Jerrica Benton was stressed out. This was not a new thing for her; it had almost become her default state these days. With a home for girls to watch over, an enthusiastic younger sister to keep out of trouble, and a company that had recently become hers, she was busier then she had ever been. That was the problem: she was far too busy. Almost every waking moment she was occupied with something and it was doing neither her, nor any of her personal relationships, any good. If this kept up she would be grey before she was forty!

As she heard another in the Starlight Home for Girls she sighed, something was probably broken again. She turned to her sister Kimber and said "Kimber could you check that out, please"? KImber seemed like she was going to protest but after seeing the tired look on Jerrica's face simply replied with "Sure sis, you count on me"! She then skipped off to investigate whatever had happened. Jerrica sighed again and rubbed her temples, she could feel the beginnings of a headache coming on.

She needed a break from all this. Not a long one, she had too much to do for a long one, but just a short walk, yes that would do the trick just fine. "Kimber" she yelled "I going out for a bit! Could you please watch the place"? 'Sure sis" Kimber shouted back "will do"! 'Thank you" Jerrica cried back on her way out the door. As Jerrica walked she made her way into town, and into the crowds of people. People of all colors and builds were there, just going about their lives, Jerrica envied them.

She knew it was silly, anyone of these adults could have worries and stresses equal or surpassing hers, she was in no place to judge! But with everything that had been going on recently and the fact that statistically there had to be some relatively carefree people in this crowd somewhere, Jerrica still felt that twinge of Envy, and desire to go back to the way things were. 'The way things were" she snorted at that thought, things would never go back to "the way things were".

That's when her mind turned to her father, the late Emmett Benton. Even through it was a while ago the wound of his passing still felt fresh, still hurt like fire. He was gone and he was not coming back, was the mantra Jerrica had repeated to try and help her accept him being gone, but it only helped a little bit. Cold logic could only do so much to ease the pain. Jerrica decided to try getting her mind off the memory of her father so she made a turn to head towards the local park. Their maybe she could relax a little bit.

As she entered the park she made note of what she saw. Squirrels climbing in the trees, birds flying to and fro, bees pollinating, and painfully a pair of lovers enjoying a romantic picnic. Jerrica had never been very good at romance, even before being saddled with her current burdens. Her sister had always been the one of the two them who had the most successes in that area, which she thankfully never bragged about. But that was fine; Jerrica had plenty of time to find love, maybe.

She had been walking for a bit so she decided to take a seat on a park bench. As she sat thoughts of her parents came back to her. Her mother's loving smiles, her father's kind and fair nature, it all blended together into a mixture of happy memories season with grief. Jerrica had in fact been so deep in her thoughts that she did not notice another person come up to her before the stranger said "Hey, what's got you so down in the dumps"?

Jerrica blinked before during to look at the stranger. It was a woman, a rather good-looking one dressed in casual clothes with green hair, who was looking at Jerrica with a mixture of curiosity and something else that Jerrica could not quite place. "It is not your problem. Don't worry about it" Jerrica managed to sigh out. 'I asked you a question lady, I expect a real answer if you would not mind"? Normally Jerrica would have gotten annoyed at the woman's entitled tone, but right she just did not have it in her.

"Its just" Jerrica began 'I've got a lot of my plate now alright". "Yeah and almost everyone else on the planet, but most people don't sit on a park bench out in public moping about it! To get someone to do that it has to be seriouse! So tell me what is bothering you already"! Something about those words made Jerrica snap and in anger she said, "My father is died and all of his responsibilities got dumped on me! Is that kkay, is that what you wanted me to say"? The stranger looked taken aback, both at the tone and what Jerrica had said.

After the stranger recovered she said, "Father stuff huh, I can relate". Jerrica looked at her skeptically "Oh really, you can"? Not that exactly, but my father and I, have our issues". Jerrica was now genuinely curious. "What sort of issues" Jerrica asked to which the stranger replied "The almost always working and never paying attention to me kind of issues". Jerrica looked at her with empathy and then asked "Your mother"? Gone, the stranger said "Walked out on us when I was just a kid. I don't know where she is and I don't care"! This was a bit of an obviouse lie but Jerrica knew better the to press it.

"My mother is gone to" Jerrica said, "She died in a plane crash". The woman filched at that "I didn't know, sorry if I opened old wounds or anything". Jerrica shook her head "No its alright, I needed to vent anyway". For a moment there was silence between them before the woman said, "So, what was your dad like"? Jerrica smiled at that before saying "He was kind, fair, and highly intelligent. HE loved our mother, my sister, and I dearly and always tried to make time to make time for us. We all loved him and I, I, I really miss him"! Jerrica's eyes were starting to tear-up from the reminiscing but before she knew it the stranger noticed and had put a comforting arm around her.

"He, hey, don't do that come one now. Your parents may be gone but you and your sister are still around. You still have each other and whatever friends you've managed to make in this crazy world! Me, I'm an only child, got no other family to turn to really. At least your dad was there for you before he died, more then can be said for my still living dear old dad"! This made Jerrica feel better, being reminded that she still had Kimber, and her friends as well, it made her feel a bit more, whole.

It was amazing to Jerrica that this stranger had managed to make her feel better! "Thanks for the pep talk" Jerrica said as she smiled at the woman. "No problem" the woman said, waving it off like it was nothing, "Just doesn't spread it around. I don't want anyone to think I'm soft"! Jerrica giggled at that and said, "Deal". The stranger then checked her watch and groaned. "I gotta go, or I'll be late for something"

Jerrica looked at her understandably and said "Well, can you at least tell me why you helped me, what your name is, and maybe give me your number". Jerrica blushed at the insinuations of that last bit but the woman only chuckled and said 'I helped you because I don't like seeing pretty girls cry, my regular name is not important, so you can just call me Pizzazz. Also I don't need to give you my number because soon the whole world is going to know who I am" and with that the woman, Pizzazz, dashed off into the crowd.

Jerrica looked at Pizzazz until she could not see her anymore before. "She called me pretty" Jerrica soon realized. Oh she had heard it before but from someone she had just met, and so openly as well! This "Pizzazz's" name really suited her! Jerrieca took a deep breath, got up, and began to walk back home. That talk with Pizzazz had invigorated her and made her feel herself again for the fist time in a long time, it felt so good! "I wonder if I feel see her again" Jerrica thought to herself "I bet I will". "Who knows" Jerrica thought "maybe she and I could get a chance to really get to know each other next time"! With that Jerrica giggled and believed that maybe, just maybe, things were finally looking up.