There is No Cost to Friendship: Part Four
Friday did not come quickly enough for Brooke. She spent Wednesday and Thursday waiting excitedly for the day that Sam came over to her house, the first time she had ever invited a new friend over to her house. At school during those two terrible days, she and Sam spoke about their plans for their day together. Sam decided that she was going to teach Brooke how to skateboard because she knew how much Brooke admired her talent. Brooke told Sam that they had to stay up all night, chattering and laughing into the wee hours of the morning. She knew that was what girls normally did during sleepovers; they never slept.
The final school bell rang and Brooke ran to her locker, quickly stuffing her knapsack with things that she needed over the weekend. She shut her locker and locked it, scanning the hallway for Sam. Finally she saw the red Ogrin carrying her knapsack, an overnight bag, and her skateboard under her armpit. Brooke laughed when she saw how weighed down Sam was.
“Let me take that,” Brooke said, grabbing the overnight bag from Sam’s left shoulder. She normally saw girls with overnight bags and it always made her jealous. Anybody carrying an overnight bag obviously was going to a sleepover and Brooke got so mad that she never had to carry one before. She did have an overnight bag stuffed in the back of her closet, but it virtually had no use.
“Thanks,” said Sam. “Where’s your brother? Aren’t we walking home with him?”
Brooke shook her head. “He’s going home with a couple of his friends.” She smiled. For once on a Friday afternoon she did not have to walk all the way back to Meridell alone while Ryan was having fun with his friends.
“How long is the walk to your house anyway?” Sam asked as the two girls climbed down the stairs of the school and started on their journey.
“Long,” Brooke replied. “At least forty-five minutes.”
Sam whistled. “How can you stand walking from your house to school every single day? My trip to school only takes ten minutes.”
“Where exactly do you live?” asked Brooke.
“Uh, northwest from here,” Sam said. “Near the ocean.”
“Cool,” said Brooke.
Brooke expected a forty-five minute awkward silence as she walked with Sam back to her house, but she surprisingly talked to Sam most of the way there. They had a lot to talk about now that they were getting to be better friends. Sam, who had never been to Meridell before, marveled at every single sight she saw as they walked. When Brooke was not explaining the story of Sinsi the Ixi or how to play Kiss the Mortog, the two girls chatted about their classes and the other students at school. Brooke did not even realize that she was almost towards her house.
“Well, this is my house,” Brooke said to Sam as she fished through her knapsack for her house key. She opened the door and showed Sam the first glimpses of her Neohome, gesturing for Sam to put her backpack and skateboard on the floor. Brooke grimaced as she stood up from putting down her backpack; she just then noticed the smudges on the walls and how old and broken her furniture looked, but there was nothing she could do about it now.
“Wow,” said Sam. She stared all around the house with her mouth slightly ajar, an amazed look on her face. “You actually live here?”
Brooke nodded, a little embarrassed. Her house was big enough for four people but it wasn’t exactly a palace. It was only one story tall and did not have many rooms. Most of the furniture was old. Was Sam actually impressed with her home or was she just pretending to make Brooke feel better about herself?
Shaking her head to make herself stop thinking those thoughts, Brooke took Sam into the kitchen to introduce her to her mother, who was already slaving away making dinner.
“Hello, Brooke,” her mother said, placing something in the oven. “How was school?”
“Okay,” Brooke replied. “Mom, this is my new friend Sam.”
Her mother shut the oven quickly and rushed to shake Sam’s hands. “So you are Sam,” she said, smiling brightly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Brooke has told me so much about you.”
Sam returned the smile and said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, too, Ms.”
“Call me Kathy.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Kathy,” said Sam.
“Well, I have to go finish our dinner,” Brooke’s mom said. “We’re having pot pie and mashed potatoes and a special treat for dessert.” She winked. “We don’t normally have dessert that much.”
“That’s okay,” Sam said. “I don’t eat dessert much, either.”
Before her mother launched yet another victim into a conversation about the evils of sweets, Brooke grabbed Sam by the hand and led her across the house to her room. The two girls sat down on Brooke’s bed. Sam could not stop looking around.
“We’re going to sleep here,” Brooke said.
“Oh, I don’t have a sleeping bag,” Sam replied, wincing.
Brooke shrugged. “We have extras. So,” she said, bouncing up and down on her bed, “what do you want to do?”
Sam thought for a moment. “I brought my skateboard. Do you want me to show you some new tricks?”
“Okay!” Brooke exclaimed. She and Sam ran out the door of her room, scooped up the skateboard, and ran to the front lawn. Brooke really wanted to learn how to skateboard. A lot of students at school were often commenting on Sam’s talent and how cool she looked. There was nothing more that Brooke wanted than to be considered cool. A skateboard could definitely help her achieve that status.
For a couple hours, Sam tried her best to teach Brooke the likes of kick flips, ollies, and rail grinds. For a couple of hours, Brooke found herself falling off of Sam’s purple skateboard and kissing the pavement more than a dozen times. Brooke had almost nailed her ollie when her mother called her in for dinner. The girls had had so much fun that it did not seem like two hours since they had last been inside. Nothing beat laughing about nothing with a good friend.
An extra place was set at the dinner table. Ryan, along with his father who had picked him up from his friend’s house, had arrived home a few minutes before dinner was ready and was already seated at the table, eying the mashed potatoes. Brooke’s mother brought the steaming pot pie over to the table and told everybody to dig in.
Sam cut herself quite a large piece of the pot pie and devoured it within a couple of bites. Then she spooned herself a mountain of mashed potatoes.
“So Sam,” Brooke’s father said when all of the introductions were finished. “Tell us something about yourself.”
“Well, I just moved here from Terror Mountain,” Sam said. “I’ve actually lived just about everywhere in Neopia except for Meridell, Brightvale, and Kreludor.”
“That’s nice,” said Brooke’s mother.
“Have you ever met the Snowager?” Ryan asked.
Sam shook her head.
The entire table was quiet except for the sound of forks and knives clanging against plates. “How about something else, Sam?” asked Brooke’s father. Brooke tried not to show her embarrassment on her face. Out of her entire family, her father was the one that was the most awkward. Sam, surprisingly, did not seem fazed by the extreme geekiness of her father.
“There isn’t really much about me to tell,” Sam replied. “I’ll just say that my favorite color is red, I live with my mother, and I love to skateboard. Everything else is a mystery.”
Brooke and her family chuckled a bit, but her parents still had more questions to ask. Brooke believed that they attacked Sam with questions so much because Brooke rarely brought friends home. This was a rarity for her parents that they had to cherish.
“So it must be hard to transition from Terror Mountain to Brightvale,” said Brooke’s mother.
“Yeah,” Sam said, pouring more mashed potatoes onto her plate. “My new house is... a lot smaller than the one I used to live in. It’s also been hard, you know, changing schools.”
“I can bet,” said Brooke’s father.
“I’m finished,” Ryan said, holding up his empty plate.
“Is everybody else finished?” Brooke’s mother asked. When everybody said yes, she grabbed the plates from everybody’s hands, dumped them in the sink, and rummaged through the cabinets to find the treat she was marveling about earlier. “I bought Pyramicake!” she said excitedly, bringing the large dessert over to the table.
Sam was the first one to take a piece. “This is delicious!” she exclaimed when she took the first bite. “I’ve never had Pyramicake before.”
Brooke furrowed her brow. Wasn’t Sam from the Lost Desert? Then she remembered that Sam only lived there for a short time. It was hard to keep track of all of the places Sam had once lived.
She was handed a piece of Pyramicake and dug in. She had tasted Pyramicake before, but something about sitting next to Sam made it taste a lot sweeter.
The sleeping bags were rolled out, the lights were turned off, and the electric clock in Brooke’s room said 1:13. She yawned, waiting for Sam to return from the bathroom after changing into her pajamas and brushing her teeth. Brooke had to admit that she was a tiny bit disappointed with her sleepover so far. Nothing that stereotypical girls normally did during sleepovers was done. There were no pillow fights, no gossiping, no silly make-overs. Mainly the two girls took turns telling jokes, riddles, and ghost stories. It was a lot of fun, but nothing like Brooke had expected.
Sam emerged from the bathroom and yawned. “This was really fun,” she said, climbing into her sleeping bag. The lights were turned out so Brooke could not see her face.
“I don’t really want to go to bed yet,” Brooke said. She rolled on her side and faced Sam’s outline.
“I’m all out of riddles to tell,” said Brooke. She was quiet for a second. “Do you want to tell our deepest secrets?”
“Deepest secrets?” Sam echoed.
Brooke smiled, but she was positive that Sam could not see it. “Yeah. I kind of want to spill my guts to you. In fact, I’ll go first.” She thought for a second. “Remember the three disco Unis? Corrine, Lauren, and Alyssa?”
“Yeah,” said Sam.
“Before you came, they were really mean to me,” Brooke confessed. “I mean, really mean. They would tease me almost every day and I would come home sobbing.”
Sam did not respond. “It’s your turn,” Brooke said. There was still no response. Brooke looked over to see why Sam was not talking and realized that she was fast asleep, looking a bit uneasy on her pillow.
To be continued...