A Not So Happy Birthday
I’m Jazz, or Jasmine, if you prefer. Well, my official name is Gelert_giver_5001, but take one look at me and you’ll realize that I’m a blue Xweetok. I used to be a yellow Gelert, but my owner’s a Xweetok fanatic. Not that I don’t like being like this, but I really want to be a Maraquan Gelert, and Mom knows that.
My sisters are Bella the faerie Xweetok, Suki the baby Xweetok and Lily the shadow Poogle. Lily and I are the bookworms. I want to be a historian, but Lily wants to be an author. Lily’s also kind of into fashion, like Suki. Suki’s true passion is music. Her tiny hands create the most melodious notes; you really have to hear her music. Bella is the lazy, sarcastic tomboy, but she’s nice sometimes, and her real calling is in art.
Well, I’m from the pound, but, coincidentally, I was created around two weeks before Bella. This was why we were having a joint party. I love Bella, so I really didn’t mind sharing the spotlight. It was my birthday, but a few days until Bella’s birthday. On her birthday, we’d have a private celebration.
Anyway, the joint party was going to be big. All my friends were coming, all of Bella’s friends, too. Our owner’s friends, as well as their pets, were coming. Mom’s brother and cousins were invited, also. I couldn’t wait to eat cake and have fun with my friends. We’d be dancing and playing games all afternoon, and that made up for the fact that our presents would be small—well, I thought our presents would be small.
“You’ll love ‘em!!” Mom had promised as she set out the cake.
Lily finished arranging the paper plates and plastic utensils. “Trust me; she couldn’t make up her mind. She bought these really big gifts, and then resold them because they weren’t big enough.”
My mom’s idea of “not big enough” is still pretty huge. One year, I’d helped her shop for a friend, and she’s decided to buy that friend a space shuttle!! (Don’t ask me what weirdo sells space shuttles; I don’t know.) I tried not to bounce up and down in excitement, but I’d just dipped into my stash of sugar cubes, so that was hard. Bella, however, made no effort to stop jumping.
“Come on, Bella.” I pulled Bella by the elbow and led her out of the backyard. “Let’s not hurt ourselves, okay? Remember last time...?”
Bella stopped dead. “Just one minor house fire and you tag me for life.”
“What weirdo jumps around while holding a burning candle?!”
“Me, duh! Anyway, there were what? Five firefighters there?”
I countered, “Try five HUNDRED!” Normally, this would have exploded into an argument by now, but we’d both been grinning. I tried and failed to stifle a giggle. Pretty soon, we were cackling like two crazy people.
I caught my breath and flopped onto the couch, picking up a black book. I started reading and didn’t stop until it was time to get ready for the party.
Lily was decked out with a balloon, a Birthday in the Park Background, and even her Noil Face Paint. Suki didn’t have so many options, being a baby Neopet, but she still wore a birthday- themed outfit.
I pulled on my Ice Caves Background and some pieces from the snow Xweetok clothes set. Coupled with more winter- themed clothes, I looked great.
Bella wore a Shenkuu- themed outfit, complete with a Xweetok Lotus Dress, and even the wig from the set. (Mom probably forced Bella into that outfit.)
We headed out, arm-in- arm, smiling. As usual, I blushed because all those eyes were on Bella and me. I was really kind of embarrassed, because I didn’t like the spotlight. A bunch of cameras clicked and flashed and clicked again... and again...and again... and a couple more times... yeah, I don’t know why, but my relatives just like to keep a dozen pictures of me at a time.
After my relatives had finished pinching my cheeks, my mom rescued me. No big party is complete without a sappy speech, which my mom was starting to give.
She silenced the crowd and picked up a microphone. “Hello, friends and relatives! You all look dashing!” Some people clapped. “Well, I’d like to see all of my girls up here first.” Lily, Suki, Bella and I shuffled up to the front and stood next to Mom. “A year ago, I came to Neopia and adopted Bella. She was my pride and joy. I eventually adopted Suki and Jazz, and then I created Lily. I love them with all my heart, and I’ve learned the hard way that a Neopet is to keep forever. Every memory counts, especially birthdays. I have two precious gems with me as gifts. They’re not just for Jazz and Bella, exactly, but for all of my girls.” I could see a glimmer of greed in Bella’s eyes when Mom said “precious gems.”
What could that mean? I was pretty sure by the way Mom said it that they weren’t actual gems. I looked at the makeshift curtain behind my family, and saw two shadows moving around. Were they petpets?
I realized with a jolt that they weren’t petpets at all. They were too big. My mom had called Suki a little gem when she’s brought her home. That’s when I realized that our gifts were Neopets. Mom had gotten me two new sisters.
I gasped and started to feel like I was choking. My throat burned and my eyes were wet. I was filled with a wave of intense sadness as I darted back into the house.
Mom stopped talking and looked at me. “What are you—” She sighed. “Jazz!!” She rushed in after me, sliding in just as I was closing the door.
I slumped down at the table while Mom took out ice cream, hot fudge, and a really big brownie. She piled the ice cream and hot fudge onto the brownie, and then set the plate down in front of me. She handed me a spoon and sat down.
“I’m all ears.”
I sighed and took a bite of brownie. “I saw those ‘gems’ you were talking about. I realized that you called Suki a gem when we first got her, and... and I was kind of sad then. I mean, you loved us all so much, and when Suki came, it was all about her.”
Mom frowned. “You know I love you all. Okay, I have a weak spot for baby pets, but you’re all beautiful, and even if you weren’t, I wouldn’t care. If I didn’t love you, I’d have pounded you in the hopes that a more loving owner would come by. I’m not trying to replace you. Obviously, I’ve made a side account, and... and... If you’re interested, you can pay a visit to them for a little while.”
I nodded. “Okay.”
“Come on, then. We’ve got too many people waiting for us to come back.”
Outside, people were murmuring amongst themselves, while Bella checked her watch. “It’s been three minutes... wonder what they—Jazz!” I grinned and joined everyone.
“Sorry! Jazz... Jazz just thought she... er, saw a neomail arrive. It was her, um, friend with a broken leg...”
“Thanks,” I mouthed. My mom nodded to show that she’d seen me. I hoped that the crowd bought the whole “my friend broke her leg” thing.
“Aww!” someone cried. It was my friend, Muffin. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to give any more details.
“Well, here’s the surprise!!” Mom pulled back the curtain to reveal two small figures. One was a white Xweetok, and the other was a skunk Xweetok. If you’ve ever seen how they look, you’ve probably realized that one is white with black stripes on the mane, while the other is black with white stripes.
“They’re twins,” Mom explained as the murmuring from the crowd grew louder. I could see my aunts tearing up, holding each other and crying, “How precious!!”
“What are their names?” I wondered, still staring at the two lovely young Xweetoks before me. They were so cute! I could see one of them basking in the limelight, while the other blushed and tried to hide behind her twin.
“The white one is Persephone, and the black one is Lovoire.”
I grinned and knew that I’d definitely be visiting them on Mom’s side account.
A day later, I was all packed up. I slung my duffel over my shoulder. It was packed with clothes, books, toiletries and a sleeping bag. I picked up my petpet and my mom led me to the pound. We knocked on the transfer door, where Mom paid the fee.
“Bella’s coming in a few days, when I’m allowed to transfer another pet.”
I nodded. I didn’t like having to wait for Bella, but my mom wouldn’t risk a pound transfer. Mom kissed me on the cheek.
“I’ll see you on my side account. I just have to pick up your birthday gifts to bring with me, and I’ll come over.”
I knit my eyebrows together. “But aren’t Lovoire and Persephone the gifts?”
“Well, I thought you’d want some books, too.”
“Thanks!!” I called as the robot Hissi led me through the door.
At my mom’s other Neohome, I met Lovoire, who was still the most beautiful little Xweetok I’d ever seen. Persephone sat on a sofa with a book.
Lovoire looked up from her nails, which were painted white, and grinned. “Hi!”
I shook her hand. Persephone furrowed her brow. “Why’d he...? Wow...”
“What’s that about?” I asked.
Persephone replied, “Mom gave me a book that talks about my namesake. It’s a pretty good story.”
I nodded. “So, what do you like to do?”
“I like dressing up,” replied Lovoire. “I kind of sing a little...” She put down her nail polish and retrieved a small blue book of songs. After hearing a few notes, I knew that she had talent.
“Whoa!! You should have Suki over sometime. She’s the baby Xweetok. Your vocals and her piano would be great.”
Persephone murmured, “I guess I like writing songs and poetry...”
“Wow! Mom and Lily are writers, too. I write a little, but Mom and Lily have actual talent. It’s just that, they write stories.”
“Who’s Lily? Is she the Poogle?”
I nodded and sank onto the couch. “So... have you ever read Eye-Sha?”
Persephone shook her head, and I pulled out a copy from my duffel. Even Lovoire was leaning over to see it. “Looks interesting!” Persephone and Lovoire paged through the book, murmuring an occasional, “Interesting,” or, “Wow!”
I stood up and grinned at my sisters. I suddenly wished that I’d gotten these two gifts sooner.