This is an original short story I wrote as a companion piece to the “Naughty and Nice” image. I hope you enjoy reading it!

Naughty and Nice: Yule with the Eritsuro Family
Aena entered the living room, to find her older sister curled up on the couch in front of a roaring fire, reading a book. It was a Saturday afternoon, and it was cold outside. While Zalanda appeared to be enjoying the warm, cozy environment of the room; Aena was hoping to go outside and play in the snow. She was very much a child at heart.

There was finally enough snow on the ground to make a snowman, and Aena wanted to enlist her sister’s help. She approached, and suggested going outside. Zalanda asked for a reason, complaining that it was “beastly cold.”

“I wanted to make a snowman,” Aena said, hoping the offer would be inviting. Zalanda was not interested in the slightest. She dismissed Aena quickly, telling her to make the snowman on her own as she didn’t need help for that.

“Mom and Dad also want us to take a picture to put on cards for Yule,” Aena reminded her.

Zalanda groaned in disappointment. “Seriously? What’s the ridiculous theme this time?”

“Naughty and nice,” Aena replied. “I get to be ‘nice.'”

“Of course you do,” Zalanda said, unsurprised and slightly annoyed.

Reluctantly agreeing to the photo shoot, Zalanda made a point of telling her sister that she would not be helping to make a snowman like the humans do. Aena would just have to play in the snow on her own, or find someone else to freeze with her. Aena accepted the deal, resolving to call friends over later.

With that, they dressed in their themed outfits and went outside. Their parents had warmed the air with magick, to make the scene more comfortable. Their father was grinning from ear to ear. He loved photographing his daughters, and it was always a fight to get Zalanda to participate. He’d hoped this theme would appease her, but she still appeared to be hoping to get things over with as quickly as possible.

Mrs. Eritsuro helped the girls with their placement, gave them tips on posing, and reminded them both to smile. Zalanda loudly complained that the whole thing was lame and childish.

“Really, Zalanda,” he mother said disapprovingly, “Consider it a gift to your father and I. We do like to have pictures of both of you for keepsakes. It’s not like you’ll be living with us much longer.”

“You’re so dramatic!” Zalanda retorted, “I’ll probably be here at least another four years.”

“Four years that we’ll treasure,” her mother reminded her, “Now be cheerful. This is for Yule. Have fun with it.”

“As long a Dad doesn’t call us his ‘little models’ until we’re done,” Zalanda said, staring pointedly at her father as he adjusted his photography equipment.

Mr. Eritsuro denied ever calling his daughters models during a shoot. But, everyone knew he would have enjoyed working with them more frequently in his work as a professional photographer.

Aena looked over at Zalanda with a smile. “Just think, it won’t be many more shoots before you move out.”

Zalanda smiled in response, and decided to enjoy the shoot. She did look great in her outfit. And it was, after all, only once a year.