A Pound Story: Part Three
Organizing the event had taken up Ihae’s entire week, and before she knew it, it was the weekend again. As she climbed the steps, a team of Xweetoks followed her, carrying various equipment and items. She had been to a number of shoots, but she had never known how much work went into setting one up. She was amazed, and incredibly grateful to the team for agreeing to help her, especially on such short notice.
"I owe you one, Drake!" she said to the Xweetok right behind her. "Let’s just hope you didn’t all come here for nothing..."
Luckily, she had had a photo shoot that week, meaning she had been able to talk to Drake, the photographer, right away. At first, he had been skeptical of her idea, but she had been successful in talking him and his team into helping her. Now she just had to see how things had worked out for Yvonne, whose job had been to set things up at the Pound.
Just as she reached the door, it swung open in front of her, with Rose and Yvonne standing there to greet them.
"Come in, come in!" Rose exclaimed. "I can’t thank you enough for coming, and everyone’s incredibly excited to see you. Yvonne, be a dear and help them carry things in," Rose said, gesturing to a pair of Xweetoks who seemed to be struggling with a rather large box. As Yvonne hurried over to assist them, Ihae followed.
"It took me all week to convince her!" Yvonne whispered to Ihae as they carried in the equipment. "At first, she refused, saying it would be too much trouble, both for us and the team, but then I got her to see how much it would help. I’m really glad we get to do this!" Her eyes gleamed. "This is going to be so much fun!"
They carried the equipment into the cafeteria, where everyone was waiting. Rose had had it cleared out, giving them more than enough space for the shoot, and for the other pets to stand by and watch. A lot of them were at least a little nervous, but overall, they seemed excited, especially the little ones Ihae and Yvonne had looked after the past weekend. The kids were watching closely while the team set up, oohing and aahing at the clothing and accessories being set out for them to wear for the shoot. There was quite a spread, as the team had wanted to make sure there was something for everyone.
Soon, Drake and his team were preparing the first pets. They made all of them look their absolute best, and when they were revealed to the others, the waiting pets cheered. It didn’t take long until they could start shooting, with Ihae standing with Drake and giving the pets tips on modeling as they worked, and Yvonne encouraging them. The Pound’s staff, who were helping the team to feel comfortable and making sure they had everything they needed, also seemed excited and especially cheery – even Dr. Death was grinning as he helped by passing out snacks.
There were so many pets that it took the entire weekend to get pictures of all of them, and by the time it was over, everyone was exhausted, but happy with the work they had done. The Pound was abuzz with talk about the shoot, and everyone was excited to see the pictures, which were going to be displayed the next weekend, both around Neopia Central and in the Neopian Times.
After Drake and his team had packed up their equipment and left, followed to the door by Rose who made sure they knew just how thankful she was for their help, Ihae and Yvonne got to work putting everything in the cafeteria back in its place. Now that the shoot was over, it was time to get everything back to normal, starting with the tables that had been moved out of the way to make space for the shoot. The pets would be eating breakfast in the cafeteria as normal the next day, meaning they had to move everything back that afternoon. While the worked, they chattered joyously about the shoot.
"This weekend was so much fun! I’m so jealous you get to do that regularly," Yvonne exclaimed. Ihae giggled.
"Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but it is pretty fun, isn’t it?" she replied. "You’re a natural, though! I was amazed by how well you did, especially for your first time – you were great!"
Yvonne smiled at the compliment, and seemed to stop to think.
"You know, maybe when I get out..." Yvonne started, hesitating, "do you think I could get into modeling, maybe? And that I could start modeling with you?" As the Tuskaninny said this, Ihae’s face brightened up instantly, and she grinned at her friend.
"Of course!" she shouted excitedly. "I’ll ask around. I bet Drake would love to work with someone as talented as you again, and then we can continue on from there! Then I know just the person, she has a project that absolutely needs someone like you!"
The two girls worked quickly, all while planning out Yvonne’s future once she left the Pound. The shoot had made her confident she would be adopted as soon as people saw the pictures, it was just a matter of waiting until the next weekend. Once she was out, she would make her debut in the modeling world, with Ihae as her mentor and friend, helping her navigate the business.
It was already starting to get dark outside once they had finished, and although both of them wanted to continue talking, Ihae knew her owner would get worried if she wasn’t home soon. Reluctantly, she started to leave.
She was almost through the door when she realized that Yvonne might be gone already by the next time she saw her. What if someone adopted Yvonne before then, and she never got to see the Tuskaninny again? Ihae turned around and hugged Yvonne tightly, who was surprised by the sudden gesture.
"I might not get to see you again, if you get adopted out before I’m back, so I just want you to know I’m glad I got to meet you," she said, stepping back. "If you can, let me know where to find you once you’re gone, we have to get you into modeling as soon as you’re out." She grinned.
"I will! We didn’t spend all that time planning for nothing," Yvonne said with a giggle. She paused to think. "You know… I’m sorry for being so mean when we first met," Ihae started to interrupt her, but she went on, "I was upset, but you were just trying to help. Thanks for becoming my friend. I hope everything works out if I get out."
"When you get out," Ihae corrected. "And it will! I’ll be there to help you." She smiled anxiously.
The two stood there awkwardly, Ihae not wanting to leave, scared she might not get to see her friend again. It was Yvonne who decided to act.
"Look, you’re already late, so get going," she said, opening the door. "Chances are, you’ll see me in a week, and if not, then I’ll make sure to find you, or leave a way for you to find me. Don’t worry." Ihae wanted to protest, but Yvonne gestured for her to leave.
Ihae hesitated, hugged Yvonne one last time, and stepped out, waiting for the door to close behind her to be completely sure she could go home. As it did, she sighed.
She wasn’t sure what she wanted more – for Yvonne to be gone and happy with a new owner by the time Ihae returned to the Pound the next weekend, or for Yvonne to still be there, at least temporarily, the next weekend, so Ihae could be sure to see her. She felt conflicted, and guilty for hoping even a bit that her friend might still be at the Pound the next time she showed up.
They had only known each other for a short time, but even so, they had become best friends. Ihae had never known someone she felt so comfortable with, and who had so much in common with her. She couldn’t bear to lose such a good friend.
Ihae thought about it, and decided that really, there was nothing she could do now. If Yvonne was adopted, then Ihae would be happy for her, and do whatever she could to make sure they could continue to be friends. That was what they had promised to do, if need be, and she trusted Yvonne to search for her, as well. They would find each other, in the end.
Having decided on this, she started on her way home, trying to figure out a plan of action depending on what happened. Even if she was lucky and could stay in contact with Yvonne, the Tuskaninny was counting on her help to succeed, and she needed to make sure she was ready.
To be continued…