Roses are Red
She was never quite right; there was always something missing from her life.
I watched her from a distance, watched her fall. I saw her tears and I felt her pain.
Why did I not help her? Why did I not speak up? If I had, would she still be here?
My name is Thorn and that is all you need to know about me. I am not the main character in this story, the lead in this play. I am not even worthy of being called a supporting actor. All I did was watch someone I love get hurt.
I am the son of a girl who fancies herself high class. Thinks she is the greatest player since ever.
The key word is think. She goes by the name of Lilly. Why am I telling you this? Because she is also the mother of Rose.
She was the prettiest red Xweetok that ever was. Her scarlet eyes sparkled with innocence and curiosity. Her wavy red hair went down to her back. There would always be delicate rose petals strung through her hair. She loved to groom her mane and look at herself. That might sound conceited but it wasn't. She was so self-conscious. She thought herself ugly even though she was far from it.
She was always kind despite what people thought of her. They thought her stuck-up because she was painfully shy so she rarely talked. She just ignored the whispers even though I knew inside it drove her crazy.
I was honored to call her my sister.
Yes, her name is Rose and my name is Thorn. It isn't as funny as you think it is. Sometimes I lay awake thinking how I was her thorn, how I ruined her. Then I have to remind myself it wasn't my fault. I feel like I'm lying. I am lying, but maybe lying is the only thing that keeps me sane.
I should explain, this is Rose's story. She deserves her story to be told.
I shall start at the beginning. It is always a good place for a story to start.
Rose and I could be called twins. We were brought to life minutes apart. We are both red Xweetoks. I have long forgotten which of us is older. Our owner, Lilly was new to this world as well. We were brought home to a newly bought neohome. It was bare but it was ours.
Our childhood was normal. The discovery of new places, of new things. It was magical just like it always is.
It wasn't until we were eight when things started to go wrong. Lilly got connections. Millionaires with fancy mansions and expensively painted pets. Before we knew it we were caught in the world of high class.
Lilly was lent avatar items, given pricy gifts, invited to all the fancy parties.
I didn't mind that at all. I was a mellow child and went with the flow. I also didn't mind all the expensive things I got. Rose, on the other hand, wasn't adjusting well. She had been used to not getting much, but now she was getting everything she ever wanted. The problem was Rose didn't want much, so when Lilly bought her something she didn't want, she would simply donate it to those who needed it more. That made Lilly mad. Poor Rose didn't understand when Lilly yelled at her. She just looked at Lilly with her puppyblew eyes.
It broke my heart. Lilly didn't even blink.
It got worse as we got older. Lilly would take us to parties. The parties were always in huge mansions with huge ballrooms. The food on the long tables would always be gourmet. Everyone would be wearing the latest fashions from the NC mall. Everyone would also wear a look of superiority and haughtiness. They would always look down on me and not just because I was short.
It was worse for poor little Rose. She hated talking to strangers. She mostly kept to herself and as a result she didn't have many friends. She would often tell me I was her only friend and she liked it that way. Every time I remember that, I feel a pang in my heart.
When we were at the parties, I would always flock to boys my age and strike up a conversation. I eventually made friends. I guess you wouldn't really call them friends, they were fake and shallow, but they were someone to talk to, so I didn't mind.
Rose was the girl in the corner, Rose was the girl in the spotlight. She kept to herself which brought all eyes on her. It was unheard of not to socialize at fancy parties. Everyone would whisper to each other about her. I wouldn't call it whispering because everyone could hear, especially Rose.
They would whisper about her fashion sense and how she put flowers in her hair. They would whisper about how she never talked to anyone. They would whisper about how she hid herself away. They would whisper about how strange she was. How did they know what she was like if they never talked to her? Why did I never confront all those gossipers. What was I afraid of? I already know the answer; I was afraid of losing my social status.
She pasted on a shy smile and got through it. She sat in the corner and waited the party out.
I never once talked to her, I was too busy with my fake friends.
When we would get home, she would look at me with her pretty scarlet eyes.
“Thorn, did you have fun?” she would ask softly. She would also look down as if she was ashamed of asking. It was me who should have been ashamed.
“Yes,” I would always reply flawlessly.
“Oh.” She would look disappointed, then scold herself for even thinking about being disappointed.
“Did you not?” I would ask airily.
“Oh no! I had so much fun. It's just I hate them looking at me. I go into the corner to escape their eyes, but it seems to do the opposite! They always watch me. I hear them whisper, but it's no big deal. If you are having fun, that is all that matters,” she would babble with a look of admiration on her face. I didn't deserve it, any of it. My heart breaks when I think of how she felt about me, how much she looked up to me. She didn't have any reason to.
“You know,” she would start, her voice lowering into a whisper, “you really are my only friend. You listen to me and make me feel special. I hardly know how to talk to anyone else, even Lilly. I feel like you are the only one who knows me. Isn't that silly?” She would break into a giggle after that.
I would always smile and nod. Back then I could hardly care. All these words meant nothing to me. Now they mean everything to me.
“Thanks,” I would always feel obligated to say; I would never mean it.
With each party, each social gathering, I slipped farther into the higher class state of mind. My sister wasn't even a side thought.
Then Lilly wised up. I'm not saying Lilly wasn't a good owner, but she was kinda selfish and cared more about herself than us. The only time Lilly ever showed good ownership was the day I replay in my mind over and over.
She asked me to go to my room with her. I followed her, slightly confused. We entered my room, a typical boy's room. Expensive toys were strewn across the floor. We sat down on my unmade bed.
“Thorn, I want to talk to you about Rose,” she said in a motherly way.
It threw me off. She never acted motherly or wanted to talk about anything. I just blinked at her.
“Does she seem okay to you?” she asked gently, which threw me off again.
“How so?” I asked, dazed.
“She doesn't seem to like the parties. She just sits there, and I hear people whisper,” Lilly said, her eyes focused on something I couldn't see.
My mind was whirling. If I told the truth Lilly would probably cut the connections with her rich friends. I would lose my friends, the parties, the expensive gifts, everything. I made up my mind and I regret it to this day. Lilly wanted to help, to be a good mother. If I had told her, Rose would probably still be here.
“No, she loves them,” I said with a big smile plastered on my face.
“You sure?” she asked, looking straight into my eyes. She was giving me a chance to save myself. A chance to save Rose. I should've taken it. Why didn't I take it?
I didn't think anything of it. Rose would be fine. It was just a couple of parties. I never could've imagined what happened next.
Another party came, another chance for me to pretend to have friends, another chance for those snobby, rich neopets to whisper about Rose.
“Won't this be fun?” Lily asked at the door of the mansion.
“Yes,” I said cheerfully.
“Yes,” said Rose meekly. She was looking at her cheap shoes with a depressed look on her face. I wondered if she was finally breaking. I didn't care one bit, my selfish thoughts were on my 'friends', and the party and the food and other stupid, stupid things.
“Don't you love these parties?” asked Lilly, confused.
“Of course! I love them. It is so nice of you for taking us. Thank you,” Rose quickly lied, her sad expression replaced with a big, wide fake smile.
“You're welcome, sweetie,” Lilly replied, sounding relieved. I didn't say a word as Lilly opened the big, fancy doors. She instantly ran to some smug and haughty looking owners.
I spotted my friends together and went to join them without saying a word to Rose. I didn't even look back. Why didn't I look back? Why didn't I savor every moment?
I greeted my friends and jumped in to the pointless and frivolous conversation. Rose had headed for her corner in attempt to escape all the watchful eyes, though it had the opposite effect. She still hadn't learned you don't sit alone in a corner during these kinds of parties. The whispers started almost immediately.
'There is that Xweetok again.'
'Who keeps inviting her?'
'She is so ugly.'
I glanced over toward Rose and saw that she had left her corner. I noticed that everyone's eyes were fixed on her. She headed toward the gourmet spread.
'Now she is going to stuff herself like a snorkle.'
I just watched. I didn't run over and get her, I didn't tell all those stupid rich neopets to knock it off, I just watched. Lilly watched too, in horror. I knew she was thinking about what would happen if her friends found out that was her pet. I was ashamed to say I had those same thoughts. I was more concerned about my status than my sister.
Her eyes scanned the countless tables trying to find something to eat. She wasn't alone. A very pretty Gelert wearing a beautiful, flowing white dress was also searching for something to eat. Her eyes looked kind and understanding, but these neopets were very good at acting. Rose had settled for some very red punch. Why did it have to be red? Why couldn't it have been white? Coconut punch is high class, isn't it? Why did it have to be so stereotypically red?
The Gelert came up behind Rose. Rose turned and ran into her. Everything went in slow motion. All the punch in Rose's cup splashed onto the Gelert's perfect, white dress. I closed my eyes not wanting to see anymore. I heard the Gelert shriek. I heard Rose apologizing over and over, begging for forgiveness. Just by her voice I could tell she was near tears.
“You little peasant! Do you know how much this dress costs? Of course you don't! You stupid unfashionable idiot!” I didn't have to see the Gelert's eyes; I knew all traces of kindness were gone. That was just an act; everything about her probably was just an act.
“Oh, Chloe, are you OK?”
“How dare that commoner!”
The room was bursting with horror and anger. I didn't want to open my eyes, I didn't want to see Rose. I knew it was over, somehow I knew my life was over. Someone touched me.
“Thorn, we are leaving,” Lilly hissed in my ear.
I opened my eyes to her face. She looked deadly. Fear overcame me for Rose. What was Lilly going to do to her? I started towards the door as Lilly went to fetch Rose.
“Lilly, is this your pet?” I heard one of Lilly's friends ask, disgusted.
“Yes,” Lilly admitted shamefully. “Don't worry, she will be dealt with.”
I heard Lilly apologize to Chloe, the Gelert. I heard Rose trying to tell Lilly something, most likely an apology but Lilly kept cutting her off.
Everything was a blur after that. Somehow I got home, somehow I got to my room. I remember yelling, lots and lots of yelling. I knew it was my fault. Lilly thought Rose loved those stupid parties, Lilly thought Rose was just being a brat, which was ironic. Somehow I slipped into sleep. I am pretty sure I cried myself to sleep, and I am pretty sure all my dreams were nightmares. Nightmares I would never wake up from.
My eyes fluttered open. Suddenly my stomach became tangled in knots.
“Rose,” I whispered.
I sprang out of bed and sprinted out of my room.
“Rose! Rose!” I yelled, but I knew I would get no answer.
I came to the living room where Lilly was sitting on the couch flipping through a magazine as if she could care less. She looked up when I entered.
“Good morning, Thorn,” she said with a smile on her face. The smile didn't look fake, but I was smart enough to know it was.
“Rose?” I asked breathlessly.
She went back to her magazine without a word.
“No, no, no,” I yelled as I ran out of the room. I didn't think about where I was going, I knew my feet would take me there. I didn't register anything, I just knew I was moving. Soon I came to a building. I couldn't tell you what it looked like because I couldn't have of cared less. I was inside, it was empty besides two neopets sitting behind desks. One was an evil looking Techo with gray hair and his hands clenched together, the other a pretty pink Uni who had very kind and sympathetic eyes. I ran up the Uni, now knowing where my legs had taken me and confirming what my heart was telling me all along. Was Lilly really this cruel? Would she really do this to her daughter?
“Rose,” I yelled frantically at the Uni, caring less what she thought of me.
I watched as she looked down at a big, leather bound book. She flipped through a few pages, then looked up. She shook her head, looking sorry.
“I'm sorry, sweetie, you missed her by a few hours. She was adopted only minutes after she was pounded. Don't look so sad, that's a good thing. The pound is a horrible place, take it from me,” she said very kindly. “Don't ask me her new owner's name, I can't tell you. I'm sworn to secrecy, and it would just bring you more pain. I really am sorry,” she added. I could tell she was trying her best to be gentle.
Sorry didn't matter, kindness didn't matter, nothing mattered.
I fell to my knees and started sobbing. She was gone, gone, gone. I would never see her again. My best friend, my only friend. The only one who really knew me, who really cared.
“Rose,” I sobbed. I felt so helpless.
Don't ask me how I got home; I am not really sure. I am not sure about anything anymore. My life is meaningless since Rose left. I still live with Lilly and a few other neopets I know nothing about. I don't even know what species they are or how many of them live with us. I don't live, I just exist. There are many people out there just like me who don't have the drive to live anymore, so they don't. They exist. They eat, they sleep, they breathe, but they don't think, they don't feel.
This story is over. I like to think Rose's isn't, that she has found a family she loves and is living a happy life. That she has forgotten all about me, like I wish I could forget about her.
Every rose does have its thorn, and I was hers. A rose without a thorn is is still a rose, a beautiful rose. A thorn without a rose is something that people simply throw away. A thorn without a rose is nothing.