finished the show while braiding my hair. Before starting the next episode, I called room service and ordered a muffin and apple juice for breakfast. For the rest of the day, I relaxed on the couch looking through magazines and snacking on food from the mini bar while watching the many episodes of the show. I finished a total of thirteen episodes that day, before going to bed after ten o'clock. The rest of the week continued with basically the same schedule.
By Friday of the next week I only had twelve episodes left. That morning, after my daily workout, I ran my bath water and ordered breakfast. I was peacefully enjoying my soak in the tub while watching the show, when there was a knock on the main door. I figured it was probable room service so I climbed out of the bath and secured the robe around me before answering the door. I was surprised to see a young man, wearing khakis and a white polo shirt, standing there smiling at me. I was suddenly aware of my appearance and so pulled the robe tighter around me before asking him what he wanted. I must have sounded rather harsh because the young man pulled back and frowned. He quickly introduced himself as Mitch, one of Mr. Wyatt's personal assistants. I apologized for my rudeness and invited him in. He informed me that Joshua sent him to figure out how many episodes I had left to finish, as well as to tell me about the cast dinner on Sunday. I told Mitch that would give me plenty of time to finish and to please have Joshua call me the next afternoon. Once he was gone I returned to my bath and quickly rinsed out my soapy hair.
I finished all but six episodes that day, which I promptly watched on Saturday. When the final episode ended, I met with my personal trainer who would help me prepare for the tough stunts that I would be performing on the show. The rest of the afternoon was spent training and reading over the script for the first episode I would appear in. That night I went to bed early, so I would be completely refreshed for my cast debut the following evening.
I slept in until ten o'clock in the morning. At the gym, I did an extended workout for two and a half hours while listening to my favorite rock and roll CDs. At one o'clock I took a shower and dried my hair straight. When I began applying makeup, I realized that I had brought no clothes that would be considered appropriate for a dinner to meet the cast and so I began to panic. I hurriedly dressed in my now dirty cheer shorts and white tank top, pulled my hair back, stepped into my white flip-flops and ran to the elevator, grabbing my hotel key on the way out of my room. I hoped that Joshua would be somewhere in the lobby or in one of the restaurants, because I had no idea which room he was in. When I exited the elevator on the main floor, I breezed past two guys, barely even noticing how they stared at me, and headed towards the front desk. As I passed a bar lounge in the center of the lobby, surrounded on all sides by fountains and palm trees, I noticed Joshua sitting at the counter sipping a martini. I waved frantically to attract his attention and he finally noticed me and came over to me, questioning what was wrong. I explained my wardrobe dilemma and he calmly pulled out his cell phone and called one of his assistants. We were joined shortly by a young woman with short brown hair and green eyes, wearing a khaki skirt with a black blouse. Joshua introduced her as Cynthia Brass, the costume director for the show. She would not only be coordinating my clothes for the series, but she would also be in charge of all my special events outfits.
The three of us drove over to the shopping center, located only a block away from the hotel, in Joshua's rented Mercedes. We spent the next three hours finding me an outfit for dinner, including all the necessary accessories. Cynthia decided that I needed to get pajamas and a swimsuit for the rest of my stay in Maui, which I obligingly bought. At five o'clock, Joshua drove me back to the hotel so that I could begin getting ready for dinner. Cynthia stayed behind so that she could continue shopping for more clothes for me. Getting all the clothes I needed or wanted for free was awesome, and I absolutely loved it!
When I returned to my room, I found that I had plenty of time to get ready for dinner, so I took my time spreading all my new makeup out on the long counter in from of the lighted vanity mirror. Usually for school, I would just use simple makeup like powder and mascara. For tonight though I wanted to look extra special and grown up so I carefully applied a creamy foundation and then followed it with a soft bronzing powder. After a few moments of debating with myself over a makeup technique, I decided to use darker eye makeup than I usually wore. Cynthia had chosen me a dark, gold shadow from M.A.C. which I smeared over my entire eyelid, then lined my eyes with a new black liquid liner. I coated my lashes with three layers of black, glossy mascara and then finished my face with a dark mocha color on my lips. After checking my appearance in the mirror, I wasn't quite satisfied with my hair; it was too basic. I plugged in my new curling iron and waited impatiently for it to heat up, before using it to flip the ends of my hair out to add more bounce and body to my long, limp hair.
By six forty-five, I was finally completely happy with how I looked. It would take me a few minutes to find the restaurant, so I quickly began to dress. I unpacked my shopping bags, laying out the items on the bed, and stepped into my new denim mini skirt. Cynthia had chosen the entire outfit and I trusted that she knew what would make a good impression on the others so I didn't argue, even though the clothes weren't exactly what I was used to wearing. The black lacey shirt barely reached the top of my skirt, revealing a little of my stomach and the short, sleeves hung off my shoulders. Joshua had told me that I would have to adapt to a new image for the show and I imagined that tonight was the beginning of that change.
Five minutes to seven I stepped into my black platform sandals and took one last look in the mirror before leaving my room and hurrying down to the restaurant. I knew exactly where the fancy restaurant out on the water was so it only took me a couple of minutes to get down there. Once I reached the entryway, I began to grow nervous. I worried about whether or not the cast would like me, or if I would fit in with their world, or if they would ignore me, or if I would even be any good at acting! I didn't have any more time to worry about it all because Joshua found me at that moment and told me that everyone else was already seated at the table.
As we approached the large, round table in the far corner of the restaurant, overlooking the ocean, I noticed my favorite actress, and the most popular from the show, Shannon Gregory. She was standing up at the table, so I was able to see her full outfit which was black pants and a gold, sparkly halter. She seemed to be in an argument with a couple of the guys at the table, which was proven as soon as she saw Joshua.
"Joshua, the guys say that we are all going surfing tomorrow at the beach, but the girls want to go shopping! So what's the deal with tomorrow? What are our plans?" Shannon smiled when she noticed me and sat down.
Joshua informed the group that tomorrow would actually be spent doing whatever we please. We were free to surf, or shop, or do whatever else we desired. He brought me closer to the table and made quick introductions before pulling out an empty chair next to Jake Mallard, one of the lead actors on the show, and I slid into it.
A waiter came to take our order for appetizers. I hesitated because I wasn't used to ordering appetizers when I went out for dinner, but Joshua told me to just order my favorite so when the waiter came to me I ordered garlic cheese toast.
"Now, before we began dealing with show business, I would like for you all to become more acquainted with our newest actress, Callie Hanson." Joshua decided once we had all ordered. "I want each of you to take turns asking Callie a question about herself, and when you ask your question, you can tell her something about yourself, such as your name or age."
I blushed at the attention I was receiving, but expected as much for being the newest actor in the group. I waited silently, smiling, as each person asked me a personal question. Joshua began.
"I think that everyone would be interested to know how old you are," he smiled encouragingly and waited for me to answer.
Clearing my throat, I answered his question simply. "I have just turned sixteen two months ago in March."
"Where are you from, Callie? I was born in LA and have lived there for the last twenty-three years." Shannon asked next.
"I am from Seattle."
"Well, my name is Micah, I'm twenty-four, and I suppose I'll ask you about your family. Do you have siblings?" Micah Brown had an attractive smile and deep blue eyes.
"I have an older sister named Mallory."
Next to Micah was Aimee Hamel, whom I had seen in a few movies before. "Since we seem to be telling our ages, I'll just stick to that. I have just turned twenty and I would like to ask about animals. Do you like animals? Do you have any pets?"
She seemed friendly and I smiled at her question. "Yes I adore animals and I have two dogs and a cat in Seattle."
"So do you like sports? I am seriously addicted to surfing; it's all that I've been doing for the past week that I have been here in Maui." The guy that I recognized as Derek Bernard asked. "Oh yea, I'm twenty years old."
"Well, Derek, isn't it?" I paused as he nodded, "I enjoy sports. I'm not very athletic but I do like sports. Especially soccer, baseball, and of course surfing." I winked at him and he grinned.
Next was Nicholas Banger, "I am recently twenty-one, finally legal! To be original I'll ask you...what's the worst thing that you've ever done? Ever broken the law Callie?" He laughed as I paused.
"I don't think I've ever broken the law, I mean I'm kind of an overly paranoid person, so I usually am very cautious about things and try to always do the right thing." I realized how stupid I sounded and blushed, "I'm not trying to say that I'm perfect or anything..."
"That's all right, Callie, I think we all understand," Emily Conner, whom I had also seen in a couple movies, though none as popular as Shannon's, cut me off with a smile. "What is your favorite movie of all time? Mine is easily 'Breakfast at Tiffany's, oh and I am twenty-four."
"That is an excellent movie! But my favorite is most likely 'My Fair Lady'; Audrey Hepburn is such a classy actress!"
Next was the oldest member of the cast, Anthony Hart. "Not to sound like an old, boring adult, but I am over thirty. What are your interests in school? What subjects do you enjoy and what do you plan to study in college?"
"I would have to say English and Literature, and of course Drama."
Next to Anthony was Angie Bennett. She smiled sweetly and shrugged, "I'm not very good with questions, I can never think of what to ask. I suppose I'll be boring and ask you where your favorite place to go for vacation is? Mine is definitely Spain and I am twenty-three."
"Well I haven't been to too many places, but I guess that I would have to say that of all the places I have been to, my favorite would have to be the Caribbean."
Madison Trotter, the youngest member of the cast other than me now, who had acted in a few popular movies before she was cast for the show, flipped her long brown hair over her shoulder and took a sip of her Strawberry lemonade. "I'm sorry to have to be boring like Angie, but I just can't come up with any unique questions, so what is your favorite flower?"
"My favorite flowers are tiger lilies and pink roses. And if you don't mind me asking, how old are you and what is your favorite flower?"
"Oh of course, I am recently seventeen and my favorite flowers are white roses and daisies."
Jake turned to me and grinned, "So Callie, do you have a boyfriend?"
I was surprised at his question and shook my head, "No, I don't have a boyfriend at the moment, thanks for asking." I smiled shyly and turned my attention to the waiter who had just placed the appetizers on the table.
Joshua suggested that we took a moment to look over our menus so that we could order our dinners before we got absorbed with talking about the show. In a minute we had all ordered our meals, including soup and salad. Once we all had chosen what we wanted to eat, Joshua began to explain my character on the show. Throughout his entire explanation I sat still in my seat with my eyes focused on my hands that I kept in my lap, fiddling with the cloth napkin. When he had finished telling the cast all the details about my new character and how it would change the show's current events, everyone raised their glasses of whatever they were drinking and offered a toast to me. I received their kind toast with a smile. I was relieved to see that they all seemed alright with me joining the show, and I felt like I would actually be able to fit into this group of actors.
After dinner, before we separated for the night, Joshua reminded us to have fun and enjoy ourselves the next day. The group stood up and started to disperse to their various rooms. I was quite ready for sleep after such a huge meal, but after I said goodbye to everyone and headed up to my suite, Jake caught up to me at the elevators and asked if he could walk with me to my room. I agreed and timidly followed him into the elevator and up to the sixth floor. At the door to my room he shook my hand and said he was glad that I was joining the cast. I thanked him for his kindness and opened the door. As I stepped into the room, he told me that he and a few others would be driving to Hana the next day and asked if I would like to join them. I nodded and told him that I would meet them in the hotel lobby at eight o'clock the next morning. He said goodnight and I closed the door as he walked down the hall towards his suite.
Falling asleep was hard that night, because I couldn't stop thinking about everything that was going on in my life. Things that I never even dared to dream were happening to me! I had just finished eating dinner with a table full of famous actors and actresses, one of whom I had admired and idolized as an actress for years. Now, I was socializing with these celebrities and they were treating me as though I was one of them. It was all too spectacular to believe. I finally drifted off to sleep, dreaming about fame and fortune.