A/N: Alrighty, my dear readers. Here's my newest creation. I have the first couple chapters written from over Thanksgiving holidays, and I'm working on more. Decided to try something new, so let me know if you like it (or don't like it!). Tear this one apart, lovies, review with your utmost cruelty so I can improve.

--RLB

(Rating for non-socially acceptable ideas)


Raindrops danced down the windowpane. Two came together, waltzed a minute, then split off again. One found a new partner and picked up a fast salsa step. Another raindrop joined and they tumbled down the glass.

Emmabelle traced a lonely drop with her finger. It never colided with any others, never fused into a new drop. She loved the rain, loved the smell of it in the air, loved the refreshing torrent on her skin. Rain always played her emotions out too. When she was happy, the rain celebrated with her. During sad times, like now, the rain joined her tears.

She was contemplating love, that heavy subject that always pulled her down. Since middle school, she'd had more boyfriends than she cared to count. They all chased after her since she was what they call "beautiful". What bothered her was the lack of a connection, the wondrous love that people told her about. Why could she never find it?

Just beyond her rain splattered window, she saw a woman struggling to open an umbrella. It made Emmabelle smile. By the time the woman got the umbrella open, she would be drenched. It would be simpler to just run through the rain to the cover of building on the other side of the street.

The waiter cleared his throat and Emmabelle snapped her gaze away from the window.

"Are you all done, ma'am?" His tone was perfectly polite, but his eyes seemed to be ravenously eating her up.

She nodded and snatched the bill from him, "I'll pay up front."

"You want to write your number on that for me?"

Emmabelle scowled, "No, and be glad I don't tell your manager about that."

He glared at her and stomped away. Hurrying to the front of the diner, she paid and left. The rain cheered her some as it soaked her clothes and weighted her dark hair.

Suddenly laughing, she lifted her face up to the heavy clouds and spun around. The rain washed away her troubles.

"Well I was going to offer to share my umbrella, but it seems you have no use for it."

Emmabelle stopped twirling to locate the voice. It was the woman she'd seen out her window. The umbrella was open now, but the woman underneath was all wet. Her hair frizzed with the damp, and water droplets magnified the freckles across her nose.

"No, I suppose not. Thanks for the offer, thought. That's very kind of you." Emmabelle smiled and gave a small nod of her head. Socially acceptable again.

"Yeah, well, it probably will never happen again. I'm not nice all that often." The woman shrugged, sending water down her sleeves, "It's always good to be reassured that kindness is not needed."

Her voice was slick with sarcasm and for some reason it made Emmabelle smile.

"I'm Emmabelle Mills."

"Well isn't that lovely." The woman turned and began to walk away.

"Aren't you going to introduce yourself?" Emmabelle followed after the woman.

Again the woman shrugged, "I don't see why it would be of any consequence. We'll probably never meet again, so what use would names be?"

"Humor me."

"Fine. I'm Starla Lark. I live in a tiny apartment of Carson Street. I sign my name with five-pointed stars. My favorite color is cerulean blue. I love Billy Joel. I listen to records. My favorite princess is Cinderella. Any more irrelevant details you desire?"

Emmabelle was laughing. Starla spoke in a matter-of-fact tone, straightforward and seemingly dead serious. However, at seeing Emmabelle's laughter, she cracked a smile, "So tell me your irrelevance."

"Well, I love the rain. I was having a bad day, but now I can't really remember why. I like chocolate, lightning, jeans, and mythology."

Starla spun the umbrella on the palm of her hand, "The next intersection is Carson Street and I have to go up a block to my apartment. You want a cup of hot chocolate?"

Emmabelle nodded, "That would be lovely."