Sebastian was born only one day before his cousin, and so it wasn’t long before Beau followed him into childhood. Growing up with Addie for a mother didn’t leave him untouched, and Beau had grown into a gloomy child – but unlike his mother, he didn’t have mean bone in his body.
Sebastian and Beau were inseparable, much like their uncles before them. Where you found Sebastian, you would also find Beau – and where you found Beau, Sebastian was never far behind. They were rambunctious and imaginative, and their daily adventures ranged from dramatic pirate attacks to archaeological digs a la Simdiana Jones. But in one thing they were always consistent – whenever anyone asked, the boys would insist that they were brothers.
Meanwhile, Coralie was busy navigating her first steps into her teen years. She was an exceptional student and most of her free time was spent either working out, or tucked away at the library under a pile of books. And whenever she wasn’t on a treadmill or lost in a novel, Coralie could be found with her best friend (and distant cousin) Kierra Pancakes-Hasslich.
Though the two were thick as thieves, Kierra was very different from Coralie. Where Coralie was generally shy and reserved, Kierra was outgoing, popular, and more than a little boy crazy. But Kierra was most certainly a good egg, and her bouncy, uninhibited attitude helped to draw Coralie out of her shell.
Kierra: Omigod, Cora – did you SEE Roman Benson today? He is SO. TOTALLY. HOT.
Coralie: Yeah, I guess he’s okay….
Kierra: He’s OKAY!?!? That boy is smoking!!! You just wait till he asks you out… I’m telling you, Coralie, he’s got it bad for you!
Coralie: You’re crazy, Kierra! But honestly, even if he did…. He’s nice and all, but… I just don’t like him like that! He seems a little…. immature or something….
Kierra sighed in exasperation.
Kierra: Well if you don’t want him… All the better for me! I guess I’ll go ask him out then!
Kierra had meant to rile her friend, but Coralie only nodded agreeably. In truth, Coralie was not uninterested in dating – she was just uninterested in dating the boys she knew from school – the boys who thought farts were hilarious and that quoting lines from dumb movies made them smart and interesting.
And so it wasn’t until one morning at the gym when she met a boy – no, a MAN – who caught her interest.
When Coralie spotted him across the way, she felt her heart leap in her chest. Those eyes! That hair! Who was this dashing creature?! She sauntered up to him, trying to project an air of maturity and sophistication. If she was going to attract his attention, she’d have to make him see her as Woman with a capital “W.”
She introduced herself, feigning confidence where she felt none, suddenly wishing for a bit of Kierra’s je ne sais qua. But Coralie was a better actress than she realized – and the magnificent man before her seemed not to notice her shaking voice or wobbly knees.
He merely flashed a dreamy smile (her heart nearly exploded) and introduced himself as Brennan Summerfield.
Brennan: It’s very nice to meet you, Coralie! I’m new to Willow Creek, just got a job at the library, in fact –
A librarian?! He couldn’t be any more perfect for her! This is love, Coralie thought, this is what Kierra’s always going on about! Sure, he was a few years older than her, but age is only a number! Love knows no bounds!
Fragments of fantasies raced through her head as he spoke. Their first kiss at the movie theater… He’d hold her hand and walk her home…. He was a gentleman, of course, and would wait patiently until she was old enough to take that next blissful step…. High school graduation, that breathtaking smile in the crowd… Then him on one knee, a sparkling ring, a white dress, their wedding night, a picket fence, two kids – no three –
His lips were still moving, but Coralie couldn’t make out the words. By the time she returned to reality, Brennan was asking a question.
Brennan: So maybe I’ll see you around?
Coralie nodded voraciously, smiled her most flirtatious (and awkward) smile, and waved goodbye. She sighed dreamily.
He wants to see me around! she thought. I knew we were soul-mates!
Over the next week, Coralie spent more time on the town than ever before, constantly on the lookout for Brennan, always hoping to “accidentally” run into him again.
But when she finally saw him again at the Town Square, the most she could manage was to wave hello, and a few nonsensical words strung together in something that vaguely resembled a sentence.
Luckily, Brennan was friendly and made easy conversation for the both of them. Coralie learned all about his life, and where he came from. She learned that he had a twin brother (she swooned at this – ANOTHER man who looked like Brennan? SIGH.), and that his love for technology led to his career in library science.
Coralie squeaked out a few words in response. She told him about the Hasslich legacy, and how she was the only girl, which put her in line as the heir. She talked about her favorite class, which she immediately regretted. She wanted him to see her as a woman grown – not as a silly school girl.
When Coralie returned home that evening, she was a mixed bag of emotions. Her love for Brennan had only grown, but she worried that he’d never take her seriously.
As she turned the corner to the kitchen, Addie greeted her with a saccharine smile.
Addie: What’s got you down, cousin?
Coralie paused, unsure of how to respond. Addie was the last person she wanted to talk to about Brennan – she’d much rather wait to talk to Kierra – but Kierra was at soccer practice and Aurora was at work, and Coralie found that the words just tumbled out of their own volition.
Coralie: It’s this boy – well, a man, really. Addie, he’s gorgeous. And smart and kind and wonderful….
Addie: And who is this boy-man?
Coralie: He’s new to town, he works at the library. His name is Brennan Summerfield.
She said his name as a deep, dreamy sigh.
Coralie: He’s my soulmate, Addie – I just know it! But I don’t think HE knows it. He’s older than me, and I think he just sees me as a kid…. I don’t know how to make him see me as a woman.
Addie patted her cousin’s arm and launched into a riveting inspirational speech about self-confidence, true love, and taking charge of your own life.
But even as she spoke – as she assured Coralie that Brennan was sure to come around eventually, that he was bound to feel what she felt – Addie was scheming.
It didn’t take long, of course. Addie had never been the patient type. She waited until Coralie had gone to Kierra’s house, and then she slipped on her highest, sexiest heels, and headed off to the library.
Addie hung back, watching Brennan work from a distance before approaching. She sure could see what Coralie saw in him. That was going to make this a whole lot more fun.
Addie: Hi, I’m Addie Hasslich – I’m picking up a book?
She batted her eyelashes as Brennan looked up at her. He reached under the desk for the book she’d requested. It was his favorite, Addie knew – Coralie had mentioned it earlier.
Brennan: Good choice! Hans Heidrich is a genius, if you ask me – his work is so nuanced… – hey, did you say your name is Hasslich?
Addie: Addie Hasslich, yes.
Brennan: I’m Brennan Summerfield, I think I may have met your little sister –
Addie: Coralie, yes. She mentioned you, actually. She’s my cousin, not my sister, though.
Brennan: She’s a sweet kid! She was the first one to welcome me to town!
Addie smiled innocently, willing herself to blush.
Addie: Yeah… The truth is SHE sent me here… She’s the one who ordered the book…. Coralie said she wanted me to meet you, that you and I were “soul mates” or some such nonsense. Crazy teenagers, you know?!
Addie laughed flirtatiously, and then sighed in feigned exasperation.
Addie: Coralie thinks she’s Cupid or something, always trying to set up her poor single cousin! Ridiculous, isn’t it?
She held his gaze just a moment too long, then stared demurely at her hands.
Brennan: I don’t think ridiculous is the word I would use…. Addie – would you care for a cup of coffee? I’m off work in 15 minutes…
Fifteen minutes later…
And just before midnight, Addie’s scheme came to fruition. Brennan, completely enchanted, finally uttered the words she’d been waiting to hear.
Brennan: I know this seems crazy fast, Addie, but I think Coralie was onto something with us. Would you… uh… will you be my girlfriend?
Addie smiled as the flash went off, and then opened the Simbook app on her phone.
Meanwhile, at home – Coralie’s cell beeped an alert from her Simbook account. Her heart dropped at what she saw.
“Addie Hasslich is in a relationship with Brennan Sumnerfield.”
A big thank you to Pammiechick, who submitted the dashing Brennan Summerfield, who comes to my little story from the Summerfield Legacy. Brennan was the second place winner in my Hasslich Baby Daddy Vote – look for him in upcoming chapters of the Hasslich Legacy!