1.37 All I Want (FRWL)

Christmas morning arrived and Gage felt like a little kid. He padded down the stairs in his stocking feet and sleepily rubbed his eyes. Howard had already kindled a fire, brewed a pot of strong coffee, and started making pumpkin spice waffles. Did the man ever sleep? Gage wondered. He kept wanting to ask about the EXCES, but he didn’t know if Howard knew he knew and he didn’t want to make Kass’ father feel uncomfortable if he didn’t like talking about his condition.

“Smells delicious,” he leaned lazily on the counter and dropped a spoonful of sugar into his snowman coffee mug.

“Thank you,” Howard remarked, putting on hot pads as he opened the oven door. “It’s the least I can do for you letting us say here.”

He pulled out a pile of waffles in an oven baking tray, and Gage could practically see the steam. Howard’s glasses fogged.

“Merry Christmas, son,” Howard said, cheerily.

Gage felt a lump form in his throat. This was nice. Beyond nice. It was wonderful.

“Thank you,” he croaked. “Merry Christmas to you to, Mr. Fullbright.”

“Please,” Howard waved his oven glove over the waffles and blew lightly on their breakfast. “Call me Howard. This Mister Fullbright stuff is too stiff and formal for my daughter’s best friend.”

“Okay, sure,” Gage grinned.

“And now for the bacon,” Howard set down the waffles on two ceramic plates to cool and returned to the stove top, poking at the sizzling meat. “Could you go wake Kass for me?”

“Sure,” Gage yawned, and slipped into his boots at the front door, grabbing his jacket from the stairwell railing.

Stepping outside, he inhaled the morning. The snow was the perfect powdery fresh consistency, blanketing the world in a winter wonderland. He smelled the cool, crisp air, and shielded his eyes as he saw the sun peeping through the Simcember clouds. He practically skipped across the yard to the guest house, feeling incredibly satisfied with his life in the past few days. It’s going to be the perfect Christmas. 

Slipping into the barn, he listened for a moment to see if he heard Kass. Instead, he felt something warm and furry nuzzle his leg, and he reached down to pet Tigris.

“How’d you get out here, buddy?” he asked in a low voice.

Constance had asked him to watch her cats while she was gone, and he had brought them to his house. He made a mental note to go over to her home later and put food in the terrarium for the lizard. It was a little harder to transport. The orange tabby purred as he patted his fur. He wondered why it never occurred to him to get a pet. Perhaps that would’ve been a healthier way to find companionship.

“Did Euphrates get out here with you too?” he asked, nuzzling the cat’s nose. “Kass?” he called up to the loft.

She groaned, and he smiled. Kass was not a morning person.

“Merry Christmas,” he said cheerily, picking up Tigris and moving toward the steps. “Are you decent?”

“Enough,” she said, tiredly. “Merry…Christmas…”

He climbed the stairs, and plopped the cat on her stomach. She sat up, and her red hair, a gloriously messy side ponytail, fell in her face.

“Who’s….Whoooo’s this cutie?” she asked, in between a yawn, and began stroking Tigris’ fur.

“You remember Constance right?” he replied. “I’m watching her cats for her while she’s out of town for the holidays. I’m guessing this one slipped out when Howard came over to the main house and made his way here.”

“Oh,” she said. “He’s sweet.”

“Who? The cat or you dad?” he dodged her arm swing.

Kass tossed off the cow-print covers and slid her feet onto the wooden floor. “What time is it?”

“Quarter past eight.”

“Ugh! I was hoping to sleep until nine.”

“Nope. It’s Christmas. Up and at ’em, daisy.”

“Daisy?”

He laughed. “It’s a phrase. I think. I don’t know. I think I picked it up from Constance.”

“So, what’s the deal with you and Constance?” she asked, raking her hair with her fingers.

“Constance?” he shrugged. “We’re just friends.”

“Oh…okay…” Kass smirked, as if she didn’t believe him, tightening her ponytail.

“Seriously,” he insisted, picking up Tigris so he could carry the cat back over to the main house. “Kass… I…” he paused, wondering if he should say what he was feeling now. “…like you…” he went with a variant, and mentally kicked himself, wishing he could take it back.

“Aw…” she smiled widely. “I like you too…” she rubbed his head as if he were a genie in a lamp.

He frowned as she tugged on a robe, and pulled on a pair of shoes. Not the response I was wanting. Kass started down the steps, and glanced back at him, the smile still plastered across her face.

“Are you coming?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he waved with his free hand. “I’m coming.”

“Gage, my man, the house looks fantastic,” Sam gave him a high five as he entered.

“And smells fantastic too,” Ruby leaned forward and sniffed the Christmas tree, sighing happily. “Oh! Real needles. My family always uses the half-size fake one. Can’t really afford a real one every year.”

“And what is that other smell?” Sam sniffed around the room like a hungry dog.

“Howard, Kass’ dad made our feast tonight, and he’s a genius in the kitchen,” Gage responded.

“I heard that,” a familiar beanie-covered head poked his head through the doorway. “I promise not to let it go to my head.”

“Seriously, it smells incredible,” Ruby smiled and waved, before returning to intently admire the colored balls on the Christmas tree. “Hand-painted too…” she said as she reached out to touch the decorations absently.

“I’m glad you like the tree,” Gage remarked. “I’ve got a display of Christmas sculptures down at the Octagon House by the sculptor, Harwood Clay. Turns out the dude makes Christmas ornaments too, though they are heavy…”

“…as balls?”

Sam flushed, and Gage coughed awkwardly. If Ruby noticed, she didn’t react, still mesmerized by the Christmas ornaments. His aunt sure knew how to make an entrance.

“Seriously, men, it’s just a little testicle humor,” Missy Bagley jested. “Mmm… it’s nice in here, sweetheart…” she planted a kiss on Gage’s cheek.

Double entendre, mother,” Sam rolled his eyes.

“Well someone has to make them, dear,” Missy huffed humorously, and pulled her fur-lined red coat closer to her neck. “It’s chilly in here, Gage. Maybe adjust the thermostat?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he replied. “I was thinking about a fire and I forgot.”

“I’m starved,” Sam said, grabbing a fistful of candy from the glass jar on the coffee table.

“Sam!” Ruby chided. “You’ll ruin your dinner.”

“Sam! Your feet!” his mother exclaimed, almost simultaneously.

Sam grinned, and sat down on the couch, sticking a handful in his mouth as he rested his dress shoes on the coffee table. “But they’re so good,” he said, between mouthfuls.

“I’m glad you like them,” Kass said casually as she entered the room. “They’re from Simbals Gourmet Candies in Bluewater Village. My dad and I stopped at the original factory and picked up these jelly beans.”

Instantly, Sam slid his feet off the coffee table, and returned to a standing position.

“Uh… hi…and thanks…I guess,” he said, shaking Kass’ hand vigorously.

She laughed. “Hi, it’s nice to finally meet you…” she trailed off, waiting for a name, but Sam continued grinning like an idiot.

Ruby turned away from the tree, and extended her hand with a smile. “Forgive my boyfriend, Sam. He’s a little star struck. We’ve heard a lot about you.”

Gage whipped his attention to Kass, and saw a hint of pink color her cheeks.

“I’m Ruby Broke, by the way,” Ruby continued to introduce herself. “I hear you grew up with Gage in Califorsimia?”

“Yes, and hi, I’m Kass. We did. Well, our teen years at least. I hear you’re in college out there,” Kass replied.

“Yeah, I have an athletic scholarship at Legacy in Bay City,” Ruby answered. “I love it out there. I don’t know how you left…” she eyed Gage with a smile. “…the ocean is breathtaking.”

“That it is,” Sam agreed.

“You’ve only seen it what? Once, dude?” Gage laughed, punching Sam in the arm.

“Twice… I went out to help Ruby move into the dorms, and then again on fall break,” Sam said, throwing a punch of his own back.

“Ow!” Gage exclaimed.

“Okay, seriously, you two, enough!” Missy said, stepping between her son and nephew. “And this is the famous Kassiopeia…” she said, reaching out her arms and setting her hands on Kass’ shoulders, eyeing the woman up and down.

“I don’t know about famous,” Kass shrugged.

“Don’t sell yourself short. We’ve heard a lot about you,” Missy said. “I guess we’ll see just how awesome you supposedly are.”

“Uh…” Gage cleared his throat, and interrupted, wondering what in the world his aunt meant. “…how about some Christmas music?”

He walked over and pressed play on his Muze Portably Portable music player on the mantle.

“Great cuz,” Rhoda said sarcastically as the door flew open and she walked in, bringing an icy blast of air with her, and an unexpected guest. “Like we don’t already get bombarded by the carols like everywhere we go.”

“Rhoda,” Missy said, narrowing her eyes as everyone in the room became fixated on the young woman’s date for the evening.

“Whoo! Is it chilly in here?” Howard entered the room, rubbing his blazer coat sleeves as made a beeline for a fireplace. “Let me get some flames going.”

No one said anything. Everyone was still surprised by the man accompanying Rhoda… Don Lothario. The man strode into the room like he owned the place, with a confident swagger, dressed in a white blazer, silver button-down and no tie, and powder blue pants, looking like he just stepped out of a Sim-Q magazine cover, and smelling like it too, Gage noted. The fireplace crackled to life, and Howard stood up, and walked over to shake the man’s hand, the first one in the room to properly greet the guy.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

The music player sang.

“Well I do,” Rhoda plopped down on the couch in a huff, without removing her black button-down coat. “I care about my presents.”

“Of course you would,” Missy glared at her daughter.

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you, yeah.

“Hello Rhoda, I’m Howard, and that’s Kass, my daughter,” Howard sat on the couch next to Gage’s older cousin, breaking the awkward tension.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
And I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I don’t need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won’t make me happy
With a toy on Christmas Day

“Thanks for coming, um… Rhoda…” Gage nodded awkwardly to his cousin. “…and um… Don… welcome to my…er…home.”

“Thanks, man,” Don patted Gage on the back in a friendly manner. “Smells like Christmas in here.”

“That’s the point,” Missy said icily. “Rhoda, can I see you in the kitchen?”

“Whatever, Ma, sure,” Rhoda rolled her eyes and threw her hands in the air, stomping off into the kitchen while Don introduced himself to Kass, Ruby, and Sam.

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Five minutes later, everyone was seated around the table with Howard and Gage at opposite heads. Sam and Ruby sat across from Missy and Kass while Rhoda returned to the car to get a dish she had forgotten, and Don accompanied her.

“How much do you know about him?” Missy was asking, directing her attention to Howard.

“Don?” he dropped a napkin in his lap. “Not much. I know of him.”

“I thought he was engaged to someone in Califorsimia,” Ruby said in a hushed tone as she scooted her chair closer to the table.

Oh, I won’t ask for much this Christmas
I won’t even wish for snow
And I’m just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe

I won’t make a list and send it
To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won’t even stay awake to
Hear those magic reindeer click

“I should get some more chairs, Gage,” Sam stood up, evidently not wanting to be included in the conversation.

Kass sat quietly, biting her lower lip, and Gage resisted the urge to reach out and take her hand. This evening was getting more uncomfortable by the minute, and he had already heard Missy chew Rhoda out in the kitchen for bringing that man to the house for Christmas dinner. What’s done is done, he figured. He wanted the evening to be perfect, and kicking Don Lothario out wasn’t going to make things better. I hope, he winced.

“Uh… seems like the player is stuck on this one song,” he rubbed his head awkwardly. “I should go fix it.”

“Woot! Woot!” Rhoda screamed as she made her grand re-entrance into the dining room, throwing her arms above her head like she could care less.

‘Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do?
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Everyone was startled temporarily as the girl continued to wave her arms in the air, and Gage wondered if she had a swig or two from the flask he spied in her coat pocket before returning inside. Rhoda set a raspberry cheesecake on the buffet next to all the food.

“Rhoda, please lower your voice,” Sam requested.

“No,” she said, tauntingly, tilting her head with a triumphant grin. “I remembered dessert… and it’s the best ever. I promise. You’re gonna love this one. It’s from a bakery in Simcago.”

She turned and placed her hand on Don’s chest, purposefully sticking her fingers through his open buttons. “Donny and I drove up there last night for a sleigh ride. It was romantic.”

Oh, all the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children’s
Laughter fills the air

Gage gritted his teeth. More like obnoxious boasting fills the air. 

And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need?
Won’t you please bring my baby to me?

Rhoda planted a full kiss on Don’s lips, confirming everyone’s suspicions… that the two were lovers. Howard, thankfully, broke the uncomfortable silence and awkward staring and suggested they pray over the food and then dig in.

“Thank you, Howard,” Gage said, smiling in relief.

Oh, I don’t want a lot for Christmas
This is all I’m asking for
I just want to see my baby
Standing right outside my door

Oh, I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Sam returned in a moment with the chairs while Don, probably feeling uncomfortable about all the strange attention, went to put Christmas presents under the tree. Gage tried to no avail to get his player to stop playing the song, All I Want for Christmas, but the buttons weren’t responding to his fingers.

All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby

“Grrr…” he grunted, resorting to pushing all the buttons. All I want for Christmas is for everything to go smoothly and for this to stop…playing…or start playing…something else…anything else… 

“Trouble?” Don said.

“Yeah,” Gage sighed, stepping back and rubbing his chin with a frown.

“Let me see if I can help,” Don replied, walking over to the mantle, and pulling the player off its docking port.

“Sure,” Gage threw his hands in the air, turning away. “Be my guest.”

All I want for Christmas is you, baaaa…

Within a moment, the music stopped mid-word, and then restarted with a male voice bellowing with the dramatic strings of a violin… Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… 

“What did you do?”

“Removed the battery and restarted it.”

Gage grinned. “Genius.”

“I don’t know about that. I worked a little in Simicon Valley near Starlight Shores with a start-up tech company so I know a few things,” Don offered modestly.

“Whatever…man…” Gage patted the guy on the back. “You saved us from All I Want for Christmas…”

“Yeah, I just want Rhoda to get through this evening without pissing anyone else off,” Don chuckled, setting the music player back on the stand. “Opps…did I say that aloud?”

“Yeah,” Gage shrugged. “It’s okay. Thanks for coming.”

“Sure, thanks for having me,” Don said.

Gage didn’t add that he wasn’t expecting him. The man was already feeling out of place.

“So… what do you want for Christmas?” Don said, his green eyes twinkling mischievously. “That Kass girl… she’s hot.”

Gage flushed, hearing Kass’s light laughter flood from the dining room almost simultaneously.

“You datin’ her, man?” Don asked.

“I wish,” Gage said before he could stop himself.

Don wrapped his arm around Gage’s shoulder and squeezed in a friendly manner, pointing up with his other hand. “Get her under the mistletoe then, man… like the song says. You’ve got plenty of it.”

“Hey!” Kass called from the other room, and Gage felt the heat flood his face, as if she knew what they were talking about. “Are you coming? Food’s getting cold.”

After dinner, the odd assortment of “family” gathered in the living room for presents. Missy was still grumbling about Don’s presence, and the man was graciously ignoring her comments, while Rhoda sent eye daggers at her mother. Gage was relieved that nothing escalated. After the exchange of gifts, Howard stood up and began grooving to a Deck the Halls remix. Kass covered her mouth to keep from laughing as Gage spun around awkwardly and offered his hand to Missy Bagley. Sam leaped to his feet and did the same, and Ruby eagerly joined him. Kass pushed aside the coffee table and chairs with the help of Don so there was more space to dance. Don invited Rhoda to dance, and she shook her head. Howard returned to the room with a tray of mulled cider.

“Oh thank God,” Rhoda walked over to the man, grabbed a mug, and downed half the cider. “Oh…” she made a face. “That’s good, but it needs something…”

“I know!” Gage exclaimed, hopping over the presents on the ground.

He raced into the other room and snagged the bottle of rum Constance had brought him as a replacement. He gave Rhoda’s cup a few drops, and she grabbed the bottle and dropped way more liquid in, and then took a sip.

“Oh that’s better,” she smirked.

Everyone added a splash of rum to their cups, drinking, clinking mugs, laughing, and dancing. Even Rhoda began buckling her knees and waving her hands, surprisingly getting into the song. By the time the stereo began playing Run, Run Rudolph, everyone was up and dancing and having a blast.

By the end of the evening, Gage was feeling this was a very successful Christmas as he picked up in the dining room. Kass entered the room, looking a little tipsy as she wobbled in her heels and giggled.

“That was fun, Gage,” she said. “I’m so happy..” she leaned forward and placed her hand on his chest. “I’m so glad… you invited me…” she hiccuped. “Opps…” she giggled. “…invited dad and I here for the holidays. It was perfect.”

He beamed from ear to ear. “It’s not over yet,” he leaned in and whispered.

“That tickles,” she laughed loudly, and placed her hands across her stomach.

Gage led her into the living room and handed her a white box wrapped in a crimson ribbon. She jumped up and down excitedly and clapped her hands, nearly falling over as her heels teetered. He caught her arm and steadied her as she looked at him.

“For me?” she exclaimed.

“No, silly, for your dad,” he teased. “No…of course, for you…”

She laughed gleefully and slid the ribbon off the box, and opened the lid.

“Gage!” she said, laying a hand to her heart as she lifted the scrapbook from the box.

It was filled with pictures and memories, poems, sketches, and doodles of their life together. Kass smiled and laughed and bit her lip and sighed as she flipped through the antique matte photo album, laying her fingers across the pictures with awe and wonder.

“It’s lovely,” she said. “You made this?”

“Yeah, although it wasn’t entirely my idea…” he admitted. “Constance suggested it to me.”

“Yeah, but you had the photos and the drawings from over the years and put it together,” she said softly.

“I worked really hard on it,” he said, proudly. “Flip to the last page.”

She did, and he worried for a moment about what she thought as her face went blank with shock. He lifted her chin and stared into her eyes.

“Do you mean it?” she asked with a whisper, her eyes welling with tears.

“Yes, every word,” he bobbed his head.

With those words, he leaned forward and did the one thing he had longed to do since the first day he met the beautiful bubbly redhead, Kassiopeia Celestia Fullbright.

He kissed her.


Author Note: Ah! Yes! I leave you with a cliffhanger. I had fun with this chapter though. It’s Christmas in July for me, even though I originally planned to finish this series last December to coincide with the holidays. Yes, another Harwood Clay reference… for all your fans. 😉 Don Lothario showed up at the house spontaneously and I thought… what a great way to introduce some tension and excitement! Simbals Gourmet Candies is a play on Gimbals Fine Candies. Although Gimbals was actually founded in San Francisco, California, in my Simworld, they are based in Bluewater, Simisouri, like the Jelly Belly Factory. Sorry for the pic spam. The family’s dance party was just too funny so I included it. Sim-Q is a play off GQ. Simicon Valley is a play on Silicon Valley in California. I hope you also enjoyed the Christmas songs smattering throughout – I was trying to get in the mood seeing as I’m writing this in the middle of summer.

❤ to my Simming friends!

Previous Chapter: 1.36 Rock the Night Away

Next Chapter: Interlude: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Kass)

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4 thoughts on “1.37 All I Want (FRWL)

  1. Oh, wow that IS indeed a cliffhanger! :O I wonder how Kass will react…

    This chapter was great, with all the festive spirit and with you showing all the different personalities really well. The house feels so full of life and joy. And Gage’s gift for Kass was lovely.

    Also great idea with the links to the songs to help with the mood… though I confess that I sought out some Finnish Christmas songs instead… and once again realised how depressing most of my favourite Christmas songs are. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • You will see in the next chapter… from Kass’ perspective. And that chapter will help fill in the blanks about some of her teen years and personality also.

      I had fun with decorating for Christmas, and all the festive spirit. I’m glad the chapter captured this. I tried to think of the perfect, and thoughtful gift for Kass, and that was my best option so I hoped it wasn’t too cheesy.

      OOO… I’d love to hear some Finnish Christmas songs. Maybe you can link over in the forums? Although, there is an upcoming chapter where it’s pretty important to listen to one of the songs but I have an author’s note on that one so you’ll know. 🙂

      I have been listening to Christmas music in July for the past week and it’s been driving my family nuts. Lol… that is until my mother-in-law decided to watch a Christmas Hallmark channel movie the other day. It’s pretty hot here so thoughts of winter are nice actually. 🙂 Thanks for reading, RipuAncestor.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 😀 If you want, I can link to some Finnish Christmas songs on the reading circle or something. I did listen to one of the songs you linked to, and of course I’ll listen to the songs that are important for the story. 🙂

        I’m really looking forward to the next chapter!

        Liked by 1 person

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