I am Aqua: Part Six
Lucky and Pet fell forward.
“What happened??” Lucky shrieked, bounding up, mane stiff.
Pet got up in suit. “Aqua?” She asked timidly,
I smiled, grabbing a book off the table. “Hey guys, I was just reading this book. It has an awesome plot!!
“Oh, really?” Lucky locked her eyes with mine and I felt myself melting as I saw that she saw right through my plastic smile.
Pet was silent, but I knew she knew it too. “Okay, call us if you need us, then,” she said softly, and then turned away.
“Yeah.” Lucky gave me one last sad glance then went down the stairs.
I hadn’t told them my story. I didn’t trust them enough to confide in my sadness. They had treated me as a family and yet I, I didn’t give back. I realized that I had been unfair to them- I was using them to survive and they trusted me as they would a permanent pet. I looked at my hands guiltily. They worried about me, and I didn’t care.
”I’m sorry,” I whispered to no one, and tears dripped down my face once more.
“Pet?” I asked as I walked into the living room, expecting to be only her there.
But everyone else was there. Flame and Star were deep in a game of Cheat! Reeses was watching the Neovision, the remote control resting on his lap as he lounged on the couch, and Lucky was painting her nails pale pink, the scent of beauty products hanging in the air and the windows shoved open. I felt myself feel suddenly shy, bursting into a room full of the people that cared and loved me and trusted me even, but were upset that they didn’t get that in return.
All eyes flashed towards me. Lucky’s wings suddenly stiffened. Flame and Star looked up curiously while Reeses switched his eyes to me lazily. Pet and Lucky were the only ones who seemed a bit tense. I suppose I impacted them the most, refusing to them what was wrong when they burst through trying to see what was wrong. I almost blushed, but that would’ve been humiliating. I fluttered my green wings and landed next to Pet.
“So, um, I just wanted to say thanks for um, being there for me.” Everyone blinked. “I-um...”
Lucky’s periwinkle eyes looked at me, scanning me from head to toe examining me, seeing if I was really meaning what I said. “Yes?” she said at last, her voice holding a small bit of curiosity.
It rushed out. “I’m so sorry for not trusting you all. I feel terrible!! I know I should’ve told you everything like you did to me- but, I am an ungrateful person! I am grateful for what you are doing for me yes- but... I didn’t trust you enough!” A tear slipped. “I’m sorry! I think I should tell you everything I know you would want to know but refuse to ask- and-“
”Aqua, it's ok. We were never mad at you or everything. We understand you wouldn’t want to share your personal past.” Pet sat down next to me and patted me on the shoulder. “Everything is up to you.”
Star blinked. “I didn’t mind either.”
“We don’t mind.” Flame and Reeses said in chorus.
Lucky looked away. “Well,” she said at last, “I just don’t like being not trusted. I’m sorry.” She faced me, her manicured and pink fingers folded.
“I might as well tell you anyway,” I said at last, and told them the story of my life.
When I finished, everyone was silent. Pet was really the only one looking at me. Everyone else had their gazes put to the floor, unsure of what to say to a pet like me who had been through so much. Star was the first one who spoke, his voice hesitant and unsure as if he was still afraid whatever he would say would offend me.
“I expected... a sad story, and I understand your reasons to not repeat them.” Suddenly a tear slipped down his cheek. “My friend, Ashi, she went through a past as bad as yours, except in her pound time she had no friends. But once she came here, she found a home.”
I couldn’t imagine living in the pound without Dolphinoras.
Pet nodded. “I do believe so. I know you won’t be going back there until you get adopted which in your case will take a few seconds.”
“Thank you...” I whispered, it was so faint, but everyone heard it.
My future was going to be bright, and I was sure of that.
That night I neomailed Dolphinoras last night. Her reaction wasn’t surprising. Nonetheless, it was comforting to talk to someone who went through what I did and perhaps even worse. A sick feeling settled over me as I recalled how upset Dolphinoras was when she was almost adopted once after a very long while in the Pound. I quickly wrote a message and sent it.
Hey, what’s up? I told my foster family what happened to me at the Pound- and I told them what I didn’t know about you. It feels so weird to tell everything that happened in my life as if I was telling the tale of someone else- but it was a tale of me. Please neomail me back. ~Aqua
Her response came to me shortly after.
YOU IDIOT!! You should’ve told them sooner!! Your temporary life there would have been better if you just got that thing off your chest. Telling people makes life better- when I told my new owner about what happened with the faerie Eyrie, I felt better. It’s like releasing a burden. And of course I’d neomail you back- what kind of friend would I be if I ignored every neomail!? ~Dolphinoras
I typed quickly, slightly enraged as being called ‘idiot’.
For your information, I am not an idiot! If I was, how would I be typing in grammatically correct sentences? Eh!? Anyhow... blah, blah...
Checking the clock, I realized it was about dinner time. At that moment, a waft of cheese hit me. After telling Dolphinoras I had to go, I flew downstairs, followed by Star and Flame. Pet was taking out some fresh macaroni and sodas. She set them out and let us pick what we wanted then scooped some of the gooey cheesy goodness onto each of our plates.
Smiling, I spooned it into my mouth, savoring every little burst of flavor. Then Pet spoke up after she finished eating. She put her spoon down with a quiet little clink then stood up. She looked at me, and then a look crossed her face that told she was hesitant to make this decision. I frowned.
“Aqua... Because you have stayed a while...”
My breath caught. Would they put me in the Pound early when I wasn’t even rare enough to be automatically picked up?
“...I’ve enrolled you into the Faerieland Sky academy for pets your age. Reeses, Lucky, Flame and Star will be going to school with you so you won’t be totally alone.”
Fear gripped my chest, but after a few more reassuring words, I was convinced school wouldn’t be that bad. And besides, once I became a rare color I would finally find a true home. But that fear began to grow as the days ticked down to that Monday where I would finally enter the Faerieland Sky academy...
I had told Pet, but when she tried to comfort me, I put up an act and told her that now I was fine. But inside, that fear grew inside of me, keeping me awake at night and gnawing on my insides. What would happen later on?
I went to my locker, carefully filing every binder I needed. I memorized my schedule- social studies first with Ms. Ti’Cala. I kept all my morning binders on the top shelf and my afternoon things below. I had six periods before lunch. I placed all my folders in neat piles by subject then hung a picture of my petpet Iowa with a strip of magnet. Then I grabbed my bag and headed outside with Pet, waiting tomorrow when I would finally meet Neoschool- and this one wasn’t even the one I remembered.
“Hello, class! Today we’d like to welcome our new student- Aqua!” The medium-aged spotted Gelert turned to me, beaming.
Ok, maybe school wouldn’t kill me.
I felt a little embarrassed, standing up in front of a class of around twenty people with everyone’s eyes aimed right at me. My teacher, a kind spotted Gelert called Ms. Ti’Cala, told me to sit next to a faerie Uni called Emily. Her wings glistened beneath the bright class room lights, her perfectly manicured hooves were folded across her body, lush blue fur perfectly combed and on her face, sparkling in a friendly way, was a set of bright blue eyes.
“Hey, welcome to the class, I’m Em!” she whispered with a smile as Ms. Ti’Cala began to recite the history of Brightvale.
I smiled shyly back. “I’m Aqua- you already heard Ms. Ti’Cala, I suppose.”
I felt so plain next to her- but as beautiful as she was on the outside, she was just as beautiful on the inside. I took out my Social Studies binder with the small words homeroom written beneath it. Then I reached into my new blue and white star book bag and withdrew a black-inked pink pen with a bit of fuzz attached at the end to make it look cool. I listened intently to Ms. Ti’Cala then copied down the notes into my binder on a sheet of loose-leaf.
”So, class, we will be continuing on Brightvale’s history unit throughout the week, so the only homework you will all be getting is this worksheet.” She passed around a double-sided page. “You may bring your binders home to use them.”
I carefully placed the worksheet into my yellow home folder and slung my backpack over my shoulder. A pencil clutched tightly in my hand, I raced out the door along with everyone else as the bell signaling the next class rang, its echoing shrill sound going through the halls and ‘round corners. My next class was around the corner, so I pumped my little legs, grateful I no longer had to drag myself like when I had a tail. My heart panged, but I shook my head, I’d rather be a loved Shoyru than a depressed Peophin.
I nervously panicked about being late, even though it was expected of a new pet, I still wanted a clean record. The halls slowly cleared out, the few pets, slower ones or the other few newer kids like me. My next subject- science was room 134. Wait a second- I passed room 138. Screeching to a stop, I dashed backwards then threw myself into room 134, stopping as everyone looked at me.
“Um...” I murmured, I was in the right class, but no one knew me.
The teacher, an old red Kau, glared at me as I walked in. “You must be Aqua. Get seated,” The bell rang. “You should be quicker to your classes- it doesn’t matter if you're new. You should’ve plotted out your routes.”
I disliked this teacher already.
I looked up at the dry erase board and squinted to see his tiny, sharp handwriting. I could faintly make out the words Mr. Channel. I tapped the striped Xweetok ahead me, opening my mouth to ask what the board said. She turned around, and I realized it was Lucky. She smiled, periwinkle eyes sparkling.
“Hey, I know you think the board is small. I would try to squint- he refuses to make his writing larger. You get used to it.” She turned back around, leaving me with small writing.
Mr. Channel’s piercing eyes penetrated me as I looked up. “Aqua, this is not a good way to start your time here!! No speaking, or else you get detention the next time I see you.”
I nodded timidly. “Sorry, Mr. Channel...”
My head hit the desk with a low thump as he walked away.
I hate school.
To be continued...