Life As I Know It: Chapter One

I am as normal as any person could possibly be.

Rich, famous, and fabulous, that's what a lot of people think when they hear that I live in the beautiful and sunny Los Angeles, an hour away from desert, beach, or mountain snow depending on which direction you drive. There are huge houses and fancy cars everywhere you go. You are just as likely to bump into a celebrity as you are to bump into an old classmate. It's the place were people pay over a hundred dollars for a haircut and over a thousand dollars for a purse. In a place like this, the people must be all that, if not more.

But they're so very wrong. I am definitely not rich, famous, or fabulous. I am as normal as any person could possibly be. I go to school, I work, I eat, I sleep; I basically do normal things. Sure, I live in Los Angeles, but that's really nothing extraordinary when you consider how many people live in this overpopulated place. I drive a normal little car and live in a small apartment. I pay fifteen dollars for my haircuts and splurge only about forty dollars for a purse, if I'm lucky.

And you know what? I'm perfectly ok with that. Being normal is good enough for me. But of course, you never really get what you want, do you?

"I'm working, Jacob," I shouted over my shoulder, without even bothering to glance at my best friend.

He always showed up unexpectedly at my work, and I hated it, not that he ever cared what I thought when it came to things like this. Fortunately, I was Will's best waitress and he liked me enough to overlook Jacob's existence as long as it didn't get in the way of his business. But still, it seemed awfully unprofessional to have him hanging around the restaurant.

"Hello to you too, Sophia," he greeted with a frown, sitting on a chair in the kitchen that was strategically placed out of everyone's way. The stupid chair should've just had Jacob's name on it.

"I'm busy!" I told him, trying to balance the platter on my hand.

"Of course you are, aren't you always?" I heard him grumble as I slipped through the swinging door to deliver someone's order.

That was actually a pretty good point. My life pretty much revolved around school and work, and my poor best friend was suffering for it. The only time I really ever saw him these days was when he came by work. If he could, he'd probably drop by my classes too, but he was mainly afraid of my professors and what they'd do to him if he dared to interrupt their lectures. I probably would be too.

"I'm sorry, Jacob," I sighed, feeling genuinely guilty as I returned to the kitchen, "If I could, I would hang out with you all day and night, but you know I really need the money. I still need to pay for my books and I told you about my car breaking down again, right? That thing is a stupid piece of crap."

He frowned and shook his head of shaggy blonde hair, "No, you didn't. Shame on you for not telling me sooner! Did you get the stupid thing checked yet, or do you need me to do it?"

"I already got it looked at," I sighed, suddenly feeling tired, "But thanks for the offer, Jake. I know I should've told you sooner, so sorry about that."

"It's fine. Well, what's wrong with it this time?"

"This time, the entire engine is shot. It's going to cost me a pretty penny to get it fixed, but it might be cheaper for me to just get a new car altogether!" I exclaimed, shuddering as I thought about it, "I've been using my mom's but she's going to need it on Monday and I don't know how I'll survive without a car."

For those of you who don't know, living in LA and not having a car is one of the worst possible situations ever. Well, maybe not the worst, I can think of a large number that would ultimately be worse, but it's definitely not a fun situation to be in. We have really lousy public transportation on top of the extremely hellish traffic. I know there are plenty of people without cars in this city, but it just seems impossible to be able to survive without one.

To my surprise, Jacob flashed a pretty broad grin, "Well, I actually have the perfect solution to your problems, my darling Sal. That's why I decided to grace you with my presence today."

"Do you now?" I scoffed, rolling my eyes at his stupid nickname for me.

Only a boy could turn my elegant sounding name into something as brutish as Sal. My mother would probably have a fit if she heard him calling me that, and I don't blame her. Sal is not flattering at all for anyone, let alone a young lady. But then again, I knew that if he was using it, he had something good up his sleeve. I guess it was just a bit of a tradeoff between us and honestly, it didn't really bother me that much anymore.

"Yes, I really do. Just call me your knight in shining armor that you love and adore more than anyone else in the whole entire world!" he assured me, throwing his arm over my shoulders.

"Alright, Mr. Knight in shining armor, what is this solution that is so perfectly brilliant that you had to interrupt my work to share?" I asked, trying not to sound as curious as I felt, "Hurry because I have to go check on my tables."

"Well, do you remember when I took you with me to my cousin's wedding?" he asked, ignoring the sarcasm in my tone.

"Took me? More like dragged me!" I scoffed, interrupting him.

Don't get me wrong, I adore Jacob's family with every fiber of my being. They're all good people who treat me like I'm part of the family as well, but every single one of them thought that I was in love with Jacob or something. I'm definitely not. Sure, the thought had crossed my mind on more than one occasion. How could it not? It was, after all, the biggest cliché of all.

But when it all comes down to it, Jacob will only ever be a best friend and pseudo brother to me. A boy and a girl can most definitely be just friends, no matter what other people think. Jacob and I were obvious proof of that.

That wedding had been an excruciatingly long night. I had tried to explain that weddings are something for couples, not for best friends, but of course, he never listens. As far as he's concerned, weddings are torturous affairs, and as his best friend, I was obligated to suffer along with him. And as a result, there were several of his relatives asking if Jacob and I would be next to get married. A traumatizing experience, I assure you.

Jacob shot me a dirty look before swatting my head lightly, "What the hell is the point of having a girl best friend if she won't accompany me to stupid events like weddings? Honestly, Sophia, can't you just be a nice girl for me once in a while?"

"Hey!" I cried, gingerly rubbing the spot that Jacob had hit, "I am a nice girl! Don't be a bully, Jacob!" I would normally try to hit him back, but I knew that it would only hurt me more than it hurt him, so I didn't even bother.

"Anyways," Jacob continued, ignoring my cry of pain, "The groom's brother, John, is a casting director for some television studio and he told me that he's looking for a beautiful, young, exotic looking brunette for a new role on one of his shows. I told him I knew the perfect girl."

I narrowed my eyes at him before rolling them dramatically, "Honestly, Jacob, I thought you said you had a good idea. This idea is absolutely ridiculous. I need to get back to work now."

Before he could protest, I ducked out of his hold and rushed back into the main dining area to tend to my customers. The rush had just ended, so now there were only a few lingering groups and a couple who had just walked in. It wasn't terribly busy for me now, but I lingered around the main area anyways. Jacob probably wouldn't be dropping his idea anytime soon and I really wasn't in the mood to listen to it.

Unfortunately, my best friend knew me way too well because he suddenly walked in through the front entrance and plopped directly into the middle of my area. The taunting smile he flashed me obviously meant that he knew I couldn't avoid him now. I forget why I'm friends with this evil guy in the first place.

"Hello sir," I said icily, "May I take your order?"

"Yes ma'am, you may," he chuckled, scanning the menu slowly. I wasn't sure why he was bothering with the show. Like me, knew that menu better than his own reflection; a sure sign that I had been working here for way too long. Jacob was just being a stupid, annoying, immature boy and was enjoying it way too much.

"Well?" I hissed, impatiently.

"Well, for starters, you can go with me to Ace studios tomorrow and audition for the role of Stephanie Porter," he finally said in his most casual tone, not even bothering to look up at me.

"What?" I managed to mutter, after my initial surprise and confusion, "Jacob, please don't start this with me right here and right now."

"Come on! I promised John I'd bring him the perfect girl for the role! You're perfect, Soph! Can't you just do it for me?" he pleaded, looking up at me with his best innocent puppy face. I hated that face.

"Jake," I whined, "I really can't! I don't have time to waste like that! I don't even get the chance to watch television! I'm only going to make a fool out of myself."

The other customers started giving us strange looks. I couldn't blame them. It did seem a bit odd for their waitress to be acting like she was less than half her age. I straightened up and feigned a smile.

"Sophia Antoinette," he replied, suddenly the epitome of seriousness.

I hated it when he called me that. I just hated my whole name, period. It was even worse than Sal, in my opinion.

"It's just an hour or so of your time and I happen to know that you won't have school or work at the precise time of the audition," Jacob insisted, bringing me back to the subject at hand, "I'll pick you up and take you home after. Trust me, if you get the role, it'll be worth your time. If you wanted to, you could probably get a brand new car, pay of your tuition, and stop working here. And if you don't get the role, at least you got to spend some time with your best bud."

"But who the hell is Stephanie Porter? What show is it? If the audition is tomorrow, how will I ever be ready for it?" I asked, incredulous. I don't know how my best friend comes up with these hideously asinine ideas, but if I was forced by torture to confess, I would say that I was a bit intrigued by the prospect of the financial gain.

"Actually, I don't know the details," he admitted with a shrug, "I just heard the description of who they needed. But I know it is legitimate stuff, nothing outrageous. There's no nudity or any extreme stunts, and it's supposed to be a pretty popular show with amazing reviews."

"Jeez Jacob, I'm not an actress! I don't know anything about that stuff. What makes you think I can even do this?" I complained softly, knowing that my resolve was slowly breaking.

"Well, you were in a few plays back in high school!" he argued, as if that was all the experience anyone would ever need.

"Oh right," I snorted, rolling my eyes once again, "Because I'm so sure that that'll look great on my resume."

"You were really good in them, Soph! And they always gave you lead roles! Don't even try to act modest, because I watched you and you were a great actress. Besides, you used to want to be an actress!" he reminded me, scowling at my sarcasm.

"Yes, but that was when I was young, stupid, and delusional," I scoffed, remembering those days. They seemed way too far in the past to count for anything. "I'm sure most girls have dreamt of becoming actresses or singers, but most of them never do. It's not really that big of a deal."

Putting down his menu, Jacob glared at me, "I'd like a coke and a pastrami sandwich. That's all, thank you."

I frowned, knowing that he was now upset with me. He could be a real child sometimes, and now was definitely one of those times. Shaking my head, I walked away from him to put in his order.

Sometimes, I just had to wonder what was going on in that psychotic brain of his. If I thought really hard, there were many good reasons why he was so near and dear to me, but these little 'fits' of his was not one of them. Jacob could sulk for days until he finally got his way, and I knew that since he didn't have days to sulk, it would be ten times worse than normal.

I sighed, knowing that I would give him his way eventually. No one could ever really say no to Jacob Pearson, whether they knew him well or not. Back in high school, he was even voted the Cutest and Mr. Personality. It was understandable really; Jacob had those innocent blue eyes and touchable blonde hair. He even had dimples and a great smile. Most people just found him irresistible in one way or another.

I don't actually remember how we even became friends. I remember him dating one of my friends and that was when we started talking. After they broke up, he and I continued to talk and hang out. Eventually, I stopped talking to that friend, but I never stopped talking to good old Jacob. He's been there for me for ages now, through everything, just like I always was for him. It was actually pretty good to have him around, and to be honest, I really hated it when he was upset with me.

Anyways, I really didn't want to do the stupid audition because I knew it would be a waste of time. There was nothing spectacular about me that would make me stand out more than any other girl. Sure, I didn't think I looked bad, but there were so many other girls who were more beautiful, more outgoing, more fashionable, and more talented than I was. There was just no reason for them to choose me. I didn't even have any professional acting experience.

Reluctantly, I told my coworker that I'd be taking my break before bringing out Jacob's food and sitting down across from him. By this time, the restaurant, especially my area, was mostly empty. I stayed silent, waiting for him to go ahead speak first. I knew he would start eventually, and besides there really wasn't anything that I had to say to him at the moment.

"I know what you're thinking, Sophia," he finally said, shaking his head as he watched me, "But you really are the most beautiful girl in the world and I know that they'll love you, because you are talented and capable of anything. I have no doubt that you will get the role and become super famous and have enough money to buy me a car for my birthday and a boat for Christmas."

His compliment was touching and I couldn't help but smile. Throughout the years, Jacob had been my own personal morale booster, always knowing exactly what to say and when to say it. At just the right moment, he'd tell me how much he loved my long black hair because it was so full and silky, or he'd say how beautifully violent my brown eyes were, or he'd remind me that my smile was capable of lighting up a room.

Occasionally, he'd jokingly tell me that if he had to be a girl, he'd want to look like me. He really was the greatest best friend a girl could ask for, despite any complaints I had. I guess that's one of the many reasons why I loved him.

And on that note, how could I refuse him? I sighed dramatically despite my smile, "Alright, Jacob. Let's just pretend that I'm actually agreeing to this whole thing. What exactly will I have to do?"

The smile Jacob gave me was blinding. He was obviously thrilled that he was getting his way, and it was enough to make me want to storm off while stomping my feet as childishly as possible. Then again, how could I possibly dampen his radiating happiness? It would've been like telling a kid that there was no Santa Clause.

"Well, John told me to bring you to Ace studios and tell them that we're friends of his to audition for the role of Stephanie Porter. They'll tell us where to go from there," Jacob said, and I could tell that he'd been repeating this to himself several times, "Then, you go in and read a monologue of your choice for them. Then, if they like you, they'll ask you to read a scene from the script, and you'll be done."

"That's it?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at him.

"That's it," he repeated, "And John does kind of remember you from the wedding. He definitely remembers that you're gorgeous and outgoing, so you already have one up on the competition."

"He remembers me?" I replied, surprised. I struggled to remember meeting a John at that wedding, but remembering all of Jacob's family members was difficult enough without trying to remember the extended members as well.

"You're hard to forget, Sal," he countered, giving me a look that told me he was dead serious.

I felt a slight blush rise in my cheeks, "And you mentioned the financial gain of doing this, how much will I be getting paid if I get the part?"

"I don't know exact numbers," he confessed, "But it's a regular role in a popular series so it'll be more than enough, I assure you, and definitely more than you're making here. And if all goes well, this can open so many doors for you and really help you out, Soph. It's nothing but good."

"And what about school?" I asked, "How much time is this acting going to take?"

"Well, I'm sure John will be flexible," he sighed, "Probably a few nights a week, plus the publicity stuff. They might also fly you out to different cities and stuff, but I don't see how that'll be a bad thing."

I summed it all up in my head. I was working at the restaurant almost every night and was just barely getting by. According to Pascal's Wager Argument, doing the audition would be the most beneficial and wisest choice. If I went, I'd be risking little with the possibility of the most gain. I guess it really wouldn't hurt and the perks really did sound amazing.

"The nerd in you is showing," Jacob teased, studying my thoughtful expression, "I know how you get, Soph. Stop analyzing it to death when you already know you should go."

"Alright, fine, I'll go to the stupid audition," I decided, glaring up at Jacob, "But if I don't get it, I reserve the right to say 'I told you so', ok?"

"Ok! Whatever you want," he agreed, looking as happy as a kid in a room full of free toys, "As long as you promise to get me that car and boat if you do get it. Don't forget the little people, especially me, ok? Oh, and if you get to go to really cool places, take me with you."

I rolled my eyes at him, but I couldn't help my laughter, "Ok, but for the record, Jacob, you are anything but one of the little people."

He chuckled a little in response and gave me another one of his brilliant smiles. Apparently, my consent was all he needed to begin stuffing his poor face with the gigantic pastrami sandwich that I had brought out for him.

Feeling quite disgusted, I scrunched up my nose and decided that it was time to get back to work. Boys can be so gross sometimes, no matter how old they get. Jacob, and every other boy for that matter, is all the evidence we'd ever need of that fact.

And now, I just needed to get myself prepared for what tomorrow had in store for me.

Couldn't you just sense the joy I was radiating? Yeah, me neither.

Author's Note: New story! Tell me what you think, please. I need all the encouragement I can get.