“We fought,” Kam thinks out loud, “The kind-heartened general and the chess master met in battle, and the chess master won.  Your point is invalid as my skills and philosophies were obviously superior.  And yet, everyone he’s defeated will grow stronger and will grow closer to him.  Everyone I’ve fought will grow stronger on their own, but will get farther and farther away from me.  The only one to stick by my side will be the kind-hearted general, and you know what?  When I was fighting him, even before I had the opportunity to set up my final strategy, I already knew this would be the only time I’d stand a chance against him.  He’ll never fall for my tricks again.  That was my only victory I’ll have over him.  He failed, but he’ll learn and not let it happen again.  So, you know where that leaves me?  I will have given up my friends for a victory I can’t even repeat.  My ‘obviously superior’ strategy was only thus for this one fight, meaning it’s useless from here on out.  I’ve wasted my opportunity as your friend for something…that’s already gone.”

    Grace now knows when to speak.  “Wasted, huh?”  She takes her friend’s hand and asks, “Do you really think it’s that simple, hon?  I’m not letting you go that easily.”

    Slipping her short arms around Kam, Faye adds, “Like I said, you irritate the fire out of me, but I love you and I know you’ll do better.”

    “I’m sorry,” the teary eyes and cracked voice start the chorus of three weeping teenage girls.  “I didn’t mean to make you feel like trash, Gigi.  I’m sorry for hurting you.  Faye, you’re such a good friend for stomping my selfish pride.”  She wants to say more, but Kammy’s afraid of what to say, how to show she genuinely wants to change and be completely honest.  All she can offer is a good, tear-stained hug to her sisters.  This is all they need.  They forgive their best friend.

    Gigi is the first to lovingly break away.  “There’s something I said to you, Kammy, that I need to go fix.  Might as well try again while I’m in the right frame of mind.  Pray for me, girls.”

    As she leaves, the other two have a moment to themselves.  With her huggy arms drooped over Faye’s shoulders, Kam teases, “You’re such a mean little sister, you know, hitting me so hard.  Thanks.”

    “I’m not letting you sink, okay?” Little Worley’s mascara has its adventure down the side of her cheek, adding to her adorable smile.  “You didn’t have to listen to me.  You could’ve gotten mad and accused me of thinking of myself and Elfie.”

    “I thought about it, but that wouldn’t have been mature, not at all.  If I had commented like that, it’s only because I’d be thinking of Elfie as mine.  But Elfie is God’s.  I’m God’s and so are you.  That comes first, and I’m sorry for being too consumed with the praise of others to be nicer.  Also, my temper and grumpiness, I’ll try to not be so snappy all the time.”

    “Ha ha ha!” Faye laughs empathetically, “We’ll both stop being so snappy.  No wonder Gigi didn’t know who to fight first.  I can be just as grouchy as you, so let’s work on this together,” and with the cutest little tone possible, Faye adds, “okie?”

    Smiling, Kammy hugs her friend again and says, “Okie.”

    While still in this good time of restoration, Faye can’t help but teasingly ask a very important question about the girls’ future, completely unaware of a newly added presence.  “So, can we just get it over with and decide who gets Elfie already?”

    Kammy laughs, “If you really want him so much, stop torturing yourself by throwing him at me.  I’ve yet to decide, but you’re 100% his, so I’ll just focus on Paul for now, since Gigi doesn’t want him.”

    Faye likes this plan.  “Yeah, I guess it’s a good excuse to let Gigi be free of that peer pressure.  She and Paul will get along more when people stop forcing them to hold hands, metaphorically, of course.  So yeah, I’ll work on Grace and Owan being a thing.  You work on you and Paul, and Elfie…”

    Before Faye can emphasize the silliness of this conversation, as the group needs to wait on dating anyways, her well-intended direction for this chat is cut short when she realizes Elf’s been present for longer than even he wants to think about.  “Eh heh…you’ve adorable timing, dear,” is all Faye can say.

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