Narrated by Chelsea Finnbar. Chelsea is 26 years old.
Chelsea started out the winter feeling lonely. She had been putting all her effort, through summer and fall, into getting her dogs settled in, keeping the house clean (keeping the bugs at bay, at least), and finding a job she could live with. She had started out at a record store in Port Prominence. She barely made enough to cover the ferry costs there. She was much happier working at Town Hall in Simdale Valley–helping people out with their town business, hearing what mattered to people. But she only saw people at work, it seemed. She never had time to even entertain, with the puppies she had raised in the warm months. Winter made her feel the need for human company, and she set out to Town Square to meet someone, anyone.
As soon as she met him, she started feeling that tingle all over. Julien Cooke.
That day, they chatted a lot, flirted a little. It was almost magical…even having a beautiful light snow fall at eveningtime. Eventually, she went home.
But she couldn’t stop thinking about him. Chelsea invited Julien over a couple days later. Linus, her dog, kept noticing all the attention she was giving him. Linus kept looking at Julien, then asking to be rubbed, or stroked.
Julien seemed pretty good with him… but after a while they both forgot about Linus and were lost in conversation.
Chelsea woke up the next day and it was snowing! She felt like a kid, she was so excited.
Town Hall was closed down that day, so she walked to Market Place to socialize, shop, and socialize some more.
She hit it off with a woman named Cynthia Kim, who was visiting for the day, from Summerton. She had a dog in movies or something. Cynthia agreed to eat lunch and they had a lot of fun talking about dog training, and fashion. (Not that those go together very well).
That evening, Chelsea was walking Linus at Town Square when she ran into Julien again. She asked him to come to her house to have supper, but he turned her down flat. She wondered if he didn’t like her as much as she had thought he did.
She decided to throw a party for Christmas, rather than be all alone with her dogs. She invited Cynthia Kim, Marisa (the first person she met in Simdale Valley, but had not gotten to know yet), Declan’s family, and a few other people she had met over the past few months. And Julien, of course. Surprisingly, everyone showed up, even Julien. And he surprised her with a kiss under the mistletoe!
She had to entertain everyone, but Julien kept meeting her gaze at odd moments, and making her heart flutter. The party was a great success, even though she burnt the soup. Everyone just seemed happy to dance, and talk, and go out in the snow with the dogs for a while.
After the party, Chelsea found herself daydreaming about Julien again. He had stayed a couple hours after everyone left, and she couldn’t stop thinking about him.
Next thing she knew, her living room was on fire and she had to get her wits about her, and call the fire station. They sent out two firemen, and while she was waiting for them to get there she completely panicked. Her chair, her tree, and her curtains were gone, with about six piles of ash on the floor. She was just thankful Linus and she were ok, and she got to meet two new people, so in the end she just counted her blessings as she bathed Linus and herself, and finally, at 2:30 AM, fell into bed.