Khalid's Pride: Part Two
Khalid's blue eyes widened in fury. Then, just as suddenly, his anger disappeared.
It was replaced with worry as he resumed his pacing. "What am I going to do? Confront
him in his box, for Neopia's sake?" He exhaled and sighed. "I'll…decide what to
do tomorrow morning."
He sat on his wooden chair and closed his eyes.
His tense body relaxed and in a moment, he was fast asleep.
"A cup of banana cream coffee and a bowl of thornberry
noodle soup, please…"
Khalid groaned. Why couldn't he escape Anya even
in dreams? He worried about her in real life enough, didn't he? Neopia's dream
spirit probably thought he was selfish so whoever it was decided to punish him
by bombarding his dreams with Anyaisms.
'You got that right.'
"Yeah, well. I did not ask for a confirmation,"
Khalid said in a disgruntled way. "Besides, I always try to help her out, don't
I? I don't just…stand around doing nothing. I've tried so hard…"
'You didn't try hard enough…'
"What do you want me to do?"
'What do you think you're supposed to do?'
"A cup of banana cream coffee and a bowl of thornberry
noodle soup, please…"
Khalid's eyes opened and he got a glimpse of
Anya's impatient face looking at his. Was it morning already?
"How about fixing up our order? We've been standing
here for, like, fifteen minutes," Anya said coolly.
"Morning, old chap!" Raekwon greeted him with
bright, jolly eyes.
Khalid looked around the Pride. No one else was
around. He stood up. "It is still early morning and the Pride is closed. We
don't open until late afternoon. Come again later," he said, his tone rigid
"I should've known you'd refuse to serve two
poor Neopets like the two of us," Anya said, indicating the Lupe beside her.
Last night's events came hurtling back into Khalid's
mind. He frowned at the young Neopets and gave Raekwon the 'eye'.
The Lupe shuddered and gave him an uncomfortable
smile. "Er…the soup last night was…fantastic."
"Tell me, Raekwon," he began coldly, "where's
Raekwon was befuddled, as usual. He scratched
his chin. "What money?"
"You know what money I mean, Raekwon," Khalid
said, his voice rising dangerously. "Cough it up!" He grabbed the Lupe by the
shoulders and shook him up continuously.
"Stop it!" Anya screamed. She seized Raekwon
from Khalid's grasp. The Lupe was coughing haphazardly. "Khalid, you've gone
too far! I can't believe you're doing this. And, on Christmas Eve, too!"
"But, he stole money from the Pride!" Khalid
reasoned out. "He's a bad influence and you know it."
"You don't have any proof that Raekwon's a thief,"
Anya said. "Your reasoning stinks, Khalid, and SO DO YOU! Let's go, Raekwon."
Anya stalked out of the restaurant, the skinny
Lupe following her with his tail down. Khalid watched them with a sinking feeling
in his stomach. He was right. They were wrong. So, why did he feel like he was
the villain here? He sat back on his chair and grasped his cream-colored hair
with both paws. 'What have I done?' he thought.
"I can't believe Khalid would stoop to doing
something so…so…so LOW!" Anya spat out. She and Raekwon had returned to the
cardboard box with empty stomachs. But that could be easily amended with a little
trip to Anya's house. Maybe her mom had finally gotten around to buying food.
Or more lottery tickets. Oh, well. There was always the Money Tree or the Soup
"Can't say I blame him," Raekwon replied easily.
He winked at Anya. "I look like a thief." He went down on all fours and tried
to look mysterious.
Anya burst into relieved laughter. Raekwon always
managed to see the bright side in things. "You're not a thief. I know it. You
know it. That's all that really matters."
"Is it?" Raekwon said softly. Anya became silent.
"I didn't think so. The elderly guy seems to mean a lot to you."
"He used to mean a lot to me," Anya corrected
bitterly, "until he turned into a greedy, lying jerk. Now, I don't even know
"He looked like he cared about you to me, too,"
Raekwon said with another of his smiles. "He's just a worried geezer, that's
all. He'll snap out of it."
"What are you trying to say?" the Kyrii said,
although she had a good idea what it was.
"It's Christmas Eve, remember?" Raekwon said
quietly. He looked at the sky, opened his mouth, and caught the first snowflake
of the season (well, in Neopia Central, that is) on his tongue.
Anya and Raekwon watched as a lovely layer of
white snow began to gather on the ground.
"My box isn't going to last very long in this
kind of weather," Raekwon said with a lopsided grin.
Khalid tried to forget what happened that morning
and focused on getting about his business. Customers were trickling in, after
all, and there were heaps of them. Neopets tended to get out of their holes
on Christmas Eve, even more than on Christmas Day itself.
"Your reasoning stinks, Khalid, and so do you…"
Okay. So, maybe it was a little hard to forget
what Anya thought of her. But didn't she understand that he only did that because
he cared about her? Didn't she see how much he thought about her welfare and
worried about her?
The Chia stopped pondering when he heard her
voice. He raised his eyes just to be sure. Yes, he was right. It was Anya. She
was wearing green gloves a size too large for her and a ragged pink cloth around
her neck as a scarf. She had a shy smile on her face.
"I need to tell you something," Anya said hesitantly.
"I'm listening," Khalid said gruffly. He winced.
He didn't mean to sound grumpy.
"I'm sorry," Anya said, somewhat nonchalantly.
"But I'm not saying sorry about not believing you about Raekwon because he really
didn't do what you said he did," she said in a hurry. Anya stopped and looked
at the floor. "I mean, I'm apologizing for myself. Maybe, I was a tiny bit harsh
"I'm sorry, too," Khalid said uncomfortably.
"I was only thinking about you…but he really did look suspicious, you know."
He shut up. 'Me and my big mouth,' he thought.
"I missed you, Khalid," Anya said, ran to him,
and hugged him tight.
Khalid hugged her back and gave her a coat. "Hey,
Rikki," he called. A brown Kacheek who had just finished delivering the order
at a nearby table approached the counter. "Cover for me, will you? Anya and
I have to go somewhere."
"Sure, thing, Khalid," Rikki answered. She took
Khalid's chef's hat off his head and placed it on top of hers. "Can I wear this?"
"It's yours," Khalid replied while struggling
into his own coat. He looked at Anya. "Come on, Anya. Raekwon is going to freeze
in that cardboard box of his."
Khalid and Anya stared at the empty cardboard
box for a long time before any of them moved.
"He's gone…" Anya whispered. She crawled into
the box and found a note taped to the side with bubble gum. She ripped it off
and got out. "Khalid, he left a letter!"
"He knows how to write?" Khalid said incredulously.
"It looks like it," Anya said, her eyes getting
bigger and bigger as she went over the note. "I can't believe it!"
"What?" Khalid asked curiously.
Anya gave him the note wordlessly.
By the time you read this, I'll be on my way
to Tyrannia! Oh, don't worry about me. I have my ways. I'll survive. I'm sorry
I left you bestowing only my cardboard box. If you want, you can keep it as
a souvenir or pretend it's my Christmas gift. Whenever you look at it, you'll
think of me.
Why did I leave? It was getting too cold and
lonely out there. Oh, don't take me wrong. I enjoyed your company. I just thought
a change of scenery would be nice. Not that I didn't like the scenery either.
Ah, who cares? Never was good at this…saying goodbye thing.
Khalid loves you. So, take care of him, will
you? And, he'll take care of you.
Just because I'm a tramp and an orphan, doesn't
mean I didn't get to Neoschool. :)
I'm really sorry for making you believe otherwise,
Anya, but I really did steal from the Pride. It was only 500 NPs, anyways, so
don't get mad at me, Khalid! Hey, I needed NPs to buy my winter clothes, okay!
And, my stomach's been rumbling for a long time, you see, so I bought a few
food items, too. I won't do it again. I promise!"
Khalid dropped the piece of paper. He stood stunned
for a moment. "Why that lying, thieving rascal…" Then, he guffawed until he
was lying on his stomach, snorting in the snow.
"I don't think it's very funny," Anya muttered.
"I trusted him."
"Oh, Anya," Khalid said, trying to hold in another
laugh. "It's alright. He didn't do it to hurt your feelings or mine."
"ANYA!" a raspy, feminine voice called out.
Anya turned to look and saw her mother, a much
larger red Kyrii who was waving a lottery ticket in one hand. "Mom?" Her eyes
narrowed into slits. She hadn't seen her in days. She practically lived near
the lottery ticket booth.
"Anya," her mom said breathlessly. "You won't
believe it but…I FINALLY WON IN THE LOTTERY!"
Anya and her mom started dancing and jumping
Khalid smiled, stood up, and smoothed his coat.
"Well, what do you know…how much did you win?"
"Yeah, Mom. How much did you win?" Anya repeated
happily. She had visions of a mansion in the clouds and servants waiting on
"Five hundred Neopoints," Anya's mom replied
Anya and Khalid both blinked.
Khalid bit his lip to keep from laughing out
loud. "What about Christmas Eve dinner at the Pride? My treat."
Anya looked downcast. "I thought we were hitting
the big time, for sure."
"What's wrong, dear? I won!" her mom said, seeming
"Oh, well," Anya said cheerfully. "There's always
a next time. Until then, can I have one of every dish for free tonight, Khalid?"
"In your dreams…" Khalid said with a grin. He
walked briskly back to the Pride, thinking of the wonderful dinner he was going
to prepare when he got there.
Anya put an arm around her mother as they walked
behind Khalid. The snowflakes seemed to hop merrily as they fell onto the white
Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed reading "Khalid's Pride".
It was originally supposed to be a short story but I felt it was too long to
be read all at once. And, yes, it is a Christmas story. I love Christmas stories.
:3 Anyway, if you have comments/suggestions, feel free to drop me a Neomail.