Viewpoint: Part Three
Sen walked up the avenue to Kira's house and gently rapped on the door. The royal Gelert walked in and smiled at the Blue Eyrie who was sitting at a writing desk. Sen sat down on the sofa and leaned over the arm to look at Kira. Her smile grew wider as she marveled at how lucky she was to have Kira for her best friend.
"You look great today, Kira-chan! You're always so effortlessly pretty." Sen laughed merrily, and without any jealousy. "Me, I take an hour getting ready, but you still outshine me. You have to tell me your secret."
Kira was wearing a wrinkled blouse and her hair was a mess, while Sen was dressed in a flawless pink kimono and her carefully styled hair had cherry blossoms in it. Though Sen was clearly the more beautiful of the two, she firmly believed that Kira was the prettiest and stood in awe of her.
Kira smiled at Sen. "You're too sweet, Sen. You know you're prettier, and I don't even remember to brush my hair most mornings."
"Stop putting yourself down all the time, Kira-chan. You know you're beautiful. So, how is the book coming along? I'll bet it is a white-knuckle rollercoaster like A Night in Thade's Castle. Ooh, I had Tomamu-bumps the entire time I read that one. Where do you get your stories from? They seem so real," Sen replied.
This was how all their conversations about Kira's writing started and it was ended with Kira replying that they were told to her by the monsters that lived under her bed. The two women made small talk until Sen, feeling nervous, broached the real reason she had come.
"Um, I saw Kayleen yesterday when I went to Neopia Central to do some shopping. She's doing well; she's gotten a job as an editor at a paper there. She's doing well, she really is," Sen told her slowly.
Kira's lips dropped into an involuntary frown. "Good for her; if you see her again, would you tell her I'm proud?"
"I already did. I knew you would be," Sen replied.
"Oh, thank you. You're a good friend, Sen," Kira stammered. "Um, so did she say anything else?"
"No," was the prompt response and Kira knew it was a lie.
"Sen, what did she say?" Kira asked.
"Kira-chan, don't make me repeat it, please. I don't know what is going on with that sister of yours." Sen moaned. "It'll only make you feel worse."
Kira sighed and looked at the papers in front of her.
"Why don't we go get supper, Kira-chan?" Sen tried changing the subject.
"Not today, Sen. I really need to get this ending squared away," Kira sighed.
Sen got up and smiled at her. "Okay, we'll postpone it until you are finished and make it a celebratory supper."
Kira nodded and Sen smiled one more time and left. Outside Sen sighed with frustration. Why couldn't Kira just let go of Kayleen? She walked away; still sure of the rightness of what she was doing.
Sen walked through Neopia Central's business district to a restaurant to meet her friend Kayleen. She spotted the Purple Eyrie sitting at an outdoor table, sipping an iced tea. Sen smiled and increased her pace a little, glad to see Kayleen. Sen sat down across the table and smiled at her.
"How are you doing, Kaylee?" Sen asked.
"Pretty well. Work keeps me busy, but I'm enjoying it. It is always what I wanted to do. How are you, Sen?" Kayleen replied.
"I'm doing quite well," Sen replied.
They ordered their dinners and made small chat. Sen, feeling a little nervous about broaching the topic, said slowly, "Kira is doing pretty well. She has almost completed the manuscript for her latest novel. She has titled it Shipwrecked on Mystery Island."
"I'm glad to hear that. I'm looking forward to reading it," Kayleen replied, her face flat and emotionless.
"Kira would be proud of you if she knew how well you are doing," Sen commented. "Have you tried contacting her?"
"I doubt that, and, no, I haven't. I told her that if she wanted to speak to me she would be able to find me easily enough. She hasn't contacted me, so I guess she isn't interested."
Sen decided it was time to change subjects and Kayleen seemed glad for that.
Sen looked out the window at the beautiful day framed in it. The sunlight was perfect, as it rained its golden rays from the sky. She turned her eyes back to the book in her lap. In the Shade of Terror Mountain had been Kira's first novel and was still Sen's favorite. How different things were now from how they had been then.
Sen was sitting with Kayleen drinking tea in the sunny kitchen in the sisters' house. Without warning Kira came flying into the kitchen carrying a letter; looking shocked, pleased, and affronted all at the same time. A sudden grin broke out over Kayleen's face.
"What is this?" Kira demanded, throwing the letter down in front of her sister.
Sen picked up the letter and looked it over, a smile rising to her lips. She was thrilled that a publisher wanted to publish and distribute Kira's books. She was surprised that Kira was so shocked and annoyed by such an honor. "Kayleen, I take it back. You are a Tomamu, Kira-chan."
Kayleen just grinned at her sister. Kira tried to be affronted by her sister's initiative, but failed.
"Fine, I'll go send the manuscript, but don't you expect anything to come of it," Kira laughed as she went into her bedroom.
"You really sent this without Kira's knowledge?" Sen asked.
"Kira was too silly to send it herself," Kayleen laughed.
"She's not silly, just modest, but I'm glad you did it," Sen protested. "I can't wait for to read her book. I'll buy the first copy."
"No, Kira is silly. I should know, I live with her. You can buy the second copy. I'm going to buy the first," Kira laughed.
Sen laughed too, but really she was angry at Kayleen for calling Kira silly. While she did feel that Kira should have submitted the story herself, and Kayleen had done the right thing in sending it, Sen was unwilling to admit the idea that Kira could have a flaw. Still, she tried to swallow the anger since she was very fond of Kayleen too.
Sen walked up to the front door of Kira's house, but stopped when she saw Kira's silhouette pass the window. She looked in and saw Kira dumping papers in the waste bin. The window was open and she heard her sigh. Sen's eyes filled with tears, knowing that Kira was still struggling with her ending, and Sen wished she could help her, but nothing Sen had suggested had helped get Kira through the block.
She missed the long discussions over cups of strong tea in that sunny kitchen, but she couldn't turn back now. Kira would find a way to get over this block, and she was better off for what Sen had done.
"No, no!" Kayleen cried. "That's silly, Kira!"
Kira threw up her hands and laughed. "But, it is supposed to be, Kaylee. I want to lighten the mood before I hit the climax so it is even more unexpected."
Kayleen tilted her head to the side and read the scene again. Sen poured the tea and told Kira that the scene was brilliant and she should go with her instinct since it was her story.
Kayleen stuck to her opinion. "I still think it is too silly."
"I think everything you write is brilliant," Sen put in.
Kira laughed as she set her cup down. "You two are supposed to be helping me come to a decision! How can I do that if you both are telling me different things?"
"I suppose you have to bow to Sen's advice to use your own judgment, but I still think it is too silly," Kayleen said.
"You're trying to confuse her there, Kayleen. Kira is the author, she should know best. My opinion is lightening the mood is a wonderful tactic and you are brilliant. This next book will be even more popular than the last," Sen replied with a laugh at Kayleen.
Just then, the doorbell rang, and Kayleen went to get it. Sen knew she had to act now; she had to help Kira before she made a mistake. Kayleen was well intentioned, but what she didn't realize was that she was wrong. Kira was perfect, her every idea flawless, but Kira would also go against her better judgment to please her sister because she loved her so much. There was only one way to keep her from making that mistake.
Sen leaned towards Kira and said in a low voice, "You should follow your instincts here, you do know best. Also, I don't know that you should take Kayleen's advice too seriously. She's rather jealous of you."
Kira jumped in shock at the statement. She looked at Sen with huge eyes. Sen felt mortified and ashamed of herself, but she couldn't back down now. Kira needed her.
"I'm sorry; I didn't think you couldn't have noticed. Maybe I'm wrong then, Kira-chan. But, she certainly behaves like she is, and some of the things she has said to me." Sen dropped her eyes in shame. "No, it would be wrong to repeat them. I'm sorry, it was wrong of me to mention it, Kira-chan."
Kira nodded and went over to the window over the sink and looked out of it, a distant look creeping into her eyes. Sen felt terrible about saying such things about Kayleen, but she couldn't think of any other way. Kayleen came back into the room and looked between them; she seemed to notice something was different from when she left.
"So, what are you going to do?" Kayleen asked, getting back to the point.
Kira jumped and looked away from the window at Kayleen. She looked almost embarrassed.
"I think I need more time to think over it," Kira said quickly.
"Okay," Kayleen replied. "I hope we weren't too much of a hindrance?"
"N-no, of course not!" Kira gathered her papers up and retreated to her room.
Kayleen looked at Sen. Sen shrugged and whispered, "She's an author."
Kayleen laughed at that.
Sen knocked on Kira's door and let herself in. She saw a pile of paper in the corner and asked if she should leave.
"No, Sen, come in," Kira said, getting up.
Sen went and started gathering the papers into the waste bin. Kira went to the kitchen to make tea for them. Sen finished putting the crumpled papers into the waste bin, wondering all the while what new story Kira was working on. She had finished the manuscript for 'Shipwrecked on Mystery Island' and shipped it off already, so it must be a new one.
Sen noticed a paper on Kira's desk, and went over to have a sneak peek at the new book. She found it was actually a half written letter addressed to Kayleen. A cold dread crept through her; this could undo all her work. Kira reentered the room at that moment and Sen looked up in embarrassment.
"I'm sorry, Kira-chan. I thought you were working on a new book and I wanted a peek. I didn't mean to pry," Sen apologized, and Kira smiled at her and just shook her head in an 'I know,' way.
"Kira-chan, you should just let this drop. It is only causing you pain. Kayleen doesn't deserve your kindness or friendship. She's not been good for you, or to you," Sen said honestly.
"If she were anyone else I would agree with you, but she is my sister." Kira sighed. "I just can't get the letter right."
"You really think this letter could fix the trouble?" Sen asked.
"I'm hoping it'll help bridge the gap so we can start talking again and work through this," Kira replied.
Sen had a sudden inspiration. She sat down at the desk and pulled out a fresh paper and pen. "You dictate and I'll write. Maybe I can put your thoughts into a coherent order."
Kira smiled, obviously thinking it was a brilliant idea. She poured them the tea and then sat in a chair near Sen; together they worked through the letter. When they finished Sen handed it to Kira, who read it over and smiled.
"Thank you, this is excellent. It is exactly what I wanted to say without being to harsh on her or too gentle. Hopefully this will do it," Kira said as she put it in an envelope.
She held the envelope out to Sen. "Could you do me one more favor? Would you bring this to Kayleen? She's always liked you, she might be more willing to read it and think about what I've said if you give it to her and ask her to."
Sen took the envelope and replied, "Anything for you, Kira-chan."
Sen gave her friend a hug and left. Sen looked at the letter in her hand and tucked it into her sleeve. She made her way home. There she locked it in a desk drawer.
Sen walked up the avenue towards the sisters' house and noticed Kayleen sitting on the porch. She smiled at Kayleen and waved, but Kayleen only returned the wave. Sen stopped in front of her.
"What is wrong, Kayleen? You look like someone put salt in your tea," Sen asked.
"It's Kira again, I'm so sick of her rubbing her success in my face with her implying that she knows so much better than I do," Kayleen cried in frustration.
"It is her book; doesn't it stand to reason that she does?" Sen asked gently.
"Yes, probably, but she asks my opinion. I wouldn't have a problem if she didn't ask me, but to ask my opinion and then blatantly disregard it is so arrogant!" Kayleen cried.
Sen sat down next to her and gently squeezed her shoulder. "Have you tried talking to Kira about it? Maybe she doesn't realize what she is doing?"
"I suppose that is possible. I'll talk to her about it later. I should let our fight blow over first," Kayleen agreed.
"Very good. I'm going to go inside and see Kira now. Why don't you come too? We will make tea and the three of us can have a friendly conversation, just like old times," Sen suggested.
"You go ahead, I might come in few minutes," Kira said.
Sen went inside and found Kira sitting at the table, crying.
"Kira-chan!" Sen cried in sympathy, sitting beside her and putting an arm around her.
"I don't know what is wrong with Kaylee anymore. She's always so mad, and I can never do anything right by her!" Kira sobbed out.
"It's not your fault, Kira-chan!" Sen insisted. "I told you, Kayleen is jealous of you. It isn't your fault, and you shouldn't do less well because of her. Hopefully she will come around soon. Dry your eyes and I'll make you some tea to settle your nerves," she consoled.
Kira wiped the tears off her cheeks and smiled at Sen. "Thank you, Sen. I don't know what I would do without you watching out for me."
Sen blushed with pleasure under this praise, and vowed to make sure she finished this, because Kira was relying on her.
Two weeks had elapsed since Kira had entrusted her letter to Sen. Sen knew she had to do it now; she had put it off for too long as it was. She sobbed bitterly as she wrote two quick letters and put them into blank envelopes and sealed them.
She knew she had hurt her friends, and was about to hurt them more, but she was sure it was the best thing for everyone.
Sen walked up to the door, and was about to knock when she heard raised voices from the open window. She tucked herself out of sight and listened.
"Don't call me, Kaylee! I'm not a baby anymore." Kayleen snapped. "Stop the sighing and acting like it is such a chore to write a reply to a fan."
Kira's eyes widened in shock. "Kayleen, what's wrong with you? You're so snappish and that was uncalled for. You know I've been writing replies for the past three hours. Anyone is bound to get tired by that!"
"You're so stuck up, rubbing all your fanmail in my face like that," Kayleen growled.
"Kayleen!" Kira was hurt by her sister's nasty comments.
Kayleen went running by, carrying books and papers. Sen looked in the window and saw Kira up and staring after her, looking like she was about to go after her. Sen knew she had to prevent her from doing that.
"I told you," Sen said in a quiet voice from the window.
She leaned in to look at Kira. "I told you Kayleen is very jealous of your success. Don't let her get you down, Kira-chan. I'm proud of you, and I think it is awesome that people recognize how excellent you are."
Kira looked down in embarrassment. "I'm sorry you had to see that, Sen."
"Well, at least I didn't walk in the middle of it. But, you know I'd take your side no matter what. You're my best friend, Kira-chan." Sen replied. "I only want what is best for you, and right now I think that is a cheering up. Want to go get an early dinner at our favorite place?"
Kira smiled and nodded, gathering up the letters to post.
Sen knocked on Kayleen's door in Neopia Central, trying to keep a happy countenance. Kayleen opened the door and smiled at her.
"Hello, Sen! Will you come in?" Kayleen asked.
"Um, not today. I was asked to give this to you. I hope you won't mind my interference. I've been trying to convince Kira to talk to you again. Yesterday she gave me this letter, and asked if I would deliver it to you. So, here," Sen handed Kayleen an envelope. "I should go so you can read it and reply. I'll see you soon, won't I?" Sen meant every word of the final sentence.
Kayleen's smile was huge. "Thank you, Sen!"
Sen walked away, and, once out of sight, allowed herself to cry, sorry for the pain that Kayleen was about to experience.
Sen knocked at the door and let herself into Kira's house. Kira was sitting at her desk writing. She wouldn't look Kira in the eye, she couldn't. She stammered out a few words and placed a letter in Kira's hands.
"I, um, hope it is good news. But, Kira, I... I'm here for you no matter what. I'll always be here for you, and I only want what is best for you. I'd do anything for you, anything to make your life better. I don't think Kayleen is a..." Sen whimpered staring at the floor. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"
Kira thanked Sen. Sen's eyes filled with stinging, bitter tears; she dashed out without a word. She was hurting almost as much as Kira would be, and Kayleen was.
Sen sat in front of her fireplace, watching the flames dance. It was over at last. It would come right now. Kira would go on, and her writing would be better than before, no more doubt or dubious advice. Kayleen would grow strong and independent, becoming a proficient editor. Sen would go on, being a friend to each of them, and encouraging them on.
As much as it had hurt the three of them, Sen had done it for Kira's best interests. She had managed to help Kayleen more than she had hurt her. She wouldn't have gone and chased her dreams as soon as she had if Sen had not come between them.
Sen tossed the letter that she had written for Kira into the fire, knowing that two sisters were burning letters of their own.