Tales of Cadmium, Athena, and Saffron: The Fight - Part Nine
Cadmium stood behind the curtain, fiddling with her elaborately-done hair. Excitement rose in her chest as the music for the prelude started. The Royal Aisha swapped grins with Elyse, Yvette, Tansy, and Jessica and played the routine through in her head one more time.
"We are so going to win this," Elyse declared confidently.
"Oh, yeah!" her group chorused.
"But just in case, let's go through it one more time," Cadmium suggested, barely able to keep the nervousness out of her voice.
"What's the matter? You're not, like, totally scared, are you?" Tansy asked. The Plushie Cybunny gave a tinkling laugh.
Cadmium recovered enough to retort, "No, I just wanted to make sure you weren't." She shot the Cybunny a haughty look.
Elyse laughed. "Chill, you two. I think Cadmium has a point; we should go through it one more time. That way the competition - " she gestured at the female pets milling all around backstage " - can see how good we are. That'll save them the trouble of even trying."
The quintet moved into position and began their routine. Cadmium was concentrating so hard that she gasped when someone called her name. She turned around to see who wanted her. Saffron, Brett, and Misty stood at the backstage entrance, gasping.
"Cadmium!" Saffron wheezed. "It's Athena!" Fear showed in the Yellow Xweetok's eyes.
It was as if someone had poured a bucket of ice water over the Royal Aisha's head. Hearing the panic in Saffron's voice made Cadmium forget everything else. "What? What is it? What happened?" She broke away from her group and ran to Brett and Saffron. "Tell me," she demanded.
"She's at the hospital! She fell off of her bike and ran into a tree!" Brett tugged on Cadmium's sleeve. "We need to go, now!"
"He's right." Marcie appeared behind them. "I've got a couple of Unis waiting outside. We can ride them over to the hospital - it'll be faster than walking."
Elyse and her crew came over. "What's going on?" the White Kyrii questioned. "We're about to go onstage!"
"I need to go," Cadmium told her, feeling lightheaded.
"What do you mean, you need to go?" Elyse demanded. "You're, like, the best dancer on this team - besides me, of course," the White Kyrii added hastily. "If you leave, we'll probably lose," she stated, ignoring the glares Yvette, Tansy, and Jessica were giving her.
Anger blazed up in Cadmium's chest. "You know what? I don't even care." Cadmium choked back a sob. "I'm going to go make sure my sister is okay." She started to leave with Marcie, Misty, Saffron, and Brett when realization dawned on her. She fell off her bike? Oh, no! Cadmium thought. "It's our fault!" she cried. "We did this to her!"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Elyse purred. The White Kyrii, along with the Plushie Cybunny, Pirate Lupess, and Starry Usul, sauntered away.
"I don't even want to know. Let's go!" Marcie led the way out the door, where the Unis were waiting to take them to the hospital - to Athena.
Cadmium quietly approached the bed where her sister lay. The Faerie Peophin's eyes were closed, and she had a cast on her left arm and a bandage around her head. A lump rose in Cadmium's throat. She sank down into the chair beside the hospital bed and shivered, grateful that the others let her come in by herself.
"Hello there." A male voice came from the other side of the room.
"Oh!" Cadmium gasped, noticing the doctor for the first time. "I-is it okay for me to be in here?" she questioned, unable to stop a tear from slipping down her face.
"Of course. You're Cadmium, right?" the doctor, a Purple Mynci whose nametag read "Dr. Brynci," asked.
Cadmium nodded, not sure if she could get the words out. She opened her mouth and forced herself to speak. "Is... is she going to... to..." She broke off, too upset to finish.
"She's going to be just fine." Dr. Brynci nodded vehemently at his own statement. "It's only a matter of minutes before she wakes up." The doctor checked the bandage on Athena's head. "She got pretty banged up. Her bike was in pieces all around the tree." The Purple Mynci walked over to the door but paused before leaving. "She woke up once and said something about a dance competition." The doctor's eyes trailed over Cadmium's costume. "I guess she was going to see you." He closed the door and left.
Cadmium placed a paw over her mouth and gasped. This was so totally - Cadmium mentally smacked herself for using those two words - her fault! She and Elyse had wrecked Athena's bike, and Athena had used the bike to get to the dance competition. Cadmium took her sister's hand and cried. "Oh, Athena, I'm so sorry!"
The Faerie Peophin stirred. "Mmmmm?"
"Athena?" Cadmium's voice was filled with hope.
"Cadmium?" Athena's voice echoed the Royal Aisha's tone. The Faerie Peophin's blue eyes opened and focused on her sister. "What're you doing here? What am I doing here? Ouch!" She touched the bandage on her head. "What happened?"
"Oh, Athena, it was all my fault!" Cadmium sobbed. "I turned my back on you, betrayed you, and spread those awful rumors about you." To Cadmium's surprise, Athena was crying too.
"No, no, it's not all your fault," Athena reassured her between her own tears. "I shouldn't have gotten revenge. That made me... well..."
"Just as bad as me?" Cadmium hiccuped.
"Yeah. I'm sorry for ruining your locker, for shrinking your sweater, for the Meepit thing, for destroying your dress..." Athena paused. "Am I forgetting anything?"
Cadmium laughed weakly. "Nope, I think that's it. But I should be apologizing to you. I'm so sorry. Will you please forgive me? I'll totally-" Cadmium slapped a hand over her mouth "-I'll understand if you don't. I don't deserve your forgiveness."
"And I don't deserve yours. But I forgive you." Athena managed a faint smile. She reached out her good arm as Cadmium leaned down to give her a hug.
Cadmium broke away. "There's something else you should know," she realized.
Athena looked at her expectantly. "What?" She winced, making Cadmium feel even worse.
"I did this." Cadmium gestured to Athena's bandage, cast, and various scrapes and bruises.
"What do you mean?" Confusion showed in the Faerie Peophin's blue eyes.
Cadmium's voice was barely above a whisper as she explained. "Elyse and I... I was so mad that... We... took your bicycle apart. I was so mad that you ruined my dress for that stupid party. But you... you could have..." Cadmium broke down and cried again.
Athena placed a hoof on her sister's shoulder. Instead of being angry, she looked sad. "We were so stupid," she murmured.
"Do you still forgive me?" Cadmium whispered. She sat back and watery green eyes met equally tearful blue ones.
"Of course. As long as you forgive me!" The two sisters hugged each other desperately.
A voice interrupted their embrace. The sisters broke apart and looked up to see - "Elspeth!" they chorused.
Their owner rushed over to Athena's bed and scooped her two pets up in a hug. "Marcie Neomailed me and told me what happened! I was so worried that I hurried back as fast as I could! I'm so glad you're all right." She glanced at Cadmium. "You, stop spreading rumors about Athena, and I forbid you to hang out with Elyse anymore." She turned her gaze to Athena. "You, stop getting revenge on your sister! There." Elspeth brushed her hands off. "That takes care of your little argument."
Cadmium and Athena laughed. "Actually, that's what we'd been doing before you came in - apologizing, that is," Cadmium explained.
"Oh, thank goodness!" Saffron's voice preceded her as the Yellow Xweetok entered the room along with Brett, Marcie, and Misty.
"I think we owe you three-" Athena glanced at Brett, Marcie, and Saffron - "thanks and an apology, too. Thank you for trying to get us to make up."
"And we're sorry for making it so difficult!" Cadmium laughed.
Marcie poked her oldest pet. "Don't you have something to say too, Misty?" She gave her pet a stern look.
The Maraquan Uni looked sheepishly at Cadmium. "I'm sorry, Cadmium. I helped Athena plan all of that stuff we did to you," she admitted.
A knock on the door interrupted them all. They looked over as Edgardo hesitantly poked his head in the room. "Hello?"
Cadmium waved him in. "Hey. You can come in."
He came over and stood behind Cadmium's chair. "I was at the dance competition, looking for you. They told me you were here with your sister. Are you all right?" he asked, taking in the Faerie Peophin's scraped-up appearance.
"I am now." Athena smiled warmly up at him. "Thanks for coming to check."
Just then, Dr. Brynci came back into the room. "Whoa! What're you all doing in here? Only two visitors at a time!" He shooed everyone except Elspeth and Cadmium out. "Are you her owner?" The Purple Mynci addressed Elspeth.
Smiling, Elspeth nodded, her brown curls bouncing up and down. "When can I take her home?"
"Right now, if you want to." Dr. Brynci looked up from where he was checking the chart at the end of Athena's bed.
"I want to."
Later that day, Saffron and Brett sat on Saffron's front porch. Elspeth and Cadmium were inside, getting Athena settled on the couch in the living room. Marcie and Misty were preparing a huge meal for all of them. Edgardo had left after promising to come around more often to hang out. And Saffron and Brett were sitting on the porch swing, enjoying one another's company.
Brett sighed. "I'm so glad that's done."
Saffron grinned at him. "Me too. Although I wouldn't mind dressing up as Boochi and scaring people again! That was fun."
Brett laughed. "That wasn't exactly my definition of fun." The Silver Shoyru looked out at the street for a minute. "Hey, look at that! Is that who I think they are?"
"Yep. Elyse, Tansy, Jessica, and Yvette. And what's that they're holding?" Saffron squinted her yellow eyes. "A trophy?"
"I'd say so. I guess that means they won," Brett stated. They shrugged, as if to say, "Who cares?"
To their surprise, Elyse approached the foot of their Neohome's stairs. "Is Athena there?" Elyse asked, unable to disguise the disgust in her voice or the guilt in her eyes.
Saffron stood up and walked to the top of the stairs. "Why?" she asked warily.
"I, uh, I, uh..." She glanced back at her crew. "Help me out here!"
"She, like, totally wants to make sure that Athena's not, like, dead." Tansy nodded, pleased with herself.
Brett joined Saffron. "She's alive. She'll be fine. Is that what you wanted to know?" Brett glared at the group.
"Uhhhh, yeah. That's it." Elyse hesitated, a gleam growing in her gray eyes. "Tell that traitor sister of yours," she addressed Saffron, "that we're going to the fabulous victory party at my house. And tell her to have a nice life." Elyse motioned to her crew, and the foursome sauntered as fast as they could down the sidewalk.
"I'm sure she will!" Saffron called after them. She and Brett sat back down, this time on the stairs. The door opened up behind them, and out came Elspeth, Marcie, and Misty, all of whom were carrying platters heaped with hamburgers, potato chips, vegetables, and pasta salad; and Cadmium, who was helping Athena.
"We thought we'd eat out here, since it's such a pretty evening," Elspeth explained.
Saffron gazed up at the sky, realizing how right her owner was. The sun set, casting rays of orange, pink, and yellow hues, as the group passed around plates and helped themselves to the feast. A myriad of stars appeared in the sky and cast their twinkling glow on the happy, chattering group.
Saffron and Brett moved over to the top of the stairs with generous helpings of ice cream. "You have chocolate sauce on your nose," Brett pointed out.
Saffron grinned and licked it off. She looked around at the people she cared most about. Cadmium, Athena, and Misty were eating their ice cream out of the same huge bowl and giggling; and Marcie and Elspeth were trading stories of their equally stressful week but laughing. The Yellow Xweetok gazed up at the shimmering night sky and leaned her head on Brett's arm. What a perfect way to end a perfectly horrible week, she thought contentedly.