↳ Chapter 1: The First Day Back
Read: It was a cold Monday morning in early January...
Alfred and Matthew return back to school after the Christmas vacation. They're in their second semester and can't wait to get there, Matthew because he loves school and Alfred because he gets to see all of his friends again. Various characters are introduced, such as their next door neighbor Manuel who also goes to school with them, the ever argumentative Arthur and Francis, and the peppy Italian Feliciano. The only one who excludes himself from the noise in the bus is the small Japanese student, Kiku, who sits at the farthest end of the vehicle all by himself.
↳ Chapter 2: Refrain
Read: "Well well, if it isn't Mr. World Peace and his band of illegals."
The group of friends on the school bus arrive at Ambrosia High, a privileged school for students who have immigrated to the United States. Only two exist in said country, one in California and the other in New York due to the high percentage of multiculturalism. Damian, one of the school's bullies and proud American (but not in a good way) harasses Alfred and his friends. Everyone gets their classroom schedules for the new semester, and Alfred tries to converse with Kiku who is cold and cynical with him. Alfred becomes upset that Kiku still hasn't forgiven him for what happened about three years ago, even if Ludwig and Feliciano had already done so a long time ago.
↳ Chapter 3: It's That Easy
Read: "Did you ever say sorry?"
During lunch, Alfred rants about how Kiku got him in trouble in math class. His friends tell him because Alfred never said sorry to him, maybe that's why Kiku still hadn't gotten over the incident. The blonde then goes and asks Heracles to speak with Kiku since he is one of the few people Kiku acquaints himself with. During the end of the school day at homeroom, Heracles is able to talk to Kiku and then reports back to the hyper American that it has been confirmed that all Kiku wants is an apology for what happened three years prior. When Alfred and Matthew get home, Manny (Manuel) stays over for dinner to avoid his apparently annoying but loving older cousin Antonio.
↳ Chapter 4: Step One
Read: "Kiku, I'm really sorry."
Alfred asks Heracles to speak with Kiku again since the former desperately wishes to become his friend. The calm Grecian agrees and finds Kiku at the baseball field, and the Japanese boy, having a romantic fondness for the other, listens patiently as Heracles convinces him to go inside the cafeteria some time. After school is over, the twins Alfred and Matthew head over to baseball practice, the latter going on before his brother. Alfred sees Kiku in the empty hallway getting things from his locker. He hides as he sees Damian and his friends picking on poor Kiku, making him drop all of his books and papers. When they leave, Alfred approaches Kiku slowly as the smaller boy picks up his scattered belongings, crying softly to himself. The taller boy helps him pick up his stuff, and it is during this time that he apologizes to Kiku, the latter also giving an apology in return. The past is put behind them forever, and the two have reconciled. Later at the Wang household, Kiku joins Yao, Yong Soo, Li, and Mei at the dinner table. The siblings and cousins talk about their day, and when Francis is brought up, Mr. Wang starts criticizing him because of his sexual preference. Yao becomes defensive of his French friend and Mr. Wang admits that if he ever found out one of his children (or nephews as is in the case of Yong Soo and Kiku) ever came out of the closet, he'd be devastated beyond words, leaving Kiku feeling even more insecure about himself after being in the closet for a while.
↳ Chapter 5: Commitment
Read: "Kiku and I are finally friends!"
Alfred informs his friends at lunch the next day that Kiku and him have made amends and are now friends. Feliciano rejoices, and Kiku joins the group of eight (Alfred, Matthew, Arthur, Francis, Feliciano, Ludwig, Ivan, and Yao) at their table, which Alfred had just then dubbed "The Table of Epicness". After assigning team colors and a team name (something Arthur thinks is quite stupid) he makes everybody promise that no matter what happens and no matter how much time has passed, all nine of them will be there for each other when needed. After school, Alfred convinces Kiku to join the baseball team. Coach Cruz is a surprise to him because she is a woman coach and not a man. She likes the potential she sees in the small Japanese student when he does a few practices with the other boys and then welcomes him to the team. In the locker room, Manny becomes upset because Antonio dotes over him so much, everybody laughs, and Kiku sees Heracles without his shirt on for the first time, causing him to blush madly and leave the room immediately after changing, confusing Alfred and the Grecian. On the bus, Yong Soo tells his short cousin that he can confide in him whenever he needs to, and when they arrive at the Wang household, Yao scolds Kiku because he was worried about him. Manny then joins the Jones family for dinner once again because Antonio is dwelling in his house, which is right next door.
↳ Chapter 6: Truth Revealed
Read: He was trapped. There was no way out. They knew.
Alfred asks Kiku after baseball practice why he fled the other day so flushed from the locker room and Kiku used the excuse that he had to get to his part-time job, which was partially true. Alfred then meets up with Toris and accompanies him to the mall, Matthew and Manny tagging along. Toris needed to get some text books to Feliks who went to the mall after school because of a huge sale. Before continuing their trek to find the Polish boy, the four decide to eat at McDonald's in the food court. Alfred goes up to the register to order for them when he sees the cashier is Kiku. Shocked beyond belief, Kiku explains that he needed a job and it was the only one available that was close to home. While they ate their meal at one of the tables, Matthew points out that Damian had entered the food court and began picking on Kiku, his cashier. Alfred gets back in line to defend Kiku, but the manager steps up to the register and takes Damian's order instead. After Damian leaves, Alfred gives Kiku his number in case he ever needed anything.
The next day at his job, Kiku gets lost in his thoughts about why Damian continues to pick on him, making the smoothie he was getting for a customer overflow. Once his shift was over, Kiku walked out of the mall exhausted, but then scared as he sees Damian and his friends walking up to the establishment. Luckily Alfred appeared in his car, offering Kiku a ride home, the latter consenting in fear of the bully. As they are in the car, it comes to Alfred's attention that Valentine's Day is approaching, and he confesses that he likes Navah, the female student from Israel. Kiku teased that it's quite obvious he likes her, making the American blush even more. Then he asks which girl Kiku likes, the latter blushing furiously and asks Alfred to change the subject. The next week at school, Alfred drags Kiku to the Valentine Grams table since the latter had promised he'd write the gram for Alfred so Navah didn't notice it was from him. When Valentine's Day finally arrived, Alfred was beyond nervous when he and Kiku walked to homeroom. Mrs. Rosales gave out all the Valentine's Grams that were sent. Francis and Arthur competed over which one of them got more. Katyusha was the female student in homeroom with the most grams, Antonio and Alfred tying for the males with the most grams. They received so many that they were in a large bag. Logan, Arthur's cousin from Australia, also receives a bag, the British boy shocked because he hadn't even attended the school that long. Heracles also recieves a plethora of grams, although he found one to be suspicious. Kiku received no grams except for the one Feliciano and Ludwig signed together every year so he wouldn't feel left out.
Kiku is engrossed in his own little world during Spanish class because after homeroom, Heracles had given him a chocolate so he didn't feel left out on the holiday. This made Kiku feel like he was on cloud nine, so much that he wrote a haiku about his joy in pink lead pencil, doodling all over the paper. When his teacher asks him to go run an errand, Damian happens to pass by his desk and notices the paper, snatches it, and places it in his pocket. When Kiku returns, he can't find the paper anywhere and becomes panicked, fearful about his secret getting out. During lunch he tells his friends about the paper (although doesn't go into detail about the contents of it) and they say they haven't seen it around. Just then, Damian stands up on his own table and reads a paper he found, clearly aware that it's Kiku's, and reveals to the student body that Kiku is in fact homosexual and crushes on the local teenage Grecian hottie Heracles. Feeling mortified as the cafeteria becomes quiet, Kiku runs out of the room, Yao and his siblings following. Alfred becomes enraged at Damian, the jock only basking in the current humiliating act he did toward Kiku. He then asks Heracles how it feels like to be crushed on by a "fag" and Heracles says quite frankly that he doesn't care. He then humiliates Damian in return by saying, "If anything, I should be flattered or something like that. It just means I'm that much more attractive than you'll ever be if I can get both girls and guys to crush on me." causing the students in the room to laugh.
Yao finds Kiku crying in one of the stalls in the boy's restroom and asks him to come out. He refuses so he shoes away Li and Yong Soo, the two of them and Mei waiting outside the facility. Kiku then feels more comfortable and embraces Yao, crying until he runs out of tears. Yao comforts him in a loving manner and says he'd never leave Kiku even though his secret is revealed, but thinking to himself, Yao worries about what will happen if his father finds out about Kiku's sexual preference.
↳ Chapter 7: Luck Be A Lady
Read: He heard a sob on the other end.
Kiku had avoided contact with his friends for the rest of the day, making Alfred worry. He hoped that his short friend would come to baseball practice at least. Once the hallways were cleared, Kiku exited the boys' bathroom and went to his locker, only to confront Heracles. Kiku apologizes for dragging Heracles into the whole situation, and the Grecian said that there was no need to apologize. He reassured him and said that he doesn't see Kiku any differently than he had before, relieving the Japanese boy of any insecurities he felt about their friendship. Kiku goes to baseball practice after all and explains to Coach Cruz why he's late, but she said she already knew about the incident that occurred and said she doesn't care either. After practice, Alfred dwells on the flyer Coach Cruz had given the team, informing them of parent conference night. He avoids telling his mother about it, but when they get home, she said she got a letter in the mail telling her about the event.
During parent conference night, Emily meets the mothers again of Alfred's eight friends, who greatly resemble their sons in physical appearance. She also meets Kiku for the first time and dotes on him because he's so cute. Later when she and her boys are watching a movie at home, Alfred gets a call on his cell phone from Kiku and worries because the latter is crying and sobbing on the other end. Alfred drives to the front of the school and finds Kiku sitting there crying to himself. He asks Kiku what happens and explains that his secret got out at the Wang household, making Mr. Wang loathe him, causing Kiku to run away with no other option. Alfred takes him to his own house and Emily and Matthew find out about the situation. She makes Kiku stay over and calls the Wang household to tell them that he's fine, relieving Yao and Chun-Yan. Emily explains to Kiku that everything will get sorted out, so for the time being, he is able to sleep without worry.
↳ Chapter 8: Decision
Read: "Well technically, it's no longer my house…"
Kiku has his first breakfast with the Jones family, and then when Emily leaves to go run some errands, Matthew tells Kiku that Yao wanted him to come back home. Alfred tags along with the two, but since his car wasn't in his possession due to being at the auto shop, he bugs Manuel to take them to Yao's house, who has a bit of a problem of his own, having to take his sisters to go do their nails, much to his dismay. His discomfort only gets worse when Antonio managed to sneak himself into the car without Manuel noticing.
When Kiku, Matthew and Alfred arrive at Yao's residence, Chun-Yan and her husband are absent as they went to the mall. Yao believes Kiku will return home, only to have Kiku tell him that he only came here to pick up his belongings. The Jones twins are distracted by family photos in the living room, while Kiku explains that he'll live with Alfred's family for a while since it's become apparent his uncle doesn't want him anymore. Yao feels sad as Kiku begins to pack up a few of his things while Alfred helps him, and Matthew tells the Chinese teen that everything is going to be alright, and they'll take great care of Kiku. Meanwhile, Emily is at the mall with Alice, waiting for two other guests, who happen to be Mr. and Mrs. Wang. Alice begins to explain the reason why she, and they, are here, although Emily stops her and tells them herself. She tells the married couple that she has decided to adopt Kiku since he has nowhere else to go.
↳ Chapter 9: Hello Neighbor
Read: "If Kiku happens…well, if he happens to like one of my boys…I'd have no problem with it."
↳ Chapter 10: Hemoglobin
Read: "Well I like donating blood, because then they give you free food after and a big sticker!"
↳ Chapter 11: Out in the Open
Read: "I was eight years old! What do you expect a child of that age to do when he witnesses something like that?!"