The Return: Part Four
Author’s Note: Has anyone heard of the song “Brown Squirrel?” I mention it briefly in this chapter and I was wondering if anyone but me actually knows it. Alright, now enough with my comments. On with the story!
I awoke from the dream with a start. The TV was off and a blanket was draped over my body. It was probably put there by Zypher. I snuggled up in the warmth of the blanket and sighed to myself. All the lights were off and the clock read “3:26 AM.” I groaned. I had wasted the entire day sleeping. Then again, I probably wouldn’t have done anything productive anyways.
**Ten Days Later**
I was officially bored. Destorma was no longer speaking to me. She was angry with me for not playing with her whenever she wanted. The little brat. Shaz was his usual, anti-social self. Zypheryn was leaving me alone, as per my wishes. Or at least, what he thought to be my wishes.
It was true, I was sending off a pretty clear, “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE, I DON’T CARE” kind of vibe, but inside, I did want someone to hang out with. Not to play tag and Red Rover and sing “Brown Squirrel” with, but just someone to talk to. Someone, anyone. A fun conversation with Storm, an awkward one with Shazka, or an argument with Zypher. I’d take any one of those. Even an angst-ridden, hate-filled talk with Jen would be fine. Anything, anything to get me out of my boredom.
I thought, for probably the millionth time in the past two hours, what life would have been like had Jen never come back. It’s a silly question, seeing as the answer’s obvious. Life would have been be exactly the same as before she came. What if I kicked her out? Then two out of the three family members would hate me, the last would be disappointed in me.
Indeed, it was a dead end. I didn’t want to even think of the third option but, like always, it crept annoyingly into my head. I could accept her. I could swallow my pride, bow my head down, and apologize to Jen like a man. Or a woman. Whatever.
It would solve all problems. Jen and I would get along, I would stop being in bad moods. I could play with Storm, scold Shaz, and get angry with Zypher all I wanted, just like before Jen even left.
As I was thinking that, I knew how impossible that would be. For one thing, my pride was my most treasured possession. I would never give it up. But the main reason was because I wasn’t the one who needed to apologize. It was Jen.
**So long that I’m sick of counting the days.
Just know that it’s sometime later**
Ughh, I felt horrible. My body was covered in huge red bumps that itched like crazy. Zypher said it was NeoPox, but that was impossible. I’m Kishmaya, caretaker of the family, sister extraordinaire, there’s no way that I could have gotten sick. But those itchy lumps begged to differ.
“Kish,” Jen begged, “let me go out and get you some NeoPox Pizza.”
I didn’t answer. Truth is, I desperately wanted to get better. I wanted Jen to buy that pizza so that I could swallow it whole. But my pride wouldn’t let me. Stupid pride.
“I’ll be fine Jen, stop nagging,” I muttered while angrily scratching at a bump.
“You’re so stupid, Kish,” Zypher said.
He put on gloves and grabbed my hand.
“Where are we going?” I asked curiously. “And why’d you put gloves on?”
“So that I don’t get NeoPox from you,” he snarled. “And we’re going to the Healing Springs. I’m done with your stupid NeoPox.”
He half-lead half-dragged me out the door. We stretched open our wings and flew to Faerieland. The wind felt nice on my bumps. The cool air soothed the itching a bit.
We landed in front of the Healing Springs and I saw people grimace in shock at the state of my skin. I scowled and stalked over to the Water Faerie that ran the springs.
“Welcome to my home of healing and relaxation. What can I do for you today? Maybe I can heal your Neopets, or perhaps you would like to purchase some of my healing potions? Please choose one of the three options below. You must remem—”
“Yeah, I really couldn’t care less,” Zypher said, shoving me in front of the Faerie. “I just want you to heal her.”
“Well, it doesn’t work that way,” she answered in that annoyingly patient, kind voice of hers. “You see, my healing is random. She could be completely healed, or she could regain hit points, or get a snowball, or a Healing—”
“Listen, lady,” he interrupted again. “I’ve had just about had it with this NeoPox. My owner keeps saying that she’ll go out and get the pizza, but this idiot right here won’t let her. Now, they’ve been arguing back and forth for hours and I’m at the end of my patience. Could you deal with that? I don’t think so! You have no idea the torture that I’m going through right now. Because on top of this NeoPox, Kish hated our owner. Granted, I’m not a big fan of Jen either, but it was still annoying. I had to constantly deal with her moaning and groaning about how much she hated Jen. Now that she’s over her hate phase, she doesn’t do anything. She sits around, watches TV, and eats. I am this close to dumping Kishmaya into the Pound so that I can be rid of this stupid problem. And you know, you’ll be partially responsible for the increase in abandoned pets. As a Faerie, you’re supposed to be helping pets. Imagine the guilt that would hang over your head for the rest of your immortal life if you caused a sick pet to be thrown into a horrible place like the Pound. Now, you’re going to heal her whether you like it or not, understand????”
His face had gone bright red and he was breathing heavily from his little rant. The Faerie looked nervously at him, waved her hand, and said in a strained, bright-ish voice, “Kishmaya has had her health fully restored!”
I smiled at the absence of the bumps and sighed, relieved.
“Thank you,” Zypher drawled sarcastically. “We’re going, Kish!”
I looked at him, relief gone. I hadn’t realized how much strain he and the rest of my family were going through. I had only thought of myself, of how hurt I was. I didn’t think of the others at all.
“I’m sorry, Zypher!!!” I bawled, throwing my arms around him.
“Ugh, Kishmaya, don’t be a baby. This isn’t like you,” he muttered, trying to unclamp my arms.
It was true, it wasn’t like me. I hated intense displays of affection. I hated hugging, hated opening up, but I was doing that to Zypheryn a lot nowadays. It was strange, how much Jen’s return had changed me.
I hiccupped a little and unwound my arms. With me sniffling, we took to the air and were back home pretty quickly.
As we were about to open the door, Zypher paused.
“Hey, Kish...” he began hesitantly.
“Well, when I was rambling on back at the Springs, I wasn’t serious, you know that right? I...”
I had forgotten how he didn’t like expressing emotions either. So I smiled and said reassuringly, “Yeah, I know. You just needed to get it off your chest, right?”
“And Kish, you know... that I love you, right?”
I remembered our conversation the first night of Jen’s return. I nodded fervently. Of course I knew. How could I not?
“And you know...” he continued, “that if you ever wanted to leave, that I’d come with you?”
I froze. Leave? I had never thought of the possibility before. I knew how easy it would be to leave the family, to never see Jen again. And yet so hard. So hard to say goodbye to Storm and to Shaz.
“Thanks for the offer,” I murmured, “but I have no intention of leaving.”
“I know that. I just wanted to put that out there. But I really want you to know that you’re the most important person in my life. No one could replace you.”
In my head, I had a panic attack. Him loving me, I could deal with. That was fine. But he had said that he loved his original owner the most. Was he lying? How could I be that important??
“Relax, Kish,” he chuckled, seeing the panic in my eyes, “just tell me what you’re thinking.”
“You said you loved your old owner best. Was that a lie?”
“No. I do love her the most. But only because she was the one who created me. But, like I said to you before, you’d never leave me. She did.”
Thinking about it, I realized that his words made sense.
“Well, Zypher, I love you too. And... you’re also the most important part of my life. I’d never give you up and I’d never leave you.”
He grinned at me and opened the door. As we walked in, I knew what I had to do.
I stared at Jen, who sat against the wall opposite the door that I was leaning against. Zypher had locked the door, that way neither of us could get out until we settled our differences. We were in the bathroom, as it was the only room without windows that we could escape out of. True, it wasn’t the most ideal space, as the toilet smelled a bit funny and the room smelled like soap, but it was the best we (meaning Zypher and I) could find.
“Listen, Jen,” I said, “we have to talk out our differences.”
“What do you mean ‘our differences?’ I’ve been trying to make peace with you for ages. You’re the one who’s unwilling to do so.”
“I’ve been ready to get along with you since the moment, well, maybe not the exact moment, but soon after the moment you came back! It’s you who’s stopping me!”
“How is it me? I’ve been nothing but loving toward you!”
“Because you didn’t say it!” I exploded passionately. “You didn’t say it! Two simple words, two little words, two stupid words that you won’t say!!!”
And then, in front of Jen, I broke down in tears.
To be continued...