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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 13th day of Celebrating, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 57 > Continuing Series > Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Two

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Two

by scriptfox

HEILLEY AND I walked in behind our owner as he opened the front door to our house. I held my breath when I saw MonoKeras and Kallisari sitting on the couch, sharing a tub of popcorn. They may have said earlier that they thought a new sister would be neat, but they hadn't met Heilley yet.

     That situation changed quickly. "Hey, MonoKeras, Kallisari, this is Heilley. Heilley, meet your new brother and sister."

     "Hi!"

     "Hey."

     "OK, so which of you is which?"

     I gulped as MonoKeras stared at Heilley. I wasn't sure if she really didn't know or if she was baiting them- with her deadpan expression it could've been either.

     Our owner laughed. "MonoKeras is the Uni, Heilley. It's Kallisari who is the Peophin."

     "Cool, nice to meet you two."

     Kallie just nodded, apparently not that enthusiastic anymore. MonoKeras decided to try and match Heilley's wordplay. "Same, I'm sure. So are you a follower of Rouge? Or just an initiate?"

     Heilley looked at him blankly. "What? I'm red normally, bucko, what do you mean by follower?"

     "Oh nothing, just wondering."

     Heilley had stepped in front of them as they talked and Kallie was apparently emboldened by her being taken aback. She reached out to stroke Heilley's hair.

     "Hey!" Heilley jerked back and gave Kallisari an icy glare. "You touched The Hair. Never touch The Hair."

     I didn't know whether to laugh or cry as Kallie's hoof retreated swiftly to her lap and she said a quick 'I'm sorry'. I'd never heard someone insert capital letters into a term like that before, but Heilley managed it somehow. She'd also managed to make such an awkward scene that I wondered what could go wrong next. It didn't take long to find out.

     "Yuck! What's that?"

     MonoKeras looked down at the floor. "Oh that's just Emerald. She's Kallisari's pet Slorg."

     "Yeeesh, look at all the slime."

     "Yeah, I know, she's a pain to take care of...."

     "She's worth it!" Kallisari said firmly.

     "Oh sure, just saying...."

     Emerald interrupted MonoKeras by looking up at Heilley and hissing. Heilley cringed. "Oh man, she doesn't like me either does she."

     "Oh she likes you fine," MonoKeras said drily. "If she didn't, she'd have two blazing orange lights for eyes and she'd be glowing bright purple as she dove at you screaming your doom."

     Heilley backed up a few steps and stared at MonoKeras with her mouth open. "Uh... you have got to be kidding me."

     "Actually, he isn't," our owner interrupted. "I've seen it for myself. Emerald is something of a watch-Slorg. Makes for a great burglar alarm. But never mind that, I need to show you your new room."

     Heilley walked out of the room, muttering under her breath about the weird things around here. I took one look at MonoKeras and Kallie and then followed her. I felt quite distinctly that those two wanted to be alone, and neither was looking too happy. Kallie was just plain upset, and MonoKeras was mixing a rather satisfied expression with some disgust... in short, a rather unpleasant mixture that I didn't want to fool with right then, or preferably not any time.

     I'd fallen a few steps behind, so Heilley was staring into her room with her paws on her hips when I finally caught up.

     "I know it's a bit bare," our owner said rather apologetically, "but I thought it'd be best to start this way and then you could decorate it however you wanted."

     "One bed, one chest of drawers, one chair, one nightstand, one lamp... and one mirror. Eh, it'll do for now."

     I grimaced to myself as Heilley wandered on into the room. She sure didn't seem all that impressed, but then nothing seemed to impress her if she could help it.

     "Good, glad you like it. I'll leave you to settle in and unpack whatever you brought with you from the pound."

     "Brought with me?" Heilley held out empty paws. "Does it look like I packed anything?"

     "Er, no, it doesn't. Oh well, you can still rearrange things however you like. I have those combs in the top drawer of your dresser there."

     "Yeah, cool, thanks."

     "Sure thing, see you later." He shut the door and turned around to find me standing behind him. "Whoa! Sorry, blchocobo, didn't see you there. Hey, I'm going to be off for a while."

     "OK. What's up?"

     "Oh, I figured I'd go see if I can find Shelleylow and interview her for my Web site."

     "I see. That's the one you made MonoKeras link to from his page on pain of death?"

     My owner rolled his eyes. "Not you too! You know very well I asked him nicely."

I shrugged. "Sorry, I was just teasing. Hope you have good luck with the interview."

     "Thanks... I'll be back for supper."

     I nodded and waited until he'd gone down the stairs before quickly opening the door to Heilley's room without knocking first. She spun around and stared at me, a flashy gold comb clenched in one paw.

     "Nice gold comb there," I remarked. "I didn't see that in the stuff our owner had for you."

     "Uhh..."

     "So where did you hide it?"

     Heilley bit her lip. "Oh.... The Hair. I can put a lot of things in there."

     I looked at her huge red waterfall of a mane. "I don't doubt that any. Oh well, just as long as you only put your own things in there."

     "Sure... hey, why did you pop in here and try to scare me out of my wits anyway?"

     "Just wanted to tell you supper was at six this evening and to be sure not to miss it. We always show up for that."

     "Well of course! Food, gotta love it, need it, and all that sort of thing. Sounds cool to me."

     "Uh-huh. See you there." And I shut the door. I repressed a slightly guilty feeling as I wandered back downstairs. I'd thought Heilley had been trying to hide something with that innocent act, and now I knew what it was. I wondered if that was the only thing she was trying to hide, and tried to comfort myself with the thought that it would all come out in the end.

     I heard MonoKeras and Kallisari talking about (what else) Heilley as I came back down into the living room.

     "....I still don't see why he'd get her, though. I mean, she's so rude!"

     "Who knows, honey. He's got an odd sense of humour sometimes, and he doesn't take offence all that easily."

     "I know, but still, that's no excuse to tolerate such.... oh, hi blchocobo."

     "Hi, Kallisari."

     "Hey, blchocobo, what do you think about our new little sister?"

     I sighed a bit to myself before replying to MonoKeras' question. "It's hard to say, actually. She hasn't opened up enough to let me find out anything yet."

     MonoKeras snorted. "She puts on a show, you mean. Well I don't think there's anything behind the show- she just brags to look tough."

     "Could be," I admitted.

     "I don't care, that's still no reason for her to act that way!"

     "Yeah, I know. Oh well, not much we can do about it. See ya later." I slipped out into the kitchen, wondering why I felt guilty at listening to Kallisari's complaints. She was certainly justified in them!

     I grabbed some leftover fire faerie pizza and wandered out back while I munched on it. It was still a beautiful day outside, with nice warm temperatures and lots of sun, but I couldn't quite relax. I kept brooding over the whole situation. Kallisari was upset and hurt. I knew she didn't hold grudges too long, but she also didn't hide her feelings, either. MonoKeras let his grudges run deeper, and I could tell he was bothered, even though he wasn't totally committed yet. Heilley herself was..... I sighed. Her brassy personality was pushing everyone and everything away from her so easily that I wondered if she even realised what she was doing. More important, did she even care?

     Things didn't improve that much at the supper table, either. Kallisari and MonoKeras sat on one side of the table while Heilley and I sat on the other. Our owner sat at the head of the table, and seemed slightly depressed while the rest of us dug into our food with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Interestingly enough, it was Heilley who seemed happiest. Her hair had been brushed and curled until it shone with golden highlights, and she dove into her meal with an enthusiasm that suggested she'd been starving. I wondered if she had.

     She did look up from her plate long enough at one point to say, "Kallisari, be a dear and pass those tomatoes please."

     Kallisari's lips tightened, but she didn't say anything as she passed the tomatoes. Heilley mumbled a thanks before expertly littering the top of her pasta with tomato slices.

     I tried to break the tension with a bit of conversation. "How did your interview with Shelleylow go?" I asked our owner.

     "Uhmm... not too good. She was flattered I asked, and interested and all that, but she's got a lot of school work to do."

     "So that means..."

     "She may not be free to do it for a couple of months. I think I can talk her into an hour or two of spare time to chat and get it over with, but I don't know...."

     He trailed off and I made some sympathetic noises. Silence, filled only with crunching noises, set in. That is, until Heilley asked, "hey, where's the asparagus?"

     "Asparagus???" MonoKeras' lips curled as he stared at Heilley.

     "Yeah, can't have good pasta without some asparagus tips on it. Is it in the fridge?"

     Everyone was staring at her. "You like asparagus?" I asked rather weakly.

     "Of course. Doesn't everyone?"

     "No!"

     "Nuh uh"

     "I'm afraid not."

     "You're the first pet of mine that ever liked the stuff."

     Heilley shook her head, totally unfazed by our reactions but showing an obvious surprise of her own. "Wow, what's not to like about it?"

     "NOT to like about it? What IS there to like about it?"

     I winced at MonoKeras' explosive retort, but Heilley just rolled her eyes. "OK, OK, keep it cool, there MonoKeras. I get your drift. No one likes asparagus."

     "Hmmm... no, but now that you say you do, we'll know who to give all the asparagus to that we wind up getting."

     Heilley quirked a sceptical eyebrow at our owner. "Thanks... I guess. Just make it soon, huh?"

     "Oh, of course. Wouldn't think of delaying your satisfaction."

     We managed to finish the meal without any further large incidents, but I reflected gloomily that Heilley's penchant for asparagus pretty well reflected the whole situation. If there was any single way for her to be different and abrasive, she seemed to find it.

     I figured I ought to do something constructive to break my dark mood, but instead I wound up rocking in the hammock in the back yard watching the sunset. The reds were fading to purples and I was finally starting to relax when a sudden hiss sounded beside me.

     "Hssst! Hey, blchocobo, snap out of it guy."

     I jerked my head around to find Heilley staring down at me. "What? Oh! Hi there."

     Heilley just nodded, a worried frown on her face. "Hey, I've been trying to catch you by yourself today, and just hadn't had the chance. I need to, well...." she scrubbed a foot on the ground.

     "Yeah?"

     "...ask a favour of you," she finished in a rush. Taking a deep breath, she continued. "Promise me you won't tell anyone about my comb? Please?"

     I blinked. "Why?"

     "Because I want to keep it!"

     "Why shouldn't you? It's yours isn't it?"

     Her lips twisted downward. "Nothing is owned by a pet, you know that. Sure and all, I got it given to me last time--so I'd get distracted and not put up a fight when they dropped me off. But I know how it goes. 'Oh, Heilley, what a beautiful comb! Here, let's put it in our little safe deposit box!' and you never see it again."

     "Ahh. Sounds like personal experience."

     "Oh, yeah, real personal. REAL personal, but forget that- keep it a secret, huh?"

     I shrugged. "Sure. But relax, we're not like that here."

     "Huh. That's what they all say at first. Oh well, guess I can't ask for more. Thanks anyway."

     I pondered her swiftly disappearing figure. Maybe- just maybe- I was starting to understand what lay behind that shell of hers.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part One

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Three

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Four

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Five

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Six

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