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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

Jina drags herself to the bathroom at 6:58 a.m., wondering what possible potions her sister Diane might have stashed away in the medicine cabinet to mend her under-eye baggage. She’d always been an in-bed-by-ten-o’clock kind of gal, sure to get her requisite eight hours of sleep each night. But waiting for Diane to return home from her birthday date kept her tossing and turning, finally succumbing to a fit of light sleep around 3:30. Now starting a new morning, she was irked that Diane still hadn’t returned and also was dreadfully exhausted, wondering if she should use a sick day for the first time in her brief teaching career.

After brushing her teeth and swallowing two ibuprofens without any water, she makes her way to the kitchen, hoping she’ll be able to figure out how to brew a pot of coffee. Not much of a connoisseur, she usually grabbed a cup from the machine in the faculty lounge. Today, however, there was no way she’d even be able to get dressed without some caffeine, the part of her brain controlling both hand-eye coordination and style needing a jolt.

It’s when she finally figures out the secret to Diane’s fancy one-cup, push-button pod contraption that the front door opens. Things don’t look good from Jina’s perspective. Her sister is grinning uncontrollably and has tousled morning hair.

She knew Diane wouldn’t do it. She didn’t break up with him. She’s staying with a pathetic, freeloading loser, and a lying one at that. Jina couldn’t believe that things were that bad out there. Was there really that much of a dearth of black men in Southern California…in the U.S., that she’d settle for one who wouldn’t even place in a mediocrity contest? Of course, she should know – Jina was out there herself, in a dating drought of record proportions. Since moving to Buena Beach a year ago, there hadn’t been one single prospect, barring the old drunk guy that begged equally for money and sex outside the liquor store near her school. The only person that had sparked her interest was one of her colleagues from Buena Beach High, Eddie. But her friend Alice sort of had claim to him. They hadn’t gone out or anything, but the two of them had a little flirtation thing going on, so she considered him off limits.

So, new plans were in order. She’d finally come to grips with the fact that she wasn’t quite over her ex-extraordinaire – Diane’s Jonathan. This weekend, she’d come to the conclusion that the only choice she had was to reconcile with him once he and Diane broke up, no matter the consequence or fallout.

But desperate times begot desperate women, she supposed. Diane’s last words to her on Monday had been: “This clown better show me the time of my life tonight, and give me a birthday present worth at least fifty bucks, or I’m kicking him to the curb.” Jina had been prepared to hear all about how Di had fired his ass, even springing for a bottle of wine to celebrate her sister’s newfound single status for the two of them to enjoy once Diane returned. But looked like she’d be chugging the wine by herself later this evening, drowning her sorrows alone.

“I was starting to worry about you,” Jina says as Diane takes a seat atop of a barstool on the opposite side of the kitchen counter from her younger sibling.

“Awww, that’s sweet,” Diane tells her. “Hey, can you hook me up with a cup, please? I’m gonna die at work today.”

Serves you right, Jina thinks to herself. “Sure.”

“Sooo, do you want to hear about my night?” Diane asks, hardly able to sit still.

With her back to Diane, Jina mouths the word “No” while slipping another pod inside the coffee maker. Once she pushes a button and the machine starts to whirr, Jina turns back around, lifting an eyebrow to Diane. “Of course I do.” She leans against the kitchen cabinets, crossing her arms.

“Well,” Diane begins, spreading her hands across the tiled countertop. “He picked me up in a pimped out Benz. I don’t know – I guess he borrowed it or something…”

Jina figures it’s his stepfather’s. She’s been in it before. They did…stuff…in there before.

“Anyway. He takes me to my favorite restaurant in the world….”

Cheesecake Factory, Jina says to herself with an invisible eye roll.

“…The Cheesecake Factor. The one in Beverly Hills! Then, we went to this jazz club a block down from there. Sat in the front row. Had some drinks. Then, we went to his place. And he gave me this.” She lifts her wrist and dangles the shiny, bejeweled bracelet wrapped around it.

Jina fails at hiding her shock and disbelief. “Oh my… Wow. That’s…that’s beautiful.”

“I know. Can you believe it?”

Actually, she couldn’t. This was unfathomable. Why would Jonathan screw up his research like that? It didn’t make any sense.

“Jin, it was the best night of my life, I swear. He was perfect. More than perfect. He even said he had a job lined up. It was…better than I could have dreamt.”

Jina is absolutely speechless. Diane is still so entranced that she doesn’t pick up on her sister’s demeanor, now sullen. After handing Diane her cup of coffee, Jina quietly excuses herself and heads to the bathroom, grabbing her phone off the kitchen table on the way there.

Safe behind the locked door, she types out a text message to Jonathan’s number, hoping he’s still awake after his whirlwind night out with Diane.

Wat hppnd? Y did u tak her out?

Within 20 seconds, her phone beeps indicating she has a message.

had 2. herd she wuld brk up w me if i didnt come thru

His response is enough to double both Jina’s pulse and body temperature.

But will ruin ur research…yes?

no. research is complete

“What?” Jina says aloud, deciding she may want to do the unthinkable and call him. But perhaps she should get clarification first.

so y r u still dating her?

It may have just been 30 seconds, but it seems like ten minutes tick by, and still nothing. She finally tells herself that a watched phone never beeps, placing it on the counter, deciding to floss her teeth to kill a little time. Deep into her lower back molars, she finally hears the phone. Scrambling to reach for it, she accidentally knocks it to the floor causing the battery to pop out.

“You okay in there?” she hears Diane call out from the kitchen, but she doesn’t respond. With impatience, she puts the phone back together, powers it on, and navigates her way to her Text InBox.

By now, there are two messages, both from Jon. The first reads:

i luv her

And then…

im sorry

With all her might, Jina takes her phone and sends it crashing to the floor, this time rendering it irreparable, shattering it into dozens of pieces.

Yes, she’d definitely have to use a sick day today.

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