Ok, I've decided to add another love story up here...I wasn't going to, but what the heck, here it goes...


Chapter One

It wasn't hot, but for Carmen Winslow who loathe the heat, the day sweltered.

She was sitting in the shade of a black maple tree with a group of friends. She was wearing a straw hat and a pair of sunglasses which were the highlight of their conversation.

"Girl, take them things off," Lynette said, annoyed. "You ain't gonna die from a little ray of sunshine."

"Leave her alone, Lynnie," Matty said in her light, soft voice, "you know she just tryin' to keep her complexion just right for Mr. Danny Jackson."

Kitty and Joann laughed. Carmen scowled.

"No, I ain't. Danny Jackson ain't go nothing to do with it. I just don't like the temperature, that's all," she justified herself. The other girls exchanged incredulous glances.

"Mm hmm," Lynette murmured. "Well, see about that. Hey, Danny1" she hollered, waving at a group of boys who were sitting at a picnic table twenty yards away from them. "Hey, Danny, come here!"

Carmen felt her face grow hot and she immediately began to fan herself. The other girls looked at her smugly, and not wanting to admit defeat, she said,

"The temperature must be rising or something."

They all rolled their eyes and turned their heads toward Danny's picnic table. The tall, light skinned boy was coming. Carmen lowered her hand just as he reached him.

"What you want, Lynette?" he asked softly.

"Oh nothing," she answered, clearly enjoying the boy's attention. "Just wanted to say hi, that's all."

Danny looked confused, gazing at everyone else, finally resting his hazel eyes on Carmen who was looking elsewhere.

"Hey, Carmen," he said.

She started, but quickly brought herself back together.

"Hey, Danny. How ya doin'?"

"Good, you?"

"Same here."

There was an awkward silence before-

"Oh!" It was Kitty. "Carmen was wondering if you wanna go the tonight's party with her."

Carmen threw the outspoken girl a surprised glance, the heat rising so high in her face that it numbed her.

"Yeah, sure. I'd love to."

"Really?" Carmen asked, not believing her luck.

"Yeah. I'll pick you up at...nine."

"All right," Carmen smiled her famous dazzling smile. Danny looked flustered and walked away.

"Danny-ain't-got-nothing-to-do-with-it, my ass," Lynette said, and everyone busted out laughing.


The girl's laughter stopped and she looked around to see who was calling her.

"Carmen, girl, get over here1" It was her mother.

"Ooh, girl, you in trouble," Kitty murmured.

"I didn't do anything," Carmen claimed, standing up. "Comin', Ma!"

She walked across the grass, toward the picnic tables, where her mother sat with a white lady and her son.

"Yes, ma'am?" Carmen said politely when she reached the picnic table.

"Well, sit down," her mother, Casey, ordered gently. Carmen obeyed. "Carmen, you remember Miss Julie and her boy, Wesley, don't you?" Casey asked, looking at the pair that sat across from them. Carmen followed her mother's gaze, her eyes resting on the petite lady with brown hair and a boy, about her age, with dyed dark green eyes and pierced ears. She nodded, consenting that she recalled them.

"Well, they're moving back next door now that they decided to say down here. Ain't that right, Julie?"

"Sure is," Miss Julie replied. She turned her light brown eyes on Carmen. "My, but you've sure have grown, Miss Carmen, and you're right pretty, too, from what I can see of your face."

"Take off those glasses, so Miss Julie can see your face," Casey demanded and Carmen obeyed grudgingly.

"You have beautiful eyes, Carmen. Why do you them behind shades?"

Carmen shrugged, looking away. Casey was about to scold her when her husband called her and Julie over to play horseshoes wit him. After they had gone, Wesley spoke up.

"Haven't changed at all, have you? You're still shy and antisocial as you were when you was ten years old."

Carmen looked at him and smiled softly.

"Wish I could say the say 'bout you. What are you, some kind of punk?"

"Not exactly," he replied. "I'm what you call an individual. I like to express myself."

"Me too," Carmen informed, putting her shades back on. "'Cept I don't actually draw attention to myself."

"Yeah?" Wesley narrowed his eyes." Then why do have this huge straw hat on for?" He reached across the table and snatched it off her head. She gasped and started grabbing at it, but he held it out of her grasp. Enraged, she stood up, walked to the other side of the table, and tried again to retrieve her hat. But Wesley was too fast for her. He jumped on the table, waving the hat above his head.

"Come and get it, Miss Carmen," he teased her.

Desperation overtook her, for the sun was beginning to be an irritation, and she leapt onto the table, in front of Wesley.

He lowered his arm and held the hat over to the side. She snatched at it, but he switched hands. She sighed, frustrated.

"Well, maybe you haven't changed, 'cause you're still the mean jerk of a bully you were five years ago."

Wesley laughed. "So, that's what you think of me?"

"Yes!" Carmen screamed, extremely angry now. She gave him a shove, causing him to lose his balance and drop the hat. He, then, fell and brought Carmen down with him. Somehow, he landed on top.

"Very mature of you, Carmen," Wesley said, shaking his head and putting his weight on his elbows. "The only thing you managed to hurt was your beautiful dress which is now extremely dirty. What's your dear old mother going to say?"

Irate, Carmen grabbed Wesley's shoulders and rolled over, so she was on top.

"She'd say kick the little boy's tail who made my dress dirty!"

"No, she wouldn't--" he rolled her over-- "she'd say big girls don't go pushing people off picnic tables because of some stupid little hat."

"The hat's not stupid," she retorted, trying to roll him over but he was putting all his weight on her. "It's crucial!"

"What, like the shades?" He took them away from her face.

"What's wrong with you, huh? Why couldn't you just have let me alone?"

"'Cause I missed you too much--"

"Carmen, Wesley, what are you two doing?" Casey asked, towering over them.

"Playin'?" Carmen replied weakly and Casey glowered.

Wesley was smart enough to get off her and she stood up.

"Look at you," her mother exclaimed. "You're all a mess."

"Sorry about that, Mrs. Winslow. It was my fault," Wesley said as he handed Carmen he hat and glasses he had picked up.

"No, it wasn't," Carmen corrected quickly. " I pushed him off the table."

"But I took her hat."

"After I had teased him."

"After I had teased her."

"All right, all right," Casey said, tired of hearing them take up for one another. "Just...be good from now on."

"Yes, ma'am," they both said with bowed heads. Casey left them, shaking her head as she walked away.

"You didn't have to do that," Wesley said, sitting back down at the table.

"Neither did you," she replied, putting her sun-repellant gear back on, then sitting down beside him.

They sat in silence for a while.

"I'm glad y'all came back, Wes," Carmen said somberly.

"Yeah," Wesley replied, smiling at her. "Me too."

And all of this was watched by the eagle eyes of Danny Jackson.