CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

	Lake Black Weed was a large natural lake on the outskirts of town. Trees 
enclosed the entire area surrounding the lake, except for a small area, which 
served as a beach. That is where a crowd o teenagers were hanging out that 
night. They were all drinkng from paper cups filled with beer, which they got 
from the back of somebody's car. Al saw Kelly and some of her friends standing 
near a row of boats that were propped on a large metal rack. Al walked closer 
to her, and saw that her hand was holding out a golden ring with a large dark 
stone. She was telling a girl standing nearby that it was Sam's ring. Al did 
not get a close look at the ring, but he figured that Sam's reason of love and 
marriage was behind it. In Kelly's other hand, there was a large cup half 
filled up with beer. Thre was no telling how much she had to drink already, but 
she looked somewhat tipsy.

	The Teenager was up in his bedroom. The transistor radio on the other side of 
the room blasted out the bubble gum pop song, "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies. The 
song reminded him of Kelly, as it did the first time he heard it a few months 
ago during the summer of 1969. He stared up at the ceiling thinking of reasons 
why he wanted to marry Kelly. He had twenty reasons written down on the pieces 
of paper in front of him. 
	He wanted to live his life with Kelly by his side. He did not know what his 
life would bring, but whatever surprises he witnessed he wanted Kelly to 
witness then as his wife. He wanted them to walk down the path of life 
hand-in-hand. He wanted them to share in all of the joys and sorrows that life 
might bring to him. He wanted them to always remain as two people madly in love 
with each other.
	He could not imagine himself loving anybody as much as he loved Kelly. 
Grownups always dismiss teenage love as only puppy love, but with Kelly it was 
much more than that. It was a love that came straight from his heart. It was a 
strong feeling, which they both shared for each other.
	He stared at the ceiling daydreaming about what his life with Kelly might be 
like.

	Al looked over to where Kelly was standing. She looked more drunk than before. 
He saw that she was struggling to get a row boat down from the large 
structurethat held it. "Dodger, what are you doing! Leave that alone!" he 
yelled at her aggravated as he watched her remove the boat. "Whatevr you do 
don't do out on the lake. I wish you could hear me right now. I'm really 
concerned about you."
	Kelly started to drag the bot toward the water. "You're a really trouble 
maker, Dodger," Al stated. "I have no idea how many fist fights your brother 
and I had to save you from when we were all back in the Bronx, but there were a 
lot. Right now, I'm trying to save you from something a lot worse than a black 
eye. You're going to get into a coma, if you go out on that lake tonight. I'm 
really not too sure if that boyfriend of yours can make it on time to save 
you." Kelly was nearing the water, and her boat only had a short distance more 
to go on the shore. "Don't move, Dodger!"
	Kelly froze in place. She looked up to the spot where Al was standing, and 
looked directly at him. "Dodger? Can you hear me?" Al asked looking straight 
into her eyes. He knew that nobody could see or hear him, except for Sam, when 
he went into the past. Young children and animals were also the exception - 
Dodger was neither. Somehow,  he felt right then that she was different. He had 
a feeling that at that moment she could sense his presence. He wanted nothing 
more than to protect her, just like he did in the olden days in the Bronx. 
Kelly turned away from him as she shook her head in disbelief. She started to 
go to the water again. "You never really listened to what people had to say. 
Stay here on dry land, and please Dodger, do not go in the water." 
	Al raised his handlink, pushed a button and disappeared.

	Al appeared in Sam's room. Sam was deep in thought, and did not yet realize 
that he was even there. He knew that there was hardly anything that could get 
his friend out from his thought. To Sam, the entire world only revolved upon him and 
whatever he was thinking about. There was no outside world. Al sonstantly 
noticed Sam this way during Project Starbright and the beginning stages of 
Project Quantum Leap. He never saw him this intense, since hebegan leaping 
though.
	Al glanced around the room. It was hardly the room of the neat freak, which he 
knew Sam to be when he was still himself. It looked like the room of a average 
sixteen-year-old boy. Clothes and books were scattered everywhere, but in their 
right places. If Al was not a hologram, he would probably have watched out, so 
not to trip on anything by taking two steps in any direction. Sam was laying on 
his side faceing a wall covered with pictures - medical diagrams, pictures of 
family and friends, posters of the pryamids and other ancient Egyptian wonders 
and posters of popular rock entertainers, such as Janice Joplin and the Who.
	The person on the bed turned around to his other side facing Al. He looked up 
at the strangely dressed man in front of him, and let out a terrified scream.
	"Oh, boy!" Al exclaimed borrowing his friend's expression.

Monica