"I love it!" the yellow Aisha held the lime green fuzzy sweater against herself to get a basic idea of the fit.
"Happy birthday, Lem." Her owner ST gave the pet a gentle hug.
Maybelle the blue Uni (the Aisha's only older sister) eyed the sweater longingly. She'd always wanted a fuzzy sweater, and lime green was the perfect colour. Not only that, but she and Lem were the same size.
"Now mine," Maybelle's only older sibling, a yellow Gelert, handed Lem a picture frame.
Butterscotch was the oldest pet and he always enjoyed getting gifts for his littler siblings. Especially Maybelle. But he had worked hard to make Lem a frame for her favorite picture of them, where Butterscotch was making Snowbunny ears on Lem's head and Lem was sticking her tongue out.
"Thanks... I guess." Lem tossed the frame aside with her disco compact from Maybelle and disco Aisha plushie from her only little sibling, Cinn the purple Wocky.
Her attention returned immediately to the sweater. She pulled it over her head, forgetting to remove the Uni's Clothing tag.
"That was the very last one in that colour," ST explained, "and it was just your size."
"Y'know, Lem, I just realized, you wear a small, and I wear a small! Small world," Maybelle said.
"I love this sweater more than I love myself." Lem hugged herself.
"Who wants cake?" ST motioned to the Aisha chocolate cheesecake in the center of the pretty covered table.
Everyone pulled up a functional purple chair and dug in.
Monday rolled around and Lem wore her new sweater to go grocery shopping.
"Oh my gosh, I love your sweater!" An older looking orange Acara came up to the family. "It totally suits you. Girls, doesn't it suit your sister?"
"We're GUYS!" Cinn and Butterscotch shouted.
"You should consider a different colour, like... not purple," the Acara said to the Wocky before skipping off.
"Thanks so much, ST," Lem said, "this is, like, the fifth compliment I've gotten since my birthday."
Maybelle bit her tongue.
Weeks went by and every day Lem got at least three compliments on her sweater. Usually more. And every day, Maybelle grew more and more jealous of her little sister's sweater. One day, she entered her Summit Strip Neohome after returning from the Igloo Garage Sale.
"Look what I got." She showed ST a clear plastic lime green tote bag.
"Cute." ST dropped a laundry basket on the luxurious sofa.
"Where's Lem?" the Uni asked.
Usually, the Aisha would be blasting music from the CATFB speaker in her bedroom, but the only noise coming from upstairs was Cinn hitting something with his toy sword.
"She's at her recorder lessons," ST explained, "and she's staying over at a friend's tonight. She'll be back at nine tomorrow morning."
"Oh, okay." Maybelle nodded.
"Wanna help me put away the laundry?" ST asked. "I'll give you 500 Neopoints."
"Sure." The Uni grabbed the basket.
On the top was Lem's disco print sleepshirt, so she presumed Lem's room would be the first stop. Usually, the Uni was blinded by all the wild disco prints, but it seemed rather welcoming today as she made way to the jelly dresser.
After she put away the sleepshirt, she found herself staring at Lem's sweater on top of the basket.
Maybelle held it up to the light and understood why Lem loved it more than herself. It was fuzzy, pretty, comfortable, fitting – what wasn't to love. A few minutes of admiring later, ST entered the room.
"Having trouble?" she asked.
"Just trying to figure out which drawer the sweater goes in," the Uni replied.
"It should be hung up." ST grabbed a pink hanger off the rack next to the dresser.
Once she placed it back on the rack, it started swinging back and forth, the squeaky sounds seeming to say:
The Uni slammed her hoof over the hanger to stop it from swinging.
"Thanks," she said, stuffing a yellow Aisha T-shirt into a drawer.
A few hours later, Maybelle sat on her beauty bed, glumly flipping through Neopian Girl magazine, searching for an article to take her mind off of lime green fuzzy sweaters.
The title of the first article was: "Close Knit Friends – Stitch Your Friendship Like a Sweater". Next was "Pet Scout Troop Make Sweaters for Pets in the Pound". Next was "Lime Smoothie Recipe".
She threw the magazine into a corner and entered her bathroom. She decided to style her mane in order to take her mind off things. When she opened the drawer of her pink vanity and pulled out an elastic, the first colour available was lime green. She lay on the tile floor, the mocking swings of Lem's sweater echoing in her head.
"What're you doing on the floor?" a familiar voice asked.
It was Butterscotch.
"Um, I slipped on some water," she said.
"Well, I'm going to the ice cream cart. Wanna come?" the Gelert asked.
"Sure, let me just change out of my pajamas," the Uni said.
She pulled a long white skirt out of her drawer. It would look great with a lime green sweater. She pulled it over her pajama shorts along with a white tank top, then scooped some Neopoints into her white canvas tote bag, then went into Lem's room and stuffed the sweater in her bag.
Finally, she went down the country staircase and met Butterscotch at the door.
"I'm ready," she said.
"Why don't you take your new bag?" ST asked.
She was sitting on the luxurious sofa reading the Neopian Times.
"Green will add some nice colour to your outfit," she continued.
The truth was, Maybelle would've taken it, but it was too see-through and ST would've noticed the sweater.
"Um, I'm going for a white look," Maybelle said. "Maybe next time."
"Bye." The owner waved. "Don't spend too much."
As soon as Butterscotch locked the door, the Uni pulled Lem's sweater over her head.
"Isn't that Lem's sweater?" Butterscotch asked. "The one that she loves more than herself?"
"I'll put it back," Maybelle promised. "She'll never know I borrowed it."
"You're SO going to be in trouble," Butterscotch said.
Maybelle crammed the chocolate-stained sweater into her bag as they approached the Neohome.
"You're the one that shoved me aside," Maybelle said.
"What're you going to tell ST? Or Lem?"
"Oh, I'm not telling them," Maybelle said.
"Don't you think Lem will notice that her sweater is stained?" Butterscotch took the key out of his black sweatshirt pocket.
"I'll just hide it." Maybelle looked through the window.
Cinn appeared to be attacking a pillow with his toy sword.
"I have a bad feeling about this." Butterscotch opened the door.
Maybelle came downstairs the next morning to some heavy sobs.
"I can't find it! I looked everywhere!" Lem cried.
"Morning," the Uni said. "What's going on?"
"I can't find my sweater," Lem sobbed.
Butterscotch was still asleep, but Cinn and ST were giving Lem sympathetic shoulder pats.
"I hung it up in your room yesterday," the Uni half-lied.
"Well, it's not there," Lem said. "I looked everywhere in my room."
"Maybe it's in someone else's room by mistake." Cinn shrugged.
"Doubt it," Maybelle replied a little too quickly. "I'll go check my room."
"I'll go with you to speed things along." Cinn hopped off the luxurious sofa.
"Why don't you check your room instead?" Maybelle suggested.
"Okay, fine," Cinn sighed, "but I like Maybelle's room better."
Maybelle shut the door behind her and pretended to look for the sweater, even though she knew full well it was in her striped pink toy box. After nobody reported the sweater being found, Lem decided to make Lost Sweater posters to put up around the neighborhood. Maybelle volunteered to go with her.
"I just don't get it," the Aisha said. "I mean, sweaters don't just get up and walk off in the middle of the night."
The swinging clothing rack echoed in Maybelle's head. But this time, it said:
"Wait!" Maybelle shouted.
She ran into the house, past ST and Cinn, who were making chocolate chip cookies, past Butterscotch, who was reading about petpet training, and upstairs to her room to get the sweater out of her toy box. Once it was in her hand, she ran all the way back to Lem without being noticed by any of the other family members.
"I borrowed your sweater last night because I was really jealous and it would look really good with the skirt I was wearing, and I would've asked you but you weren't home, and then I was gonna put it back, but Butterscotch pushed me back and I accidentally pressed my ice cream cone into it and it probably won't come out and I'm really sorry because I know you love this sweater more than you love yourself and I know you hate me but I'm really, really sorry." The Uni unfolded the sweater and held the stained side out for the Aisha to see.
Instead of exploding with rage or bursting into tears, the Aisha burst out laughing.
"Huh?" Maybelle was confused. "You're not mad?"
"Look at the stain!" Lem said through her laughter.
Maybelle turned the sweater around and saw a (sticky) brown L in the middle of the sweater. L for Lem!
"Of course I'm not mad," Lem said, "although ST probably won't let me wear it. You can keep it. And I won't even tell her it was your fault. On one condition."
"Which is?" the Uni asked.
"Ready?" The Aisha held out a tube of chocolate éclair paste.
"Yeah!" A Wocky and Gelert smiled.
"I guess." Maybelle half smiled.
She stared at her favorite retired Uni's Clothing shirt pinned to the wall.
"GOOOOOO!" Lem shouted.
They all began squirting the chocolaty paste at the shirt, permanently staining it. Maybelle grimaced. But hey – she deserved it. After all, what good is a sister if she can't borrow and ruin your favorite clothes?
Author's Note: This is my first story featuring my pets. I wanted to make it a series but couldn't get it to be long enough. Constructive criticism and fanmail are welcome!