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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.

The Voice

A purse. I’ll buy her a purse, Jina thinks to herself, sitting on the worn leather couch in her sister Diane’s apartment. She knew her older sibling well, figuring a bribe could easily persuade Diane to let her move in for a few months. Maybe less, just long enough for her to get out of her current situation and tidy up her messes.

While Diane’s out picking up food from their favorite Salvadoran restaurant, Jina thumbs through the latest issues of O, People, and InStyle, daydreaming about the day when she might grace the pages, sporting Valentino or Cavalli or Zac Posen. Handsome man on her arm and plush red carpet under her feet. That day was just around the corner – she just knew it.

So it’s with Hollywood grace that she makes her way over to the front door when she hears the doorbell. This girl is so lazy – she’d rather interrupt my reading and have me get up than pull out her keys. She rolls her eyes as she reaches for the doorknob. “That was fast – ” she starts before quickly realizing it isn’t Diane at all.

“What’s up?” asks a smiling Jonathan, not waiting for a welcome to enter and head for the fridge. It takes a second for Jina to let reality sink in, but once it does, she slams the door and heads back to the couch. After finding a can of strawberry soda, Jonathan joins her in the family room, sitting on the oversized chair opposite the couch. Jina doesn’t acknowledge him though, back to her magazine and stargazing. For moments, the only sounds to be heard are the crisp tears of pages cutting the heavy air and Jina’s persistent tapping toe.

Jonathan tries to get her attention by letting out a hearty burp once he finishes the soda. When that doesn’t work, he starts humming…then beatboxing…the straight out rapping his favorite Public Enemy jam while tapping out the beat on the coffee table.

Finally, he gives up, letting Jina win the game of I Don’t Want To Be The First One To Talk. “So, what’s going on with you, Jina-Jeen?” he asks with a phony drawl to try to get a smile out of her.

She shrugs, turning to her favorite section in US magazine – ‘Stars are just like us.’

Jonathan sighs, trying to figure out something else to pull out of his bag of tricks. “You make any more of your famous chocolate cookies lately?”

“I’m on a diet.” It wasn’t true, but she starts to think to herself that maybe she should consider some sort of dramatic weight loss approach, looking at how skinny all these women were in the magazines. Look at Jessica Alba – didn’t that skinny ass chick just have a baby?

“Where’s Di?”

“Picking up food. I’m staying over.”

“Cool. We’d love the company.”

It’s this line that finally works. Jina slaps the magazine down on her lap and gives Jonathan her best glare. Good enough for him. He just wanted a reaction – any reaction. “Excuse me?”

“It’ll be nice to have you over for dinner tonight.”

His smugness irked her to no avail. He’d always been that way, since the day she met him a decade ago – charmingly arrogant, but arrogant nonetheless. Well, it was obvious to her that one of them had to leave; that there was no way she could handle dinner with Jonathan whether her sister was there or not. Nothing good could come if it. “Look, Jonathan. Whatever you’ve got going on with Di is fine; it’s her business and it’s your business. Cool. But tonight, I need to have an important chat with her. So, your presence will not be needed in any way, shape, or form. So go ahead and take all the strawberry soda you want. Take it all – the box of Twinkies and Doritos and fruit roll-ups and all. Knock yourself out. But, you can’t stay here tonight.”

Jonathan seems amused by Jina’s mini soliloquy, almost feeling the need to give her a round of applause. But, he respects her opinion enough to get up from his seat and head to the door, all the while with a goofy smirk on his face. Jina’s close to exhaling with relief when he stops, just a step or two before the door. Turning around, his grin has suddenly disappeared. “Jina…this important chat you’re ‘bout to have – this doesn’t have anything to do with me, does it?”

Now it’s Jina’s turn to smirk as she resumes her perusal of the glossy magazine pages. Attitude now somewhat adjusted, he returns to the family room, this time taking a seat beside Jina on the couch. “Do you mind?”

“Sorry,” he says, giving her a few more inches of personal space. “But seriously, Jina. Are you gonna say anything about me.”

“I don’t know. Should I?”

“No, you shouldn’t,” he says, his once confident voice now mixed with a hint of worry. “Absolutely, you shouldn’t.”

“Why shouldn’t I?”

Jina is giving him mostly her back, so he makes his way around to her other side, sitting on the edge of the coffee table. “Because I really care about her. I do. I possibly may even love her.”

This is enough, Jina tells herself as she literally feels her heart sink down into her gut. Looking him in the eyes, she says, “Jonathan, no, I’m not going to say anything. I have more important things to discuss with her than her stupid, idiot boyfriend, okay? There – you can leave now.”

Jina’s somewhat surprised that his smirk doesn’t immediately return and that he holds himself back from leaping on the table to dance with joy. Instead, he puts a hand on her shoulder and squeezes it. “Jina. You know I’m sorry about everything. I still care about you and – ”

“Okay. You can leave now.”

He gets the point, a bit of residual shame from old times resurfacing. The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to hurry up and get out of there before Diane returned. “Alright,” he says back on the way to the door, forgoing Jina’s invitation for him to raid the pantry for munchies. “Tell Di I came by, and I’ll call her tomorrow, okay?”

Jina nods, looking down at yet another magazine. A huge tear drops from her eye just as Jonathan closes the door, landing right on top of one of J-Lo’s twins. Maybe moving in with Diane wasn’t the best idea after all. But under the circumstances, she really doesn’t have much of a choice. With Jonathan popping over without warning while she’s there (if Diane says yes), she’d certainly have to develop thicker skin to survive. That, or do the unthinkable – tell Diane the truth.

Thicker skin. The truth would cost her at least another three or four purses.

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