Honest Lu: Part One
This story is dedicated to two of my neofriends.
Thank you so much guys for allowing me to use your pets in my story. Rachel, Max the Puppyblew, and Zulu belong to Luna (luna4400) and Cherry, Snowflake the Faellie, Shapay, Wiira, and Padfoot belong to May (sakura_blossom77).
I hope your love for writing never stops.
Part One: Puppets and Friendship
"Okay, Blossoms, listen up," Lukio announced spiritedly, the shadow Xweetok banging her purple hairbrush on the wooden chest that stood in front of her bed. "I think I may have an idea for our next Blossom's Good Deed." A blue newsboy hat for perched upon her head, for Lukio always was wearing her newsboy hat. She was also wearing a pair of cupcake earrings and rainbow gloves that Crystal had bought her from the NC Mall.
Her two very good friends, Cherry and Rachel, sat around her, their eyes wide and shining and full of knowing that Lukio had a good plan for their next Blossom's Good Deed; Lukio always had a good plan!
Lukio, Cherry, and Rachel were three inseparable Xweetoks with hearts of gold and the promise to be friends for life, through fire and pain and whatever else life has to throw at you. They even have a friendship club they started when they were little. The Blossoms; for their friendship is ever blossoming.
A Blossom's Good Deed is just a good act the Blossoms performed for others, whether it was walking a rambunctious Doglefox, petpet sitting a naughty Meekins, or just baking delicious cookies for the local Snowy Acres Pound.
"Ooh, what is it, Lukio?" Rachel the striped Xweetok squealed, her cotton-candy colored paws clasped together in avid delight. She was wearing her precious Xweetok popstar hat and a valuable pair of Valentines earrings.
"Yeah, tell us!" Cherry the also striped Xweetok butted in, the Xweetok's head covered by a flowing orange woodland archer wig.
"Okay... are you ready?" Lukio said slowly, a smiling peeking up from her face, pretending to make it a dramatic scene. She then pulled something soft out from under her pillow. It was made out of blue flower-patterned felt, little yellow cross stitches weaving through the pattern. A neat, circumspectly seamed mouth smiled back at them, and two radiant hazel button eyes were sewn on its face, balancing out its features.
"Ta-da!" Lukio smiled, quite pleased with herself. She held up the puppet for them to see.
"It's a... puppet," Cherry remarked, her once joyful smile pinching up in disgruntled way and her excitement falling flat.
"Yeah!" remarked Lukio, as if nothing were wrong. "And?"
Rachel and Cherry glanced at each other, embittered looks of dismay on their faces.
"Well, what do you guys think?" Lukio asked, a smiling still blooming on her face. "We can make puppets for the new Sewing Club at Pre-Neoschool! You guys know they're newbies, and we can make them puppets as an inspiration!" Her starry midnight-blue eyes were simply overjoyed and her voice made Rachel and Cherry cringe. She actually expected them to be able to make a puppet like that?
"Err... no offense to me or Cherry, Lu," Rachel said surely, a bit hesitant, "but you're the only one that can make puppets."
"Uh-huh!" Cherry swiftly nodded. "I mean, Lukio, we can't even sew, let alone make a whole puppet!" she reiterated practically.
Lukio just glanced at her precious puppet, then back at her friends. "And how do you know that?" she asked, raising her brows. "I bet you guys haven't even tried it!"
Cherry and Rachel's eyes shifted around Lukio's bedroom, a sure sign of dishonesty.
"Ha, I knew it!" Lukio laughed. "Come on, guys! It'll be fun, you'll see."
Cherry heaved a great sigh. "Oh, Lu, I don't know..."
"Pleeeeeeeeeease!" Lukio begged, clasping her shadowy paws together. "Please! Oh, please! Oh, pleaseeeee? It is for a Blossom's Good Deed!"
Rachel laughed. "Well, for Fyora's sake, stop begging!" She sighed, rolling her eyes slightly. "Okay, Lu, you win. I'll try it. What about you, Cherry?"
Cherry glanced from Rachel to Lukio, and then smiled. "Fine," she said, rather unamused. "But if I stink, I'm blaming you, Lukio!"
Lukio giggled. "Well, that sounds fair. We can start tomorrow then, okay?"
Rachel and Cherry nodded, their faces blooming with smiles, and then the three friends placed their paws on top of each others, cheering, "Blossoms!"
"Err! I can't get this stupid button to stay on my puppet!" Cherry grumbled, taking her needle and stabbing the green button eye into place in utter vexation.
Rachel leaned over to her and whispered, "Tell me about it! Do you know how hard it is to find a piece of fluff that looks like an Ixi tail?" She sighed and started mumbling as she searched through Lukio's sewing chest for a piece of brown fluff that at least looked a little like an Ixi tail.
"Hey, you guys better not be complaining!" Lukio cried bemusedly from her desk on the other side of the room. "This is a good deed. Think of how happy the little sewers will be!" She smiled and held up her grey Zafara puppet. "This one is for little Lava."
Cherry and Rachel only stared open-mouthed and Spardel-eyed at Lukio's perfect puppet.
"You... you did that that fast?" Rachel cried in disbelief, looking down at her puppet who only had a body and no mouth, eyes, nose, or even ears.
Lukio glanced at her puppet. "Er... yeah. All I have left to do is the eyes," she said, smiling. "Which are, of course, red, for the little grey Zafara!"
"Agh!" Cherry cried in defeat as she flopped back on Lukio's bed. "Lukio, you are so unfair! This is the worst wasted three hours of my life!"
Lukio stared mischievously at her striped Xweetok friend. "Cherry, are you giving up?" Her dark blue eyes were narrow slits filled with pleasurable amusement.
Cherry rolled over to face Lukio, an annoyed look glazing her blue eyes. "Me, give up? No! I don't give up, Lu! I just..." She bit her lip to stop herself from saying, "I just can't do it!"
Rachel giggled. "Yeah, Cherry's waaaay too competitive for that! OOH! AN IXI TAIL!" Rachel quickly snatched the Ixi tail fluff and held it up to her puppet. "It's perfect!" she gushed.
Cherry groaned. "I'll never, ever, EVER be good at making puppets!" She jabbed the needle angrily into the puppet's face. "Die, puppet!" she spat.
Lukio gasped and jumped out of her chair, retrieving the puppet. "Cherry Blossom, how could you!? This is a puppet, not some pin cushion!" She held the puppet and tenderly smoothed out its rumpled felt body. She groaned. "Cherry!" Her midnight-blue eyes flashed at her friend.
Cherry sighed and got up. "I'm sorry, Lu. I'll try again later, okay?" She waved her paw and proceeded out the door. "Got anything to eat?"
"Oh! Cherry!" Lukio began to groan. She started to sigh and tried to at least pretend to be annoyed, but it only resulted in her face twisting up in a humorous grin. "Yeah, in the kitchen. Perhaps we all could take a break." She laid down her puppet on her desk, just as Cherry dashed out the door and down the steps.
"That Cherry... whatever are we going to do with her?" She giggled. "Come on, Rach," Lukio said, noticing Rachel was sitting at the edge of her bed, nervously hovering over her puppet, sewing on the Ixi's right arm. Lukio eyed her suspiciously. "Is something wrong, Rachel?"
Rachel looked up and hesitated. "I... I really care about this, Lukio," she said slowly, saying each word in earnest. "Cherry may think it's silly, but I really do like puppets. I see why it fascinates you so. And - please don't tell Cherry - but could you maybe... maybe you could teach me?" She flinched, expecting Lukio to strike her with a heart breaking answer.
Lukio stared wide-eyed at her friend, a warm smile spreading across her face. "Oh, Rachel!" She sat down next to her friend. "Of course I will. I'm willing to teach you all that I know!"
Rachel's face brightened. "Honestly? You would? Oh, Lukio, thanks!" She happily continued sewing on her Ixi's arm again, more confidently this time.
Lukio smiled. "I'd better go check on Cherry. Odds are she went straight for Crystal's plate of chocolate chip biscuits!"
"I wouldn't doubt it," Rachel chortled earnestly. "Everyone knows your owner's one of the greatest cooks around!"
Lukio walked down the stairs and into the kitchen, where, just as she had expected, Cherry was delicately taking a bite out of a biscuit. "You know, Lukio," she said between a bite. "Crystal should totally make a batch of theses for the Snowy Acres Pound sometime. They are good!"
"That good, huh?" Lukio asked. "I'll have to tell Crystal." She grabbed one, trying to find a way to start her sentence. "Uhh... hey, Cherry, about the puppet-"
"Save it, Lu. I know I'm no good," Cherry said, putting up a striped paw to let her friend know the conversation had come to a dead-end and would be spoken of no more.
"What? Cherry, I was just going to say-"
Cherry bitterly cast Lukio a look that made her stop talking. She grabbed another biscuit and sighed. She paused, and then, "How are you so good? I'm awful, Lukio! Seriously. I can't..." She stopped herself from screaming, "I can't do it!" Cherry was not a quitter. She was never the girl to say she had given up.
Lukio gazed at her friend sympathetically. "I'm only good because I love puppets and I do it all the time. Now come on, let's go back upstairs and continue making our puppets, okay?" She smiled softly. "It's for a Blossom's Good Deed..."
Cherry's eyes shifted back to the plate of biscuits, but soon her thin mouth curved up into a small smile. "Okay, I will," she sighed.
When they returned upstairs, Rachel already had both arms and the tail sewn on, and she gleefully jumped up when she saw her friends and exclaimed, "Cherry, Lukio! Check this out! I thought maybe we could find extra beads and string and make accessories for the little sewers!" She held up a pawful of beads, each glittering in the sunlight that strewn in in ribbons from Lukio's bedroom window.
"Wow, that's a brilliant idea, Rach!" Lukio declared, the shadow Xweetok reaching in her sewing chest for her bead box. She opened it and hundreds of beads glistened inside. Some were glittery, some were plain, and there were lots of different colors. Lukio then dug up her ribbon box, it containing ribbons of nearly every color and size.
"Wow," was all Cherry could say. "Goodness, Lu, you must have been prepared for this!"
Lukio laughed. "Come on, we'd better get to work."
"Lukio... what if the little sewers don't like my puppets?" Rachel asked in a small, timid voice choked with dread. "What if they think they're ugly?" She examined her starry Bruce puppet; it looked somewhat like a starry Bruce. She had already finished her brown Ixi puppet, and now, with the grateful help of Lukio, she was completing her second puppet.
"Oh, honestly, Rachel!" Lukio cried skeptically. "Are you serious? What exactly do you think is wrong with that puppet?" She continued tying the little red beaded necklace on her grey Zafara puppet.
Rachel fumbled with an answer. "Well..." She heaved a sigh of despair. "It looks awful! It's just not right!"
"What? Rach, it looks amazing!"
"Yeah, but it doesn't look like yours!" Rachel whined stubbornly, her arms crossing, and her face portraying a pouty look.
Lukio stopped and stared at Rachel, her eyes wide. "Rachel, seriously?" she sputtered in disbelief. "It doesn't look like mine because you made it, not me. Everyone has their own style, Rachel. And no one will ever make things the same. That's why there are so many possibilities."
Rachel stared at her puppet for a moment, fingering the little starry arms. "I guess you're right, Lu," she said quietly after a while. She grabbed her complete brown Ixi puppet to admire it. The mouth smiled at her and dark pink button eyes glistened. A pink beaded necklace was tied around it's neck with a silky green ribbon. Rachel smiled slightly, her feelings twisting around. It wasn't so bad. It actually sort of looked... nice.
Lukio picked up Cherry's half-finished electric Aisha puppet. Cherry had to go shopping with her owner May today, so she couldn't be there to finish her puppets.
"Cherry's isn't half bad either," she rendered. "I mean, look at that face! We all know Shockra does have a big smile!"
Rachel giggled. "Yup, she sure does! The biggest!"
Lukio laughed with her. "Hey, you and Cherry should come over tonight for a petpet play-date. While our little friends play, we can finish our puppets, and give them to the little sewers tomorrow!"
"Lukio, that's brilliant!" Rachel declared, her eyes dancing. "I'll neomail Cherry right away."
"Hello? Lu? Anyone hooooome?" Cherry's voice rang out as she pushed open Lukio's bedroom door. Her flying white faellie Snowflake fluttered behind her, and Rachel's little puppyblew named Max wiggled impatiently in Rachel's arms.
"Hmm," Rachel explained, "Noelle said she was up here, but I don't see-"
Rachel and Cherry clung to each other, screaming, as Lukio jumped out of her closet, her Juma on her head. "Haha, did I scare you?" she giggled, her dark blue eyes sparkling with mischief.
Cherry laughed, trying to look angry. "Lukio, Lukio, how dare you! If I had my sewing needle right now, I'd..." She trailed away and exploded into a fit of laughter. "Goodness, you are sneaky! Come on out, Snowflake, it was only Lukio, acting like her brother Kounico with her silly pranks."
Snowflake squeaked and fluttered out from Lukio's bed, followed by Max. They both rambled over to Kitten, Lukio's Juma, and started talking petpet-talk.
"I can hardly wait to see the look on the little sewers faces when we hand them our puppets," Lukio said as she sewed the last piece of the tail onto her white Eyrie puppet. She held it in front of her, examining it, her head cocked.
"Me either!" Cherry exclaimed in a breathy tone, nearly finished with her electric Aisha puppet. "Shockra will love this!"
"Yes, and I hope my little sewers like mine, too," Rachel said hopefully.
"They will, Rach," Cherry said, smiling encouragingly at her friend.
Rachel smiled back. "Yeah, you're right. And their sewing teacher, Ms. Analuise, will be so pleased!" They all nodded in earnest agreement.
Kitten was chasing a yarn ball around the room, Snowflake and Max trailing after her. Max the green puppyblew swiped it from her with his teeth, carrying it over to Rachel and dropping it at her feet, looking up with a face that said, "Look, Mommy! Look what I caught for you!"
Rachel chuckled, and then Snowflake flew over and grabbed the yarn ball, squeaking triumphantly.
The Blossoms laughed.
"Petpets are so funny," Cherry said, patting Snowflake on her little white head.
"Yeah," Rachel giggled.
The all continued working, stopping ever so often so crack a chuckle about their silly petpets tumbling around the room.
"All done!" Rachel held up her puppets, and then buried her face in them, completely exhausted.
"I'm finished too!" Cherry said, heaving a great big sigh of exasperated triumph. "What do you think? Did I do good or what?"
"You sure did!" Lukio said earnestly, a huge grin on her face. "You both did. Which is why I have a surprise for you both before you leave."
Cherry and Rachel snapped their heads in her direction.
"A surprise?" Rachel asked, her eyes dancing. "Like what?"
Lukio got up and returned with something behind her back.
"What's in your hand?" Cherry asked, her eye catching on something soft in Lukio's paw. "More puppets?"
"Mm-hmm." Lukio nodded, barely able to keep her expression calm. "But not just any puppets, either! They're special, totally cool, totally amazing, magical, super, positively-"
"LUKIO!" Cherry and Rachel yelled together.
"Friendship puppets!" Lukio gushed, holding out a puppet in each paw that resembled each of her striped friends.
"Oh, my... Lukio!" Rachel breathed, taking her puppet and running her paw along its face. "These are simply..."
"...amazing!" Cherry finished, pressing her puppet against her cheek. "Oh, Lu, I'll love this forever!"
"Me too!" Rachel cried, her heart welling. "Lukio, you are truly the greatest friend ever!"
"I know," Lukio said, her face engulfed in a huge grin. "And I'm so proud of you two and how hard you worked on these puppets. The little sewers will love them, I know." She smiled sweetly.
Rachel and Cherry threw their arms around her neck, and the friends embraced in a friendship hug.
"What's in the box?" Salvadore the little white Eyrie asked curiously, peering at the box on the desk, his little white head tilted and his wings fluttering in amusement.
"Yeah, is it a surprise?" a little brown Ixi named Fawn asked hopefully, her pink eyes dancing.
"Is it cookies?!?" Reuben the starry Bruce screamed, scrambling around madly trying to tear the box open.
"I like surprises!" Shockra the electric Aisha squealed, the biggest smile you've ever seen blazing on her face.
"Now children, calm down," Ms. Analuise told her little sewing class. She was a pretty pink Draik with a red laced bonnet tied over her head and an elegant ruffled red dress. Her bright red eyes sparkled as Lukio, Cherry, and Rachel stood in the front of the little sewing room, smiles blooming on their faces.
"Aren't you gonna tell us what's in the box, missy?" a little pink Wocky asked stubbornly to Lukio, her expression pouty and her demanding little hazel eyes gleaming. Her arms were folded across her chest.
"Now, Libby, honey, wait for these girls to show you," Ms. Analuise said tenderly, her eyes warm.
Lukio smiled and nodded sweetly to the little pink Wocky.
Cherry faced turned horror-stricken. "Goodness!" she hissed under her breath to Rachel. "These kids sure are bossy little characters, aren't they?"
Rachel grinned. "Come on, Cherry," she whispered. "They're little."
"Yes, and you were impatient to receive your surprises when you were little, too, weren't you Cherry?" Lukio giggled quietly, her eyes narrowed mischievously into slits.
Cherry scowled at her.
Ms. Analuise smiled. "Now, children, Lukio, Cherry, and Rachel were nice young girls and made you each a present."
"Is it something shockingly amazing?" Shockra breathed, her electric blue eyes wide and snapping like fire crackers.
"Is it a petpet?" sweet little Salvadore asked, his soft feathery white wings batting.
"IS IT COOKIES?" big Reuben peeped again, his big blue eyes bulging even bigger.
"Shhhh!" a little lady-like Fawn hissed quietly to her peers, the giant green bow perched on her head dancing as she spoke. "If you be patient, they'll tell us."
"Thank you, Fawn." Lukio nodded to the little brown Ixi. "Now, my friends and I know that you're aspiring sewers of the future, right?"
"Yes!" a few of them cheered, but most were silent, especially little Lava the grey Zafara in the corner. Lukio was mesmerized by her grim, morose expression for a moment. Her huge red eyes were saddened and teary and filled with a dismal glisten. She looked utterly miserable.
"Anyway," Lukio finally continued after a small elbow-nudge from Rachel, "we each made something for each of you." She stepped aside to Cherry, who stepped forth with a smile as big as Neopia painted on her face. "Okay... are you ready?" she said, her voice breathy, making a dramatic scene. She also shifted a bemused glance at Lukio. "Okay..." She threw open the box, each of the little sewers rocking forward and peering inside, their eyes huge with wonder and their little mouths all in the shape of an "O".
"Puppets!" Shockra was the first to shriek, a pleasureful little tingle darting up her electric Aisha antennae. "Puppets!"
"Is there one for me too?" little Savadore asked sweetly, the white Eyrie bashfully looking up at Lukio and blinking his honey-golden eyes that made Lukio's heart melt.
"Of course!" She smiled lovingly.
"And me too?" Fawn asked politely, her delicate little shiny hooves folded in front of her extravagant green dress. Her bow bobbed as she cocked her head.
"Don't forget about me!" Libby whimpered, her eyes wide at the thought of being forgotten.
"There's one for each of you." Cherry grinned from ear to ear and started giving each of the little sewers their puppets.
"Oh! I looove it!" Fawn squeaked, hugging her puppet to her furry brown cheek, her eyes disappearing with her smile. She fingered with the delicate beaded necklace around its neck. "It's so pretty!"
When Rachel handed Reuben his, he grasped it with his chubby blue flippers and sniffed it. "Can I eat it?" he asked hopefully, his cheeky eyes staring up at her. At first Rachel thought he was being silly and giggled, but when she saw he was serious, she quickly shook her head, her eyes wide.
"I wanted a royal Wocky puppet, because I am royal," Libby whined pitifully, her persistent face all screwed up in displeasure. She stared coldly at the pink Wocky puppet in her paws.
"But you're a pink Wocky, Libby," Cherry said softly, not wanting to provoke anything. "Not a royal."
"I am too!" Libby shrilled, her hazel eyes snapping. "Look at my crown!" She bowed slightly so that Cherry saw a glittering expensive NC Mall sparkling gold tiara perched upon her head.
"But royal Wockies don't have..." Cherry was going to say crowns, but a warning look from Rachel stopped her. She wasn't about to make this little Wocky cry or make the volcano of terror erupt.
Cherry sighed deeply, blowing an annoyed spout of air from her cheeks that made her shining orange bangs flutter. "Okay, Libby, you're a royal. But we made you a pink Wocky puppet because..." Her voice trailed away, her smile turning to a panicky frown. She glanced hopefully at Rachel, who came to her rescue by stating, "Because pink Wockies are pretty, don't you think? And isn't pink your favorite color too?" She said all that quickly and shortly and then turned back to making sure Reuben wasn't eating his puppet.
Libby looked at her puppet, holding it up to her face so she could see it clearly. Her lips were pursed in a persistent manner, but she shrugged and stated, "Sure. But I'm a royal Wocky!"
Lukio handed sweet little Salvadore his puppet, the Eyrie taking it carefully in his paws. A wide jubilant smile crept across his face and he looked up at Lukio. "I love it! It looks just like me too!"
"Ooooooh." Shockra, mesmerized, took the puppet of her from Cherry. Her eyes were round as lemon sprinkle doughnuts, sparking madly. She smiled a big, big smile and exploded in a loud scream, "It's PERRRRFECT!"
Cherry nearly wanted to snap her paws over her ears it was so loud.
Lastly, Lukio hovered over to Lava, who was sadly sitting all alone in the corner of the room, gloomily staring out of the window.
"Hey, Lava..." Lukio said softly. "I... I made you a puppet too."
No answer. Not so much as a turn of the head to acknowledge she had been heard.
Lukio frowned, holding the puppet to her chest. "Lava...?"
Suddenly Lava's head snapped in her direction, her eyes glossy with sorrow and her mouth curved in a pitiful smile. She didn't speak, but her droopy red eyes flashed to the puppet.
Lukio uncertainly held it out for her. "I... made you a puppet." She watched in silence as Lava stared at her, a vague look in her eyes. Lukio sighed sadly. "Okay... I'll just leave it here..." She placed the puppet on the desk next to Lava and waved quickly before walking away.
Cherry grabbed her paw and pulled her aside. "What's the matter with her? Doesn't she speak? Smile? Anything!?"
Lukio frowned and looked at Lava... who just sat there, staring blankly outside. Lukio was determined to cheer that doleful little face up.
"Oh, no... you're thinking again!" Cherry groaned, knowing when Lukio had her heart set on something, she wouldn't give it up.
She looked at Cherry, a smile blossoming on her face. "Hey, come on, Cherry! All she needs is a friend."
"Oh, Lukio, Cherry! This is simply incredible!" Rachel cried delightedly, strolling over to her friends. "The little sewers absolutely adore their puppets!" She gave Lukio's paw a quick squeeze. "This was the greatest idea ever!"
Lukio smiled, just as Ms. Analuise walked up to them, an overjoyed smile on her pretty face. "Oh, girls, I could never thank you enough." Her voice was warm and kind. "You have done so much... how could I ever thank you?"
"No need to thank us, Ms. Analuise," Rachel said sweetly. "We just did it for-"
"You could let us teach the little sewers how to sew. We could give them lessons," Lukio cut in. She beamed a radiant smile.
Cherry threw her a glance, her eyes wide. "Are you kidding?" she sputtered.
"Of course not!" Lukio laughed carelessly. She turned to face Ms. Analuise. "If you'd let us, we'd like to help teach these little sewers something about sewing."
Ms. Analuise's eyes widened with pleasure and she smiled. "Well, I think that's a splendid idea, Lukio! The little sewers will be pleased, I'm sure."
"So we can?" Rachel asked hopefully, her paws clasped together in front of her chest.
Ms. Analuise nodded daintily. "Yes, if you girls would be willing to, I don't think it's a bad idea." Her eyes merrily thanked them.
"Hurray!" Rachel shouted, her Valentines earring quavering. She grabbed Lukio's paw and Cherry's paw, throwing them up in the air, cheering.
Lukio beamed, and Cherry gave a smile too. It would be amazing to be able to help the little sewers. And maybe Lukio could even get little melancholy Lava to smile.
"No, no, Reuben, you hold the needle like this." Rachel puffed a little cloud of air from her cheeks, carefully grabbing Reuben's little chubby flipper and helping him to hold the little silver needle correctly.
Reuben turned to look at her, his chubby face starring at her, his eyes big.
"There, that's better." Rachel gave a little nod of approval.
Reuben looked back at the sharp needle in his flipper. He stared at it, his blue eyes focused on it and nothing else. He seemed mesmerized. His gaze was unwavering. And then, ever so slowly, his flabby flipper suddenly made its way closer and closer to his mouth. At first Rachel didn't notice him. She was busy gathering cloth for the little sewers' first project, a mini quilt. Suddenly her eyes swept upon him and she gasped. Before she knew it, her paws had reached out and she madly ripped the needle from Reuben's flipper.
"What were you thinking?" she yelled in disbelief. "Ow." And then she started rubbing on her paw where she was been stuck by the needle.
Reuben lifted his head to stare at her. "Can I eat it?" he asked, as if he ate needles all the time.
"Wha...?" Rachel was at a lost. "No! No! No, of course you can't eat needles! It's dangerous!" She sighed and took Reuben's flipper again, positioning the needle. "Alright, let's try this again..."
Reuben continued to stare at her. His bulgy eyes got even bulgier and his lip trembled vigorously.
"Oh, no..." Rachel whispered, panic striking her.
And all at once the peaceful chatter of the room was erupted by a loud, booming wail made by Reuben. It gurgled up from his little chubby mouth and exploded into the room.
All eyes turned to Rachel, who stood blinking in shock. Cherry's eyebrows raised at her.
Ms. Analuise bustled over, taking Reuben's blue flipper. "Reuben, Reuben! Whatever is the matter?" she asked, trying to calm the mourning little Bruce.
Reuben continued to wail heart-brokenly, giant sobs choking from his throat, tears lolling pitifully down his pudgy face. "Eat it... Eat it!" he kept screeching.
Rachel cringed. "I swiped the needle from his flipper. He... he was trying to eat it." She hoped Ms. Analuise wouldn't be upset...
Ms. Analuise stared at her, then back at Reuben, her eyes growing wide. "Trying to eat the...?" her voice trailed away in disbelief. "Reuben, sweetheart!" she said calmly to the crying Bruce. "You can't eat needles. You'll hurt your throat, for sure."
Reuben stopped wailing. He stared at Ms. Analuise, his lip still trembling, but his bellows stopped. Suddenly all his tears dried up, and his gaze made its way to Ms. Analuise's bonnet. "Can I eat it?"
Cherry covered her mouth, wanting to laugh at Rachel's misfortune at being stuck tutoring Reuben. She was having much better luck with Shockra, the little electric Aisha cooperating nicely. Triumph made her happy.
"Now, Shockra, what patterned cloth do you want the second square of your quilt to be?" She was taking in the satisfaction of having a little sewer who followed her orders and didn't try to eat needles.
Shockra's big smile crept upon her face. "Bzzzp!" she exploded. "I want my next piece to be bzzzp."
Cherry's magical bubble of triumph popped. "What kind of color in Fyora's name in bzzzp?"
Shockra sighed, rolling her electrifying blue eyes. "For the love of Meepits, don't you know anything? Bzzzp is what I want for my second quilt piece. It's the color of my eyes." She blinked her snapping blue eyes.
Cherry nearly laughed. "Bzzzp? What kind of name is that? Look, Shockra, if you want to make up a new color, can't it make sense, please? Bzzzp! Imagine that!" she laughed.
Shockra snorted. "It's the sound of electricity. Bzzzp! Bzzzzzzzp!" Her antennae gave a pleasurable little electric tingle as she shouted her new color. She got in Cherry's face. "BZZZZP!"
Cherry, startled, stepped back. "Fine, fine!" she stated, raising her paws in defeat. "Your next quilt piece can be bzzzp." She exhaled deeply. "Goodness, I hope Lu's happy. She's lucky I agreed to do this."
Lukio happily sat next to Salvadore, the little white Eyrie doing marvelous on his mini quilt. It was a spray of blue and white, and it was pretty. Pretty good for a little sewer too.
"Am I doing it right?" he sweetly asked, his voice sounding just like her little brother Sywun's; sweet, innocent, and childlike. Lukio adored it.
She peered over his little shoulder. "Yup, that's perfect, Salvadore!"
"Thanks." Salvadore, in deep concentration, continued to work on his quilt, diligently holding his needle and weaving them through the quilt.
Lukio smiled. She took a look around the room. The little sewers were doing a great job, and behaving too! She caught Cherry's eye and threw her an I-told-you-so look. Cherry had doubted their ability to teach a sewing class.
A week swept by, and everyday before and after Neoschool, Lukio and her friends helped the little sewers, and everyday, their quilts became more and more complete.
Everything was running smoothly. Reuben no longer wanted to eat the needles, thanks to the help of Cherry, and Libby no longer through temper-tantrums, which resulted in the other day Cherry nearly shouting loudly in the little sewing room she had given up.
Libby looked at her mini quilt. "I want pink for my next piece, missy," she snuffed to Cherry. "Gimme pink."
Cherry's eye twitched. "How's the polite way to ask that, Libby?"
Libby's blazing hazel eyes turned to stare at her in disbelief. "I said... gimme a pink quilt!"
"I won't give you a pink piece of quilt if you don't ask politely," Cherry replied sourly, her eyes coldly looking at Libby.
"I WANT A PINK PIECE!" Libby screamed. "Gimme pink!"
Cherry snarled. "You have to say please, Libby," she hissed through clenched teeth.
"No," Libby stated stubbornly. "You didn't give me my next quilt piece. I shouldn't use manners for you."
Cherry gritted her teeth to keep back a savage retort. "Libby, saying please is NOT hard," she replied stiffly.
Libby stuck out her tongue.
That was the straw for Cherry.
"Okay, that's it you little..." she shrieked. "I give u-" She caught everyone staring at her and stopped. Cherry sighed, and handed Libby the pink quilt piece in defeat.
But things had gotten better since then, and you might say that was because of Rachel.
"Gimme that needle, missy," Libby whined, pointing at the forlorn needle next to Cherry. Cherry threw a glance at her, and Libby immediately stopped. "Gimme that needle, please."
Cherry smiled, handing Libby the needle AND a chocolate Xweetok biscuit. She saw Rachel cast her a thumbs up, and Cherry smiled back, returning the thumbs up. Rachel's idea was pretty handy in not wanting to pick a fight with a six year old.
A few days later, though, something happened that really baffled Cherry...
"Cherry, miss, can I please have that spool of blue thread?" Libby asked politely. She nicely blinked her dreamy hazel eyes.
Cherry handed her the spool of thread. But when she reached into her cookie jar to retrieve a biscuit for the polite little pink Wocky, Cherry froze. There were no more. And Libby always got a biscuit for saying please. It was what drove her to say it.
Cherry clenched her teeth and started to feel frantic. "Uhhh... Libby, we're out of biscuits..." She flinched, waiting for the explosion. Only there was none.
"That's okay," Libby replied, carefully trying to get the blue thread through the small eye of the needle.
Cherry's mouth fell open.
And Rachel even solved the hungry Reuben solution- always have snack time.
The little sewers just adored her too. Each and everyday as soon as she and Cherry and Lukio stepped in the door, they ran up to her with out-stretched arms, crying, "Rachel! Rachel!"
Cherry only smiled, preparing the room for that day's lesson.
But Lukio didn't smile. She frowned. She frowned hard, her eyes widening in blind hurt, her heart craving for that attention... She couldn't even get Lava to say hello to her! But Lava didn't ever speak to Cherry or Rachel, either. Lukio's mind whirled with envy. She didn't think Rachel deserved all the glory. Helping the little sewers was her idea anyway! Lukio frowned even harder when she realized that she wasn't being a good friend. As anyone could tell by the blissful look on Rachel's face, she really adored the little sewers.
But even so, Lukio couldn't help but feel a twinge of jealousy prickling at her heart.
Lukio walked joyously into the little sewing room one day. She hummed and smiled and set her blue Cybunny backpack down on the desk beside her, taking out her needle and spools of her favorite royal-blue thread. Cherry waved at her from the other side of room where she was helping Libby. All of the little sewers were there already, and Lukio grinned with deep pleasure. Rachel wasn't here yet.
She skipped over to Fawn. "Hey, Fawn, need any help with that?" Lukio asked the little brown Ixi, who was sewing together the fourth piece of her mini quilt. She spoke but didn't look up.
"No thanks, Lukio. I'm waiting for Rachel. She told me she'd help me practice how to make my stitches neater." Fawn smiled and continued to work.
Lukio's brow furrowed. "You don't have to wait for Rachel. I'm here! I'll help you."
Fawn looked up at Lukio. "That's okay. Rachel said she'd help me."
Lukio's eyes burned in such a rage of animosity, she saw Fawn flinched away with her innocent eyes widening in fear. Lukio growled at herself. Suddenly she felt something tugging at her paw. "Hey, Lukio, can I eat it?" Reuben held up a piece of yellow pattern used to make the quilts. He eyed it with such rapacious big eyes.
"No, you can't eat it, you silly little Bruce!" she snapped, a little harsher then she meant to, for Reuben's big eyes welled with tears.
"Rachel's never mean to me!" he whimpered, scurrying away from Lukio, who was writhing in silent anger.
Stupid Lukio! she cried in her head. What's the matter with you?
Suddenly every little sewer depart of Lava leaped out of their chairs. "RACHEL!" they screeched jubilantly, bounding up with outstretched paws to the striped Xweetok. Rachel smiled, rapping her arms as far as they could stretch around the little sewers.
Cherry walked to to Lukio. "Goodness they love her, don't they?" she asked, her heads on her hips and a grin plastered on her face as she gazed wonderingly at Rachel and the little sewers.
Lukio didn't speak. The fierceness of the begrudging spin in her heart made her utterly incapable to share nice thoughts.
"Oh my goodness, Rachel!" a perky pink Acara mused to Rachel the following day in Neoschool. "My little sis Libby completely adores you! You're all she ever talks about." Mindy gave her shining golden Autumn wig a flip.
"Really?" Rachel asked, smiling pleasurably. "I'm pleased." She scavenged through her locker for her books. Only instead of mostly books, her locker held sewing supplies for the sewing classes held before and after school.
"You should be," squealed a spunky brown Zafara named Cece, Mindy's best friend. "I think it's soooo amazing how you're helping those innocent children sew!" She clasped her paws together and giggled.
"Gee, thanks," Rachel said, packing a book away into her pretty Air Faerie backpack. She wondered why they were giving her so much attention when they had never really spoken to her before this.
"Goodness Rachel, you must be awfully busy! With school and those sewers... you must be booked! But you can handle it, right?" Cece gushed.
Rachel became bored with the conversation. She shrugged. "Sure." She snapped her locked shut, preparing to head for her next class. Her backpack was slung over her shoulder. But Mindy and Cece wouldn't give.
"Look," Mindy said tartly, her paws on her hips in feverish fashion. "You're like... amazing with what you do. With that whole puppet thing? Who knew you could put a twist on something as lame as that?"
Rachel's burning gaze stuck Mindy like a slap. "Puppets aren't lame!" she retorted savagely. "Lukio taught me to make them! I love them! So stop bugging me, okay?" she growled angrily.
Mindy and Cece giggled and rolled their eyes. "Well that explains it much."
Rachel's eyes blazed fiercely, locked into Mindy's and Cece's like burning blue coals. "How dare you speak of my best friend like that?" she hissed ferociously. She wanted to teach them a lesson, but she had to get to class. She scowled and padded hurriedly away. As she proceeded to walk towards the stairs, she saw her standing by them. She caught Lukio's hurt, angry gaze staring at her. Only she thought nothing of it. She barely remembered anything- especially what came next.
As Rachel set her foot out to step down the first step, something went wrong. She lost her footing somehow, and tripped. Every part of her body twisted painfully as she fell. All heads snapped into the direction's of Rachel's cry as she tumbled down the long stairs to the second floor of their three story Neoschool.
Cherry gasped and ran over to the edge, grabbing Lukio's paw in fear.
Rachel's elbow knocked against the stairs and her knees skidded the edges of the stairs. She lay in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the steps. When she landed the wind was knocked out of her and her head was spinning like a twister. Every part of her body seemed to hurt.
Mobs of students and teachers ran over to her in panic, all except Lukio. She stood stricken hard with unbelieving emotion, utterly speechless. All she heard was the crashing, deafening roar that filled her ears and the faint, faraway echo of the rushed cry of one of the teachers to call the nurse Gelert.
No one knew exactly what had been the cause of Rachel's terrible fall that day...
No one except Lukio.
To be continued...