the winner

Chapter 1: Meet and Greet

Has there ever been a time when you experienced what it is like to be an idol? Live performances with your fans cheering you on? Being bombarded with 500 projects per month by your management? Rising above the haters when they pull you down? No? Well, I do. I hear the crowd as they cheer and scream their lungs out, in my anticipation. The manager gestures for the technician to lift the pedestal for my grand entrance. My name is Cynthia. Cynthia Rinaldi. The platform below me rises and I smile at the millions of my fans. The colorful lights, blazing flames, and the pop of confetti add to the excitement. As soon as I am on the same level as the stage, I get my charm in action and grip on the microphone. I hear the backing tracks loud and clear in my earpiece. I start with the fans favorite hit. With energetic moves and a creative stage presence mixed with indomitable confidence and beautiful vocals, I become NYX, a big shot idol, currently in the first position. The concert ends after two rigorous hours of fun and then, I get ready for the meet and greet backstage. I don like this part of the show, because of an incident that took place about a year ago, and I know that it is wrong to keep dwelling on the past, so I just go on with it. As my dad says, do whatever it takes to keep the money flowing.

I drink some juice, strawberry, my treasured kind. My manager walks in, her name is Ivy. Ivy Marbiz. She has chestnut brown eyes and straight short hair which is black. She is 35 years old. It was an easy choice to hire her since she is the daughter of a close friend of my dad. She was top in her class and bagged the most internships in her college, but that was not what attracted me to hire her. It was her charm of making people trust her effortlessly. Was her charm working on me as well? Maybe. I consider her a safe card in my management. She had proven her loyalty to us on several occasions, especially, when she had been offered about twice the pay that we give her to manage the events of another idol, a rival of mine, Blaze. Blaze Shaw. He might look so-called good and the sweetest words might roll off his tongue but trust me when I say that he is a snake. The venomous kind. Nevertheless, she didn accept it, although the rivals had ensured protection from us and a genuine contract, she brought that contract to me and told us that she would never betray us. Four years have passed by and we, now, trust her wholeheartedly.

Oh, by ”we ” I mean, my father, brother, and I. My father, Ethan Rinaldi, a tall man with emerald green eyes, was one of the head investors in my venture to become an idol and my brother currently works as my PA. Other than them, our team includes about three investors, a vocal coach, two performance directors, two makeup artists, eight bodyguards, one outfit designer, three estate managers, and a few people who work backstage as the marketing team, social media heads etcetera. I am just the face of all this. Sure, I sing and perform but without these masterminds, I would be nothing.

Back to the present, Ivy seats herself next to me and says, ”You did great out there. Your vocals were on point and your dance moves were sharp! I was starstruck as usual and your father was proud of you. ” I replied with a meek thanks. She then continued, ”Okay, so, your PA will come in and run through your schedule and he will stay with you throughout the day. Ive got some personal errands to run. ” I said, ”Oh okay, but you will be back tomorrow, right? ” She nodded, stood up, waved me goodbye, and walked out of the door. I liked her company but my PA, aka, my brother was a load of fun as well.

After 5 minutes passed on the clock, I heard a knock. I said, ”Come in! ” My brother walked in. Derick. Derick Rinaldi. A lazy computer genius. With lush brown curls dropping to his brows, he always wears colored contacts to differ from our family lines typical emerald eyes, and he is five years elder than me. I am twenty-two. He glared at me with his mahogany brown eyes. I cocked an eyebrow at him. After two minutes, we burst into laughter. Yes, this is how we do it. He said, ”As your personal assistant, it is my responsibility to inform you that today, youve got about three more events. The first is this meet and greet, which starts in twenty minutes, there are five special fans that you will meet today. Don worry, it will go well. And if it does not, then, no worries. Next, weve got to attend a practice show by a to-be pop group that weve invested in, and at night weve got two photoshoots to attend. Both are hosted by the one and only, may I add, my favorite, Mr. Ahad. Yeah! thats about it. ” I mocked him by trying to replicate his tone, ”yEaH, tHaTS aBoUt It. ” Don get me wrong, I enjoy all the aspects of being an idol. But some days can get very exhausting. People would kill to be in my shoes right now mostly because they have no clue about the work pressure.

My brother sets his gaze on the TV screen right in front of us. He smirks at the remarks of the hosts on the show. My parents have always looked down upon him because he was hesitant to get proper education and then never really worked hard by himself. He would come home drunk on several occasions and that took a jab at our reputation. He works for a maximum of three months before giving up on a job, and so my parents always called him a quitter and ensured to raise me to be quite the opposite. However, to prove them wrong, he took up the open position of becoming my PA. He has been dedicated since then, that was about three years ago, and looking at how far he has come now, makes me proud. It was always a thick relationship between us, and despite our parents constant comparisons and countless remarks, nothing could tear us apart.

Speaking of parents, my mother, Estella Rinaldi, is a renowned member of the womens association on a global level. I look up to her. She has worked her way up from the bottom to the top, unlike my father who had inherited wealth from his family. Not going to deny the fact that he has compounded the assets tenfold, but my mother had started with nothing. An orphan who had been abused until the age of fifteen. However, she fought her way up, quite literally, and became a top boxer in a well-renowned city and then, made a name for herself in the top five in the world. My father has Italian descent, and my mother is of Greek, I guess that explains our good looks. My brother is twenty-seven, but he looks thirty-eight, at least thats what I tell him.

The alarm goes off. ”Five more minutes Miss. Rinaldi! ” Rick says to me, his eyes still set on the screen. I roll my eyes and walk into another room to freshen up. My makeup artists, Tristan, and Esha come in and finish with the final touch-ups. Im not remarkably close to them and I like to keep it that way. All I know is that they are a married couple who moved here about two years ago to pursue their dream of becoming makeup artists. They are good at their work, and I appreciate that. Then, my outfit designer, Ash Herald, comes in.

She is a lifesaver. Not only with outfits but also with her advice. Its a shame that I don meet her very often. She walks in with her tall frame accentuated with high pointed heels and a tight bodycon dress. She is always calm and collected, no matter the odds. I fidget on the seat, waiting for her to approach me. She grips my arm, turns me towards her, and says, ”Is NYX nervous for today? Well, don be. I assure you, everything will go well. I know that you don like these meet-and-greets for a reason and that is completely acceptable. We all respect the true love that you have for your fans. ” I feel at ease with her words. She is of my age, just a few months younger, and yet her level of maturity is higher than most fifty-year-olds.

I slip into the dress she presents me with, and I love the fit. I let her know all about it and thank her for her work as well. I step out of the room and go into the hall which is filled with six of my fans. They look young, around fifteen years old, and in the room, there was no one except them, not even the usual bodyguards, but oh well, I can defend myself against fifteen-year-olds or defend them against some other intruder in case something goes wrong. Rick told me that there were five fans. Maybe he forgot to read all the names, I mean he did slack in some aspects of his job, so it would not be surprising if he forgot. Never

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