Wednesday dawned bright and sunny, the opposite of Tia's
Tia wasn't sure how she'd ever earn 7000 NP
by Friday. She'd come up with many ideas, but had thrown them all out -- none
of her moneymaking ideas were any good.
Her logic told her to play some games, that
every rich Neopian used games to become wealthy. Tia had played games once.
She'd started off with 3000 NP, played Scorchy Slots, and came home with about
4 NP. Her owner had been so angry. Tia couldn't risk repeating that again.
Another idea was for her to borrow the money,
from Holly, maybe. Tia was positive that Holly would be more than willing to
lend her some NP, but could Tia pay her back? And, knowing Holly, she would
hound Tia until the entire debt was paid.
Disposing of those ideas, Tia thought that maybe
she could borrow the NP from her owner and then pay it back by working at Funshine
Farm. However, Tia doubted whether her owner, though loving, would give her
only pet 7000 NP. And even if she did, Tia would have to work for a long time
before her owner would consider the NP fully repaid.
Tia's last hope was to work, for a neighbor
maybe. But because of her now-lousy status in her neighborhood, that idea probably
wouldn't work either.
Tia confided her worries to Holly that day during
I need 7000 NP -- fast, she wrote urgently.
Holly snatched the paper airplane out of the
air, read the note, and scribbled back: I would loan you that, but I don't
have it. I spent all my allowance -- from this month and last -- on some new
holographic stamps. But that's not the point. Find work in your neighborhood.
Remember the fundraiser, when you babysat and I raked leaves? Rake leaves. It's
not so bad.
Eagerly catching the airplane that glided to
her, Tia half-smiled. Holly would have answers. She quickly read the note. Rake
leaves? That was Holly's answer? Tia seized her pencil and replied: Rake leaves?
No way! I hate yard work. Besides, I doubt anyone in my neighborhood would want
to hire me. I'm the Cybunny who turned those two rugrats into Chias, remember?
Or at least that's what Nick said, when he finally noticed me… She rambled
on about Nick, the dance, and the navy blue dress for some time, and then concluded,
do you really think someone would hire me?
The paper airplane soared over and landed neatly
on Holly's desk.
Even though she wasn't watching Holly read the
note, Tia knew her pal would roll her eyes at all Tia's talk about Nick. Holly's
answer proved it: I roll my eyes at that. You do know that Nick still hasn't
memorized the days of the week, don't you? Well, anyway, ask around your neighborhood
for a job. And besides, who says you need a new dress anyway? I've seen you
wearing some nice dresses.
Tia caught the floating piece of mail and then
frowned as she read it. Her reply was simple: Okay, I'll ask, but I'm not
sure if anyone will hire me. P.S. Stop being so practical. My dresses are all
ripped and hideous, so I want a dress that Nick will like.
The bell rang, signaling the end of Mrs. Owens
class. Tia breathed a sigh of relief. No new detentions today!
After serving the detention she'd earned for insulting Mrs. Owens yesterday,
Tia boarded the bus-like carriage, choosing a vacant seat in the front. Much
to her delight, Nick followed her, and asked if he could sit with her.
"Y-yes, of course you can't. I-I mean -- did
I say can't?" she laughed nervously. "Of course you can sit with me." She scooted
closer to the side and patted the empty space with her paw.
"Great!" Nick said, plopping down next to her.
"So… tomorrow's Tuesday, right?"
Holly, sitting with Louis across the aisle,
gave her friend a knowing look.
Tia ignored it. "No…" she said slowly, "Today
is Wednesday, so tomorrow would be…" She left the sentence open for him to finish.
"Oh, Thursday! Right! I'm so forgetful sometimes."
A little voice in Tia's head that sounded horribly
like Holly said, forgetful? Or just plain stupid?
Tia and Nick chatted animatedly for the rest
of the carriage ride, until the driver stopped at Tia's street.
Tia stood to leave, but Nick tapped her on the
shoulder. She swung around.
"So, I'll see you on…Friday at the dance, right?"
Tia smiled sincerely. "Yes, you will. I'll be
Her smile remained intact as she disembarked.
An unexpected letter for Tia came that afternoon. To her horror, it was from
Christine, owner of Tommy and Tamara, or, as Tia had nicknamed them, The Terrible
"'Good afternoon, Tia, Listen, I'd just like
to apologize for the bad name I gave you after you babysat Tommy and Tamara.
It really wasn't your fault. I probably could have made the same mistake you
did. And it doesn't matter. Tommy and Tamara aren't Chias anymore.'"
A wave of sweet relief swept over Tia.
"Thank you." Tia sighed gratefully. I wonder
how she turned them back… thought Tia.
"'I changed them using two morphing potions
and two baby paint brushes. Changing them back was the easy part. The difficulty
was the price.'"
"'Anyway, the second reason I'm contacting
you is to ask you something. Would you… would you consider babysitting the twins
"What?" Tia gasped disbelievingly. "You want
me to babysit them again? After what happened?!"
"'Besides the Chia incident, everything went
well. Tommy and Tamara said they really like you. And your cookies.'"
Tia was astonished. Was this the same Christine?
She had been infuriated when she had taken Tommy and Tamara home on that Sunday
afternoon. But today she had apologized.
Tia seriously considered accepting the job.
She could win back Christine's trust AND earn the money for the navy blue dress.
"'Would you like the job? If so, I need you
on Friday night.'"
Tia's heart sank like an anchor off the coast
of Krawk Island. "F-Friday?" she spluttered. But -- but I have plans that
"'I need to go shopping in Neopia Central, and
it's very difficult with the twins underfoot. Besides, you're probably the only
babysitter that would be willing to look after them. Everyone else I've asked
has said no.'"
And for good reason, Tia thought, Tommy
and Tamara are trouble, and lots of it.
Tia put down the letter and thought desperately,
What am I going to do?
When Tia awoke the next morning, the first thing she saw was her Mrs. Nick
Lupe poster on the ceiling (placed there so she could dream about her crush
at night). Tia smiled at the poster, and visualized herself dancing with Nick.
They'd be a perfect couple, and Tia would look great in that navy blue dress.
Then the events of the previous afternoon came
rushing back to her: The dress, the NP she needed, Christine, and worst of all,
the feeling of confusion as she wondered how she could babysit the twins to
earn the dress if she would be at the dance with Nick on that night.
Holly's voice came floating back. Could she
possibly find something else to wear? She rolled over to climb out of bed, but
ended up on her hard wooden floor.
"Why couldn't my bedroom be made out of clouds,
like Holly's?" she grumbled irritably. Picking herself up off the floor, Tia
wandered over to her Purple Wardrobe and flicked through her outfits. No…no…no…NO!
she thought. None of these are any good! Could I borrow a dress from Holly?
No…Holly spends all her NP on stamps and doesn't care about clothes, so she
only has one nice dress, and it's the red one that she's planning on wearing.
Reluctantly, Tia left her room and descended
the stairs to the kitchen. Each footstep seemed to carry her farther and farther
from a solution.
To be continued…