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No Time To Love (Chapter One)

Life Before...

I am high up in the air, touching the sky and next to the stars, leaning against a railing, looking down to see the blinding lights of life below.

I'm draped in a golden dress, alone on a balcony while my supposed best friends party elegantly behind me in my new apartment my mother and father bought me last year, thinking at seventeen I was old enough to live alone. Given I'd practically raised myself, I suppose they were right. Now I'm eighteen. That's meant to be an important milestone. I should be happy, inside with the famous people I've had to deal with since I was thirteen, a child star of a popular TV show. That fame lead to my beautiful mother being discovered and my father became her agent as well as mine. We were more business partners than family members.

This was meant for publicity, to show how well I was doing since Gone Wrong, a show dealing with five troubled teenagers who had to live together in a house that was systematically killing them each day, was canceled when my character was the sole one to survive. The producers had planned to go on for two more seasons, bringing new characters in to die for entertainment, but critics thought it'd be best to let it end with me being the sole winner. That was about three months ago.

My father has already lined a new show for me, a sitcom this time, to show the audience that I, Carlie Dixon, could play any role. He hoped one day I'd be the most sought-after actress, after my mother of course. My mother, Kellie Dixon, is an insanely asked about an actress, who's been in three movies this year alone, one of which got her Best Actress of 1999.

Today, my eighteenth birthday is being celebrated in the same year, just a short two months later. As her daughter, I'm expected to catch up to her level, even surpass it. I believe I'm a decent actress on screen, but off it, I can't understand why no one can see how unhappy I am.

I look over the edge again, considering and dismissing the idea of jumping over. The night was almost over, yet the party wasn't expected to stop until at least 2 AM. I'm eighteen. I should party. 

 I could only hide out for maybe an hour or so in various places before I was forced to pose for photos, talk to my "friends", and let them sing Happy Birthday to me for the tenth time as they continued eating all my cake. I wasn't allowed to eat any of it. The calories would apparently ruin everything in my parent's eyes. I was told to keep my weight steady, given I wasn't rail-road thin. I had curves and a bit of stomach, but thank God, my mother would say, that I had her 'Beautiful' face.

My much-forgotten brother, Liam hates parties like these as much as I do. Don't think because of that we have an understanding, he hates me for being the one with the acting career, the one praised by the world for my families status and my mother's ability to bring you to tears by just saying one word. He spends these parties locked in a room for the most part with whatever girl fell for his actions that night. If it was just one, it would be strange. He was a playboy through and through. Rugged charm and bad boy tendencies. In other words, girls worshiped the ground he walks on.

My father wasn't better. Even though my mother was absolutely beautiful... he still finds joys in going behind her back with girls around my age. He barely cares enough about my mother's feelings to not do it in front of her: checking out woman's asses, flirting, even touching. My mother drinks a few glasses of Champagne before she no longer seems to notice.

Of course, to the rest of the world, our family was perfect...if they only saw what I saw, we'd get our own reality show.

"Still moping, dear sister?" Liam asks, his arm affectionately hanging over my shoulders. I hold in a gag at the smell of weed that surrounded him intermingled with sweat and rich liquor. I turn to eye him, his eyes teary from the drops he put in them to hide the telltale red eyes from showing.

"Why would I mope, brother? My life's perfect, right?" My tone is grave but my smile is hard to see through. No one can hear our exchange. Liam snorts, planting a kiss on my forehead.

"We both know you don't want this... I love you, sis, I just hate how things are with us," he murmurs, for once, completely serious. For the first time the whole day, I relax, enjoying the comfort he offers. This is the boy who used to carry me around on his shoulders and let me pretend I was flying. Where did we go wrong?

"Don't be a stranger," I whisper back as I notice people starting to leave. He nods, wrapping an arm around a random girl, looking up at my brother as if she were in love. I shake my head, but couldn't help the small smile on my lips.

Finally, they all left, my parents included. I ripped the dress off me, throwing it elsewhere without watching where it fell as I walked up the metallic stairs that lead to the second level of my Penthouse apartment. I wash the makeup, sweat, and gels from my body before getting in a silken nightgown and wrapping up my hair.

It takes a very long time for me to finally sleep. By that time the sun was well up. Luckily, my schedule for the day was cleared. I finally let myself relax for once. My birthday was over.

~~~

Dry. That's how I feel. My mouth is dry, my face, my hair, and my eyes. I wondered why my bed slipped through my fingers like sand, why the sun from my bedroom window was baking me into a cold sweat. I finally pry my eyes open when water is thrown on me. I spring up, shock and panic causing me to look about wildly. Sand, I see nothing but sand stretching before me for miles, except for the man upon a camel who was offering me water in a strange language. "Where am I?" I croaked out as I grab the water canteen, sucking down gulp after gulp as the man with his face covered, removed the cover, revealing a quite handsome smile. He could be a model.

"Egypt, of course," the man said in stilted English. I blink at him as if he was insane.

"This is a prank, right? Did my dad set you up?" The man held his hand out for me.

"I'm Lockem. I do not know your father. However, I would love to take you off his hands." He smiled boyishly, looking completely serious. I looked around again... This wasn't a movie set. This was real. While I was sure by then I was hyperventilating, I still had to ask.

"What year is it?" 

Lockem looked surprised by the question, looking at me with worry.

"It is 1932, dear beauty," he said over the wind blowing sand at us from one direction. I nod at him slowly before everything goes black once more.

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What do you guys think so far? Give me feedback! :P

~E.J.

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