As chuckles echo, mostly from guilt, at this defining of terms, Gigi shrugs and evaluates the situation.  “Dude totally turns me down when I mention it between us, but now he wants to ask me when we’re all in a group.”

    “No, no, that’s not it, Gracie.  I was going to ask you before leaving, regardless.  It’s just I thought it’d be awkward to be like, ‘Hey, guys, Gracie and I have some secret talkin’ to be done,’ and then drag you away from the table for something that this group would not find an unusual discussion at all.”  As sincerely as he can, Owan pleads, “Don’t think I was doing it just to look good.  You never actually asked me anything last time.  You just said something about it in training before you hit me with that car.”

    “He he, can’t handle my kind of flirting, can you?” Gigi says with an appropriately devious look on her face.  “I should have thrown a bigger car.”

    “None of these men can handle our kind of flirting,” Faye adds, checking herself in her handheld mirror.

    “We just keep a first aid kit handy in case you boys break a bone trying to compete with us warrior women,” Kammy teases, finishing the trio of taunting.

    “Ouch,” Paul mouses out.

    “Just because you girls have higher iu-ratings, you think you can bully us men,” Owan jeers jokingly.

    “Yep,” they confirm.

    “Yeah, well,” Elf defends, “just remember that I’m tied with Gigi for second behind you, K.C., so don’t think you girls dominate the charts just yet.”

    “Ha!” Kam laughs, “One boy among the women does not a competition make.  It’s very obvious defending the System has become a woman’s area of expertise, not that I’m promoting a woman-based SG force, haha.  Still, any time you think you’re ready, I just love competing with you, Edgy, so bring it on.  I enjoy seeing the looks on the other boys’ faces when their hero loses the game to sweet Baby Z.”  Baby Z, as you may recall, is Kamron’s official name for the buster cannon she installed into her right arm early last year.  It’s quite the spectacle.  Also, I must clarify that appropriate safety precautions are taken for when the guys and girls spar.  Can’t be having guys actually hitting girls.  They’d be jerks.

    As Ent goes to clarify he hasn’t lost that often to Kam, Gigi abruptly brings the conversation back into focus.  “Hey, people, we are talking about me getting a love interest here.  Let’s pay attention.”  Turning back to O, she says, “I know I didn’t ask and that you were trying to hurry before we left.  I was just giving you a hard time because it’s fun.  Sure, we’ll try it out.  This can be our official, non-official definitely-not-dating-because-we’re-just-talking-date, ha ha!”

    As she laughs, Faye voices her concern, “You know, when you put it like that, it takes the decision Elfie and I made two years ago of simply acknowledging we’re waiting on each other and makes it sound like we’re compromising.  I’m not liking how your sister is interpreting our choice, Entoni.”

    “Let’s break up,” is his casual conclusion.

    “Good idea,” Faye agrees.  “Elfie, I’m breaking up with you.  It’s official.”  Everyone gasps.

    Ent winks at her, “But we’re still getting married when we’re older?”

    With an expression of humorously extreme conviction, Faye affirms, “Yes!  I wouldn’t marry anyone else.  You set the date and I will be there an hour earlier.”

    “Uuuuh,” Kammy seems almost spaced out at this answer.  “Wouldn’t that elevate you from not dating to engaged?”

    “Kamron,” Faye humorously commands, “don’t think about it!”

    While these teens try to figure out what they want to do with their lives, a tragedy is about to unfold as Faye’s mother Ally J. strolls over to the lunch table where Doug Rug and Jo Meyers are sitting.  Handing him a napkin, Ally asks, “You’re supposed to go with Cat and Jo on the trip today, aren’t you?”

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