Merry Measures (Part I)

Christmas Eve day on Annabel Island was the coldest day in recent memory, yet still warm enough that the trees stayed green and leafy and the flowers did not wilt. As the families on the island gathered to celebrate the holiday, they discussed the possibility of frost, or worse yet, snow, which would mean disaster for the farmers, unless they could somehow turn their crops into coal and firewood. But talk of the weather soon gave way to excited speculation over what Charles Dunnavant, the “King of the Island”, was building by Sandero Bay — some said it looked like an Arabian palace; others said they had peeked over the walls and seen the columns of what might be a Greek temple.

It was of this very thing that Morgan and Madeline De Groff were speaking on Christmas Eve afternoon while they waited for their father. At the same time, they played their own made-up game, “Witches and Bandits”, with Madeline as the Good Witch of the Mountain, and Morgan as the evil bandit Thirsty O’Fallon.

Witches and bandits

“Mr. Dunnavant is building a playhouse for his children, of course,” said Madeline as she and Morgan squared off in the hallway to do battle. “And when it’s finished, I’m going to be invited over every day, while you stay home and do lessons!” She waved her magical pointer finger at the evil bandit, who wished fervently for a weapon.

“It’s not fair!” cried Morgan. “I don’t have anything that fights magic.”

Madeline rolled her eyes. “Use your imagination, silly. Pull a rope and have a trap door open beneath my feet…or…or…whistle for your horse!”

“But…I…” Morgan looked beseechingly at their nanny, who was watching them from the doorway. “Nellie…I need your help!”

Morgan beseeches

Nellie laughed. “Am I a horse now, Morgy?”

Wide-eyed, Morgan shook his head, and Nellie continued. “As much as I’d like to save you from your doom, I don’t want to encourage this behavior when your father’s due home at any moment. You don’t want to be dirty and disheveled when you go see your grandparents, do you?”

Madeline asks a question

At the mention of her grandparents, Madeline’s eyes lit up. “They won’t mind if we’re…disheveled,” she said, proudly trying out the new word Nellie had just taught her. The ribbon in her hair flopped as she bobbed up and down. “I can’t wait to see Grandpa! When is Mama coming down? Do you think Poppy will bring the wagon?”

“One question at a time,” said Nellie gently. “Your mama is still getting ready, and I very much doubt your father will bring the wagon in this weather. If he does, we’ll have to find your caps and mittens.”

Nellie explains

Madeline made a face. “We don’t need those. It’s not even snowing.”

“I wish it were,” said Morgan. “I like snow for Christmas.”

“So do I, Morgy.” Nellie smiled. “By the way…Merry Christmas, children.”

The children hollered “Merry Christmas!” back, and Morgan threw his arms up in the air for a hug. Nellie leaned over and obliged him, while Madeline looked on, faintly annoyed, though she wasn’t sure why.

Morgan hugs Nellie

Nellie released Morgan from her embrace, smoothing his hair as though he were her son, then made a sudden face of horror. “Morgy! Is that…strawberry jam on your forehead? How on earth did it end up there? Oh, never mind. Off to the sink with you!”

With great expertise, Nellie spun Morgan around and pushed him lightly down the hallway towards the kitchen. “Sit tight, Madeline,” she called over her shoulder.

Restless and bereft of her playmate, Madeline wandered into the parlor and poked at the ashen logs in the fireplace for awhile, but stopped when she saw how it was smudging her hands. Frowning and hoping Nellie wouldn’t notice, she climbed up onto a settee and waited for the sound of horse hooves on the road.

She hadn’t been waiting long when the stable boy, Tom, appeared in the doorway.

“Are you cold, Miss De Groff?” he asked, walking towards the fireplace and striking a match. “We’ll get a good blaze going.”

Tom lights a fire

Madeline liked it when Tom called her “Miss De Groff”. It made her feel older. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a good blaze or not,” she said, appreciating his effort but not wanting him to over-exert himself. “We’re leaving as soon as Poppy gets here.”

The fire came back to life, making the walls of the parlor dance. “Oh?” asked Tom, rising and taking a seat next to Madeline. “And where are the winds of fate taking you tonight, young miss?”

Tom on couch looking at Maddie

She didn’t like “young miss” as much — it didn’t make her feel older at all. In fact, it made her feel exactly her age. “To my grandparents’ house for Christmas,” she said flatly, as if the conversation had already grown tiresome.

“Ah!” said Tom. “And what about me? When are we going to have our Christmas?”

“What do you mean? You and Flora and Nellie? How on earth would I know?”

“No, no,” he said, laughing. “Our Christmas. You and me.”

He was teasing her, and she didn’t like it.

Maddie making a frowny face

“You’re a foolish boy,” was all she could think of to say. She hoped calling him a “boy” would be a sufficient insult, but it didn’t faze him in the least.

“You mean you didn’t get me anything?” said Tom, smiling. “But I thought I saw you making me a Christmas card. It was done up real nice, with buttons and ribbons…”

Tom looking at Maddie with big eyes

Madeline made an impatient noise. “Those are for Grandpa and Grandma. I didn’t make one for you.”

A cry escaped Tom, and he clutched at his heart. “Oh, you have hurt me, Miss De Groff…really truly hurt me!”

At that moment Morgan strolled in, his forehead scrubbed clean. “What did you do to him, Maddie?”

“Nothing!” she cried, wanting them both to disappear.

Morgan comes in while Maddie is talking

Maddie got part of her wish, for just then Flora yelled “TOM!” from the vicinity of the kitchen, and he ducked quickly out the front door without another word.

(continued on Page 2)

26 thoughts on “Merry Measures (Part I)

  1. Wow, this update was really interesting. Actually, I’m not finished reading it yet, but I am the first on to be reading it, or leaving a comment atleast, even though somebody else will probably click the darned Submit Comment button before I do. I loved the whole little banter between Madeline and Tom, it made me giggle with delight. And why is Madeling suddenly so..soo…annoyed with everything? Maybe she’s finally becoming a teenager. You know how we are with those mood swings.haha. But wow, just finished reading it and I must say…WHEN IS THE NEXT UPDATE? Dont mean to badger you or anything, but seriously..when is the next upate? I love this, and i wanna know what happened since the long break and the whole all thing and stuff. (ok that was kinda confusing, but that’s what happens when i use winey voices in my head..haha). I just want you to know again, this is the greatest story that I have ever read…well, one of them anyway. Amanda’s Cooking for Two goes hand in hand with this story type drama type thing. Haha. Anyway, I can’t wait for the next update.

  2. Awwww! Max! Poor Max! Cute Max! *flails!*
    Am I right in thinking Madeleine has very low Playful? ;)

  3. Oh I can’t stand Flora ugh! Poor max I do hope Cecily gives him the love he’s been waiting for for so long now. He’s been her saving grace er Face :lol: Surely he deserves better? Cecily always dreamed of James she should just let it go and see how lucky she is to have Max.
    I’m so looking forward to the next post :)

  4. Hi! I’ve been reading for a long time, but never comment. I just wanted to say I love all your families – especially the Shanley’s and Braytons! :)

  5. Oh wow! I’m so glad to see another update! And what a good one at that! Great job building up the supsense. And simply magnificent writing as well! If it were a book, I’d be unable to put it down!

  6. FAHBULOUS update! I totally thought it was going to be James–I love that it’s still Max. Makes me happy that the two just might have a happy future after all.

    I bet Jen’s trying to set Tom and Madeline up in advance. I think li’l Maddie’s birthday’s soon! Hey, which reminds me–what ever happened to the whole changing-time-periods thing? I find it odd that we’re still in ye olde Victoriana… We shoulda been approaching the 20s by now, I think.

    Not that I’m complaining. I love the Braytons dearly!

  7. How neat! And, of course, I know exactly why the two seem like they haven’t been married as long as they have. Because, I predict, they actually haven’t had two children like everyone thinks. Maybe? ;-) We’ll just wait and see!
    Anyways, great job, Jen! I look up to your writing and blogging very much! It’s so neat that someone out there can provide us all with such an entertaining place to read such fabulous stories. Keep up the great work!
    (And you really should think about writing a book! ;-) )

  8. Yeah!! Annabel/Brayton update! Oh Jen, it’s so promessing!! Please, write another one soon, I need relaxation during my exams!!

  9. *squee*

    Aww how cute! Why can’t Flora leave them alone?

    And Madeline is so grouchy! I’m guessing she has low niceness? What a shame :P

    Eagerly awaiting the next one, Jen!

  10. How could Cecily have two children with Max, if she never kissed him?
    My prediction is, that the children are James’, from that time they were in the hotel together…and she quickly married Max after James left, and pretended the children were his!!
    But thats just my prediction…I guess I’ll have to wait and see if its true :)
    Cant wait for the next one Jen!

    (Oh yeah, one question I wanted to ask Jen…..what happened to the Shanleys, with Mia and Ruby and everyone? And the main house, with Parker? Just wondered as I was reading your legacy again last week)

  11. Thanks, guys. I have no idea when the next update will be, but hopefully sooner rather than later! As for Madeline the Sim, I can’t recall her Niceness score, but Madeline the character does have her grouchy moments. There’s a pattern to her grumpiness, though. :-)

    To answer some questions –

    Eva – I addressed the Madeline question above, but yeah, I think you’re on the right track.

    Kay – Actually, I can’t remember Madeline’s stats, but as a character, she is very playful. She likes pretending and taking adventures and all that. But yeah, some things do make her kind of grumpy. Like her brother, for instance. Brothers are a pain! ;-)

    Madison – You didn’t ask a question, but I want to say hi and thanks for commenting! I’m glad you like my families.

    Keely – The Braytons won’t go through time anymore, sadly. They made it to about 1915, but I just couldn’t find enough stuff for the 1920s. On Annabel Island everything is still Victorian (ranging from 1860s to 1890s), so they’ve moved back a few decades and will probably stay that way.

    Kath – I haven’t played the Shanleys in a looong time. Parker and Jacinda Shanley, from the main house, went to Sim State University, and are probably still there. Mia’s progeny are still at Niadon (which has been rebuilt), and Ruby and Ginger are ready for college. Maybe I’ll do an update on them one of these days.

  12. Hooray! The Braytons! Or, I suppose, the De Groffs now. :D But, under either name, this has always been my favorite story line of yours (though everything you write is good!) so I’m really glad you’ve continued it. I can’t wait for the next part!!! :D

  13. Aww… that’s upsetting :( I wish that I knew how to make good clothes with different textures–and that my bodyshop was working

    By the way, Jen… Speaking of other things you haven’t been doing, how are Christal Chinchilla (ISbI challenge) and Maude(‘s tales)? -hint, hint- ;)

    Oh, and I found you on the NaNo site. are you doing PubYe? (I am…)

  14. Shanley update = I’d love you forever. ;)

    But! I am enjoying these Annabel Island updates. Very interesting storyline going on. And I love Madeline and Morgan. Especially Madeline. :)

  15. Hi i’m new, but i just found your site and I really enjoyed everything, but my favorite categorie was annabel island, and I was just wondering where Cecily and Max are living now?

  16. By the way I forgot to say that I love your houses and though my favorite is the dunnavant mansion, I was just thinking, are you bringing them up in your next update? If so please tell and I still would love some pictures of the interior. And I really need to know where Max and Cecily are living, please respond soon!

  17. Abby, Max and Cecily are living in Annabel Island now. Cecily used to live in another town but they have been moved. (sorry jen, she seemed desperate to know and i was around so i answerd it for her.)

  18. Keely – You’re doing PubYe? That’s really cool! I’ve never tried it, but it sounds helpful. How’s it going for you? And as for the Chinchillas, I stopped playing them because the ISBI Challenge was a bit too challenging for me, but maybe I’ll dust them off and play them again one of these days. Maude’s Tales will probably continue at some point; I have big plans for her stories, it’s just a matter of sitting down and getting back to it. Plus there are so many other stories I want to work on. And then the Prosperity Challenge looks kind of interesting…there’s just not enough time in the day!

    Audrey – Your wish is my command. :-)

    Abby – Hi and welcome! Max and Cecily live in a house called Mountainview, but I haven’t shown very many pictures of it on this site. It’s not one of the original Annabel Island houses that I posted snapshots of. I hope that answers your question! And yes, you will see the Dunnavants soon. :-)

    Eva – Thanks for helping out!

  19. Hey Jen thanks so much for the info., could you post some pictures of mountainview?, please!!!! I’m sure everyone would love em. Back me up guys!

  20. Hi. It’s been a few updates since I commented but I just had to say something. It’s not about this update but about the Shaneys. I just wanted to say that I really miss Ginger and the other one. Was it Ruby? See! That’s really sad that I can’t even remember their names! I agree with Audrey. Shanley update = I’d love you forever. Just wanted to say that because, as much as I love Cecily, this is too much drama for me and I miss the fun, wacky updates from the Shaneys where all you do is play the game and have fun making up a wierd story to go with the pictures. I know Annabel Island must be a lot more fun to write than the Shaneys but what’s the use of having a blog called Greetings from Mt. Geveva if you don’t even write about the families in Mt. Geneva?

  21. That was a really good story! Where did you find the horse and carriage? I love your stories. They’re BRILL!