Hearing the sound of laughing already coming from inside the Stern household, Adele gave a small knock on the door to let the others know of their arrival. But before she could knock again, the door sprang open and out leaped Yumiko chasing down Tristan, who had her personal diary in hand.
“Tristan!” she shouted. “Give me back my diary! No one is allowed to read it but me alone!”
Now normally it would be a younger sibling wanting to peek into the life of the older sibling, but without hesitation, Tristan held her diary behind his back and said, “Is that so? Well if that’s the case, come and get it from me then!”
Mocking her shorter height, Tristan held her journal of thoughts high out of her reach, but had not noticed a familiar figure in the form of Jace, jumping in the air to swipe the book out of his hands and hand the private book back to Yumiko.
“Wha?” Tristan questioned with slight disappointment. “Aww come on, I was that close to finding out who this mystery guy is she’s crushing on!”
Suddenly, hearing this revealing information, Yumiko turned a dark shade of red and said, “Tristan! That’s none of your business! In fact, it’s nobody’s business but mine!”
“Ha, gotcha!” replied Tristan running into the house achieving a victory even without the diary.
Trying to break the silence that loomed, Jace asked Yumiko, “Um, can we come in?”
“Uh sure,” she said still letting embarrassment show. “Come on in. Just take your shoes off before stepping in.”
As Jace and Adele did as they were told, and walked into the family room, Adele told Jace she would join up with the others after a little “girl talk” with Yumiko. Letting her go to comfort her, Jace walked in to join the fun already in progress, which consisted of a game of Sour Apples to Apples.
“Hey guys,” said Jace making his entrance.
“Hey Jace,” said Kevin trying to play the role as the host of the party. “You’re just in time for a game of Sour Apples to Apples. Grab five of the cards and I’ll explain how it works.”
“Um, okay,” he replied doing so.
After hearing the twisted version of the classic game, each began to work on the first word chosen by Carine, which was “Evil.” Jace decide to lay down the card “Tax collectors,” which ended up winning him a green card which was needed to win the game, while Oliver was forced to spin the Apple of Fate, requiring him to remain silent for the next round.
Everybody continued to play for about six rounds until the final green card was awarded to Kevin, thereby giving him victory, and the right to rub his cards in everyone’s faces.
“Well, that was fun,” replied Maya reflecting on the cards she earned, curious as to if they fit her personality.
As Yumiko and Adele finally came down the stairs, everyone’s attention was called when Kevin, Tristan, and Yumiko’s father Ulrich stepped in to say, “Hey kids, the grill is all fired up, so feel free to come on out and dig into the good food available.”
As expected, Oliver rushed out of the room prepared to swipe all the food available, but was too late, as the Stern’s mother Yumi began also partaking of the food herself. Without hesitation, the blonde boy quickly assembled a burger and went straight to work eating.
Looking at the interesting sight in front of her, Mrs. Stern said whispered in her husband’s ear, “Like father, like son, don’t you think?”
“No doubt about it, he’s definitely his father’s child,” replied Mr. Stern preparing to eat himself.
In a more calm fashion, everyone else began to partake of the great spread of food prepared by the parents, which gave Jace a chance to introduce himself to Mr. and Mrs. Stern.
“Nice to meet you both,” he said to them. “Thanks for having us all over.”
“Don’t mention it,” said Mr. Stern. “Seeing you guys altogether reminds me so much of when my wife and I were students at Kadic with each of their parents.”
Mrs. Stern nodded her head and added, “Of course, things tended to be a little smaller in the way of how many people actually got together.”
“Sounds like a fun time,” said Jace as he continued to enjoy the food prepared. “If it’s okay to ask, what was life like at Kadic for you all as a group? Was it pretty fun, or was it as students there?”
Suddenly, a weird silence loomed over the party, causing the children to look at each other as if to say something didn’t feel right with the way both Mr. and Mrs. Stern were not responding as quickly.
“It...” began Mrs. Stern. “It was pretty fun, but it wasn’t all fun and games. We definitely had our share of battles in classes and even dealing with others we didn’t get along with.”
Hearing her oddly timed answer, Jace simply left the subject closed saying, “Sounds like what we’ve got going now, only with more dozing off in class for some, namely Oliver.”
Everyone suddenly began to laugh as Oliver accidentally had soda coming out of his nose after being caught off guard by Jace’s words about his sleeping in Science class. After catching his breath, Oliver replied saying, “Aww, come on, it’s too torturous dealing with Mrs. Lindbergh daily. A guy’s gotta make it through somehow.”
“Aww, come on,” parroted Jace. “It’s not all that bad.” Changing his direction of view over towards Adele, he continued by saying (likely as a double-entente), “Actually, I find Science to be one of my favorite subjects during the school day.”
At that moment, something inside Adele caused the youngest of the group to start blushing a small shade of pink, as she agreed with Jace saying, “I like it too. It’s definitely a fun class to start the day off on.”
Suddenly, Jace began to feel slightly different as his cheeks now started to heat up from hearing Adele’s words. Unknown to both of them, everyone could see the awkward moment taking shape and the kids began to giggle uncontrollably while Mrs. Stern whispered into her husband’s ear, “Wow, looks like you’re never too young to experience romance. Even in a small form.”
“Yumi,” said Mr. Stern trying to keep quiet about the situation. “Don’t make them feel even more awkward.”
That note of discretion became slightly short-lived as Maya suddenly burst in saying, “You two feeling okay?”
Snapping out of another weird trance, both quickly recovered and stammered saying in unison, “Huh? Oh yeah, I’m okay.”
About ready to burst out in laughter, Oliver and Tristan covered their faces to hide their expressions, but were quickly silenced by Carine and Yumiko with a sudden pull on their ears.
As that took place, both suddenly began to have thoughts racing through their heads, What’s wrong with me? Why is it that when he stares at me, I can’t help but smile or I feel so nervous? Why do I feel both happy and confused at the same time when she smiles at me?
Both continued to let these thoughts compel them as everyone continued to enjoy dinner together, questions constantly contemplating if this feeling they both had right now, was either infatuation that would only last for the night, or maybe a sign from the Lord above that something bigger was about to take shape.