Amayli had never really thought of herself being worth anything.
More than anywhere else, the green Ixi had been in the pound. No matter who brought
her home, a different part of her personality must have turned them off. You see,
her spirit used to be bright and carefree and curious until her spirit was beaten
down by never feeling love. If YOU had a cage reserved for you at the pound, you'd
feel the same.
But then she met Ronni.
Veronica was a middle-aged white Kougress. And
for a long time, she hadn't had that much contact in any way with anyone. She
lived in a little old house on the outskirts of Meridell, where her only contact
was the silent yellow Aisha that came by twice a week to help her around the
But then the Aisha's owner decided to move, so
Ronni's assistant was gone. She needed a new one. And that's how she got Amayli.
Considering Amayli had nowhere to go home to
after helping out Ronni, the Pink Uni asked if Amayli could stay with Ronni
day and night. The Kougress merely grunted.
So that leaves us here. Amayli watched the Pink
Uni gallop away after dropping her off. She stood in the dirt path and stared
at Ronni, who stood a few feet from the door. They were far apart enough for
the Turmaculus to fit between them. It was a gray and drizzly day, and the trees
around them, still not budding, looked like spiny skeletons. The only sound
was the sound of the wind blowing far away, but too far to reach the small house.
Amayli could feel Ronni's violet eyes boring
into her, analyzing her as an assistant and roommate. She didn't care. She found
difficulty caring about anything anymore. Whether Ronni liked her or not, it
was all biscuits to her.
And Ronni sensed that, as she met the Ixi's hazel
eyes for a millisecond. It's hard to explain the light in Amayli's eyes. It
was as if once, long ago, her eyes had sparkled bright and hopeful, but now
the light was stifled with pain and indifference. And, after looking Amayli
up and down, Ronni made a small noise and turned to go into the house. Amayli
took that as a sign to follow.
Inside, the house was cozy, but there was no
warmth, as if it had never been filled with laughter. In the living room, there
was an unlit fireplace, a thick rug with threads in it that followed no patterns,
twisting and looping lazily over it, a coffee table, a cushy sofa, and an armchair
near the fireplace. Ronni eased herself into the armchair and picked up a thick
novel with aged yellow pages. Amayli stood firm by the door.
The presence of the Ixi made Ronni a bit uncomfortable.
She turned a page and tried to focus on if the Kacheek in the book had discovered
who the murderer was yet, but the fact that the Ixi was just standing there
made Ronni a little uneasy. The grandfather clock in the hall ticked and tocked.
Finally she spoke.
"Child, you gonna sit down or stand there collectin'
The voice sounded deafening in the almost quiet,
and both Neopets jumped. Ronni's full, tropical Mystery Island accent surprised
Amayli. She walked over and sat down on the edge of the sofa. Ronni's discomfort
relaxed slightly. Slightly.
Tick. Tock. Something about the Kougress ignited
something within Amayli. Five minutes ago, she hadn't cared what the Kougress
thought of her. Now that she had spoken... the Mystery Island accent turned
her on. Was she born on Mystery Island? How long did she stay there? How did
she come all the way the Meridell? Suddenly Amayli CARED. She cared, but just
a little, about what the Kougress thought of her.
It was Amayli's turn to speak.
"So, I'm your assistant." Her voice sounded plenty
loud, too, but not as loud. The jump was smaller. "Do you, like, need me to
clean up or something?"
"Oh, just dust or something," Ronni waved her
paw as if brushing away the question. "I'm no neat freak."
Amayli shrugged and got up to look for a feather
duster. She had a pretty good knowledge of where all cleaning items are usually
kept, considering through almost every family, she had been the one that did
all the chores. So she checked the kitchen. In the kitchen, it was yellow tiled
with white curtains and white counters, but it, like the living room, felt empty.
Amayli checked under the sink and pulled one out.
She began dusting off the mantel of the fireplace,
where she knew from experience would get fairly dirty from ashes rising from
a lively fire. On the mantel was a little decorative pot, a small sculpture
of a Water Faerie, and a very dusty picture frame. Curious, Amayli dusted it
off to see the picture. An ocean, sparkling even in the black and white picture,
lapped against a smooth sandy beach with a tropical forest behind it.
Ronni sneaked glances at Amayli from over the
rim of her book, which she had lost interest in for quite a while now.
Amayli proceeded to dust off the lamp on the
coffee table. Ronni realized something.
"Aw, plushies," she said. "Child, I don't even
know your name."
The Ixi didn't look up. "It's Amayli."
"Amayli." Ronni embraced the name as she said
it. The Ixi secretly loved the way her name sounded in the fruitful accent.
"That's mighty beautiful, baby girl."
Amayli flushed. She had never been complimented
before, nor called "baby girl".
"S'not that great," she mumbled.
"You're right, it's more than great," agreed
Amayli paused in her dusting. "I just realized
I don't know yours."
"Veronica's too stiff for an ol' hippie like
me," she replied. "Call me Ronni."
And that, dear reader, was the start of a beautiful
"That's right," said Ronni as she and Amayli
kneaded bread dough. "Born and raised in Mystery Island, where the sun always
It had been three months since Amayli first arrived.
Spring seemed to kick in when the little house filled up with laughter and love
once more. All the trees and plants burst into blossom.
They had the window open and sunlight and a warm
breeze was blowing in. The house's cozy décor seemed to fit itself more and
more as happiness filled it to the brim.
"So, why did you leave?" inquired Amayli, pounding
the dough with her hooves.
A taint of sadness intruded into the Kougress's
eyes. "I was an orphan," she said softly. Amayli knew that was all she needed
Ronni shook her head abruptly to clear it. "But
enough about me, baby girl," she said. "What's your story?"
Amayli smiled sardonically. "What's there to
tell? No matter which family I ever went to, I never fit in. Before I came to
you, the longest I'd ever stayed with anyone was a month."
Amayli was now pounding the dough a little harder.
"But, child..." Ronni tried to meet her eyes.
"Surely you've been loved before."
"Love?" Amayli laughed hollowly. "You mean that
thing that all my ex-owners showered my temporary siblings with? Seen it."
"But have you ever felt it... for someone else...
before?" asked Ronni slowly.
There was a silence.
"... yes." Amayli's eyes began to brim with tears
and she turned away.
"Oh, you poor child!" cried Ronni. "It's okay,
all that stuff's behind you now."
"No, no, I can't do this," choked Amayli, her
back still to Ronni. "I can't love you. The last time I ever loved someone,
they didn't love me back. I can't get hurt again."
Ronni turned Amayli around to face her and knelt
to her knees to meet her eye to eye.
"Baby girl," she said softly. "I ain't gonna
And Amayli believed her. They drew each other
into a hug, and both were finally, finally loved.