So it’s a regular day or as regular as a day can be when you’re still getting into ‘the swing of things.’ I don’t know if you guys know… I don’t know if you’re there but I’m told you are and there’s click-whirr camera sounds so I guess you are? But I don’t know if you guys know but starting highschool is super stressful! I still think of myself and Troy and Conrad as if we’re kids but we’re not and it’s taking a lot of getting used to. I’m getting there though! Really! Regular day, right, OK. So it’s a regular day, I’ve woken up, gone to school, met some people, worked pretty hard and lugged a bunch of homework home and sat down at the table with the rest of the sibs to get it out of the way.
So why is a regular day so important? ‘Cause on a regular day I never ever walk out of my bathroom to see my mother making my bed. She doesn’t even make her own bed! Hell, the maid rarely even makes my bed any more so having a bed that isn’t all rumpled covers and pillows on the ground is sorta new and unusual and exciting. There’s something on mom’s mind, she’s got this look in her eyes like she’s worried or something so when she asks me to come sit with her I’m pretty concerned myself.
We stretch out on the bed (which is actually kinda nice when you don’t have to like, nest into lumpy duvets) and she takes a deep breath.
“Lee,” she starts, sounding all serious and kinda un-momlike. “How much do you know about The Clarke Legacy?” Not much, I also didn’t know you could capitalize letters when you talked but mom did it!
Another deep breath from mom. “Ah… Um… OK then. Anyways, so, The Clarke Legacy. My Mama, your grandma Lily, you never met her but we’ve got her picture up by her… You know this, sorry. When Mama got to Sunset Valley she decided she that she wanted to be part of something bigger, a Legacy. She actually used to say that she had no choice but my mother was a little…” She twirls her finger around near her ear. I get it. “Anyways, she was the founder and she passed the Legacy onto me, I was the first heiress of the Legacy. There’s not much to it really, live your life, have a family, live and build on this lot, get followed around by an invisible camera and then pass the Legacy onto one of your children. Aside from the camera, which you get used to really quickly, it’s just… Life. I’m telling you this Lee because I think – I know – that you should be the one to inherit the Legacy… Will you?”
Let me see… Live in a mansion, raise a family? I think I can handle that. Invisible camera shouldn’t be much of a bother what with it being invisible and all… All of a sudden I’m so excited to have something I didn’t even know I wanted! “Yes mom! Of course!” I’m an heiress! I’m ready to bound off the bed and scream to the world that I’m the next Clarke except… Am I? Should I be? I have four siblings all of whom are just as deserving of this Legacy as I am. We’ve never talked about it… What if Adam or Kaitlin had their hearts set on it? What if Troy or Conrad really really wants it? On one hand – too bad, it’s mine! – on the other – I can’t rub it in their faces. “Mom? Can I be the one to tell everyone? When I’m ready? They don’t know yet, do they??”
“No no, I thought I’d ask you first…” Well now that that’s settled, I can get excited! With a squeal (I am not proud of that squeal, so you know) I jump off the bed and up and down as well, unable to contain my smile or how happy I am. “Thank you thank you thank you!!” Mom takes her time getting off the bed, but she’s never really been a run around or rush kind of person so that’s hardly surprising. She’s laughing at me. “C’mere my little heiress!” and I do, throwing myself into her waiting arms with another squeal. She squeezes me tightly until I stop hopping around in her hug and actually hug her back. I’m an heiress!!… I totally just heard the camera. Hello!!
Mom leaves the room and suddenly it’s quiet. Way too quiet. Now I’m alone with my thoughts and if you’ve ever been alone with your own you know just the danger I’m in. The giddiness fades away (not entirely) and I’m left with apprehension at the though of telling the twins and my fellow triplets that this is my house. Or will be I guess. The only stipulation is that grandma Lily’s room remains and mom’s art studio too. I can keep both of those, heck, I may even make mom’s studio bigger, it’s tiny! Not right now though, that’s for the future. Right now I’m not sure I can face everyone so I do what I always do to calm myself down. Turn on my favourite classical CD and play along with the concertos I know by heart. Ahh… That’s better.
In honour of us starting high school and the twins getting super close to finishing it, mom and dad have rented out the new (and first, finally!!) club in town, Corriente, for the night. They’re throwing this huuuuuge party for the five of us and practically the whole school is invited. I’m so excited to finally see the inside of this place ’cause it’s supposed to be amazing and it’s going to be for us and our friends only. The teens are taking over! I spent all day (week) fretting over what I was going to wear tonight, I know that’s really shallow but it’s really hard to look hot and trendy but also like you just don’t care. Especially when you care.
The inside is amazingly beautiful and moody, I can only imagine it when it’s full! I can’t wait to spend time here, lots of time. We head straight to the dance floor to shake our thangs. The bass is bumping and the music rocks, the lighting is amazing and the company too. I dance until I feel like my feet are going to die inside my heels – I really should have broken these things in before I tried to wear them out for a full night. Like really but what can be done now? Even with blisters on my toes and heels I have a hard time dragging myself away from the music, but ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch!
Truth be told, I’m actually glued to the dance floor ’cause I’ve been more than a little mesmerized by the stage they have set up. Our music tonight is just a DJ but oh! How I wish there was a band playing. I wish I could just clamber up on stage myself and take a seat at the keyboard, I’m having wild day dreams of in which this crowd of family and friends is dancing to my music with my band playing my songs. I could stay here all night fantasizing about being a rock star or something, but my feet are very insistent – they are sore and unwilling to do any more standing right now.
I grab Troy from his dance partner, who is getting waaaaay too grabby, and we set about exploring the rest of the club. Lounge areas and tables, bars and fireplace and oh wow they have a bubble bar! Just what the doctor ordered! Two guys from school are already sitting at one of the pipe and they wave us over to join them. Don’t judge, but this is way fun! I could totally get addicted to Pineapple bubbles… Though Troy insists the Mint are better. I mean, bubbles are delicious for sure and so so so much fun! I can’t blow them out of my nose, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a ‘yet’ scenario. POP! I’m going to be here until they kick us out, for sure.
Troy and I have gotten to be pretty close lately. It’s hard not to love him ’cause he’s just such a sweetheart. He’s really thoughtful, really kind and really super smart. We’ve both been moved to some Advanced classes at school… Me ’cause I find classes really easy and him ’cause he’s willing to work his butt off. I feel bad for him though, with all the extra reading and assignments we’re getting he has to spend so much extra time on homework that he’s hardly gotten any writing or painting done. I breeze through the books and essays and equations so I can’t help but feel a little bit guilty when I’m enjoying my free time and he’s buckled down with our latest assignment.
With free time available to me (even if not my baby brother haha) I’m getting to meet a lot of the kids from school. Mostly the boys actually, I guess I’m pretty ’cause I’m pretty popular! Who am I kidding? I know I look good. Myron’s invited me over to his house and I took one look at his gorgeous blue eyes and just couldn’t say no! He’s a really good guy, I mean really good. In the “I donate to every charity every month” sort of way… And the “don’t worry, I’ll listen to what you have to say” sort of way that’s really even more important!
Myron’s in class with Troy and I ’cause, like Troy, he’s a really disciplined worker. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get lower than an A and I don’t think he’s ever handed in anything late, even by like, a second. But his work ethic isn’t what’s got my stomach full of butterflies, it’s mostly his eyes but really, a lot of it is just… Him. The way he looks at me like he can see inside my mind, if I’m having a rough day it is always Myron who tries to cheer me up. He just seems to always know when something is weighing on me… I guess ’cause there’s been like, a giant elephant in my room ever since mom and I talked. That’s a heavy burden.
Instead of opening up to him – why? – I get goofy. Or flirty. Or evasive. I open my mouth to spill all my troubles and instead giggle nervously or do really really dumb things. I swear I asked him his sign the other day just to hear him talk. I don’t even believe in astrology. Ohpiuchus what? That just sounds… Dirty! So, he’s a Pisces, I’m a Libra and I’m sure someone, somewhere can tell me why we are perfect/terrible for one another but frankly, I don’t care! We’re just having some fun right now, nothing is serious but… It could be!
Excitement around the kitchen table! Either Adam’s cooking or it’s a birthday, and since the noise makers are out and so are the cakes, it must be Adam and Kaitlin’s birthday! Yippee! As usual, Adam steps up first. We make all sorts of racket for him, sing happy birthday and then wait while he makes this big show of deciding what to wish for. As if we don’t all know he’s wishing for Jess! Poor guy has been smitten with that girl since forever. She’s a sweet girl, but he can do so much better. When it’s Kaitlin’s turn she doesn’t waste any time. One deep breath, one controlled exhale and all her candles are out. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Who knows what Kai’s wish was for? We ask but she just gives a secretive little smile. “If I tell you, it won’t come true.” Bah! What a spoil sport.
Adam grew up to be really handsome. I mean, I know good looks run in the family but he’s gonna have the girls all over him. Once the cakes have been put away I corner him in the kitchen.
“Adam! Happy birthday!”
“Thanks little Lee.”
“Advice me big brother, what does a girl in high school need to know about life? What do I need to know?”
He looks at me like I’m crazy and then laughs. “Just be you, Lee. You’re awesome and you’ll make tonnes of friends. You’ve got the school thing under control so just… I dunno man! You’re smart enough to figure this out.”
Wise words… I guess? He’s taken to really being meticulous about everything. Like, actually everything. He’s actually a total perfectionist, just like dad.
“I was going to tell you not to take any advice Adam had for you… But he gave you good advice! Could it be? Could I no longer know my own twin?”
That sort of dramatics – even feigned as they are – are unusual for Kaitlin and I can’t help but spin around with a laugh. “Well then? What is your advice for me?”
“I… uh… way to put me on the spot! Don’t forget to have fun? I guess? Uh… Yeah. Don’t forget to have fun. You can school and you can extracurricular but if at the end of the day you didn’t make friends and have a great time, what was the point?”
That is good advice, and advice I do intend to heed. Kai’s got a twinkle in her eye I don’t recognize, and also a sadness. I think that maybe she’s regretting not having more fun when she was at school, not flirting with all the boys maybe? I mean, she could’ve gotten any guy she wanted – jock or nerd – and she was single for the whooooole time.
Immediately after graduating Adam and Kaitlin both headed out to town to try and find their dream jobs. We all knew what they were going to be. Really, how predictable can you get? Adam’s first – and only – stop was The Bistro. He wants to be a chef and a chef he will be but he scoffed at the idea of working at Hogan’s Diner. Once, he told us “I’d rather be a Scullian at The Bistro than Sous-Chef at Hogan’s.” And, well, he got his wish. Not that he couldn’t’ve been really great at Hogan’s but this fine dining is what he wants and I’m so glad he got it. To be honest, I’m looking at this from a way selfish perspective. See, Adam does all the cooking in the house and he’s amaaaazing. I mean, I happily lick my plate clean (if there’s no one around) if he’s the one who made the meal that was on it. So, if he’s still living at home and learning all these gourmet techniques, I can only benefit from this. Yay! Dad surprised Kaitlin with her job. She didn’t even have to interview or try out or whatever. Since dad used to be on the local sports team he was able to pull a lot a lot of strings and had the team recruiters at her last highschool games. All in secret of course. So when he took her to the arena, telling her they were going to see a game, she was super excited to be given a team jacket and her work schedule. I think she’ll be thanking dad for the rest of her life!
Close as Troy and I may be, I’m still unable to tell even him my secret. In fact, I’ve been carrying it around for what feels like forever, never saying anything. Every now and then mom looks at me like I should’ve spoken up ages ago but I just can’t. I love love love that I’m the heiress but I can’t help but feel like not everyone is going to be so happy for me so when Troy asks me if I’ve been sleeping alright or if something’s wrong I can’t bring myself to say anything. I just say I’m not sleeping well, everything’s fine and then shut up and shut down. It leaves him feeling a little bit miffed I think but he’ll understand, I know he will.
He’s just great like that. Troy never worries about himself always everyone else. I do wish he’d put himself first some time and stop being such a doormat. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll stand up for himself in a second if he has to but he’ll never ever say ‘no’ unless a request is totally ridiculous. He’s gotten just so quiet and shy which is so unlike him. He used to be so outgoing and was friends with everyone he met, now if we have people over or he has free time he locks himself away from all of us to draw or write. You can hardly get two words from him about himself, he’s always ‘fine’ (just like me) or ‘OK’ or whatever. I think I’m worrying.
One person I don’t have to worry about is Conrad. For like, the first time ever! He has very very quickly found himself a lady and bless her for being so patient with him. Conrad is sullen and grouchy and only ever not complaining when he’s with his computer… Or when Laurie is around. He’s like, a different person now that he’s met her. I don’t think they’re official or anything yet, I don’t think they’ve even kissed but he likes her a whole lot and when he gets back from her house he looks like he’s walking on air. I’m so so happy for him. Hopefully this is the beginning of a whirlwind relationship, the kind fairy tales are made of. He really does deserve it.
And me? How’s my love life? It is… Complicated. Berjes is Jess’ half brother and I’ve known him forever. Back in elementary school we were as close as could be, even though he’s a little younger than me and now that we’re both in high school… His blue eyes knock Myron’s right out of the water. See, Berj was always just my friend, like Troy and Conrad, but when he walked into class the other day? Oh my how he’s grown! Being around him is totally distracting, all I can think of is… well… him. I can’t help but imagine him holding me. I just want to lean over and kiss him and see what… Well, I want to kiss him, not to see anything. I have such a big crush!
I’m just not sure that he feels the same way, I mean, the last thing I want to do is ruin our friendship so I’m just going to take it easy I think. At the very least, he’s still an amazing friend and maybe, one day, there will be something else. I kinda really hope so right now. I feel so comfortable with him that he’s the first person that I’ve told about being the heiress and about all my worries and concerns and he was totally supportive. He knew all the things to say to make me realize that my siblings weren’t going to turn their backs on me just because I was given the Legacy. I’m pretty sure he’s right. But not 100%
Mom and dad called us down for a ‘family meeting’ today. Can I just say that we have never ever had a family meeting before? We gathered down in the living room on the new couch (waaaaay more comfy!) while mom and dad carried on like we weren’t there. You know what I mean, giggling and holding hands and flirting with each other like newly weds. It’s kinda cute but mostly really icky, I understand that my parents are like, in love and touchy and do uh… stuff… But I never ever ever need to be reminded of that. Never.It takes Adam clearing his throat for the ‘rents to stop being all lovey dovey. Thank you Adam! We’re waiting for what they seem to think is going to be a huge announcement but I already know what it is. The suitcases at their feet are a dead giveaway and well, Conrad’s been doing some sleuthing through the computers so he’s already told us all what’s up. We’ll leave the official announcement to mom and dad though, since they’re probably really excited to tell us, what else could prompt an unprecedented “family meeting”?
“OK, so as you know since you were all there, after your father and I got married we never had a honeymoon, we just kept on as before waiting for you all to be old enough and responsible enough to take care of yourselves. Anyways now you are and…” A deep breath “We’re going to Shang Simla!!” No! Really? I even know which room they’re booked into and at which hotel but I put on a grin and cheer along with mom. All five of us on the couch are exchanging looks and giggling and wishing them a safe and happy trip. The cab should be here any second for them.
“While we’re gone, Adam, Kaitlin, you’re in charge. I know that it’s probably not going to be necessary because you’re all good kids… but Conrad? Troy? Lee? Listen to your big brother and sister. Don’t give them too much hassle. If you need anything we’ve left our contact information on the fridge and your aunt Violet is nearby if you need her. Don’t bother her unnecessarily… She’s have a hard time since Micah passed and since Oliver is still living with her and she’s helping Millie and Anthony raise Harold she’s… Try to just behave yourselves?”
We all agree by muttering and nodding and that’s it… Until Conrad pipes up.
“So does that mean that you have chosen an heir, if you leaving? It’s Kaitlin or Adam isn’t it, since you left them in charge. Well? Which is it?!”
He looks from one to the other but they look just as confused as he does and Troy does too. I try to put the same look on my face but mom and dad are both looking at me expectantly so I guess it’s now or never. If ever there was a time to tell my secret it’s now.
“Actually… It’s me.”