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chapter two: l.a. living

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"We buy things we don't need, to impress people we don't like."

~Fight Club

Kelsey felt like she was locked in a movie scene.

Sandy's convertible was slowly making its way down the freeway that was lined with palm trees.

Wind tossed Kelsey's hair into disarray and the smell of sunscreen and salt made her shiver, though it was eighty degrees outside.

She'd forgotten her sunglasses in her carry-on, which would have made the scene perfect, but her eyes were closed anyway.

"Is it everything you'd imagined?" Sandy asked, as they came to yet another halt in traffic.

"It's perfect," Kelsey sighed, "and I've only been here for, what? Two hours?"

She smoothed out her skirt before kicking off her sandals and tucking her legs beneath her.

"So how's your blog going?" Kelsey asked, squinting against the sun. "I saw that you got sponsored by that Etsy store the other day."

"Even better!" Sandy squealed, placing a hand on Kelsey's arm. "Sandy in Southern California is being sponsored by Etsy itself! They invited me to open a booth at their conference in November."

"No way!" Kelsey laughed, squeezing her friend's hand. "That's so exciting!"

"I know! I know!" Sandy exhaled. "And if Alex ever proposes, we'll have enough money for our dream wedding!"

Kelsey's excitement faltered. Alex was Sandy's reason for moving to California. Kelsey had only met him once, and based on the way he rummaged through her family's refrigerator without asking and slept on the couch for the entire visit, she wasn't impressed. But Sandy had stuck with him for four years now, so Kelsey had already told herself to give him another chance.

"I'm so happy for you," Kelsey said, "Really. I guess it was worth saying goodbye to you in Kansas."

Sandy gave a dramatic sigh. "It was so hard trading the cornfields and tornado sirens for white beaches and sunny skies, believe me."

It had taken Sandy approximately two months to fit in with the Californians. It had been like an overnight transformation when she left with brown hair and fair skin, to the picture she'd sent Kelsey with bleached locks and a spray-tan. Ever since she'd taken on the persona of a typical beach-babe for her blog, Sandy's personality had changed as well, though Kelsey had learned to love the new her. There was still the old Sandy in there, the one that used to conduct mud fights and raise tadpoles, but Kelsey knew her ambitions had changed drastically.

Traffic finally wriggled free and soon they were speeding down the road, ocean breeze caressing their skin.

People lined the sidewalks, most of them in yoga pants or v-neck t-shirts. Colorful stores stood behind them with open doors, and a food truck was parked at almost every corner.

Sandy laughed at Kelsey every time she vocalized her shock at the gigantic houses they passed by.

"And despite what you've heard, there isn't a movie star everywhere you look. I think I've only seen three since I've been here," Sandy said.

Kelsey repressed a grin. "Really? You never see any famous people?"

"I mean, you can go hunt them down." Sandy rolled her eyes. "But you're not rubbing elbows with Beyoncé every Tuesday."

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