The Right Family
"Ok, so for your birthdays this year, I have got very special presents!" my owner, Saybia, said when we were eating breakfast. My identical twin, a blue Xweetok name Charlotte, squealed excitedly.
I smiled. Maybe I would get what I had been hoping for so long, my two dream presents- a gruslen and a faerie paint brush.
We finished the meal, and Charlotte and I walked to school. She was chatting the whole way. "Just think Juliet!" she said. "It could be anything!" Tomorrow was our birthday, and we were turning fifteen.
We reached our school, Neopia High. Charlotte bounded off without a word, over to her friends. She was the only basic colored in the popular group, but she was really pretty, and she added makeup. They loved her.
I however, pushed my black glasses up my nose, tightened my khaki coat, and walked over to my friends.
Jackie, Jarin, Cristi, and Mark were my closest friends. Charlotte used to like us, but then she met the popular girls, Vanessa, Brittany, and Jessica, and flounced off with them.
Mark as reading, as usual. The fire Lupe would have been popular, but his book addiction hadn't let that happen. Cristi was sketching on a pad of paper, drawing a self portrait. I could see her, the red Kyrii. Jackie was talking with Jarin, she the royal Bori and he the red Kougra. I sat down next to Mark, who put his book down to acknowledge me.
"Hey, Jule," he said. My real name is Juliet, but Mark, Jackie, Jarin, and Cristi call me Jule.
"Hey, Mark." I nudged him. "My owner said me and Charlotte would get a surprise. She's freaking out." I made a imitation of Charlotte.
The group laughed. "It's really gone to her head," Cristi said. Her blond hair was in a high ponytail today.
The bell rang, and the group departed. I walked to my first class with Cristi, but our seats were far apart. I took out my math book, just as the teacher, Mr. Callahan, walked in. While we were checking homework, Charlotte and Vanessa, who was a maractite Usul, rushed in.
As they were taking their seats, Mr. Callahan struck.
"Excuse me, ladies, but why were you ten minutes late to class?" He raised his eyebrows.
Charlotte looked at Vanessa, who looked back at her. "We were talking," Charlotte finally said.
Mr. Callahan gave them detention, and you could see Charlotte and Vanessa's pouty faces. The class ended, and after three more, it was time for lunch.
I sat at my usual table with Cristi, Mark, Jarin, and Jackie. Mark was buried in a book, but Jarin forced him away from it and began to talk about plans for my birthday.
"We should go see a play," said Cristi. "The Mystery of the Kougra Paw just came out. I'm dying to see it."
Everyone agreed to this, and we could tell Mark was happy, that was his favorite book. Lunch ended, and we all went to our next class.
The school day finally ended, and after finally tearing Charlotte away from her friends, we walked home. Charlotte was blabbing about her day, and when we got in, Saybia seemed in a great mood. After dinner, homework, and a Yooyuball game, it was finally time to sleep.
* * *
The next day was Saturday, and for some reason, it was cloudy and gray, and rain poured down. Saybia woke us, and told us we would get to open our presents after breakfast. We of course, snarfed that down. It was time for the presents.
After small gifts, Saybia handed us each a box. She looked excited.
Charlotte opened hers first. She looked so happy when she saw hers, a faerie paint brush. I was a little down, faerie was my dream color, but I would settle for second best, maybe royal.
I opened the box carefully.
It was an angelpuss.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. She gets a faerie paint brush, and I get the cheapest petpet out there, an angelpuss.
Tears flooded my eyes. "An angelpuss."
Saybia didn't notice. She was too busy talking with Charlotte.
"Thanks a lot," I said.
Saybia didn't notice.
"I HATE IT!" I yelled. Saybia turned around.
"What? You hate it?" She was turning red. Charlotte was staring at me.
I flung my coat on. "I'm leaving."
Saybia looked at me. "Juliet, wait."
"Why can't you call me Jule?" I was yelling now.
I turned back to Saybia. "It's Jule. And I'm leaving. This is not the right family."
I turned around and stepped outside.
* * *
I don't know how far I walked. I only know I ended up in front of Jackie's house. It was a welcoming cottage. I ran towards it, and knocked. Jackie opened it. She looked at me. "Jule? What are you doing here? We're not going to the play till three..."
I began to cry. She welcomed me in, called Cristi over, made me a mug of hot chocolate, and there I was, pouring my heart out to my friends.
After the sob story, Jackie told me what she thought I should do.
"Go back. Say your sorry. It might be ok," she said in that soft voice of hers, the long braid swinging back and forth.
Cristi checked her watch. "On the bright side, we have the play in thirty minutes. Let's get you ready."
They primped my hair, did my makeup, and Cristi lent me a grey silk dress, for I had not changed into my other clothes yet.
We met Mark and Jarin at the theatre. We had agreed not to tell them about what happened. But the play was stellar, and Jarin was deeply offended that the culprit had been a Kougra like himself.
"Awful plot!" he sniffed. We all laughed, because we could tell he was kidding. He had loved it.
Jackie nudged me. "Go home."
I turned to her. "What?"
"Go back to your house. Go back to your family. Go."
I didn't want to. But eventually I was walking down my family's street, reluctant as ever.
I raised a cold hand to knock. The rain had soaked through my favorite jacket, and I was chilled to the bone. When nobody answered the door, I unlocked it with my key.
The place was deserted. I sighed, tossed my coat on a chair, kicked off my boots, and sat on the couch.
I noticed the photo album. It was lying on a chair, its cover saying, Charlotte and Juliet, with a picture of Saybia holding us up when we were tiny baby Xweetoks, thick huge manes and tiny brown bodies.
I picked up the album, and opened it to the first page. It had a picture of me and Charlotte curled up, sleeping. The caption was written in Saybia's handwriting.
Charlotte and Juliet! Just adopted the twins yesterday. Little fluff balls or trouble!
I smiled and flipped to the next page. It had Saybia holding us, we were awake this time, looking like we had just been plopped in Jelly World. She was laughing.
I continued to flip through the album, memory after memory, all bringing tears to my eyes. All the good times I had had with my family, had my outburst this morning ripped away anymore?
I began to walk to my room. But on the way, I tripped over a small maractite box I had written my name on, with Saybia's help. I knew that Charlotte had broken hers year ago. It said JULIET'S BOX.
Inside was a keyring. I picked the box up and walked to my room.
I flopped on my bed, but I landed on my favorite plushie from when I was little, the soft red Nimmo plushie. I had named it Uggsy, and I slept with it every night. Saybia had bought him for my third birthday...
I heard the sound of someone opening the door. I bolted up, ran towards the door.
It was Charlotte. Saybia was right behind her. I poured myself into Saybia's arms, saying sorry, hoping she would forgive me.
Saybia had something to tell as well. "I planned to get you a royal paint brush. But I had only saved up a million neopoints to paint you. The lowest offer for a faerie brush was almost all of my money. After I bought it, I only had one thousand to get you something. I wanted to get you a gruslen, but the only thing I could afford was an angelpuss. I'm really, really sorry."
Charlotte cut in. "So we sold the faerie paint brush." She took out a box. "We got you this."
Inside was a royal paint brush.
Sitting on a red pillow, it looked so beautiful, I wanted to cry.
But I didn't.
"I don't deserve this." I gave the brush to Charlotte. "Take it."
"No! It's yours!"
Saybia broke in. "How about this? We sell that paint brush, then each buy you a color that is cheap, like pink, purple, white, or brown."
Minutes later, I was standing at the Rainbow Pool, a white paintbrush clutched in my paw. Charlotte had already finished, she had the pink mane to show it.
Yes, I'm definitely in the right family.