Holidays, High Fives and Hordes
I had my cup of borovan.
That's all that mattered.
Even if it was decaf. It was in my hand, and none of my pets dared take food from my hands. Lullabie, my baby Skeith, had learned that the hard way when I tackled her on her second day to the world and wrestled my bagel from her tiny, chubby hands.
I stared hard at the mass of Neopets clustered around my dining room table. The were all arguing over something. I don't know. I phase in and out. But I'm sure it was either over the array of scattered and wrecked plates of breakfast grub, or the hat in the middle of the table. The hat stuffed with slips of white paper, covered in writing-
Oh, Fyora! It was gift day!
I set my cup down and hurried to part the sea of Neopets.
"Whoa, whoa! Why are we yelling?" I hollered, earning the brunt of the attention.
"I am NOT picking out a gift for.. for... the PET that I drew!" Elleri, my Royal Blumaroo, declared dramatically. I could see over her shoulder she'd picked Ritonie, my Tyrannian Lupe, who was rough and tough and dirty in general.
"Nuh-uhh," I stated, crossing my arms over my bath robe with authority. "You know the rules. You gift who you draw. Why else are y'all yelling?"
I listened as each Neopet grumbled and groaned the same excuse. I answered every complaint with the same response I'd given Elleri.
"What's with you bums?" I asked, starting to get grumpy from my insufficient intake of borovan. "You guys, we do this every year. Don't be bah-Bumbluz THIS year. You pick a gift for who you draw. No tradesies, redraws, or bargains."
Lullabie, the baby Skeith, rolled her eyes and quickly swallowed the slip she'd pulled.
"Fine. But you're shelling out for what I have to buy."
"Agreed," chorused my other pets.
It was my turn to roll my eyes.
"I have to shell out for ALL of your gifts. None of you have jobs. I'm the income."
"Don't be so dramatic, Ema," Elleri stated, flicking her hair over her shoulder. That was the que for everyone to run off and get ready. Now that names were drawn, it was time to shop.
I flopped down in one of the chairs and pressed my face onto the surface of the table.
Pressed my face right into a pile of Squibble Berry Jam.
"Didn't we JUST celebrate a holiday?" Venicii, the red Vandagyre, asked as we all trudged up the street towards Neopia Central. It was colder than Jhudora at an Illusen convention, so I had taken extra care to bundle everyone up in big ugly sweaters and thick boots.
"Yup," I grumbled, stopping in the middle of the street so I could play crossing guard with my horde.
"And now we're shopping... for ANOTHER holiday?" she asked, hovering by my side as I snapped my fingers at Lullabie to get her attention to keep her from wandering off.
"Yupppp," I responded, placing my hand gently on her head to follow up the group.
"That's weird," she stated, fidgeting with her scarf that didn't quit fit right.
I shrugged, though it was hard to see under my bulky coat.
"It's called the Day of Giving. It's at the end of the month. And instead of it being about food, it's about family, and friends, and-"
"Presents!" Hecton, the baby Lupe, and Lullabie chimed at once, the two babies gleefully dancing about and watching their breath come out in clouds from the cold.
"Presents?" Veni asked, and I couldn't help but sigh.
"Yup. You get presents. That's why we did the name draw today. One of your new siblings pulled your name, so they'll buy your Day of Givin' gift."
I looked down to see Veni smiling, which lit up her face in a way I hadn't seen since I'd created her. Made me feel all warm... and stuff.
"You crack me up, kid," I said, smiling as we all trudged into the middle of the shopping center.
I moved quickly, slapping bags of Neopoints into my older pets hands.
We all knew our assignments, and as soon as my pockets weren't jingling, my pets broke off in pairs to shop. Elleri took Hecton, Ritonie took Lullabie, the rest ran for freedom and Veni hung close to me.
I poked her leg with my boot, jerking my head towards the different shops to remind her to scoot.
"Go on, kid. Go spend Neopoints."
I was itching for a good Tigersquash Mince Pie from the bakery across the Bazaar, and my pets knew on gift day that I didn't share.
Well... my pets knew on every day that I didn't share. Whatever. They could buy their own pies.
"I don't know what to buy..." Veni admitted. I heaved a deep sigh and bent dramatically down to her level.
"Bahhhh, alright, kiddo. Let me see who you got."
She pulled the slip from her pocket and handed it to me.
It read, 'Elleri'.
"Fyora," I grumbled, handing the slip back. Elleri was painted accurately. Royal and pompous, she was the hardest to shop for. Her other siblings knew her pretty well. But not Veni. Veni was new.
I stood and held out my hand.
That pie would have to wait.
"Come on, hun, let's go shop for your wicked sister."
"Wicked?" Veni asked, taking my hand.
"I said, 'witted'."
"Oh..." Veni said, walking towards the Grooming Parlour with me. "No you didn't."
"...Snitches get itches."
"That doesn't make sense, Ema."
"Shushum' up yer' logic."
Veni ran up to me after several long minutes with a bottle of smelly perfume and a smile. I recognized the elegant bottle as one Elleri already had, and gave the thumbs up. She already had some, so she already liked it. Whoot! Point for Ema!
Veni smiled at me and I stuck my hand up for a high five. She stared at it for a moment before raising her own claw into the air. I finished the arc of the five for her, and she looked taken aback.
"It's a high five. A symbol of, 'Whoot! We're awesome!'" I tried to explain.
"Oh. Yeah. Soo fun," Veni said, faking a smile.
I couldn't help but glare at her as she made her way to the counter to pay.
Oh, this girl was getting educated.
She would be master of the high five in two days, tops.
We left the Grooming Parlour in high spirits, waving hello to Ritonie as he ran by with a panicked look. I assumed he was searching for Lullabie, because she appeared moments later and put her finger to her lips before running it across her throat at us.
I grinned at Veni's panicked look.
Aww. Her first sibling death threat. Time flies.
Sitting on a bench, I aggressively attacked the Tigersquash Mince Pie I'd picked up from the bakery. Veni had her own junk to munch, so I didn't spare her a glance as I dug in.
"You think she'll like it?" the Vandagyre asked, causing me to turn away from my face smash ritual.
"Yeah, sure. Don't sweat it, shug'. She loves that stuff," I responded.
"Even if it's from me?...."
I stopping shoveling things into my face and looked at my pet. She was glossy eyed and sad, and I wrapped one arm around her to pull her close.
"Oh hun. Of course! She'll love it BECAUSE it's from you." I wiped at my mouth with the back of my hand. "You think Elleri doesn't like you?"
Veni tossed her claws up pitifully. "She hates me! She hates sharing a room, and I can't touch her stuff, and she thinks my hat is silly..."
I nodded and tried not to get too angry. Elleri was a fickle sort, and it was true that the two had to share her room while Veni's got built.
"Well, that's just Elleri being Elleri. But you tell her to stop being so mean. She's your sister, and sometimes they need to be reminded," I said, giving her arm a squeeze.
"And if talking to her doesn't help, come talk to me again. We'll sort this out together. But for right now, I wouldn't worry too much. She'll come around."
Veni smiled and quickly hugged me back before pulling away.
I smiled. "Mmmkay. High five!"
I threw my hand up, and the Vandagyre spared me a glance before looking down at her pastry.
Ooooh. It was ON.
Meaning: Costing a lot of money.
Having eighteen Neopets, shopping for one another on the same day?
Stupid, stupid Ema.
I examined my Cybunny slippers, and noticed one of the eyes missing on the left foot.
That's okay. One eyed Cybunny slippers deserve love to.
I looked up from my slippers at the mound of presents piled around the base of my seat. This was their place until the house was finished being decorated.
Garland, trees, wreaths, ornaments, stars, everything was every where, and my pets were happily moving among the chaos to bring Celebrating order to it all.
Ritonie had lit a fire in the hearth, and Hecton was passing around bits of Tigersquash Mince Pie Veni had gotten from the bakery. I'd already eaten mine, and true to my nature, I didn't share.
Not a bite.
I was especially watching Veni and Elleri as the two hung popcorn garlands on the tree.
Taking my advice, Veni had talked to Elleri, and after a dramatic hug, the two had started talking a bit more. I'm pretty sure there was an apology or two in the mix as well.
I reminded myself to do a victory dance in the kitchen later when I came down for left over pie.
Owner - 1. Pets- 687.
I was catching up.
"Ema. Wanna do the star?"
I smiled at Lullabie who held up the foil star for me to place on top of the tree. I grinned and stood on tiptoes to fix the star in place.
The tree looked pretty darn sweet, if I do say so, and I helped my pets move all their gifts under the tree so the whole picture was done.
"Looks good," I remarked, smiling at my pets who began filing from the room.
I held up my hand to the line, hoping to show Veni how high fives were REALLY done.
Elleri glared at my palm and smirked.
"A high five? Is this Year 2?"
I laughed with her. Loudly and obnoxiously.
"That's SO funny. HA HA HA!" I shouted, catching my pets off guard.
"Did you know gifts are returnable?" I bellowed.
Owner- 2. Pets- 687.
Highfives- 18 even.