Gina and the New Girl: Part Two
“Yes,” Kaitlyn said, a bit more at ease. “I’m a newly-created pet. My owner’s very first. I was just created last week.”
“Whoa!” Lani gasped. “A new pet? Like, brand-new? Awesome! Hey, Kaitlyn, are you familiar with Neopia Central yet?”
Kaitlyn shook her head. “I was almost late getting here. I got lost.”
“We’ll show you around after Neoschool, won’t we, Gina?” Lani said, looking at me.
“Of course!” I exclaimed, realizing this is something I actually wanted to do. A newly-created pet! How rare! Maybe this Kaitlyn was a little special after all. “We’ll show you the Bazaar and the Plaza, too!”
“Really?” squeaked Kaitlyn. “T-Thank you!”
“I have some neopoints in my bag,” Lani added. “I’ll take you to find some new clothes, as well.”
“Wow,” Kaitlyn said. “I can’t thank you enough!”
“It’s no problem,” Lani said with a big grin. “We’ll meet you after school at the front door.”
Kaitlyn nodded and we all went down to the cafeteria. We introduced Kaitlyn to Smiley and Aeriel. My sister almost went crazy from excitement.
“Why is being newly-created a big deal?” Kaitlyn asked curiously after my sister’s squeal-filled explosion.
“Usually,” I explained. “Pets are created at a much younger age. This is as rare as a paint brush!”
“What’s a paint brush?” Kaitlyn asked.
“AHH!” Smiley shrieked. “N00b!! *sprays n00b-b-gone*”
“W-What was that all about?” Kaitlyn asked, trembling as Smiley pretended to spray an invisible bottle.
“That’s just Smiley.” I shrugged. “I’ll explain later. But a paint brush... it’s this magical brush that can give you amazing fur or patterns. They cost a lot of Neopoints; some owners spend years saving up for one. Lani, Smiley, Aeriel, and myself, it’s our dreams to be painted one day. We’re only basics. You are, too. But that’s okay. Tons of pets are.”
“Oh,” Kaitlyn said. “What colors are there?”
“There are tons,” Lani chirped. “The Rainbow Pool, where you paint your pets, has a catalog of them. We’ll take you there on your tour this afternoon.”
“Okay.” Kaitlyn smiled. “Thanks!”
As soon as Neoschool let out, Lani and I took Kaitlyn on the grand Neopia Central tour. We showed her Pizzaroo, let her read up on the Neopedia, showed her the Money Tree and the Auction House, and on and on. We visited the Rainbow Pool, where, after browsing the catalog, Kaitlyn decided her favorite color was starry. Lani and I showed her the Clothing Store after that, and my Xweetok friend put her talents to good use.
A half an hour later, I watched Lani finally come out the Clothing Store doors. I’d been made to wait outside on a bench while Lani found an outfit for Kaitlyn.
And boy, that girl is a miracle worker. My jaw hit the ground as Kaitlyn came out shyly, unsure of how to walk in such a wonderful outfit that fitted her so perfectly. Lani had chosen and bought with about half of the 9,000 Neopoints in her bag, some affordable and stylish clothing. The Ruki wore crisp new blue jeans, a Feepits Win T-Shirt, a blue headband with a flower applique, and better-fitting, better-quality, but still casual blue shoes. After Lani and I assured her a hundred times over that she looked amazing, we headed to the School Supplies shop.
We came out with all-new school supplies for Kaitlyn (and Lani picked up a couple packs on pencils. If there’s anything Lani hates, it’s mechanical pencils she can’t chew!). This time, I bought the supplies. Kaitlyn got an Angelic Notebook, an Air Faerie eraser, a set of Snuffly Markers, a few more blue pencils, a Babaa ruler, an Ona pencil sharpener, and a Kayla pencil case, all thrown into an Air Faerie Backpack. With her new outfit, Kaitlyn didn’t look like a week-old pet with a newbie owner at all - even more so after our trip to the Beauty Parlor, after which she had some nice sky-blue eyeshadow and Chokato Lip gloss.
The next day, the entire Neoschool student body stopped for a moment and did a double-take at the new Ruki.
“Gorgeous,” a cluster of girls breathed to each other. Lani and I beamed, our faces proclaiming, “We did that.”
We showed Kaitlyn around our Neoschool that day, guaranteeing she’d never get lost again. After school we had her study the map of Neopia and told her the basics about all the different lands. The next day’s lesson was basic historic figures, and the next day was the Book of Evil. Then she learned from us about the competitions and current trends. Smiley even gave her a lesson on the Neoboards and taught her basic chatspeak, though Kaitlyn didn’t use it. Every afternoon we educated her on the ways of Neopia, and by the end of the first two weeks we knew her, we’d gotten her completely up-to-date. It was like she’d been in Neopia since she was a toddler, and all thanks to Lani, Aeriel, Smiley and me. Kaitlyn thanked us over and over and over again.
Things went smoothly for months as we accepted Kaitlyn (we called her Kaite) into our circle. Her owner earned good amounts of neopoints after becoming surprisingly good at games, and once each week Kaite would bring us doughnuts from the Bakery at lunch. In return, Lani wrote one short story a week to read to us, and I brought petpet treats for everyone’s petpets. Smiley brought what he believed to be “Wishing Well Avatar hints”, and Aeriel brought lip gloss in tiny containers for each of us except Smiley (who got a small bottle of mouthwash instead). That meant every Neoschool day, each of us got a little gift except the person who brought it.
That day was Doughnut Day, Tuesday as usual. It was lunchtime, and as we all walked to the cafeteria, Lani chimed in with, “I’m starving!” as usual.
“Good thing today is Doughnut Day,” Lani continued. “I could eat for hours, I’m so hungry!”
“Hey,” Smiley said. “Has anyone, lyk (I mean, like) seen Kaite? Where’s she? :o”
“Smiley’s right,” I said, looking around. “Come to think of it, I haven’t seen her all morning.”
“Was she at her desk during history or math?” Aeriel asked. I thought hard.
“Actually, no!” I realized. “What if something happened to her?”
“She’s probably just sick,” Lani offered. “Here, I’ll send her a quick neomail.”
She looked around for teachers before scribbling a quick, “Where are you? ~L” on a note and running for a Neomail slot in the wall. She slipped the note in and in a purple flash, it was gone. We ran up to the next Neomail slot a few classrooms down the hall, and sure enough, another note flew out into the hall. Lani caught it and read, “Sorry I’m late. Jen surprised me with this amazing gift! I’ll meet you in the cafeteria at 12:00. ~K”
We all rushed the rest of the way to the cafeteria, wondering what in the Breadmaster’s name the “amazing gift” her owner, Jen, had gotten her was and how it took up all morning. At 11:59 we were seated at our table, and exactly one minute later, the cafeteria doors opened and everyone gasped.
There was Kaitlyn. Or, it had to be. She wore the same jeans and t-shirt, had the same backpack on one shoulder, and was fixing the same headband, but it couldn’t be the Ruki we knew. Because this Ruki... was starry!
“Lani, Aeriel, Smiley,” she called, catching sight of us and waving. “Gina!”
She rushed over to us. We didn’t say a word, not one.
“Look!” she said. “Isn’t this cool? My owner had secretly been saving up, and she went to the Trading Post yesterday while I was at Neoschool and bought this for me! It’s my dream color! Isn’t it gorgeous?”
Still everyone remained gaping. Painted. It was what we all wanted, and always had since starting Neo-Kindergarten together. Kaitlyn wasn’t even a year old!
“How...” I murmured at last. “How could you?”
Kaite’s smile faded. “What do you mean, Genie?” she asked, using her nickname for me that I usually liked. Now I hated the sound of it.
“We’ve been wanting paint brushes for years and years!” I said, my voice rising to a shout and attracting attention. “We’ve been drooling over catalogs and looking at the miserable sums of Neopoints in our bank accounts. We’ve been begging and pleading and wanting, and now after we tutor and teach you, you go and get a paint brush yourself! You hardly even understand the rarity of brushes! And after all our desperate attempts at a paint brush, you get one and brag and brag about it! ‘It’s my dream color, isn’t it gorgeous?’ Some of us will never get a paint brush, ever, in our lives, and you waltz in here and act like it’s nothing, like you could afford a zillion paint brushes! If it wasn’t for Aeriel and Lani and Smiley and me, why, you’d still be getting lost wearing newbie clothes and thinking that the Esophagor was a part of your throat! Do you know what I think of that color, Kaitlyn? It’s ugly! U-G-L-Y!”
And with that rant out of my system, and grabbed my lunchbox and burst through the cafeteria doors, running at a full-out gallop for someplace I could eat in peace - without newbie, paint-brush-getting, snotty friends.
My blueberry jam sandwich tasted bitter that day.
To be continued...