It's time for some California flare :) Took it down for a bit, because I realized what awful errors it had. I apologize! Got too excited to post it.

Read. Devour. Enjoy.

Chapter 1

"Final boarding call for flight 621 for Los Angeles International Airport!"

"HERE!" I exploded past a hoard of New Yorkers and slammed my ticket in the palm of the waiting attendant. She looked mildly amused, "We were just waiting for you," she scanned my ticket, "There is no assigned seating and this is a full flight so sit in the closest seat you can find hun."

"Thanks," I gasped, readjusting my carry-on bag strap.

After nearly injuring myself and the woman right under the overhead storage-bin, I gently made my way to the back of the plane. The last possible seat was situated between a passed out business man in a white-collared suit, and-hello-a tan, tall sun bleached hair Calvin Klein model. Fortunately he was sitting in the aisle, so I could at least have a short conversation:

"Hi, could I get in there?"

He looked up from his magazine and smiled blinding white pearls, "Sure." I was momentarily star-struck before sliding in next to him, thanking whatever gods made my mom take longer than usual to attach her fake lashes.

"Thank you," I sighed and leaned my head back in relief. I made the flight and managed to grab a seat next to a gorgeous man.

"No problem," he chuckled, "Did you run into traffic too?"

"Yup, that and my mother's long beauty ritual," I frowned and rubbed my temples.

"I feel you."

"Do you?" was my immediate response.

There was a pause, "No," he laughed, "My mom is dead."

I sat right up, stirring the sleeping man next to me and managed to stutter an apology.

He grinned even wider, "Syke."

"Wow," I blushed, I tried to hide the fact that I was flustered, "Is this what Californians do to strangers they just meet?"

He immediately held out his hand for me to shake, "Ryan."

I instinctively shook it, "Eva."

"Now we're not strangers," he grinned innocently, "How-"

"Anything I can get you?" the flight stewardess, mid-20s, eagerly interrupted our conversation. Her cougar eyes locked on to Ryan. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes: yeah how about your dignity on a platter?

"No, I'm good," Ryan gestured to his magazine.

"Okay, just let me know if you want anything." There was some hidden meanings within that sentence.

I gave him an amused look.

He shrugged, having the decency to look at least half embarrassed, "Anyway, how did you know I was from California?"

"Please," I shrugged, "That tan doesn't belong here in the east coast, and everything about you screams California surfer. Plus those Rainbow flip-flops that you tucked in the side pocket of your backpack-which I suspect you'll slip on the minute we get off this plane-aren't practical if you live on the east coast for an extended period."

It was his turn to look amused, "Very good Sherlock. How would you know about Rainbows?"

"I watch television. Plus my best friend,whom I just happen to be visiting this trip, goes to school at UCLA. It's practically a dress code there. So what were you in New York for?"

He laughed once, "I had a summer internship at one of those late night talk shows. Now, it's time to go back to school."

I waited.

"What?" Ryan asked.

I sniffed, "I'm waiting for you to say 'syke'."

He threw his head back and laughed, garnering some interest from the other passengers. A few girls in front of us turned their heads, exchanged glances, and giggled. Even cracking up, he was good-looking.

"I like you!" he collected himself and ran his hand through his sun-bleached hair, "Where are you from?"

"New York City. My mom is an interior designer there," I smile.

I like you too.

Five hours later, we stepped off the plane together.

"It was a pleasure to meet you Eva," he grinned, we shook hands, "Good luck with finding your friend at UCLA."

I nodded as he turned and disappeared into the crowd. I sighed in relief, luckily our conversation didn't delve into deeper waters; mainly on the surface of things. It would be ridiculous to reveal everything, even to a good-looking stranger as him. After I had found out that he was a fan of Coldplay, our conversation took off.

I sighed and went to go look for my luggage, though most of my baggage had been shipped over before I still had a couple of two ton bags. However, the real problem was: I had absolutely no idea who I was looking for.

What I hadn't told my new 'friend' was that I was moving from New York to here, California. I also lied, I knew no one at UCLA; rather, I bought a pair of rainbows for myself to the suggestion of my culturally informed friend, Gigi. My mother was indeed an interior designer, but her new job would be taking her to Tokyo, where she would be staying in a new hotel every week.

Truthfully, it would have been awesome to experience a new culture, but it would cost me a whole year of normal school life. I wanted to attend college on time, so taking time off was just not ideal. My mother was estranged from her immediate family and my father was gone by the time I was 4. After exploring several options, we both decided that the best option would be for me to stay with her best friend from college's daughter Joey.

The problem was, I never actually met Joey before.

But, I was told to look for cowboy boots at the baggage claim.

Cowboy boots.

I thought I was going to California.

In the arrival area there were hoards of people scanning the crowd of exiting passengers. I shamelessly at the people's feet- Aha! At the back, a pair of rusted brown calf-high cowboy boots. I quickly made my way to the owner.

Joey was a gorgeous five eight brunette. Her hair was cut in a stylish bob which stopped right below her ears. She was wearing a paid shirt and a pair of weathered shorts, and of course the boots, which she rocked. When I finally maneuvered past the crowd with my baggage, I saw that she was talking to someone. I could only gawk at her companion; another handsome guy with buzzed dark brown hair. He had his hand shoved in his blue denim and wore a polo from Ralph Lauren. Another model figure. Were all men in California this good-looking?

Maybe he was her boyfriend.

They looked good together.

I saw them hug and then he turned and disappeared into the crowd.

"Eva?" she spotted me, breaking me out of my trance.

I put on my best smile, I asked hesitantly, "Joey?"

She smiled warmly, "Thought I recognized you...rocking those red Roxy jeans. Absolutely fierce." Oh yeah, that was my hint.

"Cowboy boots?" I grinned back, I liked her already.

"A little piece of home on the west coast baby!" she pulled me into a hug, "Welcome to California!" She helped me lug my bags to her blue Ford pick-up truck.

"Eva, meet Sam," she pat him, the car, on the hood, "Sam meet Eva."

"So you guys do name your cars..."

She single-handedly loaded my fifty pound bags on her bed (rear end) and slammed the door, she grinned "Only because I saved up throughout high school and half of college for him."

"Funny, I did the same thing for my camera," I tilted my head to the side, "I call him Norman."

She winked at me, starting the engine, "We're practically sisters then."

There was something peaceful driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, very picturesque; I took out my DSLR and started snapping away. Some Weezer played in the radio as Joey hummed along. It was a completely different scenery from New York: rather than high rises and sky scrapers, it was beaches and beach front houses. A different kind of beauty.

"So you like photography huh?" Joey grinned, her aviators were reflecting the passing scenery. I snapped a photo of that too.

"Whoa get my good side," she mocked a pose. I laughed and happily took a picture of her.

"Yeah, like I said, I saved up for this baby," I grinned, "The world seems so much more beautiful through these lenses."

"You're in luck," she exited the freeway, "This is probably one of the most beautiful places to live along the west coast."

We passed a sign that read:

Welcome to Laguna Beach.

I sighed.

Laguna Beach is a seaside resort and artist community in Orange County, Southern California. It has a warm Mediterranean like climate all year round and some of the most ideal swells. It's population is primarily white; recreational activities include surfing, lounging on the beach and attending its many art events. It gained fame with a popular TV show of the same name.

It is here that I have exiled myself to.

Though many would disagree with my choice of words.

Joey Sinclair is the proud owner of the "Jukebox" bar, it is the more popular, if not the most popular bar in Laguna, and attracts both local and tourist business all year round. Joey had dropped out of college during her junior year, and used most her money plus the inheritance from her deceased grandmother to buy this gem from a retired military officer. Her residence is two minutes away walking distance, where I will also be staying.

"Have to make a quick stop," she said as she turned off the engine, "You can come in and check it out if you want!"

I quickly stowed my camera back into my bag and hopped out of the car. The Jukebox was so different from the bars I was used to in the city. It looked like a renovated beach house, the walls facing the beach were replaced with sliding shutters so that the beach, which was right outside, air could flow in. Guests could sit along the rails on the patio and sip their drink while listening to the waves. The bar was paneled with warm oak and surrounded by some comfy looking bar chairs. There were also tables for some light dining. Of course, a jukebox was nestled in the corner, currently playing Beach Boys.

"We open at 7 every night," Joey hopped into the bar and took a piece of paper out, "And close at 2 am. We have guests from all over and locals, who become like family. By the way, your mom told me you wanted a job?"

"Yeah," I said, embarrassed, "I need money for my camera." And to save up for college of course.

"You can have one here...if you want," she counted a few bills, "We've always needed a waitress."

"Really? That would be awesome!" I love her, I love her so much.

"Awesome," she slammed the drawer shut and locked it, "Right now, the only ones who work here are Sal the cook and my two bartenders-"

I heard the clinking of some bottles as someone carrying two boxes, came up the stairs.

"Speak of the devil," she grinned and opened the bar door for him, "Eva, this is Elijah."

Elijah set down the box and grinned lopsidedly, his hair tousled, "Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too Elijah," I nodded, another cute one. This one had hazel eyes and black hair, and odd combination, but he was gorgeous nevertheless.

"Call me Eli," he grinned as he began to shelve the bottles.

"Okay, give me five minutes, I need to make a few phone calls," she disappeared into the kitchen.

I gingerly sat down on one of the stools and looked out at the sea, I regret leaving my camera in the car. I held my hands up to form a rectangle, capturing a small view as if I was taking a picture.

"So you're staying with Joey?" Eli suddenly asked, still placing a few bottles of rum on the shelf.

"Yup," I replied, lowering my arms, "At least for this year."

"She's awesome," Eli said, "Gave me this job last year. Won't meet anyone nicer."

"Yeah," I agreed, "I like her already."

"So where are you going to school?" Eli asked as he finished one box and began shelving the other one.

"Um, Laguna Beach High?"

Was there any another school around here?

Eli grinned, "Oh hey that's where I'm going!"

I gaped, "You're in high school?"

"That I am," he laughed and kicked the last box aside, he finally turned to fully face me, it's true, he was young enough, "I'm a junior."

"Me too," I said in disbelief, "But you work in a bar?"

"It's alright, as long as I don't drink," he winked, he took out mixer, "You want a drink?"

Back in New York, it was pretty easy getting away with a taste, but here...I bit my lip, "I don't know if I should..."

"Relax, I'll make it a virgin," he laughed, "I don't want to put my boss out of business."

I nodded.

"Pina colada coming up!" he happily went to work. While he did, our casual conversation continued.

"Who's the other bartender?" I asked, "Don't tell me you got stuck with all the heavy lifting."

He smirked, "Naw, Daniel just sleeps during the day. He closes up and cleans, I open and lift, it's convenient."

"Does he also go to Laguna Beach High?"

Eli smiled like he had a secret, "Sure does, he's also a Junior."

"Dang, doesn't Laguna Beach have rules against minors working in bars?" I leaned back in disbelief.

"Not if you know the sheriff, who happens to be my dad," he laughed and poured the drink in a glass, he placed a small umbrella in it, "On behalf of the junior class of Laguna High, as well as the staff of the Jukebox, we welcome you to California."

I take it from him and smile as I sip, I'm going to like it here already.

"Eli was nice," I sighed happily. Plus that pina collada was delicious.

Joey laughed, "Whoa girl, barely two hours in California and already boy searching. You east girls move fast!"

"It's not that," I insisted, "I'm just happy that I made a friend already."

"I'm glad you did too," she smiled as she pulled into the driveway, "I'll be honest, your mom was really worried that you wouldn't fit in. She wanted to make sure you were comfortable here."

Ugh! That woman!

"Did she?" I frowned, "What did she tell you?"

Joey once again easily pulled out my luggage. Her home was small and a cozy white house with green painted shutters. It seemed as if everything here was adorably beachy, like out of a Martha Stewart catalog. She handed me another bag, "Well, she told me that you didn't have a lot of friends, with the exception of one...Gigi? But I saw how you were with I don't really see what the problem was."

I bit my lip.


"Oh, I'm just not good at approaching people," I laughed nervously. Besides, Eli was easy to talk to, not everyone else is the same.

"Why not?" she demanded as she unlocked her door, "You're beautiful and so sweet."

Aw, I blush. "I guess, the people there and I didn't really click," I shrugged, "Maybe it will be better here."

I hoped it would.

"I'm sure it will be...besides, you always have me girl!"

I smile.

Joey then shows me to my room, it had pale green painted walls with a small desk and a twin bed. It was all was so different from my mother's strange modern style of furniture taste. It was so cozy and breezy, it was nice. I immediately collapsed on the bed.

So far, things seemed to be going well. I liked Joey, already she was the sister I never had. Eli, my new coworker also seemed very nice (and cute), plus he went to my school. There was also the other bartender, Daniel, a potential friend. Plus, I had hoped that I would one day run into Ryan again. I blushed at the thought. I'd been terrified at the thought of moving across the country; I never realized how different the coasts were.

It doesn't matter, you're still the same creepy Eva, I heard my subconscious say.

I frowned and rolled over, screamed and fell off my bed.

There was someone sitting on my desk.

"Who are you?" he snarled, I could see the bag I had set on the desk behind him-he was transparent.

By the way, I can also talk to ghosts.

Hehehe I'm really excited to write this one. It's been on my mind lately. Please tell me what you think! Also go check out my other stories!