The Bloomer Legacy: 9.20 What does it feel like?

I’m a bitch. Everyone knows that. But believe it or not, nobody’s every called me that, at least not to my face. Not until now.

I kind of admire Hallie for saying it. She takes no plum from anyone. Not like the other losers.

2

So I’m guessing all you kind-hearted people out there are wondering what it feels like to be me.

Because you’ve never had your blood boil with rage. Never found the slightest pinch of satisfaction in the misery of someone you can’t stand. Never said anything you regretted later. Yeah, right. I get it. You’re a bit of an equestrian. You like your horses, and you like them high.

But back to me. What is it like to be me, you ask?

3

Ok, I’ll be honest with you. The mornings are plummy. Contrary to what you might think, I don’t wake up being angry at the world. I wake up with the world being angry at me. It makes me feel sick, having to face them all. And that’s not even the worst of it.

The longer I’m awake, the more it starts coming back to me. With each second.

4

That plumming summer.

I won’t say it was all perfect before then, because it wasn’t. Far from it. But then I met Antoine, and suddenly the world seemed different.

I didn’t want to let him in, but he snuck in anyway. The point is I felt something, as much as I tried not to. The things everyone hates about me, he didn’t seem to mind. So I thought everything was going to fall into place from then on.

I thought that he was going to fix me.

Wow, what an idiot I was.

5

It’s been three months now. I need to stop thinking about it. I still have to drag myself out of bed every day. And so I do.

But I don’t stop thinking about it.

I could probably make peace with what he did to me. After all, I only knew him for what, a week or so? So he ripped my heart out and chewed it up. Plum happens.

6

What I can’t get over is that none of them said or did anything when it happened. Not that day, or the one after that, or those that followed. Not Hallie, not Vito, not even our little holier-than-you Carly. All she did ask me was if I actually had woohoo. She was obviously judging me. Not something she’d do, because she can do no wrong…

Of course, they all made sure to constantly make a huge deal out of Vito’s new boyfriend. I can’t count the number of times he recounted their first kiss in detail, with Carly cheering him on. And what did I get? Not even an are you ok. At least a simple sorry he turned out to be a jerk would have been nice.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Nobody cries for you when you’re a bitch.

7

Do I like what I see in the mirror each morning? Not particularly, no. Funnily enough though, I don’t usually see the bitch at first. I see a scared little girl.

It’s pathetic, I know. But luckily it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

Sera

I think of it as war paint. A little bit of mascara here, to forget about a brother who never stood up for his sister. Well, not this sister, that is. He’d do anything for his other, far more morally superior sister.

The oh-so-kind sister, who always does everything right, helps every single nobody, but doesn’t care that her older sister is hurting. What did she say to her precious Vito on the first day of school? That he doesn’t want to be as bad as me, or something?

That’s ok though. Nothing a little bit of concealer can’t hide. A touch of blusher there, so that it looks like I didn’t have a sleepless night.

8

And now Hallie. At least she had the decency not to get on the Louis and Vito gush train in front of me, but she didn’t exactly do anything to help. She just did what she always does, pretending like what we do has nothing to do with her… Well I guess she’s had her input now.

Since I’m now officially a bitch, I suppose I could go a bit crazier with the lipstick. I mean, I already dyed my hair last night. I might as well go all out, right?

9

With the right outfit to complete it all, she’s finally coming to life. The you-know-what in the mirror.

As for me, well, I think I’m finally ready to venture out of the room to face them. It’s just another day.

I’ll give them the bitch they want.

10

 

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.19 Couples Costumes

Vito finished strapping up his gladiator boots. That was his outfit for the night complete. He turned to Louis. “So, what do you think of couples costumes?”

Louis gave him a funny look: “Couples costumes?”

“Yeah,” Vito nodded. “You know, couples dressing up in costumes that complement each other. Like Bonnie and Clyde, or mustard and ketchup, or…”

“I get the concept,” Louis interrupted him. “I think they’re pretty lame. Don’t you?”

2

Vito looked away awkwardly. “Yeah, totally…”

Louis examined him for a moment. “Do you want us to wear matching costumes?”

“No, of course not… You’re right. They’re totally lame…”

“Ok then,” Louis looked amused. “I’m glad you feel that way, since I already got my costume too!”

He dove into the wardrobe.

3

“So, what do you think?” Louis asked when he emerged from the closet. ”Am I the most badass ninja or what?”

“I’ve gotta admit that outfit suits you,” Vito smiled. “Then again, you could pull off anything.”

4

He pulled Louis closer for a quick kiss.

5

“So, shall we head out and impress everyone with our awesomeness?” Vito asked with a grin.

“Let’s do it,” Louis humoured him.

6

The teen lounge was all decorated for Spooky Day. Vito and Louis weren’t the first ones in.

“Hey, those two are totally wearing couples costumes, and they’re not even a couple!” Vito sulked.

7

“I don’t know, you’re talking Hallie and Larobb here,” Louis shrugged. “They’re practically attached by the hip. Are you sure they’re not a couple?”

8

Carly watched the bonfire flames aside from the crowd. There was something magical about Spooky Day, she thought. The one day when the world is filled with magical other-wordly beings everywhere. For a split second, one could almost believe fairy tales could come true on a night like this.

Then again, Carly was reminded all too quickly that her life was no fairy tale. She tried to put on a brave smile…

9

“Well if it isn’t Sera, the wicked witch,” Ralph greeted his date for the night. “Fitting.”

Seraphina got annoyed. “Why necessarily wicked? Maybe I’m just a witch!”

“Hey, it was a compliment,” Ralph shrugged. “We both have a bit of evil in us… I’m a pirate, after all!”

10

Seraphina calmed down. “You do make a rather handsome pirate,” she purred.

The Boba Fett watching the wicked duo didn’t seem too pleased. It was probably Beavis. Or Butthead. What was the difference between them anyway, Seraphina asked herself.

11

But it wasn’t just Boba Fett observing them. Carly lingered. She had to admit they did seem well suited. And Sera actually had a smile on her face for a change. It seemed like the distant memory of the summer Seraphina was slowly starting to return. This was a good thing.

So why was it still so hard?

12

“Oh, hi Lottie!” Ralph stood up, interrupting Carly’s stream of thought.

“Hey,” she waved at both of them uncertainly. She looked at Ralph. “I like your costume.”

13

“Ditto,” Ralph agreed with a grin. “Looks like this Captain Hook finally found his Tinker Bell.”

Carly couldn’t help but smile. “You do realise Captain Hook almost killed Tinker Bell when he trapped her in a lantern, right?”

Ralph laughed. “I guess you’ll have to be on the lookout around me.” He winked at her.

14

“Ok, that’s enough!” Seraphine yelled at them from the couch.

15

“For your information Carly, Ralph is here with me! So stop being pathetic and hanging onto his every word! It’s embarrassing to watch!”

16

“I… I’ll be on my way,” Carly forced an apologetic smile, backing away. “See you guys later…”

“Hey Sera, can I talk to you for a moment in private,” Ralph gestured towards the building.

Seraphina’s lips curled into a smile. “Sure.” She stood up. “Later, loser!” She yelled in Carly’s direction.

17

Carly headed indoors too. She figured that at least she could make the evening a bit sweeter with a bit of chocolate. But apparently even the sweets at this party wanted to mock her.

18

Meanwhile, Vito, Louis, Hallie and Larobb were immersed in a game of poker, oblivious to the drama around them.

19

“So, couple against couple,” Louis challenged Hallie and Larobb. “Let’s see who wins!”

“We’re not a couple!” Hallie rolled her eyes. “You know that Larobb and I are just friends.”

“Best friends,” Larobb corrected her.

“Best friends,” Hallie nodded impatiently. “But just friends. Definitely not a couple.”

“Yeah, whatever…” Louis smirked. “Nice attempt at a bluff. If your poker face is that bad, we’ve got nothing to worry about…”

“Hey!”

20

“Couple or not, you guys are just scared we’ll beat you,” Vito cut to the chase. “That’s why you’re full of excuses…”

“Afraid? Of you? Oh please!” Hallie threw him a determined look. “You’re on! Larobb and I will take you guys down!”

21

“This room looks empty,” Ralph opened the door into the dark music lounge.

“Yeah, the party’s only downstairs,” Sera nodded. “So, is this private enough for you?”

“Sure.” Ralph seemed distracted.

22

“I know why you wanted to talk in private,” Seraphina told him with a sly grin.

“You do?”

“You did promise me that kiss,” she said playfully. “Well, you can kiss me now…”

“Yeah, about that… maybe we should sit down.”

“Oh-kay?”

23

“So, what’s your problem?” He asked as soon as they slipped into the chairs.

“Huh?” Seraphina looked confused. “You mean… you actually wanted to talk?”

“Duh,” Ralph was getting impatient. “I don’t get it, Sera! Why does it give you such a kick to be so awful to your sister? Lottie’s done nothing to deserve that! The way you treat her…”

24

“Oh, I see how it is!” Seraphina glared at him angrily. “Lottie this, Lottie that…”

“Leave her out of this,” Ralph said calmly. “I was talking about you.”

“Oh really? It sure as plum doesn’t seem like it, you don’t seem to shut up about her!”

25

“Look Sera, I know you only agreed to go out with me in the first place to mess with your sister…”

“And what else is new?”

“And that you also picked me as your date for the Spooky Party only to upset her,” Ralph continued. “And at first, I thought it was kinda funny. But where does it stop Sera?”

26

“But I thought… I thought you liked me,” Seraphina struggled to form a coherent sentence. Her voice was trembling. “What did you say? That we’re both wicked? I thought we were on the same page…”

“Yeah. So did I.” Ralph said solemnly. “But you’re something else, Sera. I’d never set out to really hurt someone who’s done nothing wrong to me. But you, you’ll stop at nothing just to get to Lottie. You’re not even really interested me for crying out loud! And you still wanted me to kiss you, just for the sake of it!”

27

“Lalalalala,” Seraphina covered he ears. “I don’t even need to listen to any more of your plum! Lottie, Lottie, Lottie… well go to your stupid Lottie if you want!”

Ralph stood up. “Yeah, I think I will.” He walked out of the room, not giving her a single look.

28

Silence surrounded Seraphina. She hated the sound of silence. She wished he was still in the room, so she could yell over it. Not listen to the nagging voices in her head saying that it was all her own fault.

You should have told him he was wrong, the nagging voices said. That you were actually interested in him. That Carly had nothing to do with why you wanted that kiss…

“Shut up!” She yelled into the silence.

***

29

“Well, who’s laughing now?” Hallie looked at Louis with a stone cold face.

Louis shot Vito a look. Vito shook his head.

“Fine, I fold,” Louis put his cards down with a sigh.

Hallie started giggling. “I didn’t even have semi-decent cards!” she gave Larobb a victorious grin. “Now who’s got no poker face…”

30

“Well we knew we could beat them from the start,” Larobb joined in. The two of them leapt up to high-five each other.

31

“You know, I didn’t see it before, but you’re totally right,” Vito looked at the undead duo celebrating. “They might not know it yet, but they’re definitely a couple.”

32

“Silly them, wasting time,” Louis smiled. Then again, not all couples could be as perfect as they were…

33

Upstairs, Ralph made his way to Carly. He found her throwing bits of popcorn in the air, attempting to catch them in her mouth… and failing adorably.

“Hi Tinker Bell,” he sat down with her.

“Well if it isn’t Captain Hook,” she smiled.

“Nice going with the popcorn,” he grinned.

Carly looked around at the mess she’d created. She blushed, changing the topic: “So, how come you’re not with Sera?”

34

“Turns out love between pirates and witches is doomed,” he said. “They’re both too selfish to make it work.”

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that?”

“You are?” Ralph tilted his head. “Why?”

35

“I thought that if Sera was happy again, she’d be nicer. Like back when… it doesn’t matter,” she corrected herself. She knew better than to reveal her sister’s vulnerable moments. “I guess now she’ll get even worse. Again.”

Ralph studied her face, as if he was trying to figure out what to say. “You don’t have to worry about her. You’ve got a pirate to protect you.”

“Right.” Carly seemed many miles away. “Oh well. Everyone seems to be taking off. I guess the party’s over.”

36

Hallie scoured the building looking for Sera. They all needed to leave together. When she finally found her, she was surprised at what she stumbled across. Seraphina was sobbing.

37

This wasn’t like her. “Sera?” Hallie approached her uncertainly.

“Oh. Hallie?” Seraphina tried to wipe away her tears, smudging her mascara.

“What happened?” Hallie asked.

38

And so Seraphina told her. About Ralph’s rejection. About the things he said to her. About how she initially agreed to go out with him to teach Carly a lesson, but ended up liking him herself…

39

Hallie listened. And then, when Sera was done, she gave her a funny look.

“And… that’s everything?” Hallie asked.

“Yeah.” Sera nodded tearfully. “That’s everything.”

40

“Sera, it’s really not that complicated.” Hallie said slowly. “If you want people to like you, stop being such a bitch!”

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.18 Comparison Purposes

Ralph climbed the steps to the restaurant. A part of him was in disbelief, the other felt like celebrating.

“You really didn’t have to make that much of an effort just for the crummy old me,” he said to Seraphina finally. “I would have worn a different shirt if I’d known you’d dress up and all.”

2

“Well I do work here, so I can’t let our customers see me unless I’m at my very best,” Seraphina explained nonchalantly.

“Yeah, about that… I figured it might not be the best idea to bring you to your workplace for a date,” Ralph admitted. “But the thing is, this restaurant is the most romantic place in town. Hence my predicament.” He shrugged.

“Oh, don’t be silly, this is perfect,” Seraphina replied sweetly. “Not to mention we get freebies.”

3

Carly who was headed to the restaurant for her shift bit her lip as she walked past them. Sera really seemed to be making an effort to be… well, not Sera.

Sure, that’s what Carly banked on when she helped Ralph get that date, but still… did her sister really hate her so much that she had to try this hard at impressing a guy she didn’t particularly care for? Apparently so.

4

“I did bring you another rose,” Ralph told Sera. “I really dug myself into a hole by setting that as a precedent, didn’t I? I better try to get a deal with a florist if this becomes more of a regular thing,” he smirked.

Sera forced herself to smile. “We’ll see about that. Let’s go inside!”

5

Hallie welcomed them in a professional manner, not letting the other patrons know she may have a couple thoughts of her own about the newcomers.

6

“Is that a new dress, Sera?” Hallie asked once they were out of earshot of the other customers.

“Yeah. It’s from a special deluxe collection. Limited offer from last year.” Sera pointed out.

“Clearly it’s not that limited if you still managed to get it now,” Hallie seemed underwhelmed. “It’s nice.”

“Thanks. I guess.”

7

Hallie opened the door and looked around her shoulder. Ralph was still indoors.

“I know what you’re doing,” she quickly said to Sera. “And it’s going to blow up in your face.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sera got defensive.

“Sure.” Hallie shook her head and turned around.

8

“Thanks for getting us the good table, Hallie,” Ralph emerged from the building.

“No problem,” Hallie uttered. “Try to have fun… if you can.”

9

Ralph looked after her as if he was going to say something, but he decided against it. He sat down at the table with Seraphina.

“So a new dress, huh? You’re really going all out to impress me, aren’t you?” He joked. “I can’t blame you, with my dazzling looks and charm…”

10

“Oh shut up,” Seraphina interrupted him. “You know very well I only agreed to go out with you because you tricked me into it. I do not have a thing for you!”

Ralph seemed to find that very funny.

“What are you laughing at!?”

11

“You’re so predictable, Sera,” he grew more serious. “As soon as your sister is out of sight, the switch is off. Must be exhausting to be you. And I didn’t trick you into anything. You said you’d come out with me all on your own, even though your reasons for it are pretty questionable.”

“Oh, you know what my reasons are?” Seraphina’s voice jumped a pitch higher. “Well, if you know that so well and you still decided to come out with me, then who are you to judge?”

“That’s a fair point.” Ralph nodded. “Ok then. We both know you’re here with me just for show. So tell me, who’s winning, Beavis or Butthead?”

12

Now it was Seraphina’s turn to laugh.

“Beavis or Butthead? That’s hilarious… but fitting!” The girl relaxed completely.

“Funny you should say that. You know who came up with that? Lottie.”

“Who?”

“Your sister?”

“Carly?” Seraphina looked at him incredulously. “No way! She’d never make fun of anyone like that, that’s way too evil by her standards! Next you’re gonna tell me she’s come up with some sort of a scheme or something! Carly… pfft!”

“You’d be surprised.” Ralph shrugged.

13

“Anyway, to answer your question… Beavis or Butthead…” She giggled involuntarily. “It’s neither. I don’t really care for either of them.”

“Hmm,” Ralph tilted his head. “Too bad you’re stuck taking one of them to the Spooky Day party with you.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me! Let’s just have a nice evening, shall we?”

Ralph arched his eyebrows in question. He didn’t really comment though. “You got it.”

14

At the corner of her eye, Sera noticed that Carly wasn’t looking too cheery when she brought her food.

15

Her eyes followed Carly as she returned back to the restaurant.

“Hm.”

“Hm?” Ralph looked up from his plate.

16

“You know what? You win,” Sera announced. “You get to take me to the Spooky Day party.”

“Oh do I now?” Ralph asked quizzically.

17

“Beats going with Beavis or Butthead.” She shrugged.

“I guess we’re finally on the same page,” Ralph chuckled. “You do remember you called me a loser, though? Is that really an improvement on Beavis and Butthead?”

“I’ll tell you a little secret.” Sera whispered with a smirk. “I call everyone a loser. It doesn’t really mean that much.”

“That’s hardly a secret.”

18

Sera was grinning at the end of the night. She’d had a great time in spite of herself.

“You know, I did kiss the other boys…” She told Ralph flirtatiously.

“Makes me feel all special.” Ralph said dryly.

“It was only for comparison purposes,” Sera explained. “To make an informed decision. So really, I should kiss you too…”

“I thought you’d already made your decision.”

“Well I do need to know what I got myself into…” She attempted a joke.

19

“Ah well. I’m getting kinda tired. Good night, Sera!” He waved casually.

“Wait, what? Where are you going?” Seraphina called after him.

“I told you, I’m off.”

20

“Now? But what about…”

“You’ll just have to wait for that kiss till the Spooky Day party!”

He walked away, beaming.

21

Unbelievable!

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.17 Moonlight Massacre

“The gym, huh?” Seraphina looked around. “Not exactly the most romantic venue…”

“Well, you like to work out, and I like to work out, sooo… you know.” Marvin shrugged.

“Right,” Seraphina rolled her eyes. “I guess it could be worse.”

2

“I guess I’m not the most romantic guy,” Marvin told her. “But I’m pretty strong. I could probably lift you. And that’s romantic, right…”

“Whatever.”

“Do you want me to lift you?”

“No thanks.”

“Oh, I know another thing. Sports massage!”

Seraphina looked intrigued. “Ok, that’s actually not an awful suggestion…”

3

Marvin seemed much more palatable when he wasn’t talking, Seraphina decided. Strong and tanned, not bad to look at at all, and as far as this whole massage thing was concerned, he did seem to know what…

4

“Ow!” Scratch that thought.

“Oh, did that hurt?”

“Let’s do something else,” Seraphina sighed. “I think there’s a yoga class on…”

5

Ok, this was better. Seraphina could feel the boy’s gaze on her as she went through the motions of the sun salutation. She giggled to herself. For once, she attracted attention for reasons she welcomed.

6

“I know you’ve totally been checking out my butt, Marvin,” she said over her shoulder with a grin.

“Oh, me?” The boy grew nervous. “No I wasn’t…”

“You mean you don’t think it’s worth looking at!”

“No! I mean yes! I mean… it’s a really nice butt. But! I wasn’t looking. I mean, it is worth looking at though…”

7

“It’s ok,” Seraphina laughed. “I’ll take it as a compliment. We’re on a date. Who else would you be looking at?”

“So… you don’t mind?”

“Not a bit.”

8

The words of encouragement made Marvin rather confident. “I’m so smooth!”

“What?” Seraphina raised her eyebrow.

“Err, I mean… would you like to check out the sauna?” He corrected himself. “That’s what I said. Yeah.”

So he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, Sera mused. But this was still kind of fun. She decided to let it slip. “Sure.”

9

Clearly Marvin gained a bit too much confidence from her reaction.

“Do you see my guns babe? This is total selfie material!”

10

“I don’t think you’ve earned the right to call me babe just yet,” she glared at him coldly. “And you know that thing I said about who you should look when we’re on a date? It definitely shouldn’t be your guns. You’re supposed to be paying attention to me!”

“Sorry sorry, I am paying attention to you babe! I mean, not babe!”

Seraphina rolled her eyes. “Oh really? You have a funny way of showing that.”

11

“Ok,” Marvin muttered to himself. “Ok, ok, ok. You can do this!”

Seraphina was trying to hold back laughter. What was he mustering courage for now?

12

Ah. That.

Well at least he was a good kisser, she concluded.

13

“Cool,” she said casually. “Well, I think I’ve got all the information I need from you.”

“You do?”

“Yeah. So if I spent any more time with you now, it wouldn’t be fair to the others.”

“You’re going?” The boy asked incredulously. “Did I do well?”

Seraphina stood up with a smirk. “I’ll be in touch!”

14

“Phew,” Marvin let out a sigh of relief as the girl left the room. Or maybe it was just the heat. Either way, that could have gone worse, he thought to himself. Besides, now that she’s seen his guns, how could she go for anyone else?

***

15

While Seraphina wasn’t particularly awed by the choice of venue – the teen lounge was practically a second home to her, after all – she had to admit that a classic cinema date had potential.

“So, what movie are we seeing?” She greeted Mark.

“Moonlight Massacre III,” he told her.

Seraphina sneered. “Romantic.”

“Oh. I didn’t think of that.”

“It’s alright. I happen to be a fan of the Moonlight Massacre series.” She shrugged.

“That’s a relief!”

16

They stood around for a moment, looking at each other with growing unease.

“So… popcorn?”

“Yeah!”

“Cool.”

The filled the paper bowls and resumed the awkward silence. The only sound about was the crunching of the popcorn.

“Um… I guess we can… head into the cinema hall?” The boy suggested.

17

At least the sound of the commercials seemingly filled in the void to an extent. Still, Seraphina couldn’t remember ever being this eager for a film to start.

Sadly, the opening commercials seemed endless.

18

Mark cleared his throat. “So, uh… how did the date with Marvin go?”

“Are you really asking me about that?”

“I guess I wanted to know where I stand,” the boy shrugged. “You guys do anything… nice?”

Seraphina surpressed a grunt. “We went to the gym. He gave me a massage and…”

19

“A massage?” Mark’s face lit up. “I happen to be amazing at massages!”

Oh plum no, Sera thought. Though the massage probably couldn’t be any worse than the one she’d received over at the gym…

20

“Ok, I’ve got to give it to you, this massage was actually kind of nice,” Seraphina admitted, surprised. “Way better than Marvin’s!”

Maybe they could still turn this around.

21

“I could use a massage too, you know, my back is pretty sore,” Mark told her.

“Err…” There was no way she was going to give him a massage.

“It’s alright, I’ll just, uh, stretch.”

Was he seriously doing the fake stretch move?

22

Yep, definitely doing the fake stretch.

Well at least he made some sort of effort, Seraphina decided begrudgingly.

23

“You know, there is one other thing that I could compare besides massages…” She leaned in.

24

He got the drift.

25

“Wow.” The boy stared at her with a dazed expression. “That was…”

26

…awful? Slimy? The worst kiss she’d experienced so far? Seraphina wasn’t impressed.

And on top of that, now he’d ruined the Moonlight Massacre series for her! She was livid. It appeared that her choices were poor, or even worse.

She cursed herself for committing herself to being stuck at the Spooky Day party with one of these two losers. Unless…

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.16 Beavis and Butthead

Mark made his way through the gym, locating Marvin by the sound of his grunting alone. Time to get straight to the point.

“So, what are we gonna do about the whole Sera situation, dude?”

2

“I mean, clearly you’re into her and so am I, so… what happens now?”

Marvin gave him a quick glance, taking a brief break between sets. He then added an extra weight on and carried on with his workout without saying anything.

Mark was starting to lose his patience: “Obviously you should back off, since I met her first, sooo…”

3

“It’s not about who’s first,” Marvin finally replied. “It’s about who’s the strongest. And that’s me. So duh.”

“So duh?”

“So she should go out with me.” Marvin clarified.

“I knew what you meant!”

4

This was a waste of time, Mark decided.

“I say we should just get her to pick the best man,” he said. “Then we’ll see about who’s the strongest.”

“Yeah we will! Let’s go ask her which one of us she wants to go out with right now!”

***

5

“You want me to make a decision right now?” Seraphina asked, amused.

“Well, yeah,” Mark nodded. “You’ve been talking to both of us for a while, so you know which one of us is the better choice…”

“Obviously me!” Marvin informed her.

6

“I can’t make a rash decision like that on the spot,” Seraphina was enjoying herself. “Besides, what makes you so sure I want to go out with either of you?”

The boys stared at her blankly.

“But you do, right?” Marvin asked.

Seraphina rolled her eyes.

7

“I tell you what, how about I go on a date with each of you before I make my decision?” She suggested. “You’ll each get a shot to make a lasting impression.”

Marvin’s eyes lit up: “Like a competition?”

“Sure. Whoever wins gets to be my date for the Spooky Day party.”

The boys exchanged a look.

“You’re on!”

8

Mark left excitedly, while Marvin decided to start working on impressing Seraphina straight away.

“Hey Sera, check out how strong I am!”

“Yeah sure, whatever,” Seraphina pulled out her phone.

“You know you’re not doing well if she finds Blickblock more interesting than you,” Ralph entered the room, hand behind his back.

9

“It takes more than a muscle to get a lady’s attention, you see…” He swept in.

Marvin wasn’t too pleased about the newcomer. “What the plum are you doing, man?”

“What does it look like?”

10

He pulled handed Seraphina a fresh rose, making even her speechless for a moment.

Marvin’s face grew long: “Dude, are you for real?”

“I assure you I’m pretty real. You’ve got competition. Did you say that whoever impresses you the most gets to be your date for the Spooky Day party, Sera?”

11

Seraphina burst out laughing: “Ralph, you crack me up. How many times do I have to tell you no before you give up? Your pathetic attempts… it’s too hilarious!”

Ralph raised an eyebrow. “I don’t know, you looked pretty impressed over there. Have I not won?”

“It doesn’t work that way! You’ve got to take me on a date and impress me then!”

“Oh, you want me to take you out now?” He laughed.

“No!”

12

“How many times do I need to spell it out for you? I won’t go out with a loser like you! Your greatest achievement was flooding the principal’s office!”

“Well, that was pretty epic…”

“That’s all you’re known for! I won’t date a plumming class clown!”

“I’d prefer to be referenced as the dark horse, but I guess I won’t be choosey…”

“Urgh!”

“”Sera? Ralph?” Carly came in, looking at them quizzically.

13

“Oh, if it isn’t the loser’s minion!” Seraphina turned her attention to Carly. “Like people can’t see through you, Carly! You’re pathetic.”

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

“You just always end up following a guy that’s interested in someone else, don’t you? Everyone can see you’re sooo into Ralph, eating up his every word. And he only wants me!” Seraphina laughed.

14

“Well, you know what? I’ve changed my mind, I will go out with him!”

Carly gasped. “What, just to prove a point?”

“To show you what a lost cause you are,” Sera corrected her. “You think if you sulk around him long enough he’ll change his mind? Well tough, he’s now in the running! Ralph, you’ve got yourself that date after all!”

Ralph beamed: “Seriously?”

15

“I knew you secretly have a thing for me, Sera!” He poked her.

“Urgh!”

Carly smiled softly, watching them. It worked.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.15 Loser

Ok, so maybe I haven’t exactly painted the full picture when I talked to aunt Yenn. But I couldn’t bring myself to admit what I loser I am, even to her.

I don’t know how they’ve all done it, made other friends so quickly. Without me. Me, I don’t really have time for any of it. I try to keep on top of the schoolwork, so I’m often the last person around…

3

And after school it’s straight to the restaurant. I know dad said I don’t need to pick up all the shifts, but I really want his business to be successful. He’s poured his heart and soul into it, it’s the least I can do…

Vito and Sera sort of alternate shifts, mainly because they can’t stand to be in the same room.

4

The only person that’s there as much as I am is Hallie. But she’s something else. When she’s switched on, she can make every customer that comes to the restaurant feel like they’ve made her day just by showing up. It’s crazy.

5

Meanwhile, I still have troubles remembering people’s order, and they probably still think I’m the most awkward waitress around.

6

Maybe I’d be more use in the kitchen. I ended up taking some extra cooking classes at school, you know, so that I can actually get good at something over at the restaurant…

7

And then there’s the other extracurriculars. Obviously I don’t have to do them, but this time is really important – the teachers barely know us, so it’s the first impressions that count right? I’ve got to prove to them that I’m serious about my studies…

8

On the bright side, since nobody else seems to share this outlook, I often have the whole library to myself, so that’s pretty cool…

9

“Hi nerd!”

I didn’t even need to lift my eyes from the book to know who it was.

“I’ve already done your homework, Ralph.”

10

“Sweet!” He sat down next to me. “But I actually wanted to talk to you about something else.”

“Oh?”

“Let’s see, how do I put this…” He made himself comfortable on the chair.

11

“It appears it’s already been a month since the start of the school year, and I still don’t seem to be dating your sister.” His voice was dripping with sarcasm. “I thought we had a deal!”

12

“I told you, I don’t know what you expect. Seraphina would never go to me for boy recommendations or advice. In fact, if I tried to convince her of something, she’d probably do the opposite just to spite me.”

13

“You sure give up easily,” He got irritated. “I thought you were smart, plummit! That you could figure something out!”

I looked down, not sure what to say.

14

“Wow, sorry Lottie,” he deflated. “I’m being a jerk. It’s not your fault. I know that. Hey, if she’s not interested, she’s not interested.”

He fell silent, looking away. I wondered what he was thinking.

15

He looked so handsome being all pensive. I don’t really get Sera. I’d ditch Beavis and Butthead and go out with Ralph in a heartbeat. He’s so… not interested in me. That’s what he is.

16

My stream of thought was interrupted by the principal’s announcement: “All students must report to the main hall immediately.”

“Ah, that’s my cue to get out of here,” Ralph informed me.

“Yeah, we’re meant to go to the hall.” I nodded.

“Not what I had in mind. I’ll just sneak to through the back door. I may or may not have an idea of what the announcement is about.”

“Ralph…”

17

“I may or may not have flooded the principal’s office.”

“What?”

I wish he didn’t look like a handsome devil when he said that.

“I’ll catch you later, Lottie!”

18

Honestly. Him and I couldn’t be any more different. I need to stop thinking about him that way. He’s probably the perfect match for Sera. Now if I could only get her to…

“Hey Ralph,” I called out after him.

“Yeah?”

“I think I’ve got an idea. I know how we could get Sera to go out with you.”

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.14 Their Own Thing

“Hey aunt Yenn, can I talk to you for a moment?”

Yenn looked up from her book. After glancing at Carly, she put it aside altogether. Judging by her niece’s face, this was a situation that required her undivided attention.

“Sure, what’s up sweetie?”

2

“I just… don’t know if high school is for me.”

“Would you rather be homeschooled?” Yenn asked.

“I don’t know. Ideally, I’d like to turn back time.”

“What’s the matter?”

“Everything’s wrong. Nothing’s the same again…” Carly said with a deep sigh. “You know when Vito and Sera had that massive fight on our very first day of school?”

Yenn nodded. “You and Louis were both worried it would turn everyone at school against Sera.”

“Yeah… well truns out, we didn’t need to worry after all…”

3

“Quite the opposite happened. Sera got popular. Like, she almost immediately became a part of this group of really pretty girls, you know, the cheerleader types that boys like.” Carly blushed.

4

“And that’s not all… she’s pretty much their ringleader, or whatever you’d call it, now.” She shook her head. “I don’t understand. We thought people would hate her. Maybe they’re scared of her. I don’t know.”

“Well it’s nice that she has some friends now, isn’t it?” Yenn tried to be encouraging.

5

“Not just friends! She… she has admirers! As I said, boys flock to that whole group of girls…”

“Right…”

“So that’s how she started talking to Mark.”

6

“And then soon after, Marvin noticed her in PE and basically hasn’t stopped badgering her since.”

7

“Long story short, the both follow her like puppies now. It’s ridiculous. They’re like Beavis and Butthead…”

Yenn laughed. “Would you like your own Beavis and Butthead following you around?”

“Of course not!”

“So is it about that other boy that was interested in Sera, then?” Yenn gave Carly a conspicuous grin. “The one who sits with you in algebra?”

8

“Ralph? Well, he sure still is interested in Sera, and is very clear about letting her know.” Carly shook her head.

9

“But it’s definitely not mutual. I think he grosses her out, to be honest. I mean, I did try to help him, but it’s not like Sera would ever take my advice… So I just help him with algebra instead. Well, help. More like do it for him…”

10

“Anyway, I don’t want to talk about him. We’re not really even friends. He just kind of… shows up, from time to time.”

Yenn studied Carly’s face for a moment, but she didn’t make any comments. “Ok then, what would you like to talk about?”

“The others.”

“So far we’ve only talked about Sera.”

11

“Yeah. Well, Vito and Louis have become pretty popular too, but in a different way to Sera. They’re always with this group of cool, edgy alternative types.”

12

“Hallie does too, actually.”

13

“But you know Hallie, she pretty independent. Either DJing…”

14

“Or hanging out with that friend of hers, Larobb. I mean, they’ve only known each other for a month and they’re pretty much inseparable.”

15

“So she’s usually in the sidelines. Not Vito, though. He loves being the centre of attention. And they all seem to love him. Especially the girls.”

16

“Thank plumbob he has Louis to keep him at least a little grounded.”

“What do you mean?”

17

“Well, they all practically worship him. Especially now that he’s gotten into photography and can do really nice photos for the girls. They all think he’s the bomb.”

18

“And he thinks so too. It’s all getting into his head.”

19

“Hallie’s pointed that out too, you know? But she mainly just laughs at him, together with Larobb.”

20

“Those two practically have their own language by now.”

21

But they all talk to you, right?” Yenn seemed concerned.

“Well, Sera doesn’t. But she doesn’t really talk to any of us since that first day of school…”

“I remember,” Yenn frowned.

22

“But yeah, they talk to me, of course. I’m not lonely or anything. Besides, I’ve got other friends too. It’s not like I’m the only one who hasn’t made any friends at the new school…”

23

“It’s just… I guess I just miss the times when we were little, and it was us against the world. We were all so close! I mean, Sera was Sera, of course, but even she was on our side. Now everybody’s doing their own thing. Which is normal, I guess.”

24

“Well, it is normal for you to have your own friends and interests, but you shouldn’t feel tossed aside,” Yenn said, her voice sounding serious. “Do you want me to talk to your siblings?”

“No, no, it’s no big deal, honestly,” Carly replied quickly. “I just wanted to vent a bit, that’s all. Joys of being a teenager, you know.”

25

“I still remember it, believe it or not,” Yenn smiled. “It’s not easy, figuring yourself out. And my brother and sister and I also had some differences when we were your age. Especially Booker and I. But we worked it out. Because that’s what family’s for, looking out for each other.”

“Yeah…”

“You would tell me if things were really wrong, wouldn’t you?”

26

“Of course!” Carly stood up. “Seriously, it’s no big deal… Anywho, I’ve got to go, don’t want to be late for school! Thanks aunt Yenn!”

The girl hurried out of the room. Yenn’s watchful eyes followed her. There was definitely something going on. Yenn was worried. She was all up for personal space, but Pauline and Leo had always been a bit too hands off with their parenting.

Yenn sighed. She was probably reading too much into it. But she’d keep an eye on Carly. Just in case.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.13 First Day of School (Part 2)

The hallway slowly started returning back to business as usual after Seraphina and Vito’s showdown.

“Woah, what on Earth just happened?” A boy standing next to Hallie gave her a confused look.

She just shook her head. “Welcome to my life.”

“You know these people?”

“Worse, I live with them” Hallie let out a chuckle. “They’re my family.”

2

“Oh man, I’m sorry!” The guy said sincerely.

“I’m Hallie. Rocca. They’re all Bloomers. Keep that in mind,” she explained apologetically.

“I’m Larobb. And I’m not judging. You seem pretty chill.”

“By sheer comparison, I guess I would.” She laughed, grateful.

***

3

Carly entered the classroom mopily and hid behind a familiar face; Jarrett, Danroff’s son.

“Hey, chin up Carly! The day can still pick up, you know?”

“I really don’t see how…” She shook her head.

4

“Is this seat taken?” A boy approached her.

“You want to sit here… with me?”

“Duh! You look like a goody two shoes, if I sit next to you it’ll throw off the teachers for a while. Laying low, you see.” He explained with a grin.

5

“Right. I’m Carly. Carlotta for short. I mean, the other way around.” She said, flustered.

“Meh, I don’t like the sound of Carly. Why not Lottie?”

“Um… I’ve never thought about it. And you are?”

“Ralph Forrester. But I don’t need introductions.”

“Oh-kay then…”

6

Meanwhile, in art class, girls started to flock around Louis and Vito, gushing about their romantic yet dramatic reunion.

“It’s like a modern-day fairytale!”

7

“Yeah, I know right?” Vito grinned. “That’s me, swooping in to save the day for my prince.”

“Like, Grimm brothers turned high school musical.” The girl continued.

“You weren’t even there!” Louis pointed out, looking agitated.

8

“What’s up?” Vito looked over to Louis. “I thought we were ok.”

“We are,” Louis pouted. “It’s just… I feel bad about the fallout I’ve caused between you and your sister.”

“It’s her own plumming fault.”  Vito shrugged. “And it’s not like her and I ever had a fall-in.” Vito shrugged.

“Yeah, true.” Louis sighed. “So what did she mean when she said you did say those exact words about the summer fling?”

9

“Plum knows,” Vito shrugged dismissively. “She was just being Sera.”

“I guess… I’m worried you might be antagonising her in front of the entire school…”

Vito shook his head. “Oh believe me, she doesn’t need my help with that. She can do that all on her own.”

***

10

“Yes! Ex equals zero! I got there!” Carly exclaimed.

Ralph was amused. “Wow, you really are a huge nerd, huh? You’ll need help. Without me, you’ll get eaten alive in this place!”

11

“That bad, huh?” She giggled.

“You mean you don’t see it?” He raised an eyebrow. “Anyway, don’t worry about it. I’ll look out for you.”

“And why exactly would you do that?” She asked happily. Maybe Jarret was right, today didn’t seem so bad after all.

“Well, I do have a favour to ask,” Ralph said sheepishly. “I’d like you to set me up with your sister.”

12

Then again, maybe it wasn’t going to be a great day.

“Oh.”

“Wait, did you think… I mean, no offense, but you’re not my type.”

Carly grunted inwardly. “I’ve heard that before.”

“Look, it’s not personal. But I like feisty girls. And I mean, after seeing the whole shebang this morning, man, your sister is on fire!”

13

Carly looked him up and down. “Let me get this straight, you saw what went on in that hallway and you’re into Seraphina?”

“What can I say… She’s crazy and I like it?”

14

“I’m pretty sure you’re the one who’s crazy,” Carly told him.

“Soo, are you gonna help me?”

“Well, you did ask for it. And it could do Sera good. I’ll try,” Carly nodded hesitantly. “Though Seraphina doesn’t exactly listen to me, as you saw.”

“We’ll figure something out,” Ralph grinned. “I mean, you’re the nerd, right?”

15

“Have you heard all that?” Larobb elbowed Hallie.

“I’m gonna pretend I haven’t” she winked at him. “Sounds like another incoming disaster to me.”

“What does? I haven’t heard a thing…”

Hallie smiled at him gratefully. “Thanks for making my fay so much more bearable, Larobb.”

16

“It really was, wasn’t it? Bearable. More than!” He grinned at Hallie as she stood up.

“Yeah,” she smiled. “Maybe we could do this school thing again.”

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.12 First Day of School (Part 1)

The four of them stood in front of Magnolia High with anticipation. First day at a new school can be nerve-wrecking, but for Seraphina, Vito, Carly and Hallie, it was mainly an opportunity to turn a new leaf.

2

The promise of a fresh start put them all in a great mood, even Sera had a hint of a smile on her face as they walked in.

3

“You guys, this is a moment we’ll never forget,” Carly enthused. “The four of us entering high school for the first time!”

They all laughed.

“I do love your enthusiasm, sis,” Vito nodded to her. “I’m sure we’ll –“

4

He stopped mid-sentence, a huge smile spreading across his face. All of the others turned around to see what, or rather who he was looking at.

“Plummit,” Seraphina uttered.

5

Louis looked away as soon as his eyes met Vito’s.

“Louis! What are you doing here?”

“Oh err, hi. I’m just here for a year-long exchange programme, because I’m an idiot.” Louis mumbled, staring at his feet. “So anyway, good seeing you. I’ll be out of your way…”

6

“You’re here for a year, and you didn’t tell me?” Vito jumped with excitement.

“Ugh yeah, surprise, I guess… Anyway, I won’t bother you.”

“Bother me?”

7

Vito didn’t wait for an answer and wrapped his arms around Louis, pulling him in for a kiss. For a split second, everything around them ceased to exist.

8

“I thought you didn’t want to see me anymore. That it was just a summer fling to you…” Louis breathed out.

“What? If that was the case, why would I message you every day?”

“I don’t know… Sera said…”

9

Vito turned his head around slowly, glaring at his sister with hatred.

“You!”

10

“You just never get enough, do you?” he spewed at Seraphina. “Being nasty to your family is one thing, but what the plum were you thinking lying to Louis? You just can’t stand anyone around you being happy, can you?”

“I was upset,” Seraphina said quietly.

Louis looked her in the eye, hurt apparent in his face. “Why did you lie to me, Sera? You swore that was what he said!”

“I didn’t lie, per say… he did say those words, just not necessarily about you.”

“I’ve had it with you!” Vito burst out. “I’m not gonna take your plum anymore. I can make your life hell, you…”

11

“Vito!” Carly yelled out, dashing towards the arguing group. “Don’t say things you don’t mean, please…”

“What makes you think I don’t mean them?” Vito said coldly.

“If you do mean them, then how are you different from Sera?” Carly asked.

Vito didn’t seem so sure of himself anymore. He looked at Louis.

“She does have a point,” Louis admitted. “Let it go… The class is about to start, let’s get going…”

“How did you get so nice, Carly?” Vito shook his head. “Two sisters, one practically a saint, the other a raging…”

12

“A saint huh?” Seraphina looked Carly up and down, her eyes narrow. “I bet you feel pretty good about yourself now! Well guess what, I don’t need saving! I don’t need anything from you, any of you! If anybody’s making anybody’s life hell, you bet I’ll be on the other end of that equation.”

13

“Speaking of which, you should get your plum to algebra. But don’t you worry your angelic little head. I’m not gonna do anything to you or your precious Vito and Louis. Why would I waste any of my time on you? I don’t need you. Not today, not ever!”

Carly just stared after her as Sera stormed away.

14

“What are you looking at!?”

“That was pretty intertaining to watch. I thought I was the troublemaker around here, but boy do we have trouble in the house now!”

“Yeah, like I have time for this bullplum. Entertaining to watch? Watch me not caring! Like so!” She stomped down the stairs, not giving him another look.

15

The boy, on the other hand, couldn’t stop looking…

Author’s note: The Magnolia High School build featured in this chapter (and probably a fair few chapters to come) was made by Jordan.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.11 Whatever

Seraphina hit refresh again and stared at her Simbook inbox. No unread messages. Whatever, she told herself.

She resisted the urge to go look at Antoine’s profile again. Who cares.

Why was she still thinking about him?

2

She caught a glimpse of her brother on the workout machine, with that stupid smug smile he’s had for the past month. Of course everything would work out just the way Vito wanted.

3

“What are you looking at?” Vito caught her eye and got of the treadmill.

“Nothing. I was just trying to work out but it’s hard with your stupid grunting.” She muttered.

4

“You weren’t working out,” Vito laughed, noticing her phone on the floor. “You were hypnotising your phone.”

“No I wasn’t…”

“He’s not gonna message you. I mean, why would he?”

5

“Can you just go gloat somewhere else?” Seraphina lashed out.

“I want to work out, tough luck,” Vito shrugged. “If the fact I have a boyfriend who cares about me bothers you that much, then you’re the one that should leave!”

“Well maybe you should stop being so obnoxious about your little boyfriend! You’re not the first person on the planet to have one!”

6

“Maybe, but I can’t help but notice you don’t have one,” Vito pointed out. “The guy obviously realised what a plumming demon spawn you are and ran away.”

“Vito stop…” Seraphina whispered.

“Newsflash, it was just a summer fling,” Vito carried on. “He got what he wanted and then backed off. He never gave a plum about you. And I can’t say I blame him. Cause let’s face it, why would anyone want to be with you?”

Seraphina felt as if she’d frozen in one place, the words echoing in her head. He never gave a plum about you. He never gave a plum about you.

7

“You know what, on second thought, you can have the gym all to yourself.” Vito told her. “I’m in too good of a mood to be in the same room as you.”

Seraphina stood there in silence. She heard her brother’s footsteps thumping on the staircase, and then the house filled with his piano playing.

8

Oh great. Now there’s nowhere in the house she could hide from him, Seraphina thought.

She heard the doorbell.

Maybe Vito would get the door and stop playing. Leave her in peace.

But the music wasn’t stopping. Seraphina sighed and headed upstairs to answer the door. Hopefully, whoever it was, she could deal with them swiftly.

9

Her jaw dropped when she opened the door. It was Louis. Grinning from ear to ear.

“I think I’m gonna be sick…”

10

“Hi Sera,” the boy didn’t pay attention to her odd welcome. “Surprise! I’m going to live here in Newcrest now! For a whole year!”

“Huh?”

“I’m here as an exchange student! I’m staying with your aunt Peyton,” he explained, smiling.

“But…why?”

“Well I’ve always wanted to study abroad,” Louis shrugged. “But more importantly, I now have much more of a reason. Cause you know, if Vito lives here, where else would I want to be? Speaking of which, that’s why I came over. Is Vito here? I haven’t told him I’m coming, I wanted to surprise him… Because… sorry, I’m rambling.”

He laughed awkwardly. Seraphina just stared at him.

“What is it?” He asked.

11

“Yeah Vito’s here,” she answered carefully. “But he doesn’t want to see you.”

“What do you mean? Is he busy?” The boy seemed confused.

“Nope. He just doesn’t want to see you.”

12

Louis stumbled. “I don’t… I don’t understand. This has got to be some mistake…”

“Newsflash, it was just a summer fling,” Seraphina said robotically. “He got what he wanted and then backed off. He never gave a plum about you.”

Louis’s eyes watered. He opened his mouth and then he closed it again. “No,” he said finally, his voice shaking.

13

“Oh, you don’t believe me?” Seraphina glared at him. “He said those exact words to me just now, I swear. You think I’m hiding him? He’s just there, playing the piano.” She pointed towards the living room window. “See for yourself.”

Louis: “But he said…”

Sera: “People say a lot of things, but rarely ever mean them. The sooner you learn that, the better off you are.”

14

“Right.” Louis scratched his head, looking helpless. “I guess I… I’m gonna head off.” His voice broke.

Seraphina swallowed heavily. It was painful to look at him in this state.

“Louis wait…”

15

“What?” he turned around, holding back tears.

“I… I’m sorry.” She said.

“Yeah. Me too.”

And with that, the boy dragged himself home.

16

Seraphina closed the door behind her. She could hear her brother playing the piano. He never even noticed someone was at the door.

She felt a twinge of guilt. The poor guy looked so defeated. Whatever. Vito deserved it.

She couldn’t believe Louis had come all the way to Newcrest just to see her brother. He must really care about her brother. What made Vito so loveable and her so…

She felt tears rushing to her eyes.

17

18

19

Whatever.