The once pastel blue sky dimmed down to the hue of a navy uniform. The Fourth of July was coming to a close for the outlandish, but patriotic citizens of Statera. The tiny town practically famed for its eccentric folks and bizarre traditions. At the park, the burning scent of seared meat lingered from the barbecue taking place earlier in the day. Families and friends that spent their afternoon lounging around the lush, emerald scene now rested under the starlit sky with their picnic blankets. It would be minutes until the fireworks show to cap off another eventful Independence Day.

Among those awaiting the pyrotechnic ballet happened to be one of Statera's own vigilantes. Mindy, along with her friend, Clark, were hanging out on one of the unoccupied picnic tables. Between them sat a plate of watermelon sliced into smaller triangles for the two to snack on. The Afro-Brazilian boy took another bite of his salted piece before he shifted his attention to Mindy. Chewing on her slice of the Summer fruit, slowly yet happily. Something about the way the long-haired brunette ate her treat really allured Clark. Was it the way she gently wiped off the watermelon's juice dripping from her chin? Or the way she let out a light, mew-like moan when she swallowed? Whatever it was, it brought a grin to the Afro-Brazilian's lips.

Clark considered every girl he met beautiful in her own way and Mindy was no different. She seemed plain with her somewhat pale skin and dull, violet eyes almost concealed by her trimmed bangs. But it was that plainness that attracted him in the first place. Sure, she would most likely come in second to dead-last in a beauty pageant, but she had more going for her that kept Clark on his toes. Within her simple appearance was a girl that thrived on witty remarks, strength, and knowledge. No mystery she was one of the town's protectors for a reason, hardly having to struggle against the hoodlums and crooks quenching their thirsts for blood and material items. It only took a bit of quick thinking to piece together a battle plan and the day was saved... at least until another crime came up. Both teens were also adept in the respective martial arts of kung-fu and taekwondo, not only in might but also in magic. And that alone proved to Clark they were perfect for each other, practically soulmates. But it would be the day Hell froze over for Mindy to admit that.

After an awkward silence, ignoring the inhumane hoots and screeches from the impatient townsfolk, Mindy finally noticed her friend staring at her with those eyes. Those dreamy, blueberry eyes.

"What?" the bookworm spoke with a voice that fit her cutesy, yet mature personality. "Do I have any seeds on my face?"

The boy chuckled, shutting his eyes before he placed them back on his friend, "No. Just never realized how cute you look under the moonlight, that's all."

Of course, Clark had to say something cheesy to kill the mood. He always did that. If there was one thing Mindy despised about the guy, it's how he turned a simple moment into a scene out of a romance movie. How revolting... yet, she knew she couldn't stay mad at him for too long. Rolling her eyes, the long-haired girl sighed out of irritation. A common response to Clark's movie-esque lines that always made him laugh.

"Look, it's the Fourth of July and I know I agreed to hang out with you out of boredom, but please... don't try to turn this into a date." Mindy flashed her wide eyes with intimidation.

"Okay, okay. ...but who knows? It could be a date a year from now." replied Clark, maintaining his smirk.

"Er, right... ugh, what's taking so long? Shouldn't the fireworks have started now?"

"I guess so, is this your first time watching them outside?"

"Yep. After spending most of my life watching them on TV, I thought it was about time to break the tradition. Better late than never, right?"

"You got that right. But with me, it's the opposite. I can't recall the last time I saw the fireworks on TV."

"Well, maybe we could do that next year." offered Mindy, quick to realize it probably wasn't the best thing to say.

"So, it's a date, right?" And Clark, again, insisted on toying with her heart.

"No, I mean... just shut up!"

"Heh heh... Oh, hey, it's finally starting," the Afro-Brazilian pointed at the night sky painted with splashes of fireworks. "Aren't you glad you decided to watch them out there?"

"You bet." the bookworm nodded, curling her thin lips into a smile.

It was then that Clark wrapped his arm around his pal's bare shoulder. Normally, she would loosen herself from his grip but she let it slide this time. It was a holiday, no reason to play the cat and mouse game as a mandatory part of her routine. Okay, Clark had won that time. Curse his radiant energy, his suave charm, and the ocean breeze scented soap laced on his skin.

Today truly felt like a day of freedom.