The Fourth Day, Part Three (Elle)

Partridge in the Pear Tree Pub | 4th of Simcember 

After her conversation with Gracie, Elle returned home to an empty house.

“Hello? Cathy?” she called out into the darkness as she walked into the foyer.

She was greeted with nothing but silence. Not even a single patron or employee filled the pub downstairs. Elle frowned, wondering where everyone was, and why the pub wasn’t open. The thought of spending the night alone filled her with discomfort. Clicking through her phone, she wished her friends and family lived closer. She opened a web browser hunting for local hot-spots, hoping to find something to occupy her time. The Ice Lounge on the other side of town sounded most intriguing…

Enjoy a frigid evening with friends right on the historic waterfront at the Ice Lounge. Help yourself to a Christmas cocktail, boogie beneath icicles on the dance floor, and enjoy the cool atmosphere during your night on the town. Exclusive ice rink for lounge patrons. Are you graceful or clumsy? Depends on whether you’ve had too many cocktails.

Elle chuckled at the ‘clumsy’ bit. That would definitely be me. She changed into festive, but warm attire, wrote Cathy a note and stuck it to the refrigerator, and then stepped out.

arriving The Ice Lounge was only an eleven minute walk. It was pleasant enough, and strangely, the air had warmed somewhat. Elle enjoyed taking in the sights, appreciating the old Sim Union-style architecture and the way the moonlight sparkled on the lake like dancing sugar plum fairies. I think I’m going to like living here. 

Ice Lounge | 4th of Simcember 

seeing Mrs. ClausWhen she arrived at her destination, Elle noticed a glamorous looking, silver-haired woman in a black sparkling evening gown standing on the pier, chatting with another grey-haired woman. Wow! I hope I can rock that look when I’m that age! Elle gaped just a bit.

love your outfit“Love your outfit,” Elle remarked awkwardly interjecting herself in the conversation.

The one woman nodded and left. The other woman in the evening gown broke into an wide, warm smile.

“Hello, and thank you,” she said. “I like your outfit too. In the spirit of holiday colors.”

“Oh,” Elle flushed. “This was just something I threw together. Hi, I’m Elle.”

“Mary Clause.”

Elle shook the woman’s hand, her eyes bulging. “Like Claus… Claus.”

“Yes, married to Mister Clause,” Mary winked.

“Oh my!” Elle gasped.

“He would very much appreciate your hat, I think,” Mary said, her eyes twinkling.

dead loungeElle walked inside after producing her ID, impressed with the beautiful one-roomed lounge with a three-hundred-and-sixty degree view of Lake Hunnewell. Soft strains of jazz wafted throughout the circular room, its centerpiece an enormous sixty-foot tall tree with silver garland and crystal blue balls dangling on its frosted branches. Elle breathed in and out, trying to calm her nerves. It would be good to meet people in this beautiful place. She was surprised it wasn’t more crowded, but then again it was a week night.

Two patrons were sitting at the modern-looking bar with ice-blue glowing lights in the foot area and sprigs of holly atop the counter. The bartender in a three piece grey suit served two older individuals. Elle whistled softly. He looks sharp! She was bummed she didn’t recognize more young people. This was a college town after all. Right now it seems like a retirement home in here. 

ordering drink“Hey! Hey!” Elle lifted her hand in greeting. “What white wines are you serving?”

The bartender offered a low wave and replied, “We have a house wine and the Monte Vistan Grappo Blanco in stock tonight.”

“Ooo…” Elle exclaimed. “I’ll have that. How much?”

“Glass or bottle?” he inquired.

“Glass,” she flushed. “I don’t think I could finish a bottle without some company.”

serving drinks Oh plum! Was that flirting? That was flirting! That sounded flirtatious. Oh llamas! I hope he doesn’t think I’m coming onto him. But he is kinda hot. 

His eyes sparkled as he poured the drink.

sighing contentlyElle found a seat, a tall throne-like white cushioned chair in the far corner, far away from the bar and the bartender with the expressive eyes. Mmmm… this is delicious, she sipped her wine and watched as other customers trickled into the Lounge.

Mary Clause approached the grand piano, an eggnog sort-of color. Eggnog! I should order some rum and eggnog. That would be delicious. Elle smiled as the woman began to play a lively jazzy tune. She glanced shyly back to the bar and noticed the bartender staring in her direction.

me?Elle nearly dropped her glass, spilling some wine on her green sweater dress.

“Gah!” her face must have turned a thousand shades of red.

“Elle, I think I could use a partner,” Mary interrupted her embarrassing moment.

“What? Huh?”

“You look like a woman who sings,” Mary replied.

“What? Who me?” Elle exclaimed. “You want me to sing?”

“Yes, would you?” Mary requested, extending her hand.

Elle swallowed hard as a small crowd began to gather. She somehow willed her legs to stand and walked to the golden microphone after Mary’s gentle prompting.

what should I sing?“What should I sing?” she whispered, terrified, whipping her gaze to Mary.

The woman seemed to exude confidence as she stood just right of the piano.

“Whatever you like, Elle,” Mary said. “I’ll play along.”

“Are you ready?” Elle asked, humming nervously as she thought of a tune.

“Yes, whenever you’re ready,” Mary nodded, stepping to the bench.

Elle coughed, and nervously cleared a tickle from her throat before beginning a shy and sweet mezzo-soprano.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you hear

singing Gaining confidence, Elle continued as Mary provided the echo.

Silver bells, (silver bells) silver bells (silver bells)
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, (ring-a-ling)
Hear them ring, (hear them ring)
Soon it will be Christmas day

When she was finished, many people clapped, and a few dropped some Simoleons in a nearby tray in appreciation. Elle flushed with pleased pride. She noticed the bartender had momentarily paused mixing drinks, but he quickly averted his eyes when she looked in his direction.

Feeling confident, she returned to the counter and ordered an eggnog with spiced rum.

red dress

A woman in a bright red dress walked past Elle as she fiddled with her Santa hat.

“Hey,” she glanced over her shoulder with a grin. “You’ve got a great voice.”

“Oh!” Elle’s hand froze in mid air. “Thank you.”

“You should come by and sing at the Noggin’ Nutcracker sometime,” the woman said.

“Oh, I don’t know about that. I’m not really…” Elle trailed off. Not really what. 

“No, you’re good,” the lady in red said. “I mix drinks there, so I come here for some wind-down chill-time, but you’re the first singer from here I want to poach.”

“I don’t really sing here,” Elle shook her head. “I just indulged…” she bobbed her head toward Mary. “Mrs. Clause over there.”

“If you change your mind,” the woman said, flicking a card from the bust of her dress. “Here’s my contact info. I’m Margarita by the way.”

“Uh… thanks…” Elle licked her lips.

collapsed at the bar “Ah,” she collapsed at the main bar. “I need some food with all that juice I’ve been drinking. Barkeep, whaddaya have?”

“I prefer mixologist,” he said with a slight sniff. “I am an artiste. Kitchen’s closed.”

“What!” she exclaimed, her face falling. “No!”

“How about some pretzel rolls?” he offered. “I still have some of those.”

“Sure,” she stuffed a few Simoleon notes in the glass tip jar.

He perked up. “I’ve got cheesy stuffed ones.”

“I thought you said the kitchen was closed,” she said, tilting her head.

“I save these for special customers,” he smiled, leaning against the counter casually. “Ladies with Santa hats get discounts.”

A young man with spiked blue hair walked past, scoffing.

“Puh-lese! Jesse! What a waste of a line!”

Spencer talks to ElleThe mixologist, presumably called Jesse, grimaced.

“Now, the hat is stupid,” the boy in the heavily studded leather jacket remarked. “…but you have a half-decent singing voice. We should jam sometime.”

“Uh thanks,” Elle narrowed her eyes. “How old are you?”

Twenty-one, but I can be a lot more mature than say… Jesse here,” he said.

“Spencer, if you’re going to harass my customers, go away!” Jesse interjected. “You’re not even on the schedule tonight. And you’re seventeen,” he eyed the wild teenager with amusement.

“Fine, but listen Red, whenever you want to jam, you know where to find me,” he practically fell off the barstool.

Elle smothered a smile. Jesse laughed.

“Shove it, Jesse!” Spencer grunted. “I’m on the prowl tonight. And you’re ruining my game… with the ladies.”

rawwrrr!“Rawrr!” he lifted his hands, wiggling his fingers and stalked off.

“Well that was…odd…” Elle said, snatching a pretzel roll. “Mmm… the hot cheese is a nice addition.”

“You’re welcome,” Jesse replied. “Like he said, I’m Jesse. Most newbies don’t sing on their first night.”

“I kinda got roped into it,” Elle glanced back over at the stage where Mary Clause still plunked away Christmas tunes on the keys. “She’s great.”

“Who? Mary? She’s been playing here for years,” Jesse said. “Her husband is away a lot.”

“Oh,” was all Elle could think to say. “And um… yes…” she shifted in her seat nervously. “I am new in town. Just transferred to the Uni.”

“Where are you from?” he inquired.

“Califorsimia,” she replied.

Del Sol Valley comment “Let me guess, Del Sol Valley?” he remarked. “Tried your hand at acting and couldn’t hack it so you came here to pursue a higher education.”

Elle winced.

“Never been,” she confessed.

“What? You’ve never been?” he replied, wiping the counter. “Okay, I had you pegged wrong.”

“I prefer not to be a peg at all,” she replied. “Pegs are boring. I’d much rather be free to define myself by my standards, not societal norms.”

“A true unique,” Jesse grinned. “Hey, you just keep being you. Don’t lose that optimism.”

Elle flushed happily.

“If you’re from Califorsimia, you’ll probably find out quick, the night scene’s a little tired here, but this place isn’t half-bad,” Jesse offered.

smiles“I don’t know,” Elle glanced around. “It could be very lively. I suppose I’m okay with quiet… if I have some nice-looking company.”

She squeaked internally. I just said that out loud? I said that aloud. 

He looked away, smiling shyly for the first time all evening.

“You know my name, but I don’t know yours,” he said, as if avoiding the subject.

She was a little disappointed. “Elle. So tell me about yourself Jesse.”

“I uh… what’s there to tell? I didn’t want to go into the family biz. I moved here. Started taking classes at the uni. Moonlight as a mixologist at night.”

“I’m sure there’s more to you than that, Jesse,” Elle said softly.

“I sure hope so,” he chuckled awkwardly. “Hey we’re about to close up. I’ll pack up your food. It’s on the house, Elle.”

“Really? Thanks,” she grinned and then slipped into a yawn. “Oh… it’s late. Two am. Wow. I lost…” she continued to yawn. “…track of time.”

“Time well spent, I hope,” he grinned.

“Yeah,” she nodded. “I’ll see you around, Jesse.”

says goodnight

“Have a good night, Elle.”


Author Notes: I swear… my Simself and versions of my Simself are always attracted to bartenders. Maybe it’s cuz they are among some of the easiest Sims to meet. Jesse Daugherty is a game-generated Sim, but the two of them really hit it off unexpectedly. Mrs. Claus did invite Elle to sing, and Spencer did try to awkwardly hit on Elle (some mod I have… can’t remember what allowing teen-adult romance). Funny though. Margarita was the only one who exchanged numbers with Elle at the end of the night.

This chapter featured divanthesimmer’s Mrs. Clause, Margarita Mixer, and Spencer Goode. If I start at the beginning (it would be Cathy, Jasper, Gracie, Mary, and then Margarita as the 5th Sim). Though if I go in strict order, if I count the street vendor, it would be Mrs. Mary Clause. Or if I don’t count the street vendor, then technically, the mixologist, Jesse Daughtery. I can’t decide. Whom shall I feature in the next chapter? 

Thanks for reading. 

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The Fourth Day, Part Two (Elle)

Partridge in a Pear Tree Cottage | 4th of Simcember 

Elle checks the weather

I wonder what today’s weather will be like. 

“Help yourself to the TV or computer. I gotta scoot,” Cathy called from the kitchen. “I’m doing a lecture downstairs in the pub. You’re welcome to join.”

Elle settled on the backless couch. Why do people buy these things? They aren’t comfortable or practical. Where am I supposed to lean? Even so, she found the soothing teal color to be relaxing, reminding her of the beach in her home town. She could practically smell the sea-salt laden air, hear the cry of the gulls and the happy clamoring of children, and feel the warm, wet sand beneath her bare feet racing to the rocks to watch the seals lazing about beneath the warm Califorsimian sun. Elle sighed. Life was simpler.

“I’d love to,” she replied, clicking on the weather channel. “Thanks for the invite, but I think I want to do some exploring today. I’ll catch the next one for sure.”

“Suit yourself,” Cathy waved.

blizzard comingThe Sims National Weather Service declared snowy and cold conditions for most of the day. Elle sighed, wishing it was warmer for walking about town. She decided she wouldn’t let the temperature ruin her plans. Glancing about Cathy’s living room, she smiled, enjoying the Christmas decoration – a hearty pine tree, decked in festive colored balls, ribbons, peppermint sticks, and golden snowflakes, a matching pine bough decking the mentle with a shiny gold jingle bell, red, green, and white paper stars dangling over window panes, and the soft glow of creme brulee scented candles amidst sprigs of holly branches. A collection of Christmas cards sat atop the caramel colored trunk with bronze hinges.

“I guess Christmas is a few weeks away,” she mumbled to herself, feeling slightly depressed she wouldn’t be with family this year.

Her classes would start this evening, and extend through the Winter Holiday. Most students were on break for the month. Not me, she twisted her toe in the plum-colored area rug. That’s what I get for transferring halfway through the year. Feeling a little nosy, she flicked open a card, wondering about the nice things people wrote to Cathy. Most cards were from students, but she did notice one letter written in her cousin’s familiar handwriting. Elle smiled wistfully, figuring she should call her cousin and the kiddos. She tried to remind herself the end result of transferring schools would be worth it right as she heard the front door slam shut. Oh, I wonder what little present I could buy for my new host! 

“Cathy, is that you?” she called.

Jasper walks in

Jasper McCumber waltzed in, whistling a little Christmas tune.

While fields and flocks, rocks hills and plains 
Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy… 

“Oh!” Elle gasped. “I wasn’t expecting to see you, Professor.”

“Hello Elle, did you settle in nicely?” Jasper inquired.

“I did, thank you,” Elle smiled. “I was just about to walk around town. Is it cold out?” She felt a little lazy just lounging on the couch.

lighting fire

“Oh yes, but nothing a young woman like yourself cannot handle,” Jasper remarked as he pulled a lighter from the mantle.

The young man on the television flashed a coy smile as he tried to convince viewers to purchase patio furniture. Elle covered her mouth and smothered a giggle. What a strange time of year to buy patio furniture! She thought she recognized the shirtless man with the frosted blonde curls posing before a umbrella-shaded table.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, switching her focus to the professor.

“Oh, I’m hosting a literary club,” Jasper replied.

“Here?” she squeaked and jumped up from the couch, wondering where everyone would sit.

“Yes, you’re welcome to join,” he replied. “Cathy always lets me use her living room.”

The thought of discussing books by the fire with a renowned writer and literary critic sounded tempting, but she didn’t want to intrude. She also had no idea what they had been reading or if she could even contribute.

“Oh no, I better scoot,” Elle replied. “Thank you anyhow.”

Brent something… the infomercial king, she recalled. Her cousin-in-law, Joseph Simself had invited the actor to a party once since he worked with Sims.tv.

Elle swingsAfter a day of exploring the town, Elle plopped down on one of the swings in the backyard, feeling whimsical. Swings always reminded her of a happy childhood, a time when she was more carefree and content with her life. Her feet kicked the array of autumn leaves at her feet as she pushed off the ground, glancing heavenward. Somehow the half-cloudy sky didn’t even cause her to despair. This is why I’m here, she sighed. To start a better life. 

squealingElle couldn’t help but squeal a bit as she whirled through the air on a squeaking swing set, her gloved hands gripping the golden chains as she pumped her legs back and forth. With each motion, she reminded herself she could do this. She could start over. The past was in the past, and everything could begin anew.

Streets of Hollidaysburg | 4th of Simcember 

Elle wanders through townAs she waited for the ferry to arrive, she pulled out her phone and texted her cousin as she planned to do the night prior. I can’t believe I am roommates with Cathy Tea. Any advice, coz? 

grilled cheeseWhile she awaited a reply, Elle ordered a grilled cheese and a pineapple-mango juice from a street vendor.

“Pleasant evening, isn’t it?” she said.

“Indeed,” the vendor replied.

“Aren’t you cold?” she inquired, glancing at his exposed arms.

“Naw,” he laughed and shook his head. “Hot blood runs in my family.”

Elle munched on her food as she traveled across the lake to the university. Lizzie texted her back just as she stepped off the ferry.

Oh how exciting! I’ll have to make a trip out to see you both. We used to work together, you know. Just be yourself, Elle. Cathy’s an accepting person. Don’t worry about formalities. 

Elle quickly texted “thanks,” wiped a bit of cheese from her mouth, and headed up the dock to the university for her first evening of class – Introductory Poetry.

Elle sees GracieEvening class finished around six-thirty. Professor Claire Clutterbell released everyone early. Tonight was mostly an informal get-to-know one-another class, review of the syllabus and reading materials, and some introductory exercises. Elle was required to come up with a short haiku to describe herself as a class exercise. It was strange as Elle didn’t like to be the center of attention, but with only five classmates, the course felt more like a workshop than a full class. She could do it, Elle swallowed hard thinking back to her nerves as she recalled the poem she penned.

Hear tawny owls call
Herald the evening moon rise
How long will you wait? 

When Professor Clutterbell asked her what she thought the words meant, Elle explained the haiku reflected her love of music, her creative nature, and her desire to make the world a better, happier place. The owl represented her aspiration for wisdom and knowledge, and the fact that she was more of a night person.

Now as she strolled along the street in the early evening, Elle found herself contemplating the last line. Was it gentle inspiration meant to question the things of life? Was it the fierce whisper of her spirit aching for change? Was it the instinctive urge to rise and act? She twisted her lower lip. Professor Clutterbell praised her introspection, and yet somehow it felt incomplete. She wondered if she would ever feel whole.

girl glowingA young girl approached, beaming from ear to ear. Pointed ears, as a matter of fact. Elle half-smiled, wondering what the child wanted. She appeared to be glowing, an aura of pure white joy, something angelic and innocent like children should be. Her jingle bell attached to her cap jangled as she bobbed her head.

“How now brown cow!” the girl lifted her hand in greeting.

Elle frowned. I’m not a cow! she protested internally. Is she calling me a cow? And a brown cow at thatWhy would she call me that? Wait… cow… oh… I need to pick up some milk at the store. Cathy seemed to be out and I’d like some with my cereal tomorrow. In fact, I should pick up a few things. 

The girl seemed to wait endlessly, the earnest smile on her face never faltering. Elle relaxed into a bemused sigh and said the first words that came to mind.

Elocution lesson “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

The girl’s smile grew even wider, if that was possible. “Oh, thank you. We are learning about elocution in school. E-lo-cu-tion is a big word, don’t you think?”

And to think… I suspected she intended meanness, Elle shook her head.

“Hi, I’m Elle, what’s your name?”

“Gracie Goode. It’s alit…alit…alliteration,” she stumbled over the word. “See? That’s a big word too.”

“Yes, it is,” Elle smirked. “Do you make a habit of talking to strangers about alliteration and elocution?”

For the first time, the little angel frowned. “Mom wants me to be more careful about who I talk to. She’s says not everyone is good in the world like we are, but you just seemed like a good person. Are you good, Elle?” she wiggled her fingers.

Gracie inquires about good Elle fumbled for words. Am I good? Don’t we all wonder that? 

“I’m literally good,” Gracie giggled. “I mean… my last name is Goode, spelled with an ‘e.’ What’s your last name?”

“Well, that’s fun,” Elle remarked. “My name is missing an ‘i’ but I pronounce my name Ell-ie. My last name is Greene.”

“That’s funny,” Gracie replied. “You’re wearing green.”

“And you’re wearing white,” Elle observed. “Are you sure your last name isn’t White?”

“No, silly,” Gracie laughed. “It’s Goode. Well, see ya around, Elle.”

As quickly as she appeared, she scampered off, but not before calling over her shoulder, “Elle? That’s a palin-drome.”

Elle smiled warmly. “Yes, yes it is.”


Author Notes: This story is getting to be quite long. It’s harder and harder to capture everything in game and meet the required number of Sims in one chapter. Some of it may also be this segment follows my Sim and so I’m getting a bit lost in that. 😉 I’m naturally introspective. Haha. I’m also riding the flow of my creativity right now. Hope you don’t mind. 

CathyTea‘s Jasper appeared in the home of Cathy Tea for a Page Turners club meeting. Elle would’ve liked to join but she’s not a club member, at least not yet. 

Elle is a communications major. I plan to have her attend various communications/writing classes. If you would like your Sim to attend a class with Elle, let me know, and I’ll try to make it happen in game. 🙂 This first one is Introductory Poetry. Professor Claire Clutterbell is a reference to an actual Sim from The Sims: Bustin’ Out. She is an expert in poetry, and once the poet laureate to the Leader of the Free World (a.k.a. the President of the Sim Nation). 

divanthesimmer‘s Gracie was highlighted, but I liked the image enough that I added it into the story. She approached Elle and said something in Simlish that almost sounded like “How now brown cow” which sparked this whole conversation. 

The Fourth Day, Part One (Elle)

Partridge in a Pear Tree Cottage | 3rd of Simcember 

As Elle climbed the outside steps above the pub, she almost pinched herself. She couldn’t believe she would be staying in the home of the Cathy Tea. It was a dream come true to meet the author and professor. No one had seen Cathy in the city of San Myshuno, her place of residence for most of her life, in years. She had retired from the professional author circuit, instead choosing to travel and live out her life teaching at various universities, lecturing at small coffee shops, and hosting discussions in small taverns around the world. In fact, it was fitting the woman lived above a pub. Elle had always hoped to meet her, and was delighted to hear she was guest lecturing at the University of Hollidaysburg when she transferred.

Elle enters CT's home And to think I met Dr. McCumber too, Elle squealed internally as she stumbled into the door. Meeting such distinguished and well-renowned writers was an honor.

“Er… uh… Ms. Tea?” she inquired, knocking against the white oak wood door with its fine chocolaty finish.

Her interruption was met with the clickety-clack of the keys. The professor was furiously typing at the desk in the entryway, an odd place for a writing nook, but Elle was too polite and thought it was too cool to make a comment.

“One second…” Cathy replied with a huge smile on her face. “I have just managed to capture the essence of holiday hope in a story. Can you believe that?”

Elle gulped and nodded in nervous excitement. She could believe anything.

“Well don’t just stand there, Elle, is it?” Cathy smirked. “The icy air is bound to blast my sweet bay tree to death.”

“Oh, sorry, Professor,” Elle grimaced and shut the door.

CT checks student profiles“Cathy, please,” Cathy waved her hand. “Now I need to finish some research. There’s fresh baked pastries from the bakery in the kitchen. Help yourself. And hot water in the pipes if you should like to warm up from the cold. And your bedroom is at the top of the stairs and the last door on the left. Make yourself at home. Will you be able to find it okay? I simply must…” she closed her eyes and pressed her hands to the keyboard. “…review my student profiles for my class.”

“I can… manage,” Elle replied, grabbing her bag from the inside of the living room.

Lizzie sleeps

It felt a bit strange to wander through a practical stranger’s home, but she did as Cathy suggested. Pouring herself a cup of milk, she plucked a cherry and walnut cookie from the glass display in the kitchen, walked upstairs to the third level, dropped her duffel in the bedroom, and filled the tub with honey vanilla bubble bath. Her last thought as she laid down on her pillow was “I have to text Lizzie. She’ll never believe it.

Partridge in a Pear Tree Cottage | 4th of Simcember 

sitting on her bed When she awoke, Elle momentarily felt as though she was in a dream. What is this strange and wondrous place? Dressing in comfortable athletic gear, she settled on the bed to tie her shoes and made a plan to explore the town of Hollidaysburg today on foot. She had heard lovely things about the town and its people.

Elle found her mind wandering. The bed was comfortable with a leafy green spread as if Cathy Tea anticipated her favorite color. The windows were draped with vibrant green and royal blue curtains tied with creamy ribbons, festive for the holiday season. She did have to wonder about the rather regal looking couple in a portrait adjacent to her nightstand. She should like to have a shade of lip gloss in the mauve color, the same as the dress the woman wore.

pouring tea Cathy hummed a tune in the kitchen as she moved about wiping the white tiled counters.

“Help yourself,” she nodded as Elle entered the kitchen.

“Thanks,” Elle remarked, pouring herself a steaming cup of tea after locating the mugs in the overhead cupboard.

She didn’t feel the need to tell her hostess that she preferred coffee. I can grab a to-go cup from one of the food stalls in town later, or swing by a coffee shop.

“You mentioned a bakery?” Elle began.

“Oh yes. All Things Bright and Beautiful in Hollidaysburg Shopping Plaza,” Cathy said, settling on one of the barstools at the counter. “The Bright sisters… delightful ladies… own the shop. Best pastries in town short of an out-of-the-way cupcake stall in Uptown. There one minute…” she snapped her fingers. “Gone the next.”

talking of Elizabeth “Uptown? Like in San Myshuno?” Elle repeated, sitting next to her new landlady. “My cousin lives there. Well, not Uptown, but the city itself.”

Cathy’s eyes widened, a dawn of recognition glimmering. “Oh… you’re related… to a Green? My goodness… yes!” she raised her hand with a happy laugh. “You look so much like her.”

“Elizabeth Green is my older cousin,” Elle smiled shyly. “Though she goes by Simself now. Has for decades.”

“Wonderful! Marvelous!” Cathy exclaimed. “I haven’t kept in touch as much as I’d like. How are the triplets?”

questioning the tea“Oh I haven’t seen them in awhile, but I hear they are doing well. Ready to start college any day now themselves,” Elle replied, and then made a face as she set her tea down on the counter. “What kind of tea did you say this was?”

Run oolong,” Cathy answered emphatically. “The black dragon tea.”

“Oh…” Elle swallowed hard as the beverage was more burnt tasting than anything else.

“Now what is your major again?” Cathy inquired.

“Communications,” Elle replied. “With an emphasis in writing. I enjoy all kinds of writing actually. Creative. Technical. Analytical. I hope to do research writing someday. At least that’s my plan. I do really enjoy helping people though. Maybe I’ll do some nonprofit work also.”

“It is good to be diversified,” Cathy nodded, reaching for her own cup of tea.

Cathy despises the tea “Blech!” she moaned and turned away. “Sorry that was rude to do in your face. This tea is terrible.”

Elle chuckled weakly. “You said it.”

They both laughed.

“My barkeep downstairs, Ebeneezer, you’ll meet him soon. He comes and makes me tea in the mornings sometimes,” Cathy explained. “Here.”

“Ebeneezer… like Scrooge? A Christmas Carol?” Elle smiled. “I love Dickens.”

“Me too,” Cathy grinned sheepishly. “Part of the reason I hired the mixologist was because of his name. But shh! Don’t tell.”

Elle and Cathy discuss Dickens “Nicholas Nickleby is my favorite,” Elle said excitedly. “I think it’s beautiful that Dickens chose to explore how every person deserves love and friendship, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

Cathy straightened in her seat and closed her eyes, reciting, “Happiness is a gift, and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.”

Elle clapped her hands. “I’m going to enjoy living here.”

“Me too,” Cathy smiled. “Now let’s see if I can brew us some better tea.”


Author Notes: It was fun to write this chapter. I decided Elle is Lizzie Green’s younger cousin, my “Simself” from Livin’ A Simmin’ Life. Ebeneezer (by Vanpelt81) did make an appearance in the home, brewing tea and then simply vanishing. Haha. I never caught a picture of it so I just mentioned it. Poor Eby brewed a terrible pot of tea. Hopefully he’s a better mixologist. 🙂 Cathy (by CathyTea) and Elle enjoyed discussing favorite authors and books. It was the perfect discussion for those two. The “essence of holiday hope in a story” I mention is a reference to one of CathyTea’s latest stories 12 Epiphanies, well-worth reading, and a meaningful look at Christmas. Not enough Sims popped up in this chapter so I’ll have to make this a two-parter. Thanks for reading. 

The Third Day (Jasper)

A Little Christmas Carol Cottage | 3rd of Simcember

Jasper and the wood If woodworking be the food of love, sculpt on! Jasper was pleased to find one of his pen pal friends had mailed him a package. The humorous statement on the card was just the fuel he needed to return to a favorite pasttime of his – carving wood sculptures.

He recalled the boyhood days, whittling on the island in Windenburg. A true Deutchsim education. It is what his parents wanted for him. Yet summers on the island coast were spent with only the Great Outdoors as his teacher and the trees as his fellow classmates.

sanding

measuring

marking This dull Simcember morning was best spent indoors, sanding the wood to perfection, priming the piece inside for its grand reveal. Then a bit of measuring with a yellow tape from his dearly departed wife, and a few precise markings from a red ballpoint pen, a present from his students at the University of Hollidaysburg.

Jasper admires his handiwork At eleven on the dot, Jasper completed his work – two lovebirds in warm embrace. Let the bird sing without deciphering the song. The feathered friends would be the quiet companions for his lunch of peanut butter and jelly. Without the crusts, of course. It tasted better this way. He was an elderly man with simple tastes. He lit the four candles and breathed in their creamy vanilla scent among the fresh pine boughs from the forest he had collected the day before.

eating He chose to leave the birds in peace, retiring to the wide windowseat. Eyes closed, he said thanks. For the seedless raspberry jam. For the use of his hands. For the comfort of a cushioned seat. For the warmth of the heat rising from the furnace vent at his feet. For the freshness of a new day in his new home, decked in Christmastime cheer.

Evening arrived sooner than he would’ve expected. Jasper spent the day reading the classics in the crevices of his windowseat. He always wanted to have a home with a seat in the window. Around four, the sun started to set, and Jasper wrapped his legs in a warm blanket. Around seven, the shepherd stopped by.

Gerald arrives “Gerald, what brings you my way?” Jasper inquired, rolling a ball in the snow. “Join me.”

“Ah. Jasper, it is good to see you. You know your pond here has some of the best fishing in town. Sometimes I like to clear my head and commune with nature,” the shepherd of St. Nicholas Chapel spoke.

making snowman“I can understand,” Jasper smiled. “Ah dear nature—the mere remembrance, after a short forgetfulness, of the pine woods! I come to it as a hungry man to a crust of bread.”

“One of your poems?” Gerald asked, his eyes twinkling.

building snow “I should be so humbled to think you mistake me for Thoreau, but no, my son,” Jasper responded politely. “I merely quote the words of a great man.”

“I’ve read some of your works,” Gerald shook his head. “Don’t be so quick to dismiss yourself.”

snowman made Jasper slapped the man in a friendly gesture on the shoulder. “Thank you for making my place your Walden Pond. I think I will take my evening walk.”

“Don’t wander too far, Jasper. Wouldn’t want you to catch your death in the cold,” Gerald replied.

University of Hollidaysburg | 3rd of Simcember 

flags Yet Jasper wandered far. He liked his late evening walks. The world lay sleeping in the peaceful presence of snow. He found himself at the University, an impressive structure. He was grateful that the Provost requested he teach a semester as a visiting guest lecturer. The opportunity to shape young minds once again. Ah! he took a deep lung full of frosty air. He would be in his element.

It was nice to be semi out-of retirement. Jasper walked beneath the string of colored flags, indicating the various countries represented at the University of Hollidaysburg, a decent demographic. Windenburg had more, but then again, that school was in the Sim Union.

Jasper wanders

vera

cookies He went for a jolly stroll through the sacred hallways of knowledge before spotting another professor. She was a scientist first, academic second. He had met her the other day in the lunch hall over an intense discussion surrounding robots – science experiments or sentient beings? Jasper had little experience with technological inventions but nonetheless found Vera LeStrange an interesting person.

vera offers a cookie “What are you doing here this late?” he asked.

“Baking sugar cookies. The culinary classes have the best ovens, and my lodging doesn’t allow for a hot plate, let alone a stove,” Vera replied. “Have one.”

“These are delicious,” Jasper complimented, the fresh-baked, hot dessert from the oven warmed his body and soul.

“I enjoy the science of baking. I’ve been trying for the better part of my life to concoct the perfect cookie,” Vera said.

“You succeeded,” Jasper said with a wink. “In my book at least.”

meets Elle

The library was quiet. Only an attendant remained at the front desk when Jasper entered. He wandered the aisles in the company of Shakespeare and Dickens and the like. Tucked into a corner with one of his personal favorites, a book of essays by Margaret Fuller, was a young redhaired woman resting on a couch.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, sheepishly. “I didn’t think I’d be disturbed here.”

“I don’t blame you. Sleeping in a library surrounded by such classics,” Jasper replied. “I’ve done it myself a time or two.”

He was surprised when she pulled a duffel bag and a backpack from behind the couch.

“You’re Dr. McCumber, aren’t you?” she inquired as she stood.

“Uh I prefer Professor,” he replied, a hint of pink in his cheeks. “Or just Jasper will do.”

“I couldn’t possibly refer to you so informally,” she exclaimed. “I’m… uh…Elizabeth Green, but you can call me Elle.”

“A pleasure to meet you Elle,” he said, offering a warm, firm handshake. “Do you mind me asking why you are carrying your possessions?”

“Oh… uh… I’m a transfer from Califorsimia State,” she explained. “And student housing fell through for me, so here I am…” she laughed nervously. “…sleeping in the library.”

Jasper thought for a moment. “What if I told you I could find you some better lodging?”

Her eyes widened.

“At least until you can get on your feet and figure out student housing or some other arrangement,” Jasper added.

“I’d say thank you,” Elle said, surprised. “Thank you.”

Partridge in a Pear Tree Pub | 3rd of Simcember 

meeting CTThey traveled across town. He was still growing accustomed to the temperature changes from one side of town to another. The snow had melted and the air wasn’t quite as biting. His colleague was outside, of course, grilling franks on a red barbecue.

“Doesn’t wood smoke smell like Christmas!” she declared.

“Cathy, I brought you a possible tenant,” Jasper said, settling on a plump stack of colorful pillows.

“Cathy?” his new friend exclaimed. “Like Professor Tea? Oh I’ve read some of your works.”

“Professor Cathy Tea, this is Elle Green from Califorsimia,” Jasper introduced.

Cathy eyes Jasper

Cathy eyed Jasper suspiciously. “She isn’t one of those who sings in the shower and sounds like a dying cat like my last roommate, is she?”

“And if she does, she’s got a good heart,” Jasper smiled. “I just know it.”

“Hey!” Elle protested. “I don’t have a bad singing voice!”

“Or someone who doesn’t know Chaucer from Charles Dickins?” Cathy darted an unrelenting glare at her fellow professor.

“As a matter of fact, I found her in the library among the classical giants, Cathy,” Jasper defended. “She needs a place to stay temporarily.”

“Aren’t we all just staying temporarily?” Cathy replied, her face relaxing. “…in this world. Come, sit, Elle. I am Cathy Tea. No need to call me Professor.”

“Oh… thank you,” Elle replied, hesitantly, taking a seat on the bench as if she weren’t sure what to make of the two teachers.

“Tell us about yourself,” Cathy said.

“Uh… what do you want to know?” Elle asked with a forced smile.

Elle and Jasper and Cathy “Relax,” Jasper chuckled. “We don’t bite. Why did you transfer to Hollidaysburg?”

“I wasn’t happy at Califorsimia State. I wasn’t challenging myself,” Elle replied, honestly.

“And thus, you traveled three thousand plus miles to challenge yourself,” Jasper said, more as a statement than a question.

“I suppose,” Elle chuckled.

“You should do more than suppose,” Jasper remarked. “If you’ve traveled this far… you should be certain.”

“Nonsense, Jasper,” Cathy interjected. “College is the time of uncertainty, of exploration, of testing the boundaries, and traversing the start of this grand journey to discovering one’s identity and purpose in this life.”

Jasper corrects Cathy “I guess that’s one way of looking at it,” Jasper grumbled. “I think college is a time of solidifying who you are and of making decisions that will shape the rest of your life. You need to plan ahead to make the best possible choices for your life. Too many students waste their time in college. You must always try your hardest and strive for excellence, and you will be successful. You are now an adult, Elle, for how long?”

“I’m nineteen,” Elle squeaked.

Elle and Cathy “Then my fair grey-haired friend, you and I disagree, but what else is new?” Cathy shrugged with a light laugh. “You may stay here, my dear,” she said with an earnest smile. “It would be a delight to have a young person in my home again.”

“Thank you,” Elle blushed.

Jasper chuckled to himself, shuffling across the yard as he waved good night. He knew his new friend would be alright. He rubbed his chin, amused. Even if that youngin’ Cathy still has much to learn.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. That first line of the chapter was taken directly from the game. This was a fun chapter to write. Jasper and Cathy really were contrary to one another in game. I’m also excited that a variation of my Simself is the third person Jasper encountered meaning a chapter for my Simself will be next. Jasper first quotes Emerson and then Thoreau. This is taking me down memory lane with English lit. Jasper McCumber and Cathy Tea are submissions by Cathy Tea and Gerald Goode and Vega LeStrange is a submission by divanthesimmer. Hope you enjoyed. 

 

The Second Day, Pt. 2 (Page)

Llama Memorial Library | 2nd of Simcember 

Page and Carol

“Good morning, Miss Page,” the barista greeted in the uppermost floor of the Llama Memorial Library.

Page’s nose twitched every so slightly at the mention of ‘miss’ before her name. Why do people feel the need to define a person by their relationship status? 

“Good morning, Carol,” she replied, smoothing a smile across her face. “One cup of espresso. Make it a double.”

“Oh are you extra tired today, dear?” Carol said, prepping the beverage.

“I stayed up reading beautiful pyre poetry last night,” Page admitted. “Did you know it’s illegal for vampires to engage in the arts other than dancing and singing outside a hollow?”

“That’s interesting, dear,” Carol replied, sounding less than enthusiastic.

espressoPage tried to enjoy the cup of espresso, a little weak for her taste. Carol Goode wasn’t the best barista on staff, by far, but she was mostly pleasant. As a shepherd’s wife, Carol knew more about religious and faith literature than anyone else in town, save the shepherd himself, which was partly why Page kept her around. Page liked employing staff with expertise in various written works.

“Will we see you at Sunday services?” Carol inquired.

“Oh perhaps,” Page said. “I might be taking a trip.”

“Oh that’s lovely,” Carol smiled. “With friends?”

“No… alone…” Page replied, wincing.

Always alone. She wasn’t sure how her father would take another person at his grave. It would be nice to introduce him someday to a romantic partner, but until then, she trekked to his final resting place alone.

Page places a book on the shelfPage outside with books

Page busied herself with work, straightening shelves, stocking literature, and bringing extra books outside to the Christmas Book Fair table.

“Mara Jean, you can’t mix books about music with books about outer space,” she corrected the teenage volunteer at the booth.

“It’s freezing out here,” the girl with the short reddish-brown hair complained.

“Isn’t the snow a lovely place to find a new friend?” Page mused.

“A new friend?” Mara Jean made a face and crossed her arms over her tight blue sweater.

“You know… a character in a book,” Page continued. “Maybe you should wear more layers next time, dear. Why don’t you finish up here and then come in and get a cup of hot cocoa?”

“Oh great!” Mara Jean said, suddenly motivated.

writing a novelPage took her place behind the front desk, and began checking her emails as Mara Jean walked inside. The teenager waved in gratitude in her direction, and then bounced upstairs, her hot pink pants catching Page’s eye. Maybe I need to wear brighter colors. It’s more youthful. She didn’t have much luck at the Lounge the night before, although she did see her new acquaintance, Sugar Maple Bough.

“Some old guy is outside asking for a head librarian,” Mara Jean said, leaning against the desk and resting her head on her arm in annoyance.

“Mara Jean, what did we say?” Page quirked her head and gave a disapproving look.

“Treat all library patrons with respect,” Mara Jean sighed.

“Which means…” Page probed.

“Don’t call people old,” Mara Jean rolled her eyes. “Look, I told him we were closing, but he insisted.”

Page stood and held up her hand. “I’ll handle it.”

Page meets Jasper Page tried to ignore the biting chill at her ankles, wishing she had the sense to wear her coat before trekking outside in ballet flats. Her feet would surely soak. The “old guy” Mara Jean referred to stood near the book carts, his silvery white hair hanging long curling round his neck. He was smiling beneath a snowy white ‘stash and beard. His thin blue blazer couldn’t possibly keep him warm.

“How can I help you, sir?”

“Oh please, call me Jasper,” he replied softly. “Jasper McCumber. I am new in town.”

“You are?” she fiddled with her glasses. “Welcome to Hollidaysburg. I am Page Turner. I am the head librarian.”

“Why thank you,” Jasper remarked. “This town is so full of Christmas spirit. What a wonderful tribute to the goodness of Simkind. It makes one’s heart happy, does it not?”

Page blinked, clutching her phone in hand. “I suppose, yes.”

And here I was miserable most of today and this man seems so peaceful.

“Do you have plans for Christmastide?” he inquired, his question slightly personal for a man she only just met, but somehow she didn’t mind.

“Probably my usual takeout dinner from The Gingerbread House and then a movie at the Tinsel on the Tree Theatre,” she replied.

Jasper gasps
Jasper quotes“What! Oh my!” he gasped. “That is not Christmas!” he cleared his throat and stretched his neck like a swan before continuing in a deep, dramatic tone, “Why do you flee so soon, sir, to the theaters, lecture-rooms, and museums of the city? If you will stay here awhile I will promise you strange sights. You shall walk on water; all these brooks and rivers and ponds shall be your highway. You shall see the whole earth covered a foot or more deep with purest white crystals …and all the trees and stubble glittering in icy armor.”

Page flushed, though she was not sure why. It was a tradition she had with her father – to see a new movie in theaters on Christmas Day. Even in his final year, when so close to death, they managed to get written permission from his physician to visit the movies. That last movie they saw together was a special re-screening of Lost Dog’s Journey Home. Page hadn’t seen the movie since. She couldn’t bring herself to ruin a memory of her dad, or risk bawling buckets of tears on the couch with only a box of tissues to keep her company.

“Oh…Thoreau on Nature,” she exclaimed, recalling the words from her readings.

“From his Sage Words on Finding Harmony with the Natural World,” Jasper confirmed.

“So I should skate on ice this Christmas, huh, Jasper?” she said, snarkily.

Jasper shook his head. “You should see where the world takes you. Should Mother Nature take you across a frozen highway or a crystalline lake, then you should oblige her. Inspiration often comes among the snowy branches. Who knows what wonders you mind’s eye could conjure!”

Admits to the novelist“Actually,” she admitted, proudly. “I am writing a novel.”

“How wonderful!” Jasper said, genuinely.

Truth is, I’m writing five, but they are only snippets of ideas, half-outlines, and rough drafts, she sighed internally.

“Now what can I help you with?” she offered.

“You see, this is all rather embarrassing,” he began. “I made a presumption that the head librarian would be of a certain wisdom and maturity… and er…I thought he or she… would understand my dilemma and look kindly on my technologically challenged brain.”

“You thought I would be elderly,” Page smirked. “What do you need, Jasper? I promise I won’t laugh.”

“I am looking for a recipe for the perfect apple pie,” Jasper said. “You see my students called me ancient because I did not want to look up a recipe on the world wide web, but I prefer the tangible nature of books, the scent of gently aged pages and the feel…”

Page shows him her phone

“…of the smooth paper against your skin,” Page finished for him, a big smile on her face. “Oh I so understand your preference. It’s not a dilemma. Still, I’d be happy to show you what recipe books we have in stock right here on my phone.”

“Right there?” he repeated. “On your screen? You have the whole library at your fingertips,” he said, in awe, as she scrolled through pages to find just what he was looking for.

“You see. Here… we can go to the second floor, third section, and you can find a whole number of books on cooking and time-tested recipes,” she explained. “I can come with you if you’d like.”

“I think I shall come back tomorrow,” he said, suddenly.

“Oh?”

“Are you working?”

“Yes.”

Jasper compliments Page “Good, I shall return in the morning and apply for a library card,” Jasper declared. “Pleasure to meet you Page, the head librarian,” he waved his hands in dramatic gesture.  “I hope you don’t think this too forward but you have a lovely head.”

Page raised her hands to her face sure that her cheeks were as red as her hair. He had spoken her name… just her first name… first. No Missus. No Miss. No Librarian title. Just Page. This pleased her. She would look forward to Jasper’s visit the following morning.

“See you tomorrow,” she lifted her hand and waved, feeling awkward as she did so.

He merely grinned as he swaggered away in confidence and walked down the snow-covered steps of the library. Oh how I wish I could be that confident! To be forward with my thoughts and intentions. To walk with my head high as if I know what I’m doing. To compliment a stranger. 

Page says goodbye “And all the trees…” she repeated in whisper. “…glittering in icy armor.”


Author Notes: Thank you for reading. Page and Carol are creations by divanthesimmer. Jasper is a submission by CathyTea. Each character feels real and their personalities are so distinct in my game. It is fun to watch the game play. I like to write these characters as if we are already in the middle of their story.

For those of you who don’t know, ‘pyres” are the official name for vampire Sims. It’s what they call themselves. Page is an expert in vampire or ‘pyre’ lore. Pyres/vampires are heavily regulated by the Sim government. You can read more in depth here

Jasper was the second Sim to show up at the library (of the characters submitted – I’m not following townies… yet). He was in a flirty mood most of his time around Page, so I ran with it. He told a dramatic tale in game and immediately followed it up by declaring his undying love. Uh… um? Jasper… a little quick right? It was still lovely, so I had him quote Henry David Thoreau, on whom he is an expert. Page was flattered and pleased, and then Jasper discussed cooking (hence apple pie), paid her a compliment, and then quickly left on a cheerful note. I look forward to following him in the next chapter. 

The Second Day, Pt. 1 (Page)

Old Fashioned Christmas Home | 2nd of Simcember 

Page watches ice skating

“Oh, I wish I were that graceful,” Page murmured.

The early morning recap of last night’s skating tournament inspired Page. Perhaps she would craft a champion ice skater as her next novel’s heroine. The professional completed a perfect Salchow jump, landing elegantly on her left foot, her periwinkle leotard fluttering in the move. Page slumped against the couch, biting her nail. If I were that seamless in my movement, I’d probably draw the eye of one… maybe two handsome men. She giggled, pleased with the thought.

Page walks to the kitchen Her twenties had come and gone, and then most of her thirties. Page was still single, rooming with four other people in a large home in the northwest end of Hollidaysburg.

“Morning Arnold,” she managed to squeak.

Mr. Armstrong was young with an impressive muscular structure. He would hardly look twice at a thin, goofy, freckled-faced older woman like herself. Someone like Margarita Mixer was more his type, Page thought with despair as her blonde and built roommate walked into the kitchen before nine in the morning wearing a strapless red dress that highlighted her figure and black fishnet stockings.

Gooood morrrning, Mar-ga-rita!” Arnold said in exagerrated tone, clicking his tongue as he walked past, heading to the living room.

“Morning, Arnold,” Margarita said, cheerfully. “Morning Page. Say did that book on Preferred Juice Drinks of the 21st Century come in yet?”

“Hmm?” Page nodded, staring into the refrigerator and wishing she had purchased something other than fruit at The Corner Market yesterday. “Not yet…” she pulled out a block of cheese and a loaf of bread. “Probably tomorrow.”

“Okay, thanks,” Margarita smiled. “I’m off to a breakfast benefit.”

Page cooks breakfast

“There is such a thing?” Page wondered as she flipped her toast in the frying pan.

Her red curls fell into her eyes and she brushed them aside, the smoke steaming her glasses. If I looked like Margarita, maybe I’d go to breakfast benefits too. I would eat delicately and look ravishing in a purple dress. I don’t know if I’d be bold enough to pull off the red. 

“Oh sugar!” she exclaimed, hoping her grilled cheese wasn’t burnt.

Arnold and four

“Do you mind if I sit here, Arnie?” she asked, softly walking into the living room.

She could hear Margarita greet their other roommate, Stacy Strongarm in the kitchen.

“I’m going to nab a cold shower,” Stacy said.

“Can you believe it?” Arnold waved his fingers. “A lousy four points. They could’ve won with a lousy four points.”

“Oh?” Page smiled awkwardly.

Arnold switched the channel to watch a replay of the Hollidaysburg Herons game against the Bridgeport Ironmen. She knew more about the standard length of vampire incisors and the preferred blood type of a young vampire in training than what plays constituted certain points in basketball.

Arnold passionately expressed his displeasure in the loss, but Page didn’t particularly pay any attention to his words. She noticed his deep tan, even in winter, and the sunglasses perched coolly on his nose, even indoors. Maybe I could write a story about a vampire princess who falls in love with a Sim athlete. With a five o’clock shadow like Arnie… she thought dreamily.

rose petal bath Once her roommate finished showering, Page decided to relax in a hot bath before work. She sprinkled vibrant pink rose petals into the water for a romantic vibe. Rubbing an avocado and honey mask over her face, Page slid into the tub.

It was nice to be alone sometimes. It meant she could make all the decisions and she could manage her own finances and not have to worry about informing someone else of her plans. Still, this time of year, with the holidays approaching, she felt a little lonely. If she went away for the weekend, someone could water her precious rose plants… if there was a someone in her life. I’m a romance novelist masquerading as a librarian whose never had a lover. 

“Oh bananas!” she exclaimed as her hand touched her face, disrupting the mask.

Page waving her armsPage drained the tub, dried off, and pulled on a dress, fastened a thin green belt around her waist, and clasped her single pearl necklace, a present from her father the last Christmas before he passed away. I miss you Papa, she thought with a twinge of sadness. She had nearly finished adjusting her hair bow when loud banging assaulted the bathroom door.

“What!” she cried in annoyance.

“Page,” Stacy called. “Did I leave my deodorant in there?”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I already adore this librarian named Page, submitted by divanthesimmer. I decided to make her an attempted romance novelist (as the novelist part was in her bio). She also was massively crushing on Arnold Armstrong in game, but he was blithely unaware of her feelings.

I enjoy watching what Sims do as my game play style is very much co-narrators. Page seemed oddly moody at times and flirty at other times. I thought it was fun when she drew herself a rose petal bath.

Old Fashioned Christmas House is a lovely lot by GardenRecluse. I made one minor tweak to it so the Sims could get up and down stairs. Margarita also seemed to be stuck in the kitchen, so I was forced to reset her, and when I did, she was in her formal attire. Can you say breakfast benefit anyone? I love that it is the “Bella” dress. 😉 Margarita, Arnold, and Stacy are also submitted by divanthesimmer. Hope you enjoyed Part One.

The First Day (Sugar)

The Corner Market | 1st of Simcember 

Hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling 

Ting-ting-ting-a-ling too 

Sugar Maple hummed a fun little Christmas tune as she flipped over the door sign to indicate her shop was open for business. She lifted her hand and drew a pretty pattern in the frosted glass with her finger.

Sidney and Sugar

“What are you doing?” her colleague, a man with silvery grey hair, called from his spot behind the wooden counter.

“Making the moment beautiful,” Sugar Maple purred, stepping back to admire her creation.

“It looks better already,” he said.

“Thank you, Sidney,” Sugar Maple nodded politely.

Her mind was caught up in the winter scene, the powdered sugar coned evergreens and boulders with vanilla frosting dripping from their rocky faces and the ground settled in whipped cream. It was a white wonderland. What lovely weather for a sleigh ride together! 

“We have a customer,” Sidney cleared his voice and said with a warm smile.

Orange The redhead in the Santa cap and sky blue freezer bunny sweater stood in the aisle inspecting the fresh selection of fruit. Sugar Maple had restocked this morning before opening shop – winter citrus navel oranges, sweet plantains from Mexsimco, and golden fleshy pears. She appeared to be deep in thought when Sugar Maple approached. Sugar Maple rocked her foot on one such board, the creaking sound almost comforting, telling of the many customers to traverse the well-worn walkways.

“Which fruit do you think is the most romantic?” the woman asked earnestly.

“Good morning,” Sugar Maple said with a smile.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the redhead appeared flustered. “I didn’t say hello.”

“That’s okay,” Sugar Maple said, with forgiveness. “I like to make sure first things first, you know.”

“Thank you, good morning,” the lady perked up again, relaxing her shoulders and pointing to the fruit. “I am trying to find…”

“…a romantic fruit?” Sugar Maple repeated. “Hmm…” she crossed her arms in thoughtful repose. “I suppose it’s a matter of perspective.”

tilting head

“How so?” the redhead tilted her head to the side.

“Romance is in the eye of the beholder,” Sugar Maple said, a twinkle in her eye. “It’s all about what makes you think and feel love…” she continued and lifted up a cluster of grapes. “Now what does this make you think about? Here… how do they feel in your hands?”

“Round…cool…” the woman said slowly.

“What about this?” Sugar Maple handed the woman an orange.

“The skin is rough,” the lady frowned.

“…but the scent is potent and sweet,” Sugar Maple lifted it to her nose and breathed. “And each little ridge tells a tale.”

“A tale?” the lady’s eyes widened. “Oh like a story of where it’s been? I love stories. I am a librarian.”

“Are you?” Sugar Maple nodded. “Yes… like the bees it attracted to pollinate its blossoms to the branches that held its home and the weathered hands that plucked it from among the leaves and the wooden crate it traveled in with its companions.”

“…now I don’t know if I want to eat it,” the lady giggled. “But the way you tell the tale is nice…”

Sugar Maple blushed and nodded. “You could also try a pomegranate.The Helsimics widely consider it the fruit of love.”

“I might try both, and I think I’ll take some apples too. I’m Page by the way.”

“Sugar Maple.”

“What a pretty name!”

“Thank you.”

“Sidney can ring you out at the register.”

Gracie appears

Why do oranges wear sunscreen?” a little voice interjected.

“Oh!” Sugar Maple gasped as a little girl with a white cap and elf ears crawled out from beneath the fruit table. “Who do you belong to?”

“The Goodes,” the girl said, grinning sheepishly. “Sorry. I was listening to you talk about fruit and it made me curious so I crawled under here to listen.”

“That’s okay,” Sugar Maple replied. “Now what did you ask?”

Why do oranges wear sunscreen?” the girl repeated, and waited momentarily for Sugar Maple and Page to think. “Because otherwise they peel.”

Laughing Sugar Maple let out a hearty laugh, and Page smirked.

“I’ll see you later, Miss Bough,” the girl bounced out of the store, the little angel bell at the top dinging upon her exit.

Bow… like a Christmas bow?” Page asked, arching a brow.

“Not quite,” Sugar Maple chuckled. “Like the bough of a Christmas tree.”

“It was nice to meet you Sugar Maple… Bough,” Page replied. “My last name’s Turner.”

Simanese dinnerSugar finished her shift and then returned to her studio apartment above the shop, allowing Sidney to close up for the evening. It was one of the perks of owning her own business. She opened her refrigerator, eyeing last night’s Simanese dinner boxes, but she really wasn’t that hungry yet. It was only four in the afternoon. Still she felt the desire to cook. I know, she decided, reaching for the meat wrapped in a brown package and string. I will make dinner for a friend.

Sugar bastes

She basted the strip steak with olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and a hint of basil.

Sugar Maple cooks meatShe flicked her wrist and flipped the meat in the pan.

plateAnd arranged the finished dish on a bed of fresh green leaf lettuce. There. He will enjoy this. 

Ice Lounge | 1st of Simcember

Sugar Maple plays pianoShe knew his favorite hangout, the docks near Ice Lounge, with the view of the Lake Hunnewell. Sugar Maple most liked the view at night, when the city lights faded and the surface rippled in the moonlight and a few sailboats glided on the pristine water.

While she waited for him to arrive, she visited the popular club with its chill atmosphere and cool drinks, a small price to pay while she waited to see him. The Lounge owners often offered her a discount because she would play for the guests. Tonight, a few guests gathered, quietly sipping cocktails, while Sugar Maple tickled the ivories on a baby golden grand.

Page“It’s you,” said the librarian as she approached in a flowing white macaroon blouse and a slender red skirt.

“Hello Page,” Sugar Maple smiled as she continued playing.

“A pianist, a storyteller, and a produce specialist,” Page said, admiration in her tone. “A woman of many talents. Who’s this?”

Tchaikovsky.”

“Ah…” Page smiled and swayed with the music. “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.”

“A marvelous piece,” Sugar Maple murmured as she closed the lid on the keys. “I need to go meet a friend.”

“Oh, okay,” Page seemed almost disappointed. “Do you play here often?”

“Sometimes, when I come to see… him,” Sugar Maple replied, and nodded her head toward the window where her companion had arrived right on time. “He rescued me from a headfirst trip through the ice right after Thankful Day. I almost drowned. He was my miracle.”

“Oh dear,” Page gasped, bringing her hands to her face. “I’m glad he saved you.”

“I have a new lease on life,” Sugar Maple declared. “I’m not going to waste it.”

meeting a friendSugar Maple tightened the tie on her white winter coat. She waved goodnight to her new friend and walked to a bench where she found him a few weeks before. He was an unusual creature, metallic in appearance, but with the heart and soul of a dog. The beast appreciated the gift she brought him, gobbling the meal, and then staring up into her eyes with appreciation. The dog barked, a tinny sort-of sound, but nonetheless, pleased.

“Happy Christmas, Rus-T.”

The dog tilted his head, ears twitching robotically.

“Yes, I know Christmas is twenty-four days away,” Sugar Maple sighed. “But you deserved a hearty meal,” she wrapped her arms gently around his neck, and whispered, “My hero.”


Author Note: Thanks for reading. This is the first in a series set in the town of Hollidaysburg, capturing the spirit of Christmas all year long. I decided Hollidaysburg is set in Massimchusetts (my Sim world version of Massachusetts) on Lake Hunnewell (named for Hunnewell Estate in Wellesley, Massachusetts, home to Wellesley College. The University of Hollidaysburg is coed college). I plan to write a chapter a day until Christmas (in the story; I realize Christmas has already passed in real time). In my Simworld, the month of December is Simcember. Mexsimco is Mexico, Simanese is Chinese, and Helsimic is Greek. 

Sugar Maple Bough was submitted by CathyTea. I’m honored to use her Sim again. I didn’t really have an agenda with this chapter. I just sort-of followed Sugar Maple around in game, and wrote what I was feeling and thinking. Sugar didn’t actually fall in the lake, but I wanted a reason for why she would make a gourmet pet food meal for Rus-T, submitted by divanthesimmer. Page Turner and Gracie Goode are also creations of Divan.

As suggested by CT, I plan to follow the first person who came into the shop in the next chapter (Page) and then the second person in Page’s story, and the third in the next, and so on as an element of randomness. I hope you enjoyed.