I am Summer, a yellow Lupe. My owner’s name is Kaitlyn. At the time, she had only created me six months ago, but we had been through a lot together. Anyways, it was my first day of school, and I was nervous. No, nervous is an understatement. I was scared. I knew no one, and out of the multitudes of non-painted pets, I didn’t stand out. I was just another person walking down the hall. Until she came.
Bailey was a starry Kacheek. She was decently popular. Not as much as Miranda, the Maraquan Draik, but people knew her name. She chose me. I opened my locker and she walked over.
“Hi! I’m Bailey. You’re Summer, right?” At first, I froze. A painted pet was talking to me! But then, I remembered what Kaitlyn had told me: Summer, painted pets are the same as anyone else under the fur.
So I calmed down and acted like myself.
“Oh, hi Bailey! Yeah, my name’s Summer.”
I expected her to walk away, but she didn’t. Instead, she said, “Do you want to sit by me at lunch?”
Then rudeness got the best of me, and sarcastically I blurted out, “What, are you accepting non-painted pets into your posse now?!”
Bailey looked hurt.
“Actually, I thought you looked nice and might want to be with me and my friends!”
I was shocked. “W-what? You really want me in your group?”
Later that day at lunch, I met the crew. Kelly the purple Uni, Lana the faerie Meerca, and Rachel, the rainbow Koi made up the group.
To my surprise, they liked me as much as Bailey did. Pretty soon, I felt right at home with them, chatting as if we’d been friends for years. The next few weeks passed by quickly, and soon Bailey and I were best friends. We trusted each other with secrets that our owners didn’t even know about, and we visited each other every day. However, all of this was about to fade.
We sat at lunch happily one day, talking about our science projects. Then, Lana walked over. She looked shocked.
“Bailey! Miranda wants to talk to you!”
“Miranda?! The most popular pet in school? Why?” Bailey nearly yelled. However, the lunchroom was quite loud and her shout was not heard by anyone except at our table.
“I don’t know, Bailey. She just said she wanted to talk to you after school. She wants you to meet her by Big Oak,” Lana finished.
Big Oak was probably the biggest tree anyone at school has ever seen. It had a hollow trunk, perfect for playing hide-and-seek, and the branches were low and easy to climb onto. The highest tip was called Crokabek Peak because often you could see at least three crokabeks perched on the top, squawking about the latest petpet news. One of the best things about the tree was the fact that it had almost willow tree branches that sloped, giving it a tranquil feel.
Lana walked away leaving me and Bailey dumbstruck.
“Why do you suppose Miranda wants to talk to you?” I inquired.
“I don’t know; maybe she thinks I’m cool and wants to ask where I get my clothes!” Bailey forced a laugh, and I saw that she was nervous.
“What’s wrong, Bailey?” I asked.
“Oh Summer! It’s rumored that she has broken apart the best friendships for her own selfish interests!”
I laughed nervously. “Well, those are just rumors, right? I mean, how could she do that?”
Bailey still looked scared. Was she scared for our friendship?
“Can I come with you, Bailey?”
Some of the nervousness left her face and she said, “Yeah, thanks, Summer!”
***** ***** *****
We walked towards Big Oak, where we noticed Miranda’s group. I recognized some of them, such as Tanya the shadow Cybunny and Sara the plushie Poogle. To calm the mood as we walked over, I joked, “You must have to have a coat of a million neopoints to get into her group!”
Bailey tried to force a laugh, but it ended in a pitiful squeak.
“No matter what, Bai, I will always be here for you.” I only used her nickname when I was completely serious. We stopped about fifteen feet from the tree and she looked me in the eyes.
“Thank you so much, Summer. You are the most loyal friend a neopet could wish for.” We finished the walk in silence. I’m positive we were both thinking about how she could tear apart two friends. I know it was silly, but one of the possibilities in my head was mind control. We came to Big Oak. A place I’ll remember as one of the best places of my life, and one of the worst.
We pushed away the branches and slowly walked over to the area where everyone else was. Miranda and her best friend, a royal Krawk named Valerie, were standing in the middle of the ring of pets.
“Come over here, Bailey,” Miranda said. I felt myself grow hot over the fact that Miranda pretended I wasn’t even there.
“Do you want to join our group?” Miranda asked, her eyes peering over Bailey with disinterest. I feared Bailey would burst out ‘Yes!’ and I would be history, but, to my relief, she didn’t.
“What about my friend Summer?” Bailey asked. Miranda finally appeared to realize I was there and gazed over at me.
“The yellow one?” Miranda said as if I were some kind of toy that she wanted to get rid of. “We don’t accept unpainted pets in our group,” she said while rolling her eyes. “So are you in or out?” Miranda asked.
“Well, if Summer’s not in, neither am I.” And with that, Bailey grabbed my paw and pulled me out from under the tree’s branches. I looked back and saw Miranda’s eyes blazing. I felt my stomach twist as I thought of the rumors; and I realized she wasn’t done yet.
***** ***** *****
“The nerve of her!” Bailey mumbled on our way to school the next day. “How dare she not let you in just because of your color!”
“Relax, Bailey!” I said with a chuckle.
“We’ve got true friends not interested in looks, which is something she doesn’t have!”
“You’re right, Summer. We don’t have to be in her silly little group anyways.”
Right before we walked into school, Valerie pulled Bailey over. She handed her a note and walked into school. Bailey opened it and read it aloud.
‘Dear Bailey, I’m sorry you refused to be in the group. But there’s something I must tell you alone. Meet me at Big Oak after school without yellow. Signed, Miranda’
“Ugh. I have a name, and it’s not yellow...” I said.
“Summer, should I go?”
“Well, if you want to. It is sort of mysterious and all, so I figure it couldn’t hurt.”
“Alright, I’ll try it out,” Bailey answered confidently.
The next day, Bailey and I didn’t walk to school together, but she sat with me at lunch. She seemed disinterested in me and picked at her sandwich. She didn’t talk, and I felt awkward so said nothing. It was drizzling outside and puddles were everywhere. It reminded me of the time when I tripped over a stone in the rain. Bailey had helped me gather up my things and helped me up. Then, we had gone to her house and her owner had treated us to some ice cream. As I thought, the bell rang. A flash of purple hit me.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! I was just in a rush to get out. My family and I are going on a trip to Mystery Island. I want to get home quickly so I can pack!” Kelly helped me up and rushed the explanation. I started to walk out.
“Hey, Summer! Wait up!” Bailey called. Her call was weak, and she didn’t make eye contact with me. We walked out of the building. The rain made the whole land look grey. I was unaware that Miranda was right behind me and she pushed me. I tried to grasp something as a reflex and I caught onto Bailey’s paws. I looked at her, expecting her to pull me up the rest of the way. She glanced at me, then Miranda, then me again. Then, she let go.
I expected her to say ‘I’m so sorry!’ and help me up and stand up for me when the other pets laughed, but she didn’t. She left me paralyzed lying in the puddle, thoughts flashing through my mind. Suddenly, Miranda laughed. It was a pretty laugh, but inside out it was filled with cruelty. Then the other pets joined in. Finally, Bailey laughed. At first, it was a forced laugh, but gradually the old Bailey started to disappear as she laughed with newfound cruelty, much like Miranda’s. Tears that I had tried to force down burst up like a fountain, trickling down my face. That only made them laugh harder.
Miranda finished it off with, “What a crybaby!” and walked away. I sat up and watched the gang of snobs walk away. Then, Miranda did a surprising thing. She reached into her backpack and pulled out a faerie paint brush. She handed it to Bailey and continued laughing. I stopped crying for a moment and thought about it. She had betrayed me for an item? Just to improve her looks? Sitting there, I figured that there are two types of friends. One who, like Bailey, is a fair-weather friend, who will betray you for something valuable. Another, who I am yet to find, will stick with you to the end.
I thought about my secrets that were probably being passed around in gossip right now. I wondered if she had ever truly been my friend. She had acted like it yesterday, but now I doubted. From this day on, I don’t trust anyone. Thanks to Bailey, I am now anti-social and reserved. I hadn’t realized that personalities can be based so much on friends. Her simple action had torn me. I don’t even trust my owner completely. Some people may think I’m over-reacting. Some people may think I’m too sensitive. I know otherwise. There is a reason for all of this. The reason: Bailey let go.
I have nothing wrong with painted pets, (pokes my pets) or the names Bailey or Miranda. I'm in the NT! W00t!