"Hmm..." I muttered, looking through a display window and seeing a very pretty blue dress. Maybe it would look good at the disco party tonight? In the reflection of the glass I saw my appealing pink and yellow floral fur. On second thought, maybe the blue dress wouldn't match my red Aisha collar. Turning from the window I bumped into someone. "Oh! I'm sorry!"
Before me was a very quiet, very sorrowful, and very grey Hissi. And there on the ground in front of him was a spilled bag of groceries, which I saw with dismay. I hurried to pick them up, all the while telling him how very sorry I was to have bumped into him. He leaned down and grabbed a potato or two and a bag of peas. Smiling, I asked, "Have you been to Meridell today? I love going there on weekends! The meadows are so nice..."
Sighing, he turned his fretful reddish eyes one me and nodded, "It was stormy today... Quite grey..." I guess I looked a little puzzled because he said, "Everywhere I go is cloudy. Just the way I was painted." A long sigh accompanied his words.
"Well... I've been there when it was rainy, it wasn't that bad." I smiled, trying to lighten the mood, "The flowers perked up. Anyway, what's your name? I'm Amarissa."
I handed him the items I'd picked up for him and decided to walk with him down the streets of Neopia Central. "Tonight I'm going to a dance. It would be pretty fun! Why don't you come along with me?"
"N--" A roll of thunder. I looked up, remembering very clearly that the sky had been cloudless when I was looking at the blue dress. Leo continued, "I don't know. I don't dance."
"Well, think about it, okay?" I replied. Perhaps a disco would be just the thing Leo needed, colorful, fun, and happy.
We turned around the Money Tree, which I made a quick comment on. "It's fun to go there and see if you can get something. I know it's for needier Neopians, but I'm afraid it's really down to luck."
"I've never gotten anything there..." A characteristic sigh, and then a look to me with a sad chuckle. "And I'd have to agree with you there about the luck."
Leo started to walk toward the book store, and thinking I could use a new story, I didn't hesitate to go in. The shelves were lined with new books, and so I went toward my usual section: adventure. I looked over to where my new friend was, and seeing that he had gone over toward the tragedies, I went over with a book from my shelf. "You know, maybe you would like this book. I read it last month, and it was great. I'll buy it for you!"
"That's--" Leo was going to say something about how it wasn't necessary for that, but I went over to the red Nimmo and bought it for him without a second thought. As I handed it to him, he said rather bleakly, "I usually don't like adventure books. Tragedies are more my style..."
I assured him that he would like that one, and he opened it up, quickly going through it. It disappeared in a purple puff of smoke, and he looked surprised, "I... I did like it!"
Suddenly I noticed a curl of a smile appearing on him, and I wanted to fight for that little smile. The two of us headed out, and as we walked through the Bazaar, I saw that Leo's conversation grew more animated, steadily gaining enthusiasm. "You know the chocolate shop might be restocked. I could buy you some candy to repay you for the book! What's your favorite kind?"
"I like sweeties, if they have any," I said, watching as the grey Hissi entered the store and came back out with a small bag filled with confections.
"Here's an orange sweetie, I hope you like those, Amarissa." He sounded genuinely hopeful, and I gave him a ready affirmative, popping it into my mouth and grinning.
We stopped at the smoothie store and each got different flavors. I was surprised that Leo got such a large sized smoothie, but he finished it just as fast as I finished my small one. "What did it taste like? I've never had a bamboo smoothie before."
"It's good. You should try it sometime, Amarissa. Now, what I don't understand is how you can eat a splime smoothie." He laughed out loud for the first time, and I liked his laugh. I was sorry it obviously didn't happen often.
"Splime smoothies are yummy," I said in defense of my favorite snack. "Nutritious and delicious!" I laughed along with him.
I looked at a small watch in my inventory to get the time, and was shocked to see that the dance was going to start in fifteen minutes. "Leo, the disco is going to start soon. I have to go, unless," I paused, "you'd like to go with me." He looked thoughtful, his red eyes on the ground.
"I can't dance."
"Don't say 'can't!' I'll be there, and I'm sure you'll be fine," I countered.
"You really want me to come?" He looked doubtful, but I nodded, and he decided he would go. We made our way to the dance club at the central, and seeing the brightly colored lights flashing and flaring from the door Leo gave a pensive look at me. I rolled my eyes and said he'd be fine.
Going into the disco, I met up with a few other friends of mine and introduced them to Leo. They all told him they were delighted to meet him, and hoped he would have a great time dancing tonight. I saw that he was beginning to look more courageous. Music started to blare, and everyone began to disco dance to Chomby and the Fungus Balls.
"Have you seen this band in Tyrannia?" I asked him.
"No, it was rained out," Leo chuckled, "but they're playing tomorrow. They sound good, so I think I'll buy a ticket."
"I'm going tomorrow!" a conversational Acara dancing next to Leo said, "We could meet up there, if you wanted to." The two boys agreed to find each other at the concert and the Acara joined Leo and me in dancing.
My paisley fur matched with the multi-colored lights, and Leo's scales, though in regular light grey and dull, suddenly glowed with color. He got the hang of it eventually, and dancing was no problem. He even talked with a few more of the people around him, and made some friends! I wondered if giving him a helping hand on this grey today would give him a more colorful tomorrow. I mean, even grey pets could be happy, couldn't they?
"That was the last dance, everyone! Time to go home. The next disco is next Saturday!" the disco Bruce who ran the club announced. The regular lights came back on, and Leo's vibrant scales turned grey once more, but his red eyes, which had been happy and bright, stayed the same.
The Acara came up before he left and reminded Leo of their plan. I was happy to see Leo making some friends today, and I wondered if I had enough neopoints to go to that concert...
Before we went our separate ways outside the door, he smiled and said, "Thanks for hanging out with me today. Maybe storms don't always have to follow me around, if I don't let them."
"It was fun! Next Saturday is another disco, and I hope you'll be there!" I exclaimed, and we said goodbye. The thunder and clouds that had seemed to be building all during the day were gone, giving a clear, starlit night. It promised a wonderful coming day.