Usuki Star: Part Four
Three days had passed before Rose finally heard from the magazine. Each morning, Rose woke up as the sun was rising, but her owner had not heard back from Neopia Culture. On Tuesday morning, when Rose discovered her owner was up, she realized that she had Neoschool today, and as her owner wouldn’t have time to check her Neomail until after Rose went to school, she would have to wait until she got home.
“Are you up already, Rose?” Ali sat up in her bed and yawned, surprised at the sight of Rose sitting in her bed wide awake. It was still early in the morning. “You should go back to sleep. Mom won’t be up for another hour.”
“I was hoping Mom would wake up and check her Neomail,” Rose replied, looking out the window to watch the sun as it rose from behind the hills off in the distance.
“Oh, Rose, the magazine will Neomail her eventually, but you know Mom never has to time to check in the morning. On weekdays, she has to make breakfast and get us ready for school. She doesn’t have time to check her Neomail until after we’ve left for Neoschool.”
“Even though we go to school by ourselves? All Mom has to do in the morning is make breakfast,” Rose argued.
“But she has to make sure we have all our books and our homework. And she has to make sure we’ve brushed our teeth and that we have everything we need for the day. Mom works harder than you think.”
“I guess you’re right.” The Shoyru sighed. “I just wish the magazine would contact her so I would know that they got my letter.”
“You don’t even know if you can participate in the contest, Rose,” Ali stated. “Don’t get your hopes up. I don’t want you to be disappointed.” Ali yawned again and lay down in her bed. “I’m going back to sleep now, so if you’re going to stay awake, please be quiet.”
Rose nodded, although Ali couldn’t see. She had fallen asleep already; she wasn’t used to waking up this early, and was very tired. After a few minutes, Rose realized that she had nothing to do except fall back asleep. She rested her head on a soft pillow and closed her eyes when her owner slowly opened the bedroom door.
“Rose?” she called, squinting because of the lack of light. “I thought I heard you speaking to Ali. Are you awake?” Rose’s owner was speaking softly; Rose could barely hear her.
Rose went quietly to the door and wrapped herself around her owner’s legs. “Yes, I’m awake, Mom. I was hoping you could check to see if the magazine Neomailed you back.”
“I don’t have time in the morning, Rose. I’ll check it while you are at Neoschool, and then I’ll tell you if they Neomailed me when you get home.”
“Okay,” sighed the Shoyru, disappointed, “but why are you up so early, then?”
“I couldn’t sleep.” Her owner laughed quietly. “I guess I’m a little anxious to hear back from the magazine, too. I know how much you want to meet the Usuki Star singers. Now that I’m awake, I might as well make breakfast.”
“Can I help?” Rose offered, eager to help her owner. She had no desire to go back to sleep, and she was bored doing nothing.
“Of course you can! I’m always glad to have your help.” Rose’s owner went down the hallway and into the kitchen, where the Shoyru waited for instructions. “Can you put some bread in the toaster for me, Rose?” her owner asked. “The bread is in the freezer.”
And so Rose helped her owner prepare the breakfast. The food was nearly ready to be served when Mat and Ali stumbled out of bed, half-asleep but hungry. They sat down at the dining room table and watched as Rose helped her owner set the table and put out the food. Breakfast was a quiet meal, as no one was awake enough to start a conversation. Usually Rose and her siblings would finish their food and then get ready for school without saying a word; the house was silent in the mornings except for their owner making sure the Neopets had everything they needed for the school day, and the occasional argument over who had moved whose notebook.
Soon Mat, Ali, and Rose were all on their way to school with their bagged lunches and backpacks full of heavy school books. Their owner watched them walk off into the distance, the three Neopets waving goodbye.
For Rose, the walk seemed longer than usual, and her day passed the same way, as it had yesterday. She had a hard time paying attention during her classes, and often times a teacher would call on her, only to receive a dazed expression from the anxious Shoyru. At lunch Rose recovered a little by eating the food her owner had packed for her, yet during her afternoon classes she still found it hard to focus on academic material. Finally, the day was over after what seemed like a week to Rose, and the Neopets headed home. As soon as they came in sight of the house, Rose ran to the front door, where her owner was waiting. Ali and Mat followed their sister, slowly walking to the door, tired from the school day.
“Did they Neomail you, Mom?” Rose asked eagerly, as soon as she went inside the house. She put down her backpack and waited for a response.
“Yes, the magazine replied.” Rose’s owner paused, and then continued once she saw the delighted expression on the Shoyru’s face, “They didn’t say much, except they thanked you for the letter and that they sent you a gift. The magazine said that it should arrive today.” She held up an envelope and Rose grinned. “And here it is!”
The Shoyru grabbed the envelope from her owner and gave her a huge hug. “Thanks, Mom. I’m glad you encouraged me not to give up.”
Under the watchful gaze of Ali, Mat, and her owner, Rose carefully opened the envelope. She pulled out two light pink tickets and read aloud the writing printed on one ticket, “Usuki Star Live in Neopia Central at 8:00 NST. Friday December 5, 2008.”
“Wow, Rose, that’s really cool!” Mat said as Rose started to squeal happily.
“But that means you don’t get to meet them, right? It’s just a concert,” Ali questioned Rose, although she was looking at their owner.
“I think there’s something else inside.” Their owner pointed at the envelope in Rose’s trembling hand. “Ali, this means a lot to Rose.”
“I know,” sighed the impatient Yurble, “but I have homework to do, so if you will excuse me, I’m going to go start on it.” She rolled her eyes and brought her backpack into the bedroom she shared with Rose.
Rose turned the envelope upside-down to see if there was anything else inside, and two more tickets fell out and onto the wooden floor. The Shoyru picked them up and examined them. These tickets were mint green, and Rose jumped up and down as she read the words printed in capital letters in the center of the ticket.
“Backstage pass,” Rose yelled joyfully. “Usuki Star Live in Neopia Central at 8:00 NST. Friday December 5, 2008!” The exuberant Shoyru continued to jump up and down, but then stopped to give her owner a huge hug. “I’m so happy, Mom! I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier in my whole entire life!”
“Well, I’m glad you get to meet the singers in Usuki Star after all. I could tell you really wanted this, Rose. You were lucky this time. I’m sure there are many Neopets that entered this contest and will be unhappy when they found out they didn’t win. I want you to know that these contests are extremely hard to win; you should realize how lucky you are to be holding these tickets in your hand.”
“I know, Mom.” the Shoyru stared down at the four tickets in her hand. “Are you going to come with me to the concert?”
“I’m not sure. Maybe you should take Ali. I know she would probably enjoy it, even though she may be a bit annoyed at you for obsessing over this contest. She really loves you as a sister,” Rose’s owner suggested.
“I guess I can ask her later tonight,” Rose replied. “I’m going to go do homework now.”
“Good idea.” Her owner laughed. “We’ll talk about it at dinner. Friday isn’t very far away. Today is already Tuesday.”
Rose nodded and went into the bedroom, where Ali was sitting at her desk, resting her head on the palm of her hand. Her eyes were closed and it seemed like she had only done a little of her homework.
“Are you okay, Ali?” the Shoyru asked curiously, suspecting that something was wrong.
“No, I’m fine, Rose. I’m just doing homework. I suggest you start yours.” The Yurble looked away from her sister, as if she was about to cry.
Rose paused, unsure of how to make her sister feel better. Something was obviously wrong. “Ali, would you like to come with me to the Usuki Star concert?” she finally asked, breaking the awkward silence.
Ali turned towards her sister and wiped her eyes. She smiled at Rose. “I would like that, Rose. I really would.”
The two sisters embraced each other, friendly and forgiving. There were now two Neopets in the house who couldn’t wait until Friday evening.
To be continued...