Losers: Part Four
“Ella?” Addie asked, pushing through the crowd. “Ella, is that you?”
Ella had tears in her eyes. She felt really stupid, but she took off the rest of her costume. The entire hall was in shock, and the only word anybody said was, “Ella.”
Rainbow and Tory looked at Ella in shock.
"So, the loser girl has another side," Tory said in a snooty tone.
"Who would have thought she had it in her?" asked Rainbow. "For a few days I actually thought she was cool enough to be in our inner circle."
Tory and Rainbow titled up their heads and walked away, laughing about what a dork Ella really was.
Addie ran up to her sister and gave her a big hug. Ella tried to pull away, but Addie was too strong. After the hug, Ella ran out of the school, unlocked her Neohome and collapsed on her bed. She didn’t want to go back to school anymore. Not tomorrow, not two weeks from now, not next year.
I blew it, Ella said to herself. I will never be a winner. Even the pound is better than this.
After hours of sulking, there was a knock on the door. “Go away!” Ella yelled.
“It’s Marla,” said the voice.
“I said go away!” screamed Ella. She buried her face in her pillow.
“Do you want to talk?” asked Marla.
“Well, we are anyway.” Marla opened the door and sat on Ella’s bed. “I guess you’ve figured that I wasn’t adopted.”
“You got that right,” Ella said, sniffing.
Marla patted Ella’s knee. “That’s because I didn’t like you then.”
“What else is new?” Ella asked. She turned away from her sister.
“But now I think you are the bravest pet I’ve ever met.”
“Huh?” Ella turned around and said, “One more time?”
“Ella, you are brave,” Marla said. “I would have never taken off my mask in front of everybody. And I understand why you had the costume in the first place.”
Ella rested her chin in her hands. “No you don’t. You’ve never been through what I’ve been through.”
“Yes, I know,” admitted Marla. “But I understand that you wanted to win for once. You were carelessly abandoned, even if you did come from a poor family. Now you are here, and everybody is so much better than you.”
Wow, Ella thought. How could she be so right about me?
“You don’t really understand,” Ella said. “You just have a good eye. You have no idea what it’s like to lose EVERY SINGLE WAKING MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE!”
“Let me ask you a question,” said Marla. “You created Lacey so you could win. But Lacey was just different on the outside, not the inside. Your personality shone through Lacey. So it was you speaking, but Lacey talking.”
Ella had never heard Marla that deep. What was the difference between speaking and talking?
“Just think about what I said,” Marla said. She closed the door quietly and left Marla to sulk.
Ella got out of her room that night to eat dinner. Addie wasn’t on speaking terms with her.
“Hello, Lacey,” July said. “Or are you Ella again?”
“She’s Ella, July,” Addie said. “She ALWAYS was Ella.”
I wonder what’s wrong with her, Ella said to herself. “Oh, soup! I’ve...”
“...Never had soup before,” answered Addie. “We get it. Your family was dead poor and now you live with us. You don’t need to use that excuse all the time to get attention.”
Ella gave Addie a look of mercy. Addie answered with a look of anger. Ella had never seen Addie upset. Even when Ella was feeling down on herself, Addie would always help! Addie was much more than a sister! She was a real, true friend!
I have to fix this, Ella said.
At school the next day, Rainbow and Tory were on the rampage.
“Oh, look, it’s ELLA,” Tory said to Rainbow.
“Yes, the one who is always lingering by herself,” Rainbow said, quoting what her friend said at the slumber party a few nights ago.
“Do you know what happened to LACEY?” asked Tory. “She is so much cooler than you, ELLA!”
“Quit it, you guys,” Ella said. “I’m not Lacey. I’m Ella, and I’ve learned my lesson.”
“Whatever, ELLA,” Rainbow said. She and Tory laughed, linked arms, and skipped away, singing a nasty song.
So, they hate me as well, thought Ella. But I’ve learned my lesson. I’m not Lacey anymore. I’m Ella. Ella Ella Ella Ella Ella.
“Hello, Addie,” Ella said as her sister walked by.
Addie didn’t answer. She wrinkled her nose at Ella and started to talk to her best friends, Blossom and Saylene.
“You could at least answer!” called Ella.
Addie told a joke that made Saylene and Blossom laugh. It was probably about Ella. It was definitely about Ella.
It's strange how only Marla likes me now, Ella said to herself. She chuckled a bit. I would never imagine that to happen.
“Marla, I need advice.” Addie knocked on her sister’s door after school.
Marla opened the door, surprised to see a desert Shoyru and not a green Blumaroo. “What’s wrong, Addie?”
Addie closed the door, locked it, and said, “It’s about Ella.”
“Yes, it seems like everything is about Ella these days.” Marla laughed but turned serious. “What about Ella?”
“I missed her when she was Lacey,” Addie said. “But now she’s Ella again and I’m mad at her! I don’t even understand why!”
Marla sat down on her bed and patted it. “Come, little sister. You are probably upset because Ella was keeping a big secret from you,” Marla said.
“That’s not it!” Addie wailed. “Marla! I just lied to you! I know exactly why I’m upset at her!”
“Then tell me,” said Marla calmly.
“She told me one day that she didn’t think of you as a sister,” Addie said. “She said that you’d hate her if you weren’t related.”
Marla chuckled at that one.
“So, when I realized that Ella hid herself in a new, improved pet, I thought she was doing it because she felt the same way about me!”
“I think I know why Ella made a new identity for herself,” Marla said, cringing a little. “It’s because she thought she always lost. Like, in life.”
Addie cocked her head. “What do you mean?”
“I think it was mostly because of her poor family,” Marla said.
“I feel horrible!” Addie cried. “I made that crack about her being poor at the dinner table!”
“We should go talk to her,” said Marla.
The sisters went into Ella’s room. Ella was playing Solitaire.
“We need to talk,” Marla said.
Ella looked up and saw her sisters. “No thanks,” she said.
“Yes,” Addie said. “We really need to talk.”
Marla and Addie got in closer.
“Addie feels really bad about what she did,” Marla started. “And she wants you to know that anything she did to hurt you she is sorry for.”
“Yeah,” said Addie. “And now I know why you decided to become Lacey.”
“Marla told you,” said Ella, unable to trust anybody at the moment. She couldn’t even look her sisters in the eyes.
Addie nodded slowly, tears running down her face.
“Well, I don’t care!” Ella cried.
“If you felt you lose all the time, why didn’t you tell me?” asked Addie through her tears.
“Because I’d feel even more like a loser,” said Ella. For the first time that day, she smiled.
The sisters went into a group hug. They promised each other to talk when they were feeling sad or left out.
“Deal!” cried Ella, putting her paw in.
“Deal,” said Marla, putting her paw on top of Ella’s.
“Deal!” giggled Addie. She put her paw on the top of the pile.
“Look, it’s ELLA!” yelled Tory. She pointed to the green Blumaroo walking with her sister.
“Yup, I’m ELLA!” cried Ella. She put emphasis on the word “Ella” as well.
Tory exchanged a glance with Rainbow.
“You have any more tricks up your sleeve, ELLA?” Rainbow asked.
“Just leave her alone!” cried Addie. “Why do you have to make so much fun of her all the time?”
“Because it is fun,” Tory and Rainbow said together. They high-fived.
“Well, you have no real lives, so you make fun of poor pets who know they made mistakes and apologized,” Addie said.
Rainbow and Tory were really offended. They picked up their noses and walked away without another word.
Ella and Addie squealed and hugged. They crossed over their bridge of friends, foes, losers, non-losers, and drama. None of them finished without a limb.
This story is dedicated to anybody who feels left out or feels like a loser. You just need to remember that what you see may not always be true. People who you think hate you may actually love you a lot. You see something, but you never see beyond it.
Never say that you’re a loser. You have to have at least one friend, even if it is a brother or a sister. Just look at Wrig and Wrigga!