Oliver practically stormed the doors of the cafeteria as he rushed in and grabbed his tray to see what was on tap for today’s menu. But before he could even take advantage of the day’s offerings, the young boy about lost his breath at the sight of a young Asian girl standing only slightly taller than him sporting long black hair, and wearing a pink tank top and dark navy blue jeans with low-set brown-colored heels.
Without hesitation, the boy quickly regained his composure and walked over to meet the girl sitting on her own at a nearby table where the others were sitting at.
When he arrived at her table, the youngest of the Della Robbias cleared his throat and said, “Hey there. Couldn’t help but notice you were sitting here on your own. Thought I’d come over and change that.”
Appearing to be both flattered and caught off guard by his invitation, the girl said, “Um, okay. I’d like that.”
Quickly reacting as though he had been immediately shut down again like previous times before, Oliver responded saying, “No, okay that’s fine.” However, it took nearly four seconds for the boy to realize she didn’t tell him to go away.
“Wait, did you say you didn’t mind eating lunch together?” he replied with an inquisitive look.
“Um, yes... I did,” she said with a slight smile on her face, appearing to be rather shy.
A smile forming on his face, Oliver said with a more calmer demeanor, “Awesome. Just let me go get my lunch and I’ll be right back.”
“Okay,” she said as he quickly took off to grab his tray.
Sitting from their usual table, having witnessed the whole thing take place, Oliver’s sister Carine looked on and said, “Oh boy, there he goes again. Doing two of his favorite things at the same time.”
“What would that be?” asked Jace as he sat down next to Adele with his tray in hand, causing the girl to blush more intensely than before.
“Eating and hitting on a girl that catches his eye,” answered Carine. “It’s typical for him, but this is the first time I’ve seen him actually be successful in doing so. My guess is that it won’t take too long though for it to end quickly.”
As the others contemplated over how long Oliver could keep his lunch time rendezvous, Jace tried to engage in conversation with Adele to try to get her to feel comfortable around him.
“So Adele,” he began. “Your sister told me you really like animals. Do you have a favorite one you like?”
Still trying her hardest to overcome her onset shyness, Adele finally opened her mouth and said, “Um... well... I’ve always liked cats.”
Happy she finally said something to him, Jace continued the conversation saying, “Really? What about them do you like?”
“Um,” she began again. “I guess it’s because when I was younger, I found a cat on my way home from school one day that looked like she didn’t have a home. I gave her some of my leftover sandwich and she ended up following me all the way home.”
Letting out a slight giggle which Jace found rather cute about her, Adele continued, “I remember when my mom saw her, her immediate answer was no, but I practically begged her to let me keep her and take care of her, and finally my dad came in and said, ‘A pet is a huge responsibility sweetie, if you decide to take her in, it’s your responsibility to feed her, brush her, and take care of her.’ After I said I would about three different times, he let me keep her and to this day, she’s been one of my best friends aside from the others.”
“Wow,” he replied back. “That’s so cool you rescued one off the street. Pretty daring, but pretty cool. Sounds like you must have a pretty caring heart to do something like that.”
“Really? You think so?” she asked with a slight blush forming on her face.
“You bet,” Jace said with sincerity. “It kind of reminds me of when I lived back in Paris when my parents and I would go and serve at homeless shelters and provide food and talk about Jesus with the people there.”
Hearing his last few words, Adele ears perked up as she asked him, “Oh really? You’re a Christian too?”
“I am,” Jace replied. “If I may ask, when did you first accept Christ into your heart?”
“About a few years ago,” she said feeling a little more at ease talking to Jace. “Well, to be honest, it was my family who helped me to accept Him as my Savior. I hadn’t known too much about God before then, but after our grandma passed away when I was ten, I realized I wanted to be able to join her in Heaven someday.
“So my sister helped me to pray to God and accept Jesus into my heart. Since then, I feel like He’s my second Father and friend when I’m need of help.”
Seeing how much Christ had created an impact on her life, Jace shared his testimony with her explaining about his discovery of Christ when he was at a church camp with his friends back in Paris. He also explained how he didn’t know how to communicate with others very well growing up, and used writing as a means to let his voice be heard, and how after accepting Christ as his Savior and getting more involved in church, he was able to gain more confidence to speak both in writing and in words.
“Wow, I would have never guessed,” said Adele rather amazed to hear his story. “I would have thought you would be more of a boy who would be popular immediately and wouldn’t care about hanging out with kids like us.”
Taken aback by her words, Jace said, “Nah, let them have their cliques and popularity. I’d much rather hang out with you and your friends.”
Now with a genuine smile on her face, Adele uttered some words that she couldn’t believe came out of her mouth, “You know, you’re pretty cool too Jace. I think I’m gonna like getting to know you.”
Smiling back at her, Jace replied, “Likewise.”
Before any other words could be said, everyone noticed Oliver appearing to get up with the girl he was talking to during lunch, and walked with her to her class. At that moment, everyone in the group realized their bet made was done for and as they began trading the food they bet with each other, Carine said, “Well what do you know, looks like there’s a first time for everything.”
“Indeed,” Jace reaffirmed looking around him at his new friends. “There sure is.”