The Bloomer Legacy: 9.8 Rewind

1 week ago

The kids were arguing, as per usual. When Pauline and Leo had decided to have a large family, they were thinking more along the lines of many tiny feet flapping around the house adorably. Nobody warned them about the quadruple threat of teenage hormones…

2

But nothing was going to spoil Pauline’s mood. She’d completed her generational task, passed on the responsibility, and now it was time for her to relax in the good old Windenburg for a week, with Peyton on her side. While both of the sisters lived in Newcrest, they were so busy with their own lives. Well this week, they’d be able to relive the carefree times they’d had here when they first met.

3

Speaking of carefree teens, Pauline had every intention of just unleashing hers into Windenburg. If she remembered anything about being a teenager, she knew they’d sneak away if she kept too watchful of an eye over them anyway. Well, maybe Carly wouldn’t, bless her. But the others…

The car pulled up in front of the impressive holiday home.

4

“Testing the water already!” Grady splashed away in the little pond behind the house.

“You do know Windenburg has an actual seaside, right??” Peyton laughed.

“I guarantee that it’s further than 3 steps from our front door though! Why wait any longer to get that holiday started?”

“Well, if you put it that way…”

5

Peyton got into her swimsuit and dove in, joining her husband.

Pauline smiled. It seemed like the good old days already!

***

6

It didn’t take long for the sisters to reconnect. They went to cracking inside jokes and snorting with laughter in no time.

Granted, Grady felt like a bit of a third wheel with them, but he was just pleased to see his wife happy. Peyton hadn’t been smiling a lot lately.

7

Leo felt comfortable giving the two sisters space. More time for him to experiment with cooking and catch up on reading – the holiday home had an immense library.

But why be cooped up in the house when Windenburg’s countryside was so magical! He planned a hiking trip for the whole family. To nobody’s surprise, the teens were less than enthused and ended up doing their own thing. Leo shrugged it off. More grilled chicken for the rest of them, then.

8

“How is the handsome chef?” Pauline joined him.

“Very good, now that his gorgeous wife is beside him!”

9

Pauline smiled at him warmly. “It almost feels like a second honeymoon, doesn’t it?”

“I guess that is the upside of the kids becoming so independent,” Leo noted. “Where are they today again?”

“A the beach with Starr and Davion’s kid.”

“Oh yes, the two that are taking us to that new restaurant, right?” Leo’s face lit up. “Are you excited to see your friends from your teenage years?”

“And talk about how all of our own children are teenagers now? I’ll probably feel very old!” Pauline laughed.

10

“Well, not all of us have kids,” Peyton reminded them, sitting down at the picnic table. “But I still feel old regardless! I mean, look at little Hallie! You see her every day, so it probably doesn’t register as much with you, but our baby sister is now practically a young woman.”

“As are our other girls,” Leo pointed out. “Spending time with your ex-boyfriend’s son… do I need to get a shotgun?” He laughed.

“From what Starr said about their Louis, I think that won’t be necessary,” Pauline laughed. “And I’d hardly call Davion my ex-boyfriend. Peyton can attest to that.”

“True, he was more like your first crush,” Peyton said helpfully.

“Well, that fills me with confidence,” Leo chuckled.

“Thanks for nothing, sis!”

11

“I am looking forward to seeing your old friends again, darling,” Leo offered an olive branch.

“I think you’re mainly looking forward to the restaurant, honey,” Pauline giggled.

“You got me there!”

“Whatever food they’ll serve at the restaurant won’t beat this chicken,” Peyton finished her meal, licking her lips. “You’re a great chef, Leo!”

“Why thank you!”

“You guys want to head over to that pub over there?” Peyton pointed behind her. “If I remember rightly, they have some yummy Barley Bale!”

“Which you obviously remember from your teen years,” Grady laughed.

“The juice-free version, naturally,” Peyton winked.

12

Pauline and Leo decided to stay behind – Pauline felt a sudden stroke of inspiration for a new folksy tune and Leo had a book to finish. They enjoyed each other’s company without the need for talking; the countryside, their hobbies and having one another at their side; it was pure bliss.

***

13

“This is it! The finest establishment in town… and the newest,” Starr announced as they entered the restaurant.

Leo could smell the stream of delicious food from the kitchen already. Promising start!

14

“Welcome to L’Attente Bistro!” The hostess greeted them. “We have a perfect table for a party f your size on the patio, if you’re open to sitting outside?”

“We would love to sit outside,” Pauline grinned. They needed something like this in Newcrest, that was for sure. With any luck, perhaps one of her offspring would feel like opening a restaurant in the future…

“Follow me, please,” the hostess ushered them onto the back terrace.

15

“Anything you would recommend, Starr?” Leo buried his nose in the menu.

“Their fish is rather lovely,” Starr played the connoisseur. “But really, you can’t go wrong! It’s all delightful.”

Peyton and Pauline exchanged amused glances. It was odd to see their once carefree and somewhat airheaded friend Starr act like a snooty food critic.

16

“Can I take your order?” The elderly waiter appeared.

“Steak,” Grady nodded seriously.

“Excuse me?”

“The chunkiest meatiest steak you have.”

“Of course… Excellent choice.”

Everyone at the table laughed.

17

“I must say I’m loving this,” Leo couldn’t stop admiring just about everything in the restaurant. “And we haven’t even gotten to the food part yet!”

Needless to say, the food part did not disappoint.

Starr, somewhat bored with Leo’s incessant gushing interrupted his newest ode to the restaurant: “Why don’t you open a restaurant of your own over in Newcrest? You seem to have all of the necessary experience, and more than plenty of enthusiasm.”

18

“Oh… well, I suppose we would be in a good place to do that, with the kids being able to look after themselves and Pauline having fulfilled her legacy task. We even have some money on the side…” Leo pondered out loud.

“But still, it’s the kids who are meant to improve Newcrest now, we’ve passed the torch,” he pondered. He looked at his wife with anticipation.

19

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” Pauline surprised him with an encouraging smile. “The kids have only just hit their teen years – not that we need any more reminders of that – so they won’t be building anything any time soon. And there’s still a few empty plots over in Magnolia Promenade that you could use…”

“Are you serious?” Leo’s eyes lit up.

“Of course! We’ve been so focused on my career and my task throughout all these years, it’s about time for you to shine.” Pauline pressed her husband’s hand.

20

“I suppose I could still work on my recipe books as a restaurant owner… all the more excuse to try them all,” Leo was beaming, his head already flowing with ideas.

“And maybe the kids could help you out at the restaurant – surely you’ll need waiting staff,” Pauline added. “Plumbob knows they could use becoming a bit more grounded!”

“So could our Louis,” Starr nodded. “He’s always got his head in the clouds, won’t stop talking about travelling… He keeps trying to persuade us to do a year abroad as an exchange student, especially now with your kids here!”

21

“That’s kind of sweet, actually,” Peyton said. “What are the kids up to tonight anyway?”

“Oh, Louis is taking them to the Bluffs,” Starr replied.

“The Bluffs, where it all started,” Pauline drifted off.

“Definitely won’t forget finding you hiding in a bush,” Davion chipped in. It seemed he became a bit more demure over the years, barely speaking that evening; probably because Starr was happy enough to soak up all the attention.

“We had some great times over there,” Peyton nodded. “I bet the kids will love it.”

“So, how come you and Grady never had kids?” Starr changed the topic.

The atmosphere at the table changed instantly.

22

“How about we talk about something else,” Pauline glared at Starr coldly.

“It’s ok, really,” Peyton reassured her sister. “I just didn’t feel ready for the longest time. And now… well, we’re not getting any younger. We wouldn’t want another Hallie situation.” She said quietly.

Awkward silence fell around the table.

23

“We have been looking into adoption,” Grady said. “But even then, the children you can adopt tend to be quite young, and as Peyton said… Too bad we can’t adopt a teenager!” He tried to lighten the mood.

“Well you’re welcome to have Louis anytime,” Starr joked. “Like a test run.”

24

“Actually, that’s not too bad of an idea.” Everyone’s heads turned at the sound of Davion’s deep voice.

“What, giving our child away?” Starr was confused.

“Of course not,” Davion let out a frustrated sigh. “But Louis has been begging us to do a year abroad for ages. Newcrest would be an obvious option – he already has friends there, and we’ve just found a potential host family, haven’t we?” He looked at Peyton.

Peyton almost dropped her fork: “Are you serious?”

25

“That does make sense,” Starr grinned. “We weren’t too sure about letting him go, since he would be staying with strangers for a year, but this would work.”

“Of course, it would be hard to trust complete strangers, but we’d look out for him. And Newcrest is a secure place, thanks to the legacy,” Grady nodded.

“Oh, it’s not the strangers I was concerned about, it’s Louis,” Starr giggled. “As you know from your wedding, he can be a bit of a troublemaker. Wouldn’t want to dump him at some unsuspecting strangers. But if anyone can handle him, it would be our Peyton.”

26

“He’s really not that bad,” Davion uttered towards Peyton.

Peyton didn’t even care. She was glowing with a vibrant green aura. She’d had doubts about adopting ever since she failed so miserably back when Hallie moved in with her, but this seemed like a good and relatively noncommittal way of gaging what she could handle.

27

Pauline beamed. What a way to end the holiday. Her sister emitting the unmistakable happy alien glow to her right…

28

…and her husband grinning wildly about his prospective restaurant venture to her left.

She just hoped that the kids would leave Windenburg on a similar high note.

***

Bonus:

29

The waiter placed the plates on the table and scratched his head, distracted. He was sure this was the right table. Or wasn’t it? Was he becoming senile already?

“Where did you… oh.”

30

“I need a woman in my life.”

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.7 Make It Count

The last day of the holiday rolled around all too quickly. While the grown-ups opted for an evening filled with fine dining, Louis took the teens to the Bluffs. Naturally Antoine had to tag along, prompting many eye rolls from Hallie.

A part of Hallie was almost glad the holiday was coming to its close; everyone seemed to be going crazy during their time in Windenburg. She hoped that once they returned home, things would go back to normal again, to the good old times when their only problem were Seraphina’s occasional temper tantrums.

She let out a sigh. One more night left… Hopefully she’d be able to spend it mixing music in peace. She glanced towards the portable DJ set with a grin.

2

Once verybody finished ooh-ing and aahing-ing at the lovely scenery of the Bluffs, Louis pulled Carly aside.

“Hey, I just wanted to clear up the air between us,” he got straight to the point. “I never meant to lead you on, so I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.”

“Don’t worry about me, really,” Carly said quickly. “It’s not a big deal.”

“Well, I wanted you to know anyway though. I think you’re a sweetheart, and you’d be the first girl I’d date, but… I’m not exactly interested in dating any girls.”

Carly nodded. “You really don’t need to justify yourself. We’re good.”

3

“Friends?” He asked hopefully.

“Friends.”

They took a few selfies before Louis went back to join the others. Carly stayed behind for a moment. The big smile she had to pull for the photos was painful.

4

It hadn’t particularly come as a surprise. And hearing Louis confirm it out loud should have made her feel better. But it didn’t. A rejection was still a rejection.

Somehow, the fact Louis was so considerate of her feelings seemed to make it all worse. He was just so perfect. Of course, that would be just her luck…

5

“Hey sis, are you ok?” Vito interrupted Carly’s stream of self-pity.

“Yeah, of course.” She composed herself quickly.

Vito wasn’t sold. “I saw you were talking to Louis. Did he say something to upset you?” He looked worried.

“Not at all.” She examined her brother’s face. “But you know, you need to talk to him.”

“What do you mean?” Vito let out a nervous chuckle. “I talk to him all the time!”

6

Carly’s face grew serious. “Don’t play stupid, Vito! You know exactly what I mean!”

“I… there’s no point,” Vito tried to bargain.

“Vito!”

“How did you know?”

Carly looked her brother up and down. “I have eyes.”

7

Vito and Carly joined Louis’ friends Tom and Monica by the old natural pool, though they were all rather quiet. Monica was texting, Carly pulled out a book (since the holiday was almost over, it was about time for her to try to get a head start on the new school year’s teaching!) and Vito… well, Vito seemed preoccupied.

That left Tom bored out of his skull. “Well, I think I’ll be down at the beach.” He stood up with a long face.

“Oh, but I’ve only just gotten here,” Louis emerged behind him, looking amused.

8

“Ah well, you can always join us later,” Tom shrugged, desperate to get away from the solemn Vito. “You coming Monica?”

“Sure,” the girl giggled. “We can watch the sunset together, right?”

“In your dreams,” he replied.

“Don’t worry, it won’t be romantic, since I’ll join in too,” Carly snapped the book closed.

“Oh, you’re abandoning me too?” Vito laughed awkwardly. “Don’t you wanna stay and continue reading?”

“Nope.” She stood up, looking determined. “I’m sure you’ll be just fine.”

9

“Wow, did I accidentally use the people-repeller or something?” Louis joked when everyone else left him and Vito behind.

“Nah, it’s probably me,” Vito muttered. “I’ve been a bit mopey. You know, since the holiday’s ending.”

“Yeah, shame you’re already going back.”

They were silent for a moment.

“So, what do you wanna do?” Louis asked. “Should we stay here, or go join the others?”

“Oh, you go catch up with them,” Vito looked down. “I’ll stay here for a bit longer. I just need some time to myself.”

10

Louis wiped the smile off his face. “Right. Cool. That’s cool. I’ll… talk to you later. I guess.”

And with a loud sigh, he headed off.

Vito stared at the sunset. In spite of Tom and Monica’s jokes, it did look very romantic. He wished he had his camera on him. He’d snapped a few photos of the Bluffs on his phone earlier, but it didn’t do the place justice. And soon, all of this would just be a faint memory.

“Ah, plummit,” he uttered to himself. “Hey Louis, wait up!”

11

“What’s up?” Louis turned around. Vito noticed the boy looked defeated.

“Are you alright?” Vito tilted his head.

“Sure.”

This seemed like a deja-vu. “You know, Carly gave me the same response when I asked her if she was ok earlier. And I’m pretty sure she was lying, just like you are.”

“Look, I’m sorry I made Carly think that I was interested in her that way, it wasn’t my intention.” Louis became aggravated. “I don’t know what else to say! I think she understands…”

“I didn’t really want to talk about Carly,” Vito stopped him. “I wanted to talk about you… and me.”

12

“Huh?” Louis stared at him.

“I’m probably the worst brother ever,” Vito carried on. “Since I’m glad that you don’t like Carly that way. Cause I do. I mean, I like you. Not my sister. That would be gross…”

Wow, well done me, Vito thought to himself; might as well put my foot in my mouth to wrap it up

13

“You do?” Louis started laughing with relief. “I was so sure you weren’t interested!”

“Does that mean you’re interested?” Vito was being cautious.

“From the start,” Louis said softly.

14

Now it was Vito’s turn to laugh. “If I’d known it was gonna be that easy, I would have told you ages ago! I don’t know what I was so afraid of!”

“Yeah…”

They smiled at each other.

15

And then Vito figured it was about time he made the first move.

16

“Wow!” The words escaped Louis’ lips before he could stop himself.

“Yeah,” Vito giggled giddily. “You ever kissed anyone before?”

“No,” Louis shook his head. “Have you?”

“No. And I don’t think I want to kiss anyone else.”

“Me neither.”

17

The two of them returned to the group, but they couldn’t really see anyone but each other. They were drunk on infatuation.

18

“I wish you weren’t leaving tomorrow,” Louis starred into the bonfire flames.

“Yeah,” Vito sighed. “But Louis, that thing you said about long-distance relationships yesterday… Did you mean it?”

“I did.”

“Then we’ll be ok,” Vito said firmly. “We’ll make it work.”

19

The inevitable end of the holiday was on Seraphina and Antoine’s minds too.

“So the time has come for the princess to return to her kingdom, huh?” Antoine whispered.

“Ugh, don’t remind me.” Seraphina pouted. “I don’t want to go back, not now, and not ever…”

“What about your legacy though? You wouldn’t shut up about it when we first met.”

“Well, as you can see I have plenty of siblings who can take over the castle,” she grinned.

20

Antoine didn’t laugh. “You know it won’t be that easy…”

The girl frowned. “Can’t we just pretend this isn’t my last night here?”

“We could,” he shrugged. “But we shouldn’t. You know what we should do? We should make it count. You wanna… go for a walk?”

Seraphina held her breath. She nodded.

21

22

23

“Alright!” Antoine seemed more than pleased with himself.

Seraphina, on the other hand, didn’t know how to feel. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting when they snuck into the bush, but this wasn’t it.

24

“So, what happens now?” She tried to take control of the situation.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, what happens with us?”

25

“Well… I guess we go back and join the others?” Antoine raised an eyebrow.

Seraphina puffed. “That’s not exactly what I was getting at.”

“Oh. Right. So you mean, you wanna go again?” He looked towards the bush. “I’d be down for that.”

26

Go again?” Seraphina flipped. “No I don’t want to go again, that bush was the most uncomfortable thing ever. And you knew that’s not what I was asking about! I wanted to see if we’re now boyfriend and girlfriend or what?”

27

“Woah, chill out, babe,” Antoine backed away. “That’s a bit intense, don’t you think? Let’s go join the others, yeah?”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me…” Seraphina stomped towards the dying bonfire.

As she got closer, she could make out her siblings’ voices.

28

“Aaah, I can’t believe you’ve had your first kiss, Vito!” Carly was practically jumping up and down.

“Yeah, I know,” the boy grinned.

“Well, you two have only been making googly eyes at each other for the entire week,” Hallie teased.

“So romantic,” Carly sighed.

Serafina looked them over, one by one. She saw red.

29

“Aww, isn’t that adorable, little Vito had his first kiss,” she imitated them. “Well guess what, I’ve just messed around in that bush over there. And you know what? There’s nothing sweet or romantic about it!”

The three teens stared at her, speechless at first.

Carly was the first to somewhat compose herself: “Sera… have you really…”

30

“What, just because you’re plumming babies still in your nappies you don’t believe I’m a grown woman now? Just ask Antoine if you don’t believe it!”

Carly looked around uncertainly. “Where is Antoine?”

“Shut your plumming mouth!” Sera exploded.

“Err, guys… we really need to get going home,” Hallie interrupted, checking the time on her phone. “It’s getting really late, we’ll be in trouble.”

“Yeah, wouldn’t want mommy and daddy to be too mad to wipe your baby plums!” Seraphina hissed.

They walked back to the holiday home in silence.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.6 Runs in the Family

Friday night was party night in Windenburg, everyone knew that. So naturally, with only two days of the holiday left, the teens headed out with their newfound friends.

Hallie let herself get lost in the music, closing her eyes from time to time to fully enjoy the beat. One day, it was going to be her in the DJ booth, playing at fancy clubs like this one. For now, just taking the music in would have to suffice. It was a welcome escape from the romantic drama all of the others seemed to be involved in, that was for sure.

2

Seraphina, on the other hand, had no intention of escaping any of that. Wearing her best dress, she knew she looked good. And Antoine better appreciate it!

“Hey Antoine, are you gonna request a song for me?” She batted her eyelashes.

The boy smirked. “I think girls in short dresses have a better chance of getting the DJ play their song if they ask themselves.”

3

“So you like my dress?” she asked.

“Sure.” He shrugged. “You wanna dance? All of your relatives seem to be having a good time.”

“They’re jumping around like idiots,” Sera said apprehensively. “I have more class than that!”

“Too classy to enjoy yourself? What’s the fun in that?”

4

Looking at the Bloomer family skipping by the DJ booth, Antoine noticed that one of them seemed a bit out of place. She looked like she ended up here by accident, the kind of girl who is beautiful but doesn’t realise it. Antoine smiled, distracted.

5

“Are you listening to me?” He was brought back to reality. “I dressed up for you and everything, and you’re gawking at my stupid sister instead!”

“Sheesh, chill out…”

“For your information, she’s the dullest person in the world,” Seraphina went on a rant. “Always buried in books or digging up rocks. You’d fall asleep after talking to her for a single minute…”

6

“Well luckily, you are just a delight to talk to,” Antoine said half-heartedly, not taking his eyes off of Carly.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” The sarcasm didn’t go unnoticed by Seraphina.

7

Antoine turned his attention back to Seraphina. “Oh come on, babe, you have to lighten up a bit. I didn’t come here for your sister, did I? Now, can I have a dance?”

“I don’t think so,” Seraphina hissed.

“Surely you don’t want to fight about something so silly! You’re only in town for two more days, we should enjoy the time we have…”

8

“Besides, it would be a waste of that pretty dress of yours if you were grumpy all night,” He finished with a smile.

“Fine, you can have a dance, I guess.”

“That’s my girl!”

Antoine grabbed Seraphina’s hand and let her to the dancefloor. So much grief over nothing! Seraphina was a feisty one.

9

Hard to believe those two were sisters…

***

10

“I can’t believe your parents are partying in the same club as us!” Vito laughed.

“Oh yeah, someone still needs to tell them that they’re grown-ups,” Louis shook his head with a grin. “I mean, they’re chill and all, and I don’t really mind, but sometimes you don’t really want your parents there…”

“Totally! Though my parents aren’t as cool as your parents.”

“They can’t be that different if they’re friends,” Louis pointed out. “Aren’t they going to a restaurant together tomorrow night or something?”

“Yeah,” Vito nodded. “Guess that means we’ll be unsupervised, huh?”

For a brief moment, Louis’ eyes twinkled. “Guess so…”

11

“So you’re Seraphina’s sister,” Antoine found himself standing right next to Carly.

“Yeah, I’m Carlotta. But everyone calls me Carly,” she said nervously. “Sera looks beautiful tonight, doesn’t she?”

“I guess it runs in the family.”

Carly was flustered. Did he just call her beautiful?

“Sera mentioned you like to read a lot,” Antoine continued as if nothing happened. “I used to hang out in the library all the time when I was younger, my mom’s a librarian. What’s your favourite book?”

“Oh, you wouldn’t know it,” Carly looked down. “It was written by our great-great-great-great-grandfather…”

“That’s a lot of greats!”

“Yeah,” she giggled. “It’s a book about our family history, going back all the way to 8 generations before us. Our aunt Yenn keeps updating it now, so there’s several volumes, but I like the oldest one the best.”

“Why is that?” Antoine quizzed her.

“Well, I know the people from the most recent volume! It’s just our family. Whereas the older books are about are ancestors, who had fascinating stories to tell.”

“What makes you think you’re not fascinating?”

Carly blushed. “I…”

12

“What’s going on here?” Seraphina approached them, her eyes narrowed.

“Not much, your sister is just going on about some book,” Antoine shrugged.

“See? I told you,” Sera rolled her eyes.

Carly looked at them with a hurt expression. “I was talking about the Bloomer Chronicles, and our family’s history!”

“Yeah,” Antoine confirmed. “She said that she thought she was uninteresting compared to all of her relatives.”

“You got that one right, Carly,” Seraphina giggled.

Carly’s eyes welled up;” I… I need the bathroom!”

13

“She still has a lot to learn,” Antoine shook his head.

“See? I was right,” Seraphina announced with a victorious smile. “She’s totally boring. Unlike me. Isn’t she?”

“You two are definitely nothing alike,” he replied cautiously. “Anyway, that’s a whole lot of talking. I haven’t even gotten to kiss the girl in the pretty dress tonight…”

14

Before she knew it, Seraphina was in his arms. Which was a good thing, since her knees felt rather weak. This kiss was even better than their first one – she hadn’t thought that was even possible…

15

“Can’t believe that guy actually seems to like Seraphina,” Vito shook his head, having seen the kiss through the corner of his eye.

“Let them be,” Louis laughed. “He seems to make her happy. Everyone deserves to have someone special in their life.”

“If you say so…” Vito sighed. “Though it’s probably just for the summer anyway. I mean, she lives in Newcrest, and he’s from here.”

“Maybe they can make the distance work.”

“You think?”

16

“Well, I know I would try, if I was in their shoes,” Louis looked him in the eyes. “I mean, hypothetically, of course.”

“Yeah, I guess you don’t really meet someone you really like that often to just let it go,” Vito nodded.

They stared at each other awkwardly.

“So, it’s your last night in Windenburg tomorrow… any plans?” Louis changed the topic.

“I dunno. You wanna do something? I mean, with all of us… since you’re local. You know all the cool spots and all.” Vito added quickly.

“Sure. Sounds like a plan!”

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.5 Can’t Be Helped

“Now this is what I call a holiday!” Vito looked around the sandy shore approvingly.

Pauline, Leo, Peyton and Grady have invited the younger crowd to go hiking in the countryside with them, but the teens opted for a day on the beach instead.

“Not too bad of an idea,” Hallie agreed.

“Well, it was Louis who suggested it, I can’t take all the credit.” Vito waved at the blonde boy approaching them with two of his friends.

A smile spread across Carly’s face. Louis. He looked lankier in his swimming trunks than she would have thought, but he was still very handsome… Hopefully she’d be able to talk to him a bit more this time around.

2

Sera was oblivious to the newcomers. She was busy messaging with Antoine. He added her on Simbook that morning and they’d been chatting since.

“Hey Vito! What do you think of the beach?” Louis asked.

“Pretty sweet! Wish we had one in Newcrest!”

“These are my friends Monica and Tom, by the way,” Louis nodded to the duo to his left.

“Louis! Hi Louis!” Carly jumped in awkwardly. “Err… hi guys.”

“Nice to meet you both,” Hallie came to Carly’s rescue. “Long time no see, Louis!”

“We’re gonna head for a swim, wanna join?” Louis suggested.

“Yes!” Carly said a bit too enthusiastically, following Louis and his two friends into the water.

3

“What the plum, Sera! You didn’t even say hi to them!” Vito exclaimed as soon as the others were out of earshot.

“What’s the big deal?” Seraphina looked at her brother.

“Nothing, I guess I should be used to you being rude by now,” Vito rolled his eyes. “Go back to your phone! Better make the most of that dude’s attention before he realises what a nasty person you are!”

And with that, Vito went off to join the others in the water.

4

Seraphina looked at Hallie quizzically: “What’s his problem?”

“I’m not sure.”

“So that wasn’t just me then, right? He was actually being weird!”

“Yeah. But he’s a teenage boy. They tend to be weird,” Hallie let out a laugh. “Speaking of which, are you inviting that Antoine guy to join us then? You have been glued to your phone all morning.”

5

“Invite him? No! I don’t want to seem needy.”

Hallie raised her eyebrows. “Oh-kay then.”

“You want to see a picture of him?” Seraphina shoved her phone in Hallie’s hand. “Look how handsome he is in this one…”

***

6

It had been an amazing afternoon. Carly even got some alone time with Louis. It was perfect.

They talked with such ease, he told her all about growing up in Windenburg and his eccentric parents. Carly recounted the many tales of Newcrest, which seemed to fascinate him.

“So cool that your family has such a well-documented history!”

“It’s mainly thanks to aunt Yenn.”

“She sounds like a cool lady!”

“She is! Too bad you’ll never get to meet he, she didn’t come for the holiday with us.”

“I might,” he shrugged. “I’d love to go to Newcrest some time. I want to travel!”

He was so dreamy, Carly sighed.

7

As they stood up and she wiped the sand off from her legs, Carly made her decision. It was now or never.

“This was nice Louis, we should spend more time together before we go back to Newcrest.”

“Totally,” the boy nodded with a smile.

“So… you wanna go out sometime?” Carly stuttered over her words.

She held her breath. The moment of truth.

8

“Oh.”

This wasn’t good.

“I’m so sorry Carly!” This wasn’t good at all. “I didn’t want to give you the wrong impression. I mean, you’re really nice, honest, but… you’re not my type. Like, at all. You see…”

9

“Oh no, you don’t need to explain yourself to me!” Carly stopped him. “I’m the one who’s sorry. It’s my bad…”

“No, Carly wait!”

10

But she went off anyway.

“Carly!”

Louis was joined by a puzzled Vito and Hallie.

“Where is she going?” Vito seemed baffled.

11

“I… I’m an idiot. I should have realised…” Louis scratched his head, looking at Vito apologetically.

“Way to let her down gently,” Hallie glared at Louis.

“Wait, what just happened again?” Vito was finally catching on.

“Imma go after her,” Hallie didn’t bother answering his question.

12

Carly wandered into the nearby woods, barely noticing the tall grass stinging her legs.

Of course she wasn’t his type! What was she thinking? She wasn’t pretty like Seraphina, or cool like Hallie. Why would a guy like Louis ever be interested in her?

“There you are!” Hallie caught up with her.

13

“Hallie… sorry, I need to be alone now. I can’t possibly show my face in front of anyone…”

“Why, because you got turned down by a boy?”

“Because I was stupid enough to think I might be in his league!”

14

Hallie didn’t let her wallow. “You, the smart one, being stupid? I don’t think so, the only stupid words that have ever left your mouth was what you said right now!”

“But he said I wasn’t his type…”

“Plum Carly, I thought you were bigger than that. Are you really going to let a thing some boy said affect what you think of yourself?”

“No but…”

“So you’re not his type. Doesn’t mean anything about you. You’re amazing. Some things just can’t be helped.”

15

Back on the beach, Vito went into full on protective brother mode:

“You know, I thought you were cool, Louis, but plum it! You could do a lot worse than my sister!”

“Carly is great, I know,” Louis said nervously.

“Great? She’s the best person I know! She always looks out for everyone, always nice to people, even a demon spawn like Seraphina! And she’s really clever. And very pretty too!”

16

“Totally… but she’s really not my type.” Louis sighed.

“Well then you’re stupid,” Vito continued his angry rant. “Carly is amazing. She’s my best friend! If she’s not your type, than who the plum is?”

17

Louis’ face became a mixture of emotions. His eyes grew soft, and he gave Vito the oddest smile.

Vito suddenly felt like his body was burning, but it wasn’t with anger.

18

“You wanna know who my type is?” Louis asked calmly. “Well if you have to ask, then it doesn’t matter.”

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.4 Make Your Mark

“You showed up! Alright…” Antoine looks pleased with himself.

Seraphina looked him up and down.

“I thought you were confident I’d turn up, remember,” she told him apprehensively.

2

“Yeah, but then I’m always confident. Healthy self-esteem, you know.” He attempted a dazzling smile. Seraphina grunted.

“So, you in a better mood than yesterday?” He asked.

“Pfft. I only came here because the alternative was spending time with my stupid family. And anything is better than that!”

Antoine laughed. “I’ll take that! Shall we go in?”

“Whatever…”

3

“What can I get you, lovebirds?” The barista greeted them with a broad smile.

“Lovebirds? Nuh-uh. Vague acquaintances.” Seraphina corrected her. The corners of the barista’s mouth twitched upwards, but she didn’t say anything.

“I’ll have a low fat decaffeinated cappuccino with extra cream,” Seraphina placed her order.

“Coming right up!” The barista nodded. “And for you?”

“Coffee. Black. I’m easy.” Antoine winked at her.

4

The barista placed two mugs in front of them.

“You call THAT extra cream?” Seraphina investigated her coffee.

The barista seemed to have a brief involuntary twitch, which was soon replaced by a professional smile. “Sorry about that. I’ll add a bit more. Your order’s on the house, of course.”

“That’s better,” Seraphina said dismissively.

“You sure know what you want, huh?” Antoine looked at Seraphina.

“Well, duh. I thought that so did you,” she glared at him impatiently.

“One thing we got in common then,” he flashed another smile.

5

They found an empty table outside.

“So, tell me about yourself,” Antoine started. “Don’t think you even mentioned your name yesterday. Of course, I could just call you pretty girl…”

“Seraphina Bloomer,” she said formally. “I’m the ninth generation heir to the Newcrest legacy.”

“Sounds important.” He didn’t look impressed.

“It is.” Seraphina decided to omit the fact that she was merely one out of four. “So what about you? Impress me.”

6

“I’m the trillionth generation heir to the Windenburg legacy,” He informed her with a smirk.

“Bullplum. There’s no such thing as the Windenburg legacy.”

“Newcrest legacy heir, Windenburg legacy heir… What does that even mean?”

“The Windenburg legacy doesn’t mean anything, because it doesn’t exist,” Seraphina grew agitated. “But being an heir to the Newcrest legacy means you contribute to the creation of Newcrest. Leave your stamp on the city.”

“Hm.”

“What?”

“I don’t get how that’s any different from simply living in just about any city,” Antoine shrugged. “Surely if you live somewhere, you leave your mark there regardless of what your so-called title is.”

Seraphina stared at him.

“I’ve never thought of it that way.” She said. “I… I think you’re right. I will make my mark, no matter what.”

7

“Of course I’m right,” Antoine finished his coffee with a long gulp and stood up. “I think we already established that I’m awesome.”

Seraphina let out a tiny laugh. “You’re ok.”

“I’m no royalty, unlike some, of course.” He bowed slightly with a smirk. “Well princess Seraphina, the heiress of Newcrest, would you care for me to show you around my kingdom?”

“Knock yourself out,” she humoured him.

“Follow me, my lady…”

8

They made their way to a large water feature near the café.

“As you can see, I’ve crossed a vast sea to get to you tonight,” Antoine continued with a straight face.

Seraphina couldn’t help the grin spreading across her face. “Well aren’t I lucky…”

“I’d do it again, for you, my lady…” Antoine curtsied. Seraphina gave up and started laughing.

“So, what’s next my lord?”

“To the park!”

“To the park it is…”

9

Seraphina looked around. “Is there a reason why we’re here?”

“Of course; it’s one of the most beautiful places around Windenburg.”

“Ugh, here we go again… the beauty of it all, yada yada…”

10

“I like pretty things.” Antoine didn’t seem to think further explanations were necessary. “A pretty girl in a pretty place, what more could I ask for?”

“You think you’re so smooth, don’t you?”

“I know I am.”

11

Before Seraphina could object, he pulled her in for a photo.

“Got to make sure I’ve got something to remember this night by,” he explained. “It’s not every day you get to spend time with her heir to Newcrest…”

12

“Stop teasing me!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Seraphina realised how close to each other they were standing. And that she wouldn’t mind being even closer.

“I’m just trying to please the princess,” Antoine didn’t seem to notice that the girl’s mood changed. “Because what else can a peasant boy like me…”

“Oh shut up.”

13

Seraphina erased the remaining distance between them, planting her lips on his.

Her first kiss. She had to admit it was kind of romantic. And she was the first of her siblings to have a first kiss! She pushed the thought away. She didn’t want to think of her siblings. Not tonight.

“Cool.” Antoine brought her back to the present.

14

He wrapped her hands in his and looked directly at her. Suddenly, Seraphina was not so sure of herself. Or anything. She let herself drown in his eyes.

“See? You don’t need to be anything to make your mark on a place. Like we just did with this park. This park, it will always belong to us.”

“I… I gotta go!”

15

“Hey Seraphina!” He called out to her. She turned around.

“We’ll do this again, right?” It was the first time he didn’t appear quite so sure with himself.

16

His doubt was unfounded though. Seraphina was smitten.

“Yeah. We’ll do this again.”

***

17

Hallie was just about to go to sleep when Seraphina entered the room the two girls shared in the holiday home.

“How did it go?” Hallie asked politely. She didn’t really care for Seraphina’s answer, until she noticed the girl was beaming wildly.

18

“Someone looks like they had a good night,” she commented sarcastically.

“Oh Hallie, you have no idea…” Sera sat down beside her with a vacant expression.

“You even here?”

19

“It was amazing, Hallie… I think I might have met my soulmate.”

“That’s a bit intense, for your first date!”

“Have you been on many dates lately?” Seraphina was irritated.

“Thankfully not.”

“Don’t worry, you’ll find someone!” Seraphina said. Hallie was puzzled. This was not the Sera she knew.

20

“Thanks,” she replied cautiously. “But it’s ok, really. I can’t say I see the appeal. I’m really happy for you, though.”

“Hey Hallie… I’m sorry about what I said when… you know.”

“None of us expected it.”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks Sera,” Hallie nodded. “For the apology. I know it couldn’t have been easy for you.”

21

“Actually, things just clicked,” Seraphina smiled with ease. “I realised that it doesn’t matter who the heir is. I can make my mark no matter what.”

“Huh.”

Hallie studied Seraphina’s face with suspicion. Whoever this guy was, he must have superpowers.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.3 Windenburger

Hallie wandered the streets of Windenburg on her own. It was the first time she’d been here since… she didn’t want to think about that day. It was all a blur anyway. She remembered the grim reaper, crying a lot, staying with Peyton for a little while, crying some more, and then finally ending up with the Bloomers.

She shook her head. It felt so strange to be back. The place that should have been her home.

2

A life that should have been hers. The house she should have grown up in.

It was still there, but who knows who lived in it now. She didn’t want to know. The memories of that place were too painful anyway.

It was time to forget the past. What could have been. She needed to focus on what was to come.

3

She was a Newcrest heir now. An important piece in the legacy. She couldn’t change the life she’d lost, but she could shape a new one, and not just for herself. She would make her mark on the whole town. And that was something to look forward to.

***

4

Elsewhere in Windenburg, Seraphina stomped down the streets of the business district.

Just when she started to like the girl, she’d have to and ruing it all yet again. Seraphina still couldn’t believe Hallie was considered an heir just as much as she was, just for being vaguely related to them. It ridiculed her own status. What’s the point of being an heir if you’re not the only one?

But Hallie will see! They will all see…

5

“Ow!” She felt herself crashing into a strangers chest, their bodies uncomfortably close for a split second. “Watch where you’re going, llama head!”

“Llama head?” the boy was amused.

“Llama head, butt plum, whichever insult you Windenburgers understand,” she rolled her eyes.

“Colourful,” he laughed. “We’re not actually called Windenburgers, you know…”

6

“Whatever,” Sera growled. “Just don’t get in my way next time.”

“You ran into me,” the boy didn’t seem fazed.

“Beause YOU were in MY way,” Seraphina lost her patience.

“Why is a pretty girl like you so angry on a beautiful night like this?”

7

“Are you hitting on me?”

“Obviously.”

Seraphina was baffled. “Are you a total idiot? What makes you think you have a shot with me?”

“What makes you think I don’t?”

“I don’t have time for this,” Sera sighed.

8

“What’s wrong with you?” he raised his voice. “Look around you! You’re in the most beautiful place on the planet! Just look at that plum fountain down there and tell me it’s not breathtaking in the sunset! I’m not letting you go anywhere until you appreciate that beauty, plummit!”

“And how do you suggest I do that?” She prickled her nose.

“We could get closer, for starters,” he relaxed again.

“Closer to each other??”

“I meant closer to the fountain. But closer to each other will work too, your call.”

Seraphina followed the boy towards the fountain begrudgingly.

9

“Happy?” She gritted through her teeth.

“Yeah, pretty happy. But it’s not about me. It’s about you. Why are you so unhappy?”

“Pfft. I’m not unhappy,” Seraphina lied.

“Ok. So you’re just mad for no reason?”

“It’s none of your business.”

“Cool,” he shrugged. “Making a secret out of it will definitely make you feel better.”

10

“Look, I’m just trying to help,” he said eventually. “Whatever is happening to you, you’re not gonna feel better about it if you let it take control over you.”

“You don’t understand,” she shook her head. “That IS the problem! It has control over me because it literally is my whole life!”

11

“Surely it can’t be that bad…”

Seraphina sighed. How could she explain it?

“Have you ever had something taken away from you?” She asked. “Something that you really really wanted, something you were meant for ever since you were born?”

“Nope,” he shrugged. “I always get what I want.”

12

“You’re unbelievable!” She said angrily. “And to think I was gonna open up to you! YOU! Well forget that! Why am I even still sitting here with you?!”

“Because you like me, of course,” He answered casually.

“What??? How could you… why would you… I do not!”

“Cool,” he laughed. “I bet you’ll still go out on a date with me tomorrow night.”

“Who do you think you are?”

13

“The name is Antoine Priest,” he said simply. “But if you want to find out more, you’ll have to meet me at Hare and Hedgehog tomorrow at 7 pm.”

Seraphina was speechless. She couldn’t believe this guy.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.2 Holiday

“Move your smelly feet away, gross!”

“There isn’t exactly a lot of room in the car, Sera!”

“I still don’t understand why we couldn’t get two cars from the airport… Aunt Peyton and uncle Grady are in a separate one…”

“Yeah but theirs was a convertible, duh!”

“Stop pretending you know stuff about cars just because you’re a guy, Vito!”

“Well I know that you couldn’t fit more than two people in that car…”

“Aren’t you the smartest…”

2

“Now then, stop the bickering,” Pauline interrupted. “We’re on holiday, why start it with an argument?”

“Start? She’s been in a right mood since that talk in the new lounge,” Vito protested, glaring at Seraphina angrily.

Carly let out a loud sigh. What a nightmare was this holiday going to be… The family packed for Windenburg before any of the siblings had a chance to fully take in the implications of Pauline’s decision to pass the legacy on to all of them.

She understood the reasoning. Her parents probably thought that getting away from Newcrest would change everyone’s focus and make Seraphina forget about her disappointment. But Carly knew her sister better than that. Nothing would make Seraphina forget that she was not the chosen one.

3

Still, as the car approached the beautiful old mansion they would be staying in for the next week, Carly couldn’t help but feel a twinge of excitement. They would all be starting high school after this summer and the trip to Windenburg seemed like a perfect way to make a clean slate.

Then of course, the last time the family visited Windenburg for Peyton’s wedding, they all got in trouble for following that angelic looking boy, Louis, into the maze. And Hallie hadn’t been a part of the family then… oh how things change.

4

Carly set off exploring as soon as they parked. Ten minutes in the car with Seraphina was more than enough. Time to get away properly!

Leaving the house and her family behind, she couldn’t shake those memories of their last time in Windenburg. She didn’t want to think about Hallie’s parents… gosh, this trip must be hard for Hallie… Stop!

5

Luckily, the stunning water fall she came across took her mind off Hallie’s tragic story. Windenburg was so beautiful. That little blonde boy didn’t know how lucky he was.

She wondered what the boy looked like now. He really did seem like an angel back then, with those long locks…

Carly turned bright red. Good job she was alone.

6

Composing herself, she turned her attention to her surroundings. With an old place like Windenburg, who knew what was below the surface?

“Looking for a treasure?”

She jumped up. No need to panic. The newcomer was just a boy her age. Actually, he seemed rather familiar. But it couldn’t be…

7

“Hang on, I know you,” the boy exclaimed.

“And I know you! From aunt Peyton’s wedding! Your name is Louis, isn’t it?”

If only he knew she was just thinking about him… The angelic boy… Carly half contemplated the urge to dig herself into the ground. But the other half felt like singing and dancing. Was this destiny?

8

“Yep, I’m Louis,” he nodded. “And you’re the scaredy cat.” He continued with a laugh.

“I can’t believe you remember that,” Carly giggled. She never giggled. What was going on with her?

“Ah well, I got in tons of trouble for making you gullible lot go into the maze,” Louis shrugged. “My mom was super peeved off. And she’s usually really chill. So it’s something I can’t forget all that easily.”

9

The pair of them were so excited about the unexpected reunion they didn’t even notice Vito joining them. Vito knew arguments made Carly uncomfortable, and he felt guilty about confronting Sera in the car earlier. She was too easy of a target. But Carly never approved of taunting her on purpose.

“Just wanted to check if you were ok, sis?” He stopped in his track. “Oh. Hey.”

“You won’t believe who I found!” Carly turned to her brother, excited. “Remember the long-haired boy from aunt Peyt’s wedding?”

“Oh yeah! Where’s your hair?”

10

“Well, it was my parents who wanted me to have long hair. Now I do what I want,” Louis grinned conspicuously.

“I didn’t get the impression you couldn’t do whatever you wanted in the first place,” Vito laughed.

“Probably, compared to you lot! The only one of you that had guts was your other sister,” Louis teased.

“You’re welcome to Sera if you want her,” Vito replied with a nudge.

“Nah I’m good,” Louis chuckled.

You can count on your brother to kill a romantic reunion, that’s for sure, Carly thought.

11

“So what are you guys doing in Windenburg anyway? And how long are you around for?”

“Vacationing as a happy family unit, of course,” Vito rolled his eyes.

“I can imagine!”

12

“I’ve gotta dash now, but we should hang while you’re here. Make the family holiday less boring, you know,” Louis grinned.

“That would be cool,” Vito agreed. “Wouldn’t it, Carly?”

“Yeah! I mean… I guess so,” Carly dropped her gaze to her toes awkwardly.

“Sweet!” Louis smiled graciously.

“We’ll bring Hallie along too,” Vito added. “She lives with us now, you know.”

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard.” Louis paused with a brief frown. “Well… Feel free to bring the feisty one along to spice things up too.”

“Careful what you wish for,” Vito said with a smirk. “But sure.”

“See you soon!” Carly’s voice flew up.

13

“Can you believe it?” Carly enthused after Louis had left. “I thought we’d never see him again!”

“Small world,” Vito smiled. “Though I think his parents know our mom, so we probably would have come across him again.”

“I’m kind of sad he cut off all his hair,” Carly trailed off. “The long hair suited him. I mean, he looked nice with it. I mean…” Oh boolprop, she cursed herself.

“Yeah, you’re right.” Vito nodded. To Carly’s surprise, he didn’t seem to make a big deal out of her remark. That was close…

*The holiday home is the amazing Moonsight Manor built by Simproved and Vihisha and can be downloaded here.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.1 The Heir Talk

“I can still sort of remember living here,” Vito pondered as the group approached the large building across the street from the park.

“Yeah right,” Seraphina laughed. “Only if you remember pooping your diapers too! You were one annoying baby!”

“That grew up into a charming man,” Vito dismissed her comment with a grin. Seraphina rolled her eyes. While she’d learned to deal with having siblings, she still sometimes struggled with not letting them know that she was obviously so much better…

“Now then, we’re not here to bicker, are we?” Pauline interrupted them, feeling giddy.

2

“We’re here to see your new lounge!” Carly nodded with excitement.

“Cause we can’t wait to see where mom’s stuck up musician friends will hand out,” Vito teased.

“Actually, I think you’ll find it a bit more interesting than that,” Pauline smiled conspicuously. “I figured there’s already plenty of places where I can spend time with my ‘stuck up’ musician friends over in Bridgeport.”

As a Concert Virtuoso, Pauline travelled from her job fairly often. Still, the nearby city of Bridgeport was somewhat of her home turf, a place where she delivered most of her performances.

3

The group followed Pauline inside.

“I asked myself what a lounge really needed to be, and how I wanted to contribute to Newcrest,” Pauline continued. “And since the four of you embody the future the Newcrest, I mainly thought of what you might like. So I created a place I would have enjoyed myself when I was your age, a hangout for teens.”

“Woah, this is pretty cool,” Hallie exclaimed, followed by a number of excited nods all around.

“Ah, I wouldn’t know,” Pauline was pleased with herself. “I’m just the uncool musician mom with snotty friends, aren’t I?”

4

Ground floor games area

5

“You might remember there’s a pool outside, that’s still there of course,” Pauline led the group along the corridor. “We’ve got changing rooms for both boys and girls along here… Now, if you follow me upstairs, there’s more to see…”

“Not too bad,” Seraphina admitted, surprised.

“Smells like popcorn,” Hallie noted.

“Hang on… is this what I think it is?” Vito asked.

6

“It was about time Newcrest got a cinema!” Seraphina said as they entered the screen room.

“This is amazing mom!” Carly did not hold back.

“Yeah, it is kinda cool,” Vito nodded.

“Kinda cool is what I strive for,” Pauline laughed.

7

Cinema

8

“This room is my personal favourite, for obvious reasons” Pauline opened another door.

They found themselves in a spacious area filled with music instruments, microphones and beanbags.

“Sweet!” Vito’s eyes landed on the keyboard.

“I can see us having a sesh in here already,” Hallie agreed.

9

Music and entertainment area

11

“And of course, if the upstairs area is not enough, you can still drop some beats down here on the back deck,” Pauline grinned.

“Mom! So cringy,” Seraphina squinted.

12

Pool and outdoor dance area

13

Camp fire hangout

14

“Well, what do you all think?” Pauline asked when they sat down at the front deck, concluding the tour.

“It’s something to work with,” Seraphina said carefully.

“I think it’s amazing!” Carly exclaimed.

“I’ve gotta say… you’ve outdone yourself, mom,” Vito admitted.

“Can’t wait till we open it up to all teens in Newcrest!” Hallie nodded with a grin on her face.

“I’m glad you all like it,” Pauline looked around with a content smile.

15

“Of course, the fact I’ve finished my build means more than just you guys having a new spot to spend your time at,” Pauline became more serious.

Seraphina leaned over in anticipation. This was it. She was finally going to become the official heir.

Pauline took a deep breath: “I didn’t just bring you here to show you around the lot. I brought you here to talk to you about what’s next for Newcrest.”

The teens grew quiet.

16

Pauline paused for a moment. She was unsure how to break the news. She thought of her ancestors, having the same talk she was about to have with her children. Except hers would be different.

Then again, surely those before her had only gone with what they thought was right. And that was exactly what she would do.

17

“I’ve been thinking about the generations before us, and their vision for Newcrest,” Pauline explained.

“And I think each generation surpassed the next generation’s vision for what’s to come. So many lots have been built, and I can’t even imagine what else we could add to it. Luckily, that’s not my job anymore,” she smiled.

“I know that each and every one of you could add to this place, help make Newcrest better than ever. I also know that as the current heir, it is my duty to choose a successor that will ensure that Newcrest becomes the best it can be. With that in mind…”

18

“…I have decided that each and every one of you will be the next heir. Not just one of you; you’ll all carry the legacy forward. And so will your children, and their children after them.”

“What????” Seraphina could not hold back anymore.

19

“You cannot be serious!” Seraphina was shaking.

“But I am,” Pauline replied. “We’ve built the basics throughout the generations, but why stop there? Newcrest doesn’t need a long lineage to thrive, Newcrest needs many people who are trying to improve it.”

20

“Not to mention it takes the pressure off,” Vito giggled. “If you mess up, there’s other people to fix you plum-ups!”

“Well, I guess there is of a safety blanket hidden in this approach,” Pauline admitted. “But I’d like to think all of you will do your best. Each of the four of you should contribute with a building, and have a child to ensure we’re as strong as we can be.”

“Wait… did you say the four of us?” Hallie could barely sit still.

21

“No, no, no!” Seraphina burst out. “This is unacceptable! I could maybe deal with sharing with these two plumheads, but she is not even a Bloomer!”

“I think that’s up to me to decide, Sera,” Pauline kept her cool.

22

“But it shouldn’t be! It’s the wrong decision,” Seraphina yelled angrily. “Everybody knows that the legacy needs one strong heir, otherwise what’s the point? Your choice to spread it all out will be the end of the legacy! The legacy that should have been mine!”

She didn’t wait for her mother’s reaction and stomped away, her heels thumping on the wooden deck. Pauline watched her storm off in horror.

Carly did not pay attention to her sister’s outburst. She was used to Seraphina’s yelling, why would today be any different? Well, except for today being the best day of her life!

23

“Can you believe it Vito? We’re all going to be the heirs to the legacy!” she could barely contain her excitement.

“Now you better help me figure out what I’m gonna build… good job the smart one’s in my corner,” her brother laughed.

24

“There is no corners,” Carly beamed, wrapping him in a hug. “We’re in this together!”

25

“Are you sure about this?” Hallie asked her big sister. “I mean, Seraphina’s right; I’m not a real Bloomer.”

“Well, you could always change your last name if you think it will change things,” Pauline shrugged.

“I… I don’t know about that,” Hallie drew back.

26

“Look Hallie, you can be whatever you want and whoever you want,” Pauline told her. “Bloomer, Rocca… it doesn’t make a difference. What matters is if you think of this place as your home, and if you want to make it better. Because if you do, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be a part of the legacy.”

27

Several emotions flashed across Hallie’s face in quick succession. But there was one that prevailed. Gratitude.

“I won’t let you down, Pauline,” the girl said firmly.

“I know you won’t.”

28

Seraphina saw red. So her mother wanted to turn this legacy into a joke? Well she would not allow it. She knew she deserved it the most, and was determined to get back what was hers.

***

Author’s note: And so the last generation begins! Let’s see what all these conflicting personalities bring! And of course, here are the obligatory build blueprints for the new lounge/teen hangout:

29

Downstairs

30

Upstairs