The Kacheek Club: Of Popstars and Coffee Cups
"Ugh!" Bridgette the Faerie Kacheek moaned and plopped headfirst onto the Illusen Bean Bag in Gwen's room. "I'm sick and tired of this! A Magazine interviewed Jerdana for fashion tips... again!" She waved the latest copy of the Aisha-themed magazine in the air like a white surrender flag.
Gwen looked up from her copy of Shenkuu Landscapes. "Well, what did you expect? It's an Aisha magazine, after all," the Island Kacheek said.
"She probably expected the reporters for A Magazine to ask her for an interview," joked Xana the Disco Kacheek. She was sprawled on Gwen's Rose Rug with her Faerie Crossword Book opened in front of her.
Bridgette looked insulted. "Well, why not? I mean, I hand out pretty good fashion advice."
"Since now." Bridgette looked around and spotted Sarina the Cloud Kacheek, who was sitting in a corner of Gwen's room making a paper hat for her Purple Kau Plushie. "Sarina, darling, I suggest you stop wearing those pink overalls in public."
"Why?" said Sarina as she slid her paper hat onto her plushie.
"Um, because I said so." Bridgette rolled her eyes.
"That's not a real reason."
"Ugh, forget it! Being a fashion guru can be so hard sometimes." Bridgette groaned, laid her head back on the Illusen Bean Bag, and dropped the magazine onto her face.
Suddenly, Xana glanced down at her pale blue wristwatch. "Sorry, guys, I have to leave now." She stood up and stuffed her crossword book into her Rainbow Kacheek Backpack.
Gwen sighed and gritted her teeth. Yesterday at the park, Xana had claimed that she was late for an appointment and had to go. The day before, the Disco Kacheek had stuttered that she had to give her Spardel a bath, even though the rest of the Kacheek Club knew that Xana didn't own a petpet. And the day before that, Xana had managed to sneak out of Grandma Roo's Cafe while Gwen, Bridgette, and Sarina had gone into the restroom. "Why is Xana making up these excuses?" Gwen thought to herself as she watched Xana wave to the group and disappear out of her room.
"I wonder what Xana's been up to these days," said Bridgette, tearing an advertisement for Raspberry Usuki Gumballs out of her magazine. She rolled the paper into the ball and tossed it into Gwen's purple trashcan.
"Well, isn't it obvious? Xana told us that she had an appointment," replied Sarina, rolling her eyes as if the answer should have been a no-brainer.
"Sarina, you do know that Xana's just been telling us excuses, right?" Gwen looked over at the Cloud Kacheek.
Sarina looked dumbfounded. "Oh."
"I guess there's only one thing to do, then." Bridgette stood up from the bean bag and stretched.
"What?" asked Gwen curiously.
Bridgette smiled. "Who wants to take a trip to the Coffee Cave?"
Xana carefully roller-bladed past the line of pets who were waiting to place their order in the Coffee Cave, trying her absolute best not to tip the tray of Blairnut Tea in her paws. Ever since she had applied for a job as waitress at the Coffee Cave, she had been trying to get the hang of traveling around in blue rollerblades.
"Hey, Xana, can you take care of those customers who just came in at Table Six?" Rhoda the Speckled Ruki expertly skated past Xana, holding a tray loaded with dirty coffee cups.
"Uh, sure." Xana smiled at her co-worker and slowly skated off to deliver the Blairnut Tea to Table Three. Afterwards, she headed off to Table Six to take the order.
"Oh, good, the waitress came! Let's see, can I have a-"
At that moment, Xana and the three Kacheeks seated in the booth looked up at each other in alarm.
"Xana?! What are you doing here?" Gwen's jaw dropped, and the coffee menu slipped from between her paws.
"And why are you wearing that?" Bridgette involuntarily wrinkled her nose as she surveyed Xana's crisp white apron and the light blue collared shirt she wore underneath.
Sarina simply stared at Xana with wide eyes.
"I can explain," Xana said weakly. She took a deep breath and continued, "I applied for a job at the Coffee Cave a couple of days ago. You see, I'm hoping that with the Neopoints I earn from this job, I can be able to afford a Florin Stamp. It's the last stamp I need to complete the Altador section in my stamp album."
"Wait a sec, why didn't you just tell us?" Gwen raised her eyebrows. "We could have totally just given you Neopoints to buy the stamp."
Xana sighed. "That's why I didn't tell you guys about this job and the stamp. I knew that you guys would be all for buying the stamp for me. My parents even insisted that they could just purchase a Florin Stamp from the Post Office for me, but I told them not to. I really, really want to raise the Neopoints myself to buy the stamp."
Bridgette stared at Xana uncomprehendingly. "It's amazing how we're so different, yet we're actually friends," she muttered to herself.
"This is also the reason why I've been leaving early and stuff," said Xana. "Now that you guys know my secret, are you ready to order?" She pulled out her Banana Notepad from her apron pocket and poised her Pink Kacheek Pen.
"Er, yeah." Gwen shook her head as if to take herself back to reality. "I'll have a..." She looked down at the menu. "An Iced Soy Chai Latte, please."
Xana nodded and scribbled down Gwen's order.
"I'll take a Caramel Hot Chocolate," chirped Sarina. "Go heavy on the whipped cream."
Xana rolled her eyes and wrote down Sarina's order. Only Sarina would order a hot chocolate when the weather outside was hot enough to fry an omelette on the sidewalk.
"I'll order a Negg Latte," said Bridgette after quickly scanning the menu.
"Is there any particular reason why you guys all ordered the most expensive coffees in the shop?" asked Xana suspiciously, looking up from her notepad. "You guys didn't just order these coffees to help me buy the stamp, did you?"
"No, of course not." Bridgette blinked innocently. "Why would you think that?"
"In case you don't remember, you're allergic to Neggs, Bridgette." Xana tapped her pen against her notepad as she stared Bridgette down.
The Faerie Kacheek giggled nervously. "Oh yeah... I completely forgot. I'll just order something else, then. What's the second most expensive coffee sold here?"
"I think it's Lavender Mint Tea."
"Oh, okay, I'll take that." Bridgette smiled innocently as Xana eyed her skeptically before jotting down the order.
"I can't stand coffee, tea, or basically any beverage now." Bridgette sighed and stirred her cup of Orange and Mango Coffee. For the past two days, Gwen, Bridgette, and Sarina had followed Xana to the Coffee Cave and ordered numerous coffees and teas in an effort to inconspicuously help their friend earn enough Neopoints for the stamp.
"I have to agree with Bridgette, Gwen." Sarina's eyes drooped as she slurped her Strawberry Butter Tea. "I never knew that caffeine could have a dark side." She bit into one of the four chocolate dipping sticks included with her drink.
Gwen dipped her Tigersquash Iced Bun into her Ice Blended Mocha Coffee and sighed hopelessly. "Well, what else can we do? It's pretty obvious that Xana won't accept our help. But we can't just stand there and watch her earn the Neopoints by herself."
"All I know is that all of this coffee and tea is bad for my calories," muttered Bridgette as she unwillingly took a sip of her coffee. "In the past forty-eight hours, I somehow managed to go up two skirt sizes. How is that even possible?"
Gwen and Sarina both shrugged.
"Let's just get an idea of how long this is going to last, shall we?" Gwen searched the crowded shop for Xana. "Xana!" She signaled the Disco Kacheek over to their table.
"Did you guys want more cream or something?" Xana asked breathlessly once she arrived at their table. She wobbled a little on her rollerblades.
"No, actually, we were just wondering how many Neopoints you've earned," said Gwen casually. "How many more days do you think you'll have to work here to earn enough?"
"Hmmm, if my calculations are correct, then I only need about twenty-four thousand more Neopoints." After a brief pause, she added, "Which is the equivalent of around three more days of working."
Once Xana left to take more orders, Bridgette groaned and put her head in her paws. "Three more days? I'll have to buy a complete new wardrobe in bigger sizes by then."
"Wait a minute. It doesn't have to happen." Sarina's face was scrunched up, which meant that she was brainstorming. "I have an idea. Tomorrow we'll dress up as rich popstars and order coffees from Xana. When we leave, then we'll just give her a tip of twenty-four thousand Neopoints for being a great waitress. She'll have to accept the Neopoints since she won't know that the popstars are really us." Sarina grinned proudly at her creative thinking.
Gwen sighed and rolled her eyes. "Sarina, that plan is..." The Kacheek paused and let the plan sink into her brain. Her eyes widened and she squealed, "...Complete genius!"
Bridgette whined, "No fair. I should have thought of that before..."
"It looks like Operation Popstar is a go!" Gwen grinned and eagerly drank the remains of her Ice Blended Mocha Coffee.
Xana screeched to a halt in her rollerblades once she caught sight of the latest customers to enter the Coffee Cave. The Island Kacheek who had led the way in had on a Curly Pink Wig. A Pretty Flower Mask concealed her identity. Xana could tell that the second Kacheek to walk in the door was painted Faerie because of her bright orange-and-yellow wings. The Faerie Kacheek sported an over-the-top Fantastic Braided Wig and a pair of sparkly Butterfly Sun Glasses. The last Kacheek to arrive was dressed the most normally. A Classic Black Bob Wig was on her head, and a noticeably fake Classic Beauty Mark was plastered right on her chin.
Xana skated over to the odd group and said in a small voice, "Um, may I take your orders?"
"Certainly." Gwen adjusted her Pretty Flower Mask before saying, "I'll take a Minty Iced Tea."
Sarina tugged on a strand of her black bob and said in a ridiculously high voice, "I'll have a Bubble Tea."
Bridgette leaned over to Gwen and whispered, "Look who's taking their part a little too seriously." She rolled her eyes and said in a normal voice, "I'll order a Strawberry Kiwi Tea. I always used to drink it when I was busy designing clothes for the band." Bridgette caught Gwen and Sarina glaring at her, and she muttered, "What?"
"You guys are in a band?" Xana raised her eyebrows in disbelief.
"Um, yeah, totally." Gwen's pink curls bounced with her head as she nodded. "We're not really that famous yet, but pretty soon we'll be playing at the Tyrannian Concert Hall before you know it."
"What's the name of your band?" Xana actually looked curious as she asked the question.
"Oh, we're the-" Bridgette was cut off by Sarina.
"The Feepettes!" Sarina blurted. "We write songs about all Feepits in general."
Gwen rolled her eyes and said through gritted teeth, "Yeah, we're the Feepettes."
"Oh. Well, I'll be looking for you guys in the Concert Hall soon." Xana smiled at the three before skating off to get their orders.
"'The Feepettes', Sarina? Really?" Bridgette said in exasperation.
"What? I, for one, thought it was a keeper." Sarina shrugged.
"Guys, stay focused," snapped Gwen. "If Operation Popstar fails, we'll end up stuffing ourselves with coffee for the next three days."
Bridgette and Sarina immediately became silent at Gwen's words.
"Here are your drinks. Enjoy!" Xana handed out their beverages.
"Thanks!" Sarina reached for her Bubble Tea and took a giant gulp.
Xana watched in mild disgust as Sarina's fake Classic Beauty Mark fell off of her chin and landed on the marble tabletop. "Well, I'd better get going." The Disco Kacheek skated off, glad that she wasn't the one who would be wiping the tables when the Coffee Cave closed for the night.
"Alright, did each of you guys remember your eight thousand Neopoints?" asked Gwen quietly as she sipped her Minty Iced Tea.
"Yep." Bridgette pulled a small brown pouch out of her jacket pocket. "I even added an extra two thousand Neopoints in there. Anything to prevent us from drinking coffees again, you know?"
Gwen and Sarina quickly transferred their eight thousand Neopoints into Bridgette's pouch. When they finished their drinks, Gwen left the pouch and a note of thanks next to the napkin dispenser on their table.
"This is probably my favorite part of the whole plan," admitted Bridgette as the three of them walked out of the Coffee Cave. They all ran over to one of the windows and peeked inside.
"Xana just reached our table!" announced Gwen. "And she's picking up the pouch... Now she's looking inside... Score!" She watched as Xana pulled off her rollerblades and began jumping up and down.
"Wow, one of my plans actually worked for once." Sarina looked surprised.
"Operation Popstar is a success!" Bridgette grinned as she, Gwen, and Sarina high fived each other.
"And it was just so cool, because they gave me exactly enough Neopoints to buy the Florin Stamp!" Xana took a deep breath as she finished telling Gwen and Bridgette about what had happened yesterday during her shift at the Coffee Cave.
"Really?" Gwen settled into her Fyora Print Bean Bag and smiled contentedly.
"I only wish I was there to see it." Bridgette sighed glumly, and Gwen tried her best to suppress her giggles.
"Hey, where's Sarina? I have to tell her the good news!" Xana carefully placed her Florin Stamp in the last available space in her album.
"Oh, she told me that she was going to be late. She had to stop by the Bakery or something." Gwen shrugged.
A couple of minutes later, they heard footsteps coming up the stairs.
"Hey, guys!" Sarina appeared in Gwen's doorway and waved.
Bridgette gasped out loud while Gwen put her paw over her mouth. Sarina was still wearing her popstar disguise!
"Sarina, why are you-" Gwen was interrupted by Xana.
"Wait, you guys were the popstars?!" Xana's face contained a mixture of shock, disbelief, and hurt. Everything that had happened yesterday suddenly clicked together in her mind like puzzle pieces.
Looking at Sarina's Classic Black Bob Wig and her Classic Beauty Mark, Gwen knew that there was no point in lying to Xana. "Yeah, we were." Her head lowered in shame.
"How could you? I specifically told all of you that I didn't want help earning the Neopoints!" Xana bit her lip and crossed her arms over her chest.
"We know, we know. But listen to me, Xana, you're our friend. And friends help friends," replied Bridgette.
"Yeah, all we wanted to do was help. We're really sorry if we hurt your feelings." Sarina's eyes were wide and sincere.
Xana looked around at her friends and finally sighed. "I guess you guys are right. I shouldn't have been that stubborn. I should have known that since you guys are my best friends, you guys would have wanted to help me."
"So, do you forgive us?" Gwen looked at her hopefully.
"Totally." Xana, Gwen, Bridgette, and Sarina rushed together for a group hug.
When they let go, Bridgette spoke. "You know, this whole plan would have gone smoothly if Sarina hadn't suddenly appeared wearing her disguise."
Sarina shrugged and smiled. "What can I say? I love wearing this costume."
Gwen, Bridgette, and Xana shrieked as Sarina's Classic Beauty Mark detached from her chin and landed on Gwen's rug.
Sarina groaned and bent to pick it up. "Not again!"