Summer of 1993

"Mom!" cried little Alexus Stefano.

Isabelle Stefano hurried around the kitchen checking on pies and making sure all the counter tops that she used were clean. After a minute she turned towards the anxious five year old.

"Yes, Ally?"

"You took long enough! I'm going to the park to play, I'll be back for dinner."

The elder Stefano just laughed and gestured her OK. Alexus smiled and ran out the door. Looking to her right she noticed people moving into the vacant house next to hers. After taking a second to fulfill her curious nature she took off towards the park and her favorite climbing tree.

Inside the new neighbors house Elizabeth Channing kneeled down in front of her daughter, "Hey Madison, I just saw a little girl around your age running towards that park we saw down the block. Why don't you go and see if you can make a new friend?"

The little girl looked at her mother apprehensively before finally giving in. She stood up with her CareBear and trudged out the front door and towards the park. Once entering the park Madison looked around for another little girl but she couldn't find anyone. Sighing in disappointment she wandered over to the swing set and started to swing by herself. All of a sudden a boy pushed her off.

"That's my swing!" stated the young boy.

Madison just looked up at him with terror in her eyes. As she was trying to get up so she could run home he grabbed her bear.

"What is this? Who carries around stuffed dolls with them after they're three?"

Madison opened her mouth to answer but a foreign voice cut her off.

"Todd you dog breath, leave her alone before I make you cry again." threatened Alexus. She jumped out of the oak tree just a few feet away from Madison and Todd. Madison watched this strange girl land gracefully with awe. Todd on the other hand looked at Alexus in fright.

"Sorry Alexus, I didn't mean too." stuttered out Todd.

"Yeah whatever Todd," she spat out the name with as much disgust as a five year old could muster, "just give her back the bear and leave."

He handed Madison the bear and then dashed off in the opposite direction. Alexus made sure he was out of site before turning towards Madison.

"Are you OK? My name is Alexus, and that bully was Todd."

Madison smiled shyly and replied, "Yeah, I'm good thanks to you. My name is Madison, I just moved here."

"Cool you're my new neighbor Maddy!"

Still in awe Madison just smiled shyly. Trying to make conversation with the new girl Alexus asked, "So what's your bears name?"

Smiling broadly Madison answered, "Her name is Friend Bear. My daddy bought her for me because I don't have any friends here."

"Well you do now," exclaimed Alexus, "do you want me to push you on the swing? I noticed you weren't getting much air before Todd pushed you off."

"Yeah Lexus" replied Madison before she covered her mouth.

Alexus just smiled, "Hey don't worry it's cool if you call me that, I actually like it better then what my mom calls me, and we're friends now so you get to call me by a nickname."

Madison relaxed as she climbed onto the swing and Alexus started to push her.