Dedicated to my best friends: Dan, Alyssa, Ginz and Jay.
The evening sun flooded Isaac's room as he slept. The warm air silently breezed in through his open window and tickled his nose. The blue Lupe slowly woke up with a smile and stared at the evening sky. It was going to be a perfect night for stargazing.
Isaac Waters was a young Lupe. He never had a lot of money; just enough to buy his weekly groceries at Merifoods, and some Neopoints leftover to buy miscellaneous items to maintain proper hygiene. While he wasn't rich, he was quite content with his quality of life and was as happy as his next door neighbor. He had a great group of friends who shared similar interests to him and they always cared for his well-being.
One of the things he shared in common with his friends was a passion for stargazing. While they never wanted to do astronomy for a living, they fantasized about going to Shenkuu's famous Lunar Temple to be able to properly look at Kreludor and other stars near Neopia. There was a nearby hill in Meridell that they always went to when the night sky was clear. It was perfect for mounting a telescope or simply lying down and having a late night chat. It was a strengthening bond for their group's friendship.
Isaac changed into fresh clothes, bringing along a warm jacket in case it got cold. He gathered his telescope he recently purchased at his latest trip to Neopia Central. It cost him a few months' worth savings, but it was completely worth it. He took great care of it, polishing it after every use and always storing it properly in its case. The only thing he took greater care of was his prized Gallion, Seron. Isaac first got Seron when he was just three years old, and they've been through a lot together. He learned a lot about love and commitment just by having Seron around.
When Isaac left his house and locked the front door, he briskly walked to Twenty-Five Hill, their usual meeting spot. The name was not formal to rest of Neopia, it was just its nickname because Isaac's friend Sasha found twenty five Neopoints the first night they stargazed together. The walk from his house wasn't terribly long, just the right amount of walking to enjoy the sunset and to take in the beautiful Meridellian scenery. When he arrived, he was pleased to see his friend Alexis Greene already laying down and looking at the evening sky.
"Good evening," Isaac said.
"Hey Isaac!" said the pink Kacheek. "How're ya?"
"Just perfect, it's going to be a great night for stargazing, eh?" he said as he carefully put down his telescope.
"Oh definitely! I can feel the soft summer breeze just lifting the tension in my shoulders away."
"Me too. After the nap I had today, I'm all ready to spend several hours out here."
"You're just like Sebastian. Speaking of which he should be waking up right about now," said Alexis.
"Though the only difference between me and Sebastian is that Sebastian slept all day. I just had a simple power nap."
"True, but that's a step closer to becoming just like him."
"Point," he said.
"Do you know if Sasha's coming tonight? I saw something in this week's issue of The Neopian Times that reminded me of her." Alexis held out a copy of the issue.
Isaac glanced in the direction of Sasha Matthews' house. "I haven't seen her in two days. I'm assuming she'll be here, but you never know."
"Yeah... I hope so. It's an article, you should look at it!"
Isaac grabbed the paper from Alexis' paws, and glanced at the article. It was about how Cybunnies were a symbol of luck, and being painted a certain colour could enhance that luck even more. The colour brown, which was Sasha's colour, was number five on the list. The top colour for luck was starry.
"I wish I could be painted starry," he said. "But that's a great article for Sasha. I'm sure she'd be interested in reading it."
"Aww, yeah I know. I wish I could help you out with that, but I'm sure you'll be able to afford a paint brush in no time."
"Hey hey hey," said a familiar voice.
"Sebastian!" Alexis and Isaac said in unison.
"What's going on?" said the island Gelert.
"Just talking and waiting for the others to arrive," said Alexis.
"Sweet," Sebastian replied. "Stoked for stargazing tonight! It'll be awesome."
"You bet," said Isaac. "And let me guess... you just woke up."
"Yeah like ten minutes ago! Pumped, energized and ready to stay up all night!"
Alexis chuckled. "That definitely won't be me. After sunset I got a few hours to stay up and then I have a very important meeting with my bed. I have to get up at a decent hour tomorrow since I have a lot of errands to do."
"That's okay, it's great that you were able to come out anyway!" Sebastian said with a wide grin.
Sebastian Marx was always full of energy, that is, after he slept all day. He never enjoyed the daytime and preferred to sleep right through it. Somehow he amassed a small fortune of Neopoints and loved to spend it on his friends, but only when they allowed him to. But because he had a healthy amount of money, it meant he didn't have to be a janitor at Meridell Castle.
"So we're just missing Sasha and Kenny then, huh?" said Sebastian.
"Yep, Kenny should be here. He neomailed me earlier today saying that he might be a bit after sunset but he should make it. No word of Sasha, though," Isaac answered.
"Sounds good," said Alexis. "Sun's almost gone, so he should be here soon-ish then. Hopefully Sasha will come soon..."
"Someone say my name?" said a female voice.
"Hey Sasha!" said Isaac as he turned around and hugged the Cybunny.
"Hey Isaac, how's it going?"
"Just perfect! It's good that the entire group will be here soon!"
"Yeah, definitely!" Sasha said as she chewed on a pencil.
"When are you going to drop that bad habit of yours, Sash?" asked Sebastian.
"When your sleep patterns return to normal," she retorted.
Alexis laughed as she handed Sasha the article. "Hey, I thought you'd like this."
"Oh cool! This will be a good read. Can I keep it?"
"Awesome, thanks, Alexis!" Sasha said excitedly as she glanced down the article.
"Oh hey, look at that star." Isaac pointed up to the night sky.
The sun had completely set now, and slowly the stars in the sky were coming out of hiding. There was one bright star in particular, and as the group watched the star pulse they all relaxed and smiled.
"Hope I'm not too late," said a fire Lenny.
"Kenny Pauls, it's about time you got here." Alexis smirked.
"Hey I told Isaac I'd be here after sunset, and now it's after sunset!"
"Oh I know, I just like messing with you."
"What's in that box?" asked Sebastian.
Kenny was holding a wrapped package in his wings. It had white wrapping paper and a blue ribbon, with the name 'ISAAC' written in large blue letters.
"Why, it's for Isaac of course, if you hadn't noticed." Kenny smiled.
Isaac was so busy setting up his telescope that he almost didn't hear his name. "Who for what now?"
"That's why I was a bit later than usual, I was out purchasing something."
"For me?" Isaac inquired.
"Of course for you! There's been something you've been talking about non-stop for the past six months and I wanted to do something about it," replied Kenny.
"Open it, open it!" Sasha exclaimed excitedly.
As Kenny handed Isaac the package, Isaac asked, "You realize you didn't have to get me anything, right?"
"Yes, and that's why I did it anyway."
With a small smile, he looked down from Kenny's face and to the package. He felt everyone staring at him when he opened the package, and saw a Starry Paint Brush and a flask of water from the Rainbow Pool.
Everyone besides Kenny and Isaac cheered in excitement, and Isaac just stood there holding the Paint Brush and the flask in complete disbelief.
"How did you do this? The price of Starry Paint Brushes have skyrocketed since last month's issue of The Neopian Times said this was the colour to be painted for the summer season!"
"Well, Isaac, you do a lot for everybody and lately my store has been getting in a lot of traffic and I've had a lot of excess profits so... here you go!"
Almost immediately Isaac splashed the flash of Rainbow Pool water all over his body and painted his blue fur a bright starry colour. Within five minutes no one could recognize him.
"You look great, Isaac!" said Sebastian. "Wow, Kenny, you're so nice!"
Alexis admired the grin Isaac had on his face. "I'm so glad you got your dream wish!"
"I concur," said Sasha.
Isaac gave Kenny a big hug as soon as the paint had dried and after much talking and admiring Isaac's new paint job, they all laid down on the hill and watched the stars.
"Meridell Castle looks so beautiful at night," said Sebastian.
"It really does. Kreludor's reflection on the Castle is simply spectacular," said Sasha.
"I love summer nights," said Isaac as he rubbed his yellow belly. "Being together with the people you love the most... you can't beat that."
"Friendship is so important," said Alexis as she looked at those around her. "I'm so glad I have all of you."
Everyone nodded in agreement. Not another word needed to be said on a beautiful summer's night such as this one. To hear the sounds of the night, the feel of the soft breeze, to have the comfort of your friends, and the starlight shining down on you is all you ever need. This is what summer nights are all about.