Angel rubbed her cherry red lips together and let them make a small "popping" noise before carefully screwing the top back on her lipstick and setting it down gently on the table. Glancing up at the mirror in front of her, she plastered a big, phony smile on her face and looked at her reflection. Her naturally straight, strawberry blonde hair was bouncing with curls, pulled back into a tight ponytail behind her head, with the exception of her bangs, which lay straight over her forehead, partially covering her icy blue eyes. Her skin had a pleasant paleness about it, not too tanned, but not too pasty either, and her cheeks were dotted with light freckles.

Angeline Stark had always been pretty, even as a child. But like most children her age at the time, she had been naive, her mind filled with dreams of becoming a star. Her parents had always supported her dreams, even after she moved away from home to live in Hollywood, where she had hoped her singing career could take off. It did, of course, which was how she received the single nickname of Angel as her title. She used to love the nickname as an adolescent, when her parents had once called her by that name. Now, at the age of twenty-two, she was certain there wasn't another name in the world she hated more.

Angel had wanted to become a singer because it was something she loved to do. But now, several celebrity-only parties and false interviews later, she was regretting the path she was going down. She knew her parents wouldn't approve, that they would tell her she should just be herself. But she was beginning to fear that ship had sailed away a long time ago.

Looking in the mirror again, her reflection suddenly changed. She was no longer looking at herself, but at a woman who appeared to be in her forties. Her mother. She was still beautiful for her age, her wavy reddish-orange hair falling just past her shoulders. Her emerald green eyes stared back at Angel, a pained expression lingering in them. And although she didn't speak, she could almost hear her mother's words from the expression on her face.

"This isn't you Angel. What happened to the sweet little girl your father and I raised?" Angel sighed softly.

"Gone. She left years ago," she replied. Her mother shook her head.

"You're wrong. She's still inside you. You just need to find a way to let her out." It was Angel who shook her head this time.

"I don't know how." Her mother gave her a sympathetic smile.

"You will sweetie. You will." Her mother's face disappeared, once again replaced by Angel's. She let out an exasperated sigh. If anyone had seen her, they would probably have thought she was crazy, so she was thankful that her manager came in moments later, instead of moments earlier, to inform her that she had to be on stage in two minutes.

She watched her manager leave her dressing room, giving her a minute to herself before she slowly eased herself out of her chair and made her way backstage. Her manager gave her a smile and put a hand on her shoulder, telling her to "break a leg." Angel simply nodded and took a deep breath before pushing past the curtains to face the crowd on the other side.