The somber days following Grainna’s death were a stark contrast to the bright, cheerful festivities of the prior week.
Esmeralda lost herself in books.
Seraphina found comfort in physical activity.
And Clarissa let her natural black hair grow back, telling her sisters that she somehow felt closer to her mother this way.
Grainna had told them not to mourn her, and they did their best to keep their spirits high. But of course, they struggled. Esmeralda felt robbed of a final goodbye and Clarissa postponed her wedding, unable to accept that her mother wouldn’t be there to witness her vows or give her away.
But as the days went by and the initial rawness of grief began to fade, Seraphina remained quiet and withdrawn from her sisters.
She was content in knowing that her mother was at peace, and that wherever they were, her parents were finally together. But Seraphina could not shake the ever-growing fear that she would fail to fulfill her duty as heir. She spent long hours at her mother’s grave, praying to the Watcher for a miracle.
Esmeralda and Clarissa were at a loss. They could see that their sister was buckling under the pressure. They worried about Seraphina’s emotional state, but they were also concerned for the future of the legacy. If Seraphina didn’t snap out of this soon, Grainna’s dream of an enduring Hasslich legacy would be all but forgotten.
Over breakfast one morning, the sisters decided it was time for them to intervene – and as usual, Esmeralda had something up her sleeve. She shared the idea with Clarissa, and it was agreed. They called Seraphina into the kitchen.
Clarissa: We want to throw a party!
Esmeralda: Good, I’m glad you like the idea. Because it’s a party for you.
Seraphina: But it’s not my birthday yet!
Esmeralda: It’s not a birthday party – although that wouldn’t be a bad ruse – YES! We’ll say it’s a birthday party, but of course that isn’t really the point….
Seraphina: Esme? What the plum are you two talking about?
Esmeralda: Okay. Don’t get mad, but here’s the thing – we’re only inviting men. You know……potential.
Seraphina paled and Esmeralda winked at her animatedly.
Seraphina: But I’m HOPELESS!!!! I don’t know how to talk to men! I’m basically a full grown adult and I haven’t had my first woohoo, let alone a boyfriend or a kiss…. Or even a date!!!
Clarissa laughed, and Seraphina stared at her in terror.
Clarissa: Breathe! Okay? You’re not in this alone. Esmeralda and I will be there the whole time. Mom said we should work together to support you as the heir, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. You may be the heir, but the responsibility is all of ours.
And so, Esmeralda went to work. She made a few calls, and the details were settled in a matter of minutes.
They bought a small stereo and sent out invitations to the most eligible donors – ahem, bachelors – they knew. And then, all there was left to do was wait.
The big night was upon them in the blink of an eye. At 7:00 on the dot, the guests began to arrive. Seraphina’s old friend Ruben turned up, along with Dina Caliente’s younger son Ron. There was Alexander Goth, Eduardo Schaffer (the good-looking redhead Clarissa had met at the gym), and even Maximus Rhodes. Seraphina was also pleased to see that her brother Roy showed up, just to offer his moral support.
Seraphina was nervous. She didn’t know where to start, who to talk to, how to approach. She barely knew any of these guys. The only one she knew at all was Maximus Rhodes – and so even though he’d rejected her before, she figured it would be easier to start with someone she already knew than to start from scratch with a complete stranger.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go any better this time around than they did before. Maximus was not only completely uninterested, but apparently she had managed to put her foot in her mouth yet again. She had no idea what she’d done wrong this time, but something must have set him off because now he was yelling at her and mocking her outfit. Embarrassed and disappointed, Seraphina decided it was best not to push things with him. She was feeling deflated, having been rejected again, and she wanted nothing more than to retreat upstairs to the safety and privacy of her bedroom.
Let the party go on without me.
But her sisters – true to their word – left no time for that. There was no time to dwell – a dance party had erupted in the living room, and Clarissa drug her right into the midst of it.
All around her, people were cutting loose and having a good time, but Seraphina just couldn’t seem to catch the spirit. She was completely out of her element.
And then she saw it. The familiar figure of her mother, right in the middle of the action. Even in the afterlife, Grainna couldn’t resist a party, the company of other people. Seraphina stared at her open-mouthed.
She wanted nothing more than to run straight to her mother – tell her everything, ask for advice and reassurance – but no one else seemed to see her there. Seraphina would look like a crazy person talking to herself, and she knew that could only hurt her already slim chances of attracting a mate tonight.
But when Grainna looked up and held her daughter’s gaze from across the room, Seraphina rallied. She felt her spine straighten and her resolve strengthen. It was enough just to know that Grainna was there. And suddenly, for the first time since she her mother’s death, Seraphina felt capable of anything.
And so she jumped right in.
She introduced herself to Ron Caliente, and then moved on to some small talk with Alexander Goth.
And then she said hello to Eduardo Schaffer – and much to her surprise, Eduardo was more than receptive.
They decided to head outside, to talk away from the crowd and the noise. And in an unusually brave and confident moment, Seraphina gathered her courage and made her move.
It didn’t take much after that, and soon……
Seraphina smiled to herself. She could do this. She was GOING to do this. And she was going to make her mother proud.