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Adj. 1) to have physical attractiveness, esp. when achieved by makeup, elegant clothing, etc. 2) to have an attractive or exciting quality, esp. one which is inaccessible to the average person.

Allegra Richards sighed as she slammed her dictionary shut. Sometimes, she didn't understand the meaning of her life and why she was born in the first place. She studied her perfectly manicured nails and looked in her mirror one last time. Her pale reflection stared back at her. Allegra was blessed with dark brown hair and honey-brown eyes. Her face was expressionless but deep inside her heart, she was quite unhappy.

"Hurry up, Allegra!" shouted her mother angrily. "I don't have all day!"

"I'm coming!" Allegra called back.

Allegra sighed again. She picked up her comb and quickly pulled her hair up into a ponytail. Today was the last day she was ever going to play tennis in LA. After today, she would be going to Toronto for a quieter education and life by herself, away from all the stars. Not that she minded. She rather liked being alone. Her parents were control freaks that didn't care about her. All they seemed to care about was how much money they were making and how much publicity they were getting from their "famous" daughter.

Allegra took one deep breath and a last look at her LA bedroom, and ran down the stairs and outside to the limo awaiting her.


"Hit it harder!" yelled the coach.

Allegra wound back on her forehand and swung with all her might.

"Okay. You've had enough for now. Five minute break and then we're going to started working on your volleys," ordered her coach.

Allegra walked over to the sidelines and took a swig of her water. She looked up to the glass deck of the clubhouse where she played tennis, and watched as her mom flipped through a magazine. Allegra felt tears well up in her eyes. She wanted her mom to care about her. She wanted her to treat Allegra like her daughter. Allegra bitterly laughed when she saw her mom's ridiculous outfit choice. Her mom was wearing a business suit. In a tennis club. It was always about her business; it just wasn't fair. Allegra shook her head and took another sip of her water. She marched back to the court to endure some more tennis in the heat.

She stood in ready position on the service line. She crouched low, waiting for her coach to feed her the first volley. She swayed from side to side so that she could react agilely to return the shot. She made eye contact with her coach, watching his every move. Without warning, her coach fired a ball towards her right. She split-stepped and smashed the ball down the line. Quickly, she recovered back to her normal position on the center of the service line. This continued for another 30 minutes.

"Okay! Good job today Allegra. This is the last shot. Then I will have to report your progress to you mom," said her coach formally.

Unexpectedly, he lobbed a ball at her and she steadied her racket for an overhead smash. As the ball came down, she leaned back, waiting for the precise time. When it was a meter above her, her racket came up, her body went forwards, and she followed through her smash. She turned to see that the ball quickly bounced on the other side deep into the left corner and spun onto the fence due to the vast amount of topspin applied into her stroke.

"Wonderful!" congratulated her coach. "That was amazing! You put in a great amount of concentration when you play and it shows. Great work! You're definitely going to be one of the world's greatest when you start touring. But you still have to wait until you're 18 and have finished your education. That's only 3 more years of waiting!"

Allegra's mother made her way slowly onto the court. She examined her nails before she started speaking to the coach.

"Well, how is my daughter faring?" she asked politely.

"She is doing quite well for someone her age. She has a lot of potential. It's a shame she can't continue in my intensive training program," said the coach. "But, there are little things that do need to be fixed up. For one thing, her backhand is slightly weaker than her forehand. If an opponent finds out, they could take advantage of this knowledge."

Allegra made eye contact with her mom. When her mom glared at her, she got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"Thank you for your help. I will be sure to consult you when Allegra comes back from Toronto," her mom said in a fake nice voice.

"That'd be appreciated," said the coach gratefully. He turned to Allegra. "And the best of luck to you in Toronto."

"Thank you," said Allegra, trying very hard not to look at her mom. "I look forward to working with you again."

Allegra and her mother left the courts and Allegra went to change. When Allegra was done, they both piled into the limo and headed towards the airport. Her mom got in without a word. Allegra suddenly got very afraid. Timidly, she got in and tried to avoid eye contact with her mom again.

"Allegra, honey." started her mom. "Would you kindly tell me what is wrong with you? I pay for your education. I pay for your tennis lessons. I pay for your clothes. I pay for everything else to provide you with a good life. I just ask for one thing from you. That you respect me and treat me as I treat you. Is this how you want to repay me?"


"Then what is it? Why can you not be like any other girl and work hard? Why must you be lazy, ugly, and totally useless?"

Allegra started crying.

"I'm not lazy! I work really hard. I'm sorry if I have disappointed you, but I'll work harder! I will!"

"Right. That's what you said all of those other times. And now all that you have done is cause your father and I distress. We're trying to allow you to lead a nice normal life, but you aren't letting us."

"It's because I'm not a normal kid! I'm not normal because of you. Why can't I lead a normal life? I just want to hang out with my friends and go shopping with them once in a while. Is that so much to ask?"

"Shut up!" screamed her mom. "You are so useless! I can't believe what a spoiled and selfish brat you are! You ungrateful child!"

"I'm not useless. I try hard. I really do…" Allegra pleaded. "I'm not perfect…I can't do everything right. That's impossible!"

"Richards are perfect." stated her mom. "We do everything right."

At this point, Allegra turned away and looked out the window with tears streaming down her face. Life wasn't fair. She didn't understand why her mom was making a big deal out of such a little thing. Allegra yearned with every fibre of her soul to be normal. She couldn't take it anymore. It seemed like her mother yelled at her for everything that she did; she had to get away. She focused on the landscape passing by and watched as all the colours blended together. Slowly, her eyelids got heavier and she fell asleep. She entered her safe place. A place where she wasn't afraid. A place where she was away from the world. A place where she could live her dreams.