The Usuki Singing Stars #2: A Surprise for Lola - Part One
“There it is,” Sparkles gasped as she pressed her paws on the window. Sparkles and Patricia were standing outside, waiting for their mothers to finish up their Christmas shopping in the NC Mall. Patricia was staring at the many Neopians running around, each of them carrying a bag they bought for Christmas. Sparkles, on the other hand, was busy staring at a beautiful blue gown that was on display. The pink Bruce was in total awe. The gown was a light blue and it shimmered under the spotlight. It looked almost magical to stare that, and it even came with a matching scarf that was also twinkling with magic.
“I’ve been hinting about that dress all week,” Sparkles whispered to Patricia, who was now joining Sparkles at the Mall window. “I hope I get it for Christmas! Then I can wear it to your New Year’s party.”
Patricia nodded with agreement; she was also looking forward to New Year’s Eve. That was when she and her family would host their annual New Year’s celebration. They invited all of their friends every year, and everyone always had fun. It was really fun to ring in the New Year, which was Patricia’s favorite part.
After their mothers came out, it was time for the girls to go home. Before she left, Sparkles checked the window one last time, Sure enough: her gown was still there. Sparkles sighed. What else could her mother get for her from the NC Mall, if she only wanted that gown?
As they walked by the Money Tree, Patricia and Sparkles went to talk with their friend Lola. Lola was always pleased to see her friends. The yellow Cybunny and her family were one of the poorest families in Neopian Central. But regardless of that, they were still very happy. Lola wasn’t worried about freezing in the winter. She was lucky that a very kind Neopian gave her a Warm Puffy Coat. The coat was soft and very warm. The only thing Lola wanted for Christmas was happiness for her family and her Snorkle Mr. Porkers.
“How are you guys enjoying your Christmas shopping?” Lola asked.
“It’s okay,” Patricia replied. She was too cold from waiting outside to say anything else.
“Are you still coming to my house for Borovan Day?” Sparkles asked.
Lola nodded. “I wouldn’t miss it for anything!” Lola exclaimed. “It’s tomorrow night, right?”
Sparkles nodded. “I’ll be making the Borovan tomorrow. It’s going to be so much fun!”
Great, Patricia thought. Though she never told Sparkles, Patricia always hated borovan! There was something about borovan that Patricia didn’t like. Was it too bitter? The only reason Patricia even participated in Borovan Day at Sparkles’ and Scary’s house was to eat all the holiday cookies Sparkles made. Everyone else, however, actually drank borovan.
“What do you want for Christmas Lola?” Sparkles wondered. “Scary, Patricia, and I are going Christmas shopping tomorrow. We were all planning to buy you something, but first we want to know what you want.”
“That’s very kind of you,” Lola smiled, “but I don’t really need anything. The Money Tree is always providing us food, and so is the Soup Kitchen. But thank you very much for asking. I’ll see you two tomorrow!”
“Bye, Lola,” Sparkles and Patricia said as they left the Money Tree. Now that the two girls were alone, they could go anywhere they wanted. And Patricia knew exactly where she wanted to go.
“Let’s go to Usukiland,” Patricia suggested.
“Why? Is there something you want there?” Sparkles asked. She was confident Patricia would spill the beans.
Patricia sighed. “Yes,” she admitted. “It’s the new Usuki Singing Star’s Dream Stage play set! It comes with real working lights and a bonus CD!”
“Cool!” Sparkles agreed, and the two girls immediately ran to the Bazaar. When they reached the Bazaar, they ran to Usukiland, where Patricia stared at a window. Both girls were surprised when they saw a purple Bruce there. It was Scary!
“Can you believe that the Usuki Singing Stars’ biggest fan doesn’t even have their Usuki dolls?” Scary asked. Her cheeks were very rosy, as if she was standing outside for a while.
Patricia and Sparkles shook their heads. “Did you ask for a doll?” Patricia asked.
“Well, duh,” Scary replied. “I’ve been asking for a Maxy doll for three months! Now I know I have to get it for Christmas.”
“There’s more to Christmas than the presents, Scary,” Sparkles insisted. “Like giving and-”
“Yeah, yeah,” Scary said, not caring what Sparkles was even saying. “Besides, Sparkles, don’t you want that ball gown from the NC Mall?”
Sparkles blushed. Patricia sighed as Scary turned her attention back to the Usukiland window. As soon as a brown Aisha came out of Usukiland, she stopped and glared at the girls.
“Girls,” Aubri muttered. She wasn’t carrying anything, but she was wearing an expensive brown coat.
“Aubri,” Patricia and Scary muttered back. Now it was Sparkles’ turn to stare at the window.
“So, did you two losers forget to visit the Advent Calendar again?” Aubri asked, hoping for a “yes” as a reply.
Scary shook her head. “Well, Pat might have,” she replied, “but I certainly haven’t!”
Hey! Patricia thought. Even though she wanted to scream at Scary, she decided to hold her tongue. “Did you finish your Christmas shopping?” Patricia asked.
Aubri laughed. “I don’t go ‘Christmas shopping’ for anybody,” she scoffed. “They go shopping for me.”
“But the holidays aren’t just about getting gifts,” Patricia insisted. “They’re also about giving, and family and-”
“No one cares about those dumb things anymore,” Aubri said with a giggle. “As far as I know, presents are the only true meaning of Christmas! But I really do hope you enjoy your Christmas: Your poor, pathetic, present-free Christmas.” Patricia growled as Aubri laughed and walked away.
My Christmas will be anything than poor! Patricia thought. Aubri didn’t care about anything, or anyone, else but herself. Why did she need to ruin Patricia’s holiday spirit? Patricia hoped deeply that Aubri would get the rotten Christmas! When she looked up at the sky, to distract her anger at Aubri, she saw little snowflakes falling from the sky.
“It’s snowing!” Patricia gasped. Scary and Sparkles looked up too. Sparkles stuck her tongue out, so she could catch some snowflakes. Patricia loved snow. She especially loved to make snowmen and snow angels. Sledding was also fun, even though she had to go with Alan.
“We’d better go home,” Sparkles suggested to Scary. After Scary, the two Bruces walked home together and waved good-bye to Patricia.
Patricia waved back. “I’ll go visit Lola first,” she decided. “I just want to remind her about tomorrow.” As the faerie Shoyru skipped towards the Money Tree, Patricia began to think about what she was going to get everybody for Christmas. She decided to get her friends hair clips from the Grooming Parlor. Her mother could get a vase or something from the Gift Shop. And as for Alan... Patricia was still unsure. She was torn between a toy from the Toy Shop and a plushie.
“I think I’ll go with the plushie,” Patricia decided. She felt proud about her decision. Now all she needed were the neopoints from her mother for spending!
When she approached the Money Tree, Patricia gasped at the flock of Neopians who were gathered them. Everyone was trying to get as many things as they could. Some even had handfuls of jellies, which they would probably eat for their meals. Patricia never realized how lucky she was! To have a neohome and three proper meals a day, with additional snack-times, she never realized she was taking those things for granted. As she watched everyone grabbing as much as they can, she scanned the crowd for Lola.
Surely she’ll be here, Patricia thought. Every Cybunny she saw was thought to be Lola. When she did see a yellow Cybunny hopping around the crowd, Patricia immediately recognized it as Lola.
“Lola!” Patricia shouted as she waved her arms. “Lola! It’s me!”
Lola turned around and saw Patricia, but she then quickly turned back and hopped away. Patricia was surprised. Why did Lola ignore her? Did she even hear her? From the way Lola reacted, Patricia could tell Lola really did hear her.
She’s probably Christmas shopping, Patricia thought, now realizing what Lola was doing. She then remembered what Lola gave her friends last year: sand sculptures she made from the jars of sand she found at the Money Tree. Patricia still had the heart shaped sculpture Lola made for her by her bedside. Now laughing at her fear of Lola suddenly hating her, Patricia decided to walk home.
But as she walked away, Patricia stopped and turned around. The plight of some of the poor Neopians scared her. All she wanted to do now was to go home and eat a few holiday cookies. But she vowed to help those in need as well: by working at the Soup Kitchen.
To be continued...