Chapter Two

The park was quiet and serene. A pond with rivers connecting it to two other ponds was in the middle of the park. A small portion of land sat in the middle of it, a long stone bridge arching over to it.

Ducks swam across the ponds green shimmering surface. Fronds and reeds swayed gently back and forth in the breeze. If the breeze had been music and the reeds people, they would be dancing, slowly swaying to a tranquil beat of soft harmony.

Mona slowly walked across the stone bridge, holding her book bag up to her chest. The park was one of the quietest places in the city. It seemed like she was worlds away from all the noise, pollution and bustling streets of the city.

The island was manmade, just barely an acre of pristine grass with a huge weeping willow planted in the middle.

Mona sat down on a stone bench that was placed just feet away from the waters edge. She was waiting for Rance Walker, who had promised just two hours beforehand over the phone that he'd meet her at that precise spot at 1 pm.

It was almost 1:30 pm.

She heard someone's frantic footsteps thudding on the stone bridge. Rance was running across the bridge and onto the island. Once he hit the manicured grass he slowed into a walk and walked casually towards her. Casual or not, he moved like a runway model. Graceful and precise and made it look easy.

"Hey," He called. "Sorry that I'm late, I had to baby sit my younger sister for my mom."

"It's ok." Mona said, trying to cover the impatience in her voice.

He didn't seem to notice as he dropped his backpack on the ground beside the bench. "Lets get started, I need to go meet up some buddies of mine at 3." said Rance casually as he pulled out text books and such out of his bag.

"Ok," said Mona as she pulled out a pencil, her voice tight. "Let's try to get that project done."

Rance nodded.

They worked in almost complete silence for almost an hour. Now and then she'd correct him, or have to explain something to him.

"You're a lot different from what people say you are." Rance said suddenly, breaking the silence like a stone interrupting a silent sheen of water, to create ripples upon its surface.

Mona looked up in surprise, her auburn hair falling out from behind her ear and flying into her face. "What do you mean?"

He moved closer, making Mona shift uncertainly on the stone bench. He moved his hand, ready to tuck her hair back into its place behind her ear, but instead hesitated, leaving his hand frozen in midair before finally dropping. "Nothing,"

"There has to be something." Mona challenged, her green eyes studying his face curiously.

"Uh…" Rance hesitated, his hair flopping charmingly over his forehead. "People talk, you hear stuff."

"You mean gossip." Mona said, her voice getting an audacious edge to it. "What those dense preppy jocks and bimbos say about me."

Rance glared. "How dare you make that sore of judgment call!"

"So you will let your friends make remarks about me and other people who don't deserve it?" Mona spat heatedly.

Rance looked taken aback, his brown eyes uncertain for once.

"That's what I thought." Mona said with a roll of her eyes.

Rance turned away from her and looked across the water. His fingers drummed against his jean covered knee. "I'm…uh…sorry."

Mona turned, confused fluttering across her face.

Rance turned to look at her, his eyes meeting hers earnestly. "I'm really sorry."

They're heads inched forward, closer together until lips almost touched. Until Mona pulled away quickly, face burning into a deep scarlet.

"What's the matter?" Rance asked, bewildered.

"I got to go." Mona said quickly as she started packing up and stood up. "Sorry."

Rance watched her run across the bridge and into the far distance. Her abruptness was puzzling, what had gone wrong? It had only been the potential of a kiss.

He stood up, cracking his back into place again. At this rate this science project was never going to get finished. He started across the bridge a slow pace, he had been so uncertain about this whole studying thing with Mona Shell.

He came to a conclusion when he stepped off the bridge. "You've finally found someone when kissing another person is no longer a desire that you have."

Tap, tap, and tap. Small little pebbles bounced off the window pane in succession with the one before it. Tap, tap.

Mona sat up in her bed. Sleep blurring her vision as she tried to blink it away. She swung her legs over the bed and gasped as the coldness of her wood floor stung her feet. Tap, tap.

She pulled back the creamy lace curtains, peering out through the windows. There, down in the shadows of the willow tree in her front yard was Rance Walker. Standing in the pouring rain, his mottled hair plastered to his head, his clothes clinging to his body.

She yanked open the window and stuck out her head.

"What are you doing here?" she hissed.

He stepped out from under the willow tree. "Come down here."

Mona hesitated, and then nodded. "Fine, I'll be down in about five seconds."

Rance waited, his hands shaking with nerves. This was it, right when she comes through that side door he was going to kiss her.

She finally appeared, wearing a black parka over her polar bear printed pajamas. Her auburn hair messy from sleep, was now sticking to her scalp as the rain came down even harder.

"So why are you here?" she demanded in a no nonsense tone, her green eyes full of uncertain curiosity.

"You owe me something." Rance answered, taking a slow step towards her. "Something that you forgot to give me in the park earlier today,"

She looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"

Rance covered the short distance between them easily. He dipped his head, his lips inches from hers, his eyes unreadable. "You know exactly what I mean."

Mona was transfixed. Frozen to the spot, his breath upon her lips made her head spin and the serious look in his eyes made her heart thud hard in her chest.

When lips met, thunder erupted, not only in the sky above but also in both their hearts. It was then when they both went under, never to resurface…