“It’s none of your business,” is Paul’s first reaction, though he knows she is speaking truth.

    With her hand on his shoulder, she responds, “Look, you’re wearing your emotions all over the place.  You’re advertising your business for everyone to see, but then refusing help.  I know you want to get over your fears, and maybe your refusal to act does make the more active among us overstep our bounds, but it’s because we see such an amazing young man, and we’re just waiting for him to see what we see and to stop looking through the eyes of people who are too immature to see past themselves.  The way Elf scolded you tells me you two are good friends like Keb and I are.  I know you are angry at the moment, but when you’ve calmed down, will you talk to him again?  Hon, I’m sorry if I was too invasive popping up beside you like that, scolding you for things I know you’re trying to work on.  And, no, I didn’t scan your brain.  I just guessed the most obvious answer.  Now, you’re not angry with Elfie over Kammy.  You’re angry because what he said was correct, and you hate it.”

    Paul fails to hold back a smile as Justine describes exactly how he’s feeling.  “I’ll talk to him.  Thanks for trying to cheer me up, Lady Justine.  And, incidentally, thanks for not scanning my brain.”

    Laughing aloud, Justine holds out her hand and audibly says, “All good then?”

    “All good.”  He gives his typical humble smile and shakes her hand after which he tries to turn back toward the epic battle going on between Elf and Kammy, but Paul quickly finds himself being swarmed with chit chat from Keb and Christy, both having decided to join in Clara’s obvious attempt of cheering up and distracting Paul from his current frustration.

    As the boy can be seen cutting up with these older ladies, the only set of younger eyes that notices him can’t help but quietly voice her opinion on the matter as she adjusts her monocle.  “Such a loser….”

    Five minutes later, everyone’s attention is kidnapped by the peppy young blonde who blurts out her cheer in zealous victory, throwing her hands up in the air.  “Face it, buddy boy; you’re mine!”

    Entoni is very okay with losing to this version of Kammy, but this is Elfie we are talking about, so before he admits his defeat, he makes one last, slow scan of the board for any possible way out of his dilemma.  Kammy is very patient in letting him have all the time he needs, but it’s pointless.  Ent can feel her staring at him, destroying all hope of him being able to concentrate.  He stands and shakes her hand again.  “K.C., you truly are the tactician.  Yep, K.C. The Tactician.”

    Kammy basks in the sound of this new title as her brotherly hand shake is noticeably longer with Elfie than with the others.  The two let go in decent time, and the class slowly transitions to that dreaded moment of having to end the playtime in order to leave for the next era.

    “Seeya, Keb,” says Cat.  “Wait, no.  I’m a dork.  Seeya, Kat.”

    “I was wondering.  Seeya, Cat.”  The two are thoroughly pleased with themselves now.

    “Thanks for the good pep talk, Christy,” I.C. says to Christiana about Bible subjects we must have missed due to all the kids’ antics.  “I hope I’m even half a good a leader as you were.  But even so, I’m coming to Juniper to bug you after the trip, so you better have something good in the oven when I get there.”

    Christy bounces for joy at this statement.  “Oh, so you heard of my recipes, did you?  I’m always flattered when people read about me in the history books and then learn I, too, was a normal person once, cooking and cleaning for myself, before I ended up Queen of Germany.  Message me what you want to eat, and I’ll whip up the best meal you’ve ever had.”

    “Doubt it,” Keb butts in.

    “No one asked you, Kitchen Killer,” Christy says with a laugh to the cooking champ whose record has significantly shot up from 200 wins to 250 since the last time we mentioned it.

    “Okay, I’m leaving now.  Are you happy?”  Vahnna waves at Duplica and walks off.

    “No, we’re not!” all the kids say as they follow after her, hoping to weasel her into staying.  Unfortunately, she has to be heading off now.  You know she’ll be back.

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