It’s Jewel and Juliana’s turn to spar, and I’m impressed with the progress they’ve made. Dad has them run through a series of katas to warm up. Both are about to test for the next level. The sparring isn’t nearly as quick and agile as the boys’, but they manage to toss each other to the ground and both land and block each other’s punches. I send them strong approval, and Jewel grins at me before turning her face to stone for the final bow.
Mom’s hearty stew with home-made bread is the perfect meal for us after we’ve showered and changed. One of the best things about training is our need for extra calories.
Dad finishes his stew and reaches for a slice of warm bread from the basket in the middle of the table. Before he takes a bite, he says, “The arrangements have been finalized. We’re going to Peru next week.”
He delivers his announcement in a tone of voice that suggests we’re going to the movies after lunch. I choke on a mouthful of food, while Jewel’s anxiety spikes. Pax’s eyes widen as his gaze shoots to Jewel, while I send calm to both. We probably all thought we’d have more time to prepare.
Storm keeps chewing, as if he hadn’t heard a word. I get a sense of excitement from Juliana and wonder if she and Murphy are coming along on this trip. I hope so. We might need their help.
I guess we’ll miss out on a birthday party, after all, unless we get our task done quickly. What are the chances of that? I know I’m projecting my aggravation when I notice everyone staring at me and frowning.
I try to cool down but can’t quite pull it off. What will we find in Peru? How will Jewel handle it? I’m worried about my friend and her volatile emotions. She tries to control it, but I’ve caught her crying at the oddest times. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she’s going through adolescence all over again. I don’t know how it was for her, but I made my family miserable as changing hormones sent me skyrocketing, only to crash and burn every few minutes. Maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but it’s how I remember it.
Pax is worried, too. She’s different.
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