Note: This chapter contains a LOT of German with no translation/explanation. And there is a reason for it!
This chapter is from Josh’s POV (surprise!), and since he is overhearing a conversation in a language he doesn’t know, you guys get the full Josh experience by also not knowing what’s being said (unless you’re one of my German-speaking readers :P)
Before you get super frustrated, be patient! I might be nice near the end of this chapter. 😉 But bear with me for now!
“Nein!” Mari hissed through clenched teeth as she appeared in the kitchen doorway, following closely behind Stefan. “Ich hab doch gesagt, sie geht nicht mit!” She snapped.
Josh had no idea what she was saying, but the meaning behind the words mattered little to him at the moment. Jesus, does she yell like this in front of the kids all the time? He wondered, glancing down at Tobi’s smiling children, whom he’d met just a few minutes before. They appeared completely unfazed by the outburst, and continued whispering excitedly to one another. Yeah… She must. Josh decided, half-amused.
He felt a pang of guilt at the thought. He’d been trying so hard not to judge Mari too harshly ever since that night at the hotel… A task that was proving more and more difficult with each passing day.
“Aber MAMA! Ich will mit!” His thoughts were interrupted by a shrill shriek as a little girl with dark brown hair appeared at the top of the stairs. Josh recognized her immediately as Tobi and Stefan’s little sister, Clara. “Das ist nicht fair!”
The little girl practically flew down the stairs, coming to a halt in front of her mother. Clara looked up at her defiantly, crossing her arms across her chest.
For a moment, Josh was reminded of his own little spitfire, Cora, back home in Willow Creek. He could not help the slight sadness that washed over him as he thought of his children. For the past thirty years he’d spent so much time away from home… In his line of work, it was something you just had to get used to.
But it never seemed to get any easier.
Mari did not appear to acknowledge her daughter’s outburst. “Du musst noch Hausaufgaben machen, nicht wahr, Clara?” She asked with what appeared to be false cheerfulness.
Beside him, Tobi gave Josh a brief look of apology. “Komm schon, es ist ne halbe Stunde, höchstens!” He called out to his mother, his voice almost pleading as he stepped toward her.
“Tobi,” Stefan muttered, “du weißt schon dass es nicht um die Hausaufgaben geht…”
“Schluss jetzt!” Mari’s cry seemed to echo throughout the entire house. Josh almost winced outwardly at the sound. “Sie geht nicht mit und das ist endgültig!”
Tobi’s face fell. “Aber…”
Stefan shook his head at his brother and extended a hand toward him gently. Don’t push it. His eyes seemed to say. “Vielleicht nächstes mal, Clara.” The young man smiled gently at his little sister.
The young girl wept softly in reply.
Josh did not need to know a word of German to understand what was going on. She won’t let her go… He realized, incredulous. Because of me. It was so immature, so petty… Josh had a hard time believing what he was hearing.
Or rather, what he assumed he was hearing.
The pigtailed little girl beside him stepped forward nervously. “Wir bringen dir was mit, okay?” Jocelyne said gently.
“Das ist doch bescheuert!” Clara stomped her foot and glared daggers at her mother. She did nothing to acknowledge the other little girl’s comment.
“Geh nach oben und hol Papa, Clara.” Mari’s voice was cold. “Er hilft dir mit deinen Hausaufgaben.”
“OKAY!” The little girl let out a large angry huff.
Despite everything, Josh almost laughed. Alright, that one I understood… He thought as he watched Clara stomp heavily up the wooden stairs. Standing at the top, Josh caught a glimpse of a dark-haired man with glasses. As with Clara, he knew in an instant who it was.
Jonas locked eyes with him for a moment. It was so fleeting, but he could feel so much in the other man’s gaze – curiosity, apprehension… jealousy? Before Josh could be certain, Jonas gave him a small, uncomfortable smile, then wrapped an arm over his daughter’s shoulders and led her away.
For one wild moment, Josh almost wanted to call out to him. He wanted so badly to meet the man who had raised his sons, yet he and Jonas had still not been properly introduced… And he had a sneaking suspicion he knew why. Damn, she must have him whipped. Josh thought, shaking his head slowly.
He regretted the thought almost instantly. Don’t judge. He reminded himself. Remember?
“Ich weiß sowieso nicht warum ihr sie da mit reinziehen musstet.” Josh was called back to the present by another sharp hiss from Mari.
Her eyes darted back and forth between both of her sons.
“Josh hat sie eingeladen.” Stefan shrugged as he spoke, and Josh’s ears perked up at the sound of his name. “Er wollte nur nett sein.”
He could feel Mari’s eyes on him then, though he tried his best to avoid her gaze. Josh felt the back of his neck grow warm as his irritation began to rise. Don’t they realize I’m standing right here…?
“Versucht, um 4 zurück zu sein.” Mari gave her sons one last look, then smiled sweetly at her grandchildren. “Und macht keinen Ärger, ihr zwei.” Her tone was almost playful as she spoke. How had her demeanor changed so quickly?
Lucas beamed at his grandmother. “Klar doch!” He gave his sister a small smile. “Das wird leicht wenn Clara nicht dabei ist…”
Jocelyne clapped a hand over her mouth and fought to suppress her giggles at her brother’s comment. Stefan let out a small snort of amusement, and even Mari failed to hold back a smile as she turned and retreated back into the kitchen.
“Lucas!” Tobi narrowed his eyes at his son, though a hint of amusement was apparent in his tone.
The little boy simply shrugged. “Tschuldigung…”
Tobi reached down and ruffled his son’s brown hair, his stern mask suddenly fading. Both sets of twins laughed softly to themselves as they rejoined Josh by the doorway.
He eyed them curiously as they approached. Whatever the little boy had said seemed to have eased some of the tension.
“Sorry about all that.” Stefan smiled kindly at him. “Ready to go?”
Josh nodded, grateful to hear his native language once more. He looked uncertainly at Jocelyne and Lucas for a moment. Tobi had warned him that the twins barely knew a word of English.
“Do you want ice cream?” Josh asked them slowly and carefully.
Their cheers of delight told him that they understood.
Guess some things are universal. He thought with a smile as he followed them out into the bright afternoon sun. But this language barrier might take some getting used to…
Josh made a mental note to pick up a copy of Rosetta Stone the moment he got home.
Thank you SO much to Julyvee94 for translating all of my dialgoue into German for this one!
For everyone pulling their hair out in frustration right now, I am feeling kind. Here’s a translation of the dialogue 😉
Mari: “No! I told you, she’s not going.”
Clara: “But MAMA, I wanna go! It’s not fair!”
Mari: “She has homework to finish anyway, don’t you Clara?”
Tobi: “Oh, come on! It’ll be half an hour, tops.”
Stefan: “Tobi, you know this isn’t about the homework…”
Mari: “ENOUGH! She’s not going, and that’s final.”
Stefan: “Maybe next time, Clara.”
Jocelyne: “We’ll bring you back something, okay?”
Clara: “This is stupid!”
Mari: “Go upstairs and get Papa, Clara. He’ll help you with your homework.”
Mari: “I don’t know why you had to go and get her involved anyway.”
Stefan: “Josh invited her. He was just trying to be nice.”
Mari: “Try to be back by four. And stay out of trouble, you two.”
Lucas: “Of course! That’ll be easy without Clara there…”