True Friends: Part One
"Becca! Over here!" The blue Acara waved frantically, hoping
her friend would see her. Neoschool had just let out, and everyone was rushing
to get out as quickly as possible.
Becca, a red Elephante, moved towards the Acara.
"Hey, Angela," she said with a smile.
Angela gave her a quick grin and shouldered
her backpack. With a glance to make sure Becca was following, she wound her
way towards the double doors of the Neoschool building. Once outside, they could
walk side by side.
"How're things?" Becca asked.
"Not too bad. You?"
"Been better." The Elephante tilted her head
back to look up at the sky.
They reached the sidewalk and turned to the
"Any ideas for the essay?" Becca asked.
Angela shook her head. "Not a one. You?"
Becca laughed. "What do you think? Angie, it's
the weekend. We're not supposed to be thinking about homework."
The Acara laughed with her for a few moments,
then paused and grinned suddenly. "Race you," she said, starting to run already.
Becca shook her head. "You got a head start,"
she called after Angela, but ran after her anyway. She caught up with the Acara
outside of the Clothes Shop, where Angela had paused to wait for her. The Elephante
slowed, then stopped.
"It's still there," Angela said, smiling.
"Of course it is." The Elephante stepped closer
to the store window, where a dress was displayed. "After all, it is yours."
"It's as much yours as mine," the Acara said.
The two stopped after Neoschool each day to admire the dress, and indeed it
was worthy of admiration. It was made of pale blue cloth, with pink flowers
scattered across the fabric; the sleeves and skirt poofed out, the skirt far
enough that it must have had a petticoat. It was obviously constructed for an
Aisha, but they knew that the shop would have styles for each species of Neopet.
Though they'd stopped often, neither had ever been brave enough to go in and
try it on.
"You want it more," Becca argued.
"And therefore it's more mine?" Angela smiled.
"Thanks." Though both would've liked the dress, Angela didn't have the means
to get it, and Becca didn't want to have it if her friend couldn't get it as
"We should go," the Elephante said after a few
minutes, "or it'll be dark before we get home."
Angela glanced up at the sun, which wasn't anywhere
near the horizon, and laughed. Nevertheless, she followed Becca down the street
toward Becca's home on Rainbow Lane.
"See you tomorrow!" Becca called, waving good-bye
to Angela as the Elephante walked backwards down the path to her front door.
"See you," the Acara called back, raising a
paw in farewell. She waited until the door had clicked closed behind Becca,
then started for her own home, whistling a tune and hop-skipping every few steps
out of sheer happiness.
"Mom?" Becca called, sliding her backpack off
and setting it on the table in the entranceway. She set her lunchbox next to
it and wriggled out of her coat, hanging it neatly on a peg. "Martha? Are you
here?" A few steps brought her into the kitchen, and she saw the note on the
table: Becca's owner had gone to buy groceries at the Food Shop, and she'd be
The Elephante nodded and returned to the entranceway
to pick up her backpack. She took it up to her room and dropped it onto her
desk to dig out the book she'd been reading for fun. Pazo the Lonely Aisha.
Becca smiled at the cover image and opened it to the bookmark she'd stuck in
there last time she was reading.
She'd read about thirty pages when the door
"I'm home," Martha's voice said, and keys jingled
as Becca's owner put the house key into her pocket.
"In my room," Becca called back. She put her
bookmark back in and closed her book as her owner came in. Martha was a slim,
pale girl with red hair; she smiled at her only pet as she entered the room.
"Why were you at the Food Shop?" the Elephante
asked. "We went just a few days ago."
Martha smiled. "The family reunion's tomorrow,
remember? Since it's at Neopia Central Park this year, we're providing food."
"It's in Neopia Central?" Becca said. Her owner
had left that detail out last time. "Cool! I can show Jessica my room, and--"
"You can do more than that," Martha said with
a smile. "Jessica and her owner are coming into Neopia Central tomorrow morning,
and they're staying with us for the weekend. You might want to do your homework
tonight, if you have any."
Becca nodded. Though Jessica was one of her
favorite cousins, the Faerie Zafara could be demanding at times.
"Oh, and we should go shopping after dinner,"
the girl added.
"A new dress."
"Do I have to?" The Elephante gave her owner
a pleading look.
"Unless you want Jessica remarking snidely on
how you wore that dress last year, and don't you know that it's out of
style by now--yes," Martha said.
Becca sighed. "All right, all right. I'll go."
"Good girl." Martha smiled. "What do you want
The Elephante considered. "How about spaghetti?"
"Okay," her owner said. "You can get a head
start on that homework now," she added as she left the room. Becca sighed and
pulled her math assignment out of her backpack, a frown already creasing her
forehead at the first problem.
"How's your homework going?" Martha asked later,
over a dinner of spaghetti and garlic bread.
Becca swallowed and nodded. "Pretty good. I've
still got a couple of math problems left, and then I have to write an outline
for this essay for Neopian History."
"How long do you think that'll take?"
"Not too long--maybe half an hour, an hour at
most." Becca smiled and took another bite of spaghetti.
"Good." Martha smiled at her Elephante, and
for a while neither said anything. Then Martha stood up and stretched. "You
Becca gulped down the last few bites of spaghetti
and nodded. Martha put their plates in the sink and followed the Elephante out
to the entranceway, where Becca was already putting on her coat.
"No, no, that color is completely wrong. Try
something in--oh, green or blue," Martha instructed, sending the red Nimmo shop
assistant scurrying into the back room of the Clothes Shop once more. Becca
pitied him for having to put up with Martha.
The Nimmo emerged a moment later, holding a
clipboard. "I'm sorry, we've just sold the last green Elephante dress today,"
"Well--" He consulted his clipboard. "We have
that one in the window," he said, pointing towards the dress Becca and Angela
had admired just that afternoon.
"Hmm." Martha stood to inspect it. "Yes--yes,
it's quite lovely. You said you had that for Elephantes?"
The Nimmo nodded.
"Becca, what do you think?"
The Elephante's mind whirled. She couldn't get
it--Angela had wanted that dress for far longer, it just wouldn't be right.
But Angela didn't have to know; they'd never gone to each other's houses, let
alone inspected the contents of each other's closets, and Becca would only wear
it the one time. And she did want to show Jessica that she was up to speed on
the latest fashions--Becca hesitated, then nodded.
"It--yes, it's gorgeous." The Elephante glanced
sidelong at the large shop windows, sure that Angela would pop up any moment
and see them buying it. To Becca's relief, she didn't. The Elephante style was
brought out; Martha didn't have to persuade Becca to try it on. It was even
more wonderful than she and Angela had imagined.
"Yes, we'll take this one," Martha said, smiling
at Becca. Becca smiled back, still imagining that Angela was going to see them
buying it. But the Acara was halfway across Neopia Central, and Becca walked
home with the dress in a large white box under her arm.
The next morning dawned bright and early, and
Becca was tidying her room for Jessica's arrival. The Faerie Zafara's arrival
was announced by a sharp knock on the front door. Martha opened it; a teenage
boy stepped inside with a smile, followed by Jessica and her younger sister,
a yellow Aisha.
"Hi, Marcus!" Martha smiled back at her brother.
"Hello, Jessica. Hello, Amy."
"Hi!" Amy said enthusiastically. Jessica just
raised her eyebrows.
Becca, hearing their voices, stepped out of
her room. She smiled and came down the stairs to the entranceway. "Hello," she
said, nodding to them.
"Jessica, you'll be staying with Becca. Amy,
you're in the blue guest room, and Mark, you can take the white room." Martha
smiled at her guests. "How was your trip?"
Mark started to give an answer; Jessica turned
away with a sigh. "So, is Neopia Central really as boring as it sounds?"
Becca shrugged. "Sometimes, I guess. But there
are really nice people here, like my friend Angela--she goes to Neoschool with
"Neoschool. How inelegant." The Faerie Zafara
started towards the stairs, and Becca followed with a worried glance at the
two owners. "In Faerieland, there's something called the Academy of Learning.
It's a private school, so Marcus pays the tuition every year."
The Elephante nodded. "Are there good classes?"
"Oh, Becca. You're so funny," Jessica said with
a smile. "Everyone there is rich, of course."
Becca didn't really see what that had to do
with anything. "This one's my room," she said, pointing it out.
The Zafara pushed the door open. "Well, it's
certainly very... clean," she said, sweeping the room with a calculating glance.
"It looks cramped, though. How can you stand to have so little room?"
"I--" The Elephante was taken aback by Jessica's
"I mean, it's about the size of my closet
at home!" Jessica gave a small sigh. "I suppose I can endure it, though. For
Becca smiled. Sure, Jessica could be snide at
times, but she was really an all right person. "What do you like to read?" she
asked. "I'm reading--"
"You read? For fun?" The Zafara shook
her head. "Well, it's plain to see that you need me to help you with some things."
"Like having fun, and makeup! I mean, look
at you!" Jessica shook her head. "You look like you're homeless, Becca dear.
Now, where did I leave my purse--oh yes, it's down in the entranceway. Be a
dear and fetch that for me."
Becca was on the verge of snapping at Jessica,
telling her to get her own purse, and then remembered Martha's warnings to be
kind to her guests. She gave a sad little nod and went to find Jessica's purse.
"Oh, now that is a pretty dress," Jessica exclaimed
when she saw Becca's dress for the family reunion. "Oh, yes--quite nice." She
plucked a makeup case out of her purse and brushed blush over the Elephante's
cheeks. "There you go." She gave Becca a lipstick. "Put that on, too--and let's
see, you need some mascara and eyeliner." The Zafara dug through her purse again
for the makeup she'd named.
Becca looked at herself in the mirror afterwards,
horrified. She and Angela had resolved to never wear makeup--but then again,
they'd also resolved to not buy the dress if the other wasn't getting it, and
Becca had definitely done that. And it did look nice... The Elephante pursed
her lips and gave the mirror a smile, then turned to Jessica. "Anything else?"
They were the first ones to arrive for the family
reunion; Jessica lounged on a bench while the others, including Amy, set up
the food on the two picnic tables. Becca hovered between the two groups, helping
out her owner at times and drifting over to trade small talk with Jessica at
Other relatives started to arrive, and soon
there was a large group of owners around one of the tables and a group of pets
around the other. Becca tried to find interest in the others' talk of clothes
and makeup and Neopoints, but she grew increasingly bored as time wore on. Her
gaze wandered around the park, taking in the joggers, the homeless pets begging,
those who were taking a shortcut through the park--
She had the feeling that someone was watching
her, and turned around. Her gaze locked, for just an instant, with the blue
Acara on the other side of the park. Becca whirled around again, hoping that
Angela hadn't been able to recognize her face, but knowing that she had.
"Becca?" Jessica asked, a look of concern on
her face. "What's wrong?"
The Elephante shook her head. "Nothing," she
lied. She went back to listening to the other pets' conversation, and when she
chanced a look back at where Angela had been standing, the Acara wasn't there
To be continued...