Red Thread: Part Three
Terry goes back to the stand the very next day, although his string has straightened itself out, no longer leading him around the stand. "Owen, do you think I'll find Thomas? My twin."
"It's a possibility, isn't it?" Owen shrugs, yelling softly as his foot accidentally misses the wheel pedal. Terry's come to realize that while Owen is remarkable with his hands and pottery, his feet are quite another matter. "I mean, I did."
"You were lucky, though," Terry points out.
"I'm never lucky," Owen remarks, grinning. "It just depends on how far you're willing to go. I mean, I followed my twin Sarah all the way here, and she doesn't even know me."
"You could just introduce yourself," Terry says patiently.
"That's so forced, though. Twin-ship is not forced."
"You're so weird," Terry deadpans, and he leaves Owen shouting at him, as he follows his string down the road. It's ridiculous, really, Terry thinks to himself.
Terry shrugs to himself, and he stretches out his arms and rests his hooves on his head has he walks, his elbows sticking out. There's no point worrying, he tries to think. Like Keith and his owner told him. He was young, anyway, he has a lot of time to find his twin, right?
"Do you really think twins who don't know each other are better off as friends, Jake?" Terry asks one day. He's eating cereal at the kitchen counter while Jake's on the couch, reading a book.
Jake sighs. "Sometimes I do. For certain people."
"Like you and Keith?" Terry says pointedly.
"Hey... we're feeding you, don't you forget it," Jake snaps.
Terry laughs, and lifts another spoonful of cereal to his mouth. "You're just mad because Keith gave me the last slice of pie."
"Anyway," Jake says loudly, putting down his book and striding over to the counter, placing his elbows on it. "Anyway. I believe in the twin line when it really is fate. Isn't that weird? That the line is supposed to lead you to your twin, but by doing so kind of makes it... not fate? Does that make sense?"
"Not really, no," Terry says. "But go on."
"I think finding your twin is an unconscious thing, something that you can't follow, it's just something that you fall into. Keith and I have always been best friends, we didn't need some string to push us together."
"So you think if my thread leads me to someone completely random, it would be really awkward?"
"It's not that," Jake says. "But wouldn't it feel a little forced?"
"That's what Owen says!" Terry brightens. "Maybe it's a common thought for the older generation."
"You little brat," Jake growls, and promptly pulls Terry into a headlock.
Terry is leaning against Owen's ceramics stand, watching the crowd, as he listens idly to the sound of a guitar from one of the street performers. He taps his left foot gently, watching as his thread undulates gently with each rise of his foot, and he watches it closely as he twitches to the left, and then lays still.
And then he notices them – a Royal Girl Skeith and a Royal Girl Aisha giggling together and walking through Brightvale. They were both upper class folk who looked down upon the rest of the peasants and normally painted Neopets that lived outside Brightvale Castle.
Terry glances at Owen, and is surprised to see him staring hard at the girls, and then at a lone guitarist on the other side of the square. "What—" he starts to say, but then he realizes it: the string from the guitarist's ankle leads right to the one tied around the Royal Girl Skeith's ankle —
"Hey!" the guitarist bellows, quickly flinging off her guitar and sprinting after the pair. "Wait!"
The girls glance behind them, and stop as they realize that the yell was directed at them. Obviously confused, they both frown, squinting warily at the guitarist.
"You're — we — our red lines," the guitarist sputters as she reaches them, out of breath. The Royal Girl Skeith's eyes widen as she notices their string, and the Royal Girl Aisha pulls her along.
"Come on," she says bluntly, pulling her friend away. "It's just a peasant."
"Okay, okay, I get that, but —" the guitarist says, reaching for her shoulder. "I mean, this is a big deal, I've been looking for you for a long time, can we just—"
"I'm sorry," the Royal Girl Aisha says again, narrowing her eyes even more. The Royal Girl Skeith looks even more confused, looking at the begging guitarist and then at her friend.
"I—" The Royal Girl Skeith says, holding a hand up to her chest. Her friend is looking angrier by the minute. "Christy, she's my twin, though..."
"I really am," the guitarist says earnestly. "I mean, something like this doesn't happen every day, I would really like the chance to—"
"You won't be getting that chance," Christy says coldly, and he pulls harder at the Royal Girl Skeith's wrist. "We're leaving."
Terry sees the Royal Girl Skeith look back at the forlorn guitarist as her friend leads them away, and his heart wrenches terribly. "Wow, that's terrible," he says quietly, and Owen sighs in agreement. The guitarist is sitting on the curb now, her head in her hands.
"Poor girl," Owen murmurs, running the top of his thumb around the rim of his pot. "She's been here for six months already, looking for her twin."
"You know her?"
"We're the same age," Owen tells him. "Her line looped around my stand, too," he grins. "Maybe the Light Faerie likes sending them to me first."
"Maybe," Terry laughs, and falls quiet again. "Why did that Royal Girl Skeith reject her twin?" Terry asks.
Owen shrugs. "Probably because they have completely different lives now. As a Royal, taking in a peasant, even as a twin, would be embarrassing."
"I guess," Terry says. "But even if you were Royal wouldn't you look for your twin?"
"Some Neopets are dreamers, and they would," Owen says. "Other Neopets are comfortable, completely fine with a life without their twin."
"Wow," Terry raises an eyebrow. "I sure hope that doesn't happen to me." Terry wasn't dirt poor, but he wasn't up to par with the Royal class either.
Owen sighs and returns to his work.
A week passes before Terry remembers that he hasn't followed his thread further than Owen's stand.
He lies on the couch that night, staring at the ceiling. You can find your twin! Terry tries to think to himself. Suspiciously, the voice in his head is starting to sound like Keith.
He's still young, Terry thinks as he rolls over onto his side, and he closes his eyes. He has the entire summer to find Thomas, anyway.
It's four days later when it happens. He and Owen are strolling around the marketplace (Owen said that he needed inspiration), when Owen pulls him behind a large lamp post and hisses, "She's coming."
Terry immediately sticks his head out, despite Owen's vehement protests, and he catches sight of her easily — she has a bundle of blue hydrangeas in her arms, her hair curling down her back. She really does look like a feminine version of Owen. Before Terry can say anything, though, her left foot suddenly jerks backward, as if someone had tugged hard on it — or rather, on the string that encircles her ankle — and she goes flying, sprawling across the pavement. Blue petals drift slowly to the ground around her.
"Oh no," Owen's eyes are wide when Terry turns to him, his mouth agape. "I didn't do anything!" he protests, even as he's already halfway across the street.
Owen helps her up, and she smooths down her hair agitatedly. "Ah, I'm so clumsy," Terry hears her say, and she bends down, scrambling around to gather up the stalks of blue flowers. Owen bends down to help her, and Terry snickers -- he can see the hopeful look in Owen's eyes all the way from here.
She bows and smiles at him in thanks, the flowers safely bundled in her arms again, and she walks away, looking back over her shoulder once or twice. Owen comes back over to Terry, his face slightly awestruck, but there's a tiny frown playing on his features. "She didn't notice," he says, finally.
"Well, at least you interacted with her," Terry says, patting Owen comfortingly on the back. "Besides, I think she recognized you. She looked back a couple times."
"Really?" Owen visibly brightens, and he grins at Terry. "Huh. Wow. Well, that was interesting."
"Yeah, it was," Terry says. He glances quickly at Sarah, who is now tending to some tulips, and lets his eyes run from her red thread, leading all the way back to Owen's nervously tapping right foot. He smiles to himself.
The next day he realizes he should check in with Ally.
"Terry? Oh my gosh Terry, you gave us all a scare, how could you—"
"I'm sorry, Ally, but I'm really doing the right thing. I'll be home soon, don't worry about me."
"Terry, don't you dare—"
To be continued...