Popular for the First Time: Part Three
Also by st83_star174
"Maybelle!" Paint shouted my name once again, a worried look on her face.
I couldn't respond. I was looking at the cloud Flotsam and Christmas Uni standing on the rusty green roof above the mesh black bench where I was sitting. THEY had thrown the net. THEY had planned revenge on me. It irritated me that Butterscotch hadn't been there to put those two in their place.
"I missed!" Bliss shouted from the roof, her grin fading.
"She ran away." Puddles shrugged, her grin fading as well.
"We'd better get that bandaged up." Paint tried to drag me down to the nurse's office.
"Honestly, I'm fine," I replied, shaking free of her grip.
It was only a small cut, nothing that my pocket first-aid kit couldn't handle. I took out a pink waterproof bandage and placed it over the spot.
"That's smart of you to keep one handy," Paint suggested. "I might convince Hailey to go out and get me one."
"Thanks," I replied as I walked with her to fifth period art class.
I stood at the door of Paint's house, anxiously waiting for her to answer the door so I could tell her I would be absent at this week's sleepover. I rocked back and forth as my Wellington boots squeaked along with my motions. Finally, I saw the shiny brass knob turn. However, it wasn't exactly the pet I was expecting.
"Maybelle?" asked a Christmas Uni.
"Oh, um, hi Bliss..." I began nervously.
"I presume you were looking for Paint." Bliss sighed, her face drooping.
"Yeah," I nodded inquisitively, "is she here?"
"Well, she's with Kiley today," Bliss told me. "You can come in, though."
Bliss took me into her bedroom where she had proudly displayed a picture frame on top of her camouflage dresser containing a photo of a spotted Uni.
The Uni sported a wide, toothy grin. Her mane was tousled just enough for it to look stylish, the wisps from her mini-ponytail blowing in her face. She was wearing a Mellow Marauders hat and the background appeared to be their concert stage, Mellow Marauders and all. I couldn't see her whole body, but from what I could see she looked really spindly.
"Who's that?" I asked, pointing to the gold-framed picture.
"My Mystery Island friend Vesta," Bliss explained. "I haven't heard from her since I left there."
"Oh, yeah, you were talking about her the other day," I replied, now realizing what had happened between them – Vesta and Bliss moved away from each other.
"She used to have some issues," Bliss sighed, "but a little experience kicked her back into place."
Something told me that the 'issues' and 'little experience' wasn't something that Bliss wanted to discuss at the time.
"So..." I began, feeling slightly precarious.
"I'm sorry about Puddles and Roxxi," Bliss said. "They just don't like to see me hurt like that."
"I hear ya," I replied, "My brother would have put you in your place if you ever did something like that to me. He's cool like that. He's my true best friend, actually. I look up to him a lot."
"So, are we friends again?" Bliss asked hopefully, giving me Puppyblew eyes.
"I... I guess so," I replied slowly.
"Good," Bliss smiled abruptly, "because I missed you."
"Oh, and remember to tell your sisters that if they EVER push me down like that again, I've got a light faerie sword that can turn King Roo into a Blumaroo steak," I laughed.
Bliss laughed, too. It felt good to know that there would be no more pranks. I figured I'd just send Paint a Neomail later explaining that it was Butterscotch's birthday on Saturday and have fun playing with Bliss and her Usuki dolls for now.
"OMG, check out my horror-scope!" Peach gasped, dropping her issue of Neo Pop Girl magazine on the marble tile floor of Kiley's bedroom.
"Horror-scope?" Stripe asked curiously.
"It's not even a horoscope, that's how bad it is!" Peach sobbed.
"The Protector (July 23rd-August 21st) – hey, a picture of Princess Sankara!" Paint read.
"Forget that, read the horoscope!" Peach growled.
"Someone will find out a big secret of yours," Paint read.
"What if it's – " Peach began.
"SHHHH!" Stripe shouted.
Suddenly, we heard a knock on the door.
"It's probably Bliss." Kiley shrugged. "I'll get it."
"Bliss?" My brow furrowed.
"Yeah, is that a problem? We invited her," Paint replied.
"No," I replied.
I was fine with Bliss being there, I just had no clue why they had invited her.
"Hi, guys," the Christmas Uni said as she entered with a large pink duffle bag, a purple pillow with a large red heart in the center, and a matching purple sleeping bag with red hearts stamped all over.
"Hi, Bliss." I waved, still confused.
Kiley sat back down between Peach, Stripe, and a bowl of caramel popcorn.
"Is that caramel popcorn?" Bliss asked, her eyes widening like hot cakes.
"Yeah, it is. Why, do you want some?" Stripe asked, stuffing her face with a hoof-full.
"No thank you," Bliss replied. "They'll stick to my teeth."
"Your loss." Peach shrugged and ate a few pieces.
"Yeah, more for us." Kiley filled her fin with the sticky popcorn.
Bliss sat down next to me and grabbed a bag of disgusting-sounding 'apple crisps' out of her bag.
"Want some?" Bliss asked me, the crunching sound coming from her mouth driving me nuts.
"No thanks." I grimaced.
"These are the caramel flavored ones." Bliss waved what looked like a dried-out miniature red apple in front of my face. "They taste JUST like caramel apples."
"No thanks," I said again. "What are you doing here, anyway? I thought these girls hated you."
"Me, too," Bliss shrugged, "but when I told Paint how happy I was that we were friends again at dinner, she seemed to be pretty happy too. Then, she asked if I wanted to join them for this sleepover, and I asked if you would be here, and when they said yes, I figured 'why not?' and said yes."
No! I thought. She didn't! She couldn't have told Paint! That's not like her!
"Wait a minute, you TOLD that we were friends?" I asked, my heart racing at the thought of what the other girls thought of me.
"Yeah, is that a problem?" Bliss asked, sticking a couple more apple crisps into her mouth.
"Well... I just... didn't expect you to tell Paint, because she'd probably shoot your hopes down again." I shrugged.
"Well, she asked why I was so happy, and it just kinda slipped out," Bliss replied, the chewed-up bits of apple crisps showing in her mouth as she talked.
About half an hour later, we were playing the Kiko board game. Stripe was winning, and Paint was getting frustrated, because all of the cards that were drawn did something bad to her piece.
"Stripe, it's your turn," Bliss said after she moved her piece a few spaces.
She had put away her apple crisps after eating ten, so the crunching was no longer a present noise.
"Oh, right," Stripe replied, leaning into the board.
"Hey, can I use your bathroom?" Bliss asked, setting down an empty bottle of water.
"Sure," Kiley said as she sat down her can of cherry neocola. "It's over there. We won't skip your turn."
"But we can't promise that nothing bad will happen to your piece." Stripe motioned to the deck of action cards.
"Thanks," Bliss replied as she walked out of the room, chuckling slightly at Stripe's joke.
"Aw, sorry, Paint." Stripe knocked Paint's piece out of the way. "I seem to have drawn a bad card for you."
"Grrr," Paint fake-growled, then snickered a bit.
"Bliss is such a goof," Peach laughed, picking up her card.
"Huh?" I asked, watching her piece move across the board.
"Yeah," Kiley replied, "she thinks that we actually LIKE her. It was pretty smart of you to go to her house and all that. You sure had her fooled that we weren't just using her to find out her secrets. How did you think of 'faking friends', though?"
Just then, I saw a golden hoof step back into the room.
Perfect timing, I thought.
"WHAT?" Bliss asked.
She looked as if she felt stupid for not knowing what was just said. I hadn't known, either, so I wasn't feeling any different.
"Oh... Bliss... you're back..." Peach and Kiley were flabbergasted.
"So, you were just PRETENDING that I was your friend?" Bliss asked, her hooves on her hips and a mean glare shot at her 'friends'.
"You guys really need to pay attention to your surroundings," I said, trying to stay out of whatever was going on.
"It's not our fault that Bliss was stupid enough to believe that we actually wanted to be her friend." Paint rolled her eyes. "I mean, really? She chose dried apples over caramel popcorn. Why would we even want her near us?"
"You... you... you JERKS!" Bliss screamed before storming out of Kiley's mansion. She was so mad that she forgot her stuff.
From the window floral shell curtain-embellished bay window, I could see the Christmas Uni running down the sidewalk at full speed to a smaller house that was only a little bit smaller than mine. I remembered that as their family's house from when I went to visit Paint that one day. Did she think I was involved with this? Was I not clear enough earlier that I had no clue why she was here? Why didn't I know about this plan? Oh, right. They thought it was my idea.
"So, Maybelle, you go now." Peach motioned to me as she knocked Bliss's piece off the board, seeing as she would no longer be playing.
I silently nodded and picked up the pastel coloured card from the top of the small stack, watching the purple Kiko bounced off the dark blue wall and slid across the marble tile until it landed next to the Isca canopy bed. Looking at Bliss's stuff just made me feel guilty for not suspecting this.
I didn't say one word for the rest of the night.
I couldn't. I was too shocked to say anything.
To be continued...