Baby, don't yell,

You're tearing a hole right through the walls of everything we used to know,

I'm building a place, something amazing,

Just for the sake of saving us,

From under the sun,

Two plastic hearts with nowhere to run,

We're rolling the dice on whatever's left,

'cause God only knows that we could use the rest…

The loud, obnoxious Los Angeles traffic from the street closest to the Palm Woods's park traveled over quickly and I soon found myself annoyed with it as I walked among the groups of people. Rolling my eyes as I dodged a cluster of colorfully dressed girls just as they erupted into giggles at the sight of resident 'hottie' Jett Stetson, I quickly put my headphones in, hoping that it would shut out at least the latter of the annoyances. My worn sketchbook clasped tightly in my hand at my side, I kept my eyes on the ground as I trudged through it, my yellow Converse becoming tinged a fresh green shade from the newly cut grass.

Finally glancing up as I approached my favorite bench, conveniently secluded behind several palm trees, I saw a guy laying down on it, one leg crossed over the other knee and one hand holding the others wrist, resting neatly over his eyes. I narrowed my own eyes, curiously studying the seemingly napping boy, as I came to a stop in front of the bench. Despite the boiling heat, he was clad in a light gray hoodie that covered a turquoise t-shirt and a pair of dark jeans, his blue Vans completing the outfit. I relaxed my posture a bit, hoping he wouldn't be like most of the attention craving pricks that usually took my bench from me whenever they felt like wooing a girl. His caramel blonde hair laid messily over his forehead and his lips were pressed into a bitter line.

After only a minute or so, he peaked an eye open, giving me a quick look before he raised a curious eyebrow. I silently sighed, cocking my own eyebrow and internally smiled as he shook his head and began to speak.

"Can I help you?" he asked, a hint of annoyance hidden beneath heavy layers of pure exhaustion.

"No, can I help you? You're on my bench," I replied quickly, not missing a beat as he finally propped himself up, fully looking at me for the first time.

"This bench doesn't have a name tag, I didn't know anyone owned it," he snapped back, and I found myself looking away as to not become too enthralled in the intriguing color of his eyes.

"This is where I always sit to draw, its away from people, distractions. I like it here, therefore, making it 'my bench' ," I explained, using my free hand to make air quotes.

"Well I needed some place away from everything today, and this was the closest to isolation I could find. My apartment has been just too. . . suffocating lately," he said quietly, sitting up fully and leaning forward, propping his elbows up on his knees. "Think we could share the bench? I promise I won't bug you, I won't even talk. Scout's honor," he joked, nodding toward the now free spot beside him.

I cracked a smile and sat down, setting my bag on the ground in between our feet. "Eh, it's not the talking that usually irritates me. It's just. . . people that irritate me," I stated confidently, not expecting a laugh to come out of him. I glared at him from the corner of my eyes.

"You don't intimidate me, I just hope you know that," he grinned and went on to explain. "My little sister terrifies me. Honestly, don't piss her off or starving lions are going to look like adorable kittens."

I laughed freely, something I hadn't been able to do in a while, and nodded. "She seems cool. What's her name?"

"Katie Anne Knight. She's going to grow up looking like our mom, she already has her eyes," he said, his voice changing to a tone of loving fondness.

"So since she took your mom's genes, is it safe to guess what you look like your dad?" I questioned, reevaluating his facial structure. His angular chin complemented his strong cheekbones, his dark eyebrows didn't at all match his yellow-green eyes and caramel blonde hair but somehow they seemed to tie his overall appearance together. Without them, he would have an unbalanced aura about him.

His smile fell so that his lips were only slightly curved up and he nodded slowly. "Yeah I do. He used to always tell me that I was a mini-me. He would say that when I grew up people would think we were twins, but I guess now it'll just be me." His voice lowered at the last part, his eyes moving from the people across the park from us to the ground.

"Why's that?" I asked stupidly, something inside of me already knew.

He took in a deep breath before answering. "He uh... He died three years ago. Fell asleep at the wheel and his car went off of an embankment, struck a tree head on. They said he died instantly, didn't feel anything."

I looked down at my hands, knowing exactly how he was feeling. "I'm sorry," I said quietly, not knowing anything else to say.

He chuckled darkly and shook his head. "Hey, don't be sorry. You didn't cause it. That's what the therapists told my mom again and again, even though she had herself convinced it was her fault he had even been out at that hour. They had a fight that night, a big one, and they never fought. So my dad went out for a drive to cool off, he just never came back." I felt my own eyes burn with sparse tears as I looked up at him and saw him blinking his own away. Before I could say anything else, he shook his head and gestured to my sketch book. "So what do you draw?"

I sighed, easily picking up on the change of subject as I flipped through a few pages. "Mostly just scenery, sometimes I'll draw people. How I perceive them though, not how they appear," I said slowly, trying to find the right words to describe my side hobby. I heard a chuckle come out of him and I narrowed my eyes playfully.

"Perceive, huh? Getting all intelligent on me," he teased, his smile seeming easy as he laughed. "I get enough of that shit from my friend, he's like a 5.0 mega-nerd but I still love him."

"Well for your information, I happen to be a 4.0 nerd myself," I shot back, feeling a pointless need to defend my intelligence even though I knew he was simply joking.

"I've never seen you in our class before," he said, his eyes squinted in confusion, waiting for an explanation.

"I take classes online, I didn't feel like being stuck in a classroom with people I didn't know and probably wouldn't like anyway."

"Well, you know me now and I'm not too bad," he smiled, nudging my shoulder and I laughed.

"Fine, you have a point there. So what are you doing out here anyway? I mean, everyone here has their own niche that they fit into, something they're good at," I asked, watching him closely as he thought up an answer.

"I'm in a band with my friends, well not a band your thinking of. More like a modern-day Backstreet Boys. I love it, but I'm not sure if I want to do this in five years, a year even. I grew up playing hockey, I always dreamed of going pro with it, I still do," he said quietly, a small smile making its way to his face as he looked to me. "What about you?"

I huffed out a breath," I don't really do anything as of right now. I mean I can sing, I know how to play instruments, I just don't work for anyone yet. I don't act, I definitely don't model, I don't dance too much. You can't do much with art in this town, so I guess I'm just stuck supporting my brother until I can find something."

"It'll come along, I promise it will," he smiled softly and I couldn't stop myself from smiling back as his phone went off. Pulling it out of his back pocket, he sighed. "Speaking of work, I'm needed at the studio. I'll see you around?" I nodded, waving as he walked off, a spark of inspiration appearing suddenly as I opened my sketchbook.

Take it easy on this please, it's been a while since I really sat down and wrote something longer than a few hundred words. I felt like this was dragging on and on and I really don't understand how waterwicca and surfergal can write chapters of a minimum of a few thousand words, I would drive myself nuts! Power to them, because they are amazing writers. :) Anyway, review if you want, I'll be working on the second chapter immediately. Thanks for reading.