"Hey, you're back from your vacation.", the flame fruit bush said. "I thought you'd all died and there was no one left to water me."
"You're pretty cold, for a flame fruit."
"Hey, I'm a plant, what do you expect? Plants don't have emotions. We don't need them. They're a useless waste of energy."
"No, they're not! Emotions are good... like, uh... like love and stuff!"
Bloom instantly regretted having said that. What did he know about love anyway?
"Oh, love and stuff, huh? Well, judging by your constant whining, you really do have emotions. But then again, you're not a real plant. What are you anyway?"
Bloom turned away from the painfully sarcastic flame fruit bush.
"... a freak.", he murmured, as he examined his bright green face in the mirror.
He spent the rest of the day reading in bed. The book he'd grabbed randomly off the shelf had turned out to be one of his mother's gardening encyclopedias. And while it didn't help him to take his mind off of the unpleasant conversation earlier, it did spark his interest in gardening. His mother would be happy to hear that, at least.
He knew that Kaitlin had been increasingly saddened by Beryllium's constant nagging comments about her origin. Sure, it must be difficult for his sister, not knowing where exactly her DNA had come from. At least he and Broccoli knew that they had been grown from seeds in little pots, just like the flame fruit (ugh, that flame fruit - Bloom cringed at the memory).
He just wished that Beryllium would ease off their mother a little. It was so unusual to see Kaitlin worried about anything.
She did seem excited about Bloom's impending birthday, however, so Bloom did not want to dampen her mood by saying that he would actually prefer not to have a party. Kaitlin and Broccoli insisted on throwing him a huge birthday bash and inviting lots of guests!
"I might even manage to track down one very special guest..." Kaitlin winked conspiratorially at her sons.
When that 'special guest' showed up at the party, they almost couldn't believe their eyes - Beryllium least of all.
"Good day, Earth child. I am Eshetic Shukepoj, the donor of your genetic makeup. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.", Bloom overheard the elderly alien say as she shook Beryllium's hand awkwardly. She obviously wasn't used to this. Bloom wondered silently how they greeted each other on her home planet.
Beryllium was instantly fascinated and animatedly asked the alien all sorts of questions. Arthur, Broccoli and Bismuth seemed less than happy. When Bloom asked his father about it later, he told him that they believed Beryllium would leave in the spaceship parked outside at the end of the evening.
Bloom sincerely hoped that his sister wouldn't just abandon them like that, but she seemed to get along amazingly with her new... mother?
It looked like his parents tried to comfort each other and enjoy the party as best they could.
He tried to just dance and do the same, when suddenly Shameka appeared next to him. What was she doing here?! Had Broccoli invited her? Damn, it was Bloom's own fault for telling his brother that they'd decided to be just friends.
"Ugh, for a party with so many freaks this is pretty boring.", she yawned.
Her comment hit Bloom like a fist in his stomach, but he pretended to keep on dancing happily - for the sake of everyone else at the party.
Bloom looked over to his brother in helpless desperation, still acting like nothing was wrong. How did Broccoli manage to be so at ease in social situations? Did people ever say rude things like this to him? How would he react?
But before he was able to come up with a reply, Shameka had walked off. Bloom breathed a sigh of relief.
He decided to try and enjoy his own birthday party regardless. Maybe he just needed more practice talking to people! So he struck up a conversation with one of the many girls Broccoli had invited.
She was really friendly and Bloom was actually starting to feel almost comfortable. Then suddenly she stopped in the middle of a sentence and stared at something behind Bloom.
"There's a girl dancing on your kitchen counter."
Bloom tensed. He already knew what he'd see when he turned around.
What was Shameka doing? Was she trying to make him feel flustered? Why would she do that? And, most of all, why did Bloom let her?
"Um, please just ignore her." Bloom let out a nervous laugh. Ouch, that had not come out as nonchalantly as he'd wanted. Why did he always have to make things awkward?
Bismuth saved him, however, by pulling out a guitar and playing wonderfully - much to everyone's surprise. He had never played up an instrument before, so this was completely unexpected.
"This song is for my big brother Bloom! Happy birthday!"
Bloom relaxed as Bismuth started strumming a cheerful tune.
After the song was over, it was time to blow out the candles on his birthday cake. Both Bloom and Broccoli didn't have the need to eat food like the rest of their family, but it was a lovely tradition nonetheless. Also, Bloom couldn't help but feeling like it was the end of an era or something.
Bloom was pretty embarrassed to grow into a young adult with a leafy beard on his chin, so he quickly ran to get changed.
When he came back, Beryllium was waiting for him with a gift.
"It's a Radical Reparum potion I made! Maybe it'll come in handy when you're off to college! Heh, handy, get it? Because it helps with your handiness skill?"
"Yeah, I get it, sis. Thank you!"
His mother immediately followed with another gift.
"Bloom, I've noticed you reading one of my gardening books. So I thought you might be interested in reading my research notes on PlantSims. I don't know as much as I'd like, but..."
"Thank you, mom! This is great!"
"For me, dad? You shouldn't have!"
"Son, I have been thinking about this day for a long time. I was planning on giving you some advice I have been following my entire life, but to be honest, it just doesn't feel right anymore."
Bloom looked at his father with anticipation as Arthur continued.
"I know that you have always had a tough time talking to other Sims. But I've watched you grow so much and I know that you can overcome this. You will make your way."
"Oh dad, I wish I was as sure as you are... I mean, how will I ever find happiness like you and mom with this stupid shyness of mine?"
Arthur seemed to think for a moment before replying.
"Bloom, I've lived all my life by other people's advice, but maybe it is time for me to pass on some of my own." Arthur took a deep breath. "When you find the one, you will know it, son. And don't let anything keep you from being happy. I want this gift to remind you of that."
Much later, as the party trailed to an end, Bloom watched Beryllium walk towards the small spaceship outside. Later he overheard his mother telling his father what had happened.
"So, this is it, huh? I... I... um. Be safe, Beryllium, and come visit sometime, ok?" Kaitlin sniffed as wiped a tear from her eye.
"I'm not going anywhere. It was great to finally learn about the planet where my DNA is from, but this right here is my home."
"But Beryl, you were always so adamant about it... we all thought you..."
"Maybe one day I'll check it out, Mom. But for now, I want to stay here and help you with your research. After all, we are so close to a breakthrough!"
"Are you sure, Beryl? You know we'll support you in every decision you make..."
"I'm sure, Mom."
"I really am."
In the meantime, Bloom had been filling out the last of the forms he needed to attend Sims University. He didn't quite know what exactly he wanted to do with his life, but he did know he loved painting, so he enrolled in the Fine Arts program.
It was unbelievably early in the morning when the moving truck that was going to take him to campus arrived. Even though they all usually liked to sleep in, his family came outside to wish Bloom farewell.
The truck drove all too quickly for Bloom, who was looking into the rear-view mirror, trying to get one last glimpse of his home.