Losers: Part Two
“Don’t you want to go with me to Faerieland?” asked Addie. She put on some gold eye shadow and beautiful red lipstick.
Ella shook her head. She knew that she’d lose there as well. Ella had been self-conscious about losing these past few days with her new family. Whenever she lost in cards with Addie or when Marla sarcastically called her a loser, she would burn up inside. “I wouldn’t look as beautiful as you,” Ella said dumbly.
“Come on,” Addie said. “You’ll love it! We’ll visit Jhudora, spin the Wheel of Excitement, and figure out the Crossword Puzzle.”
“Shouldn’t Marla be coming with us?” asked Ella. “After all, she is a Faerie Cybunny.”
“Marla’s at Training School,” said Addie. “July finally decided to let her in the intermediate course.”
“Oh.” That was all Ella could say. She hadn’t even started the Training School. She didn’t want to lose there, too.
Addie finished adjusting her sunglasses. “Okay, we can go.”
When Ella first stepped foot on the wispy cloud, she was in awe. Water Faeries, Air Faeries, Light Faeries, and the Dark Faerie, Jhudora, were all gathered around and looking beautiful. Fountains and the Faerie City lay ahead of her.
“Isn’t it great?” Addie wasn’t waiting for an answer. She led Ella all around Faerieland with a huge smile on her face, as if it was her home.
Ella could only breathe one word: “Wow.”
“How was Faerieland?” July asked as Addie and Ella stepped through the door.
“It was absolutely fantastic!” Ella cried. “I had never been anywhere except for Neopia Central and right here in Mystery Island. I felt as if I was floating!”
“I’m glad you liked it,” chuckled July. She was reading Uni in Wonderland to Marla, who was sore after her session.
“Let’s play Ratscrew,” Addie said. It was her favorite card game.
“Okay,” Ella said.
Addie always liked to talk when she played cards. This particular day, she was talking about her school. They were on vacation, but she loved school a lot.
“What do you learn?” Ella asked.
“Well, basic math and reading and stuff,” Addie said. “You should come to school with me. I’ll ask July to enroll you.”
“No!” Ella said quickly.
Addie looked hurt. “Why not?”
“I’m not ready,” said Ella.
“What do you mean?” asked Addie, stopping the game to sit next to her new sister. “Why don’t you want to come to school with me?”
“I don’t know,” said Ella. “Okay, yes I do. I’m not ready to make friends yet.”
“I’m your friend,” said Addie.
“Yes, but you’re my only friend.”
“Marla is your friend,” said Addie.
Ella looked up at Addie. “Do you really believe that Marla is my friend? She only likes me because she is my sister. I bet if she wasn’t my sister, she’d hate me for sure.”
“That is so silly,” Addie said. “Of course Marla likes you. She loves the stories you tell and would like you even if you weren’t sisters.”
Ella shook her head. “I don’t think so.”
“I’ll help you make friends,” Addie said, changing the subject a little. “I have a lot of friends who would love you.”
“Okay,” Ella said, breathing in. “I’ll ask July to enroll me.”
Ella stepped into school a week later wearing denim coveralls and a Blumaroo shirt. She was sporting the geek style. Nobody wore shirts that were their species.
Addie, however, was beautiful. She wore flawless makeup and purple nail polish. Her perfume was fresh and she wore a M*YNCI T-shirt with a jeweled collar.
Blossom and Saylene were Addie’s best friends. Blossom was a royal Zafara and Saylene was a baby JubJub.
“This is Ella,” Addie said to Blossom and Saylene. “She was just adopted a couple weeks ago.”
Ella decided that the two girls were a mix between Addie and Marla. They weren’t extremely nice like Addie, but they weren’t moody and dramatic like Marla.
“Where did you used to live?” Saylene asked after the hellos were finished.
“In Neopia Central,” answered Ella. “My old owner was a teenager named Maurice.”
“Nice,” said Blossom. “How was your old school?”
“I didn’t go to one,” Ella said simply. “We weren’t that rich, because Maurice didn’t play seriously. I also had three brothers that ate up Neopoints. Maurice got rid of me when he decided that he didn’t want to play Neopets anymore.”
“Oh,” Blossom said.
The bell rang.
“It’s time for class!” Addie sang. “How do you like them?” she whispered to Ella.
Ella didn’t answer.
“They’re awesome, aren’t they?”
That was when Ella realized that Addie was a sister, just like Marla. She wasn’t a friend! She was friends with Blossom and Saylene, and that’s what she wanted.
“I guess so,” Ella said. She decided to give everybody at school a secret test.
The test was quite simple. Ella would sit alone in everything, gym class, lab partners, and stuff like that. She would then test the students to see if anybody would come up to her. If anybody did, then Ella would give a check on the NON-LOSER side of her secret chart. If nobody did and she was by herself or somebody was forced to be with her, Ella would give a check on the LOSER side of her secret chart. By the end of a week, if Ella had more LOSER checks, then she would punish herself by having the test again.
The first time Ella used her test was the first day. Her L. A. teacher, Ms. Bailin, assigned a welcome-back project that needed to be in pairs. Ella stayed back and leaned on the cabinet.
Addie immediately grabbed Blossom’s hand. Saylene lingered off a little, but eventually found a partner. There were more pairs by the minute. Ella stared at the lucky ones.
Since there were an odd number of people in L. A. class, Ella was in a group of three with a boy named Wrig and a girl named Wrigga. They were obviously brother and sister.
The project was to interview the people in your group and write a “Spotlight” about the person you interviewed. In Ella’s group, it was different. Ella interviewed Wrig, Wrig interviewed Wrigga, and Wrigga interviewed Ella.
Ella stared sadly at the lucky pairs and checked LOSER in her chart. Then, she started to work on her project.
After school, Ella immediately ran up to her room. She had three checks in her LOSER chart and none in her NON-LOSER chart. She felt horrible!
Addie was only in her L. A. class, so she didn’t see how miserable Ella was for the rest of the day.
“Do you want to play Ratscrew?” Addie called from down the stairs.
“No,” said Ella sadly. She buried her face in her pillow and cried. She thought that home would be great. She thought that she’d be much happier here than at the pound. But she was wrong. Ella was equally miserable at the pound. Everywhere she went, she always lost.
Ella stared at the notes from her interview project. Wrig was a boring Gnorbu. He often had little to say. His sister was exactly the same, only Wrigga was a boring Chomby.
There was a knock on her door. “Go away!” Ella yelled.
Marla opened the door anyway. “Hello,” she said.
“Go away!” Ella repeated, throwing the pillow at her sister.
Marla sat down on Ella’s bed. “Did you know that I was adopted, too?”
Ella’s ears perked up. “What?”
“Yeah,” Marla said. “I hated coming here at first, too. Addie was trying to be friendly, but she wasn’t. I know exactly how you feel, and you acted just like me.”
Great, thought Ella. I’ll end up like Marla.
“Was it hard for you to make friends?” asked Ella.
“Nah,” said Marla. “I found a lot of people who loved doing what I do. You should try that if you can’t make friends.” Marla got up and left.
But what do I love to do? Ella asked herself. I’ll never make friends. I’ll just go on and on with my test, week after week after week.
Ella grumbled as July sat a cheeseburger on her plate. Well, it was better than soup from the Soup Kitchen, especially Invisible Soup.
Ella looked around for Marla or Addie, but they were still upstairs.
“July, was Marla adopted like me?”
July dropped a plate and said, “No, Ella. Who would put such an idea in your head?”
July dropped another plate.
“Let me help you,” said Ella, but she was burning up inside! Marla had lied to her so easily! Maybe she was trying to make her feel better, but it was still a lie.
Ella finished her cheeseburger in five large bites and gobbled her Chocolate Chip Crumpet. She ran upstairs as fast as she could, hoping not to run into Marla.
Nobody likes me, Ella thought. I’m a loser. But I’ll make a new me who isn’t a loser. Maybe then people will like me!
Ella smiled as her work was finished! She’d be a non-loser at last!
To be continued...