~~Part One~~

Began to love when I first met you

chapter I (Basketball and She)

Janae Octavia Henderson

The clouds flowed listlessly, as the sun stretched across the grayish blue sky. The clouds were big and fluffy, so animated that it resembled a painting. Outside, the droning of the bugs was drowned out by the sound of the lawn mower's motor and the scent of sweet dewy grass freshly cut filled the air. The day seemed wonderfully perfect and should have been spent under a tall tree with impeccable amount of shade and an iPOD filled with your favorite tunes, just relaxing the whole day away. Instead, Janae Henderson was spending this day, this fine summer day, in a tutoring program.

She was the spending the beginning of her day riding three city buses and walking a half a mile to the prestigious private school that wanted her to play basketball for them. Of course she got in with a full scholarship, not based on her academic excellence, but her ability to throw a rubber ball with a grip into a basket well over seven feet off the ground. Her grades were able to be put in simple terms... they were trash. She sucked in nearly all of her subjects, but she did give a damn. Which was the reason why she rode the buses in the summer, every weekday to be tutored on her subjects. School was not her forte and she had long since accepted the notion. And yet, here she was striving to at least pass her classes. If she did not , basketball would not be an option.

Basketball was actually not Janae's life. It was not what she lived for. It was also not her lifelong dream. She had no real dreams or aspirations, because having dreams or aspirations was like setting yourself up for disappointment. She played because it kept her busy; it kept her busy and her mind off her life that held nothing for her in the future. She was doomed for failure and she once tried to fight the odds that were against her, but in the end she learned to leave it at that. All Janae had left was basketball, which kept her at ease for the time being. She believed that basketball was the only thing that could keep her sane, but her grades where prohibiting her from doing what she only had left. So she did what she had to do. She walked into the school's large campus, ready to be schooled in Algebra II.

Janae walked into the school and stopped at the registration desk. After she did so, she walked into the cafeteria and adjusted her duffel bag that held her basketball sneakers, her shorts, playing jersey, and several books for her tutor session. She also had some toiletries in her bag for after practice. She continued into the cafeteria, as she passed by several other students who were being tutored by their fellow peers. Janae advanced on, until she spotted her tutor at her left. She was average girl, her tutor Emma Windward, with average brown hair, average height, build, weight,... Emma was not really that special. Not extraordinary beautiful or possessed a brilliant mind, but she was very smart. A total opposite of Janae, who was cunning and people could not help but notice her, even if she was in a darkened room in the corner. Janae sat down in the seat across from Emma and began to pull out her books from her duffel bag.

"Glad you could make it, Janae." Emma replied to her, her jaw clenched and her brown eyes shone bright.

"Sorry, I'm late. I missed the first bus and from there..." Janae began. Emma's face softened.

"I guess I'll let you pass this time." Emma said. "Okay, let's begin."

After two or three hours and several problems on the Quadratic formula, Emma decided that it was enough for the day and Janae agreed.

"My brother is back in town." Emma said making idle chitchat as she always have done.

"Really?" said Janae, feigning interest.

"Yeah, he just graduated with his Bachelor Degree and has no place to go before moves on into the transition of the workplace. My parents are letting him crash at the house. He's gotta pick me up today and hope he is not running late." Emma continued. Janae nodded and began to pack her bags. "I'm having a party on Friday, would you like to come?"

Janae looked up from what she was doing to look at Emma. Although she was not the prettiest or sluttiest girl in school, she was indeed one of the most popular. She considered her options: she could go to the party and mingle with people not like her and probably did not like her or... she could do her original plan which was to stay home eat Ramen noodles and drank beer til she feel asleep in front of the TV.

"Umm... I'll think about it." Janae finally said, as she hooked her iPod into her ear. She shifted her duffel bag onto her back and exited the cafeteria. The gymnasium which she practiced in, was on the other side of town, so she shifted her music playlist to the song Spaz by N*E*R*D and began to cross out of the campus and into the street. Not paying attention to the commotion in front of her, Janae continued to vibe to the electric guitars, symphonic beats, and strained voice of Pharrell Williams. She did notice the car that came to halting stop, until she tripped after the bumper of the car bumped into her.

chapter I (Homecoming)

Kenneth-Corren Windward

It had been Kenneth-Corren Windward's first day back home after graduation when he first met her. Of course it was not under the circumstances he would like, since he kind of hit her, but he was glad to meet her anyway. She had crossed the street, right into traffic, not looking where she was going. When he realized that the girl would not stop, he slammed on the brakes. He did save her life from a fatal accident, but he still hit, more like nudged, her with his car. The car nudged her and before his eyes, she tripped and fell flat on her stomach. The air seemed to whoosh out of Kenneth, as he saw her fall down, and right then and there he was hooked. From that moment on, he felt the need to protect her. They did not know each others name, background, or history, but that did not matter. He now felt responsible for her and wanted to care for. And whatever Kenneth-Corren Windward wanted, he got.

He quickly unbuckled his seat belt and raced to meet her. Her duffel bag was strewn across from her, the contents all over the street and sidewalk. The girl seemed to be okay, because she was getting up, shaking her head a little bit.

"Thank God, you are okay," Kenneth said reaching for the girl. He reached out for her, but she pushed him away. He felt slightly offended by the girl, so he stood back a little. The girl rose to her feet, and staggered a little. Kenneth reached for her again, his arms enveloping her in case she fell, but she pushed him away once more. "Are you okay?" Kenneth asked.

"I'm fine," the girl said through clenched teeth.

Her voice was amazing. It was deeper than the voice of the regular of a female's; it was a tad hoarse, like she had been screaming for a long time. More like moaning all night in the arms of her lover. Images of silk sheets, hot passion, and a fair and a mocha body merging and moving together in the same sync filled Kenneth's head. He just met the girl and the thoughts of lovemaking was swimming in his mind.

Get a grip! he thought to himself. He tuned his attention back to the girl.

"Fuck!" the girl screamed loudly. Usually the sound of women being so vulgar turned him off, but when it came out of her mouth it sounded something that would be said in the throes of passion. Like when one lover pleased the other beyond words, that only a vulgar one was left.

"What?" he asked. "Did you hurt yourself?"

"No, dickhead! You owe me an iPod!" she said, thrusting it to him. The screen was cracked beyond repair and the dial was cracked in half.

"I'm so sorry!" He said. "I'll pay you back... I did not mean to hit you, are you sure you are okay?" he pressed on.

"Whatever." she mumbled, as she picked up her duffel bag and stuffed her belongings into it.

"Is there anything I could do?" Kenneth stressed. She was acting all calm, like she did not almost lose her life. She was acting unnecessarily tough, and Kenneth could tell that was the way she always conducted herself.

"You heard me! I'm fine!" she said. "And here," she said handing him her iPod. "You can have it, it is useless now." She turned away him so quickly, that when she started to walk away, Kenneth could only stare after.