The instant the twins saw her, Tommy and Tamara catapulted
themselves into her with great force, nearly knocking Tia to the ground. She
automatically gave each of them a hug.
"Tia! Tia! We was missing you. We likes you
and we wants you to pay with us tobay!"
Smiling in spite of herself at their overlapping
sentences and baby talk, Tia carried them both to the door and inside the NeoHome.
Tommy chanted, "We gets to pay with Tia! We gets to pay with Tia!"
Tamara joined in the chorus, and they turned
up the volume, so much that Tia could barely hear Christine, now shouting to
"I'll be back around ten," she yelled. "I hope
they behave for you!" She turned to her pets. "Hush, shhhh," she commanded,
and instantly they obeyed. "Now, how about you do the playing and mommy will
do the paying?"
They nodded, in perfect unison.
"Okay, goodbye," Christine hugged Tommy, then
"Hey, Mommy! You gave Tommy a longer hug than
me! I wants a big hug, too! Peeze?" Tamara whined.
Christine forced a grin and hugged Tamara again.
This was exactly what had happened when Christine had left them last time.
Now Tommy complained, "Not fair! Not fair! Tamara
gots TWO hugs and I gots one. You gots to be fairer, Mommy! You gots to hug
the bestest pet in the whole widest world!"
"How about this?" Christine asked them hurriedly,
because Tamara looked ready to punch her twin. Christine's face was red with
embarrassment as she scooped them both up into her arms. "I'll give you both
another hug." She did, and set them back on the floor, where they chased each
other around her legs-one of their favorite games.
"Well, good-bye, Tia." Christine turned to leave.
"Wait!" Tia called out to her. Christine turned
Tia swallowed before continuing. "Do you-do
you think you could pay me now? I have something in Neopia Central that I need
to buy today."
Christine, anxious to be on her way, said, "Sure,
sure," and took out her wallet. "Just be sure to really watch them while you
shop. Last time I took them shopping…well, you don't need to hear about that."
She paid Tia, thanked her again, and hastily departed.
Tia pocketed the money. Step one-complete.
Realizing that "mommy" had gone, the twins burst
into tears; loud, noisy tears.
"No, no, don't cry!" Tia begged, frantically
making funny faces to tempt them to laugh. Finally she started tickling them,
and they collapsed into a laughing heap on the floor.
"Are we gonna pay now? Peeze, peeze, peeze let's
pay!" Tommy was so cute. Or so it seemed.
"Yes!" agreed Tamara. "Let's pay now! Pritty
peeze with whipped cream and a cherry on top?"
Maybe Tia had misjudged the twins. Here they
were so adorable, so cooperative and polite.
"Okay, we'll pay. I-I mean play! But first…
we're going shopping."
"Sopping?" they repeated in unison with matching
"We gots to go sopping once," Tamara explained.
"Mommy tooks us to the Smoofie shop and gots us a smoofie. Mine was stwawberry.
Then me and Tommy makes the shop look pritty with smoofie, all ober the walls
in pritty colors. Mommy was mad but we was happy! Then we gots to go home and
Mommy gives us a…time out, I think it was called. We gots to have so much fun
So that was the shopping catastrophe that Christine
didn't want to remember. It'll be okay, Tia told herself, I'll get them a hot
"Well," Tia began, "get your shoes and we'll
go. I'll get you two each a hot dog and then quickly grab what I need to buy.
And tonight, I'm taking you two to a… umm… a party."
Two pairs of eyes widened and two sets of paws
clapped in glee.
"A par-tee?" Tommy asked hopefully.
"A par-tee! A par-tee! We gets to go to a par-tee!"
Tamara sang happily. Tommy joined in and racket was unbearable.
Tia clamped her paws over her ears and then shouted,
The twins, shocked, stared at her. Tia felt guiltier
then than she had ever felt in her entire life. "Sorry," she apologized sympathetically,
"but if you want to go to the… uhh… par-tee, you have to be good. And quiet.
"We gots it."
"Good. Now let's go!"
And they left for Neopia Central, Tia with two
Baby pets dragging her forward. She smiled to herself when Tommy asked, "Will
there be food at the par-tee?"
Passersby stared at Tia as the twins pulled her along. They wanted to go in
every shop, talk to every pet walking by, and they wanted to eat everything
in sight. The made a wish at the Wishing Well ("I wish that there will be cookies
at the par-tee") and Tia finally got them to Hubert's Hot Dogs.
"Two hot dogs, please," she politely requested.
"Sure thing," replied Hubert, and in a jiffy
he had the hot dogs ready. "I better get a hefty payment for these. They're
Tia tried not to wince. She hadn't counted on
the hot dogs being this expensive. "No way!" she protested, dropped her sophisticated-sounding
voice. "I want a bargain here! I'm a Hubert's Hot Dogs regular."
Hubert would have none of it. "You pay me a good
price, or I'll sell these beauties to someone else."
Tommy and Tamara started to whimper.
"Tia," Tommy moaned, "I wants my hot doggie
"Wait patiently," Tia answered quickly, and
turned back to Hubert. She started to haggle with him, but 15,000 NP and the
little extra she had would not cover the hot dogs and the dress. Unless, of
course, Hubert would give her a deal, which he would not.
Finally, Hubert got so upset that he called for
security and told Tia to beat it. Tia scooped up the twins obediently and sprinted
to the Bakery, with an angry Hubert at her heels.
Five minutes later, the twins and Tia lounged on the grass outside of the
Bakery while eating fresh doughnuts. The Breadmaster had been willing to sell
Tia three doughnuts at a decent price, much unlike what Hubert was asking.
"Now," Tia said, as the twins licked the sprinkles
from their paws, "I need to buy one thing and then we can go home and play,
and get ready for the party."
"Can we go to the toy sop?"
"I don't think so. We don't have time," Tia
responded. She jumped to her feet and took hold of one of each of the twins'
paws, one in each hand. She made a face at how sticky their paws were.
"Which sop do we gots to go in?" Tommy inquired.
"The clothing shop."
"Ewww, clothes is boring!" he proclaimed, so
loudly that several pets turned to stare.
"Yes," agreed Tamara smartly. "Clothes IS boring.
Mommy sops for clothes lots and she always takes foreverer and everer to finish.
We always gots to help her hurry."
Tia reached out her paw to open the clothing
shop door. "Well, I'll be fast," she promised. "I know exactly what I'm looking
for." She opened the door and gasped.
Christine was standing in front of a mirror,
frowning at her image. She was wearing the navy blue dress. Tia was amazed that
the dress fit Christine. Of course, when Tia stood on her hind legs, it would
fit her, too. And she was tall for her age, while Christine was petite.
"It looks fabulous on you, miss," the assistant,
a well-dressed Uni, complimented, eager for a sale. "No one has been interested
in that dress. It's been here for ages!"
Tia battled the urge to shout, "I'm interested
in it! I WANT THAT DRESS!" Instead, she ducked inside a circular clothes rack
and pulled Tommy and Tamara in with her, arranging the hanging clothes to conceal
Tamara giggled, and Tia quieted her.
"Mommy," Tommy whispered, but Tia quieted him,
"See how quiet you can be," she murmured, and
then continued, "whoever is quieter gets another doughnut."
Instantly, their mouths snapped shut. They loved
After waiting for several cramped minutes (Tia
was in agony because the twins were squishing her), Christine returned to her
normal clothes. She emerged from the fitting room with a scowl.
"It is a lovely dress," she was saying, "but
I'm not sure if I want it or not. I need to run to Pizzaroo quickly to pick
up the pizza I ordered, but I will be back."
The assistant's face fell, and she sighed. "Shall
I hold the dress for you, miss?"
"No, that's all right. You said it yourself
that no one is interested in it. I'll be back in a few minutes." And off she
With a sigh of relief, Tia inched herself and
the twins from out of the middle of the rack without being seen by the assistant.
Then she strode over to the counter.
"I've been looking for a dress," she began professionally,
"a navy blue one, perhaps?"
The assistant forgot all about Christine and
held up the dress of Tia's dreams. She said fervently, "Like this one? A lady
was considering it but she said not to hold it for her. Want to try it on?"
"No, no," Tia declined. She didn't want Christine
to return and see her. "That's quite all right. It looks about my size. I'll
The Uni seemed to explode with joy. "My boss
will be so happy when she sees I have finally sold this old rag! I-I mean"-she
coughed-"this beautiful garment." She blushed and then said, "That'll be 15,000
Reluctantly, Tia handed over her hard-earned
Neopoints. In exchange, the clerk gave her the dress, folded neatly and in a
bag that had the words "Uni's Clothing" written on it.
Tia thanked the clerk, the clerk thanked Tia,
and Tia rushed the twins outside.
"Why does you gots mommy's dress?" Tamara demanded,
eyeing Tia suspiciously.
"It's not your mommy's, she didn't want it."
Then Tia thought, I have to think of a way to keep them from telling Christine
"Who is quieter when we was hiding?" Tommy questioned
"You were both equally quiet, so you can each
have another doughnut. But, you need to promise me that you won't tell your
mommy that we went shopping."
The two looked confused, but they consented,
and munched contentedly on their doughnuts all the way home.
To be continued…