When we first saw Sera pull the new black widow look, we all thought she would become even more aggressive towards everyone. Just like I said to Ralph at the Spooky Party.
But the truth is, she actually drew back. Stayed away from everybody. She stopped talking to her clique and admirers. You’d only ever see her on her own. Often in the gym. But always in the sidelines.
I asked Vito and Hallie what they made of it, but they both seemed to shrug it off.
“She’s just trying to figure out how to deal with being a plum,” Hallie said. “Don’t indulge her.”
“You’re too nice, Carly,” Vito told me. “Don’t waste your time on Sera. Are you really gonna worry about her not being nasty for a change?”
Well I was worried. I still am. I can’t exactly approach her about it, of course, I bet she’d just lash out as always. I guess all that working out might help with her anger management issues, but secluding herself can’t do her any good…
On the bright side, she isn’t completely alone. She’s been spending a lot of time with aunt Yenn lately. Learning how to meditate, apparently. Yeah. Sera. Meditating. No wonder I’m worried, right?
But if something was about to go seriously wrong, surely aunt Yenn would know what to do. I hope. If aunt Yenn couldn’t help her, I’m not sure anyone could.
I’m just hoping it’s all for the best. But still, it’s weird to see Sera out of the spotlight. I hear she’s not even going to the Snow Ball.
Speaking of the Snow Ball, this weird thing happened the other day. I was just in the cafeteria, when Ralph popped up out of nowhere, the way he always does…
“Hey Lottie, you got a date for the Snow Ball?” he asked ever so casually. Like it was nothing.
I snorted. “Me? A date? No, of course not.”
He looked at me all funny for a moment, almost as if he was going to yell at me. But he didn’t.
“You are going, though, right?” He asked instead.
“I’m not sure,” I said truthfully. The Snow Ball sounded nice in theory, but what was I going to do there? “Who are you taking?” I changed the subject.
“Oh, I’m flying solo,” Ralph shrugged. “Not going to ask a girl out to this huge romantic thing to set her expectations impossibly high.”
“So you’re hoping to smooth talk someone once you’re there.” I laughed. Classic Ralph.
“Yeah, that’s the plan,” he confirmed. “But if you’re going alone, and I’m going alone, I guess we can hang there, right?”
He disappeared before I managed to answer.
I played the conversation over and over in my head, and I’m still not sure what he meant. Did he ask me to the ball? Obviously not, he said he was planning to make a move on someone there, didn’t he?
I was probably his backup, it dawned on me. A friend he can spend the rest of the evening with if whatever he has planned doesn’t work out.
Still, a part of me felt weirdly giddy about it. Maybe, if I dressed up really nice, he’d finally notice that I’m a girl. Not just the silly nerd. Maybe… Yeah. I know. Sera is right. This is embarrassing.
“Looks like the lake still isn’t frozen,” Vito looked around. “Too bad. I thought we’d be able to ice-skate.”
“Still looks pretty though,” Louis encouraged him.
“That was the idea,” Vito smiled. “You’ve got to see the nicest places in Newcrest while you’re here!”
“I’m lucky I’ve got such a good tour guide!”
“It’s only fair, you showed me all the best spots in Windenburg las summer!”
“I think you have an unfair advantage though,” Louis pointed out. “I had a week to show you around Windenburg, you’ve got a year. Well, half a year now, I guess. Less than that.”
Vito frowned. “Yeah, I can’t believe how fast it’s going by. That you’ll have to leave in the summer.”
“I know. It felt weird just going home for a couple weeks for Snowflake Day,” Louis sighed.
Vito pulled him into an embrace. “Hey, hey, I didn’t bring you here for us to get all gloomy…”
“I actually brought you here to, uh… ask you something,” Vito stumbled over his words.
“What is it?”
Vito gently wrapped Louis’s hands in his and took a deep breath: “Will you go to the Snow Ball with me?”
“Of course I will!” Louis beamed. “You were actually nervous to ask me that?”
“Yeah,” Vito laughed. “I guess it is kind of silly, now that I think about it. I mean, why wouldn’t you go with your boyfriend…”
Louis eyes widened slightly in surprise. “You know, you’ve never called me your boyfriend before.”
“Oh,” Vito ran his hand through his hair. “I thought that was… obvious. That you were my boyfriend. I mean… if you want to…”
“If I want to? I thought that was obvious!” Louis laughed.
They grabbed each other’s hands and did a little happy dance. And then they laughed. And then there was silence.
The good kind of silence.
They smiled happily when they finally pulled away from the kiss.
Louis shook his head. “I still can’t believe you were all worked up to ask me. Who else did you think I was going to go with?”
“Who else did you think I was going to go with?” Hallie seemed slightly annoyed.
“So… that is a yes, right?” Larobb asked awkwardly, looking for a confirmation.
“Err, duh, you’re only my best friend and we only spend all the time together…” Hallie rolled her eyes.
“True,” Larobb smiled. “But I figured… it’s a fancy dance thing.”
“Well I wasn’t exactly planning on wearing a dress,” Hallie laughed.
“Ugh, the only annoying thing is that now everyone will be on our case again…” Hallie realised. “I can hear them already: Ooh, you’re going to the Snow Ball with Larobb, that definitely means you guys are dating! Or if not, you’ll definitely start dating after the Snow Ball, because a romantic formal, blah blah…”
Larobb looked away, appearing shifty all of the sudden.
“Right,” he said heavily. “Because that’s not a possibility… is it?”
“What? Of course not!” Hallie giggled happily. “I mean, just imagine…”
“Yeah…” Larobb looked more and uncomfortable by the minute.
“I just don’t get it, why does it always have to be about dating?” Hallie continued. “A boy and a girl can’t just be friends. No, one or the other will clearly develop feelings sooner or later. Because just being friends clearly can’t be fulfilling enough… I don’t understand it. Why wouldn’t it be enough? Things are perfect the way they are!”
“Totally,” Larobb nodded distractedly. “I… I just remembered I’ve gotta run.”
He practically jumped up. Hallie looked up at him with a slight frown.
“Are you ok, Larobb?” She looked him up and down. “I mean, you do agree with what I just said, right? Because if you don’t feel the same…”
“No, I mean yeah, I agree,” He managed to say. “You’re completely right. People are stupid.” Especially me, he thought.