Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 194,100,740 Issue: 739 | 1st day of Swimming, Y18
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Beach, Burglary and Buyer's Remorse


by queen_potema

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      I don't know why it had sounded like a good idea.

      Maybe because Neoschool was over, all of my pets were happy, and because I'm missing several key parts of my brain that keep me from making bad decisions. Yeah, that's got to be it. Because there I was, half way into the month of Relaxing, stressing out over the vacation we were all packing for.

      I had booked us rooms at the beach resort on Mystery Island. I must have forgotten how hard it was to manage ten Neopets at home. Now we were all getting ready to jump on a ferry to start our vacation, and my Neohome was in shambles. Well, it was more shambolic than usual.

      "Ema! My sunscreen spilt!" Hollered Ritonie, my Lupe, from the top of the stairs.

      "Scoop it out and share some with your sister!" I cried, bending and picking up Lullabie, my baby Skeith, from her playpen. She'd been chewing on the bars again, and I made a mental note to replace it once we got home. And since I didn't have any hands to write it down, it probably would never get done. Oh well.

      "Have you seen my flipflops?"

      "Ahh! There's sunscreen in my eyes!"

      "Ema said to put some on you."

      "Are we stopping for lunch?"

      "No!" I bellowed, adjusting Lullabie on my hip, my other side weighed down by several totes and a duffle bag. "We're eating on the ferry! Let's go!"

      I looked at the Techo clock on my wall and frowned. We needed to be there in ten minutes, otherwise we were landlocked, and I was out a good chunk of Neopoints.

      "Five minute warning!" I screamed, ambling towards the door. There was an avalanche of suitcases and Neopets as they all tried to get down the stairs at once, and after a glance over, I deduced all were alive, and therefore still able to travel.

      "My arm!"

      "My nose!"

      "Unless it's broken, GET UP!" I said, and flinched as Lullabie got excited and smacked my cheek.

      "Beach, beach!" The little Skeith cried, flailing madly backwards.

      "Out the door!" I cried, watching my Neopets push a part and grab their bags. Elleri, my Royal Blumaroo, had four in her arms, and as she looked at the door, she frowned.

      "Where's the bell hop?" She said seriously, and I rolled my eyes.

      "Elleri, we've been over this. This is a house, NOT a hotel." And with that I gestured madly for her to get out the door. She scoffed loudly, and I ignored her comment about leaving my establishment a bad review in the Neopian Times. I counted ten heads out the door, and slammed the door behind us. I'm pretty sure something fell and shattered, but at this point I had a small Skeith fist wrapped in my hair, and didn't rightly care.

      I pushed on my sunglasses and groaned when I saw that one of the lens was gone.

      I kept them on anyway.

...

      The ferry ride was long, and less nerve-racking than I thought it would be. My Neopets had loved it. They'd run around the deck, leaning over the sides and pointing at all the different Petpets splashing in the ocean. Someone had thoughtfully left out snacks for the pets crossing to the island, and after making sure Remmy, my Werelupe, didn't eat the table whole, I was able to sit down and watch the babies while drinking some Blurf Coconut milk. Watching our approach to the island was fun.

      The water was clear, the air was fresh, and the sunshine was pleasant and warm. It totally got us into the spirit. And boy, did I need it.

      We. I meant, we needed it.

      Once we hit the dock I forced my Neopets to remain behind while the other passengers hurried away. They'd been tortured enough.

      "Okay, you lot." I said, hands on my hip, holding the attention of ten different pets. "I want everyone on their best behavior. If we get kicked off this island, no dessert until Year 35."

      "Pfft." Losena, my Mutant Usul said, leaning towards Autumno, my Royal Uni. "She won't make it two weeks without pie."

      "I can hear you." I said, but they all snickered at me.

      "Guys. I'm serious. No mess ups." I grabbed at my face dramatically, causing concern to flit across their features. "I'm your owner. And I need this. I DESERVE this vacation. Don't make me pound the lot of you!"

      I stepped back and pointed off the boat, and they all mumbled and nodded and began to exit the ferry.

      "She does need this." Elleri said, flicking her red hair, and I smiled appreciatively. Until she said, "Look how wrinkly she's gotten."

      I sealed my lips and shrugged.

      She had a point.

...

      The Goparokko Island Resort was located on the eastern half of the island, right on the beach. The guests checked in in their massive building before taking their keys and hunting down their huts, away from the main lobby. I'd upgraded from one hut to three, allowing everyone to have a bed to themselves. It'd felt like such a waste of points at the time, but now I was grateful. There would be no yelling about sharing covers, or who had to sleep on the uncomfortable chair that always seemed present in hotel room corners.

      I was bunking with the babies, Lullabie and Brov, the baby Tuskanniny, and Elleri. The babies would share a crib, and me and my Blumaroo would be on opposite ends of the hut. Perfection. I stepped over her four suitcases carefully, surprised that she'd been stubborn enough to bring it all, even without a bellhop to help her cart it around.

      As she unpacked, I realized two of the cases contained nothing but hats. She slid one on and flounced from the hut.

      "See you, Ema!" She cried, and I didn't even have time to tell her to be safe before she was gone.

      The end goal was to make it to the beach, and for the most part that's where we all ended up. I given a lecture that we all needed to meet for dinner, at least, and to pass it on to whichever sibling they could find.

      Behv, my cloud Gnorbu, refused to lounge in the sun, so she took the babies, saying something about taking my purse and going shopping with them for new swimsuits. I didn't even bat an eye. I threw my ratty bag at her and told her to go nuts, knowing that my bank account was hovering on zilch, and she'd get denied before I got charged.

      I took my towel to the sand and stretched out, sighing happily in the sun.

      This was going to be fine. Just fine.

...

      It was not fine.

      Not fine at all.

      I stood in the mirror, looking at my skin. Wishing it was a prank and someone had painted me pink when I wasn't looking. Nope. All me. All burnt. Ouch.

      The sunburn was all consuming and all terrible, and I left my hut and waddled my way to the resort's restaurant for something to take my feelings out on. I was seated at a nice table by myself and handed a menu by a prim looking Uni, whose smile was fake.

      "What can I get you to drink?"

      I smiled awkwardly. "I'd like a Juppieade and some After Sun Aloe Gel." I joked, but she only nodded.

      "You want ice with the gel?"

      I frowned as she turned to walk away, looking down at her note pad. "I was kidding about the gel... Ice sounds good."

      I sat and twiddled my thumbs, taking in the clean tables and the tiki themed decorations, then noticed a large group of pets at a corner table. I froze, realizing that my pets had come here for lunch. On their table was stacked an array of food I knew costed more than an arm and a leg. That was serious Nerkmid Neopoints right there. I gingerly got to my feet and marched over, surprising them all.

      They looked guilty.

      Lullabie was the worst, and she was still grabbing handfuls of Octopi Souffle to stuff into her mouth.

      "What are you doing?" I hissed, tensing, which made my burnt skin sting.

      "Eating, obvi." Elleri said, and I took a fork from her and slammed it down. It bounced and hit my foot, making me want to curl up on the floor. Just a little.

      "How are you paying for this?" I asked through gritted teeth, trying not to sound panicked.

      "We're charging it, of course!" Behv, my Gnorbu, said excitedly, sitting next to several shopping bags and Brov, the baby Tuskaninny, who clapped happily in an expensive outfit covered in Kelp Gazpacho.

      "To what!?" I cried, flinching because my voice echoed, drowning out the pleasant music playing above us.

      "Oh, the hotel of course. We can charge it to our room and pay at the end of the visit! Isn't this great?" Elleri said.

      I felt my left eye twitch once. Then again. The third time is when my pets began exchanging worried looks.

      "But-"

      "You told us not to get in trouble." Behv reminded me, and I groaned. "Shopping and lunch isn't trouble."

      "How much have you spent?"

      Behv and Elleri exchanged worried looks before both smiled sheepishly.

      They told me the amount, and burnt skin and all, I screamed and fainted.

...

      After the Chia paramedics declared me right as rain, they gave me a hospital bill and sent me on my way. I added it to the large check my pets had wracked up at the restaurant that the Techo desk clerk in the resort lobby happily gave me. If that all wasn't bad enough, I was stopped on my way out by two large Grarrls. Behind them was my Tyrannian Lupe, Ritonie, who was whistling innocently.

      "Stop that." I scolded him, "You look ten times more suspicious. Just stand there."

      I looked to the Grarrls, security, of course, for an explanation.

      "He was using this to comb the beach." One said, holding up a metal detector. I looked at them, confused.

      "Is that like, not allowed or something?" I was pretty sure Ritonie had rented it from a resort kiosk as soon as he'd run free from his hut.

      Speaking slowly, like I was stupid, they explained, "He was using it to declare other pet's property as his. He took coolers, umbrellas, bags of Neopoints, and a wheelchair."

      "And a watch!" Ritonie said proudly, pointing to it on his wrist. I leaned between the two Grarrls and snatched the piece off of him. I shined it on my shirt before handing it to the Grarrls with a weak smile.

      "Heh. So... there's that."

      "We have to ask you to keep your Neopet off the beach for the remainder of your stay." One said, and I frowned.

      "But we JUST got here today. He's been reprimanded. Can't we just call it a crime of passion... for stuff?"

      "You're lucky we don't kick you out." The other snarled, and they stomped past me, leaving me to turn on my Lupe with a fury I'd never felt before. I lectured him all the way back to our huts. Sending him to mine, I visited the other two and directed all my pets into my room. They piled on my bed with their dirty paws and hooves, and I stood by the door, blocking the escape.

      "You're all grounded for two weeks when we get home." I started, and I ignored the collective outrage and groans. "No Neomailing friends, no playing outside, no dessert, no allowance. No FUN. NO SMILES." I rubbed at my temples, mumbling unhappy words when I realized even that part of me had caught a sunburn.

      "Ema-" Elleri started in that tone, and I shook my hand at her.

      "No. Not another word." I looked up at them all. "I'm so disappointed in all of you."

      The room grew quiet, and everyone stood, shocked. I'd never said that to them. I was their owner, I loved them. But this had been too much.

      "Everyone to their rooms." I said softly, and they all filed out except for the babies, who I tucked into their crib in silence. I went outside and plopped down in one of the chairs the resort left out for the renters. I watched the ocean rush against the shore in silence, enjoying the sunset and watching the other happy owners and their well behaved Neopets leave the beach.

...

      "Ema?"

      I felt a tap on my shoulder and sprung awake, swinging my arms Kiko Ninja style.

      "What, what?" I said, freezing when I saw all of my pets standing outside on the sand awkwardly with me. All but Ritonie who waved from the doorway of his hut, still banned from the beach. They were all holding varying sized packages of chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers.

      "What's going on?" I asked, watching Behv and Autumno begin working on digging a pit and building a beach fire large enough for everyone to sit around.

      "We're sorry we've been so awful." Elleri said first, giving me a one armed hug.

      "Yeah. I think sometimes we forget how much you do for us. Like getting us all here for a vacation." Behv said next.

      "We were bad."

      "We're sorry."

      I listened patiently, trying not to get all snotty and teary-eyed at them. I opened my arms and felt my Neopets swarm around me. I sniffled and cried like a freshly painted baby Shoyru through the hug.

      "Aww, I love you guys." I said, and they all pulled away. We usually weren't a teary lot, so they all looked embarrassed as I wiped my nose with the back of my hand.

      "Geesh, Ema. Don't get all sappy." Elleri snapped, and they all filed away from me, beginning to pass around stuff to make smores and getting close to the fire.

      We spent our first night toasting marshmallows and sitting in the sand. The beach was dark, but we had our fire, and our family, to make it bright.

      I was happy for that one moment of perfect family vacation.

      Sure, we're banned for life after Lullabie flung a burning marshmallow and set a hut ablaze. But nobody got hurt, and at least we could say we'd gone somewhere for Summer vacation.

      No one had to know the details.

      The End.

 
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