Carly’s life changed more than she’d dreamed after the Snow Ball. She started spending more time with Jarret, and he introduced her to his group of friends. For the first time ever, she felt like she fit right in.
They liked to hang out at the library, sip coffee from its café while pondering chess moves or talking about obscure fantasy shows. And of course, they loved reading.
It was as if a whole new world had opened up to her. She wasn’t a weirdo. There were people out there who liked the exact same things she did.
Well, perhaps not all of the same things. None of them seemed to share her interest in collecting crystals, gems and wildlife. But hey, she’d take that over being the lone nerd any day.
Not that she used to be completely alone in the past, of course. But Ralph never understood her interests. Ralph. They hadn’t really talked since the Snow Ball debacle. He sat down next to her in algebra once, as he used to, but it just seemed too awkward.
Carly did miss him, a little bit at least. But her new friends got her so much more. And they wanted to spend time with the real her.
To them, a chess tournament was a thrilling afternoon. And they wouldn’t make fun of her for reading a book for hours. They’d just join in.
And as for the silly little crush she used to have on Ralph?
Well, maybe she wasn’t completely over it, as much as she’d like to tell herself she was. But let’s just say that aside from sharing her hobbies, some of the boys in her new group if friends were quite easy on the eye as well.
Ralph stared out of the window mindlessly. The room was empty. Normally, Lottie would sit here, reading up on her newest obsession, but he hadn’t seen her in her usual chair for a while. She’d been spending a lot of time with those new friends of hers. He sighed.
“The library, huh?” A familiar voice forced him to acknowledge the present. “This is just sad. You’re like one step away from setting up a Carly shrine here.”
“What do you want Sera?” He grunted.
“Fancy you should ask.” The girl sat down beside him with a grin.
Great. Just what he needed.
“So, my aunt Yenn told me I should try to help one person that I’ve hurt in the past. Do something nice for them.” Seraphina rolled her eyes. “So I picked you.”
“What?” Ralph wasn’t following.
“Ok, I didn’t exactly pick you. I picked my sister. But sorting out Carly obviously requires you.” She explained.
“You’re not making sense,” Ralph scratched his head. “What does any of this have to do with… well, anything?”
“Oh don’t play dumb!” Sera was getting impatient. “You’re obviously in love with my sister.”
Ralph looked really uncomfortable, but he didn’t confirm or deny what she said. He just sat there in silence.
“Thought so.” Sera nodded.
“Look Sera, I appreciate you’re trying to be nice – I think – but this is a waste of time. Lottie doesn’t want to have anything to do with me.”
“Pfft, it’s not like you to give up so easily. You badgered me for weeks until I agreed to go out with you, remember?”
“And you only agreed to go out with me because Lottie helped me…”
“Exactly,” Seraphina nodded. “And now I’ll help you to go out with her. Works out perfectly.”
Ralph almost laughed. “With all due respect, what the plum do you think you can do to help? There’s nothing that can be done. I’ve already told Lottie I had feelings for her, and she didn’t believe any of it!”
“Uh-huh.” Sera looked bemused. “So why did she not believe you?”
“She thought I was only interested because she looked pretty at the stupid Snow Ball…”
“She didn’t even look all that…” Seraphina trailed off.
“Plummit Sera, can you just go away?!” Ralph yelled.
“Calm down,” Seraphina told him. “So she thinks you’re only into her looks… for some reason, pff.”
Ralph glared at her angrily. Seraphina ignored him.
“Well clearly you just need to show her that that’s not the case. Show her that you care about the stupid stuff she cares about. I dunno, read a book. Bring her a rock or something.”
Ralph looked at her in awe. “You know, that’s not such a terrible idea.”
“Well duh…” Seraphina stood up. “Seriously, you people…”
She left a pensive Ralph behind, making her way out of the library.
“Hey Sera… thanks!” He called after her.
She just shook her head with a smile.
This wasn’t so bad, actually, she thought. Clearly the world (and the petty love lives of those around her) needed her insights.