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Usuki Singing Stars #46: Something Special for You


by downrightdude

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     "This bracelet is going to look so pretty, Mr. Porkers,” Lola gushed as she sorted through her tin of beads. The yellow Cybunny held up the string of yellow star-shaped, green triangle-shaped and pink heart-shaped beads she’d fashioned. “How does this look?” she asked her Snorkle.

     Mr. Porkers oinked and sniffed the tin. Lola beamed. The bracelet was a surprise birthday present for Ms. Butterworth, a cloud Bruce who’d taken the young Cybunny in after her parents abandoned her at the Pound. To show her appreciation, Lola decided that a homemade bracelet would be the perfect present—something Ms. Butterworth could wear everyday, as a reminder of Lola’s love. Pleased with the result of her creation, Lola tied the string into a knot and, shivering with excitement, slipped her hands through the bracelet. It was a perfect fit.

     Beaming, Lola placed the bracelet and her tin of beads on the bedside table. “I can't wait to give it to her,” she said with a yawn. With Mr. Porkers snuggled beside her, Lola dozed off with a content smile.

     ***

     “Good morning, my darling,” Lola said, stretching her arms. She looked over and saw Mr. Porkers rolling on the bed, happily snorting.

     Ms. Butterworth knocked on the bedroom door. “Breakfast will be ready soon, dearie,” said the cloud Bruce.

     “Okay. I’ll be right up.” Lola sprang out of her bed and turned to her bedside table. She gasped. “Oh no! The bracelet...it’s gone!” Panic struck Lola as she examined the table from top to bottom. On her knees, she opened the drawer, but only found two cotton balls and a scrunchie. Where could it have gone? I saw it just last night!

     Heart pounding, Lola scanned every inch of the bedroom floor, not stopping until she was certain the bracelet hadn't somehow fallen behind her bed. Sure enough, nothing but a few clumps of dirt were found, and Lola sighed. She was so upset about her loss that she didn't pay much attention to Ms. Butterworth as she chattered on about a recent trip to a friend's shop.

     “I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud,” Ms. Butterworth chortled. “More bacon, dearie?”

     “No thanks,” said Lola. She didn’t feel it would have been fair if she got extra bacon that morning. Mr. Porkers, however, squealed happily after receiving an extra bowl of petpet food.

     Lola became so depressed at Neoschool that even her friends noticed her glum mood. Patricia offered her an extra carrot stick at lunchtime. “How are you okay?” asked the faerie Shoyru.

     “You seem so sad today,” said Sparkles. The pink Bruce reached across the cafeteria table and grabbed Lola’s hand. “You can tell us of something’s up, you know.”

     Feeling her friends' support cheered Lola right up, and she quickly relayed the mystery of the vanishing bracelet. “I can't understand why and how my bracelet disappeared in one night!” gasped Lola. “I looked all over my bedroom, but it was nowhere to be found. And I know for a fact that it couldn’t have wound up anywhere else, so I’ve been thinking over what happened to it….and what to do now.”

     “Maybe you can give her another present instead,” Patricia suggested. “Like a….I don’t know….A cake or something.”

     Lola shook her head. “Ms. Butterworth said she was going to bake her own cake this year.”

     “Ooh, try baking cookies,” said Sparkles. “You can make them Bruce shaped!”

     “When is her birthday, anyways?” asked Patricia.

     “Saturday. So I only have four more days to find a new gift,” said Lola. That is IF I can think up of something in time, she added to herself.

     Lola was relieved that only Mr. Porkers was in the front lawn. The Snorkle was sniffing the ground and, noticing his owner, squealed loudly and ran towards her, oinking excitedly. Ms. Butterworth emerged from behind the house, garden gloves and sunhat on. “Welcome home, Lola,” she said cheerily. “Wait a spell and I’ll get you a snack.”

     “No thanks. I’m not hungry,” said Lola. “Are you gardening?”

     Ms. Butterworth nodded. “I was just planting some more tulips. Want to help?”

     Lola shook her head and hurried inside. I need to find a replacement gift as soon as possible, she thought urgently. There’s got to be something around here I can use for inspiration.

     Heading back outside for more fresh air, Lola was surprised to see Mr. Porkers approached her with something dangling in his mouth. “What’s this?” she asked the Snorkle.

     Mr. Porkers dropped the item, squealed, and trudged way.

     Lola picked it up: it was a necklace, the clay and wooden beads cracked and covered with dirt. Although the necklace itself was untied, both ends of the string were secured into a knot to enclose the beads.

     What in Neopia is this doing in the ground? Lola wondered to herself. She looked over at Mr. Porkers and wondered if he was responsible for the item’s burial in the first place.

     He does have a habit of digging up the front and back yards, thought Lola. Although I can't imagine where he would have found this necklace.

     The necklace looked so pitiful that Lola was struck by a sudden idea: she would try to repair it, or use the beads to remake the design. To start, the necklace was carefully untied and the beads washed carefully to remove the dirt. Two of the beads were so damaged, Lola’s heart ached as she threw them in the garbage bin. She then decided to use some of her own beads—mainly the red and blue wooden beads she bought at the Marketplace a few months ago—and slipped them in-between the older beads to create a pattern of red, blue, yellow and green colours.

     By the time dinner was ready, Lola’s makeshift necklace was finished; the old and new beads fit perfectly, and the necklace, as a whole, looked vibrant and new again. “It’s so pretty now,” she remarked to Mr. Porkers. “I just hope Ms. Butterworth likes it, too.”

     Mr. Porkers squealed with delight.

     At breakfast the next day, Lola felt her cheeks burn scarlet as she handed the necklace to Ms. Butterworth. She looked down at her plate, peeking slightly to see whether or not the gift was well received. If it wasn’t, then what would she do? She had no other gifts handy, and the only other possible back-up present was still missing!

     But to her surprise, however, Ms. Butterworth was beaming with surprise. “My word, what do we have here?” she murmured, examining the beads closely. She turned to Lola. “Where in Neopia did you find this?”

     “Actually, Mr. Porkers was the one that found it,” said Lola. “I just...um...fixed it up.”

     Ms. Butterworth laughed. “You certainly did a good job! Looks much better than what I tried to do.”

     “What do you mean?” Lola gasped.

     “You see, this necklace,” said Ms. Butterworth, holding the object up, “was actually a Mystery Island souvenir I acquired years ago.” She sighed. “Unfortunately I was careless with it when I travelled back home, so a few of the clay beads cracked and one was too broken to repair.”

     “Did you ever try to fix the necklace?” asked Lola.

     “Many times than I can count,” said Ms. Butterworth, chuckling. “But then I decided to dispose of it, believing I would never be able to restore it. It’s a good thing your Snorkle found this; otherwise, I would have surely lost it forever!”

     Lola blushed. “I was, um, actually going to give you something that I made, but I lost it two days ago. So I had to improvise and...well…” She coughed lightly. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to give you something more personal, something that I made instead of re-gifting something you discarded. Maybe next year I can find something more creative—”

     “Well, there’s no use getting all upset,” Ms. Butterworth insisted. She placed the necklace around her neck. “I really do appreciate your efforts, Lola. This necklace used to be garbage; but now, thanks to you, it’s a treasure I shall always keep close to my heart. So thank you dearly!”

     Lola beamed. Before she could reply, Mr. Porkers sauntered over and dropped something near his owner’s chair. When she noticed what the object was, Lola held it up to Ms. Butterworth. “I can't believe it!” she gasped. “This was the bracelet I made for you!”

     “It seems to have been buried somewhere,” remarked Ms. Butterworth, pointing to the specks of dirt. She smiled at Mr. Porkers. “Why, thank you ever so much for the generous gift! You are such a generous little Snorkle.”

     Lola laughed. “He’s such a sweetheart. I bet he took the bracelet so he’d have something to give you, too.”

     Mr. Porkers squealed happily, as if agreeing.

   &nabsp; The end.

 
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