~ Monday ~
Bell (Ben’s twin) celebrates a birthday.
Catrina (Bell’s oldest daughter) also celebrates a birthday.
Braden (Bell’s husband) celebrates a birthday as well.
Addy’s Note: They must have held a birthday bash of their own.
At first, Chase and the others don’t notice anything different about transitioning into teens.
They ride the same school bus and sit in their usual seats.
Upon arrival at school, the changes become obvious. Switching classrooms mean new classmates to befriend.
Carl is happy to see a familiar face and invites Cole home after school.
Ben helps himself to the last of the pancakes and smiles to see a new friend hanging out with his children, but his smiles starts to fade as he listens to their conversation.
Cole is another displaced youth from Sunset Valley and from the snippets Ben is hearing, his stay in Riverview isn’t going as well as Carl’s.
Ben offers to start teaching Carl how to drive in the hopes of finding out more.
Seeing her husband head outside with Carl, discussing important rules of the road, has Darla doing the same with Chase since he finished his homework first.
A few hours later …
Cole has gone home and the teens are elsewhere in the house. This makes it the perfect time for a quiet dinner and some conversation.
Ben made Vegetarian Grilled Salmon for the first time and thought it turned out pretty well. Darla shows him how she adds a few seasonings to kick it up a notch but he doesn’t think he’ll ever be a natural in the kitchen like she is.
Soon their conversation turns to Cole. Ben shares that he had learned that Cole is staying with a large family where there aren’t enough beds so he either naps on the couch or finds a quiet park bench somewhere.
Darla is understandably upset by this and after further discussion, they agree to talk with Cole the next time they see him.
~ Tuesday ~
Baz and Zoey marry.
Later the same day, Zoey announces her pregnancy.
Addy’s Note: Those two certainly didn’t waste any time, lol
Ben and Darla are pleased to see Cole step off the bus with the others. They give all time to finish homework before asking Cole if he has a few minutes to speak with them.
As expected, their talk soon turns to Sunset Valley and the slow progress being made there. It takes time to clean-up the contamination and hopefully make it a livable town again.
They gently ask Cole how he likes Riverview thus far and what his plans are for the near future. He solemnly responds that he hopes to graduate and maybe do something in the musical field.
While he is polite and doesn’t hesitate to answer their questions, his sad tired eyes let them know that he isn’t telling them everything that is on his mind.
Unable to keep quiet for much longer, Darla mentions that he looks tired and they have extra bedrooms so he is welcome to stay the night if he wants to. For the first time since they started chatting with him, they can visually see Cole relax and smile a small smile.
“I can? That is so nice of you. I really appreciate your kind offer and promise not to make too much of a mess. Thank you both so much!”
As he gets up to go rejoin the others, Darla hugs him and lets him know that he is welcome to stay longer if he likes it here.
Cole rejoins his friends and soon a joyful noise is heard throughout the house.
Other joyful noises are heard outside as Chase gets his birthday wish fulfilled. While the others had asked for instruments and lessons, Chase asked/begged/pleaded for a horse.
Welcome to the family, Oreo!