In the aftermath of Seraphina’s death, the Hasslich household crumbled into chaos. Appliances broke, dirty dishes went unwashed, and even Andalie’s precious garden began to wither. For days, Andalie and her sisters co-existed under the ever-present shadow of grief.
And when Zara’s birthday rolled around a few days later, no one but Zara remembered. She baked her own cake and made a wish, blowing out the candles in the kitchen alone. Much to her surprise, Zara found that she truly didn’t mind – she wasn’t much in the mood to celebrate anyway, and besides – she was an adult now, and it was time for her to act like one.
Zara wished for the happiness of her sisters. She wished for a baby girl for Andalie and for Emmeline to find her life’s purpose. She wished peace for her mother, and health for her nephews, whose company she was sure to enjoy – just as soon as they became teenagers. She even wished for a knight in shining armor to sweep her cousin Martina off her feet.
Zara thought maybe she was getting a little carried away – surely she was asking too much. But then again, there had to be a perk to celebrating her birthday alone – maybe extra birthday wishes was it. So in the end, Zara’s final birthday wish was one for herself. She wished for someone to love, someone to spend her life with – a princess charming all her own.
Yet, despite Zara’s heartfelt wishes, the sisters continued to flounder, unsure of how to proceed in the wake of their mother’s death.
But time waits for no sim, and Andalie had knew she hadn’t a moment to spare. She gathered her strength and suppressed her grief, and resolved herself to the task at hand. Dedicated as she was, Andalie had always prioritized the legacy above all things, and that included her own feelings of sadness and loss. She was determined to make her mother proud, and to fulfill the destiny for which she was meant.
Andalie consulted her little black book, and immediately decided that Nash Champion would make a wonderful baby daddy. Of all the men Andalie had met over the years, Nash was the only one she had already kissed, and the only one to make her weak in the knees.
Their chemistry had been palpable, and Andalie was sure that the attraction would be just as strong all these years later.
Even so, Andalie was surprised by the eagerness with which Nash accepted her invitation. He arrived within minutes and was already feeling flirtatious – but as Andalie worked hard to turn on the charm, Nash’s mood quickly turned serious.
Nash: Andalie, are you okay? I’m no rocket scientist, but I can tell you’re not yourself – what’s wrong?
Andalie: My mom just died. I was trying to be upbeat – I didn’t realize I was doing such a plummy job of it!
Nash: How about you just relax? Let me take care of you, okay?
He sat Andalie down on the couch, tucked a blanket around her shoulders, and switched on the TV. He handed her the remote before disappearing to fix her a cup of tea.
Andalie was confused. Here she was, ready to jump into bed with the guy, and he decides to make tea instead? Had she really imagined the attraction? Had she made it up in her head? But he’d kissed her! Andalie fumed – she was a HASSLICH HEIR! How dare he pity kiss her!
Nash called out to her from the kitchen.
Nash: Where do you keep your toolbox, Andalie? I noticed your shower is broken….
Andalie didn’t respond. She felt humiliated, and angry. She heard him turn off the sink.
Nash: Andalie? Are you okay?
Andalie rounded on him.
Andalie: How could you? I can’t believe I actually liked you! You were the first one I called and you come over here just to avoid me?! To treat me like some charity case?! Well, I have news for you! I don’t need your pity, you SCUM!
Nash: What are you talking about? The first WHATt? I just wanted to help you, for crying out loud! This place is falling apart! I wash your dishes and clean your house and you YELL at me? What is wrong with you?
Andalie: You’re what’s wrong with me! You came over here for a date, not to clean the plummy dishes!
Nash: Do you really think I’m the kind of guy to take advantage of a girl when they’re vulnerable? I did like you, Andalie, and I don’t go around pity kissing people, for your information! But if that’s what you think of me, then I’m out of here!
He stormed out of the house, leaving the toolbox open on the living room floor.
Andalie felt numb. Her extreme mood swings had always been a problem, but she had gone too far this time. It was just too much! Her mother’s death and the pressure to produce an heir! And now she’d gone and lashed out at the worst possible time – not only had she ruined a friendship, but she’d destroyed her chances with her number one choice for a baby daddy.
Andalie cried, angry with herself now instead of with Nash, and wished she could somehow take back the ugly things she’d said to him, wished she could start over. Andalie wished for lots of things, but right now, more than ever, she wished her mother was here to tell her what to do.
Over the next two days, Andalie wallowed, dwelling over the incident, regretting her deplorable behavior, until finally, Emmeline said something revolutionary!
Emmeline : Uh, why don’t you just go and apologize?
Andalie had never thought of that! She jumped up and ran upstairs to change, taking a extra minute to fix her hair and apply her favorite lipstick. If ever there was a time for primping, this was it.
She dashed out the door and straight to Nash’s house. No answer. She checked the gym, the library, and the pub, but Nash was nowhere to be found. But Andalie had one last idea – she remembered that Nash had said he liked to go running in the park. When she arrived, she spotted him easily.
But Nash wasn’t out for a run.
Andalie was too late. She had wasted her opportunity – and Nash had already moved on.