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Created by Diane Brown, Buena Beach is an online soap opera, giving up all the juicy details of some of the hottest guys and gals of Buena Beach, a small town in Southern California. Check back everyday for a new episode here on HelloBeautiful.com.

Diane

I’m almost over my crush; haven’t even been out for a fake smoke in the last week or so. But today, when Sandy asks me if I want to go outside with her to get some air, I secretly hope that we’ll run into Brandon…just to say hi. Since I’ve been hanging out with Veronica the last week or so, I’ve felt kind of guilty about lusting after her boyfriend. Then again, as long as I don’t take action, no harm. I mean I can’t really help how I feel, can’t help my attraction to someone.

But spending time with Veronica has done the double duty of making me feel bad about Jonathan. I’ve mentally set the clock on our relationship, giving it an expiration date of August 1, my birthday. If he somehow manages a miraculous delivery of an expensive gift or a well-managed extravaganza of plans, I may decide to extend his tenure as my boyfriend. My faith isn’t high, however, which means I’ll be pounding the pavement soon in search of a new man since I’ve never been one to play the single gal for too long. Hopefully I’ll never become as desperately pathetic as Sandy and date my boss, territory that I’ve yet to delve into with her. But, there’s no time like the present.

“So…” I start, perching myself on one of the cement planters outside the building and resting my feet on a bench. “What’s going on with you and Mario these days. I saw that you two were talking again.”

She’s standing in front of me, unwrapping her morning Snickers bar. “Oh, yah. I know that, technically, he’s not my boss anymore. But Danny asked me to help Mario out with some of the projects he’d be working on before. Closing things out.”

I honestly don’t know if she’s just being coy with me, or she’s really that ditzy. “No, Sandy. I mean going on. Are you still…sleeping (ick!) with him?”

She tries not to smile, and then takes a big bite of her candy bar to hide her grin.

“Well, I guess that answers my question.”

“But, Di,” she says, mouth slowed by nougat and caramel. “It’s not like that.”

“Like what?”

She finishes chewing and joins me up on the planter. “We really do love each other.”

Okay. That’s it. I was trying not to judge my girl, but she’s being ridiculous. The affair itself is horrible enough if it was just about sex. But if she’s throwing the L-O-V-E word up in here, she needs a whack on the back of her head. “You both love each other? Or you love him and he loves the sex.”

She looks hurt, but I’ve gotta speak up. It’s for her own good.

“And I thought Cynthia was supposed to be your friend.”

“She is my friend,” Sandy insists. “But Cyn only befriended me in the first place because she didn’t trust me.”

“Well then, shoot. Let me ask homegirl’s advice on my next stock purchase because I’d say she’s pretty intuitive.”

“Why are you being such a…”

“A bitch? Why am I being such a bitch?” Oh, heck no.

She seems to reconsider. “No, that’s not what I was gonna say.”

Yah. Thought so. “Then what were you gonna say, Sandy? Why am I being such a…a good friend by telling you the truth about yourself?”

She sighs, looking down at the discarded gum and cigarette butts on the sidewalk. Really, I am trying to be a good friend. Just like Veronica’s been a friend by showing me the reality of my situation, I’m trying to do the same with Sandy. I’m sure she’s not seeing it that way, probably thinking that I’m a hypocrite for pointing out her mess when I’ve got plenty of cleaning up to do in my own life, but this is big – an affair with your friend’s husband who was also your boss? Come on. “Sandy, I just don’t want you to get hurt. Again.” I say the word ‘again’ with emphasis – the two of us first became close when I helped her cope with her last break-up.

“Can we talk about something else?”

Now it’s my turn to sigh. “Fine. Whatever. It’s your deal. I just think it’s a bad idea.”

We sit for a little bit while she finishes her sugary breakfast. And then I remember something I needed to ask. “Hey, you know what? I need that file back that I had you hide for me.”

“Sure. No problem. I’ll get it for you when we go back inside.”

More silence. I guess she’s mad at me.

“You didn’t open it, did you?”

“No,” she declares too quickly. I want to believe her, but my heart flutters with doubt. And then I regret even asking that last question – I bet she hadn’t looked in the envelope yet, but probably will now, before returning it to me. If so, she’d find the documents from the background check I ordered on Veronica back when she was still my archenemy. Now, I felt ashamed about the whole thing, making the decision last week to shred everything. Unfortunately, I had the brilliant idea to have Sandy hide the packet for me after it first arrived, only getting a cursory review of it before handing it over.

“Cool. Thanks a lot.”

“No problem,” she tells me, the warmth seeming to return to our conversation. “Anytime.”

“Hey, do you want to go to lunch with me and Veronica today?”

She frowns. “Since when did you start eating out with July’s hoochie of the month?”

“You’re crazy,” I say, laughing hard. “But actually, she’s not so bad. I like her now.”

Fulfilling the impossible, she manages to frown even more. “I don’t. She’s so snobby. She thinks she’s better than everyone else, with all her brand names. Doesn’t she know you’re the Queen Bee around here?”

Well, Sandy’s got that right.

“Besides, it’s not like she makes all that much money. We all know what she makes.”

Sandy’s about to go on and on about the girl, but we’re interrupted by my favorite cyclist. “Brandon!” I say, my smile surely saying I’m happy to see him.

“What’s up?” he asks, coming to a stop. He gives a polite nod to Sandy, who waves back, checking him out.

“Oh, uh…Sandy, this is Brandon. Brandon, Sandy. Brandon owns that bicycle shop down the beach.”

Sandy just smiles, sending the three of us into a semi-awkward silence. Finally, Brandon gives it another try. “So Sandy, you must work with Diane and Veronica.”

“Yes,” she manages.

Her unease is a cue enough for Brandon to get moving. “Well, it was nice meeting you Sandy. Diane,” he says, turning to me, “I’m sure I’ll see you again soon. Hopefully with Jonathan and that coupon I gave you two for rentals?”

I assure him that he’ll be seeing us soon. Or at least me, explaining that Jonathan’s not the most outdoorsy dude. Once we bid adieu, I turn to Sandy. “What the heck is wrong with you?

“I…I don’t know. I choked?”

“What…don’t tell me you’re afraid of black people?”

The frown returns. “No!” she practically screams. “Definitely no. He was just…I don’t know. I get nervous in front of incredibly sexy guys. He’s really attractive.”

“Yah, he’s cute.”

“Uh, oh. Jonathan better watch out.”

This catches me off guard and it takes a moment for me to realize what she’s implying. “What? Oh, no girl. No. He’s taken.”

“Really?”

“Yes. And you’d never believe by who.”

After she eventually grows tired of guessing, I nearly have to resuscitate her when I say Veronica’s name. “Oh, heck no.”

I laugh, nodding.

“Well, that confirms it. I really don’t like that girl.”

Great. Just as I was anticipating the development of a new, diverse little clique featuring the three of us. Well hopefully, Sandy won’t peek in the envelope and find Veronica’s file. If there’s one thing our office doesn’t need, it’s more drama.

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