Of Rivalries and Sandwiches: Part Two
Andrea's head spun. Okay, she thought, let's get this straight. My best friend's aunt is my Aunt Jessie's rival, which means I'll be competing against Danni, which means she's... MY rival?
"Whoa, wait a minute," Danni said. "I have to compete against my friend? Isn't there some rule against that?"
"Friend," Claire repeated harshly, as if the word tasted sour. "There are no friends in competition. During this bet, the word 'friend' doesn't exist."
"Come on, Andrea," Jessie said.
Her aunt quickly grabbed the Acara's paw and began to drag her out of the restaurant. Before exiting the door, Andrea caught a glimpse of her friend's face. And, by the looks of it, she wasn't any happier about this rivalry than Andrea was.***
The next morning, Andrea snored loudly in her bed. The dark night sky could be seen from her window. All that the Acara cared about was if it was light outside or not, and if it wasn't light outside, well, SNORE.
Andrea carefully opened one eye. It rolled over to her Pizza Wall Clock. The big hand was on the three, and the little hand pointed just off of the five.
"I have plenty of time to sleep," Andrea told herself.
She snuggled further into her bed when...
"WAKE UP, ANDREA!!!"
"AIEE!" Andrea screamed in alarm as she tumbled off of her bed -- wrapped like a burrito in her blanket -- and onto the ground with a thud.
She struggled to get up onto her feet. When her eyes met with the one who woke her up, she groaned. It was none other than Aunt Jessie.
"Come on, lazybones!" the rainbow Lutari said, motioning for her niece to follow her. "We need to practise long and hard for the competition!"
Andrea wiped her eyes and moaned.
"Can't this wait until noon?" she whined.
"Nope," her aunt answered. "Now let's get moving! We're burning daylight!"
"Moonlight, you mean," Andrea grumbled as she grabbed her apron from her closet.***
Meanwhile, at Danni's house, there was evil lurking. Danni could feel it in her gut. Something wasn't right in Neopia Central. No, something was terribly wrong.
Danni -- wide awake, although it was 5:15 in the morning -- shifted uncomfortably in her bed. Something didn't seem right in her usually snug bedroom. The trees rustled outside, like they would in a ghost story. The fire Usul continued to squirm, pleading for it to be daylight outside.
Suddenly, Danni heard footsteps down the hall.
Trembling, the Usul slowly got up on her feet and crept through her bedroom to the door. She peeked through the crack. She didn't see anything except a shadowy figure moving swiftly down the stairs, barely making a sound. Danni dared to open her door just a crack, then followed the strange figure down the stairs.
Somehow, the figure didn't seem to notice Danni following it. It just kept moving swiftly down the halls, as if nothing was wrong. Danni continued to follow the figure, until it suddenly came to a halt.
The figure flipped on the lamp beside her. The room was suddenly illuminated, and Danni realised that the figure was her aunt Claire, and that they weren't alone.
A tall, blue Lupe sat in a chair, sipping a Cup of Tea. Danni hid behind the wall, so they could not see her, but she listened carefully to their conversation.
"Thanks for coming," Danni heard Claire say to the Lupe.
"No problem," the Lupe replied. "It's fun to sabotage Neopets' bets."
Claire and the Lupe laughed.
"I still need to repay you for helping me last time I made a bet with Jessie," Claire told the Lupe. "Thanks for lying, saying my sandwich was better. Anyone else would've said it tasted like a fried boot!"
"Hey, that's what friends are for," the Lupe told her.
"Thanks to you, I won that bet," Claire said. "And I'll win this bet because of you, too. That foolish Lutari won't suspect a thing when you say my sandwich is better."
"Yep, even though yours will taste terrible!" the Lupe chimed in.
"And Jessie will have to close down her pathetic sandwich shop. Isn't this the perfect plan?"
Danni gasped. This bet was a complete scam.
She needed to tell Andrea, and fast!***
Andrea thought she must've made at least a hundred sandwiches by the time 9:30 rolled around. She groaned when Aunt Jessie yelled, "Okay, let's make 10 more!"
Andrea needed to get out of here. She was sick of this bet. She just wanted it to be over with.
"Why did I have to help Auntie?" Andrea mumbled to herself. "Now I'm stuck in this kitchen with sandwiches up to my ears."
"What was that, sweetie?" Aunt Jessie called from the other side of the counter.
"I said that this is more fun than a Yes Boy Ice-Cream concert," Andrea lied, going back to making a BLT with cheese.
Just then, the doors burst open. Danni rushed through the shop, waving her arms frantically. Andrea gasped. This was her one-way ticket out of here!
Unfortunately, Aunt Jessie stopped her in her tracks.
"Oh no, you don't," Jessie said to Danni. "You cannot see Andrea until this bet is over."
"But, Miss Jessie..." Danni trailed off.
"No buts!" Jessie snapped.
Andrea sighed. Suddenly, an idea popped into her head. She walked out of the kitchen, pretending to be angry.
"My Auntie is right," Andrea said. "I have a few choice words about you barging in. And I think I'll tell you them outside."
Danni's face was lit up in fear as Andrea led her out of the shop. Once they were out of Jessie's sight, Danni began to whimper.
"Please don't hurt me!" she begged, tears streaming down her face.
"It's okay," Andrea said. "I just said that back there to get out of the shop. So, what's up?"
"What's up?" Danni repeated. "I'll tell you what's up. My aunt is a dirty cheater!"
"It's true," Danni told her. "She hired this Lupe to judge the sandwiches, and he'll lie, saying Aunt Claire's sandwich is better, even if it tastes like a fried boot!"
"I know my Aunt Jessie is crazy when it comes to sandwiches, but if Claire wins, Jessie will go even MORE insane. Sandwich-making is her entire life!"
"I know," Danni told her. "So I'm going to need your help."
She held out her paw, grinning at her friend.
"Are you in?" she asked her.
Andrea looked at her for a moment, smiled, and shook Danni's hand.
"Let's do this," Andrea said.
Danni grinned. She and Andrea plopped onto the concrete ground, as Danni began to explain her idea.
"Okay," Danni said. "Here's the plan."***
Finally, the time for the bet arrived. Andrea carefully watched the blue Lupe in the corner, the one hired by Claire, until Rose arrived.
"There you are!" Andrea exclaimed.
"Did I really have to do what I did?" she asked.
"Yes," Andrea told her. "It was the only way."
Rose groaned. Andrea showed her to a table.
"Now," Andrea instructed, "be sure to make the blue Lupe at table 5 leave before Claire shows up."
"Okay," Rose said.
While Rose snuck her way to table 5, Andrea walked into the kitchen, and prepared for Claire's arrival. A smile broke out across her face. This was going to be great.
Jessie grinned. "That’s the spirit," she said.
You have no idea, Andrea thought to herself. Her aunt was completely unaware of Andrea and Danni's plan taking place.
The blue Lupe at table 5 was driven away just before Claire and Danielle walked into the shop. The yellow Xweetok walked to the counter and grinned.
"I'll have my victory on a silver platter, please," she said, laughing.
"You'll be eating those words once we're done here," Jessie said.
"Bring it on," Claire said, laughing.
Danni followed her aunt into the kitchen, and the competition began.
Claire worked fast. Danni gave her the ingredients, and Claire stuffed them into her sandwich.
Danni handed her a piece of lettuce.
Danni handed her a slice of tomato.
"Pieces of chopped boot."
Danni handed her a bag, containing a boot cut up into bite-sized pieces.
Jessie was working carefully, making sure that the sandwich was perfect. She asked Andrea to give her the ingredients, but less frequently than Claire. Eventually, both of the sandwiches were complete.
Claire strutted out of the kitchen, holding her sloppy sandwich triumphantly. Jessie followed with her perfect BLT with Cheese. Danni and Andrea followed Jessie, grinning ear-to-ear.
"Oh look," Claire said. "I think that blue Lupe at table 5 should judge." The Xweetok thought that the Lupe she hired was sitting there.
It was a blue Lupe, but a different one, at that.
Claire practically ran to the table, almost dropping her sandwich. Jessie sprinted to catch up. Danni, Andrea, and their aunts all gathered at table 5, smiling at the Lupe.
"Try this sandwich, sir," Claire said. "It's a sandwich fit for a king."
The Lupe smiled at the Xweetok before grabbing the sandwich.
The Lupe took a bite.
Jessie stood frozen, holding her breath.
Danni and Andrea stood, their eyes open wide.
Claire stood proudly, expecting a great review of her food.
The Lupe sat there, with his face turning green.
"Gross!" the Lupe exclaimed suddenly, coughing and spluttering like crazy.
Claire gasped. "Excuse me?" she said in disgust.
The Lupe glared at her, with red glowing eyes.
"This is the worst sandwich in existence! It tasted like a fried boot!"
"I told you it tasted like one," Danni whispered to Andrea.
The Xweetok stood there, shocked by what she heard. Her surprised expression turned into a scowl.
"Oh yeah, well, what makes you think Jessie's sandwich is any better?" she asked the Lupe.
"I can't answer that until I try hers," the Lupe said.
Jessie gulped. She placed her BLT with Cheese in front of the Lupe. The Lupe picked up the sandwich and took a bite.
Silence spread amongst the group. No one dared to say a word. They all watched as the Lupe's face lit up into a smile.
"I love it! This is the greatest sandwich ever!" the Lupe exclaimed.
Claire gasped. Jessie nudged her with her elbow.
"WHAT NOW?" Claire screamed at her rival.
"Looks like you have to retire from sandwich-making forever," Jessie told her.
"And you have to close down your restaurant, too," Andrea piped in.
Claire stamped her foot in disgust and stamped out of the door. When the doors slammed shut, Jessie, Andrea, Danni, and the Lupe cheered.
"Wow," Jessie said. "I finally beat her fair and square."
Danni glanced at Andrea. It was confession time.
"Jessie," Danni said, "Claire cheated the first time you two made a bet. She hired the judge, and he lied, saying her sandwich was better, when it really tasted like a fried boot."
"How can a sandwich taste like a fried boot, anyway?" Andrea wondered aloud.
"It's okay, though," Danni assured her. "We hired someone to stand in as the blue Lupe, and Claire fell for it."
"Who was it you hired?" Jessie asked.
Danni and Andrea exchanged grins.
"The blue Lupe you gave your sandwich to is none other than our friend, Rose."
"It's true," Andrea told her. "It was all part of our plan."
"We needed a blue Lupe to stand in as the one Claire hired, so Rose volunteered. This involved a morph and a paint job..."
"That I did not enjoy," Rose added.
"Anyway, Rose made the Lupe that Claire hired leave, and Rose pretended to be him during the competition."
Jessie thought about this for a moment. Then, her face lit up into a smile.
"Thanks, guys," she said, hugging each of them.
"No problem," Andrea replied. "It's the least we could do."
After Jessie finally broke out of the hug, Rose laughed.
"You guys take sandwiches way too seriously."
"Yep," she said blissfully. "We sure do."