It all started one day in Neoschool before gym class. During lunch, Alice gave Jasmine an object carefully wrapped in newspaper. The White Cybunny shook it happily. “What is it?”
“Open it and see,” Alice replied, smiling.
Inside was a lovely home-made patchwork bag.
“I made it for you yesterday,” the Green Xweetok explained as she sipped some Cherry Neocola. “It’s to put your gym things in; I noticed you didn’t have one.”
“It’s... it’s beautiful!” Jasmine gasped, turning around to give her best friend a hug. “I love it! Thank you so much, Alice!”
“I didn’t know it was your birthday,” Priscilla the Royal Ixi called from a nearby table. Her twin sister Penelope snickered.
“We’d have got you a present if we’d known.” She smirked.
“It’s not my birthday,” Jasmine snapped, glaring at Penelope.
“Best friends can give each other presents any time they like,” Alice replied calmly, chucking her Neocola in a nearby bin.
“Yes,” Jasmine agreed. As the school bell rang, the White Cybunny took hold of Alice’s paw. “Come on, it’s gym time.”
But when the pair went out of the canteen, and reached the Gym Hall, they were both in for a surprise.
The doors was barred and locked.
“Sorry, children, there’s no gym today,” announced Coach Stryke to a confused gaggle of pets. “The equipment’s too old, and it’s not safe to use them anymore. Mr. Noakes is trying to raise the Neoschool some Neopoints by holding a Fundraising Fair in the school grounds.”
“But we were going to do Rugby!” a Faerie Meerca named Michael complained bitterly.
“Can’t be helped,” the yellow Kau replied. She blew her whistle immediately as loud irritable noises rose from the crowd protesting sourly.
“Everyone in my class – five laps around the field and no breaks,” Coach Stryke barked. “Chop chop!” she yelled as everyone groaned in unison.
After Neoschool ended, Alice had an idea for the fundraising fair. “We could do a gymnastics show!” Alice squealed. Alice was extremely nimble and the best gymnast in Jasmine’s class. To prove that she was still brilliant at it, she did a perfect cartwheel and finished with a nifty little somersault along the sidewalk.
“Great idea!” Jasmine gasped. She turned to her friend William the Silver Lupe, who had decided to walk with her and Alice back home. “William, do you think you’d be able to collect the Neopoints?” she asked.
William shrugged. “Sure, no problem. I’ve got nothing else to do.”
“Great!” Alice rubbed her paws together in delight. “Let’s start rehearsing at my Neohome at 5 o’ clock tonight.”
“Done,” Jasmine replied, and she gave Alice and William each a high-five.
Meanwhile, Priscilla and Penelope the evil twins had an idea for the Fair as well.
“We’re going to sell stuff people don’t want anymore,” Penelope told Jasmine’s mom when they arrived at her house.
“Yes, just dump any old stuff you don’t want on your doorstep and afterward we’ll come and pick them up,” chimed in Priscilla, smiling sweetly for a better effect.
Later, Jasmine dashed out of the Neohome, eager to get some gymnastic rehearsals done with Alice. “See you at dinner, Mom!” she yelled as she ran out into the garden.
Jasmine’s mom caught up with her and grabbed hold of the back of Jasmine’s Autumn Faerie Dress.
“You’re not getting away that easily; you’re in charge of washing the dishes tonight,” the Faerie Cybunny reminded her daughter.
Jasmine sighed and trudged back up the garden path back into the house. On the way in she dumped her new gym bag in the doorway and raced into the kitchen. It was exactly where Priscilla and Penelope found it later, looking forlorn on the doorstep on its own. Penelope picked it up and grinned at her Priscilla, a look of malevolence on her face.
Alice was in the garden waiting for Jasmine. She was too excited and giddy to wait inside her Living Room. As she glanced at her watch impatiently, out of the corner of her eye she noticed Priscilla and Penelope walking past down the Sidewalk with some books, a box of broken toys, a lamp – and Jasmine’s new gym bag! Alice found herself staring at the bag in horror, perching in its glory on top of the broken toys.
“What are you doing with that bag?” Alice demanded, swinging the gate open and rushing outside to confront the twins for an explanation.
The sisters exchanged gleeful smiles. “Selling it on our Unwanted Items Stall at the Fundraising Fair,” Penelope eventually replied.
“Shame. Pity really, but I don’t think Jasmine wants your home-made gift.” Priscilla smirked before walking past Alice, snickering.
Alice could only stare at the twins, dumbfounded and shocked. A painful feeling had suddenly lodged inside her stomach and she fought hard not to cry. Hurriedly the Xweetok rushed back inside and slammed the door shut. Suddenly, she didn’t seem as enthusiastic to start gymnastic rehearsals.
When Jasmine discovered that her gym bag had been stolen, she quickly begged William not to tell Alice she’d lost it and that all her gym things had been inside it. She didn’t want to hurt her best friend’s feelings, after all.
“Let’s do ballet instead of gymnastics,” she hastily told Alice tactfully that evening. Alice was on the couch in the Living Room, staring stony – faced at her best friend. There was a silence for a moment. Then Alice opened her mouth. “No.”
“We’re always doing ballet,” Alice said. “You don’t want to do gymnastics because I’m better than you! You never, EVER want to do things I’m good at! You even hate it when I’m good at stuff like... like sewing!”
“What?” Jasmine repeated. She stared at Alice, shocked to the core. “Alice, I...”
But before Jasmine could say anything else, Alice had got up and stormed out of the Living Room, slamming the door with such force the door knob rattled violently.
The next day, Jasmine couldn’t help feeling guilty. She should’ve just told Alice that she’d lost her gym bag. If she had, her best friend probably wouldn’t have lost her temper. On Saturday morning, Jasmine and William went to Alice’s house with the biggest bar of chocolate Neopoints could buy, planning to tell Alice the truth and how genuinely sorry she was.
But as William was knocking at the door, Jasmine picked up a ballet book lying on a pile of old things next to Alice’s broken tennis racket.
The door opened and Alice’s mom appeared in the doorway wearing an apron. She watched Jasmine with mild interest as Jasmine looked at the book, confused.
“Alice left it out for the Priscilla and Penelope’s Unwanted Items Stall,” the Faerie Xweetok told her.
“But I gave this to Alice,” gasped Jasmine, picking the book up in her paws. “So that’s what she thinks of my present, huh?” she muttered.
Grabbing hold of the startled William’s paw, she dragged him down the path and down Magical Road back to her Neohome at Rainbow Lane.
Alice’s mom watched them disappear around the corner before closing the door.
At breakfast, her mom waited patiently for her daughter at the bottom of the stairs. Alice could see that her mom was demanding an explanation before she opened her mouth. “Have you and Jasmine had an argument?” she asked in rather stern manner.
“She started it!” Alice cried. “She gave away my gym bag!”
Alice’s mom sighed and gave Alice a hug. “I think you should give her a chance to explain, Alice.”
Alice rolled her eyes and went into the kitchen. “Oh, all right then.”
The Green Xweetok found Jasmine and William in their front garden practicing for their ballet act. Both of them were taught ballet, so it was pretty easy for them to do tricky stuff like pirouettes and Grand jetés. Alice scowled as she watched Jasmine spinning on her toes like a Faerie.
After watching the pair prancing around the garden, William spoke up. “You know, it’s not going to be the same without Alice,” he reminded Jasmine.
Jasmine pulled a face. “I just don’t need friends like Alice,” she replied.
Fury boiled up inside Alice like vomit. She leapt over the fence when William and Jasmine weren’t looking and charged toward the garden hose.
Jasmine’s little cousin Henry had been using the hose to water the garden. She snatched it out of his paws and aimed the hose at Jasmine.
“And I don’t need friends like YOU!” Alice yelled, watching the White Cybunny squeal as the cold water hit her in the face.
Jasmine stamped her foot, droplets of water shooting out of her fur. “Good!” Jasmine shrieked. Grabbing hold of William and Henry, Jasmine shot Alice her most vicious glare before marching back inside her house.
On Wednesday, the Fundraising Fair was set up in the set up in the Neoschool grounds.
Priscilla and Penelope were setting things out on a table marked ‘Unwanted Items Stall.’
Alice was on her own, warming up for her gymnastics Display by doing stretch exercises.
Jasmine, William and Henry were getting ready for their ballet.
The trio set their display near Alice’s, but even though Henry and William smiled and waved at Alice, she and Jasmine still avoided eye contact with each other.
“I’m getting a bit fed up of this stupid feud you and Alice keep having,” William groaned.
“William, just shut up and start getting ready,” Alice snapped. Her pride and dignity was still hurt from the garden hose episode a few days before. William rolled his eyes and shoved on his white T-shirt and black trousers.
“Where’s the bag for the Neopoints, Henry?” Jasmine asked the Chocolate Cybunny.
“Oops, I forgot it,” Henry replied guiltily.
William gave Henry a bundle of Neopoints. “See if you can buy one; there are hundreds of stalls around here.”
“OK!” Henry dashed off, hopping merrily.
Just as Jasmine was tying her ballet shoes, Henry came back with a bag and a couple of change. Jasmine looked up – and gasped. It was her gym bag!
“Where did you find this, Henry?” Jasmine demanded, hugging the bag tightly as if it contained diamonds.
“At Penelope and Priscilla’s Stall,” Henry replied, looking rather bemused.
Priscilla and Penelope were just checking how many Neopoints they’d earned when Jasmine thundered over.
“Why did you sell my gym bag in your stall?” she asked angrily.
“You gave it to us,” Penelope replied. She went off to help an old Yurble choose which book to buy at their stall.
“I did not!” Jasmine cried.
“Yes, you did! You left it on your doorstep,” Priscilla answered, looking bemused at Jasmine.
Jasmine gasped as she remembered placing her bag on the front doorstep. “So that’s where it went!”
Alice heard and saw everything. She went over toward Jasmine.
“I thought you didn’t want the gym bag and you gave it away!” Alice gasped.
For the first time in days, Jasmine gave Alice a hug. “Alice, what were you thinking?! You know I’d never do that! Never!”
The Green Xweetok looked extremely guilty.
“I know, I’m so sorry. I should have just let you give me an explanation,” Alice replied.
“Never mind. Come on, let’s carry on with your gymnastic Display; I still remember some of the steps.”
“So, are you friends again now?” William asked later on that day, looking totally bewildered. William, Henry, Alice and Jasmine were all at the park, sitting on the swings.
“Of course!” Alice giggled.
William scratched his head. “Girls – I’ll never understand them!”
Jasmine smiled happily. It felt great that she was friends with Alice again. Carefully she rummaged in her bag and gave Alice the big bar of chocolate. “Here you go.”
“But it’s not my birthday,” Alice replied.
“Best friends can give each other presents any time they like, remember?” Jasmine replied, laughing happily.