The Blue Blumaroo: Part One
There was once a blue blumaroo who was, well... very blue. Not just the colour blue, but also in the emotional sense. He was a rather gloomy and glum pet. His name was Joseph, but everyone called him Joey for short. He was abandoned as a young Blumaroo and spent most of his days in the pound, waiting for someone to take him home and treat him well. But it never happened this way for years, and Joey had slowly begun to lose hope. Finally, one day, a nice young girl called Arielle came along. She spotted Joey and immediately adopted him, feeling sorry for him. Joey’s new owner Arielle loved him very much, but it seemed that no matter what she did, nothing cheered him up. Arielle had never even seen him smile before. This saddened Arielle, because she knew that Joey had had it tough as a young Blumaroo. Arielle also had an older pet named Melissa, who was a pink Poogle. Melissa was also saddened by the fact that Joey was so blue. As a caring and loving older sister, she was determined to go out of her way to make Joey happy.
“Joey? Joey?” Melissa called up the staircase to Joey’s room.
Joey opened his door and peered outside halfheartedly.
“Oh, there you are. I’m going out shopping with Arielle, my friends Kitty and Gretchen and their owners to Neopia Central. Want to join us?” she asked, smiling, looking a bit too hopeful.
Joey’s mouth formed a thin grim line. Kitty and Gretchen? That brainless white Cybunny and that busybody Christmas Kau who lived down the street? Go shopping with them, eh? Joey almost laughed out loud, but he didn’t. He never laughed. He couldn’t even remember the last time he laughed, or smiled, for that matter. “No, I think I’ll stay at home, thanks,” he answered blankly, fumbling with the doorknob.
Melissa’s face fell slightly, but she somehow forced a small smile. “Oh, that’s fine. We’ll be back soon, okay? Bye, Joey.”
Joey nodded and closed his door with a click.
Right through the whole shopping trip, Melissa just couldn’t smile and was feeling peculiarly unhappy. She had suddenly lost interest in shopping, which was terribly strange since her friends had once voted her the number one shopper of the whole of Neopia. Melissa started to think, Is Joey’s unhappiness spreading to me, too? She didn’t even want to go inside the Grooming Parlour, her favourite shop, and decided to wait outside on a bench while everyone else went inside excitedly.
About twenty minutes later, everyone came out clutching several multi-coloured bags with satisfied grins on their faces. It was only Melissa who was the odd one out.
“Is something wrong, Melissa? You haven’t spoken a word all day, or even bought anything,” Arielle asked, genuinely concerned. Melissa usually came out of a shop with more than twice as many bags as the pet next to her, but today she hadn’t even bothered to enter a shop.
Melissa was completely caught off guard, and quickly forced a smile on her face. “Oh, it’s nothing, Arielle.”
“I think Melissa’s just tired. Don’t worry, though, Melissa. Shopping is good exercise!” Kitty said, beaming at how intelligent her statement sounded.
Melissa stifled a laugh. Kitty could never tell how someone was feeling even if all the signs were already there. And at times like these, it became quite useful.
“Yeah, Kitty’s right. I am a bit tired; I think I just need a nap.” Melissa smiled weakly. The truth was, though, she needed time to think.
Gretchen nodded. “Well, everyone’s done shopping, right? I’m famished. Let’s go to Pizzaroo and get some pizza; I heard they’ve got a new flavour – strawberry ice-cream or something like that! Of course, I know someone who knows someone that knows someone who’s up there in the business; he makes all the flavours,” she exclaimed chirpily and then turned to Melissa with a sympathetic look. “Afterwards we’ll leave and you can get your rest, Melissa.”
Everyone agreed, and Melissa trudged along behind everyone else as they made their way to Pizzaroo. Gretchen always knew what to say or what to do in situations like these. Melissa wondered if she should ask Gretchen about Joey and how to cure his seemingly incurable gloominess, but quickly decided against it. This was only Joey, Arielle and Melissa’s business; she couldn’t get anyone else involved. Besides, she didn’t even know if Joey wanted to be cured, or even knew that he was so gloomy, or that she and Arielle were so worried for him. The truth was, ever since Joey was adopted from the pound a year ago and taken into their home, she always felt like it was her duty to protect her new little brother. And that didn’t only mean to protect him from being hurt, but also to protect him from his past, which Melissa thought was the reason why Joey was so gloomy and almost depressed. But in actual fact, ever since the day Joey was adopted into their home he would just sit in his room everyday being gloomy, listening to even gloomier music. On a good day, though, Joey would come out of his room and play one game of ‘cheat’ with Arielle and Melissa in their family lounge. On an even better day, he would agree to take Flossie, Melissa’s white Flosset out for a walk down their street, Neopia Avenue. On the most excellent day ever, he would go shopping with Arielle and Melissa at Neopia Central. However, this was almost unheard of, as it only happened once, which happened to be on Melissa’s birthday. Melissa sighed heavily.
Joey pressed his nose against the glass of his bedroom window and stared outside into the dark night. He had almost forgotten how it felt to be outside. The last time Joey had been out and about was when it was Melissa’s birthday and the only reason he went was because he simply didn’t want Melissa to feel neglected on her birthday. Besides, she treated him so well all the time that he decided to let loose for a while and go shopping with her and Arielle. Melissa had said it would be a fun and rewarding experience to go shopping together; but it didn’t turn out to be all that it was made out to be. Melissa and Arielle had had a great time, of course, ending the day each slurping on mega ice creamy jelly smoothies and trying on their new clothes and accessories, while Joey was plodding behind them wishing he was back in his room sleeping or listening to music. Joey was pretty sure Melissa and Arielle knew he hadn’t exactly had a good time as they had made the gracious act of not asking him to go out on shopping trips with them for the next three months. But things after that shopping trip changed him. Okay, so he was still his gloomy old self, but the trip made him realize that there were much more things out there that he hadn’t known before. Seeing happy families out there shopping together gave him a strange sense of longing for something he didn’t know existed until that day. Joey suddenly felt rather lonely, but not the abandoned kind of loneliness he was used to feeling while he was in the pound, though. He suddenly became aware of his surroundings and the fact that he had a family now but he wasn’t trying to be a part of it. He felt a loneliness that was hard to explain; a kind of loneliness that only existed because of his own fault. Joey sighed and plopped onto his bed, suddenly feeling rather tired.
That night, Melissa lay in her pretty pink bed, deep in thought. How could she help Joey without invading his privacy or bruising his ego? Did Joey even care? Could she ask Kitty and Gretchen about it? Okay... maybe not Kitty, but Gretchen? She knew Joey didn’t like her friends that much and that he probably wouldn’t like it at all if she went and consulted them about his gloominess, though... Well, then what could she do? Questions and arguments swam every possible direction through her mind until she was quickly overwhelmed by it all. Melissa decided to go downstairs for a glass of water to clear her head. As she switched on her nova lamp on her bedside table, something caught her eye. It was Kitty and Gretchen’s birthday present to her last year, a small blue kadoatie music box. Melissa was suddenly strangely drawn to it, and decided to open it. Inside was the small note her friends had left inside for her. It read:
Friends like you are precious and few.
Happy Birthday, Melissa!
Love, Gretchen and Kitty
On your birthday
Melissa smiled in contentment, the way she always did when she finished reading the same note. She was so grateful for having such wonderful best friends. Gretchen and Kitty helped her whenever Melissa was down and made her feel so special all the same. Suddenly, something clicked inside Melissa’s head and she couldn’t help but wonder why she hadn’t thought of it earlier. That was it! All she had to do was find someone who could be friends with Joey, and all her problems would be solved! Preferably a boy who had the same interests as Joey... someone that he could talk to and maybe even become best friends with Joey! But of course, she couldn’t let Joey know that she was trying to find a friend for him; she had to be cautious about that. Who knew how he would react? Or if he would react at all? The next day Melissa would find a friend for Joey. She wasn’t sure how she would go about doing this or who Joey’s future friend would be, but she was definitely going to find that potential friend for her little brother’s sake. Satisfied with her proposed scheme, Melissa switched off her nova lamp and smiled to herself, completely forgetting about needing a glass of water.
To be continued...
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