Abandoned: Part Seven
“Are you ready?”
Even though Kiran’s voice called to her from another room, Taite could pick up her excitement. The Usul laughed and put down the book she had been reading. “Yes, I’m ready!”
“Your eyes are closed?”
Taite sighed a complaint, but shut her eyes. “They’re closed! Just come out here already!”
Not a second passed before Taite heard the slam of the patio doors, announcing Kiran’s presence. “All right, you can look now!”
Taite’s eyes fluttered open and she gasped. “Kiran!” she screeched.
The formerly pink Uni had undergone a transformation. The Kiran standing in front of her was ten times more fabulous.
Kiran gestured to her new self. “That’s right, child! This is the real me- a gorgeous individual, not some Liv clone!”
Taite giggled. “Kiran, you’re a purple Acara,” she told her flatly.
Kiran put her hands on her hips. “Correction: I am a royal Acara. Purple’s just the standard fur colour.”
The Usul rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say.”
Kiran shoved her playfully. “You know what the good thing is about being an Acara, Taite? You have paws, not hooves!” With that, she grabbed Taite and hauled her across the deck. When they got to the pool, she tried to push the Usul in, but Taite clung to her sister’s arm. There was a giant splash, and both girls were dunked underwater.
Jacob looked up from The Neopian Times and eyed his pets. “Play nicely, girls!” he called in mock warning.
Kiran’s purple head popped up on the surface of the pool. “Yes, Daddy!” She laughed, and propped herself up against the side of the pool, waiting to surprise Taite when she resurfaced.
Taite strolled down one of the many footpaths in Brightvale, her Whinny trotting faithfully at her side. As they neared the Beaumont mansion, the Usul scooped her pet up in her arms. “All right, Lady, no more chewing on the plants in the garden, okay? The gardeners don’t like it.”
Taking Lady’s snort as her agreement, Taite set her back down again and continued up the front walkway. The pair slipped through the beautifully designed gate that led to the backyard. Taite always took this way inside, because the maids tended to hover around the front entrance.
Taite led Lady to the paddock and saw that she was safely secured inside before heading to the house. As she walked in the backdoor, she sighed. There were a few suitcases upstairs that she still had to unpack. She’d put it off for three months, but she had no reason to procrastinate anymore. Taite liked her home. Brightvale was peaceful. Jacob was kind. Kiran was, well, crazy, but she loved having her as a sister. Plus, here Taite could once again enjoy things like petpets, shopping sprees, and vacations. So as Taite followed the spiral staircase to her bedroom, she didn’t have any regrets about fully settling in here.
Once inside her room, Taite hauled the remaining luggage out from under her bed. She opened the first one, a small suitcase that resembled an oversized handbag, and pulled out the first article of clothing- an I Love Fyora T-Shirt. She opened her drawer containing her casual clothing and threw the shirt in there. Then, she headed back to grab something else from the suitcase.
It only took a few minutes for Taite to make it to the bottom of the bag. There was only one more item to unpack now- a simple, crystal tiara.
As Taite fingered the priceless treasure, she noticed a piece of wrinkled stationary at the bottom of the tote bag. She set the tiara on her vanity and went back to pick up the piece of paper. It was parchment colored, different from neomail, and the lettering was written in an almost calligraphic script. There was a single word on the front: Taite.
Curious, she carefully unfolded it. The same script continued on the inside. One glance told Taite that this was a personal letter of some importance. Why else would someone put so much care to handwrite it this beautifully? Figuring that this must be so, the Usul sat on her bed and began to read.
I am sure that at this moment in time, you would rather not be reading this. I am also sure that you think I deserted you. It kills me to know how much you surely despise me for what I did, but I would like to attempt to change that.
Let me just say that as I write this letter, you are with Tally and Delta, shopping at Chesterdrawer’s for some luggage, since we always travel light. Well, you couldn’t travel light this time, could you?
As I put these words to paper, you are probably venting to Delta about this injustice. I can’t blame you, honestly. I know it seems like I have abandoned you, but if you would listen to my side of the story, maybe you would understand. This is my last chance to tell you, as we leave tomorrow for the pound, so I am just going to get on with it.
When my sister came to me and told me that she was leaving Neopia, I was instantly saddened. You are one of my best friends, Taite, but Bridgette is my blood relative. She cares about River and doesn’t want her to waste away with some owner that never takes care of her. I was hesitant about agreeing, but then she told me that she planned on leaving all her Neopoints to me when she left- if only I would take River.
I won’t lie and say that didn’t appeal to me. I recently made some bad stock choices and lost a lot of money on that, plus reconstructing our Neohome took a toll on our bank account. Right now, we’re living richer than we are- which is a problem. I know that you, Sashay, Tiffany, and Celia love our gourmet dinners, winter vacations on Mystery Island, tea with your friends, etc. I couldn’t take all that away from the four of you. So I figured that by taking in River, I could fix our money problems. That meant getting rid of one of you girls.
I didn’t want to, but I figured having three happy daughters plus River beat having four miserable daughters. At first, I was going to leave Celia at the Adoption Center, but she is so young! I didn’t think she could handle it.
I couldn’t bear to leave Sashay, because she has such little self-confidence. Abandoning the poor girl would destroy her. She would lose all hope of ever finding another home.
That left you and Tiffany.
Tiff is the oldest. You, Sashay, and Celia all look up to her. If I took her away, the three of you would fall apart.
So I began to think of reasons that I couldn’t get rid of you. Sure, you had been my pet forever, but you’re strong, Taite. You can handle whatever it is that you’re put through. I don’t want to let you go, but I have to. I have to. I hope that you understand this. I didn’t not want you. I was just thinking about what was best for our family.
I want you to have a good, happy life with someone that wants you. I didn’t mean to screw things up like this. Sending you off was the only option I had. You get that now, don’t you? I really hope you do, because I don’t want you to blame me for this. This wasn’t my fault.
As Taite dropped the note on the bed, she let out a burst of laughter.
‘You can handle whatever it is you’re put through.’ What did Belinda know about her misfortunes? Nothing. She hadn’t been there. The Usul shook her head.
And the ‘Sending you off was the only option I had’? Clearly, her former owner had a warped sense of reality.
Still, as she thought these things, the anger that had always been there didn’t seem so sharp. Belinda had changed her world for the worst, but Taite had ended up in a better place, with a better owner and better morals because of it. Belinda Newberry obviously wasn’t ready to be a mother, but Jacob was like a father to Taite now. Belinda definitely had her faults, but maybe everything happened for a reason. All Taite knew was that she felt at home here, like she belonged.
Taite gave a sad smile as she put the note on her dresser, next to the tiara. “Belinda, Belinda, Belinda...”
“I’m not used to all this long fur!” Kiran complained. She was stretched out on the deck by the pool, her purple hair blowing in the light breeze. “I forgot was it was like to be an Acara! I’m used to the short Uni coat.”
Taite let out a groan of fake annoyance. “Kiran, I’ve offered you my lemonade ten times already! Just drink it!”
“You’ve only offered it to me twice.”
The Acara laughed and was about to respond when Asha cut her off. Like Kiran, she too was back in her original form, an orange Kougra. Her striped tail twitched as she announced in a singsong voice, “Here comes Cardea!” She raised her eyebrows at Kiran and pawed her playfully.
The other girl grinned knowingly. “Taite, we have a surprise for you!”
Taite was basking in the sun, practically dosing, and sprawled out on the ground. “It doesn’t involve getting up, I hope, because if so, I’m afraid you won’t have a happy Usul on your hands.”
“No, no. In fact, your surprise is walking up right now!”
Taite opened her eyes to see a starry Uni looming above her, barely blocking the outline of a blue Shoyru. A very familiar looking blue Shoyru.
Kiran and Asha flashed triumphant smirks.
The Shoyru bounced up and down. “Taite! How have you been? I heard that you’re Kiran’s new sister! Do you actually live here, because the place is fabulous! Cardea and Mr. Beaumont just got through giving me the grand tour! How do you even remember where everything is? There are like fifteen bedrooms, and three kitchens, and two mini-spas! I don’t even know anyone who has one mini-spa in their house! Isn’t that crazy? I bet you get the best grooming!”
Taite was confident that Dior would keep talking forever if she was never interrupted. Plus, something she had said piqued Taite’s interest. “Wait, did you say Cardea gave you a tour? So...” Slowly, the Usul turned to the starry Uni standing quietly on the side. Her jaw dropped slightly. “Oh. My. Goodness. Cardea! I didn’t even recognize you! You should’ve said something!”
The girl just shrugged it off. “I was trying to keep my mouth shut until Dior had told you the news.”
The Shoyru took that as her cue to pop back in the conversation. “Oh, yeah! That’s right! How could I forget to tell you? Taite, you know Cardea’s owner, Banner, right? Well, anyway, Cardea apparently told Banner about the new friends she’d met at the Adoption Center- meaning you and me. Banner knew that Mr. Beaumont was adopting you so she decided to adopt me! Isn’t that wonderful? I finally get to eat real food again in a real home!”
Taite laughed and hugged her friend. “That’s awesome, Di. It looks like we’re all settled in for good, now!”
Cardea stepped forward. “So you know what we do now?”
Taite hesitated. “What?”
Asha, Kiran, Cardea, and Dior all answered her at once. “Party!”
“I should’ve known!” Taite moved out the way as all the girls rushed forward to get everything ready. Kiran headed to the kitchen for food, Asha turned up the music, and Cardea ran to turn the bubbles in the hot tub on. Only Dior hung back with Taite as she let the moment sink in.
The Usul watched her slightly psychotic comrades start up a spur of the moment party and smiled. She had a life now, with friends, and family, and happiness.
Whoa. Happiness? That was a word she hadn’t encountered in a while. Still, she liked the sound of that. Taite threw her arm around Dior’s shoulder and said, “You know what, Di?”
“I think I’m happy.”
Author’s Note: You can look at Dior_Courture’s petpage for behind the scenes info, recaps, quotes, character lists, etc. from Abandoned. If you liked the series, feel free to neomail me.