1.15 Unexpected Invitations

It was rare for Darrel and Emilia to show their faces in the Hex Shop these days, so when they randomly popped by towards the end of opening hours on the eve of Harvestfest, Cordelia wasn’t sure what to make of it.

She hadn’t seen Emilia since the fun fair incident, and the few times she Darrel had been in the store between then and now, he never brought up his interference with L Faba’s spell. Cordelia was grateful for that. As far as she was concerned, it would be best to pretend that whole night never happened. Add it to that long list…

Thankfully, Grace took it upon herself to greet the couple, so that Cordelia didn’t have to.

“Hi boss, long time no see!” She smiled at Darrel and Emilia. “What brings you two here today?”

Darrel seemed to be in an oddly good mood. “Just wanted to check up on the old shop before we shut for the holiday. Good day today?”

“Yup, people went mad for all of the potions affecting social interactions today. Probably in preparation for all those family reunions.” Grace told him with a slight smirk.

“I assure you, no potions will be necessary at the Charm residence tomorrow,” Darrel’s mood did not falter. “We’ve only invited the finest of guests.”

“Didn’t think you thought so highly of me, boss,” Grace chuckled softly.

Darrel looked like he was going to say something, but Emilia shot him a look, so he remained silent. Cordelia wondered if it was really Darrel’s decision to invite Grace. Then again, if Grace with her charming nature and potion-making skills was not deemed worthy enough, who was?

“What time should I come over again?” Grace asked Darrel.

Emilia left the two of them to discuss the details, and to Cordelia’s surprise, headed to the till instead.

“You holding up ok?” She asked Cordelia. Was she concerned about her? “The last time we saw you..”

“Oh yeah, I’m totally fine. Really fine. Don’t mention it.” Cordelia stumbled over her words. Think of something to change the subject. Anything… “Sounds like it will be quite the event over in the Charm house tomorrow.”

“I think so,” Emilia nodded. “It will be my first Harvestfest with family too, but Darrel is excited. Are you doing anything nice?”

Cordelia let out an awkward laugh. “Uh, nothing special. I’ve never really celebrated Harvestfest much.” It wasn’t a lie. Not exactly a choice, but not a lie, nonetheless.

“Oh, aren’t you going to be seeing your family?” Emilia asked. She seemed so genuine. Perhaps it was Cordelia’s turn to be honest.

“I… don’t exactly have a family.” She confessed.

“Oh.” Emilia’s smile disappeared. She turned to her fiancé. “Darrel, could we invite Cordelia over tomorrow too? Seeing as Grace is coming, wouldn’t it make sense to have all the employees along?”

Darrel wandered towards them. “I’m not sure if that’s such a great idea…”

Emilia pouted, her eyes wide. “Why not? The Charm manor could definitely fit one extra person… Do you think Minerva would mind?”

“Probably not…” Darrel admitted. Cordelia wasn’t sure what she was missing. But then Darrel never seemed all that fond of her. It was probably that. He sighed, examining Emilia’s face. “You know what, why not. If it makes you happy…”

“Brilliant!” Emilia’s frowned disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. She turned to Cordelia. “The festivities start at 6pm. You can come along with Grace, she knows where the Charm manor is. You will come, right? It will be lots of fun!”

Cordelia wasn’t sure what to say. She couldn’t exactly decline, after all this fuss. It would be nice to see how actual families celebrated Harvestfest, wouldn’t it? “I’m honoured. Thank you for inviting me. Both of you.” She added quickly. Not that it was needed. Darrel wasn’t even looking at her.

The couple made their exit shortly after the conversation.

“Won’t you look at that, somehow the two of us can count ourselves among the finest of guests.” Grace laughed heartily as Darrel and Emilia made their exit. “Darrel must be fuming!”

“Was it Emilia that invited you too?” Cordelia asked her co-worker.

“Oh yeah,” Grace confirmed. “Obviously. She’s a friend. They’re a strange couple, really, but she does have him wrapped around her little finger.”

Cordelia couldn’t disagree. She wondered how Darrel and Emilia came to be. Perhaps she’d find out tomorrow. Either way, both Grace and Emilia seemed excited for the Harvestfest celebrations. Cordelia decided she should at the very least keep an open mind.


The elf emerged out of the old tree passage at sunrise. He couldn’t sleep any longer. It was his favourite day of they year. And this year, he’d get to share it with a friend. He made his way to Cordelia’s shack with a grin on his face.

It was not particularly difficult for him burst right in, given that she still didn’t have a real door.

“Happy gnome day!” he cried out happily.

“Dandy?” Cordelia sat up in her bed, resisting the urge to scold the elf for barging in like that – it was only fair, given her own invasion of his home after her disastrous non-date with Morgyn. “Gnome day?”

“Yeah! The day all the gnomes come visit!” He explained. Not that the statement particularly made a lot of sense to her. “At least they do in Sylvan Glade. Does that not happen on human Harvestfest?”

“Ugh, not that I know of.” Of course, Cordelia hadn’t been party to many Harvestfest celebrations before, but even without being invited to dinners, she was fairly positive she would have noticed a horde of gnomes invading Gibbs Hill. “Maybe it’s a Glimmerbrook thing.”

“I guess.” Dandelion shrugged dismissively. “There’s already heaps of them down in my meadow. But I saw one up here, right outside the tree too.”

“A gnome. In my camp.” Cordelia raised an eyebrow.

“He’s by my mailbox, I suppose. He’s the bunny kind.” The elf babbled on. “Come on, I’ll show you.”

She followed him out of the shack without even bothering to get dressed. Clearly Dandelion was far too eager to show her this bunny gnome, whatever the heck that was.

“Huh. You weren’t kidding.” Cordelia examined the pink gnome. It seemed that every day, Glimmerbrook was finding new ways to become more and more peculiar. She wondered when she would get used to it.

“Of course not. Gnome day is seriously awesome. It’s basically a big party!” Her friend smiled. “The gnomes like pie, you see. I’m making a whole feast down in Sylvan Glade, if you want to come over.”

She had plenty of time till dinner at the Charm manor. Why not embrace the madness. “Sure. Let’s meet some gnomes.”

Dandelion had not been exaggerating, she saw several gnomes as soon as they entered the meadow. The elf made her greet them all, saying it was important not to be rude.

The two friends climbed up the rickety stairs into Dandelion’s kitchen.

“Have a seat, have a seat!” He urged her with a sweet giddiness. “I’ll prepare the feast, it won’t be long.”

She sat down at the table and watched her friend wrestle with a bowl of ingredients. “You need a hand, Dandy?”

“But you’re the guest!” He protested.

She was not letting him deter her. “So? I can help out. It’s not like the gnomes will. I think.”

Dandelion considered her offer. “I suppose. Are you a good cook?”

“Not really,” She shrugged with a little chuckle. “But I’ll do my best not to set your house on fire.”

“Ok good,” he nodded with a serious tone. “Tree houses burn down easily.”

Neither of them was much of a master chef, Cordelia had to admit, but they had fun preparing the meal together anyway. It felt so… ordinary, in the best sense possible. Was this how people spent Harvestfest? Joking around while dropping vegetables and cutlery? It had to be, Cordelia thought. It felt nice. Normal. Cordelia sad a silent prayer for the sprites to continue to leave her alone today. At least this one day…

They took all of the food they prepared outside and laid the little picnic out right beside Dandelion’s garden patch – and several more gnomes. They had to share, Dandelion insisted.

“Hey there, Mr Gnome.” Cordelia greeted the one stood beside her. Not that she expected a response. She wondered where they came from. Was there a place where the gnomes gathered for the remainder of the year? “They don’t really talk much, do they?”

“Not really, no,” Dandelion agreed, taking a bite out of a brownie. “But if they have fun with you, they bring you little seeds and stuff. I just like the company.”

This again. He looked content while chewing on the dessert, but was he really? Cordelia couldn’t help but wonder back to what he told her back when they were carving those pumpkins before Spooky Day… “Do you get lonely here, all on your own?” She asked him.

“Well no, you’re here.” He said with his mouth full.

“And before that?”

“Before that, the gnomes would visit.”

Once a year, Cordelia thought to herself. “How long have you lived here, Dandy?”

“I dunno. Most of my life, I think.” He finished his brownie and leaned back on the blanket. “I don’t really count it or anything. Whatever. Come watch clouds with me. There’s one that looks like a really fat pig.”

She sighed, lying down next to him. He clearly didn’t want to discuss the subject any further.

How many gnome days was that, Cordelia wondered? How many years would have to go by for one to lose track of them? But she didn’t ask. “Which one is the pig one?”

“Over there.” He pointed upwards. “Next to the castle.”

“Right.” She wished her imagination was as colourful as his, but she gave it her best shot anyway. “I see one that kind of looks like a horse. Right there.”

“Oh yeah, I can see that.” Dandelion nodded. “Maybe it could be friends with the pig. Can horses and pigs be friends?”

“Of course they can,” Cordelia didn’t hesitate. “Humans and elves can, after all.”

A grin spread across his face. “That’s true.”

She wished she hadn’t agreed to go to the Charm house for dinner. Spending the rest of the day with Dandelion here in Sylvan Glade sounded far better. Not to mention she didn’t want to leave him on his own again. But she couldn’t bail on Grace now… And she didn’t want to offend Emilia either.

“Dandy, I can’t stay much longer.” The girl forced herself to say, getting up. “I promised I would come to the Charms’ place tonight. I… I would bring you along, but I’m not sure Darrel really wanted me to come in the first place…”

“Oh. If he doesn’t want you to come over, why are you going?” Dandelion stood up next to her. It was a fair question, she thought.

“It’s complicated… I guess sometimes people do stuff because it’s expected of them, not because they want to.”

Dandelion pondered her words for a moment. “Hm. I think I know what you mean. Sounds lame though. I’m glad I don’t have to do that.”

“I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

“Don’t worry. I have the gnomes to keep me company, remember?”

That just made her feel more guilty. “For what it’s worth, Dandy, this has been the best Harvestfest I ever had.”

He seemed surprised. “Oh really? Me too, I think.” Cordelia pulled him into a hug.

“Don’t tell Lulu I said this, but I think you’re my best friend.” The elf whispered in her ear.

Best friend. Nobody had ever called her that. She squeezed him tightly. “And you’re mine.”

Of course, one could also say Dandelion was her only friend. But then again, she wasn’t sure if his situation was different. Could you really call what he had with L Faba friendship? The more Cordelia heard, the less convinced she was. Why was he so fond of that horrible woman, she wondered?

“I best get going.” She said with another sigh, pulling herself away from him.

“Ok. Have fun at the Charm house.” He didn’t seem upset, at least.

Still, Cordelia couldn’t help but hesitate as she walked towards the tree passage. She looked back at him. “Hey Dandy…”


Cordelia kicked herself. What was there to say, really? Nothing could change the fact she was leaving him here, alone, like L Faba did. “Happy gnome day.” She said quietly.

“Happy gnome day, Cordie.”

22 thoughts on “1.15 Unexpected Invitations

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    1. I’m glad you like Dandy, I derinitely have a soft spot for him!

      I’m not sure if Darrel likes many people to be honest! Though often it’s more indifference than dislike in his case. I mean, compared to her relationship with L Faba, Darrel and Cordelia are practically buddies 😆 (Ok, a bit of a stretch, haha!)


  1. Omg when you drew that parallel in the end, that was just so sad! There’s some truth to it, but some things can’t be helped, like how parents have to leave their children at daycare for work, but in the end it’s not like they don’t come back for them. Life dealt them those cards and they made the best of it. I hope Cordelia doesn’t compare herself too much with LFaba, or she does but then makes sure she doesn’t get to that level of ‘friendship’. And ooooooh! These poses!!! They’re lovely! Careful don’t spiral down the rabbit hole! Leave some fun in your game. xD Btw, is that a banner in the sky where Dandy is strutting his stuff? I didn’t realise the game does that. Dang that photobomb though. But that is still one of the best screenies! I mean, there’s Dandy in it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very good point! And I agree, this is definitely a case of Cordelia being hard on herself, not me being hard on Cordelia 🙂 Interesting that the example you’ve referenced is about parents and their kids, probably no accident – Dandelion has such a childlike aura about him that I can definitely see Cordelia would feel like she should “look after him.”

      Haha yes, my first time using poses for that picnic screenshot! I hadn’t figured out how to use the knight statue by that point so it’s a miracle they’re sat in logical places lol. There will be some poses in the future, but as a rule of thumb if they can be avoided, I will (she says :D). I mean, why is sitting on the ground not even a thing in the vanilla game? Remember the ‘hang out’ interaction in TS2? I wish that was still a thing!


  2. “Don’t tell Lulu I said this, but I think you’re my best friend.”
    Plumbie why do you to this to me?! T.T XD

    I think Harvestfest is my favourite holiday out of everything Seasons has to offer. It’s just so charmingly ridiculous, and I love the gang of gnomes that shows up. I think I had almost thirty of them at one point, after three years of keeping absolutely all of them.

    It’s a shame that Cordelia was roped into spending the evening at a place where she doesn’t really want to be. Though their intentions were good – well, Emilia’s, of course. I’m seriously wondering what she sees in him – does she have a different Darrel in her head? One that’s a friendly, charming, loyal hero that’s always ready to help or something? Because she keeps roping him into things that he really doesn’t seem to want to do. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yeah I enjoy the Harvestfest ridiculousness too, unless I’m attempting super realistic gameplay. Nice thing about this save is that anything ludacris that happens in the sims world can be explained away as ‘magic and stuff’ 😆

      Quite possibly! Maybe she’s star-struck by this powerful mage who seems smitten with her, or maybe she’s secretly a mastermind who enjoys being the puppeteer… who knows?


  3. The more I read about Dandy, the more I want to know more about him, lol. Behind his childish exterior, I think he has some interesting secrets that he’s keeping hidden. And aww, I love their developing friendship.

    I’m really curious to see what will happen at the Charms. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dang it. Dandy is back in my heart again.

    Also these screenshots are chef’s kiss.

    Okay, one more chapter and then I’m going to bed, damn it.

    (P.S. I really like your treatment of Dandy’s loneliness and mysterious past. It’s subtle, and clearly, he’s in some denial about it, but its heartbreaking in a very good way)

    (P.P.S. – my favorite romance trope is morality chain and so I actually love reading Emilia and Darrel now. It’s crazy, because in the game I dislike them so much and immediately deleted them lol).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, denial is his way of coping with it. Although I think he does realise how much Cordelia’s arrival changed things for him, in a good way.

      Oh really? That’s cool, I don’t think Darrel has any fans around here haha. Him and Emilia are a strange couple, but in my head they totally make sense. You’re right, the Charm household by default are not very inspiring, I had both Emilia and Gemma get major makeovers to make to help me get into them haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahhhh this was too sweet. And the more I read, the more I want to know more about what’s behind Dandy’s carefree exterior.

    Also it seems I’m not the only one asking how Darrel and Emilia got together 😂


  6. I’ll say it again: getting the sense that L Faba is isolating Dandelion in this clearing for a reason. But gee, who peed in Darrel’s cornflakes? Did he really find it necessary to drop the “finest of guests” line in front of the employee he wasn’t intending to invite… to the other employee he wasn’t intending to invite? Ah, he came around eventually. I’m with the people who are waiting for the Darrel/Emilia origin story.

    Props to all the realistic Friendsgivings/Friendvestfests? Harvestfriends? machinations going on. It’s too real for someone who’s had to cook her own holiday dinners every year since her parents got stolen by gnomes. And I get Darrel’s strict guest list in that context, too: if every year Emilia invites people who have nowhere else to go and some of them pick at their food or even complain because the 10+ dishes are all vegan, what’s the harm in getting a bouncer? Family/friend dinners are exclusive by nature anyway.

    Her honesty with Dandelion is just the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who peed in someone’s cornflakes is one beautiful expression and I feel like I need to make that a thing 😂 What an apt description of Darrel. Yes, I suppose he’s not too fussed about what his employees think of him – he pays them, that ought to be good enough, right? 😄 He will not say no to Emilia, though.

      Harvestfriends makes me think of a weird pumpkin patch equivalent where you go into a field filled with human heads and go pick some instant friends. 😆 A bit like the Friend Proxy service in Maniac if you’ve ever seen that show (and wow, off I go on yet another tangent, clearly I’m in one of those moods tonight).

      I’m glad it comes across as realistic (well, as realistic as an elf and a human sitting in a fairy tale meadow can be), though I’m sorry to hear those parts of Cordelia’s background are relatable to you.

      Yes, Emilia might just be a bit too liberal with the invites – I doubt it’s her that’s doing the cooking either.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I unfortunately can’t take credit for that turn of phrase! Luckily, it’s easily customizable. I don’t know what Dandelion’s favorite food is, for example, but choose to believe he is capable of pouring a bowl of cereal without something spontaneously combusting.

        DUDE I LOVE MANIAC. Sometimes when I’m mentally sapped, I rewatch that court scene at the end over and over and scream and jump up and down every time. Although, combined with the relatability note above, I think I’m inadvertently painting a downer picture of my life.

        And yes, the conversation was honest and sweet and something I wish I saw more in mainstream fiction.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t like Darrel he seems kind of rude. But then again he did save Cordelia from the dizziness. Still, as Cordelia I don’t think I would go. Spending the day with Dandy sounds way more fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, not many people like Darrel, apart from Emilia, lol. He can definitely be rude if he feels the other party is not “worthy” of his time. Cordelia would have prefered to celebrate with Dandy too, too bad she agreed to go before she realised that was an option.

      Liked by 1 person

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