Chapter 7: The Brunswick Zone Newspaper

Munching on a huge cheeseburger, Lucy closed her eyes in ecstasy. "Never has a burger ever tasted so good. Guys, seriously, this is the best burger. EVER.

"You say that about every burger, Lucy. And why are you eating that. Didn't you say yesterday that you will be eating salads for lunch from now on?" Kyle crumpled up a napkin and threw it at Lucy to snap her out of her trance.

Darting deathly glares at him, Lucy picked the napkin up and wiped the mayonnaise from her chin. "What are you trying to say Kyle? That I need to lose weight?"

"No, I am merely reminding you on something you so solemnly swore upon yesterday after seeing your weight on the scale."

Tossing her hair back, Lucy drained the last of her Coke. "That, my friend, is why you have no girlfriend. You do not know how to talk to girls."

Getting up from his chair, Kyle swung his backpack over his shoulder and turned to Malia saying, "I'll catch you later, okay. I don't think I can stand to look at her for one more second."

"It's a shame to have such a nice ass and yet have an asshole personality at the same time," said Lucy as her eyes followed Kyle's back out of the cafeteria. "What a waste."

Surprised at Lucy's words, Malia's eyebrows went up, "You are really something. Quite a skill you have by managing to allure boys as well as them away." Sensing Lucy's glances at her French fries, Malia gave them to her shaking her head. "Not only have you been eating so much these days, you and Kyle have been bickering over stupid stuff."

Lucy stuffer her mouth with French fries as she spoke, "It is sooooo not me, its him. Ever since he came back, he thinks he is Mr. Hot Stuff. I mean yeah he looks really good, but underneath the hot exterior is the chess and math-club geek that is bound to turn girls off." Grabbing a napkin to clean the oil from her fingers, Lucy scoffed, "Oh wow, well look at who is coming over again, Mr. Hot Stuff and Miss Prissy Princess."

Malia glanced at Lucy's line of direction and saw Mr. Hot Stuff himself walking next to the same brown-haired girl that she saw at the bleachers yesterday. Dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a red shirt, the brown-haired girl smiled at Malia and shook her hand, "Hi, Malia. You don't know me, but my name is Tina. I met up with Stephanie on the first day of school about joining the Brunswick Zone Newspaper and she assigned me under you. This the first time that I am doing anything like this and I am really excited"

Malia was surprised at Tina's friendliness and personally made a note to herself that she shouldn't really judge a book by its cover. "Wow well that's perfect. Stephanie must have been in a really good mood when you approached her, normally she doesn't let people in the Newspaper club without any experience. Here sit down and relax."

Tina propped a chair right next to Malia and Kyle took a seat next to Lucy who gave him a dirty look. Malia smiled warmly at Tina asking, "Tell me about yourself and how you became interested in The Brunswick Zone."

"I don't know where to start exactly. I just moved here and am new to this school. I have always wanted to be involved with a Newspaper club for the longest time. Right now I am a Junior and thought why not start now. Better late than never!"

"Great. I can already see that this is something that you really want to do and I am glad. Writing for Brunswick Zone takes a lot of commitment and passion, which I am sure you have. Let's start right away. I have to submit an article in by Monday for next week's issue and I would love to have your input. Maybe we can meet sometime before Monday?"

Tina began to think for a few seconds rummaging through her mind for a good time to meet. "Hmm, let's meet today after school? If you want we can meet over at my house."

"Sounds like a plan. Where do you live, Tina?"

Ripping a paper from her notebook, Tina jotted down her name, cell phone number, and address. Handing it over to Malia, Tina capped her pen. "I live in a big white and beige house, you won't miss it."

Looking at the paper, Malia nodded and said, "I am sure I won't. You live in the section of town where they just built the new houses. Also, your name is Tina Miller? Your name is familiar, do you have a brother by any chance?"

A gleaming twinkle appeared in Tina's eyes as she realized what was on Malia's mind. "Yeah, I have a brother. His name is Jake and he is in your grade if I am not mistaken. Can you see the resemblance?"

Malia looked at Tina's features, "Actually the two of you look different. He has blond hair with streaks and green eyes. But you both are tanned and tall."

Coughing loudly, Lucy smirked and said, "You are very observant and descriptive, Malia. No wonder you are such a good journalist."

Seeing the rise of embarrassment in Malia, Tina brushed off Lucy's suggestive words. "I am sure I will learn a lot from you on how to become a good journalist. See you later at my place. See you guys." Tina waved at Lucy and Kyle as she walked out of the cafeteria.

"Maybe she isn't so prissy. She is rather perky and positive …. I kind of like her." Lucy reached over for a spoon and dove into the mint ice cream before her.

"There are more things that you have to learn in life, Lucilla. Maybe I should recommend resistance and keeping up with a set goal?" said Kyle as he eyed the ice cream with distaste.

"Turn right in 30 meters" The voice from the GPS echoed through the car.

"What the heck? You can't make a right into a dead end. Why do you even bother with this cheap GPS, Lucy?" Malia leaned over to turn the GPS off.

"Listen, I have grown to become accustomed to it. There have been times when it took me to the right place." Lucy turned the steering wheel to the left and stopped the car, putting it to park. "Eureka! We are here and no kidding, we would have never missed this house. It's huge!"

Malia and Lucy looked at the newly constructed house and the nicely landscaped front lawn. "Pick me up from here at – like never. I want to live in this house forever and never leave."

"Yeah more like you never want to leave Jake's arms and bed," Lucy looked over at Malia and raised her eyebrow.

"Thanks for the ride." Malia rolled her eyes as she stepped out of the car closing the door behind her, "No need to come back, my mom is picking me up. Thanks again, Lucy."

Walking up to the long pathway, Malia glanced to the driveway where three cars were lined alongside each other. Whistling out loud, Malia admired the glossy cars, one of which was a BMW and the other a Mercedes-Benz. The third car, she recognized as Jake's car which pointed to the obvious that he was home.

Ringing the doorbell a couple of times, Malia looked at her watch. Only a few minutes late, she thought to herself.

Seconds later, the door opened and Tina came out and gave Malia a big hug. "You're here and didn't get lost! I was a little worried." Tina invited a dumbstruck Malia in, who stared in awe at the living room. "Nice isn't it? Kudos to our head decorator, my mom."

The spacious living room looked like it came from a home magazine. The room was equipped with a white leather sofa, a large-screen plasma tv, antique paintings and sculptures, and a view of the in-ground swimming pool and Jacuzzi in the back yard. Malia continued to with shock and admiration, "I don't know what to say, I have never seen anything like this in person before."

Tina shrugged her shoulder as she looked around in disinterest, "Well, what can I say? My mom likes to go overboard most of the time and so conveniently my dad pays for it. Come, let's go to the playroom." Seeing the expression on Malia's face, Tina laughed and explained herself, "It's what my mom calls it, really it's just a place where Jake and I mainly hangout."

Malia followed Tina into a room that was also spacious as the living room but without Mrs. Miller's touch. With a pinball machine in the corner, and shelves stacked with DVDs and games, Tina led Malia to the couch front of another plasma screen. "Soon enough you will see that we have way too many tvs. My mom goes overboard with the decorations and my dad goes over the limit when it comes to technology." Tina lounged on the couch, grabbing the tv remote and started to flip through the channels. Stopping on the food network, she and Malia watched on as the head chef was making chocolate desserts. "Well that did the trick. I am officially hungry now, do you want a snack or real food? I am about to go and make a pit stop to the kitchen."

"Anything is fine."

"Okie dokie. I shall be back in a few. You can open my laptop there on the table, so we can get started right away," said Tina as she dashed out of the room. Malia picked up the laptop and turned it on.

From the hallway she could hear some footsteps coming and looking through the doorway she saw Jake come in the room. He was wiping his face with a towel, shirtless with shorts and sweaty from an obvious workout.

"Tina, where did mom put the clean towels? I have no more in my room and -." Jake stopped in his tracks when he saw Malia sitting in the couch. Tina came in the room with food and nearly bumped into him.

"Move, Jake, I have food in my hands." Tina walked over to Malia placing the food before her on a small table. Jumping in the seat next to her, Tina took one look at Jack and closed her eyes, "Goodness Jake, you are half-naked and sweaty. Put your shirt on and come here and have some quesadillas, mom made them not too long ago."

Jake eyed his sister and glanced at Malia who was still in shock at the sight of him, "You didn't tell me that you were inviting anyone over."

"I am old enough to invite people without permission bro, believe it or not. You didn't even say anything to Malia. You guys know each other right?" Tina walked over to the Malia and set the tray of food on the table.

Putting on a shirt, Jake walked over to the table to grab a napkin and quesadilla. He sat in the recliner chair next to the loveseat couch where Malia and Tina was sitting. Briefly glancing at the tv for a few seconds, Jake rested his gaze on Malia and said, "Hi…How are you?"

Malia felt her palms go sweaty and she tried to calm her nerves before replying back, "Oh, I am fine. And you?"

"Good." Jake took a bite out of the quesadilla and leaned in his chair.

Disappointed with her brother's silence and lack of conversation, Tina told Malia, "Don't mind him. He really isn't one for talking. Too darn introverted, if you ask me."

Malia nodded lightly and said, "We really don't know each other that much anyway so I can understand."

Smirking slyly, Tina spoke up, "Oh nonsense Jake has talked to you before. Haven't you Jake?" Jake's eyes widened in surprise as he looked back from his sister to Malia. Tina looked back at Jake with an innocent look. "To be honest, I love your fashion sense and your make-up is subtle but always on point. Isn't she pretty, Jake?"

At this very moment, Jake could almost say that he hated his sister. This was an obvious ploy on her part to put him in this situation to make him speak up. Nervously running his fingers through his hair, Jake stammered, "Oh … I think Malia is … ah… she is really … -." Before he could he finish his sentence, Jake heard the familiar ringtone of Coldplay's "Yellow" and felt his cellphone vibrate through his shorts. "Sorry I have to take this call." Apologetically he excused himself from the room as he answered the call.

A look of annoyance crossed Tina's face as her eyes followed Jake. Put in an awkward situation, Malia coughed lightly and turned to Tina with a small smile, "Thanks for the nice words Tina. Fashion fascinates me and I hope one day I will be able to have a chance to write and become an editor for a big fashion magazine like Vogue. But first things first, I gotta tackle this newspaper and get it ready for next week. Let us try to brainstorm some ideas."

"Thanks again for coming over Malia. Not bad for a first day right?" Tina laughed softly as she waved at Malia from the door. "See you soon ok? Have a good evening." Tina waited until Malia entered her mother's car to close the front door.

"Woah stop sneaking up on me! You almost gave me a heartache Jake." Tina's eyes widened as she put her hand over her heart.

"You sneak up on me all the time Tina. Nice that I am able to repay you back." Jake shot his sister a gleaming smile as he bit into a fresh apple. "So … the girl …. I mean Malia left?"

"Yup big bro. I am truly sorry that you suffered so much and I hope your health is quickly restored now that she is gone." Tina crossed her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes. "How convenient that your phone rang right when you were about to profess your unyielding attraction to Malia. Who was it anyway? You were gone for almost two hours. "

"Justine called me. You remember her right? You know, the girl for whom I have unyielding attraction, loyalty and love for. She also says hi."

"How can I forget your sweet and precious Justine. If you can do me a favor, tell her I have nothing to say. Also next time be a man and admit that you think Malia is pretty without running away like a wuss." Tina hopped on to the sofa and started to flip through the channels. "Again there is nothing good on tv to watch."

"You watch way too much tv Tina. And for your information, I am not in the least bit interested in black girls. Anyways, the word pretty doesn't come to my mind when I see her." Inwardly, Jake thought to himself, she is beautiful.