A Very Peophin Christmas: Part Four
The next few days went by rather quickly, but Sam just couldn't seem to get into the Christmas spirit. She had settled into her room, only a few bags left unpacked, and had helped set up the gigantic Christmas tree in the living room, but she wasn't completely happy. No matter what she did, memories of her old family kept rushing back. Even her Gruslen Taylor was upset, and never left her room, as Dylan was allergic to her. The Peophin wanted to see Savannah and the rest of her old family again, she wanted it so badly! But she knew that she couldn't disappoint Bree; not after she had just returned. So, she began to slowly force herself to adjust back into life with her original family...
* * * * * *
Tomorrow is Christmas... The Tyrannian Peophin sighed to herself as Laura ran a brush through her unruly mane. Bree had arranged for them to have a Christmas party to celebrate the reunion of their family, and wanted each of her pets to get dressed up for the occasion.
"Ugh, Samantha! When was the last time that you brushed your mane?" the desert Aisha groaned, placing her paws on her velvet-clad hips. Both of the girls wore green velvet dresses with a silky red ribbon tied around their waist, but only Laura was happy about it. Even Taylor wore a large red bow around his neck, which he sniffed at cautiously.
"Call me Sam."
"Whatever you say." The Aisha plopped down onto Sam's bed as well and looked around. The Peophin had already taped up all of her 2 Gallon Hatz posters from before, but there was one picture that was taped right above her pillows. It was one of Sam's whole ex-family.
"Things sure have changed," the Tyrannian Peophin mumbled.
"Yeah." Laura nodded in agreement. "But some things changed for the best." She smiled, thinking of the little Feepit that she had gotten as a gift from one of her previous owners.
"What were all of your families like?" Sam asked suddenly, looking her older sister in the eyes.
"Well," the desert Aisha began, leaning back. "Since I am unconverted, I was constantly traded, and never really stayed in one home for long. Dylan was going to be a lab pet, and Meg... well, we're not quite sure, because she can't talk yet." There was a pause. "But we should forget what happened. What's happened is over, and now we're where we're meant to be."
Just then, there was a knock and the bedroom door swung open to reveal Bree. She wore a matching party dress, and had an excited smile on her face. "Hurry along, girls! The guests have already started to arrive!"
"Okay, we're coming." Laura smiled at Bree, and then grabbed her sister's hoof, and the two hurried down the stairs. To their surprise, the living room was packed full of guests, each of whom had something to do with their lives, whether it was old friends, or helpers in Bree's shop. Christmas music played through the speakers, filling the room with a joyous feeling. From the kitchen wafted a variety of glorious smells, as everyone had brought with them a different meal. In one corner was a playpen, in which sat Meg and the other babies. Decorative streamers were strung throughout the house, and in the center, standing tall, was the family's Christmas tree.
Sam was shocked at the sight of how many people had shown up, and looked around, trying to pick out all of the familiar faces. Some owners and their pets were distant cousins that she had only seen once or twice, but others were people that she had grown up knowing.
"Samantha!" There was a chorus of two thrilled voices close by, and Sam turned to see a Maraquan Uni and a royal Aisha running up to her, both clad in red and green.
"Sonya! Marcie!" the Tyrannian Peophin squealed, dashing forward to hug her old friends. The three of them had been very close before Sam had left, and they had always been known at school as the 'best friend trio'.
"Oh, Samantha! You look great!" Sonya cried, hugging her. "And we've missed you so much! When your owner told us that you were back, we were SO thrilled!"
"I missed you guys too! And you don't look half-bad yourself!" It was true. The Uni wore a lovely sea-green dress, and Marcie wore a pale pink one that fit perfectly on her petite figure.
"Thanks! I know that you are probably wondering how everything is after almost a year away, so the two of us went around school, finding out anything that we thought you would find interesting, and wrote it down!" Sonya, ever organized, pulled out a packet from behind her back and held it out to Sam, who took it. "You should read it tonight, and then you'll be all caught up when school starts again!"
"Uh, thanks!" The Tyrannian Peophin frowned at the packet. "Geez, I wouldn't have thought that this much has changed! How long did this take you to write?"
"Well, we only found out that you were back two days ago, so... two days! By the way..." Marcie tilted her head. "Why haven't you kept in touch with us? We thought that you had disappeared off the face of Neopia! So, you have to tell us everything! Including any Neopets you met in the Pound!"
Before the Tyrannian Peophin had a chance to respond to her hyper friends, there was a shrill whistle, calling everyone's attention to the center of the room where Bree and three of her pets stood. Sam quickly hurried to stand next to them, and the blonde girl smiled.
"I would like to propose a toast!" She smiled, and placed a hand on Sam's neck. "As you all know, I regretfully left Neopia a while back. Wanting my pets to remain safe, I placed them in the Pound, where all four of them were adopted. Sam, to a home with eleven other pets. Dylan, as a lab pet. Meg, to an unknown home, and Laura, to many homes that never kept her for more than a month. So, I would like to thank you all for coming out tonight to help me celebrate not only Christmas, but the reunion of our family." She raised her glass of apple cider. "To family!"
"To family!" everyone echoed, and then drained their glasses.
"And, to commemorate this day, I have purchased a locket for each of my pets!" Bree motioned to someone in the crowd, and Sam watched as a neighbor walked forward and handed each pet a shiny locket with their initials carved on it. Everyone let out a little 'ooh!' of appreciation, and smiled as each pet slipped the necklace on.
When the crowd had broken up and went back to mingling, the Tyrannian Peophin sat down and opened it carefully. Inside was a picture of Bree, hugging her tightly. She remembered that they had taken the picture right before Bree had left. The other side was empty. Underneath, in tiny letters, read 'Together Forever'.
A single tear slipped down her cheek and splashed onto the locket.
No, she told herself, wiping away the tear. You can't cry now. Not when Bree is so happy. Not with so many people here. I have to learn to live with my original family. Like Laura said, I must forget them.
A few hours later, the party began to break up, until only Bree and her pets were left.
"Okay, girls," the bespectacled girl yawned. "It has been a very busy evening, so I expect the four of you to be in bed and asleep soon. I'll clean up the living room, but you guys can set out the cookies for Santa!"
* * * * * *
About twenty minutes later, Sam slunk into her room, not quite ready to go to sleep. Her mind was full with thoughts, and her stomach with the warm, tasty food that she had forced herself to eat, to appear as if nothing was wrong. Marcie and Sonya hadn't noticed anything, and had continued to chatter about all of the things that had happened in the past year (petpets, teachers, anything). The Peophin had nodded at the right times and made herself laugh, but she hadn't really been paying attention to what they said.
She glanced over at her unopened duffle bags that lay on the floor and sighed, trotting over to them. Plopping down, she began to unpack, barely looking at the items before placing them where they belonged.
By ten-thirty, she only had one bag left. Reaching into it, instead of touching a piece of clothing or a 2 Gallon Hatz CD case, she felt something like paper. Curiously, the Tyrannian Peophin leaned down and looked into her bag. On top of a pile of books was an envelope.
Pulling it out, Sam flipped it over to see her name written in curly, purple ink.
She recognized the handwriting instantly, from previous notes that were passed when they thought that their teachers weren't looking. From birthday greetings and cards that had been slipped into each other's rooms and lockers.
It was from Maddie.
To be continued...