This is my story Country Kids. This is my first-ever romance story, so I hope you like it.

Chapter One

You never know when life is going to hit you with one of its little quirks. For example, I never could have guessed that I would meet my boyfriend for the first time when I was dropping off his wayward dog. I had no way of knowing that he would end up rescuing my sister from a cougar. And I never thought that he would end up standing outside my window for an hour, throwing sticks and pebbles at it. I could go on listing more crazy happenings for the rest of the day, but I think it might be better if I start at the beginning...

It was a week after summer had started, and I was out in the little EZ setup pool, relaxing. For once, my brother and sister were in the house, leaving the pool all to me. I was floating on my back in the middle, when I saw a brown, white and black dog trot through the middle of our yard. I had never seen it before, so Dustins, our neighbors, must have gotten a new dog. Since I wasn't sure if the dog would be friendly or not, I went in to tell my mom.

"Mom, Dustin's dog is in our yard," I called through the house.

"Call them!" she replied. I went over, picked up the phone, and did just that. But five minutes and two calls later, they still hadn't picked up. So I decided that I would go return it myself.

I climbed up the steps into my bedroom, and slipped on my gray ARMY pants and a white t-shirt over my swimsuit. I also slipped on some old pink and black flip-flops. Then, I went downstairs and grabbed some dog food, and a leash that we had had for our three beagles. As an afterthought, I went into the garage and grabbed a pair of thick leather gloves, just in case the dog decided that my hand would make a better treat then dog food.

Now prepared, I went outside and spotted the dog standing under the tree in the middle of our front lawn. I approached her slowly, holding the dog food out in one hand and the leash in the other.

"Here, puppy," I called out softly. The dog looked in my direction, but stood her ground.

"Here girl, good girl," I called out again. The dog slowly took a step forward, and then another, until she reached the hand that held the dog food.

"Good girl," I said again, as I fed her some of the dog food. She seemed pretty friendly, but then again, so had Dustin's other dog, and she had bitten me before. Slowly, so I didn't startle her, I reached out and grabbed the dog's collar and clipped the leash to it. I fed her the rest of the dog food, and then started walking across the field that separated our house and Dustin's.

The Dustins had been our neighbors for as long as I could remember. They had many dogs, cats, rabbits, and other assorted animals, much like our family did. Courtney Dustin was a good friend of mine, and I hadn't seen her in a while. Maybe I could stay and talk with her after I return the dog, I thought as I hopped over the fence that separated the field from Dustin's property.

The said dog trotted happily beside me, acting perfectly trained. She was a sweet looking tri-colored mutt. She looked about 18 inches tall, and seemed like a cross between a border collie and a beagle. Maybe now I could convince one of the Dustin kids to join the 4-H dog project.

"Courtney," I shouted as I opened the gate into their farm.

"Courtney, I have your dog!" I shouted again. Then, I heard a rustling sound in the barn. I headed that way, and stopped about twenty feet in front of the barn, unsure what was causing the rustling sound.

"Courtney, Sam," I called hesitantly (Sam was Courtney's brother). "Is that you?"

Then a figure came out of the barn and towards me. I saw that it wasn't any of the Dustin kids-it was a boy my age who I had never seen before. He was a few inches taller then me, and had short dark brown hair. He was wearing a red t-shirt with a big white W in the middle of it, symbolizing Wisconsin. He was also wearing black sport shorts without a stain on them, and some really fancy, white tennis shoes. City kid, I thought. However, he was kinda cute. There was something about him that just made me like him on sight. "Hi," he said. "Can I help you?"

"Hi," I replied politely. "Do you know where Courtney is?"

"She's not here," he replied. Then he looked down at my feet, where the dog was sitting by my side. "And that's my dog you're holding."

I unclipped the leash from her collar, and the boy called out "Here Pippi." The dog trotted over to him and sat at his side. He bent down and ruffled her ears, and then straightened.

"So, where is Courtney?" I asked after a brief silence.

"Haven't you heard?" he replied.

"Heard what?" I asked impatiently.

"The Dustin's left about a week ago to go to a cabin that they are renting for the summer. Courtney is my cousin, and my family is watching their house for the summer. I'm from Madison, and my parents decided that it would be good for us kids to see what life in the country is like. My name is Josh. What's yours?"

"I'm Lindsey," I said, stepping forward to give him a handshake. My first impression of him was right. He was a city kid. "My family lives across the field from here."

After another moment of awkward silence, I had an idea. "Hey," I said to Josh. "Do you want to meet my brother and sister? If they ever have to return the dog again, I don't want them to freak out when they see you instead of Courtney."

"Pippi's escape was a one-time thing!" Josh protested with a smile. "But sure," he continued. "I'll bring my sister too, so she can meet the neighbors."

"Why don't we meet in the middle of the field in say, fifteen minutes," I suggested. "We can both bring our siblings."

"Okay," Josh replied, then he took off towards his house, and I sprinted out the gate and through the field.

About five minutes later, I raced into my house, up the stairs, and into my brother David's bedroom, where he and my six year old sister Grace were playing with his train set.

"What's going on, Lindsey?" David asked as I tried to catch my breath.

"There's... New...Neighbors...Have to meet them in...Ten minutes."

"What?"

I took a deep breath, and told the story from the beginning, leaving out just how cute Josh was, however. David and Grace were giving me odd looks as I finished my story, saying hurriedly "and now we have to meet Josh and his sister in about eight minutes."

"Okay," David said. "Let me get this straight. Josh and his sister are watching Dustin's house for the summer. You met Josh, and now you want to introduce me and Grace to them, so we don't freak out if we have to return their dog and Courtney and Sam aren't there. And we have to be down in the field in eight minutes to meet them."

"Yep."

"So then what are we waiting for?" asked Grace.

"Nothing, let's go," I said. I grabbed Grace by the hand, trotted down the stairs, and ran out the back door with David following behind us. I saw Josh and his sister running across the field, and I let go of Grace's hand and ran faster. There was no way they were going to beat me to our meeting spot. I was the fit country kid for Pete's sake! I was sprinting fast, David and Grace behind me, and I was almost to the middle of the field, when I ran straight into a patch of mud. I slipped, lost my balance, and skidded in the mud from the rain last night. I slid uncontrollably for about ten feet, and then stopped in the middle of the field, a big streak of mud down the back of my pants. Josh and his sister stopped in front of me and doubled up laughing, and I could hear Grace and David laughing behind me. Great. There went whatever dignity I had. Oh well. I stood up and plastered a grin on my face. Then, I walked straight up to Josh, who was still laughing.

"Beat you," I said boldly.

"So you did," he chortled. "Nice slide, by the way."

"Thanks," I said. By that time, Grace and David had walked up beside me, and Josh and his sister finally stopped laughing. His sister was about four foot five, and was wearing a plain blue t-shirt, name brand jean shorts, and nice flip flops, and her clothes didn't have a speck of dirt on them.

"This is Leah," Josh said, gesturing to his sister. "She is eight years old."

"Hi," she said shyly. David waved to her, and she smiled.

"This is David, and this is Grace," I said, pointing to each of them in turn. "David is nine, and Grace is six."

Now that the introductions were over, David and Leah went and sat over a little ways, talking about their own things, and Josh, Grace, and I sat down by the edge of the mud puddle. Grace started picking flowers, and I watched her for a while, not knowing what to say to my new acquaintance, Josh.

"So," he said. "Do you have any animals?"

"Are you kidding me?" I asked. "Our house is like a zoo. We currently have 11 rabbits, 4 horses, 2 cows, 3 dogs, 6 cats, 2 goats, about 10 fish, and countless chickens and ducks, plus the occasional woodchuck that happens through," I joked.

"Wow," Josh said. "And I thought that my cousins had too many animals."

"Yeah," I said. "So, do you and your sister have any pets?"

"We have Pippi and two cats," he replied. "We live in an apartment, so there isn't much room. That's why mom and dad decided to watch our cousin's house for the summer, so we could have some room to explore."

"Oh," I replied. We sat in silence for a while, watching Grace pick flowers. Then, my mom shouted from the porch that it was time for dinner, and that we had to come in. So David, Grace, and I rose and walked towards the house.

"So, what did you think of them," I asked David as soon as we were out of earshot of Josh and Leah.

"I liked Leah a lot," David said. "But why she dresses so fancily in the country is beyond me."

"Well, this is the first time that she has been in the country, and she is from Madison," I replied thoughtfully, and David just shrugged. We walked the rest of the way to the house in compatible silence.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

That night, I lay in be thinking about what had happened that day. Josh was kind and cute, but he didn't know any thing about the country. Well, I'll just have to teach him, I thought. And David would have his work cut out for him with helping Leah get used to the country. But they were nice people, and they would certainly be good neighbors for the summer. And with that thought, I rolled over and went to sleep.

R&R if you want more of the story. Reviews=motivation=more chapters.

Lillypool