The Ties That Bind: Part Four
Kelsie and Mel strolled along the streets of Happy Valley, sipping their steaming mochas and chatting amongst themselves. It was a chilly day after school, and they had come down the mountain thanks to the help of an Eyrie who was willing to give them a ride.
Mel kicked her feet in the snow as they walked, heading nowhere in particular. She looked around at all of the pets and owners walking by who were doing their chores and whatnot. The yellow Usul suddenly stopped, leaning her back against one of the giant candy canes on the side of the road.
Kelsie turned around. "Mel? Why are you stopping?"
Mel just shrugged, adjusting the pink beanie she was wearing on her head. "I don't know, it's just... do you... do you think all of this fighting with Sam might just be stupid and pointless? After all, it seems like all she's trying to do is make me jealous, and it's kind of working..."
Kelsie slowly walked over to Mel, sighing. "I don't know. It might be stupid, but do you really want to be friends with her again? By the way you've been acting lately, is seems like you hate her, so why are you worrying about this? Just forget all about her and move on with your life. In a week she'll be gone, and then everything will go back to normal. In the meantime just relax."
The Usul frowned, standing up straight again. "I guess you're right. It may be best to just act like she isn't even here in Terror Mountain. But that's nearly impossible, since everyone is always making such a big deal about her.” She sighed as she started walking back down the street with Kelsie. “Plus, she's brainwashed Garret. He never liked Sam, even when she did live here. What's gotten into him?" she wondered, quite puzzled about all of it. One day, Garret was one of her best friends, and the next, he was Sam's. It was all so confusing.
"Forget about him, too!" Kelsie said cheerfully. "Just enjoy life as it is right now. If you'd stop worrying about your friends all the time, maybe you'd actually be able to have some fun. Now how does getting a slushie and then heading over to the skating rink sound?" Kelsie grinned, pointing over to the slushie shop.
Mel was unable to keep herself from smiling back. Kelsie always knew how to cheer her up. Besides, maybe Kelsie was right after all. Mel should just stop worrying about everything. She didn't even have to talk to Sam or Garret. She could block them out of her life for a while if she wanted.
"Oh, and I forgot to mention another thing that will cheer you up!" Kelsie said, bouncing along excitedly. "On Saturday, one of my oldest friends is having a huge birthday party at her mansion! Everyone's invited! Everyone except Sam and Garret, that is," she giggled.
Mel smiled. Having a party with no Sam was definitely a reason for her to be happy.
Garret groaned as he flew through Happy Valley in search of Sam. The Uni should have been out and about somewhere around the area, since she was staying in a lodge near the skating rink. He wondered why she and her family had chosen to stay in a place so far away from the top of Terror Mountain, where Sam had been spending most of her time, anyway. It would have saved him a lot of trouble.
The Eyrie had decided he would try to talk Sam out of making him bribe invitations to the party out of Kelsie and Mel. Besides, they would never invite them even if he offered to give them a million neopoints. So what was the use in trying? He'd just go find Sam, tell her that she was wrong, and that he was sick and tired of being her pretend-best-friend, then leave and never have to worry about her again.
It was so simple, yet he couldn't help but feel nervous about the whole thing. What if Sam still forced him to be her 'friend’? He knew how overpowering Sam could be. She could probably get the king of Brightvale to give her neopoints, if she gave a convincing enough performance. He could just see it now -- Sam begging in front of the king, wearing grungy peasant clothes and telling him the tale of how her best friend hated her and her flock of Babaa had run away and she couldn't make any money by being a shepherd or something lame like that.
Garret flapped his wings harder as a gust of cold wind blew past. He squinted his eyes, trying his best to spot a faerie Uni in the crowds of pets all around, but someone else caught his eye. A yellow Usul was walking along with an island Zafara. Mel and Kelsie.
It looked like they were headed toward the slushie shop so he descended quickly, then landed softly on the ground, his large claws crunching the snow. He walked behind them, getting closer and closer until their voices were audible. He continued to follow them, listening in on their conversation.
"The party's going to be so fun. No Garret, no Sam..."
"Oh, I know. I can't believe him, anyway. He was actually acting like my friend yesterday. And today? Like I don't even exist. Ridiculous."
"Will you stop going on about Garret? I'm getting tired of hearing about him..."
"Sorry..." Mel said quietly, and then the two friends picked up their pace as they neared the slushie shop. It was hard for Mel not to complain... lately, she just didn’t really have anything to be happy about.
Garret frowned. It looked like Mel really did hate him. What could he do to get her trust back? He decided that he just needed to tell Mel the truth and set it all straight. It was the only solution he could think of. Maybe if he explained how Sam had forced him to be her 'best friend,’ Mel would forgive him and everything would go back to normal.
The Eyrie peered over at Mel and Kelsie as they got in line behind the counter of the slushie shop. He inched towards them, taking a deep breath.
"So whose party is it again?" he heard Mel ask.
"Well, her name’s Kally Kay. I’ve known her since I was really little. She’s a good family friend. She’s inviting a ton of people, even people she doesn’t even know, and I managed to get you on the guest list, too. It’s going to be so fun! Everyone who matters will be there! "
Mel nodded and turned her head, catching sight of something big and yellow. Before she could take a second look, Garret quickly spun around, facing his back to her. Mel raised an eyebrow and poked him on the shoulder.
"Garret?!" she yelled, pulling his arm and turning him back around. "Hey! What do you think you're doing?! Were you listening in on our conversation?!" the yellow Usul demanded, stomping her foot on the ground.
"What? No! Of course not! And um... you see, this is just all a big coincidence. Yeah, a really, really big coincidence. I really didn't know you were here until now! I was just getting a slushie." Garret chuckled, trying to play it cool. "Fancy meeting you two here...?"
Mel suddenly crossed her arms and turned around, pretending Garret wasn't even there. "I forgot, Kelsie... I don't talk to traitors anymore. Get rid of him for me, will you?"
The Island Zafara sighed, gently pushing Garret to the side of the line, away from Mel. "Garret, Mel doesn't want to talk to you. Ever. So, um... please, just leave her alone and go hang out with Sam, or whatever you do nowadays. Bye.” She turned around without another word and walked back towards Mel.
"Wait! Mel, I can explain!" Garret yelled, running back up to them. He put his hand on Mel's shoulder and took a deep breath before continuing. "You have no reason to be mad at me! It's all Sam's fault. She just wanted me to pretend to be her friend so you would get jealous. Really! That’s all it is!"
Mel yawned, looking up into the sky. A tiny snowflake fell on her nose, and she flicked it off. "Hmm. Kelsie, did you hear something? I thought I did, but it must have been the wind..."
"MEL!" Garret yelled, smashing his feet around in the snow angrily. "Just listen to me! I'm telling the truth--"
Garret couldn't finish his sentence, because suddenly he felt something hard hit his head and he fell to the ground. At first, all he could see were the blurry shapes of Mel and Kelsie hovering above him, and the gasps of people around him; however, after a few moments, he didn't feel anything at all, and everything went black.
To be continued...