Tweet, tweet. Tweet, tweet.

My eyes slowly open as the sunlight hits my face. I smile. The only reason I don't close the blinds before I sleep is so that in the morning, when I wake up, the first thing I see will be the beautiful sunlight. It makes me feel all warm inside.

But it's only 8:30 AM, or so my alarm clock tells me. I'm an early bird, and I usually like to spend my mornings outside walking. It's always beautiful in the mornings and I hate to give them up.

I get out of bed and look at my pale complexion in the mirror. My light brown hair sits in its usual messy ponytail, with a few strands hanging loosely in my face, covering some light freckles in the process. I have a pair of baggy, black shorts that come to knees and peach colored tank top on.

Thank God, it's summer! I think jeans and any other pants that go past my calves are just unbearable. I prefer wearing shorts and capris year-round, which isn't too hard if you live down here in North Carolina. The cool days here are probably the too-hot, "Daaaaaaddy, it's like a human oven outside!" days in New York. Or that's just my opinion.

Just as I walk downstairs, my phone rings. I pick it up and hear Kyle's voice.

"Jess?" he calls into the phone.

I am ready to hang up on him right there. I have told him millions of times to not call me Jess. But will he listen? No.

I swear I can hear him grin on the other end as I debate whether or not to hang up.

"Sorry, Jess-alyn."

That's enough of that. I hang up and turn my cell off.

We have a security alarm system, which is really stupid if you ask me. Because if someone ever decides to rob our house, the alarm would go off- very loudly- and the robber would just run away and not get caught. So it's a complete waste of money. But Mom wants it, so it must stay. It's hard for me to remember to turn that thing off, but today I remember so I go turn it off.

As I jam tennis shoes on my feet, the house phone rings. Determined not to get Mom up, I run over to the phone. Without even looking at the caller ID, I know it's Kyle.

"What?" I say into the phone.

"I had to wake up at eight thirty to get a hold of you and that's all I get?"

I sigh into the phone. "What is it, Kyle? I want to go walking."

"Wanna play basketball at Moon Park?"

"Not today."

"Whoa. You make me wake up way early just to blow me off? Not cool."

I sigh again. "I didn't make you. You chose to."

"Yeah, whatever. Can I be your walking buddy?"

"Fine," I say into the phone.

"Okay meet you in five at Moon Park?"

I tell him that it sounds good and hang up. Before I leave the house, I grab my cell phone and shove it into my pocket. There's no need to leave a note, because Mom knows that I like to walk every morning. The only difference today is that I'm walking with Kyle.

I reach Moon Park in a couple minutes but Kyle isn't here. I sit down on a bench and busy myself by looking at the clouds and naming the shapes out loud since no one is in sight.

"Hippo," I say looking at a very white, puffy cloud. "Er... now it's a hippo with a horn? Uh… Soccer ball? Book. Worm. Circle with a hole in the middle- a doughnut! Flower. Cricket with glasses-"

I notice a guy who looks around 40 staring at me. He has graying, brown hair messily combed and a pair of Nike's that make me jealous.

I quickly stop naming clouds and feel my face burn. I look away and suddenly find my fingernails very interesting. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the guy walk up towards me and stop right in front of where I am sitting.

I feel my cheeks get even hotter as I look up and say, "Can I help you?"

He shakes his head but looks me up and down. Then, without warning, he walks away. I stare after him but I'm interrupted by a tap on my shoulder. I look up and see that it is Kyle.

I quickly turn back around to see where the guy's going, but he is nowhere in sight.

"What are you looking for?" he asks. I decide to ignore his question and ask him what took him so long. "I decided to grab my basketball on my way here but couldn't find it."

After I roll my eyes, he grins and says, "Just in case."

I smile and say, "Fine. Let's go play."

So we head to the basketball courts. As we walk, we pass the playground and the swimming pool and the tennis courts. Oh, I love this park. Moon Park brings back so many memories...

Just as I think it, Kyle says, "Hey, Jessalyn, remember that time when you and I were playing in that sandbox when we were, like, five and I threw a bunch of sand in your face and you cried?"

Oh... That is not a pleasant memory. I hate to cry in front of Kyle, and I only have twice before. Once in that sandbox, and once in the seventh grade when I didn't make the volleyball team.

But he was there to make me feel better by telling me that the team was going to lose all of its games since I wasn't on it. I really wanted to throw my arms around him when their record came to be 4 wins and 16 losses. But I made the team last year along with a couple other new players, and trust me, we were much better.

"Yeah, I remember that. It wasn't very nice, mister," I scold.

"Well, maybe I wouldn't have thrown that sand if you didn't steal me shovel!"


We reach the basketball courts and start a game. We've both been on the school basketball team- Kyle since the seventh grade, me since just last year. So we are both pretty good while we play on the court. The second I steal the ball from him, he steals it right back and shoots.

He makes it. (Well he does have a bit of an advantage- he started earlier and is a good two inches taller than me.)

I go for the rebound and dribble all the way to half court. I get ready to shoot. Kyle stands there, watching me, with his blond hair sparkling under the sun and his blue eyes twinkling as if he finds me amusing.

"What, you don't think that I'll make it?" I challenge.

"No," he says smiling.

I bend my knees and position the ball just where I like it. Just as I get ready to shoot, someone pokes my back- really hard, I might add- and I lose my balance.

"KYLE!" I scream. He is standing not five inches away from me and laughing. Laughing. How funny. I reach out and slap his arm and walk towards the ball, which has rolled out pretty far. That's when I notice the Nike's guy staring at us.

When I look more closely, I find that he is actually staring at Kyle. He looks Kyle up and down like he is the most interesting person on Earth. I don't say anything, just keep staring at this Nike's guy, so that the only sound to be heard other than the birds was Kyle. Still laughing.

When I don't say anything for the next couple seconds, Kyle walks over to me. The Nike's guy's eyes follow Kyle.

"Aww, Jess, it was a joke. You're not mad, are you?" he asks.

For once, I let Kyle get away with calling me Jess because I had a lot of other things going through my mind. Like, for example, who the heck was this guy? Why did he keep staring at us? First me, then Kyle? Was he a stalker?

He certainly didn't look like it; he looked good and calm. But he also looked kind of creepy, staring at Kyle with a poker face.

"Jess, c'mon. I'm sorry. Let's play, okay? You can take that shot now. I won't interrupt, I promise-" Kyle's eyes seem to follow my gaze. Kyle sees what I see and drops his hands to his sides.

The Nike's guy starts walking towards us.

"Let's get out of here," I say to Kyle. We run out of Moon Park.