Jazz galloped jauntily along the sandy road. His owner, Tara, was chasing after
him, carrying his little brother, Hyper, in her arms. Jazz stopped further along
to wait for them, wagging his long tail. After all, it wasn’t their fault that
Gelerts were naturally speedy, was it? The green Gelert had been slightly apprehensive
a few days ago when his owner had returned home carrying a blue baby Aisha.
Tara had been pretty cautious herself, as it had always been said that Gelerts
and Aishas did not get along. But Hyper, with all his spunk, charisma and boundless
energy, had won Jazz over in no time.
Tara soon reached Jazz and put Hyper down while she caught her breath. The
Aisha kitten scampered around in the grass by the side of the path, and eventually
proceeded to chase a grasshopper through the green blades. Tara sat down in
the grass and stroked Jazz’s head. Everything was peaceful.
A sleek silver limousine purred along the nearby road. As they watched the
car pass, Tara suddenly noticed that Jazz had left her and trotted closer to
it. He was standing still, ears pricked and alert, gazing at the passing car.
She followed his eyes and saw the head protruding from the rear window. A sleek,
slim-muzzled, long-eared head, covered in soft, gleaming golden fur. The head
of a Gelert, a gold-painted one. Gold paintbrushes didn’t come cheap, Tara mused.
That Gelert’s owner must be really rich to be able to afford one. And a limousine,
for that matter. Suddenly, Tara knew who that Gelert was. She picked up Hyper,
who had not managed to catch his grasshopper and was lying panting in the grass,
and turned to Jazz with a grin on her face.
"Kalaia?" Jazz snapped back into the real world at her voice.
"That was Kalaia, wasn’t it?"
"Uh…yeah. How’d you know?"
Tara shrugged. "Sixth sense, I guess."
Kalaia, the Yellow Gelert. Or at least that was what she had been before she’d
been painted. She and Jazz had been friends for a long time, since they’d been
created together at the same time. Tara could recall when she went to pick up
Jazz from the Create-A-Pet Center, she had seen a rich-looking woman there.
The two Gelerts had been friends while they were still in the Center, and had
been Neomailing each other to keep in touch. As of late, Tara had observed that
Jazz’s feelings for Kalaia had developed into something more than friendship,
but she had never said anything to Jazz. She didn’t want to embarrass him by
making him talk about it, and anyway he knew she knew. Now, though, she turned
"Forget it, Jazz."
"Face it. A rich owner like Kalaia has would never let a Gelert with a poor
owner like yours ever go with her precious NeoPet. I mean, we have to get our
food from the soup kitchen, the size of our NeoHome isn’t much to boast of and
we have barely any furniture. And Kalaia’s so beautiful. She probably has a
zillion male Gelerts with rich families queuing up for an opportunity with her.
You don’t stand a chance. That’s the way it is being poor. I just didn’t want
you to get your hopes up too high. Sorry."
Jazz was still staring after the car, now a silver speck on the horizon.
"But Kalaia’s my friend. Surely there’s some hope for me?" He looked up hopefully
at his owner.
Tara shook her head, sadly, for she felt that Jazz would have to accept the
truth. "Forget about her."
Jazz crept along the moonlit path to the town. Everything was quiet except
for the chirping of crickets in the bushes that lined the path. He knew this
was a stupid idea. Tara would have called him crazy, but he couldn’t stand it.
He had to see her. He had sent her a Neomail, telling her to meet him on her
balcony that night. She had agreed. He couldn’t keep from thinking about her
now. He felt sure that her rich Gelert admirers only were attracted to her beauty
and her money (even if of course he couldn’t prove that), but he knew he loved
her for her kind, humble soul and the fact that she had remained thus despite
Jazz neared the town and kept to the side of the road as he walked in. He knew
her address, and anyway her house was unmistakable. It was an enormous mansion,
complete with a huge garden covered with soft green turf, on which a Gelert
could gallop and prance for hours, a fountain, and a swimming pool. This last
was not visible, but she had told him about it.
He slipped through the iron fence and crossed the garden. He saw Kalaia’s sleek
shape silhouetted in the light from her window. She emerged from the silken
curtains and onto the balcony, where she stood with her paws on the edge. She
was waiting for him. Her golden fur shimmered as it caught the starlight. Then
she saw him, and her tail began to wag in greeting. He scaled the climbing plants
on the wall up to her balcony.
"Jazz. It’s been a while."
"Yeah, I’ll say. Hey, Kal? I need to talk to you about something."
Jazz took a deep breath, then told her how he felt about her now, how his feelings
had changed form friendship to something more. When he was finished she stared
at him for a moment, the moon and stars mirrored in her brown eyes.
"You know Jazz, I think I might be feeling for you, too. I just didn’t know
what it was. I’ve never felt about anyone like this before." She dropped her
gaze. "I mean, there’s male Gelerts that send me presents and stuff, and tell
me they like me, but…well, I get the feeling they’re not sincere." She looked
up at him again. "But you’re different. Hey, maybe I could ask my owner if I
could go out with you."
Jazz shook his head. "My owner said that wouldn’t work. She says your owner
wouldn’t like you going out with a pet…a pet like me."
"Well, we can try, Jazz. I’ll talk to her."
"Oh, okay. I hope it works."
"Me too." She smiled, then shyly rubbed her head on his shoulder. "Good-bye."
"Goodnight," Jazz called softly, then leapt down from the balcony and away.
He was back in his bed long before morning, and Tara and Hyper, fast asleep
in their own homes, never knew he had gone.
To be continued...