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. 

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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.