A Skunk Story: Part Four
“Morning, sleepy head. Today’s the big day.” I barged into Naninhah’s room.
Nanin squealed and ducked under the covers of his bed, not wanting to face the morning just yet.
“There’s no hiding today, Nanin.” I couldn’t help but grin. “Now, what should you wear? You have to look spiffy for today.” I walked over to his wardrobe and dug through the goodies it held.
Naninhah peeked his head out from under the bed covers and looked over to me. His body was shaking from fear of this day. We had been trying to sort something out for weeks. Our days together had been amazing, and I was proud of myself for being able to convince Nanin into an event such as this.
“Here we go. Come here and try these clothes on, will you?” I said to the nervous Usul. “I think these’ll do just the trick.”
Naninhah shook his head, seeming like he was indicating a “no.”
“Hey. What do you mean? Nanin, you have to do this.” I set the accessories I picked out at the edge of the bed. I then walked up to the skunk on the other side. He shook his head again.
I was starting to get worried. Weeks had passed and the whole family didn’t get to see anything from Nanin yet. I knew well that this week was his last chance. I knew from eavesdropping on the rest of the family. Their concern for him grew and they felt like they were sure that Nanin needed help. A family that could tend to his needs. Little did they know that I was doing all I could to help my little brother to get over his lonely past and bring him to be a new, open Neopet. I wanted to prove my family completely wrong. Every day that passed, the more they were convinced Nanin was a wreck that needed help, but every day for the past few weeks, I felt like I could make more of an impact on my family.
Nanin was still refusing to get out of bed and start the plan we have been working on for so long. “You have to get up. We have to do this. There’s no turning back.”
He didn’t budge.
“Naninhah! Please do this. I don’t want to lose you to another family!” The second I said that, I clapped my paws right over my mouth. I said the most stupid thing in Neopia. It was something I really shouldn’t have said. Naninhah didn’t know he was going to go away. It would crush him, and then I just... Oh man. I’m such an idiot.
The Usul tightened his grip on the blankets and his eyes seemed bigger and even more shiny than usual. I couldn’t hide then. I might as well tell him what was going on.
“I’m sorry. My family is concerned for you, and they don’t think that it’s best that you live in this home. I have a brother, and a sister, and a wonderful owner, and they haven’t seen or heard from you since you arrived. It’s not even like you’re really in this family. Families bond with each other, they love each other, and sometimes they hate each other at the same time. They think that maybe if you found another family, you could experience that.”
Naninhah was vibrating like crazy. He grabbed his Huggy and squeezed it tightly.
“I think you belong here, and that’s why I’ve been going at a limb to try to bring you out. To make you feel comfortable. You know why we’re doing this today, don’t you? So you get over your fear, but not only that, but so you can be accepted as a part of this family. That’s why you need to do this. That’s why-”
Nanin’s eyes became teary.
“Oh Nanin...” He was such a sweet young boy. I couldn’t help but to feel for him. He was so sweet and loving, and over the last couple months he became my best friend, and I knew that I was his best friend. His only friend.
“Do you... want to be a part of this family?” I asked. Maybe he didn’t want to be. If he did want to be then he probably would have gone up and talked to them, but he was such a shy creature, I couldn’t tell.
Naninhah nodded. He dropped his Huggy and jumped out of bed.
His small paws slid over my shoulders and the Skunk embraced me in a tight hug. I was caught by surprise, but it was a good kind of surprise. An emotional kind of surprise. I hugged him back.
“You want to stay, don’t you?” I asked again, wanting to get an answer still as I hugged my little brother tightly.
Instead of shaking his head like he had been, he nodded his head this time.
“Then please. We need to do this, Nanin. We have to,” I told my brother.
I sighed in relief when we nodded again.
Naninhah and I broke apart from our hug and got back to work. I showed Nanin the accessories, which was a red bow tie and a top hat to go with it. The Usul tried them on and reviewed them in the mirror with a thumbs-up.
“My, my,” I said, smiling. “I must say. You look dashing, my man.”
Nanin smiled back, seeming to react a bit shyly.
Soon we were going to be ready to start the morning. Misha, Lavalilly, and Czenko might wake up soon, so we had to hurry and get ready before they knew something was going to happen. Nanin and I tip-toed downstairs to set up.
“What’s that noise?” I could hear Lavalilly say from the kitchen. She woke up not long ago apparently. I could see her walk near the entrance to the living room. She was wiping her eyes with her brightly colored feathers. I looked over at Naninhah, and he seemed very nervous.
Next I saw Misha peek out into the living room from upstairs. Seeing what was happening down here, it gave him a wakeup call. “Hey. Hey, Czenko. Come over here and look at this,” the Gelert said, running down the upstairs hallway to my owner.
Soon the whole family was out, swaying back and forth to the soothing sounds of Naninhah’s playing. The Ornate Grand Piano I bought him had a beautiful sound, especially when Nanin was at the keys.
When we were at the shop a few weeks ago buying paper, Nanin seemed to have fallen in love with the piano from the glass window of the instrument shop. Almost the second we got in there, the Usul was fluttering across that piano’s keys as if he was born to play the instrument. Naninhah and I went to the shop almost every day to practice the piano without the family knowing, and just the other day we dragged the piano home.
The sound of the music was soothing and pleasant. It was slow, but strong. Naninhah and I worked together to put together lyrics for this song. Nanin was the one that wrote all of the lyrics, actually, but I just helped with writing it down on paper, since my little brother is new to reading and writing.
The family seemed to be pleased, so I was happy with the reaction, but Nanin wasn’t able to see it since he seemed to be very focused on playing.
The song was reaching the point where the lyrics would be sung. I stared at Nanin for a sign of preparing to begin singing, but as the seconds passed, he seemed to become more nervous. That wasn’t good. This was going to be the time that he would have the courage to sing in front of everybody, including myself, and he might not be able to do it.
3... 2... 1... there was his cue in the song. It suddenly got a jump in pace and the keys landed heavier than before. Naninhah was supposed to sing, but all I could see was him gulping down his words. He was too nervous to open his mouth to sing. His courage ran dry. It was hard enough for him to play in front of the family, but to sing was another.
I took the lyrics off of the stand. If he wasn’t going to sing them, I would sing the words for him. These were his words after all, so it didn’t matter who was singing them, right?
So with a deep breath, I started to sing the words Naninhah wrote down. The verses of the lyrics matched perfectly with the melody. As I sang the song, the true story of Nanin opened up to me for the first time.
Three young girls
More spoiled than all of us
Given all they wanted.
But could only make a fuss
The first verse of the song went by a little shaky, but the words were easy to read and I felt like I knew how. I continued.
Only around to suck up day
And could not take one to stand in their way
But to put down those misunderstood
And that... was... me
Leading up to the chorus, I felt my confidence grow with each line, building up to something catchy and with more energy.
Cute and Beautiful
The most abused they can be.
Though given all they wanted
They were cruel to me
Cute and Beautiful
As much as I despise them
They just won’t go away.
Even though I am gone
I continued singing through the verses, now completely full of confidence to go through the rest of the song. I could see Nanin was less stiff and was moving across the keys more loosely, and by the time I got to the second chorus, Nanin burst out singing as well.
Nanin’s voice broke out, not any sign in his pitch showed that he was nervous. He was singing all out, and his singing voice, to my surprise, was much better than my own. We both sung together. Me, sounding like a tone-deaf freak, and Nanin, sounding like he was born to sing.
We went through the song together, until the last bit where the song was concluding. I stopped singing to let Naninhah finish it, but he stopped playing his song, and only said it aloud without music playing behind him. He said the words slowly and clearly, as if he wasn’t singing, but like it was a part of the song, written words, so it was easier for him to say.
I don’t want to leave
The home that doesn’t contain
The three girls and their owner
That left me out in the rain.
Please let me stay here
For I don’t want to go
Please don’t ever leave me
For the family I do not know
Our family stood frozen after the song ended. Then, the silence was broken when Czenko’s face was lit up with a smile and she started clapping.
“Bow, Nanin, bow,” I whispered to Nanin, and as we practiced nights before, the Skunk stood up from his piano stool and bowed for the audience.
“Wow. That was amazing!” Czenko said.
“I’m... impressed. I didn’t think that you’d ever do that... Naninhah,” Misha said.
Lavalilly only cocked her head to one side and mumbled, “How come the adopted pets get the artistic genes, huh?”
I felt so happy for Naninhah. I knew that he was going to stay here with me. I learned that my little brother had an amazing talent that he will always be improving at. He found the place where he can open up to people, and he told everybody his story and his past in such a beautiful way that I could not. For that, I felt proud of my little brother.
“So, Nanin,” Czenko said to the Skunk, “Do you think you’ll start talking to us now?”
I glanced over to Naninhah, hoping for a reply, but he didn’t answer. He just stared back, blushing, half-smiling, and standing awkwardly. He looked so cute as he cringed nervously. I looked over to Czenko, who couldn’t help but smile warmly at the scene. After seeing her like that, I couldn’t either.