Author’s Note: So yesterday, when I couldn’t think of anything to do and thought I needed something sweet, some fluff, I asked for help with finding something. Liana Mir generously prompted me with “Alik, Malina, and Enadar have a popcorn party as teenagers.”
So now I can share a bit of the collaboration, a brief look into some of the fun and family dynamics of the three Kallas siblings who share a close bond despite everything.
Malina mock-glared at her oldest brother. “Now, Alik, you’re not allowed to ruin it.”
Alik gave her a look. “It’s popcorn. It’s already ruined. When I gave it to him last week, I thought it was a good idea. He has made it every night since, and it is not a good idea.”
She sighed, reaching over to touch Alik’s cheek. “Please. One more night. You know that it’s the only thing that has made him smile since we had to leave Holteshire.”
Alik was quiet, his eyes shifting with his thoughts, and she almost asked him about them, but then Enadar burst into the door, spilling his bowl of popcorn as he did. “What is taking you so long? I thought we all agreed—popcorn and comedies. All night long.”
“We agreed to comedies?” Malina asked, glancing at Alik. “Since when do you watch comedies?”
“Since I swear I found films that will make even the robot laugh,” their younger brother announced, bouncing over to Alik’s side and dragging him toward the other room. Malina had to smile, shaking her head as she picked up the other bowls and carried them in with her.
She sat down in between her brothers, knowing that was the only way any of them would survive the night, giving Alik his popcorn before settling in. He looked down at it like he might make it explode, and she kicked his foot. “No.”
His eyes darkened, but he did not touch the popcorn.
Enadar started laughing in an obnoxious manner at some joke that wasn’t that funny, and Alik found a use for his popcorn—throwing it at him with every guffaw. Enadar frowned before throwing some in return, and Malina grimaced as she got caught in the crossfire, wondering why she couldn’t have had at least one sister instead of two brothers.
Still, while it was messy, Enadar was still laughing. Alik actually smiled. No, he hadn’t ruined things at all.