Come dance with the Wanderers... Circulation: 100,597,592 Issue: 199 | 14th day of Swimming, Y7
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Confessions of a Bookworm: Part One

by shadowcristal


My name is Susan and I'm a lightly shaded Sketch Zafara with round glasses. The reason I'm writing this is not because I like to write. No... You see, I read a short story called "The Truth about Being Popular" in Neopian Times Issue 185, a while ago. As the title suggests, it was the story of a very popular pet. I'm here to tell you the other side of the story. The story of a not-so-popular pet, namely... me.

     You might've already figured out that I am a bookworm by the glasses and the title, but contrary to what you may think, this is not your stereotypical story. It's not a cutesy story about how a poor, shy, book-loving pet gets teased and then wins in the end, making friends with everyone. That's way old... No, this is my story.

     Hereby I dedicate this story to bookworms everywhere, no matter how much you love books, what you look like and what your IQ is.

     Before we properly begin with my story, you should be aware of the fact that I much prefer reading to writing. So don't expect me to come up with some miracles, okay? After all, this is not an epic tale.

     The whole thing began one rainy afternoon when I was leafing through some books in my school's library. I had just found a very interesting book about making friends and developing your social skills when Miss Lynch, my homeroom teacher, came running inside.

     "What a relief!" she exclaimed when she saw me. Her powerful spotted Kau legs quickly took her to the table where I was sitting at, and I put down my book as a sign of respect.

     "Susan," Miss Lynch begun, brushing gray strands of hair from her face, "We'll have an exchange student here for a week, and she's coming tomorrow. You are the only one left in school that's in my class... I'd like you to look after her. I'm sure she likes books too. Please..." She looked at me with those Kau eyes twinkling ever so hopefully.

     "Of course I'll do it," I said. When Miss Lynch used the Meepit eyes, no one could resist her. Also, I wouldn't dream of saying no when a teacher put it like that. Extra credit is good, you know?

     Yes, yes, you're going to frown at me and ask me where the originality is. Well, all I have to defend myself with is that it's the books that say you should obey your elder. That way you'll be able to get away with much more than you would have if you just made resistance.

     "Teacher's pet," I heard a Faerie Aisha say behind me. "I'll never obey a teacher like that." She stood up defiantly and copied the way Miss Lynch had been acting just when the real deal was out of the library.

     I shook my head and opened the book on social skills again. Well, it was her loss. If Alyssa just realized what I had realized a long time ago, she would be able to chat without the teacher interrupting half of the class. In case you were wondering, I tried that with my childhood friend Marylin one time. On top of that, if I helped Miss Lynch, the Art teacher, I might get my B+ in Art up to an A-... That, and a favor or two for the gym teacher will hopefully end up with my name being up on the High Honor Roll.

     I checked out the book with help of the ever-so-kind Lenny librarian and walked into the hallway. Immediately I saw some pets scurrying away from me. Oh goody... It was those Meerca Jokers who had negged me for Easter and now they would always run away when I came in a 5-meter radius of them, claiming that I smelled like rotten Neggs.

     Personally I don't care. I've got nice pets that I talk with, like my energetic blue Shoyru friend Jenna who spends her weekend trying out different sports. Not to mention that I usually play with my childhood friends, Marylin and Ken, and we're very different. Please... You were sympathizing about that negging, but you know, I do have friends. On top of that, Ken was the one who thought up the negging process and we nailed them first as an early April Fool's Joke. Then they attacked me as revenge.

     I realized that I had forgotten to bring an umbrella this morning because I had filled my bag with all those heavy philosophy books. Looking around, I spied a nice girl who lived on my block and seemed to have an umbrella to spare.

     "Excuse me, Isabella." I tapped the Purple Peophin's shoulder and she turned around. "May I borrow an umbrella? I forgot mine." The psychology and social skills books that I read had always claimed that it was best to have a polite and formal attitude when borrowing things, and return the items as soon as possible.

     The crowd around the beautiful Peophin gasped in horror. I couldn't help but to roll my eyes at this uneducated group. They probably believed firmly in judging everything by the cover, but I know that a great piece of work can be found between the most dull and old covers.

     "Sure," she said in a grand way. That's what I liked about Isabella... She was one of those cool people who hung out with everyone, and we had even had a Gourmet Club Bowl competition together. Yes, that is true. Now please put your eyeballs in their correct places and refrain from looking like a Neopian Times comic.

     I grasped the pretty purple umbrella she handed me, and walked outside. Throwing a last look at Isabella and her crowd, I couldn't help but to feel amused. Well, I doubted that Isabella was going to lose popularity on this one, but still... I opened the umbrella carefully and walked into the rain.

     Drip, drop. Drip, drop. The sounds of the rain were pleasing, like a monotone lullaby that made me feel safe. Unfortunately this feeling didn't last long as a Lupe biked past me and I got drenched in that splash. I checked my bag and noted that none of the books were wet. Good.

     The rest of the trip home was okay. I got splashed a few more times, but none of them were so horrifying as the first one. The drops had fallen less frequently and when I reached my block, so I assumed that the rain would soon stop.

     It was time to return the umbrella. I stopped at the purple house that was just a little bit away from mine and knocked the door. Isabella's owner appeared in the doorway after a few seconds, and I returned the umbrella after some explaining.

     Then I returned home, said hi to my owner and went upstairs. Lila wanted to know how my day was, and I told her I wanted to read books. I closed the door to my room and started reading.

     In case you're wondering about the day thing, that's just our little ritual. Instead of being insulted at me wanting to read books, my owner will know that everything was all right at school. If I came running home and told her that my day was awful, then Lila would know that I had a horrible day. It just works this way. I can't really explain further, since I am not a hundred percent sure myself...

     I flipped the book that I had just borrowed open. Originally I had planned reading something sci-fi and perhaps a story about Meridell or two that day, but I had an assignment. I read the social skills book a little bit at first, but it was just too interesting and intriguing to stop. Finally I managed to finish it just before dinner.

     "Done your homework yet?" Lila asked when we were eating organic broccoli. She had decided that we would try a healthy diet this week, to make up for the junk-food splurge we went on last week.

     "Not yet," I said. "I'll do it later. How was your day, by the way?"

     My dear owner talked about frustrating customers, and annoying restock times. I gave her some tips on how to deal with both, and she thanked me for that.

     "I wish I had time to read, like you..." Lila said wistfully when I told her that I had borrowed a new book.

     "Unfortunately you don't. But maybe this weekend..." I suggested. My smart owner quickly caught on and we spent the rest of the dinner making up plans for Saturday. Lila said she'd ask Isabella and her owner if she had time.

     After that I had to wash the dishes, and I thought of the social skills book that I had read. Then I went upstairs, did my homework as fast as I could. The theoretical subjects were pretty okay, since I was good at scientific stuff and mathematics. It only took an hour to do all of the homework, though I had a big Language Arts assignment that I decided to do later.

     Taking a book, I sat down on my beanbag chair. I touched the colorful cover and thought about the things that had happened today. Suddenly I didn't feel like reading. Restless, I jumped on my bed twice and sat down.

     Then I started to wonder about this new student. Even though I wasn't all that hyped-up, I couldn't help but to get excited. Miss Lynch had said that it would be a 'she'. Wait a sec! Didn't she also say that... maybe...

     No way. I was the only real big bookworm in my grade. Wouldn't do well with another one... I thought about it. Then again, if that pet also liked books...

     I shook my head. No way it would be that easy. That spotted Kau teacher was just trying to make me friendly. Well, I'd be nice, but I couldn't guarantee anything. After all, I wasn't some miracle-maker.

     Another thought made me feel completely drenched. What... What if she was mean? What if she was one of those scornful gothic pets? What if she was a totally superficial drama queen? I couldn't help but to shudder. The next few days was going to be interesting...

     She wouldn't be that bad, would she?

To be continued...

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