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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.

Cynthia

My palms are sweaty and I’m nervous as I wait for the mayor’s car to round the corner to pick me up. She asked me out for lunch at her favorite restaurant. Her treat, she insisted. How could I resist? Especially with a hunch that her favorite restaurant is The Beach Tree, the most fabulous seafood restaurant on the West Coast. I’d certainly not want to take advantage of her, but I’m dying again try their scallop linguini, one of the priciest items on the menu because they use white truffles in their butter sauce.

The two of us have really gotten to know each other over the last few weeks with her frequent afternoon stops by the Café. At the same time, Mario and I seem to be drifting further apart, just going through the motion of marriage day after day. I’m confident, however, that next week, when I break the baby news to him on our first date anniversary, things will take a turn for the better. I swear, though, that everyone in the world must be able to tell I’m prego – my ass is fatter than a football field, and one of my boobs alone is bigger than my head. I’ve still got six months to go; Mario’s gonna have to roll me into the hospital, just like the Oompa Loompas did Violet when she turned into a blueberry.

Right as the clock strikes noon, here comes the black Lincoln Town Car – so great to see our public tax dollars hard at work. Then again, I shouldn’t judge. Buena Beach is a wealthy community. Why shouldn’t our fearless leader reap the rewards of running such an affluent city? The driver sends a friendly honk my way before slowing to a stop in front of me. Before I get a chance to step off the curb, he’s out of his seat, hurrying around to open the back door for me.

“Come on in, Cynthia. Hope you’re hungry.”

“I am,” I say, my mouth already watering in wait of the linguini.

“Great.”

As quickly as he’d gotten out, the driver is back behind the wheel, and we’re off. I try my best to relax, but for some reason, I’m always a little tense when I’m with Hanan. She’s pretty intense. “You feeling okay?”

“I’m fine,” I say, although I could use a saltine and some ginger ale. The back seat ride already has me a little nauseous.

“You know, I’ve been doing some thinking. I want you to consider stepping up and getting a little more politically active.”

“Yah? Like what?”

She leans back in her seat, softening a bit from her officious tone. “You should come join my staff.”

Me? “Really?”

“Think about it. You want to stay a part-timer, right? I have a part-time staff position. You’re a bright young star. Come from a good family….”

Wow, I’m flattered, but… “I don’t know. You know…Mario and all.” I try not to bring him up in conversations between us. But it’s something I’ve been needing to do.

“Mario will be okay. Give him another few weeks, and he’ll forget all about our little…incident. Besides, I forgive him. He shouldn’t feel bad about screwing up.”

Not exactly the story I’d heard. From my few chats with him, he tells a story of Hanan using him, setting him up. My heart tells me that I’m wrong for not automatically jumping to my husband’s side. I’m the type, however, that likes to hear the whole story first. I’m not one for jumping to conclusions.

“It’s a great position, Cynthia. This time next year, the entire office will be in our sister city in Japan – Maizuru. I can probably even work it out so that we have to stop in Spain and Greece as well. All expenses paid. Everyone’s looking forward to it.

A year, huh? Junior (or Juniorette) will be just be sitting up by then and getting used to solid foods, according to my go-to baby site. “That’s a fantastic offer. But, the thing is…”

I feel the car pull up into some sort of driveway and slow down. “Ahh, here we are.”

I’m not sure whether to laugh or scream when I realize where we are. “McDonalds?”

“Sure, it’s my favorite restaurant. What do you want? Don’t tell me – you’re a Big Mac girl.”

As if! “Chicken McNuggets, thank you very much.” I have to admit that while some might be horrified with the mayor’s taste, I’m intrigued; thrilled that she’s so much more down to earth than she typically comes across. I probably could work for someone like her. And she’s right, Mario’d get over their little tiff soon enough.

“Glen,” she hollers to the driver. “I’ll take my usual, and please get Cynthia a 10-piece McNuggets. With fries?” she says, turning to me for the okay. I nod enthusiastically. “Large fries,” she says. “Now, what were you saying?”

“Oh.” I’m sort of having second thoughts about opening up now, but what choice do I have. If I took the job, she’d eventually notice that I was getting bigger; and my water breaking at a City Council meeting would definitely tell it all. “Well, I’m kind of expecting.”

“Expecting what, dear?”

“I’m…expecting a baby. I’m pregnant.”

“Oh!” she says, crossing her arms and sticking out her bottom lip as she chews on this information. Unsurprisingly, I can’t read her expression. She doesn’t immediately augment her response, and I’m anxious to break the silence, but I’m too scared to speak.

Glen passes back our bags of food to us, and Hanan takes a hearty bite of a handful of fries before turning to me and saying. “You should have said something earlier. I would have ordered you a 20 piece.”

Great. Just great. I always thought that sharing pregnancy news was supposed to be a happy thing. But I’m 3 for 3 with sub-par responses: my mom in denial, my friend Sandy suggesting I abort, and the mayor’s indifferent. I just hope that Mario’s reaction won’t include all of the above.

“What’d Mario say about this?”

“Nothing yet,” I admit with a sigh. “He doesn’t know.”

“Oh? You planning on keeping it?”

Why are people asking me this? “Why wouldn’t I?” It’s the most assertive I’ve ever been with her, but damn, she’s talking about my kid.

“Well, you’re telling me before you’ve even told your own husband. That sounds quite suspect if you ask me.”

“Yah, maybe. But, under the circumstances…”

She motions for me to hold on so she can take a bite of her double Quarter Pounder with cheese. I decide to start into my food as well, rather than just sitting, watching her eat, waiting for her to say something. And, with The Palm Tree still on my mind, I figure it’s the perfect place to break the good (at least to me) news to Mario. I’ll get his opinion about the mayor’s offer at that time too. Hopefully, he’ll be down to go out. And why wouldn’t he – it’s a special occasion.

Dabbing her mouth with a napkin, she catches me just after I shove a McNugget in my mouth. Whole. “You trust him?”

I chew as fast as possible, trying to get my food down so I can respond with a vehement ‘yes’! After I get a sip of my orange drink, I ask, “Why would you say that?”

“This baby takes your relationship to a new level. You need to be sure that he’s not screwing around.”

“Hanan, do you know something? Is this your way of trying to tell me something?” My heart rocks in anticipation of her answer. I feel flushed, and now even more nauseous than I was when we first hit the road. I pray that she doesn’t drop some sort of bomb on me – I’m not in any sort of mood for an earth-shattering revelation.

My breath nearly escapes me as the seconds stretch out while I wait for her answer. “No. Not at all,” she finally says. “I just have problems trusting men in general. Which explains why I’m single. Now you know a secret about me.” She winks and dives back into her burger.

Well, this is why I don’t jump to conclusions. If so, I’d have the mayor’s throat in between my two hands, shaking her and insisting that she tell me who the heck my husband was sleeping with because I know she knows. But, I’m going to get all the facts first. Then, react as appropriate.

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