"This is all wrong," pouted Mario Martoni, president of Decode, the biggest fashion magazine to ever grace the streets of New York. His brown eyes hardened as he looked at the exasperated girl in front of him, his moustache quivering with every breath.
"What's all wrong?" Lucy Gray asked sharply, hazel eyes alight. "It's new, intriguing, different..."
"Ah!" He grinned, swiveling around in his black leather chair to face the floor-to-ceiling windows on the opposite wall that showed off the New York City skyline. Mr. Martoni chuckled as he replied, "Decode doesn't want different, we want popular. Do you think people buy fashion magazines to see something different?"
When Lucy began to nod her head, he spoke up, "No! They buy it to see the latest trends!"
The twenty-year-old sighed and pushed a short strand of sandy blonde hair behind her ear, and adjusting her beanie. "Well, you see Mr. Martoni, I thought that an article on animal liberation laws and their relation to clothing was a perfectly appropriate topic to write about," she argued.
He just stared at her. "Animals don't have liberation rights..." Mr. Martoni shook his head, his white hair glimmering underneath the flourescent lights. "Write something that people will love. That I will love. Maybe a success story."
"On fashion?" Lucy asked increduously. "Seriously?"
"Maybe on a celebrity's fashion choices. Who knows," Mr. Martoni pitched. "Just don't write the crap you are now." He shoved the manila envelope that held the article Lucy had written it to Lucy, who simply smiled politely and left the office.
"Every week, it's always the same!" Lucy said angrily. She was sitting outside of her favorite New York cafe, A Slice of Heaven, where they served the best pizza on that side of the city. Across from her was her longtime friend (and law school major) Stephen Humphries, who was staring at her in stunned silence.
"He always wants me to write an article, but when I do, it's never good enough! I mean, next time, just don't write an article at all!" Lucy ranted, then bit down on a piece of pizza. Stephen handed her a napkin, his blue eyes twinkling.
"If you didn't write an article, you'd loose your job," he reminded softly. He ran a hand through his long, soft brown hair (it came down to his eyebrows) and grinned at her as she glared at him.
"That's true, but I don't like it. I want to be a journalist, not a stupid fashion magazine writer," she glared. (Her poor glass of water had to suffer the wrath of a skinny, petite girl who couldn't even drink yet.)
Stephen simply looked at her and answered calmly, "Your job isn't stupid, it's simply the pathway to a better job, one you like more."
That was one of the things about Stephen that infuriated Lucy- he never lost his cool. Never. She'd never seen him raise his voice, cry, scream, or yell (all of which Lucy did on a daily basis). She looked at the six foot tall man opposite her and said, "I hate my job, don't convince me otherwise. And tell me again why you are going into law? You should be a therapist."
"Being your friend is like a full-time therapist job," Stephen joked. Lucy grinned and grabbed another breadstick.
"This reminds me of high school, except we were dorky in high school," she said suddenly. "I still wear the same clothes!" Lucy added, looking at her green tights and brown, flowing dress, paired with boots and lots of acessories.
"Yeah, and I'm still smarter than you," Stephen stated.
"That'll never change. Your kids will be geniuses," Lucy gestered wildly, as if trying to illustrate the future. "And you'll be a rich lawyer in Manhattan with two kids and a blonde wife who can bake."
Stephen laughed at the out-of-the-blue statement. "Hmm. You'll be a journalist, roughing it, with an ugly husband and about four kids in a ratty apartment, struggling to make ends meet," he said, trying to keep a straight face.
Lucy frowned. "What?"
Stephen burst out laughing. "You are so gullible."
Another thing that infuriated Lucy- she believed anything he said, so he tricked her often. "Stop it!" Lucy laughed. "I have to go home. Don't stay out partying too late."
"I won't," Stephen rolled his eyes. "I won't..." he mumbled, watching her go.
This is the introduction to the story. Reviews are considered polite in most societies.