“Tabitha! I haven’t seen you in ages! What’s new?” Leo waved at his sister eagerly when he saw her walk past on his way from the diner.
“Oh hey… I didn’t see you there,” Tabitha deflated.
“Nothing’s wrong… everything’s great, really…”
Leo arched his eyebrows.
“Ok fine… I may have gotten a little bit married,” Tabitha said finally.
“Calm down, it did all happen really suddenly… kind of like your wedding!”
“Which you were invited to!”
“It wasn’t like that ok, Cygnus and I didn’t even have a party!”
“Cygnus?!? The hot-headed guy who was dancing way too close to you at that house party way back?”
“Well, we did click in the end,” Tabitha shrugged, defensive.
“At least you could have mentioned you were dating…”
“As I said, it all kind of just happened… And then we had to get married.”
“I don’t get it,” Leo looked at his sister, puzzled.
“I’m pregnant, ok? Wasn’t that why you and Pauline got hitched so quickly anyway?”
Leo stared at her, speechless.
The aftertaste of the encounter faded away quickly once Leo got home and was greeted by his little princess, Seraphina.
“Just the person I needed to see to make everything better,” he gave his daughter a big hug. “You have superpowers sweetie.”
“It’s not the worst thing in the world that your kids will have cousins close their age, you know,” Yenn told Leo later on.
“I suppose so,” he said begrudgingly. “Still… I barely know Cygnus! And now he’s supposed to be my brother in law?”
“So get to know him! Why don’t we invite them for dinner? Isn’t your birthday coming up? We should celebrate with a nice dinner party; I know you’ve been dying to throw a dinner party to show off your latest recipes,” Yenn winked.
Meanwhile, Seraphina was in a world of her own. She had superpowers! Her parents were very lucky she was their daughter, she decided.
Peyton and Grady were the first to arrive for the birthday party. Pauline tried to make small talk with them, but the lovebirds would barely take eyes off of each other.
Luckily, Tabitha and her new husband Cygnus joined them shortly.
“Look at you,” Tabitha’s gaze fell on Pauline’s heavily pregnant belly. “That will be me soon!” She realised, suddenly panicked.
“Aunt Tabi!” Seraphina interrupted them.
“Daddy was mad at you, but I made it all better because I’m the best,” Seraphina announced.
“Looks like it pays to be on your good side, kid,” Peyton joked.
“Ooh, I better get you a present for saving me then,” Tabitha exclaimed.
“Trying a little hard to win the favourite aunt race, aren’t we?” Peyton smirked.
Seraphina was loving the attention. “You can both be my favourite aunts… as long as you get me presents.”
Everyone gathered inside to sample Leo’s dishes.
“So nice to get the whole family together,” Pauline said enthusiastically.
“Especially the family you were not even aware of,” Leo muttered under his breath.
Cygnus looked away awkwardly.
“Now Leo, I must have misheard you – my hearing isn’t all that amazing after being around for so long,” Yenn smiled conspicuously. “Surely as a member of the family you would know that formerly unknown family members pop up everywhere when you’re a Bloomer… even an honorary one.”
She gave Cygnus an encouraging nod.
“Well I am honoured to be a part of the family,” Cygnus said with a hint of uncertainty.
“You say that now; just you wait till you get to know us better,” Grady chuckled. “We Bloomers are an odd bunch.”
Everyone at the table laughed.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Yenn beamed, content. “Now, isn’t it somebody’s birthday today?”
Leo smiled. Time to leave the uncertainties and doubts of young adult years behind and accept adulthood with it all.
“Congratulations on the wedding, and the baby, Tabi,” he wrapped his surprised sister in a bear hug. “You’ll be a great mom, and Cygnus is a lucky guy!”
“Thanks Leo, I really appreciate it,” Tabitha said. “Sorry I sprung the news on you like that.”
“Well, I can hardly be surprised you’re starting a family,” he shrugged. “We really are grown up now, huh?”
And with that, Leo turned his attention to the birthday cake.
Everyone in the room cheered; naturally Grady could be counted on to bring the vuvuzela. Seraphina just ran around trying to catch all of the confetti. She couldn’t wait for her own birthday, when everyone would celebrate her.
But of course, that was still quite some time off, she’d only just aged up a couple days ago. The world really needed to focus on her more!
Little did she realise the exact opposite was about to happen.
“Um guys,” Pauline said softly. “I’m really sorry to break up the party early but… I think I’m in labour.”
The little girl peeked into her parents’ bedroom.
“Hello, my beautiful princess,” Pauline gushed.
Seraphina’s throat felt oddly dry. She was her parents beautiful princess!
“Come meet your baby sister!”
Seraphina approached the bassinet hesitantly.
“This is Carlotta,” Pauline introduced the strange small creature. “Carly for short. Isn’t she perfect?”
Perfect? Surely not!
Seraphina observed the thing. It was drooling. Definitely not perfect, she shook her head.
“This has been the most amazing birthday,” Seraphina heard her father say to her mother. “What a beautiful present!”
What did they see in her?
She leaned over to the baby. “You… I don’t like you.”