It's not much, but I decided to drop this with you sims-type people before I scuttle over the river and through the woods to my
ridiculously sized extended family tomorrow. (We've got a few less in the house than the Elvensongs this Christmas, but more tykes. :D )
This is what would happen at a later Elven Heritage Legacy Christmas… assuming that the Elves even celebrate
Christmas… actually, this is Viridia Elvensong and Chalimyra Elkthorn we’re talking about doing the planning here, they'll any excuse to bring their families together for any holiday, especially if they can get Eluisa to back them up. It’s set about five years in the future from my most recent EHL chapter, meaning that while Ara’s gang has graduated, nobody else has, and Ariadne has just turned seven.
Beware of: Sap, family bickering, characters you haven't seen in a while, Ana and Lydia say the V word enough to deeply annoy Orion, extra frosting, Aranel's in this and stressed so there's at least one swear, mild spoilers if you haven't got caught up to Graduand or have forgotten a few pairings I've already spoiled for you. Also, this is not the one specific thing that happened to the blender that took it out of commission, this is just the beginning of Aranel's routine blender abuse. Don't ask me about the sizing.
Once again, generation zero is too fogey to be in this fic. That and I did one clip for each of the generation one Elvensong kids, and three out of four were driving home.
* * *
“And yes, mom, we did bring cranberry relish and the potatoes,” Aranel said into her cell phone, rolling her eyes in the passenger’s side sun visor mirror so that Rean and Amadeus could see her and commiserate, “No, I didn’t forget. And there are oranges in the cranberry relish, I promise. No, I used real sugar, I know the powdered kind doesn’t work – okay, well I didn’t know, but it didn’t say powdered sugar in the recipie, so I assumed it meant regular. I am able to figure out a recipe on my own. Well, if you don’t think I can do it, why didn’t you make it yourself?”
Viridia’s response made Aranel wince and hold her hand over the phone.
“That does it,” she said to Rean, who had been ignoring the phone call while holding Amadeus’ hand in the backseat, “Call’s for you.”
Rean fielded the phone with his free hand. “Hello Mrs. Elvensong,” he said.
“Well, hello Rean dear,” Viridia said, sounding frazzled, “Can you just check that you have the fingerling potatoes, cranberry relish, and the paper plates?”
Rean kicked the cooler squished in the backseat of Bastian’s car between himself and Amadeus, who wiggled an eyebrow at him. “One bag of potatoes,” he said, “one very large bowl of cranberry relish according to recipe, one package of forty eight paper plates.”
“That’s good, I’m just putting the ham in the oven now,” Viridia replied, “Chalimyra is due any second now with the pies, and Midina and Makir are going to be just a little late with the wine and a salad.”
“Well, we’re only twenty minutes away now, so I’ll leave you and your oven alone,” Rean replied.
“Thank you, and if you see those college kids on the highway, honk at them for me! They haven’t called yet.” Viridia replied. “Ariadne! Those cookies are for after dinner, young lady! Tell Bastian to drive safely, Goodbye!”
“Goodbye.” Rean hung up, and steadfastly ignored Aranel attempting to headdesk against the dashboard.
“I swear you are her favorite child,” Aranel grumbled to him. “She should just adopt you and get it over with.”
“Are we really going to need forty eight paper plates?” Amadeus wondered out loud. “That seems a bit… excessive.”
“Well, there’s the four of us,” Bastian began, holding up his fingers against the steering wheel as he counted, “Everyone still living in the heritage house at college, which makes ten…”
“Six people at the heritage house?” Rean asked Aranel.
“Orion,” she explained, “Lydia’s little brother, a year younger, moved in when we graduated.”
“We’ve got Aranel’s parents and baby sister, which makes thirteen,” Bastian continued.
“The Elkthorns, who convinced my mom to have this monstrosity of a party, which makes fifteen,” Aranel added, “Which means sixteen, because Auntie Eluisa was in on it, so of course we can’t leave out Midina and Makir Shadeson and their daughter Delphina. There are going to be nineteen people in the house, so double that number because nobody is going to save their plates between food and pie, and we’ve got nearly forty plates, and ten pounds of cranberry relish.”
“That is not ten pounds of cranberry relish,” Bastian said.
Ara just sighed at him. “Feels like ten pounds,” she said, “clearly I didn’t inherit the cooking gene.”
“Or the ability to fix the blender gene,” Amadeus put in wryly, thinking of the shrieking, grating mess that they’d left sitting on the counter in the apartment that the four of them were living in like a pack of sardines.
“Look, I swear to you that once we have come back from the loony bin that is my family, I will fix the damn blender,” Aranel told him, “until then, shut up and enjoy my mom’s cooking, and Chalimyra’s, and… well, everybody but mine and Aunt Elu’s. I think my mom put her on gingerbread-frosting duty with Ariadne, so she won’t have burnt anything in particular.”
“Your family’s not a loony bin,” Rean told her.
“At least you still have them,” Amadeus added.
“And they’re not on the far side of the country,” Bastian put in.
Aranel threw her hands up in surrender. “All right!” she said, “Merry Christmas to all, and welcome by default to my nutty family! I am The Grinch, because I am the only one who gets annoyed with my perfect mother’s compulsive need to check Every. Single. Detail. And with the fact that she doesn’t trust me to open a can! I have never once burnt the house down while cooking!”
There was a moment of silence in the car as they all stared out at the snow that was drifting deceptively gently down on the road.
“I remember this being a lot less stressful when I was a kid,” Aranel admitted softly.
* * *
“I swear to you, Lydia if she asks me if I’ve found Mr. or Mrs. Right yet, I will scream.”
Lydia was currently busy glaring at the snowflakes that were drifting across the road in front of her, mostly because she didn’t want to end up in a ditch. She had no idea how she’d ended up selected to drive the secondary car, except that Elirand, Calla and Achenar had all wanted to be in the same car, and Calla was the one with the map. Following a light grey Smoogo had sounded like a much better idea before she’d started driving in the snow.
In the meantime, Orion had coped with being relegated to the backseat by putting his enormous headphones on and becoming effectively dead to the world from the second they’d started out, while Anariel was, if Lydia was completely honest with herself, angsting.
“I just know it’s going to happen,” Ana continued, “I can just feel it. Ever since Achenar and Calla announced that they were engaged she’s been on the prowl like a shark waiting for someone else to get a ring so she can plan a wedding. She’s got wedding envy.”
“I think she just wants to know how things are,” Lydia said, not taking her eyes off the road. “I mean, you don’t see her asking Aranel -”
“Well, that’s because Aranel is the perfect political daughter whose career is important and who is actually, provably, too dense to realize that she and Bastian are the perfect couple. I mean, the perfect couple who isn’t mama’s darling boy and the lovely neighbor girl. Her best friend’s daughter, I should add.”
“Got something you want to tell Calla?” Lydia was all for airing family grievances – the green ones knew she’d vented plenty to Ana over the years – but she was going to have to wind Ana down a bit if she was going to be complaining about everyone in their house. As far as Lydia was concerned, Calla was great. Well, except for the fact that Lydia seemed to keep finding her lip-locked to Achenar all over the house, which was just one of those “really, guys?” situations that turned up out of the blue to annoy you when you lived in a heritage house with five other people.
“It’s not Calla that’s the problem, it’s that Achenar and Calla are going to go home next year and continue the legacy and have a huge fuss made over them all the time by my mom, and if I want a fuss, I’ve got to find somebody to give me a rock. And she never seems to think hey, what if I don’t want to get married? What if I just want to have a job, and have fun with willing partners, and don’t really want to have kids at all? Currently, I’m having too much fun with my vagina to consider shackling it to someone else for life, or pushing a baby through it.”
Lydia fake-gagged out of pure reflex, then compulsively tightened her grip on the steering wheel in case the motion had made the car slip. It hadn’t.
“Really, Lyds? Real maturity you have there.” Ana was amused, at least.
“Too much information about your vagina.”
“You’ve got one too.”
“Yeah, I just ignore mine, though.” Lydia rolled her eyes. “Anyway, done ranting?”
Ana thought for a minute. “I think so,” she said for a moment. “No, wait – where does my mom get off applying her outdated mores to my life? Why should I have to get married and have kids?”
“She’s pretty damn well adapted to modern life, all things said.”
“And yet she still makes that disappointed face because she thinks that I shouldn’t even try to figure things out, or have fun with people, and she thinks it’s wrong if I have sex and should just have a permanently off-limits vagina until marriage.”
That, Lydia didn’t have a good argument for. Her parental sex education had been a talk from Makir about why condoms were good, sex while drunk was bad, and that if anyone ever tried to push her into anything, she should aim below the belt, and a much later talk from her mother on always being safe and never, ever having a partner that didn’t respect her. With the technical aspects covered with the help of a rather elderly medical encyclopedia, she’d put it aside under the category of “worry about it when it comes up.”
“Look,” Lydia said slowly, “She’s your mom, and most moms are not at all like my mom, so probably it’s just the fact that she remembers you in diapers, so she’s determined to ignore the fact that you now want to use your vagina…”
In the back seat, Orion groaned. “For the love of the green ones, will you stop saying vagina already?”
Lydia watched as Ana turned tomato-colored. She’d probably forgotten that Orion was back there. Then, she grinned a wicked grin.
“Vagina,” she said to Orion.
“I hate you,” he replied, flipping her off in the rear-view mirror.
* * *
“… And then you take ninety four in about five miles,” Achenar finished.
“Okay, Green Ridge to ninety four,” Calla replied. “Check and see that Lydia’s still behind us, would you?”
Achenar leaned over and saw Lydia’s car keeping pace some forty feet or so behind them. “Well, assuming that they haven’t been abducted by aliens right out of the car…”
Calla managed to hit him without looking.
“If you’re so nervous about driving, you could let me take over,” Elirand said from the backseat.
“No!” Calla and Achenar said in unison.
“Once you start doing doughnuts in the Student Union parking lot, you forfeit the keys,” Calla added.
“I was in complete control,” Elirand lied through his teeth.
“Of your finances, maybe. But not the car,” Calla said firmly. “In any case, we’ll be on the highway in about five minutes, and it will clear up there.”
Sure enough, the ramp onto the highway was clearer than the roads surrounding Sim State University. And due to the weather, there was less holiday traffic than there could have been.
Due to the fact that Calla had the steering wheel in a death grip as she ascended the ramp, there was near silence in the car, except for the radio turned down very low playing White Christmas.
“Hey Achenar, thought of a present for your little sister yet?” Elirand asked, once they’d successfully joined the stream of traffic on the freeway.
Achenar smacked himself in the forehead. “I forgot to ask Aranel what she was getting Ariadne,” he admitted, “or Ana, for that matter…”
“Well, you’ve got a couple of days left,” Elirand replied. “And hey, don’t sweat it – with you and Calla living with your parents after you get married, and therefore by default being authority figures for Ariadne during her teenage years, you’re never, ever going to be her favorite sibling. So if you get her a lame gift it’s not going to matter that much in the end.”
Somehow, without removing her focus from the road one bit, Calla managed to give her twin brother a Look.
Achenar, however, had had nearly fifteen years to get used to Elirand’s brand of teasing, and was currently occupied with something else: a sudden realization that he’d forgotten something.
“Crap, I forgot to call my mom and tell her we were on our way!” he said, and fumbled in his pockets for his phone.
* * *
Ariadne was busy putting red hot buttons on her fifteenth gingerbread man: gingerbread elf, that is. She’d counted. And she’d finally found out that she could correct the cookies if she put pasta shells on either side of the cookie’s head and glued them on with frosting. The ears were too big, but at least everyone knew that she had not made gingerbread men, she had made gingerbread elves.
She was also busy telling her auntie Elu about all the things that she was going to do with her brothers and sisters now that they were home.
“And ‘Enar and Calla and Elirand can take me ice skating,” she said, applying sprinkles to one crooked cookie, then staring at it with a critical eye, “but not until after I make a snow fort with Ara and Rean and Bastian and Amadeus, because there’s going to be lots of snow by tomorrow! Bastian designs houses,” she informed Eluisa, “so he should know how to make a really, really good one. Ana can take me to the mall the day after tomorrow when it’s supposed to be really cold, because that’s the last day to see Santa.” She grabbed the pink frosting and started doodling on another cookie’s feet. “Is Lydia going to be staying with us?” she asked.
“No, she’s going back with her parents,” Eluisa told her as she added hair and m&m eyes to her own gingerbread elf, “The only people staying at your house are your brother and sisters, and Rean, Amadeus and Bastian.”
“Brothers,” Ariadne corrected her, “Ara says that she adopted Rean to be her brother, which makes him my brother too.”
“That’s not exactly how that works, sweetie,” Eluisa said.
“Well, it should,” Ariadne replied, grabbing a star out of the lineup and dousing it in blue icing. “I can get another sister because Calla’s marrying my brother, so why can’t I get another brother? I like having lots of brothers and sisters, and if Rean’s my brother, then when he gets married to Amadeus, I’ll have three brothers and three sisters. That’s more than anybody I know has, and I can ask to be the flower girl in their wedding like I’m going to be in my brother and Calla’s.”
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” Eluisa told her, adding wobbly white swirls to a bell, “has your brother or Calla asked you to be the flower girl yet? They haven’t even picked a date for their wedding, after all.”
Ariadne pouted. “Well, I’ve got to be something,” she said, “and I’m too young to be a bridesmaid, daddy told me so. I might be big enough by the time Ara and Bastian get married, though!”
Eluisa blinked. “And who said anything about Ara and Bastian getting married?” she said.
In reply, she got an eyeroll from the first grader. “Everybody knows they’re going to get married eventually,” Ariadne said, “It’s just going to take them ages to figure it out, like in The Black Cauldron. And then Ana and Lydia are going to get married, and everyone’s going to officially be my brothers and sisters.”
Eluisa tried very hard not to laugh. “That sounds like a regular soap opera you’ve got going there,” she said. “And who are Orion, Elirand, and Delphina going to marry?”
Ariadne grinned. “Orion’s gonna marry a blue alien princess,” she said, grabbing an as-of-yet earless cookie to demonstrate, “she’s going to come in through space like whoooosh!” she nearly decapitated the cookie against the table, but managed not to break it before she started frosting it. “And Elirand’s going to marry a lady who sees ghosts. I don’t know who Delphina’s going to marry,” she said, looking thoughtful, “she still hasn’t met him yet, but I’ll figure it out.”
At that moment, the doorbell rang, and Ariadne ditched her cookie in a heartbeat. “They’re here, they’re here!” she yelled, “Come on, Aunt Elu, they’re here!”