THANK GOD I FINALLY FINISHED THIS CHAPTER! It’s been a particularly difficult one and I’m relieved it’s done and dusted. The next chapter will be quite short for my standards, so hopefully it will be out sooner. Also, the main problem on my game slowing me down so much was that I had way too much cc decor, so I had to take out the Winter Farmhouse 😕 So at the end of the chapter it’s not that beautiful house as the Kingston’s home, it’s a pre-made EA house (which was quite ugly) that I renovated. Oh well. At least my game isn’t lagging like mad now!
“There you are, Cherry!”
Briar pushes the pastel star-dotted fabric aside gently, revealing her tiny daughter blinking and giggling up at her. It’s no surprise; ever since the cute playroom tepee had been gifted to the nursery, Cherry spends most of her time in there, snoozing among a pile of cushions or curled up on the furry white rug, thinking about whatever the heck one-year-olds think about. It is Cherry’s most favorite place in the world and unfortunately, this means it is a little hard to coax her out of it.
“Come on, it’s time for bed.” Briar says patiently. She’s answered by more adorable bubbles of laughter as Cherry shakes her head, rocking back and forth, looking up at her mother with those sparkling marine eyes. “No, Mama!” She giggles. “Saying Mama like that isn’t going to get you anywhere, young lady.” Briar says in her sternest police officer voice, although her heart melts quite against her will. “If you won’t come out, I guess I’ll have to get you myself!” She reaches inside the teepee and lifts her daughter out, who giggles even harder and waves her little arms. “Got you!” “Mamaaaa!” Cherry squeals, but her sweet voice is happy and it sends warmth flooding through Briar’s chest.
She bestows a tiny kiss to her little girl’s nose before gently setting Cherry down on the floor. “Story?” Cherry coos, blinking slowly in a pleading sort of way. Sighing, Briar rolls her eyes and resignedly crosses her legs. “Alright. Why don’t I tell you about… vampires today? No, I talked about that yesterday… how about werewolves?” “Were-woof!” Cherry repeats happily. “You’re going to give her nightmares.” Max laughs from nearby, as he bounces a chortling Caramel on his hip.
“Nonsense.” Briar says dismissively, and begins telling Cherry all about the (supposedly, although she knows better) mythical creature. Her daughter listens with an intense concentration which is quite startling for such a young child. Cherry has already proved to be quite different from her two sisters; always begging for a story before bedtime, and when the fairy tales had all been exhausted, tidbits of Briar’s own adventures and people she had met. As long as they are rich in detail, Cherry is happy- most happy, it seems, to be learning, for she remembers things her mother tells her with abnormal accuracy for a toddler.
“Now, a werewolf is a human which turns into a dog- you remember what a dog is, don’t you?” In response, her baby daughter gives a small ‘woof’, which Briar understands to be a yes. “Well, a werewolf turns into a scary doggie each full moon, with sharp claws and teeth and a rather grotesque face. They often hunt for human flesh at this time.” “Grr.” Cherry claws the air and twists her face into what is evidently supposed to be a terrifying snarl, but only makes her mother burst out laughing. “Oh, you’re so cute– I mean, totally scary.” Briar chuckles at the confused look on Cherry’s face and ruffles her soft brown hair. “I think that’s enough for today, my little werewolf. It’s almost ten.”
Cherry does not protest as her mother lifts her into the crib; her head is nodding onto her duckling play suit, tired now that her thirst for knowledge is quenched. “Mama?” She reaches up sleepily, and her tiny hand curls around her mother’s finger. Briar’s heart swells with love for her youngest daughter and she leans down to kiss her on the head. “Sweet dreams, my perfect little cutie pie.”
After tucking in Cinna and Cara, she turns by the door to look at her three babies. They are all cooing and rocking to themselves, their innocent, sleepy little faces glowing softly in the fairy lights that twinkle like falling stars beside their cribs. “Really, it’s time to sleep now.” Briar says firmly, propping a hand on her hip; trying and failing to look stern. “We have a big day tomorrow!”
The deep, dreamy notes of the classical song swirl through the guests as a procession of bridesmaids, groomsmen, Isla and her father walk down the leaf-strewn aisle. Today is Isla and Clayton’s wedding; the perfect day, shafts of honeyed sunlight falling through the rustling aspen leaves. Briar pulls a smile onto her face as she moves down the aisle, one hand clutching a simple bouquet of pure white roses.
As Isla floats down through the rows of chairs with a beaming Christopher, a collective sigh moves through the trees like a breath of wind. She looks lovely in a lace vintage dress, her chestnut hair falling in elegant curls, holding a matching bouquet to her bridesmaids, but in a deep, velvety red.
The music swells to a beautiful halt, and Briar takes her place under the magnificent oak tree in which the ceremony will take place. She tries not to shiver. The dress her little sister had picked out is pretty, but the lace cap sleeves provide no veil against the late fall air. Seeking to distract herself from the chill, Briar looks out into the crowd and spots her mother at the front. Tears are sparkling on Fern’s cheeks, but she is smiling.
The ceremony is over before long, and the guests flood forward to congratulate the newlyweds. Briar hangs back until most have gone to the reception area. “Hey- congrats, little sis! You’re married!” She pats Isla’s shoulder. Her little sister jumps up and down, quite forgetting herself. “I know, I can’t believe it!” Isla says breathlessly. “It’s an amazing feeling, I understand now why you turned all nice after you got married- ow!” For Briar had just punched her arm.
Isla is about to punch her sister back until their mother calls them. “Girls, stop messing about, you are at a wedding!” The two look at each other and fall apart laughing. “Okay, okay, let’s go eat now.” The bride pulls herself together and they join the guests, who are milling around and checking for their designated table numbers.
The evening slides by in an enjoyable whirl of food, dancing, and laughter. The fairy lights strung between the aspens flicker on as champagne is downed, the pleasant chatter growing louder. Briar winds herself through the revelry to find her husband. “Want to dance?” She asks, to Max’s nod. They head to a nearby clearing, which is ringed by a soft curtain of lights that twinkle in the falling dusk. Moths have begun to swoop under the trees and flutter around the fairy lights.
Briar rests her cheek on her husband’s shoulder as they turn on the spot. “Are we ever going to refine our dancing style?” Max whispers. “Nope.” Briar is about to kiss him before a loud chorus of squeals interrupts them. “Mummy and Daddy kissy kissy!” Caramel twitters gleefully, her sisters toddling up behind her.
Briar laughs and bends down to look at her three bouncing children. “Some day you will do kissy kissy, Cara, so shush and let Mummy and Daddy do their thing.” The triplets burst into a fresh explosion of laughter and Briar feels a rush of overwhelming love for everyone around her- her wonderful husband, her three beautiful daughters. So when Max sweeps her into a giant dip, she’s smiling against his lips so hard that it almost hurts.
“MUMMY WAKE UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!” An extremely excited voice screams. Briar opens her eyes with much difficulty, three small figures jumping in and out of her blurry vision. “Huh?” She rubs her eyes and gradually, her children’s exhilarated faces come into clarity. All three are dressed in their pajamas and all are running around the bedroom with their arms waving like demented windmills. “Guess what, Mama?!” Cherry says happily, her beautiful aqua eyes sparkling. Briar huffs and pushes herself up a few inches. “I don’t know, but it better be something good-” Then Cara cuts across her, and it’s evident that it had been she who had been the human alarm clock a few seconds ago. “MUMMY, IT’S SNOWING!!!”
Briar jumps out of the bed and hurries over to the window, which is white with frost. To her awe, big fluffy snowflakes are drifting past the glass, and the garden is as pretty as a Christmas postcard. As far as she can see, the sky is pearly grey. “It’s snowing.” She breathes.
“Max, it’s snowing!” Briar turns around to see her husband chuckling at her, already dressed in his down jacket. “Yeah, I heard Cara. All ready to go!” He grins and wiggles his fingers.
“Can we go outside, please, Mummy?” This time it’s Cinna who speaks, her pale face alight with joy. “Yes, please, please, please?” Cara and Cherry join in, begging their mother with big puppy eyes. “Of course, but you have to go change into something warm first, alright?” Briar laughs. The triplets dash off at once with shouts of glee.
After pulling on her jacket, she and Max walk outside onto the lawn, which is buried under a deep layer of snow. A light flurry of snowflakes is still whisking across the garden and Briar raises her hands in wonder. The snow feels like tiny ballet shoes of ice dancing across her palms before they melt from her warmth.
Thump. Something cold hits the back of her head and she whips around to see Max grinning evilly at her, the remnants of a snowball slipping through his fingers. “Oh, it’s on!” Briar scoops up a handful of snow and throws it at her husband, who ducks and pops up, smirking. “You missed, ha!”
The next snowball hits him full in the face.
Upon seeing their parents yelling like kids and chucking snowballs manically, the triplets join in happily. Soon, everyone is covered with snow, cheeks red from the cold and laughter. “Okay, I give up.” Briar chuckles as Max hits her in the stomach with another well-aimed snowball. “I WIN!” He pumps his fist in the air and dances around. “NO YOU DON’T!” Cara and Cherry yell in unison, and begin pelting snowballs at their father. Cinna watches her sisters with a big smile on her face, apparently content to watch them have the fun. “Do you want to build a snowman?” Briar sings.
“Mummy, please.” Cinna rolls her eyes, but follows her mother anyway. “Would you like to make the biggest snowball?” Briar asks, and her eldest daughter nods. They begin gathering up snow, shaping and pushing some into a snowman. “I’ll find the decorations!” Cinna rushes off to grab a carrot from the kitchen, some pebbles and sticks as her mother finishes making the head.
“He looks awesome!” Cinna says happily as they stand back to admire their work. “A Grim Reaper.” Briar notes with a laugh. Her daughter certainly has a dark sense of humor.
“Cinna, come here because me and Cherry are going to make SNOW ANGELS!” Cara squeals and Cinna skips over to her sisters. The three flop into the fresh snow and begin flapping their arms and legs like mad, shrieking with laughter the whole time. Briar exchanges a smile with Max, and they join their children.
At this moment, Briar feels like she could be the happiest person in the world.
Sorry, some of the pictures look strange, especially the wedding ones. Sigh. I’ll post proper pictures of the wedding venue after this. Anyways, here’s some more snaps of my half-renovated house!