Ailemea Smiled: Part Four
The small Xweetok sat in her playpen, making a castle of the blocks that her owner had bought her. “Ailemea!” a voice sang, and the Xweetok’s owner entered the nursery. “I brought you a prize!” Ailemea grinned and began to bounce with excitement. With a flick and magical twist of her wrist, the girl presented a piece of cardboard to the pet. The young pet sighed with disappointment. Then the cardboard licked her and chirped. She backed away fearfully, then ever so slowly reached out a paw to pet it. As she began to stroke the cardboard, Ailemea smiled.
The awkward rivalry had passed between Mhyme and me, though I knew it was still there. There still hadn’t been any corny ‘companionship’ or whatever that I’d had with Nexy and Jenna – Isaerios is still a lost case. The morning after our little midnight robbery, the Buzz Squad came, repaired our door, arrested the thieves, and then it was like nothing had happened.
Jeanie made a heap of assorted eggs and boiled some borovan. As Mhyme and I entered the kitchen, we found everyone already seated around the not-so-formal kitchen table. Kasinnia was spooning baby food into Nexy’s mouth, Oreh was giving some tips to Kelesari about eating with fins (which she was patiently listening to as if she hadn’t been eating that way for almost a year already), and Isaerios and Shuibee were sitting at opposite ends of the table looking steadily at their plates. Teagy and Selia were seated on their owner’s laps and they are also distinctly not looking at each other.
Mhyme and I glanced at each other – if there was anything we shared, it was a sort of ‘big sister’ bond. Even though, I am actually the big sister and she is just the second youngest. She went down and sat beside Shuibee and I sat beside Isaerios.
“What’s on your mind?” I asked.
“I can’t stand him,” he said through gritted teeth.
“You know who,” Isaerios said, looking up from his plate to glare at me.
“Well I can’t stand Mhyme – does that make us even?” I said innocently.
“It’s not the same! You are girls – you have this weird sort of ‘big sister’ bond going on.”
“Technically Mhyme is the second youngest,” I pointed out. He rolled his eyes.
“Yeah well – Shuibee and I just don’t get along and I can’t wait for him to leave.”
“What makes you think he’s leaving?” I asked with surprise. He looked up in horror.
“Isn’t this temporary?” he hissed. I shook my head pityingly.
“My dear boy, moving in means moving in. They’re here to stay,” I said. He groaned and his face fell onto the table. Jeanie approached and placed a plate of half-raw eggs in front of me. I grimaced.
“Eat up!” Jeanie said cheerfully. I looked around the table and saw identical faces of dismay. My stomach rumbled in disgust.
“Uh... actually, Jeanie, I have a seminar for my fans in,” I pretended to glance at my wrist. “Oh – well, now! So, I’ll just go and...”
“Ailemea, sit down and eat!” Jeanie said sternly. I sat down, pouting. Mhyme snorted and I shot her a glare. Jeanie glowered at me and sat down. I began to chop up my eggs. While Jeanie dug in, I took a spoon and stuck it under the table. And waited. And waited. In surprise, I looked under and found only Aros the Blue Drackonack glaring at the spoon that had thrown disgusting egg all over his face. Elaine the Wadjet was bouncing with mirth behind him.
Frowning, I sat back up and looked around.
“Where’s Haelee?” I asked worriedly. Everyone looked up from their plates.
“Isn’t she under the table waiting for you to slip her your breakfast?” Jeanie asked with surprise over the Neopian Times. I shook my head worriedly, blushing slightly. Jeanie shrugged.
“I’m going upstairs; call if you need me,” and she disappeared through the door.
My question was answered a few minutes later by a shrieking yelp. We all leaped to our feet, paws, and fins in surprise. We all turned to the door and watched Haelee slide around the corner with a screeching sound like a tire. I held out my paws and she leaped into them and buried her face in my fur.
“What’s wrong- AGGGHHHHH!!!” I let out a blood curdling scream at the thing that had followed Haelee into the kitchen. Haelee glanced around and then joined in the screaming. The Spyder paused at the sight of all the witnesses, but its eyes remained on Haelee.
“Shut up!” Mhyme said shortly, picking up the petpet. “You’ll hurt Suki’s feelings.” I stared at her in horror. Haelee whimpered.
“That is your petpet?” I gasped. She smiled and snuggled her face against the Spyder’s.
“Sure is – isn’t she precious?” she said with pride. I was shaking my head.
“No. Oh no no no...” Before anyone could stop me, I was dashing up the stairs to the top floor. In no time I was in Jeanie’s jelly room.
“I can’t do this!” I yelled. Jeanie leaped up in surprise, dropping the book she had been reading. It fell to the floor and then burst into a puff of smoke.
“Aile!” she said distastefully, frowning at where the book had been. “That book cost more than a thousand neopoints.”
“I can’t live like this! Mhyme herself is sort of okay but what about Haelee? You’re wrecking this family! Shuibee and Isaerios hate each other, Selia and Teagy hate each other. This can’t work!” I was hysterical. Jeanie rolled her eyes.
“Maybe they are all just reflecting their owners’ feelings,” she pointed out. I shook my head.
“It won’t work,” I insisted. Haelee nodded pitifully.
“Haelee manages to live with Aros, doesn’t she?” Jeanie asked.
“That isn’t the same!” I argued. “Aros isn’t allowed on our floor – much less does he live in our room.” Jeanie sighed.
“Please, Aile, I just...” Her voice was breaking. Uh-oh. Don’t do it, Jeanie, don’t! NO! She looked up at me, her eyes wide and watery. Not the... not the GELERT EYES! “I just want you all to get along so badly. I’m so busy lately and I want you all to be happy and...”
“FINE FINE FINE! Just stop those horrible things!” I said, covering my eyes with my paws. Jeanie smiled and her eyes became normal.
“Thanks, honey, why don’t you and Mhyme go out today with Suki and Haelee? Give you all a chance to get to know each other?” she said sweetly. My eyes widened with horror.
“Now, Jeanie, I don’t know if that is the way to go about this,” I said, my voice shaking at the thought of a day alone with that... that mime.
“Yeah, Jeanie, we wouldn’t want Ailemea to break a nail.” I jumped at Mhyme’s voice in the doorway. She was smirking. I glowered.
I gazed at the ceiling with fascination. There must’ve been eight black specks that management hadn’t cleaned. Wow. I should make a complaint. ...Nah. Still staring at the ceiling, I brought my smoothie straw to my mouth and found the cup empty. Frowning with distaste, I waved the cup at a nearby roller-skating Tuskaninny who quickly brought me another Mega Ice Creamy Jelly Smoothie. My gaze didn’t break from counting another couple black specks that had appeared.
“Um, Aile?” Mhyme asked softly. I glanced up. Suki and Haelee were sitting on the table beside each other – Suki had met Aros and had decided to take ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ thing to a whole new level – they had a blueprint of the house in front of them and were walking across it with a compass. I watched as they squeaked and shook her their heads at each other continually before turning to Mhyme.
“Are we just going to sit here all day drinking smoothies?”
“Of course not, we’ll get Bloaty Belly,” I said simply.
“Well, what do we do after that?”
“I was thinking we could go find that one petpet thing in the Snowmuncher’s game and ask to borrow his little potion that takes away bloated – then we could have more smoothies.”
“Are we ever going to talk?” she wondered slightly impatiently. I sat down – my chair had been standing on two legs as I leaned back – and looked at her. I decided it was best to be honest – we are sisters after all.
“Oh, okay then.” Mhyme snapped her fingers and the skating Tuskaninny brought her another Mega Melman Smoothie. I watched her with surprise as she leaned back in her chair and stared out the window, slurping her smoothie rather relaxedly. Then I smiled and leaned back once again, staring up at the ceiling.
The petpets suddenly began hopping up and down in excitement as if they’d found the answer to a very complicated math problem. Suki looked up wildly at Haelee and the Ditsy pointed something out on their little map. Suki yapped in surprise and began to mark it with a red pen. Mimi and I watched them for a moment before glancing at each other with smiles in our eyes. Finally, we returned our gazes back to the window and ceiling. There was a certain relaxation to it.
It wasn’t so bad. Agreeing to disagree.
To be continued...