Second Chances: Part Three
At the end of the meal, the headmistress went around
gathering up all of the 'new pets' as we were called, and rattling off our room
"Ninamey, you'll be moving in with Endregid"-
Nina turned to me and grinned-"and Polayo, you'll be sharing a room with...
oh, there must be some sort of mistake. It appears that you're not sharing a
room with anyone."
For a minute, I was puzzled. Then, I spoke up.
"Well, it might be for a reason," I said.
She looked at me for a moment, then smiled. "Ah,
yes. You are supposed to have your own room. My mistake, dear."
She shouted out the rest of the rooms, and then
we turned to head up the stairs and search for our room number, where are things,
it seemed, already was. I hoped that Tika and Shadow had ended up in the right
"Man, you are lucky!" Nina whispered
in my ear as we were wandering down the hallways, checking the gold numbers
on the doors.
"Well," I said, "it took me a while to realize.
But they're putting a typewriter in my room, so maybe they don't want anyone
else in there...? I don't know, but hey, at least it works out. And you're with
Endre, so it's all good, isn't it?"
At that moment, as if on cue, a door opened down
the hall and Endre's head poked out of the door. "Ninamey!" She called out,
not really looking at Nina, because she obviously hadn't placed who it was just
yet. "Are you out there?"
"That's me," Nina said quietly, under her breath,
then, calling down the hallway, "Yes, I'm right here! I'll be there in a second!"
She turned to me again. "See you at breakfast, I guess?"
It was only then I realized how tired I was.
"Sure," I said, concealing a yawn. "Breakfast." Nodding, I stumbled down the
hallway, found my room, and stepped inside.
It was nice. There was a big double bed with
what looked like a comfortable blanket. A red bean bag was flopped in one corner,
next to a desk with a typewriter settled comfortably on it. To the other side
of the room was a bookshelf, empty now except for a white envelope. I picked
it up, and began to read the slip of paper inside of it.
Welcome to Lucky 13 Acting Academy! Please
make yourself at home. This will be your room for the remainder of the school
year. Enclosed you will find your schedule, a map of the Academy, and a map
of who's who in the rooms on your floor. We hope you enjoy your stay here at
Too tired now to examine the rest of the contents
of the envelope, I simply check to make sure my stuff was there, found Shadow
and Tika asleep on the beanbag, and then crawled into bed, asleep in a second.
The next morning, at breakfast, Nina slid into a seat beside me. She looked
exhausted, as if she hadn't slept at all that night, with deep, dark circles
under her eyes. I didn't say anything about it, but all through the meal she
was constantly yawning. So just before the announcements of the day were about
to begin, I asked her, "Sleep well last night?"
She looked at me, her eyes half closed, and shook
her head. "Endregid snores," she said, then giggled slightly. "Loud."
I laughed with her until we were told be quiet.
The announcements were shouted out just loud enough for everyone to hear, and
then we were dismissed back to our rooms to gather our things. We had a half-hour
before the first class started, and that was only if you had a class during
first period. Back in my room, while examining my schedule, I realized I didn't.
My first class, in fact, was third period, and
it was Neopian History. While it was an acting academy, we still had to get
some of our regular schooling in. After that was lunch, then I had Stage Presence,
Maths, and Drama. I puzzled at the name of the last one: this was an
acting school, after all. So why have a class called 'Drama'?
The answer came as I turned over my schedule.
There, it had a description for each of the courses. Stage Presence, it appeared,
was how to hold yourself on or off stage as an actor/actress. Drama was the
class that all pets had at one point in the day. Each class did a separate play
that was performed at the end of each term.
As I sat down at my typewriter, deciding I should
use my extra two hours to do some writing, I took a paper out of the drawer
on the desk and positioned it in. After sitting for a while with no inspiration
whatsoever, I decided to write a letter to Omni.
It was short, since I'd only arrived the day
before. I talked about Nina, Welsefargh, Endregid, the food, and the fact that
I had my own room. I finished it just as Tika was waking up, and just as the
bell rang for second period to begin.
I sealed the letter in an enveloped, then went
for a walk down the hallway and tossed it in the mailbox at the top of the staircase.
Then, I wandered around, knowing there wasn't much to do in my room. Finally,
I decided to knock on the door of Nina's room. The door opened. Endregid.
She said nothing, but looked at me, surprised.
Finally, I said, "Is Nina there?"
She shook her head. "Nope," she said, "she's
in class. Want me to take a message?"
I just looked at her. It's not like she was some
sort of answering machine and we were on the phone. I was just coming to visit,
to see if she was there. "No thanks," I said, and walked back down the hall
to my room. So, she was nice, but she wasn't really my kind of person.
Finally, it was time for my first class. After
that, things just went by breezily, until the last class of the day. The teacher,
an energetic Usul, who dared to be different by not wearing a bow on her tail,
walked around, waving her arms. I could tell she must have been a great actor
when she was younger, but now I knew she would be up on the stage again in a
second, if she could.
"Welcome to Drama. This will be, I can assure
you, the most taxing class of any you'll be taking here. Not only will it require
quite a bit of extra work, but, as some of you know, it is exhausting to take
on the identity of another person. You are not your own self when you act, or
at least good actors aren't.
"Today, I will pass out the scripts and assign
random parts which will not be your parts for the real show. I will have you
read from your scripts and act out this play as best you can. Then, I want to
see how well you can learn those parts by the time I see you tomorrow. I'm not
expecting much, and I'm not expecting you to be off script, not by far. Just
a little pre-evaluation, before the real work starts."
I nodded, and she seemed to see. "You, Aisha,"
she called out. "What's your name?"
"Polayo," I said, sitting up straighter. "But
most people call me Po."
"Okay, PO," she said, beckoning me to stand
up. She handed me a script. "Act out the first scene. I'll be Adem, you be Merie."
I nodded again, and opened the booklet to the
first page. I skimmed over it- a short scene- then began to read. Merie had
the first line.
"It's funny, you know," I read, trying as well
as I could to become Merie, "how well everything has worked out. Two summers
ago, we didn't even know we existed. But now that I've moved from Terror Mountain
down to Neopia Central, we've become the best of friends. And to think, now
you're the one moving. It all comes down to timing, don't you think?"
"Yes," replied the Usul in her booming voice,
being Adem. "If you'd moved even just one street down, too, we might never have
become friends. It's strange almost."
My character, Merie, nodded and then spoke, so
I did too. "Remember all those fun times we had? I hope we won't lose touch
after we're gone. That would be heart breaking."
"Oh, Merie, you wouldn't let us lose touch.
You've told me a million times about how 'best friends are forever' and you
bought four packs of stationary, for goodness sake."
I smiled. "Of course not. Perhaps, though, over
the next few days, before you move, we can write our own legacy. It may not
be interesting to anyone else, but I'm sure our adventures will be of interest
Adem, or the teacher, sighed. "Perhaps we should.
I have to finish up some of my packing... it's so depressing, gathering up all
And there, in the play, the scene would end.
Our small audience applauded. "Good, very good," said the teacher with approval.
"You have talent, Polayo."
I grinned. "Thank you," I said as I sat back
The weeks seemed to fly by after that. However much fun I was having, though,
something kept nagging at the back of mind. Something wasn't right. I don't
know why, though. Nina and I had both scored the main parts in our separate
drama classes, through reliable sources we'd discovered that Welsefargh had
gotten a one line part he wasn't very happy about, and I was making friends
with just about everyone. But something... something was wrong. I was sad- almost
feeling guilty- whenever I had fun. Omni sent me letters, asking why I hadn't
sent a single letter to Ev. I ignored the question, and didn't connect it all
to the reason I was feeling so evil about having a good time.
One day, however, I was reading a little part
of the play we hadn't gone over yet. Merie and Adem had been having a fight,
in one of their flashbacks (That was what the play was made of- flashbacks).
And some part of it seemed so... familiar.
Merie: Come on, Adem. We've been friends for
so long. We can't just stop being friends.
Adem: And why not?
Merie: Because there's obviously some reason
that the two of us have been friends for so long. Even the parts of the each
other that we despise- we live with it because we know that the rest of them
is such a good friend we can put up with a few small discomforts. And also,
pets and people who have been friends for so long... they're real friends. And
real friends, almost always, can't just throw away a friendship like this.
When I had finished reading, I realized there
were tears in my eyes. I brushed them away, then flipped to another scene, a
few pages down. After reading it, I knew what I had to do.
I checked the clock- it wasn't too late to go
down and use my once-a-week phone call. As soon as I got down there, I dialled
my number. Omni's voice was refreshing to hear, I felt like I hadn't heard it
"PO? Is that you?"
"Yeah, Omni. I... I need you to come pick me
up. I'm coming home."
To be continued...