“No, Gigi, I haven’t!” Kammy tilts her head in slight disappointment.  “Grace, as a sister who is older than you, hear me out.  Just because I have a boyfriend doesn’t mean I have to go holding his hand or kissing him to establish to myself and everyone else that we’re dating.  It would be irresponsible to start doing all of that all for the sake of being romantic with my boyfriend.  The Bible is clear about not doing anything that I know will feed a desire to do something forbidden.  So, believe me when I say that I have not been physical with Paul, nor do I intend to be.  He’s my friend and a soldier of Jesus Christ.  He’s not my smooching trophy to flaunt to my friends, nor is he my comfort pillow to disregard biblical principle when I’m sad and want to feel his touch to ‘make it all go away.’”

    Highly impressed, Gigi can’t resist the wordplay in asking, “So, does not being physical mean you don’t spar in the fighting simulator anymore?”

    Giggling and loving the pun, Kam replies, “Ha ha, that’s one exception to being physical I don’t mind.  Paul might be my boyfriend and one cute fella’, but I’m not going to let that chump slack on his training.  No, this girlie girl isn’t afraid to bop her man on the head to keep him in shape, ha ha.”

    “Ha ha ha, well, I’m proud of you, sis,” says Gigi.  “I hope I’m as disciplined as you when I have a boyfriend.  I don’t plan on doing anything before marriage.  I was just asking to keep you accountable.”

    Kammy pats Gi on the shoulder.  “Well, thanks for being the Dating Police.  Nah, I know what you mean.  It is good to have friends who aren’t afraid to kick me if I need it.”

    And while Kammy is talking to Gigi, her man is spending the off time with his mom, the two of them sitting on the floor, Indian style, by the soda machine, both enjoying a refreshing beverage.

    “Well, this is camping at its best,” comments Mercy.

    “It’s the little things, I guess,” replies Paul.

    Mercy taps his knee with her bottle and asks, “So, what have you learned so far?  Gotta’ make sure you’re ready for that exam.”

    Thinking as he takes a swig of his beverage, he puts the drink down and says, “I learned to stick to soda so I don’t embarrass myself while riding in a parade.”  The two chuckle, and he continues, saying, “I see a lot of ways that I could totally wreck my friendship with Kammy.  I could let discouragement or selfishness make me a mean boyfriend.  I could become so obsessed with my own ambitions that I make Kam feel like an afterthought in my mind.  Also, I need to be careful in balancing my girlfriend with my normal friends.  I don’t usually speak much anyway, so me talking mainly to my girl isn’t that odd, but I should try to make sure I don’t forget Ent and Owan exist.”

    As Paul thinks about the importance of being a good friend, he can’t help but remember how things went with Gigi last year.  He thinks to himself, “I already wrecked one friendship.  I’d hate to lose another.  I mean, we’re cordial, so that’s close enough, but I do miss the old days.  Eh, I don’t see why, seeing how she always ignored me anyway.”  Choosing to leave these details out of his learned lessons, he switches the subject to his mother, asking, “What have you learned, Mom?”

    “Well,” starts her impromptu response, “be more understanding of people.  Bubbles Indigo was a normal girl until she let her disappointment change her.  If she had a better friend than that singer, she’d have someone who could influence her.  I’m not saying we should go find her, but a lot of the villains used to be normal people until they reacted wrong to a bad situation.  On the other hand, people like that Muse girl and Millennia had bad things happen to them but chose what’s right.  If the villains don’t change, they’ll have to face the consequences, but we shouldn’t cheer on their destruction.  Quite the opposite, we should see it for the terrible tragedy that it is; a life was wasted.

    “That’s why it’s important for us to be teachable and refuse the temptation of stubbornness, Paul.  I guess you could say that’s why I came along.  I don’t want to just assume I’m a good mom.  I want to be the best I can be for you because I love you.”  Seeing how she’s a bit far for a hug, she just taps his leg with her soda bottle again.

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