The Slumber Party
"What are the chances of this being an abbreviated meeting?"
Staring at Jordyn in disbelief, Brooke almost scoffed at her friend's question. "Slim to none. Especially since it's a sleepover, and, according to the guidelines that make a sleepover a sleepover, we're supposed to stay here until our owners pick us up tomorrow morning."
Jordyn's stomach churned. Being the socially awkward Xweetok that she was, Jordyn wasn't necessarily the epitome of a party enthusiast. In fact, this would be the first slumber party she'd ever attended. If said slumber party was thrown by one of her closer friends, like Brooke, perhaps she would be less nervous – excited, even; however, this party was being thrown by the ostentatious Mackenzie, a feisty eventide Uni with a weekly allowance larger than Jordyn's owner's Neopian Bank account. Jordyn vaguely remembered Mackenzie tormenting her when they were younger, constantly poking fun of Jordyn's "plain" pink color. She never let Mackenzie's teasing bother her; Jordyn knew for a fact that her owner was quite proud of her pink Xweetok and always flaunted her around close Neofriends (much to Jordyn's embarrassment).
"You know we could just Neomail your owner and tell her to come pick us up," Brooke suggested. "And then we could just sit at your house and read magazines, and only imagine what it would be like if we hadn't skipped out on the slumber party of the century."
"As tempting as that sounds – and boy does it sound tempting – I'd hate to ruin this for you, seeing as you somehow find this a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with our Neoschool's popular clique." Jordyn absentmindedly fiddled with her Xweetok Pop Star Earrings as she spoke, just to express the wistfulness of her words.
Brooke let her tight lips curve into an ecstatic grin. "That's why you're my best friend." Intertwining her paw with Jordyn's to express their togetherness in the situation; the Usuki Usul began to lead the way to Mackenzie's front door.
And that's why Brooke was Jordyn's best friend. She was always the more charismatic, outgoing one and was the one who got Jordyn interested in many of her current favorite hobbies. It was Brooke's idea to try their hand had Underwater Fishing, a joyous way to pass the time and something that Jordyn now did quite frequently. It was also Brooke who prompted Jordyn to join the Neoschool's drama club. Because of Brooke, Jordyn actually scored one of the lead roles in the Neoschool's production of The Curse of Maraqua, where she played as the aloof and cold Isca. Come to think of it, Brooke opened a lot of wonderful opportunities for Jordyn.
Before Brooke even knocked, the Neohome's chocolate brown door flew open, revealing a beaming Mackenzie. She looked as fashionable as ever, with her Flowing Black Wig and Aisha Maiden Shoes. Her Alice in Wonderland Dress looked like it came right off of the runway. Jordyn immediately felt out of place in her Xweetok Pop Star Hat and matching Dress.
"Oh, I'm so glad you made it!" Mackenzie flashed an inviting smile at Brooke, before pulling her into a brief, yet friendly hug. "I was starting to think that you weren't going to come!"
"We wouldn't miss it for the world, Mackenzie." Brooke's smile was as wide as Mackenzie's, only her lips weren't glowing in the evening light with lip gloss. "After all – aren't we friends?"
"Of course you and I are friends!" Mackenzie assured, practically dragging Brooke inside by the hand. Jordyn wondered if Mackenzie had purposely left her name out of her last statement, before warily following the two into the massive Neohome.
"We've already eaten all of the snacks my owner made – sorry!" Mackenzie informed them as the lustrous scent of chocolate and toffee floated into Jordyn's nostrils. The smell was intoxicating, and made Jordyn's stomach rumble at an obnoxiously loud volume. When she saw Mackenzie and Brooke turn around and giggle at the noise, her cheeks turned a bright shade of red.
"I'm sure that they'll have more snacks as the night progresses," Brooke assured her, before directing her eyes at Mackenzie. "You will, right?"
Mackenzie pondered Brooke's question for a moment, before quickly replying, "I don't know. It depends on my owner's mood."
Notably overlooking Jordyn's crestfallen expression, Mackenzie's smile (that had slightly faltered when the food subject came up) returned on full wattage as she continued to lead the two Neopets upstairs to her room.
Mackenzie's bedroom, much like the rest of her Neohome, was utter extravagance. Her entire room's color scheme consisted of pastel shades, such as a modest type of yellow and baby blue. Jordyn's eyes went wide; Mackenzie's decorating skills and overall eye for fashion was quite impressive. Jordyn's petite room in her Neohome consisted of Faerie-themed items, which now seemed so childish and tacky. Why hadn't she picked a more favorable theme for her room, like Mackenzie had?
It took her a moment to realize that eight pairs of eyes were boring into her skull.
"Um... D-did I do something wrong?" Jordyn shyly stammered, extremely familiar warmth creeping across her cheeks.
"Nina asked you about your part in The Curse of Maraqua," a tiny Kacheek that Jordyn knew by the name of Courtney informed her.
"Oh! The play was... nice," Jordyn replied, immediately feeling stupid at her response. Of course the play had been nice! Any Neopian with eyes could've known that! Why was she so greatly intimidated by Mackenzie and her friends?
Nina, a slightly pudgy Acara, nodded. Jordyn caught the tail end of the smirk that she threw at Courtney. Her face burned with embarrassment, and a twinge of irritation. How dare they snicker at her timidity?
"Well, now that everyone's here," Mackenzie loudly announced, clasping her paws together in excitement, "let's get this party started!!"
And party they did. The girls all participated in fun activities, such as humorous makeovers, a vivacious pillow fight, and an extreme raid of the food inventory downstairs. Jordyn almost forgot about her nervousness, and began chatting with other slumber party attendees without worrying (much) about what they thought of her. For what seemed like hours, the girls giggled, joked, and gossiped until each and every one was outright exhausted.
"You sure know how to throw a slumber party, Mackenzie!" a Poogle by the name of Sydney informed their host. Mackenzie smiled at the complement as she took a sip of her Diet Neocola.
Jordyn surveyed the scene with a smile on her face. Around her sat new friends that she had acquainted herself with over the course of the evening. Her former anxiety had quickly subsided, and she realized that she dreaded having to leave Mackenzie's house the following morning.
"J-Jordyn..." She felt someone tugging on her dress sleeve, and her eyes widened in shock when she saw Brooke on the verge of tears.
"What is it, Brooke?" Jordyn whispered, not wanting to create a scene. Brooke would probably sooner suffer from Neomonia than have this group see her cry. Which brought up the question: Why was Brooke crying?
"I-I don't feel very well," Brooke replied, her lower lip trembling. "I can't see very well... I think I might be getting sick..."
Sick? No!! Brooke never got sick! If anything, Jordyn was the one who sometimes had to bail out on plans the two had due to bad health conditions. Jordyn was always the one who complained of headaches and allergies, not Brooke! Plus, if Brooke left the slumber party tonight, and left Jordyn alone with Mackenzie and her friends...
What would happen?
"But you don't get sick!" Jordyn protested in a hushed tone, panic rising in her voice. "Can't you tough it out until tomorrow morning?"
"Jordyn..." Brooke's weak tone and the sickly look on her face made Jordyn feel selfish. Brooke had been looking forward to this slumber party for weeks, and she had to be terribly sick if she felt like leaving early.
Letting out a defeated and reluctant sigh, Jordyn gave her friend an understanding nod as she stood up from her resting place on the Purple Coral Bean Bag. "Let's go Neomail your owner..."
Brooke gave Jordyn a grateful smile as the two slowly slipped out of Mackenzie's room unnoticed by the small crowd of excited Neopets. "Thanks, Jordyn. I'm sorry I don't feel well, but-"
"Hey, how many times have I bailed out on you because I was 'sick'?" Jordyn asked her, a kind smile on her face. She knew that the number was high.
Brooke pondered the question for a moment. "About a million times," she replied, sounding satisfied with her estimate.
Jordyn let out a giggle. "Exactly. So this little debacle makes us even, right?"
All Brooke did was laugh and nod.
"Jenny! Where have you been? Where's Brooke?" The disapproving scowl on Mackenzie's face suddenly chilled Jordyn to the bone the moment she re-entered the bedroom.
"M-my name's Jordyn, not Jenny..." she nervously stammered. "Brooke had to leave b-because she g-got sick..."
"Sick?!" Courtney echoed, her face paling at the thought. "W-What if she's contagious?! Oh my, what if we get sick too?!"
"Calm down, Courtney," Nina hissed, making the panicked Faerie Kacheek stop her unnecessary babbling.
"Man, this stinks," Mackenzie complained disappointment evident in her eyes. "Brooke really is the life of the party."
I wonder what they would say if I'd left the party early, Jordyn thought. Would they be actually be relieved, and say "good riddance"? Would they actually miss her? Sure, she hadn't been the most benevolent guest of the night, but she certainly hadn't been the least amusing. If anything, Courtney was probably the one everyone would hope to get sick. All she had done for the majority of the night was worry about safety conditions and how anything they did could result in a possible injury, while Jordyn had only spoke when spoken to and constantly complimented someone when she had the chance.
"Oh well," Mackenzie let out a loud sigh as she spoke, before flashing a large smile. "The night is young. Let's party!"
That was it? Jordyn had expected for the entire night to go up in flames when Brooke left. She'd actually had a thought that everyone would just get bored and go home. Seeing Mackenzie appear not the least bit fazed surprised Jordyn. She had even contemplated the fact that the other guests may have just shunned her for the rest of the night. Well, what was stopping them from doing so? Mackenzie hadn't even remembered her name.
As flashes of cruel slumber party pranks flashed through her mind, Jordyn did not realize that every other Neopian in the room had begun dancing to a Yes Boy Ice Cream CD. When Mackenzie noticed that one of her guests was sitting glumly on the ground, it did not go unnoticed.
"Hey Jordyn!" Mackenzie called out to the Pink Xweetok in a bittersweet tone. When Jordyn looked up at her with wide, fearful eyes, Mackenzie smiled at her. "Care to join us?"
Jordyn returned a smile and nodded, slowly getting up to join the group. They all gave her an inviting smile, the kind that Brooke always gave her when she felt left out. Her smile grew as she strolled over to the group and began to join them in laughing and gossiping.
What's that old saying? Jordyn pondered for a moment, before grinning as the quote found its way back into her memory.
You can never have too many friends.