The Bloomer Legacy

Welcome to the home of the Bloomer family!

For the most part, this story is based on the #BuildNewcrest legacy – a challenge created by Simply Vanilla Sims, you can find the full set of rules here. I do however see the rules more as guidelines, and will stray from or break most of them throughout the course of the story.

Come along as the Bloomers build Newcrest from scratch; as in real life, there are ups and downs in this story and I may not always play by the rules, but hopefully you’ll enjoy the ride! The story index for all generations can be found below.

Click here for a full-size version of the family tree.

Freezer Bunny Book Club Selection

To see and download all of the residential and community lots I made for the challenge, visit Bloomer Builds.

Bloomer Builds

Ready to plunge into the story? Start from the beginning!

Do you find long legacies intimidating? I would recommend reading the full story for maximum enjoyment, but if the number of chapters scares you, two good starting points further down the line may be Generation 3 or Generation 7.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Generation 1 – Kirk Bloomer
1.1 Meet Kirk Bloomer
1.2 Perfect Weenie Roast Attempt(s)
1.3 Love and Death
1.4 A New Generation
1.5 A Family Friend
1.6 A Family Friend (Part 2)
1.7 A Ghastly Encounter
1.8 The Mean Teen
1.9 Essence of Coolness
1.10 Double Birthday
1.11 The Sweet Boy
1.12 The Third Trait
1.13 Best Night of Your Life
1.14 Love and Death – Revisited
Behind the Scenes Special

4

Generation 2 – Isaac Bloomer
2.1 Changes
2.2 Festivities (#wheresfree edition)
2.3 The Cross-dressing Baby
2.4 Cousin Cassiel
2.5 Ghosts
2.6 Family Matters
2.7 Birthdays All Around
2.8 Babysitting
2.9 It’s Not Raining Men
2.10 It’s Just a Little Crush
2.11 Girlfriend
2.12 Fish in the Sea
2.13 Little Girl
2.14 The Talk
2.15 Scandal
2.16 The Aftermath
2.17 Honeymooners (Part 1)
2.18 Honeymooners (Part 2)
2.19 Back to Reality
2.20 Happy Birthday
2.21 Grandpa
2.22 End of an Era

3

Generation 3 – Peter Bloomer
3.1 On the Move
3.2 Lollipop Lair (Part 1)
3.3 Lollipop Lair (Part 2)
3.4 Escape
3.5 Party Time
3.6 Hell Froze Over
3.7 The Power of Intent
3.8 The Time Has Come
3.9 Wedding Crasher
3.10 The Case of a Lifetime
3.11 Fake It Till You Make It
3.12 Show Must Go On
3.13 Just Kidding
3.14 Chell
3.15 Villain Interlude (Part 1)
3.16 Villain Interlude (Part 2)
3.17 Adventurers
3.18 Best Friends
3.19 Speed Dating with the Agustins (Part 1)
3.20 Speed Dating with the Agustins (Part 2)
3. 21 The Aspiration Race
3.22 Discoveries
3.23 Boys Boys Boys
3.24 Lost and Found
3.25 When the Cat’s Away
Behind the Scenes Special

17

Generation 4 – Booker Bloomer
4.1 Taking Over
4.2 My Home Is My Castle
4.3 Angel Peril
4.4 Strange Days
4.5 Butterflies
4.6 Now I Ain’t Saying She a Gold Digger
4.7 No Wonder
4.8 Midnight Surprise
4.9 Happily Ever After
4.10 What happens After Happily Ever After?
4.11 Keiko’s Day
4.12 Another Adventure
4.13 The last Time I Played the Piano (Part 1)
4.14 The last Time I Played the Piano (Part 2)
4.15 Left Behind
4.16 Hellos and Goodbyes
4.17 Retreat
Collab Special – Yenn visits Tribe Arayeo (written by Julyvee)
4.18 My Tribe
4.19 Favourites
4.20 Time Flies

1

Generation 5 – Olivia Bloomer
5.1 Home Is Where the Heart Is
5.2 The Cool Kids
5.3 Bonding
5.4 The Cousin’s Girlfriend
5.5 Are you Ready?
5.6 Party Time
5.7 Sharing the Big News
5.8 Perfect
5.9 Winter Wonderland (Part 1)
5.10 (Winter Wonderland (Part 2)
5.11 Unlucky In Love
5.12 The Grandparents
5.13 Little Matchmaker
5.14 Happily Never After
5.15 Solitary Man
5.16 Moving On
5.17 The Last Kiss (Part 1)
5.18 The Last Kiss (Part 2)
5.19 Just Friends
5.20 All About Monty
5.21 Adventure Awaits
5.22 It’s Not What You Think
5.23 Lollipop Lair Revisited
5.24 Live, Liv!
5.25 Cheers!
5.26 You Just Need Vision
5.27 Finally
5.28 If You’re Serious
5.29 Announcements
5.30 Unlikely Friends

9

Generation 6 – Montgomery Bloomer
Interlude: Unexpected

Generation 7 – Astrid Bloomer
7.1 Windenburg Twist
7.2 Sights of Windenburg
7.3 Carried Away
7.4 Define Involved
7.5 Where Do You Fit In?
7.6 Lone Wolf
7.7 A Star Reborn
7.8 Sonnet 42
7.9 Almost
7.10 Happy
7.11 Unanswered
7.12 Alone
7.13 Monsters
7.14 In the Shadows
7.15 Peyton
7.16 One of Us
7.17 Brothers and Sisters
7.18 Not Fair

1

Generation 8 – Pauline Bloomer
8.1 Dead
8.2 The Greats Are up to You
8.3 Read My Mind
8.4 A New Beginning
8.5 Reunited
8.6 It’s My Party
8.7 Mother Knows Best
8.8 Brothers and Sisters V2
8.9 Same Love
8.10 Skinny Dipping
8.11 Greenskins
8.12 Guests
8.13 First Time for Everything
8.14 A Chance
8.15 Artistic Expression
8.16 Candy
8.17 Feeling Pink
8.18 Explode
8.19 Serious Business
8.20 Perfect Day
8.21 Romance
8.22 Wedding Jitters
8.23 The Loves Past
8.24 Never Forget
8.25 Grown Up
8.26 Not Compatible
8.27 Welcome Home
8.28 Fruitcake
8.29 Presents
8.30 One Last Return
8.31 Princess
8.32 Bad Luck
8.33 Once upon a time…
8.34 Doll House
8.35 Weirdo
8.36 Move on

12

Generation 9 – The Quadruple Threat
9.1 The Heir Talk
9.2 Holiday
9.3 Windenburger
9.4 Make Your Mark
9.5 Can’t Be Helped
9.6 Runs in the Family
9.7 Make It Count
9.8 Rewind
9.9 Character Building
9.10 More than OK
9.11 Whatever
9.12 First Day of School (Part 1)
9.13 First Day of School (Part 2)
9.14 Their Own Thing
9.15 Loser
9.16 Beavis and Butthead
9.17 Moonlight Massacre
9.18 Comparison Purposes
9.19 Couples Coustumes
9.20 What does it feel like?
9.21 First Snow
9.22 Snow Ball
9.23 Pure Love
9.24 Paper Doll
9.25 Friendly Advice
9.26 Love Day
9.27 Follow the Ribbits
9.28 Linger
(Building Update)
9.29 Angelic Face
9.30 When it all turned sour
9.31 Matter of Principle
9.32 Mystery Package
9.33 Somebody that you used to know
9.34 Memory Lane
9.35 Jackpot
9.36 The View
9.37 Good Guys
9.38 Our Place
9.39 The Chair
9.40 Fixed
9.41 Cliché
9.42 Be That Kid Again
9.43 Mad World
9.44 Family
9.45 The Legacy
9.46 Letdown
9.47 The Beginning of the End
9.48 Whale
9.49 Father
9.50 Alone
9.51 Selfish
9.52 Hope
9.53 Peace of Mind
9.54 Space Pirates
9.55 For Better or for Worse
9.56 Babysitting Hope (Part 1)
9.57 Babysitting Hope (Part 2)
9.58 Babysitting Hope (Part 3)
9.59 The One
9.60 New Kids on the Block
9.61 Seasons Changing
9.62 Swashbucklers
9.63 Spirits
9.64 Back in the Game
9.65 Visitor
9.66 A Bit Bigger
9.67 Father to Son
9.68 Circle
9.69 Reignited
9.70 Good Name
9.71 Rage
9.72 Normal
9.73 Unpacking
9.74 If the Streets Could Tell Stories
9.75 Proud
9.76 Anticipation
9.77 Long Way from Home
9.78 Four Little Words
9.79 In Love
9.80 Synchronicity
9.81 Adventure
9.82 Wedding Day (Part 1)
9.83 Wedding Day (Part 2)
9.84 Wedding Day (Part 3)
9.85 Mind Reader
9.86 Separate Ways
9.87 This Is Our Newcrest
9.88 Bright Light

Extras:
Asian Lot Roundup

The Plum Tree App

We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to bring you something a little different today.

Some of you may remember that I mentioned my boyfriend was developing a family tree tool specifically for The Sims – some among you have even been our alpha testers! Well, we have now released a public BETA, meaning anyone can set up an account and give it a go.

That was less than 48 hours ago. We have now reached over 800 users who have created over 1000 family trees, and have been featured by community fan pages such as SimsVIP, Sims Community and more. We’re overwhelmed by all the positive feedback and happy that simmers are enjoying our tool!

What The Plum Tree can do:

  • Allow users to create family trees (this is an obvious one of course!)
  • Showcase family members complete with avatars, bios, TS4 traits and TS4 aspirations
  • Indicate whether two sims are partners, married, ex-partners or only linked through alien abduction
  • Depict child’s biological and adoptive parents, as well as show if the child is a clone or a result of abduction
  • Seemless tree navigation allows users to scroll, zoom in and out of the tree
  • Users can publish trees to share them with others
  • The officially supported browsers are the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, IE 11 and MS Edge.

With all of the above I’ve been forced to stop procrastinating and actually update the Bloomer Family Tree – this now captures all of the heirs so far, complete with bios, traits and aspirations (Don’t even ask how long it’s taken me to fill out Yenn’s…).

If you’d like to make your own tree or learn more, visit theplumtreeapp.com.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.28 Linger

The doors of Magnolia High spread wide open, but it was still barely enough space for all the excited teens to make their way out. They burst into the streets of Magnolia Promenade with unusual vigour; the last day of the school year was finally over!

2

And that meant freedom for the summer, impending adventures and of course, a final blowout pool party over at the teen lounge. No wonder everyone was buzzing with anticipation…

3

Well, almost everyone. Louis and Vito didn’t particularly feel like celebrating.

“Can you like… miss your plane tomorrow or something?” Vito suggested.

Louis attempted a smile. “I’m not too sure that would help in the long run.”  He played woth the ends of his scarf distractedly. “I didn’t think the year would go by so fast when I first got here…”

“No, me either.” Vito agreed.

4

“But hey, it’s not fully over yet,” Vito pulled Louis closer. “We’ve still got tonight!”

“Yeah… I guess we do.” Louis nodded.

“Maybe if we forget about tomorrow for long enough, it’ll never come.”

5

Carly and Ralph were in a much brighter mood.

“Careful with those matches,” Carly smiled as she joined Ralph by the bonfire wood.

“Pfft, your lack of confidence in me is shocking,” Ralph teased her. “I know what I’m doing… Woah!”

6

Ralph took a step back. “I do have to admit that fire is way bigger than I anticipated!”

Carly giggled. “Not to say I told you so…”

“Well, it’s already settled that you’re way smarter than me.” The boy shrugged with a grin.

“What would you do without me…”

Ralph looked pensive for a moment. “Light obscenely large fires, apparently.

“I’m glad I have an important part to play in your life,” Carly laughed.

“You do.” Ralph replied, turning serious. “You know that, right?”

7

Carly felt so much joy she failed to express it with words. She simply nodded.

They remained silent, just enjoying the moment, each other’s company and the prospect of the things to come.

8

After all, for them, it was only the beginning…

9

For Louis and Vito, on the other hand, it was all about desperately trying to hang on to the time they had left.

Seraphina didn’t see it that way though. She just saw two people not wanting to let go.

10

And in spite of the fact these two annoyed her to no end (well, one of them in particular), she couldn’t help but wonder if anyone would ever feel that way about her.

Doubtful, the voice inside her head said.

She decided to head to the bar, already regretting her decision to come to this stupid party in the first place.

***

11

Hallie was in the zone. She got her hands on a brand new track and she was loving it. The beat was already luring her into all kinds of other words, tempting her with thoughts of songs this might mix well with. She swayed from side to side, humming the tune.

12

“Can we talk?”

She slowly felt the joy being sucked out of the moment. Why couldn’t it linger for a little longer? Why did he have to ruin it?

13

“Sure,” she forced herself to sound neutral. She begrudgingly put the headphones down and followed Larobb over to the fire pit.

14

“What’s up?” She asked when they sat down. Not that she didn’t know what he wanted to talk about… but she was playing for time.

“You’ve been distant,” he got straight to the point. “Ever since we got together, you seem to be avoiding me. This is not how it was supposed to work.”

“Oh, and how was it supposed to work?” Hallie snapped. “Enlighten me…”

15

“It was meant to bring us closer… shouldn’t that be obvious?” Larobb asked. “We’re together now, after all…”

“I fail to see how we’re more together now then we used to be,” Hallie frowned.

“So do I.” Larobb surprised her. “We aren’t, are we?”

Hallie couldn’t bear to answer.

16

“I just don’t know what went wrong,” Larobb said. “It’s me, isn’t it? If I was more handsome, or funnier, or taller, or more muscular…”

“Larobb…”

“Is it somebody else? Do you like someone from the school?”

“No!”

17

“It’s nobody,” Hallie tried to put it in words. “Well, it’s me…”

“Oh plum, you’re not giving me the it’s not you, it’s me phrase, are you?” Larobb raised his voice. “We’re better than that, aren’t we?”

“It’s not an excuse!”

18

“I’ve told you, I just don’t exactly want to get physical with anyone,” she stumbled over her words. “I… I don’t understand the big draw. Nobody I’ve seen pursuing this stuff seems happier for it…”

“Seriously?” Larobb was losing patience. “Look around you! Look at your own family…”

“I am. They’re pretty dysfunctional, don’t you think?”

“Don’t change the plumming topic,” Larobb yelled. “I’m tired of your games!”

My games?”

19

“You say you love me, but every time I kiss you, you look like you want to be anywhere but with me. You say you think I’m handsome but I seem to repulse you. You say I’m your soulmate but you barely want to talk to me!” All of Larobb’s hurt feelings were pouring out. “If it’s not games, then what is it?”

20

Hallie was dumbfounded. “You… you really feel that way?”

“How do you think I should feel?” He hissed.

“I’ve never lied to you, Larobb,” Hallie said. “I do love you. And what we had, have, is special. Was special. I don’t know. It is different now. Because you wanted things to change. And I said I’d try to change for you, but… I don’t know if I can. I mean, kissing is already weird enough. I can’t even begin to imagine… Well, you know. But not just with you. With anybody. You’ve got to understand…”

21

Larobb couldn’t hold his frustration back any longer:

“Yeah, I understand! You’re plumming frigid! People don’t excite you, because you’re so plumming cold inside!”

Hallie’s world turned inside out. She couldn’t believe her best friend just said that about her.

22

“Why does everything have to revolve around physical attraction?” She yelled back at him. “Just because I don’t want to woohoo your brains out means I don’t have a heart? That I don’t care about you? That my feelings for you aren’t valid!?

I care about you regardless of whether you’re hot or whatever! Shouldn’t that make my feelings more real? But maybe you’re right. If you really think these things about me, I don’t even know who you are anymore. So you’re right, maybe I don’t love you. I love who I thought you were…”

She couldn’t go on any longer. She was on the verge of tears.

23

“Hallie, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Larobb sounded broken. “I should have never said what I said. I… I don’t even recognise myself anymore.”

He paused, as if he’d already regretted what he was about to say:

“I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this. You see what I’m becoming. It’s driving me nuts! You say these things, and maybe you mean them now, but one day you’ll meet someone who’ll make you weak in the knees. And I’ll still be sitting here like a plumming idiot. Your platonic ‘love’. I want more, Hallie. I need more.”

24

Hallie felt helpless. “So… where does that leave us?” She asked.

“It doesn’t.”

They fell silent for a while. And then, she watched him stand up, as in slow motion.

25

“Larobb, come on,” she pleaded. “We can figure this out. I don’t wanna lose you. I can’t lose you, please…”

“I can’t,” he just whispered lifelessly. “I can’t be just your friend. And you can’t be my girlfriend. Don’t you see? We’ve both lost already.”

26

And then he was gone. Gone from the couch, gone from the lot, gone from her life. Just like that.

Tears started rolling down Hallie’s cheeks.

***

27

The atmosphere was much more relaxed on the balcony. Carly, Ralph, Vito and Louis were lounging in the hot tub, their eyes slowly starting to fall. Louis was dozing off.

“Oh no, it’s the sunrise!” Carly gasped.

“Not the vicious sunrise!” Ralph laughed.

“We’ve got to go home! Mom and dad are going to kill us…” She stood up, shaking the water off in an almost dog-like fashion.

“Oh come on, they’ll understand…”

28

“Yeah,” Vito added. “I think Louis and I will stay for a bit longer. Since it is Louis’s last night here. So… you know.”

“And on that note, I’m out of here too,” Ralph swiftly made an exit as well.

29

Louis was completely awake all of the sudden. They barely waited for Carly and Ralph to shut the balcony door.

30

“Hey Vito,” Louis stopped in the middle of the kiss. “You won’t forget me, will you?”

“Forget you? Are you crazy!?”

31

And for that moment, he forgot about everything but Louis.

32

“Plummit, maybe we can make the distance,” Louis said later on, when things were back to being less steamy. “It’s only a couple of years, right? I can move back here again once I finish high school. You can visit me in Windenburg in between…”

“Yeah,” Vito smiled sadly. “I’d like that.”

“We’ll make it.”

“We’ve got to.”

33

Vito pulled Louis closer for another kiss, savouring every last ounce of him, though. Just in case.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.27 Follow the Ribbits

Carly was woken up by the sound of her phone that Saturday. Se stretched in her bed happily. It looked like a sunny day. She could probably go for a hike, see if she could come across any interesting gems or fossils…

2

Then of course, the text that had woken her up was probably one of her friends asking her to meet. She grinned. The fact she had enough friends not to know for certain which one wanted her attention made her feel so content.

She jumped out of bed, ready to seize the day.

3

She grabbed her phone from the desk. Odd… It wasn’t a number she had saved or recognised.

Prepare for Newcrest’s finest scavenger hunt! The text read. Rare collectibles at stake! Head to frog heaven behind your house for first clue…

Her lips curled into a smile. She did tell Jarret that the only thing missing from the group being perfect was a bit of collecting, but she didn’t realise he’d take that as a challenge. Not that the text sounded particularly like something Jarret would say…

4

Come to think of it, she couldn’t remember mentioning frog heaven to him either… but surely she must have.

Frog heaven was her nickname for a log behind her house that almost always guaranteed a find. Usually, they were just plain dirt frogs though. Quantity over quality, it seemed.

5

She reached inside the log. To her surprise, an eggplant whirl frog hopped onto the palm of her hand.

“Hey little one,” Carly greeted the frog. “You’re a rare one! Are you lost?”

6

She ran back to the house to find the frog a new home, and swiftly returned. The clue still had to be in the log.

It was. Just a short note: Follow the ribbits.

7

Ok, so she just had to make her way to the next frog hot spot. And the one after that. Sounded easy enough.

8

The frog clue took her further than she initially expected. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever strayed that far in her previous gathering efforts.

9

In fact, when she reached the last log, she wasn’t even too sure if she was still in Newcrest.

Roses are red, violets are blue,

I’m no poet, but daisies are the next clue…

(See what I did there?)

((I know you’ll say I’ve messed up the rhythm.))

She laughed. This was definitely not Jarret. But surely it couldn’t be…

10

She decided to occupy her mind by the search for daisies instead.

11

She found some. Were they the right ones? She wasn’t sure – it wasn’t exactly like daisies were uncommon flowers…

Her phone beeped. A new text.

12

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

She could spot a bin by the water front, but did this person really expect her to rummage through it?

Another text arrived.

Don’t worry, it’s right on top.

She giggled.

13

Ok, here goes nothing, Carly said to herself when she lifted the lid of the bin.

14

The sender didn’t lie. There was a book right at the very top, protected from the rest of the bin’s contents by a thick cloth.

They even thought of not getting the book dirty, Carly thought. She was impressed.

15

She examined the book. No way!

It was her favourite book, Dust to Dust. That on its own wasn’t a huge deal. Naturally she owned a copy already.

But this particular copy was signed. How did this person get that? The author, Alexander Rosebrook, had passed away years ago. Getting a signed copy must have been nearly impossible!

16

She sat down with the book, first just to examine and appreciate the signature, but then to also look for the next clue…

17

It fell right down to her feet. A map.

18

This was so cool, Carly thought. Not that she knew of anybody else who would consider this cool apart from herself. But that was what was so puzzling about this whole scavenger hunt…

19

The map was depicting a trail of fossils that she was to follow to reach the final destination. The trail ends with the beginning, the map said.

She wondered what would be at the end. A really rare crystal, perhaps?

20

She reached the final fossil. It was marked as Hilariously Tiny T-Rex Arms on the map.

It wasn’t a particularly uncommon find. But it was the very first fossil she’d ever discovered, back when she first started her collection.

There was only one person she knew could remember that; because when she described the T-Rex arms to him as hilariously tiny, he seemed to find it, well, hilarious.

21

It appeared she had reached the end of the hunt.

22

She walked to the boy on the bench slowly.

“Ralph?” She looked at him quizzically.

“Hey Lottie,” he smiled slightly, looking almost nervous. “I hope you’re not too disappointed it’s just me.”

23

“I’m… I’m all sorts of things right now.” She admitted. “Why did you do this, Ralph?”

“I figured you’d find it fun.” He shrugged, as if the answer was obvious.

“Yeah but… that’s exactly it. It’s something I enjoy. Organising a scavenger hunt for a silly nerd isn’t exactly your idea of a fun Saturday, though, is it?”

“My idea of a fun Saturday is seeing your excitement when you come across a rare rock. Or the way your face lights up when you’ve just solved a puzzle. The look of determined concentration you have just before you do.”

Carly was flustered.

24

“Admittedly, my puzzles are not really all that challenging for you,” Ralph lightened the mood. “It took me ages to plan this.”

“I can imagine,” Carly nodded. “But Ralph… how did you even know these things in the first place? That I was still missing an eggplant whirl frog. What my favourite book is. That the first fossil I found were the T-Rex arms…”

“Hilariously tiny T-Rex arms,” he corrected her. She let out a soft laugh.

25

“I know because you’ve told me. I just… paid attention.” He explained.

“But you never pay attention!” Carly exclaimed. “I tried explaining how binary operations work to you several times, and you never took it in!”

“Well, yeah, I don’t pay attention to algebra,” Ralph laughed.

26

He grew serious again. “I pay attention to you. I always pay attention to you.”

The way he said it gave Carly butterflies. She noticed his hand seemed to have found hers. She didn’t push it away. She placed her palm on his.

27

She laughed nervously. “I guess you actually have me wrapped around your fingers now,” she nodded towards their hands.

“Nah,” he shook his head. “I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around.”

28

And then he kissed her. Kissed her!

She didn’t want it to end. She sighed when his lips parted hers.

He stood up. “Come on, let’s see if we can find any more of those treasures, shall we?” He suggested.

29

“Aye aye, captain!” Carly jumped up on her feet.

They ran for a little while, both grinning from ear to ear.

Ralph suddenly stopped in his tracks: “Oh, hang on, I think I spotted a really rare gem!”

“Really?” Carly got excited. “Where is it?”

30

“Right here.”

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.26 Love Day

“Well, this is nice,” Hallie looked around the rooftop deck with a stunning view of the city. “I never realised this bar area was here at the gym.”

“That’s because you barely ever go to the gym,” Larobb teased her. “But it is a neat little hideout. Perfect for Love Day…”

“Don’t remind me,” Hallie smirked. “Vito wouldn’t shut up about the romantic moonlight picnic him and Louis are having tonight….”

2

“We can do better than that,” Larobb told her.

“Absolutely,” she smiled. “And hide away from all the lovey-doveyness at the same time. Thank plumbob I don’t have to work tonight, I bet the restaurant is extra nauseating…”

“Totally,” Larobb seemed distracted. “Hey, wanna get in the hot tub?”

“Sure,” Hallie nodded and followed him.

3

“Aah, this is fab,” Hallie sighed contently.

“Not too bad, is it?” Larobb mumbled. Hallie wondered why he seemed so nervous. “And there’s nobody else I’d rather be here with.” He added.

“Ditto.” Hallie smiled.

4

She was about to lean back against the hot tub to make herself more comfortable, when she noticed Larobb’s arm was in the way.

“Hey, that’s my spot!” She joked.

“I know,” he smiled sheepishly. “I just thought maybe I’d get a bit closer.”

5

“What?” Hallie couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “What the plum!? Larobb, we’ve been through this, we agreed that we were better off as friends.”

“No, you said we were better off as friends,” Larobb corrected her. “And I was gonna accept that, I was, but… are you really sure that’s what you want? You’ve been giving me so many mixed signals… You always want to spend time with me. You say I’m your favourite person in the world…”

“And that must automatically mean I want to suck on your tonsils?” Hallie retorted, annoyed.

6

“Do I really repulse you that much!?” Larobb flipped out. “You’re talking as if I suggested putting a slug on your face. I just wanted to kiss you, that’s all!”

“Well, the concept isn’t that different, is it?” Hallie tried to lighten the mood with a joke. One look at Larobb told her that was not the best idea.

“No, Larobb, of course I don’t find you repulsive.” She grew more serious. “I know you’re handsome. Everybody with eyes must know you’re good-looking.”

“So what’s the but?” Larobb asked, trying his best to calm down.

7

Hallie was struggling. Why was it so hard to explain? “I just don’t really want to… do stuff… with anyone.”

“You mean with me.” he said bitterly.

“No, that’s not it! If I wanted to date someone, it would be you… I just don’t really want to date anybody, ok?”

8

“It’s fine Hallie,” Larobb looked away. “I get it. And for what it’s worth, I do hope you find someone you do like.”

“That’s like the opposite of what I’ve just said!”

“You’ll understand some day,” he smiled sadly. “When you meet that person.”

9

Hallie looked at him. Seeing him so defeated was breaking her heart. How could he think she had no feelings for him? Surely the pluminess she felt was the evidence of the contrary…

“I don’t want to meet someone else,” she told him. ”I want to be with you. Just be. Like we used to.”

“But you don’t want more.” Larobb added with a heavy sigh.

“I could learn to want more,” Hallie said desperately. “I can change…”

10

“Really?” Larobb’s eyes widened. “You’d try… for me?”

“I love you,” she said firmly. “I do. I’d do anything for you. You know that.”

Larobb was overwhelmed with emotion. He picked up her hand and gently wrapped his around it. “I love you too.”

And then he got a lot closer.

11

And at first, it wasn’t so bad. But then his tongue found its way into her mouth.

She thought she wasn’t that far off with the slug analogy.

It’s ok, Hallie told herself, you can do this. The kiss will only take a little while. And it will make him happy. So the rest of the things can then be normal again. Just like before.

12

But then why did it feel like things were so much better before?

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.25 Friendly Advice

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

***

6

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.”

7

“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.

8

“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?”

9

“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.”

10

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.”

11

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.

12

“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.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.24 Paper Doll

Ralph scooped out some fruit punch from the fountain with the palm of his bare hand and shoved it straight in his mouth. Tonight wasn’t going as planned at all.

2

It’s not that Lottie didn’t feel like a princess. She probably felt like she was a princess, and this was her own personal ball filled with prospective suitors from far and wide.

All these plumheads that never seemed to show any interest in her were suddenly flocking around her out of nowhere. That Jarrett guy was particularly annoying. Sure, he seemed like a nice kid, but could he leave her alone for just one second?

Ralph sighed heavily. He’d completely misjudged the whole thing. Maybe he should just throw the towel in and go home…

3

But then he spotted her, alone at last. She was sitting on the edge of the fountain, nose buried in a book.

4

A familiar warmth filled him. Now that was the Lottie he knew.

He walked across to her slowly.

“Leave it to you to read a book in the middle of the party of the year,” he laughed, taking a seat right beside her.

5

“I couldn’t wait any longer,” she smiled sheepishly. “I’ve reached this real nail-biting part of the book where you’re just about to find out who the thief is!”

“Don’t spoil it! I might still read the book, you know,” Ralph vaguely recalled the plotline she was talking about a few days ago.

“Yeah right… Like you read!”

“I could!” He replied, pretending to be offended. “Anyway… I still haven’t gotten a chance to tell you how stunning you look tonight.”

The girl smiled. “Thank you! You’re not the first to say this tonight, you know…”

Ralph took a deep breath. It was now or never.

6

“I do know,” he nodded. “Because the only way I could be the first to tell you that tonight would be if all those suckers around were blind. But I hope I’m the first one to do this…”

He grabbed her soft hands in his, gently pulling her up.

“Ralph, what are you…”

“You’re amazing, Lottie, and I’m really happy that tonight, you finally see it, at least a little bit. I wish you could see what I see what I look at you. Because I’m now standing here with the most beautiful girl in the world. A girl I’d like to call my girlfriend, if she lets me.”

7

Carly’s face grew confused and disappointed. She tore her hands out of Ralph’s.

“Lottie?”

“Let’s sit back down,” she gestured towards the fountain.

She couldn’t believe it. She really was his backup. Did their friendship mean so little to him that he could just toss it away when his plans for the night didn’t pan out?

8

“Why are you doing this, Ralph?” she said quietly.

“Why am I doing this?” he echoed her words. “I thought I just made that clear. I… I thought you’d be happy. But clearly, I was wrong…”

She let that digest for a moment. “I thought I’d be happy too.” She said finally.

9

“All I’ve wanted ever since we met was for you to look at me this way,” Carly’s voice was rising. “But you know what I realised tonight? I don’t need this!”

Ralph was gobsmacked. For the first time he remembered, he couldn’t say a word.

“I’ve been hung up on you for months, and for what? To be your third choice? Or who even knows! First you wanted Sera, then you wanted whoever you were planning to chat up here, and there may have been some in between… Well guess what, I deserve more!

I deserve somebody that wants me and nobody but me, not just somebody that gets to me after crossing out a bunch of names off from a long list!”

10

This wasn’t happening. “Lottie, it’s not like that at all! You’re so smart, surely you can see that I care about you… you can’t believe what you’ve just said.” He was pleading with her.

“No, I’ve been pretty stupid, actually.” Carly frowned. “You’ve always kept me around, in case nobody better came along, haven’t you? If you really had feelings for me, then why would you wait all night to tell me?”

“Because I wanted you to have your moment in the spotlight,” Ralph was kicking himself.

“Wow, how noble of you, letting the poor weirdo have her five minutes of fame…”

11

“Look, I don’t know what you want me to say!” Ralph said desperately. “And clearly it doesn’t matter. You’ll just twist everything I say. Why is it so hard for you to believe that I liked you all along!?”

“All along? You only ever started talking to me because you wanted me to set you up with my sister!”

“I won’t say it was exactly love at first sight,” Ralph admitted. “But Lottie, the more I got to know you, the harder I found it to not care for you. To not want to be with you. Why would I even lie about that?”

“I don’t know, because every other guy suddenly seems to be realising they’ve had some hidden lingering feelings for me for a while tonight?” Carly retorted. “It’s nothing personal, Ralph. But I want something more than a guy who thinks I look good because I have a sparkly dress and wear my hair down. I want a guy who likes me for me.”

She noticed how hurt he looked. It was probably quite a blow to his ego, she realised. “Sorry Ralph. We can still be friends?” She tried to soften what she’d said.

“Friends?” Ralph’s voice broke off.

A wave of sadness washed over her. “You’re right. We never really were friends, were we?”

Ralph just stared at her.

“Bye Ralph.” She finally put an end to the horrible conversation.

12

He didn’t linger much longer. He uttered some form of goodbye, thought it was barely audible, and walked off.

Carly watched him leave. She’d never felt more confused in her life.

13

She felt angry, hurt and proud, all at the same time. Everything she’d been longing for materialised tonight, but it didn’t bring her any joy. A part of her still stupidly wanted to be with Ralph, but not like this.

***

14

Not far away, Louis and Vito’s night was ending on a much better note. They’d danced and kissed and laughed and ate and kissed some more…

15

“Tonight’s been amazing, Louis,” Vito beamed. “Thank you for making it so awesome.” He looked around helplessly, watching the crowds leave the lot. The music stopped playing.

He sighed. “I don’t want it to end,” Vito told Louis.

16

“It doesn’t have to end,” Louis looked directly in Vito’s eyes.

“But everyone’s leaving,” Vito was confused.

“Yeah. I know. We should leave too.”

17

18

19

20

“Woah,” Vito was trying to catch his breath.

“You sure no one heard that?” Louis giggled.

“Who cares,” Vito laughed.

“Well it is your house. Your family…”

“Whatever. It was worth it.” Vito grinned.

21

“Hey Louis…” He turned around, unsure how to continue for a split second. He decided to stroke Louis’s cheek until the words finally came out. “I love you.”

Louis smiled. “I love you too.”

22

“Well, naturally you would,” Vito joked. “I mean, I’m pretty awesome…”

***

23

The only other person who was awake in the house was Carly, but she was too bewildered to notice they had a visitor.

She stared at herself in the mirror. Now that she’d finally gotten attention from the opposite sex, she felt like a paper doll. Like the only thing that mattered to them was how she looked.

24

She never wanted to feel that way again. She had to do something. Anything.

25

Her eyes landed on a pair of scissors on her desk. It was a split second decision…

26

…but she was quite happy with it. She felt like a whole new person. A whole new Carly. Definitely not Lottie.

Or maybe she could even go by her full name now. Carlotta. Somebody who knew what they wanted. Who didn’t let others walk all over her. Because she knew what she was worth. And she would never be anybody’s second choice again.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.23 Pure Love

The Ruby Perrin Memorial Park transformed into a winter wonderland of sorts, and would without a doubt see some teenage dreams come true that night.

Ralph had to admit it looked quite nice. Especially at the start of the night, with only a handful of people about – you could still hear their footsteps crunching through the snow.

2

He shook his head, amused by how sentimental he’d become lately. It wasn’t like him to think about things like that. It wasn’t like him to show up to events this early either. Plum, it wasn’t like him to go to things like this at all. A winter formal? Seriously?

But he couldn’t help but feel excited for tonight. Excited, but nervous. He wasn’t waiting for just any girl, after all…

When he first started chasing after Sera, he didn’t really have a care in the world, nor much of a plan. He knew she was likely to shoot him down, and partially found amusement in the situation. But ultimately her initial rejection didn’t really mean that much. That’s why he made his pursuit of her rather public, much to the school’s entertainment.

But with Lottie, it was different. What she thought of him mattered. Everything about her mattered. And tonight had to be special for her. He’d make sure she’d feel like a princess. She’d…

3

Then again, she seemed to have the whole princess bit covered already. Ralph’s heart skipped a beat when he saw her. It’s been hard to watch her be so unaware of how pretty she was, but surely tonight, she had to know how beautiful she looked. They were off to a good start already, he smiled to himself as he stood up.

4

“Hi Lottie!” It seemed that his normally witty mind betrayed him, and he couldn’t come up with anything better to say.

The girl curtsied, showing off her dress: “What do you think?”

“You don’t scrub up too bad!”

5

“Neither do you,” she told him. “You know, for a pirate.” The girl giggled.

“Well you know, even we pirates have to bathe once in a month or so…” What a lame joke. He felt so inadequate. Somehow, this was a lot harder than he’d pictured it.

“Carly? Is that you?”

6

Jarrett, Danrof’s son approached the girl: “I barely recognised you!”

“You’ve known me since we were kids!” She reminded him with a smile.

“Yeah, but you never looked like this! I mean… not that you looked bad or anything. But tonight, you look gorgeous!”

Her cheeks got a slight tint of pink. “Why, thank you Jarrett!”

“Would you like to go to the dance floor?”

“I’d love that!”

7

They walked off together, leaving Ralph on his own. He sat back down. He decided to let Lottie enjoy all of the newfound attention. She deserved it.  And he could wait. After all, he had all night.

***

8

Hallie admired the cool setting. She did feel a little jealous of the DJ. Hallie always felt more comfortable in the DJ booth, observing all the action and cheering the crowd on, rather than being on the dance floor herself.

9

Of course, it didn’t help that so far, the only other people on the dance floor seemed to be the overly infatuated Vito and Louis. Hallie felt relieved when she finally spotted Larobb arriving.

10

“Finally!” She hurried towards him.

“You know, if you let me actually pick you up at your house like a guy normally would for a formal, we wouldn’t have the issue of arriving at different times!” Larobb reminded her.

“Fair enough,” she said. “But it felt a bit too princessy. I don’t do princessy.”

“I know,” Larobb replied. “Nice suit!”

“You too!”

11

“Hey gang,” Vito finally detached himself from Louis for long enough to acknowledge Hallie and Larobb’s presence. “Are we the best looking crowd on the dance floor, or what?”

“I don’t know, Carly’s looking better than any of us tonight,” Louis smiled softly.

“Good job she’s not on the dance floor then, isn’t it?” Vito laughed. “Now come on, party people, let’s show them how it’s done.”

Hallie and Larobb exchanged amused looks. Party people. Who says that? Just go with it, Louis mouthed at them.

12

So they did. They all seemed fairly into it by the time Carly and Jarrett joined them on the dance floor.

“Hey Jarret, here to join the party people?” Larobb joked.

“Uh, sure…”

“You think you can handle it?” Vito jumped in. “Show us your moves!”

13

Jarrett started jumping around with enthusiasm, spastically showing his arms and legs in various directions.

Vito burst out laughing. “This is what you call moves?”

Hallie glared at him: “Vito, be cool!”

Vito let out chuckle: “Cool? Well, I am… can you say that about him though?”

14

“I think your moves are great, Jarrett,” Carly said encouragingly.

“Thanks Carly,” Jarret smiled at her gratefully. “You’re always so nice to everyone.”

“It’s my greatest flaw,” Carly laughed.

Hallie evaluated the situation. It looked like Louis was taming Vito, and Carly seemed to be doing the damage control with Jarrett. Still… she shot Larobb a quick look.

“Bail?” He uttered. She nodded.

15

“I don’t think I’ve been to this park since I was a kid,” Larobb said noncommittedly as they made their way away from the dance floor.

“I don’t recall ever coming here, actually,” Hallie told him.

“Oh really? But your family built this place,” Larobb seemed surprised. “I used to play on the jungle gym all the time.” Then it hit him. Hallie didn’t grow up in Newcrest. “Sorry. I’m a tool.”

“Hey, that’s my best friend you’re insulting!” Hallie told him off playfully.

Larobb stirred the conversation another way: “So if you’ve never been here before, I guess you wouldn’t have seen the giant cow plant skeleton!”

“The what?”

16

“Woah, you weren’t kidding!” The girl seemed excited.

“Nope. Scared the plumbob out of me when I was little.” Larobb admitted with a grin.

“Wuss.”

“Hey, that’s your best friend you’re insulting!”

“Well obviously I can do that…”

17

“I’ve got to say, this is pretty neat though,” Hallie studied the creepy looking thing. “I kind of want to steal it.”

“You probably could,” Larobb shrugged. “I mean, technically, it belongs to your family. It was the founder of Newcrest who left it here, so… Grey area.”

“It would make for an awesome conversation piece…” Hallie joked.

“Or a clothes rack,” Larobb joined in. They laughed. Who needed the rest others when they could hide away and joke about a dead cowplant?

18

As the night went on, Hallie decided she was the luckiest girl in the world. She’d found her soulmate. He understood her, knew what to say no matter if she was sad, happy, or angry.

19

He made her laugh harder than anyone else…

“So Larobb, why are you wearing glasses tonight, anyway? I thought you had perfect vision…”

“Well, the invitation said smart clothing, sooo…”

20

But most importantly, he understood that there was no need for that nonsense the others seemed to go through all the time. No need to ruin a perfectly good relationship with jealousy and drama. No need to do things Hallie felt uncomfortable just thinking about…

They could just be them, and that was enough.

21

In the past, Hallie thought there must be something wrong with her when she watched Vito, Sera and even Carly form all sorts of romantic bonds while she had no desire to do so. But now she realised they were the unlucky ones. They all had to deal with so much plum on a daily basis.

But not her. She didn’t need a boyfriend or a girlfriend to complete her. What she had with Larobb was pure love.

The Bloomer Legacy: 9.22 Snow Ball

Carly

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.

2

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…

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

6

“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.

7

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.

***

8

“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.”

9

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…”

10

“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?”

11

“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…”

12

“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.

13

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?”

***

14

“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.

15

“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.

16

“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.

17

“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.”

18

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.