Sunday, 23 June 2013

Chapter 1.11 - Friends, Festivals and Flowers

Pretty soon, Snowflake Day arrived in Sunset Valley. The day was still bitterly cold, but at least it had stopped snowing. Evelyn wasn’t planning on doing anything special that day, just spending some time with her children. She wished Gustave could’ve been with her, but she knew he was just too busy with his work, so when the loneliness grew too profound, she wrote him a letter, telling him how much she missed him.

She spent the day at home, playing with Chantia and reading with Mia. Chantia was a bit moody when she saw Evelyn spending time with Mia, but Evelyn managed to diffuse the tension before Chantia could do anything more than glare at her sister by providing the toddler with food and making sure to play with her when she finished eating.
Evelyn’s efforts with Chantia seemed to pay off. Once again, Chantia became the same sweet girl she used to be, surprising Evelyn one day when she returned home from an errand and caught her two girls chatting happily with each other.
Luckily, it wasn’t a once-off occurrence. It turned into a routine occurrence for the two girls to chat with each other. Evelyn would never complain, but sometimes the girls’ conversations tended to leave her a bit bemused at their choice of topics.
Time passed and winter changed into spring and with it came new problems. Evelyn got another promotion at her work, becoming a Department Head, but with a salary raise came longer working hours. To top it off, Melanie McCoy, the girls’ babysitter of many years had graduated from high school and was no longer able to look after the girls. Evelyn had to find a new babysitter.
The first one that pitched up after Melanie graduated didn’t quite meet Evelyn’s standards, but luckily the second one was a bit more of a success. While he wasn’t to the same standards Melanie had been, his answers satisfied Evelyn enough to appoint him and he appeared to take good care of her children afterwards.
By the time Evelyn managed to adjust to her new position at work, it was time for her child to step into the world as an elementary school student. Since Chantia’s father was unable to attend her birthday, Evelyn decided not to throw a party, but she did buy the girl her own birthday cake.
The little girl puffed her cheeks and with help from her mother, managed to blow out the candles and officially become a child.
“You’re too big now,” Evelyn sighed. “It feels like it was only yesterday when you took your first step and now you’re already old enough to go to school,” Evelyn lamented. “I wouldn’t have minded if you stayed a toddler a bit longer, you know,” she told her daughter, causing the girl to pull a face.
“Nuh-uh!” Chantia protested. “I don’t want to be a baby anymore!” Evelyn merely chuckled at her daughter, causing the girl to scowl more when she realised her mother had only been teasing her.
“I know, sweetie,” Evelyn told the girl. “I was only teasing,” she informed the girl before putting down her fork. “But, talking being a big girl...tomorrow is Love Day, so I’ve been thinking we should go to the Spring Festival,” she suggested. “You’re a big girl now, so now we can go out more. So, do you want to go to the Festival?”
Chantia clapped her hands together at the suggestion. “Yes, please!” Chantia enthused. “I want to go!”
“Then we’ll go,” Evelyn promised the girl. Chantia smiled happily at the answer.
The first thing Chantia did to celebrate her newfound freedom as a child was to buy herself an ice-cream treat from the van circulating the neighbourhood. It was very cold and very sweet, but Chantia enjoyed it immensely.
Later that day, Evelyn’s best friend Teresa called Evelyn to arrange a play-date for their children. Joy Mendel, Teresa’s daughter, was a couple of years older than Chantia, but Evelyn still thought it would do her daughter good to know at least one person in her school, so she agreed to the play-date.
The play-date was a huge success. Chantia and Joy played tag until it was too dark outside to continue…
…where they then retreated into the house to play with the dollhouse. Evelyn and Teresa spent the entire time catching up on each other’s lives and the latest gossip.
It was long past the girls’ bedtime before Teresa finally announced they should return home. Being the proper young lady she was raised to be, Chantia thanked the woman for the visit after saying goodbye to her new friend.
After Chantia went off to bed, Evelyn took the time to express her own gratitude. “Thank you so much for today,” Evelyn thanked her best friend. “I was afraid Chantia might not be able to make any friends, but after today I feel much better about it. So, thank you.”
Teresa laughed and pulled her friend into a hug. “It was no problem at all, Evi,” the woman assured Evelyn. “We haven’t had much time to see each other lately, so it was great catching up with you.”
The next day, Chantia was up bright and early, eager to go to the Festival. Evelyn was in the shower, getting ready for the day, so Chantia decided to get some breakfast. Joy had given her a very good vanilla muffin recipe and she was very eager to test out the new toy oven her mother had given her. She was very proud when the muffin turned out nice.
By the time Evelyn was done, the weather looked a bit ominous to her, so she made sure the girls were dressed warmly before finally setting off towards the Festival. To their greatest disappointment, Evelyn’s suspicions were proven correct when they arrived at the Festival Grounds and the heavens opened up, rain pouring down on them. Evelyn tried her best to convince the girl to let them go home…
…but Chantia wanted nothing of it.
“No! You promised we’d come! I’m not going home!” Chantia protested. After numerous unsuccessful tries, Evelyn relented, but warned the girl that they wouldn’t stay long. That was enough for the girl to immediately get started with her planned activities for the day, which included searching for eggs…
…redeeming festival tickets…
…and picking wildflowers. Unfortunately, it turned out that she was mildly allergic to pollen, so the rest of the day wasn’t quite as pleasant as she’d hoped.
By the time they arrived home, Chantia was sulking over her allergies and the short time she had been allowed at the Festival. Her mother immediately sent her to the shower to get out of her wet clothes. It was only after Evelyn promised her that they’d go to the next festival – the Summer Festival – that she finally stopped sulking.

About that first babysitter...he remained standing outside the whole day, never taking care of the toddlers, so I had Evelyn fire him. It was only later that I realised he didn’t come inside the house because I locked all the doors to prevent Chantia from going outside. Oops.

So, Chantia is finally a child! I feel bad, but I laughed so hard when Chantia got the allergic reaction from the wildflowers. I was thinking that Evelyn probably wouldn’t allow her into the rain at all, in case she got sick, so when she actually got sick I found it rather ironic.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Chapter 1.10 - The Golden Girl

After the second time she found her child outside, staring at nothing, Evelyn tried her best to keep an outlook on the girl, but to her greatest displeasure, Chantia constantly tried to give her the slip. The moment Evelyn turned her attention away, Chantia made a beeline for the door.

Eventually Evelyn just gave up and made sure to lock the doors, unwilling to let her child roam around outside in the cold. Unfortunately, she still had to work, so she couldn’t constantly keep an eye on the wandering little girl. She warned the babysitter to lock the doors, but one time the teen forgot, allowing the little girl to slip outside while the babysitter was busy with her sister.
It was a couple of minutes after she slipped away from the babysitter when Chantia finally saw the strange moving thing she had seen in the kitchen again. She stared at it, her eyes wide with fascination. The golden figure hummed a soft song as her fingers flitted across the leaves of the plant she was caressing.
Cautiously, but curiously, Chantia approached the figure. The figure ignored her completely, continuing to hum softly. Chantia was enraptured with the beautiful melody that filled the air around the golden girl. Somehow, the song sounded almost familiar.
The song suddenly stopped. The golden figure glanced at Chantia before standing up, her colourless eyes fixed upon the little toddler girl.
“Who are you? Are you looking at me?” Her voice was soft and lyrical, again reminding Chantia of the song the figure had hummed. Her voice was silver notes and a gentle autumn breeze, folding around Chantia and disappearing into the wind and never-ending snow. Her voice was even prettier than Chantia’s mother’s.
Wordlessly, Chantia nodded, unable to tear her gaze away from the golden girl. The apparition smiled slightly before she approached the toddler, coming to a stop right in front of the girl.
“Ah! So you can see me! It’s been many, many years since I’ve been seen by the living,” the translucent girl stated and crouched down slightly. “What is your name, beautiful little girl?”
Chantia closed her mouth and dipped her head slightly, staring shyly at the figure in front of her. “Chantia,” she offered shyly, a small smile appearing on her face. The golden girl smiled brightly before she laid her hand on her chest.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Chantia. I am Charlotte. Charlotte Ainsworth,” she introduced. “It’s been a very long time since I’ve spoken to someone like you.”
“Why?” Chantia asked curiously, cocking her head slightly to the side. Charlotte looked at Chantia with a small, sad smile on her face, her colourless eyes soft and gentle.
“You’re a very special little girl, Chantia,” the translucent girl replied. “If you can see me, it means you’ve been exposed to the Song when you were at your most vulnerable,” she stated with a slight smile on her face. “But you are still too young to understand what it means. One day, when you are a bit older, you will be able to understand my explanation. On that day, I will appear in front of you again,” the long-forgotten girl promised. Chantia said nothing, merely blinking up at the golden girl in confusion.
With another sad smile, the apparition faded, drifting away into the wind and the snow. Chantia remained standing, staring into the swirling snow until the frantic babysitter found her and took her inside.
From then on, Chantia never managed to slip outside again. Both the babysitter and her mother firmly locked the doors and Chantia was forced to remain inside, where she had to remain in the company of her attention-stealing sister.
Mia looked at the book lying behind Chantia, her eyes lighting up with interest. Chantia glared at Mia and angrily jerked the book away from the younger girl.
“Mine!” Chantia declared, glaring at Mia and daring her to protest. Mia’s bottom lip trembled slightly before she burst into tears. Chantia smiled at the sight, happy with her success.

“Chantia! Be nice to your sister!” Evelyn scolded the toddler and picked her up, separating the girl from Mia. Chantia continued to glare angrily at her sister until her mother distracted her with The Claw.
Mia immediately took the chance to pull the now-forgotten book towards her, eagerly leafing through the pages.
However, it was only a temporary distraction. No matter what she did, Evelyn just couldn’t get Chantia to be nice to her adopted little sister. She always seemed to glare at or fight with her sister.
Especially when Mia wanted to look at a book. The books were Chantia’s!  

Evelyn bought more toys for the girls, hoping that Chantia would stop picking on her sister if she had enough toys to keep her busy and her attention away from Mia. Unfortunately, even that didn’t seem to work, as Chantia routinely tried to chase Mia away by hitting her with a doll.
Finally, Evelyn couldn’t take it anymore. She simply didn’t understand why her daughter had started to become so mean towards Mia. In tears, she called one of her friends, Xernand Kernar, who had two toddler girls of his own and might be able to offer her advice.
Xernand listened patiently to her while she lamented about her problems with Chantia, waiting until she finished before he offered her advice.
“Are you spending less time with her than you did previously?” Xernand asked her. Evelyn blinked in surprise and paused, trying to remember if she was spending less time with Chantia.

“It is possible,” she eventually stated, looking at the two girls playing with their different toys. Chantia had recently finished reading all of the books Evelyn had bought the little girl and was happily playing with her xylophone, while Mia was eagerly paging through the said books. Ever since Mia had aged into a toddler, Evelyn had spent quite a lot of time with Mia to teach her her essential life skills.
“It might be that Chantia thinks you’re ignoring her in favour of Mia,” Xernand suggested. “Make sure you spend as much time with Chantia as with Mia.”

Evelyn pondered his advice for a moment before agreeing that he might have a point.
From then on, she tried her best to spend more time with Chantia, even though her time was still very limited.
Since Chantia was still a very young girl with the walking skills of a toddler, it wasn’t unusual for her to fall when she tried to move faster than her little legs could carry her. Whenever that happened, Evelyn was quick to comfort the girl, wiping away her tears.
To Evelyn’s greatest relief, Mia didn’t appear to have any problems whenever Evelyn gave Chantia extra attention. She was quite happy to play on her own, often getting lost in her own thoughts.
Unfortunately, Evelyn couldn’t spend all her time on Chantia, as little Mia still had to learn some vital skills, like walking.
Still, to Evelyn’s relief, the advice Xernand had given her seemed to work. Chantia soon calmed down and eventually consented to sharing the dollhouse with Mia, instead of chasing the little girl away. She was still not entirely happy with sharing, but at least she started to allow the younger girl to play with her. Evelyn still wished the girls would get along better, but at least it was a start.

Chantia finally finished reading all of the required toddler books, so she’s finally done with the toddler part of the Perfect Children requirement. Mia has learned her three essential skills, as well as the xylophone and the peg box, so now she’s busy with the books. Because Chantia is done with her requirement, I generally leave her alone, so the only thing she does the entire day is explore the house. Or outside, which apparently she prefers, so I actually did have to lock all the doors leading to the outside to keep her inside.
About Charlotte, the ghost: in my mind/game, I play the Mummy’s Curse ghost as a ‘Death by Disease’ ghost. So Charlotte didn’t die because of ‘Mummy’s Curse’, she died due to a disease. I dislike the idea of Death by Mummy Curse immensely, as well as Death by Haunting and Death by Jelly Bean, as realism is quite important to me and those three deaths are just a little too unrealistic for me.