The Ties That Bind: Part Seven
In the days leading up to the big birthday party, Mel kept herself busy by staying home with her siblings and owner. Every couple of days she would hang out with Kelsie and they would go down to Happy Valley to get a slushie or hang out at the skating rink. But other than that, she tried to stay indoors and away from the real world for as long as possible.
She hadn't talked to Sam since the day she visited the school. Mel felt guilty for not hanging out or even talking to the faerie Uni, since Mel was the reason Sam had come to Terror Mountain for spring break anyway, but Mel was still angry about Sam's evil plan of turning her friend -- namely, Garret -- against her.
Garret, on the other hand, kept himself busy by hanging out with Chad and Mikey as usual. They went to the shops and Chad and Mikey made trouble without Garret even noticing. Garret had thrown away the party invitations Mikey and Chad had gotten for him and Sam. He didn’t want to go to any party, or talk to Sam ever again.
Sam spent as much time with her sister and owner as possible. They did exactly what they had come on a vacation to Terror Mountain to do -- sightsee, try to steal something from the Snowager, visit the Ice Arena, and ski. She was especially looking forward to Saturday, the day of the big party.
Also, the faerie Uni, to her own surprise, had found herself actually liking Krystal. The Krawk seemed to really care about Sam's dilemma and appeared to genuinely want to help her get Mel to be her friend again. So the two of them met occasionally throughout the next few days leading up to Kally Kay's big birthday bash. Krystal also said that she was going to Kally Kay’s birthday too, and that she was friends with her, so she’d try to get Sam’s name on the guest list.
And that leads us to Friday, the day before the party. Who should we find running around the Ice Caves mall, other than our very own Garret, Mikey and Chad?
"Hmm... where to next? The candy shop?" Mikey questioned, a big grin forming on his face as he took a sip of his Tchea Fruit Slushie.
"NO! Anything but the candy store," Garret said sourly, screwing his eyes shut. He didn't want to step foot into another store where Mikey and Chad could steal things so easily.
"Aww... you're no fun." Chad frowned, his Lupe tail drooping to the ground. "Okay, what are we going to do, then? We've already been to the Ice Arena supply shop, the games and toy store, and even the calendar store. I think we've pretty much seen it all for today, guys."
"Wait!" Mikey shouted, pointing his index finger up in the air like he had just gotten a brilliant idea. "We haven't been in that store!"
The green Shoyru pointed over to a large store with elegant stone pillars on the outside of it, right next to the shoe store.
"Ewww... that's a GIRL store!" Chad shouted, turning his back to it and drinking the rest of his slushie. "No way I'm going in there, dude."
"Oh, come on. We have to get a present for that one girl..." Mikey paused, rubbing his chin as he thought. "What was her name again? Uhhh..."
He looked at Chad and Garret blankly.
"You know, the one with the party tomorrow!"
"Ohhh... Kally Kay! Or something," Chad said, nodding his head. Garret rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, her. Well, we need to get her a present. It says so on the invitation, too. We'll probably get kicked out if we don't bring something.”
“I told you guys, I am NOT going to that stupid party,” Garret told them, planting his feet firmly on the ground, defeating Mikey’s efforts to drag him toward the jewelry store. “I threw away those invitations anyway, so it’s final now.”
Mikey gasped. “You what?! Well, it doesn’t matter. Garret, this is going to be the biggest party of the year, and we are going. And since we’re not invited, we’ll just have to break in somehow. We’ll improvise.” Mikey and Chad pushed Garret toward the jewelry shop without another word.
"Welcome to Peomby Jewelers," greeted a plump Chomby as the three boys entered the shop. She sprayed a thick puff of perfume in their faces, grinning with delight. "We have the widest range of diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, silver, and more, all of which was mined by our very own employees in the bitter cold depths of the ice mines here in Terror Mountai--"
"Yeah yeah, we're just looking, lady," Mikey said impatiently, pushing Garret and Chad into the center of the spacious store as they gagged and held their throats, trying to breathe through all of the girly odors.
"So uh--" Garret coughed, wiping tears from his eyes. Why did women have to wear such strong, nasty-smelling stuff? "What kind of things do girls like?"
"Pretty stuff. Jewelry stuff, I guess. Right?" Chad asked, looking at Mikey for an answer.
The green Shoyru snorted. "How should I know? Let's just get the chick a cheap necklace or something." He looked at all of the necklaces and bracelets in the displays. All the sparkly shiny light hurt his eyes.
"How about that one?" Garret asked, pointing to a Mystery Island Shell Necklace. Chad and Mikey leaned over his shoulder to take a look, and nodded in approval.
"It seems a little out of place compared to everything else in this store, but okay. How much is it?" Mikey asked, squinting at the price tag. "Oh. One hundred and ninety-five neopoints. Cheap enough! Let's all chip in. Sixty-five neopoints apiece!"
Mikey smiled as he waved over a Peophin saleswoman to get the necklace out of the display. Meanwhile, Chad and Garret were walking around looking at all of the other necklaces to suppress their boredom.
"That one is pretty," Chad said, pointing to a Silver Heart Charm Bracelet.
Garret stifled a laugh, leaning over the display to take a look. "Chad, I never knew you liked jewelry." He giggled.
"Oh, shut up. You know what I mean." The red Lupe grinned thoughtfully. "You know who I think of when I look at that?"
Garret flinched, looking down at the silvery bracelet again. "Uh... why is that?"
"I don't know. But I think it would be a nice present. You know, for like a birthday or something."
Garret narrowed his eyes. He could feel his cheeks burning already, so he turned and tried to walk away, but Chad grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him back.
"I'm serious! You need to do something nice for her. She's a cool girl, and since she's been mad at you for the past week, I think you should get her a little present to show her you're sorry." Chad raised his eyebrows, grinning.
"What? You really think that would work?" the yellow Eyrie asked. "You really think she'd forget about everything that's happened if I get her a dumb bracelet?" He glared at Chad angrily. The Lupe obviously didn't understand the delicate situation he was in.
"Dude, trust me. If you buy them something like this, girls will always be all like, 'Awww, how sweet. He got me a cute little bracelet! Yaaaay.’ It's a win-win situation. Come on."
Garret sighed reluctantly, peering at the price tag. "I would, but it costs way too much. I don't even get that much money in three months worth of allowance."
Chad looked over at Mikey. He was still with the Peophin saleswoman, who was trying to convince him into joining the jewelry club or being added to the mailing list of the shop or something.
"...It's for a girl," Mikey growled. "...No, I actually have never even met her in my life. Now listen lady, for the last time, can you just sell the dang thing to me already?!"
Chad turned around, shaking his head, his lips curling into a smirk. "Hmm... well, I have another idea."
Garret shook his head slowly. He knew exactly what Chad was thinking about. "Noooo. No way, buddy. I am not going to steal that."
"Yes, you will. I'm not going to try and convince you to, either. I'm going to make you."
Garret could barely contain his anger. If Mikey and Chad wanted to steal things, fine. But he wasn't going to let them brainwash him into being like them. They were lucky he was even still hanging out with them.
"It's in the case, so we'll have to get a lady to come over and unlock it. I'll talk to her and keep her distracted while you just snatch it. Play it cool, okay? Just slip it into your pocket." Chad stretched his paw out and then slid it quickly but softly into the pocket of his coat, demonstrating what Garret should do.
"W-what? I'm NOT going to!"
"Hey, what's going on?" Mikey asked as he walked up to them. He had finally gotten the saleswoman to leave him alone and just let him have the necklace.
"See that bracelet?" Chad said, pointing to the silver one in the display. "Garret's going to get it for Mel. Aren't you?" The red Lupe winked, nudging Garret in the stomach.
"Ow! No, I'm not!"
"Ooh! Yes, you are!" Mikey grinned, wasting no time and immediately calling over a random Chomby saleswoman. It was time to put the plan in action. "Hey, we want to look at that one... the orangey gold necklace thing. Yeah, that one."
The Chomby unlocked the case and reached down into it, grabbing the necklace Mikey had pointed out. The silver charm bracelet was about a foot from the necklace the saleswoman had just pulled out. Chad looked at Garret, nodding.
"Why can't you just do it?" Garret whispered, fidgeting uncomfortably as he eyed the charm bracelet.
"Garret, you have to do it. Come on, hurry up."
"No, I can't... She’ll see me!"
"Hmm... interesting. I was thinking of something like this for my mother. You know, she's getting old, and right now she has a nasty case of the Ugga-Ugga. Can't understand a word she says. Poor thing, eh?" Mikey said, turning around for a second, giving Garret and Chad a 'come-on-you-guys-hurry-up' kind of look.
"Garret, just do it!" Chad hissed, pushing the Eyrie closer to the display.
Garret's wings started to shake. He could feel his face getting hot and little beads of sweat forming on his forehead, rolling down his cheeks. He watched the Chomby saleswoman while Chad kept a lookout to make sure none of the other employees were watching. When Garret assured himself that Chad and Mikey were pros at this, they knew what they were doing, and there was no possible way he could ever get caught, he reached out and grabbed the bracelet, then slid it into his pocket.
Chad grinned, nodding, as he turned around trying to look non-suspicious.
"Yeah, anyway, I don't really think I have enough neopoints to afford this, anyway. I should be putting what little money I already have into buying her Sporkle Syrup. And I don't think she really likes orange, come to think of it," Mikey said, sighing sadly. "Sorry I wasted your time, miss."
The Chomby saleswoman frowned. "Oh, it's okay, dear." She took the necklace back and placed it into the display, locking it once again. "Please come back with your mother when she gets better, and maybe she can choose a piece of jewelry she really likes."
"Yeeeah. Right. I'll be sure to do that."
Garret was so nervous he was shaking. He had his claw in his pocket and was clutching the piece of jewelry so tightly he thought it might pierce his skin and make him bleed. He held his breath as he watched the Chomby saleswoman turn around and put the orange necklace back in the display and lock it up.
"Well then. I think we should be going!" Mikey said, pushing Garret and Chad toward the exit of the store, looking behind him nervously at the Chomby lady. He whispered over Garret's shoulder into his ear, "You got it, right?"
Garret nodded repeatedly and once they were out of the store he finally let out his breath and took his grip off of the bracelet.
"See? No big deal! Eh? Eh?" Chad smiled widely, nudging Garret's arm with his elbow.
Garret sighed softly as they walked through the mall, wondering what in the world he'd just done.
To be continued...