At the picnic table not too far from the friends sat Cindy, Clark's elder twin sister by about five minutes. A factoid she liked to remind and taunt her brother with on a regular basis. She, too, enjoyed her Independence Day and the reason why was in the form of a rich chocolate sundae resting in a tall, glass bowl. Topped with bits of peanuts and walnuts, drizzled in layers of hot fudge and caramel sauce. A swirled dollop of whipped cream served as finishing touch of the frozen masterpiece, alone without its usual companion of a maraschino cherry consumed by the brash brunette. That was the only thing that kept her satisfied on a holiday like this. Forget the freedom and patriotic hoopla, all Cindy cared about were the treats her relentless sweet tooth longed for. Aside from a hot dog and a couple potato chips, the young woman feasted on slices of watermelon, cupcakes and sugar cookies frosted with the country's colors of red, white, and blue, fruity popsicles. and creamsicles. All she had left was her sundae to enjoy underneath the thunderous rainbow of fireworks. What could be better? Absolutely nothing could spoil the night for Cindy. Nope, nothing at all.

"Ey, dudette!"

...well, except for a particular meathead jock dressed in blue. Uttering an annoyed groan under her throat, Cindy had the displeasure of finding Mark, Mindy's elder twin brother, stop by the picnic table. What did the little bonehead want? He wasn't eyeing her precious sundae, was he? She knew the boy had a huge fondness for chocolate like herself, but she would be damned if he ever got his mangy hands on the dessert.

"The heck do you want, beefhead?" the Afro-Brazilian girl raked through her hair with her magenta polished nails, a gesture she often did when aggravated.

"What, I can't say hi to ya? Geez... and you wonder why you don't have any friends." Mark folded his arms and shook his head in a taunting manner.

"You'd have to be an idiot to think I'd wanna be friends with a doofus like you! Now, scram! The longer I chat with you, the more my sundae's gonna melt." Cindy directed her glance back to her ice cream.

"Pfft, you're gonna eat all that yourself? Then again, a fatty like you has no problem putting way that much food." the jock sat across from the sadistic girl at the table, to her dismay.

And he had the nerve to make another joke about her weight. Doesn't he know that's the worst thing to mock a woman about? Especially with someone like Cindy, who called herself a "taekwondo goddess" for an extremely good reason. Just ask any of the unlucky victims she sent to the hospital before moving to Statera. ...although, most of them are probably in a coma by now.

Ignoring Mark and his sneering smirks, Cindy went back to indulging herself with her sundae. Relishing in the creamy, milk chocolate ice cream sliding down her throat like a waterfall. Licking her lips clean of the traces of chocolate and caramel that dared to avoid her tongue. And for some odd reason, Mark found her eating enjoyable to watch.

It was like witnessing someone eat such a saccharine treat for the first time. Smiles all around. A smile when Cindy inserted another large spoonful of chilled heaven in her mouth. A smile when she swallowed before repeating the process over and over again. It had only been about ten minutes and the brash brunette was about halfway through her sundae, hardly showing signs of fullness. Mark couldn't help but laugh. How silly to find eating ice cream such an arousing sight and the seductive lip-licking didn't help much.

"What are you laughing at, dork?" Cindy glanced up from her sugary meal, glaring at the stout, young man giggling before her. "Need me to shove this spoon down your throat?"

"Nah, chill out, dudette. I was thinking... maybe you could let me have a bite of that sundae." suggested Mark, knowing it was like dipping a toe in shark-infested waters.

"Tch, you crazy? Why don't you get your own?"

"'Cause I don't feel like it..." the brawny half of the Saviors of Statera planted his head on the table out of laziness to emphasize his point.

"Well, too bad, so sad." Cindy shrugged with nonchalance, returning to her sundae.

What would poor Mark do? He wanted to sink his teeth into his rival's sundae but what good would come out of it? Had he attempted to lay a finger anywhere near it, he'd end up like those half-dead victims in the hospital. Or worse, the jock could have his own tombstone engraved with, "I guess chocolate really is worth dying for."

But he had to chance it. Reaching over the glass dish with a lurking left hand, Mark snatched a handful of ice cream and took off like his life depended on it. As expected, Cindy chased the boy around the barely lit park, shouting insults and death threats that would've been audible if not for the fireworks.

That's the beauty of America. Where you could befriend anyone, regardless of race or gender, and truly make the most of a wonderful relationship.