Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 91,831,644 Issue: 177 | 11th day of Awakening, Y7
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A Valentine for Nara


by shadowcristal

--------

Valentine’s Day. Ugh, how he hated that word. It was the single most horrible day in the Neopian Calendar. The yellow Lupe shook his head as he drew big pirate signs over the pink-tinted day on the calendar.

     “Hey Garell!” his sister shouted, calling him back to reality. “You know, Valentine’s isn’t for another few days...”

     “I didn’t do anything,” the Lupe named Garell quickly defended himself. “And you’re too obsessed with that day, Ellen,” he added as tried to look innocent.

     “I have a good reason for that,” the green Wocky muttered. Then she raised her voice, speaking to her brother again. “You know, there are some poor pets who don’t get any valentines at all.”

     “And?” Garell retorted. The word lingered in the air for a few seconds, and the Lupe continued. “So? That’s just life. Some people are popular and some aren’t. Take Nara for example...”

     “Nara?” Ellen asked, and Garell noticed a mist surrounding her clear, bright eyes.

     “Yeah. Nara, you know... That annoying little green Acara at our school who always ends up being so bratty about everything. On top of that, she has glasses and looks like a nerd...” The Lupe was on a roll. He ranted and ranted until he noticed that Ellen had left the room.

     “Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with green, but she’s just so...” he stopped, realizing that he had scared his sister away.

     Anyway, the problem was still there. That terrible day when the air felt sickening sweet and pets everywhere were giving each other boxes of chocolate or other items. Suddenly he remembered that scared look that Ellen had when he mentioned Nara. Why would she be scared of a pet that she had never even known? Perhaps it had to do with her past...

     Ellen had only been his sister for a year or so. He had arrived to this family to complete it, to be the youngest and a nice sibling for Ellen. The Lupe remembered the promise that he had made the first day he had entered this NeoHome. Ellen wasn’t Ellen’s real name. Ellen had promised him to not try to find out her real name, which she said was really ugly, and just call her Ellen.

     “What is Ellen’s real name?” he wondered as he spat his chewed-up gum at the calendar. Now there was a pink piece of gum on top of all those scribbles. Well, that didn’t really help. Garell strongly wished that he could have fun at that day, like on all the other 364 days.

     “I’ll have fun anyway,” he decided stubbornly as he looked at a class photo. There she was again. Nara the green Acara, sitting in the middle with her giant glasses and that disdainful look on her face.

     “I can have fun with this...” the Lupe thought as the gears in his mind started to move. Soon he had devised a plan, a mix of a practical joke and a trick. This would be fun.

-

Finally she was out of the house! As soon as Ellen had left, Garell had snuck into her room. He was looking for a specific item that he would never touch under normal circumstances. But this was an exception. One had to make some sacrifices for a joke, right?

     The Lupe rummaged through Ellen’s room. No... It wasn’t in her writing desk. No luck with the drawers either... Finally he found it under her bed, after five minutes’ poking around in the dark.

     Ah! The feeling of success! Garell held up a red envelope and several sheets of pink paper. He also grabbed a quill and a bottle of ink from Ellen’s table before he returned to his own room.

     With one eye closed and his tongue stuck up, the Lupe seated himself and started to write.

     “Hmm... How should we begin?” he asked himself before he realized that he had left the door open. He quickly ran over and slammed the door.

     Feeling safe, Garell started to write. Finally he had composed a good letter after at least ten rough drafts.

     “Meet me...” the Lupe muttered, “after school at the Water Faerie Fountain. Love to see you there!

     Garell couldn’t help but to laugh out loud. This would definitely be amusing. Finally he was done and signed the letter. The empty pink paper had now been filled with a beautiful, spidery handwriting and several splotches. It said:

Dear Nara,

I have been watching you for a long time. I’d like to meet you alone someday. If you would like to meet me, please wait after school at the Water Faerie Fountain on Valentine’s Day.

Please... Be My Valentine!

Signed,

Yellow-Coated Furball

     “This is perfect,” he said as he folded the letter and put it inside the envelope. Garell felt excitement stirring up inside him as he wondered how Nara would react to her so-called secret admirer. Of course, he wouldn’t show up at the designated place. It was all just an experiment.

     Even though he wished to deny it, the Lupe started to actually look forward to Valentine’s Day as the days went on. Soon it was here, and then... Well, he would have to see.

-

“What are you doing?” Nara said in an annoying voice just as Garell was putting the letter in her locker.

     “N-nothing,” the Lupe lied, glaring angrily at the victim of his experiment. He prayed and hoped that she wouldn’t suspect him to be the one who was sending the letter. Sure, he had signed with ‘Yellow-Coated Furball’, but there was also a Yellow Jubjub in their class...

     “Well, then get out of my way,” she snapped as she mildly shoved him away from her locker.

     You deserve this, wicked hag, Garell thought as he walked in the sweet air of Valentine. Icky. Even though he had really anticipated this day, it was still the same. Those pets, giggling and exchanging gifts... The Lupe looked in his bag and made sure that there were enough Valentine Cookies for his whole family.

     Throughout the day, he watched Nara closely. It was so funny to see how she showed everyone the wonderful perfumed letter that she had gotten from her secret admirer. After all, he wouldn’t turn up...

-

It was time. Garell had decided to stay and watch Nara’s reaction. He thought that it would be too bad if he didn’t stay and watch, because he had spent so much time and effort on this plan, this little trick...

     The Lupe had climbed up a tree and was watching the green Acara coming. He saw Nara holding the letter and looking around. Then she realized that her ‘secret admirer’ wasn’t here yet. The Acara sat down and waited patiently. She sighed wistfully as the winds tossed her raven-black hair.

     Does everyone act like this on Valentine’s? Even Nara? Garell thought, making a grimace of dislike.

     Finally, after thirty minutes’ wait, Nara got up and started looking around for the person that was supposed to be here.

     “I wonder how he looks like,” she muttered as she bumped into someone.

     “Ah! I’m sorry,” the yellow Jubjub that Nara had bumped into apologized.

     “You?” Nara asked, her face not revealing the fact that she was pleased. He was here, after all! “Forget it,” she scoffed. “As if I would like to be your valentine...”

     “Excuse me?” the Jubjub asked, confused. Garell, who was still watching, tried very hard not to laugh out loud. Melan’s appearance was certainly unexpected, but this might turn out even better than he had hoped... “I cannot recall that I asked anyone to be my valentine,” the Jubjub named Melan said courteously.

     The Acara was shocked. She held up her letter as she begun a long explanation, but found that the Jubjub was walking away after a few minutes.

     “Wait!” Nara called out. “Didn’t you send me this letter? Aren’t you my secret admirer?”

     The Jubjub, who understood this situation pretty well now, shouted back. “How preposterous! As if anyone would send a letter like that to you!” Everybody thought that about Nara, but until now, no one had dared to utter anything.

     The Acara gave a last desperate wave with the letter as she watched Melan disappear out of her sight. Sadness welled up inside her as she choked, fighting the tears. Was it true? Didn’t anyone like her?

     Garell was surprised. He had meant his letter to be a little joke, and that was it... But this had turned out differently, way differently from what he had expected. The serious air made chills run down his spine. Finally the Lupe could stand it no more, and he escaped by climbing down and running for his life.

     “I... I guess I must be really horrible, to be hated like that,” Nara thought as silent tears rolled down her face. The cold wind slapped her, and she could just imagine the laughs of those other pets finding out about this tomorrow. They were sure to say that it was all imagined, that she would never get a serious letter like that in her whole life...

     “I’m just trying to help,” she defended herself. The Acara was very well aware that everyone kind of resented her in a way, resented her efforts and the way she helped them... They would call her names when she helped them...

     The last thing that the Lupe heard from Nara was a small sob, before he was out of the area. A twinge of guilt hit him, but he would definitely not apologize. That’d just make the whole thing worse. Garell slowed down and started to walk home.

-

“Garell!” a voice called him and reminded him of his guilt.

     “What is it, Ellen?” the Lupe replied.

     “Where did my red envelope and some of my pink stationery go?” the green Wocky asked accusingly.

     “I don’t know,” he lied. But Ellen kept pestering him, and finally the whole story poured out of Garell as the guilt grew worse and worse.

     “You’ll just have to make it up. Everyone has feelings,” Ellen commented calmly after he had finished telling his tale.

     “I’m not,” the Lupe growled through his teeth. “I’d never be able to show my face in school again if I did.”

     “No, I don’t mean it like that...” his sister explained. “Write an apology letter.”

     “No way!” Garell exploded. He ran up to his room, trying to escape his conscience nagging at him and his sister’s wise words. What was wrong with Ellen? She was usually very nice about things... Finally, after a lot of thought, the Lupe realized that it was wrong. Just as Ellen had said, everyone had feelings.

     With the final twinge of guilt still bubbling inside him, Garell picked up a piece of paper and started to write. This time it was not pink, but pure white.

-

“Sorry? And that’s it?” Nara burst out as soon as she had finished the letter. “But there’s that cookie... Oh well... I guess...” The green Acara walked off, mumbling for herself as she munched on a Valentine Cookie. She felt strangely happy that her fake admirer had written and apologized. She would have to watch herself carefully.

     “Anyway, who’s that guy?” she wondered as she passed the Fountain, where that tragic event had happened. “That’s probably something I’ll never know.” She remembered the promise that she had made to herself the day before. This time, she’d know better...

-

“Why did you take her side?” Garell whined as they watched Nara.

     “Because...” Ellen trailed off, looking as if she was making a very hard decision. “Okay, I’ll tell you this...”

     “What?” the Lupe asked when his sister hadn’t spoken after a few minutes.

     “It’s just so hard to talk about it now...” Ellen mumbled. “I don’t know where I should start... Anyway, I never got any valentines in school. One fateful day I got one, and I was quite happy. Like Nara, I soon found out that I was tricked and it hurt me horribly.”

     “Wow. Same experience.” Many more thoughts went through Garell’s mind as he listened to Ellen describing her detailed story.

     “And,” Ellen said. “The worst of it all, that hit me so much... It was because...” A pause. “Because... My real name is Elenara.”

     “What?” Garell jumped up from surprise. “Elenara? No wonder!” Nara... Elenara... The Lupe realized that Ellen must’ve felt like Nara did. He wondered how awful she had felt when he used to rant about Nara.

     “We all have feelings, even if some of us hide them,” Elenara the green Wocky said.

     “I see...” Garell mumbled.

     “I just wanted you to apologize, perhaps to seize the chance that my fake secret admirer never did, perhaps to justify it all... I’m sorry,” Ellen said.

     The Lupe didn’t say anything. Words weren’t enough. He walked towards Ellen and hugged her tightly, drying tears that had fallen as she had told her tale.

The End

 
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