Another Legacy 2.10

Kiana discovered that the holiday season brought out the best in folks in her district of the city. Everyone wore holly sprigs in their caps and even complete strangers greeted each other with well-wishes and winter blessings. She hoped these good feelings might last throughout the year.

She wanted to contribute something that would bring smiles to passersby, without having to spend the entire day in the snowy courtyard, waving to neighbors and newcomers.

You can’t be too serious, she figured, if you wanted to make people chuckle, and what was funnier than asymmetry? Not much, actually.

She had a lot of cooking to do before her guests arrived for the WinterFest feast. Though the appliances and counters were still old and stained, her cookware was brand new. She made cranberry-citrus sauce, honey-glazed sweet potatoes, fresh rolls, wild rice dressing, and a tofu-turkey.

The kitchen smelled amazing.

Her old college roommate wasn’t convinced by aroma alone.

“You sure it’s safe for us to eat anything that comes out of this kitchen?” he asked. “I mean… it hasn’t been condemned, has it?”

“It looks like it should be,” Kiana agreed.

But the feast was amazing. If you closed your eyes, you could imagine you were in a five-star restaurant–or, better yet, a newly remodeled kitchen.

“I don’t remember you cooking like this back in our old place,” her roommate said.

“I don’t think I ever cooked,” Kiki admitted, “too busy studying and training.”

She sort of missed those days. It still felt odd that they could be over so quickly, and her new life begun. She loved so much about this new life, but it wasn’t yet routine, and she still felt like she was floating, ungrounded. Maybe that’s what came of living 12 flights up!

Father Winter came before they finished seconds.

“Introduce me to all your friends,” he said, and Kiana felt flustered. On the spot like that, she couldn’t even remember all their names. Somehow, she’d developed this knack of picking up friends with a simple hello, but putting a face to a name, and a name to a face, and remembering where each one lived and what each one did challenged her, even when no one was asking or waiting or staring at her.

Her mouth was full, and that was a good excuse to stay quiet, and by the time she’d swallowed, everyone had introduced themselves. Crisis averted.

They all had a good time and stayed so late, and even after she’d packaged up the leftovers in to-go boxes and scrubbed the stained counters and mopped the chipped floor, people were still there, talking.

Even a kitchen in desperate need of a make-over is still a kitchen. Even a home without much furniture is still a home. Even friends whose names you can never remember are still friends. It’s feelings that count, and the feeling is warmth.

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Another Legacy 2.9

Kiana finally ventured up to the second floor during the holidays. She needed someplace to put the tree.

She’d spent the past few evenings stringing popcorn and cranberries. They looked festive when she hung them on the tree, and the entire room filled with a salty, tangy, piney aroma.

She’d found some vintage glass decorations at a second-hand store–an entire box for five dollars! The tree looked so beautiful. Even Ira would have approved!

She picked up some presents for her old college roommates and some of the new people she’d met in the city, whom she’d invited to drop by for a WinterFest feast. With the gifts wrapped and set beneath the tree, she felt settled–a milestone met! Her first holiday in her own place!

From the upstairs balcony, she could look out over the snowy city parks and walkways towards the hills beyond the bay, frosted like a cake!

Even though it was winter, she decided to start a garden on the patio. She picked up some vertical planters and a few pots that were on discount from a landscape supply store. The balcony had southern exposure, with sun all day. A perfect place for a garden!

She thought that the people in the offices and apartments across the way might enjoy looking out and seeing some greenery once the plants reached maturity. It felt good to bring more nature into the city.

She did some calculations while she took her daily jog through the snow-covered walkways. At her current rate, this time next year, she should have enough for her new kitchen, and even to furnish the upstairs. Plus, the agency had hinted that she’d be getting higher rates, soon, since she was becoming their most-requested free-lancer.

When she took the flat in the city, she’d thought it would be temporary, just long enough for her to save up for a better place. But she had to admit she liked it here. The lifestyle in her district suited her, and her apartment had the potential to become close to perfect for her.

Could it be that she could be happy living in the city? Was it that her present held the seeds for her future, right here, and all she had to do was plant herself in this bright and sunny locale?

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Another Legacy 1.26

Even though it never snows in Port Promise, on Winterfest, it snows. By now, Kiki has had time to process what it means that the adoption is official, so when she looks out on Winterfest morning to see Ira making snow angels, she smiles to herself. Now, she doesn’t only have her mom-and-dad-angels looking out for her from heaven, she’s got a real live angel or two looking out for her here.

They say heaven is a great place to be, but this morning, Kiki can’t imagine anyplace more beautiful, more exciting, or more fun than home.

Especially when that home is too small to have a Winterfest tree inside, because that means they can have it outdoors!

Tinker Tailor stops by to help them decorate, which is supposedly fine, because “the more the merrier,” but secretly, Kiki thinks no one can decorate better than Ira.

She tosses the ornament with a swing and a prayer, and it lands in just the right spot!

Kiki tries it, too. The ornament goes flying, but no one seems to care. It’s the style that matters.

When it’s done, it’s so perfect. It must be the best tree ever, with the biggest pile of presents, and the best smell of rosin, and the prettiest green. Kiki can’t help but whisper to her mom-and-dad-angels, “Look! This is for you, too! It’s our Winterfest tree!”

Kiki tries not to notice when she spots Ira over at the tree later, doing something with the presents. Kids aren’t supposed to know about sneaky present things, Kiki has gathered, so she plays along, pretending to ignore the growing pile of fancily wrapped gifts.

It seems to get dark before the day has even properly gotten started.

“That’s what winter’s all about,” Case explains, “darkness and cold. That’s why we have Winterfest on the darkest of days, and why we have lights everywhere and things that warm us from the inside.”

“Like presents,” Kiki adds.

“How come there are so many elves walking around?” Kiki asks.

“Must be some sort of party,” replies Case, “or community event.”

All evening, they see them walking on the road past their house, checking their phones.

“It’s a charity challenge!” Ira explains. “They dress up, post to their social media, and then there’s some sort of fund-raising thing-or-other where they get matching funds.”

It makes it harder for Kiki to spot the actual Father Winter, with so many dressed up in elf costumes.

But at last, he comes, walking right down their street towards their very own house!

There’s no mistaking that long blue snowflake robe, even with a yellow-and-green-striped t-shirt underneath, and that jolly belly and big beard, even if the guy is skinny everywhere else and the beard is black. It’s Father Winter. It has to be!

He even stops at the Winterfest tree, when he thinks no one is watching, and adds to the present pile!

“Kiki Donovan Mahajan Flores!” he calls. “Is there a Kiki Donovan Mahajan Flores here?”

“Here I am!” Kiki answers, and she comes out of her hiding place behind the dew collector.

“Well, I am very pleased to meet you,” says Father Winter. “Have a seat. Let’s chat.”

“I’m very pleased to meet you, too,” Kiki says, remembering politeness, even though she is very excited and feeling more than a little bit shy.

“Now, what Winterfest wishes can I make come true for you?”

“Oh!” She is stumped for a moment. “You see, my most wished-for wish already came true. And so, I forgot to even think about another wish.”

She explains, in just above a whisper, how she was a foster kid for more years than she can remember, and how she always wanted to be adopted, not just for her, but also for Ira and Case, so they wouldn’t ever be sad without her, and how now that wish, which was so much a part of her forever, has come true, and so she’s happy, and Ira is happy, and Case is happy, and everyone is happy, but she’s just not sure that she will ever wish for anything again, because why? She has what she’s always wanted. It would be selfish to want more.

By now, Ira and Case have wandered out to join them.

“It’s not selfish to want things,” says Ira, “even when you’re happy and you’ve got everything you’ve ever wanted. In fact, it’s kind of a secret of happiness, not just to be happy with what you’ve got, especially when your biggest dreams come true, but then to think, what next?”

“Oh!” says Kiki. “In that case! I saw this light thing once in a video and it makes these little dancing colors and shapes on the walls, and I thought that would be so cool to look at when I fall asleep sometimes. It would be fun to have one of those lights.”

“I had a feeling you might say that,” says Father Winter.

He hands her a package in blue-and-white wrapping paper, just like his robe, with a big white bow on top, and when she opens it, she finds that light-show lamp inside!

“You really ARE Father Winter!” she exclaims.

“I think Father Winter deserves a present, too,” says Ira. She hands him a smaller package. It’s a digital camera.

“This is too thoughtful,” he says.

“Well, you do all the work, on a holiday, nonetheless,” says Ira. “You deserve a treat.”

“Now for the adults in the household,” he says, handing a gift to Case.

It’s a giftcard to a seed company. “Rare heirloom herbs and veggies,” he says.

“Very thoughtful. We’ll make good use.”

“I know you will.”

“Where’s Clement Frost, by the way?” Case asks. “We were expecting him.”

“Oh,” replies Father Winter, “blame management. Something about mixing up routes to increase blah, blah, something, something, whatever. Anyway, he’s got San Myshuno this year, my regular route, and I’ve got his route here in Port Promise. Nice change, actually. I got to meet you and your family!”

I have to say, I was incredibly relieved to hear this Father Winter’s explanation. With the impact of Moira’s passing still felt in the household, I wasn’t sure we could handle losing our original Father Winter just yet. In fact, before I closed out the game that night, Clement Frost called, just to wish Case and his family a very merry Winterfest. Like my Sims, I get attached to the original Townies and NPCs, too.

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