I am Aqua: Part Three
The next day Rose called me to her office. I was afraid I was in trouble, though a small sliver of hope resided within me- hope that today was the day I would finally find a home where I could be loved. But I didn’t hope that much... I didn’t want to become heartbroken like Dolphinoras.
“You are...” She scanned the page, I felt a pang that she couldn’t remember my name after reading it a few seconds ago, but my name was number filled; what was I to expect? “You are Aqua_1919191919 the green Peophin, I assume?”
I nodded lamely.
“Well, it seems we have an adoption request for you; you’re lucky! Your future owner is reeses_pet. She will be fostering you until you are a rare color, then find you the right home. You’re quite lucky; there are only a handful of fosterers out here!”
A little bit of my hope lowered; it wasn’t a permanent home, just a foster home. Then I thought about Dolphinoras. I was afraid to ask Rose, as it may be showing that being adopted wasn’t enough for me and that I was ungrateful for what I already had. But I was asking for Dolphinoras’s sake, so I spoke in a timid voice.
“Rose,” I started. “Does my new fosterer have any room for my friend Dolphinoras?”
Rose’s gaze turned sympathetic. “Aqua, reeses_pet has, unfortunately, only enough room for one pet. She chose you, as your name appeared to her in the search screen room.”
Guilt fused me as I realized I would have a happy future; but Dolphinoras... I shook my head sadly, and listened intently as Rose told me to pack my things and say good bye to all my friends. I felt bad; being adopted was a happy thing, but leaving the Pound made me a tad bit sadder; which surprised me greatly.
The blue Flotsam didn’t look at me as she lay on her bed, gazing up at the ceiling with no emotion.
“You got adopted.” Her voice was hard, hoarse and filled with sadness.
Waves of pity washed over me. “Yes... but to a foster home.”
Dolphinoras was silent for a moment. “Well, I guess this is good bye then.” She got up and hugged me, and then she went back to the bed and resumed staring at the ceiling, only this time tears glistened at the corners of her eyes.
I packed up my things, a little reluctant to leave all these memories behind- especially Dolphinoras. Throwing my coat, book, album and a couple other things into a pale rose bag, I zippered up then headed out the door with a final goodbye. And as I walked out of my dorm room and down the hall towards the main lobby, a tiny feeling twanged within me. I don’t know how, but something told me things were going to get much better; even if they didn’t seem the very best at this moment.
When I reached the large lobby doors, I hesitated. Then Rose appeared beside me then guided me out into the lobby. It was lit brightly with a couple lamps. I hadn’t been here since the Insurance Agency placed me here, automatically assuming Ellen would never come back. Since the Pound reopened, things had improved financially. Plush sofas were scooted off to the left side around a glass oak coffee table with an assortment of magazines and a flower pot in the center.
A couple rugs were here and there, most of them colorful. A few paintings and photos of some neopets were hung up on the wall and there were even more sofas and couches in another part of the room. Around the front part were the three desks in front of three doors, Transfer, Abandon and the pink one we just came out of, Adopt. A couple other pets I knew were there too, already smiling and hugging their new owners. By the look on their faces, I saw that they had found their permanent homes- unlike me who was being sent to a foster care agency. There were also some stone-faced owners abandoning sobbing pets. Some of the abandoners were hugging and crying their pets. At least they cared. Why did I have to go to some temporary foster home? I knew I should have been grateful, so I turned my thoughts away from that and looked up to Rose.
“Miss. Reeses_Pet, this is Aqua_1919191919,” Rose said in a kind tone, and I swiveled my head to look up to the person she spoke to.
A medium height girl with shoulder-length hair stood in front of me. She wore a pale yellow T-shirt. Her eyes were focused on me- trying to find out what kind of person I was, but I did not trust her anyway. How could I? I didn’t even know who she was- just a girl called Reeses. My tail arched slightly, and I wished so dearly to clutch my own necklace, but it was only in small pieces and I feared to loose those bits.
“Hello, Aqua. I’m Reeses,” she said, and I could tell she was nervous like me. “I run a foster care agency... and... I want to...” The girl dropped her gaze and trailed off shyly.
My eye brow shot up and I turned my look to Rose. “Did she sign the papers?” I asked bluntly, and Rose nodded awkwardly.
“Well, you two better go home and know each other!” the pink Uni said cheerfully (and might I add, lamely).
She pushed us towards the door, and with a wave of her hoof, disappeared. At that moment, I realized I was alone in a completely different world with a stranger I had no clue about. I looked up slowly at the girl, who was staring at a doglefox darting through the bushes. I noticed a small smile tug on her face.
“So.” She spoke in a voice barely above a whisper. “So you’re my new foster.”
I nodded slowly, still looking at her curiously. “I suppose I am.”
“Let’s go home then, I want to introduce you to my pets.” Her voice was a little stronger and realization hit me like a bowling ball. She was nervous- about me?
Home, I haven’t gone to any place I could call ‘home’ since Ellen left. “Okay,” I said, then numbly followed Reeses who led me to an Eyrie carriage.
I still didn’t trust that girl.
“An Eyrie carriage?” I asked quizzically, forgetting my hesitant actions. “Where do you live? Like, in Faerieland?”
Reeses nodded. “Exactly, though I will be moving to Neopia Central soon to be able to get closer to the Pound for transferring fosters like you.”
My eyes widened as I brought my bag into the carriage. “Wow, Ellen, my old owner, never took me anywhere above because she was afraid of heights!”
Ellen’s name brought back memories, but I learned to cope with them. I turned to look out the window.
“So, what’s your favorite color?” Reeses asked slowly as we rose into the air in our carriage led by four Eyries, one faerie, one yellow, one striped and the other electric.
I raised an eyebrow- what was she- weird? Asking random stuff like that...
Reeses wrung her hands and bit her lip. “I don’t know! They always say to get to know someone by asking questions! But they’re so... so... random!”
“I know what you mean...” I said, giggling a little.
“Well, I guess knowing someone is supposed to come naturally; I’ve learned not to trust websites.” Reeses laughed quietly,
As we rode in the air in the carriage, I got to know Reeses, without the help of a dumb getting-to-know-you website. Reeses loved the color blue, had a total of seven pets which were Reeses_Love the Faerie Xweetok, Flaming_Heart_Beauty who was a lab pet, Flame’s twin Star_Light_Wish the Starry Xweetok, Shining_Lucky the Striped Xweetok, Crunchy_Muncher the Checkered Skeith, Fire_Spirit_Star the Christmas Lupe, Clover_Seedlings, Delphinium_Seashell, Little_Reeses, Soarania_Clouds and Bronze_Dubloon the Christmas Kougra.
”So you’re saying you left an open spot left for a foster when you first signed up to enter Neopia?” I asked her with interest, but Reeses shook her head slowly.
She hesitated before answering. “Actually... when I signed up for Neopets I created many pets and as a newbie I abandoned a couple of them. They all got homes; however; and I even stop by every now and then to make sure they are ok. I regret my decisions, but to hopefully make up for what I did to them I let my little sister adopt one of my pets and then went into fostering.” Reeses didn’t speak anymore and turned to watch a group of Unis fly by.
“Oh,” I whispered, but I knew everyone had my regrets; I had once, when I was little and spoiled, told a homeless pet to get lost and make his own money when he asked me for change. Ellen was a few feet away and she didn’t hear me. “How many pets have you fostered so far?”
Reeses shifted in her seat. “Well, I’ve been fostering for a while. I don’t know- more than the pets I abandoned.”
My eyes widened. “But that’s enough to cover your regrets! Why do you continue it?”
“I... I don’t want others to go through what my old pets went through. So now I zap you guys who are my fosters. I used to morph, but the potions that I could afford weren’t usually the best.” She admitted, “But if you want, you can stay in your current form and instead I can train you, but more people would go for painted pets instead of high stats.”
She had the lab ray? My thoughts raced; I had always wanted to go there and be zapped even if it meant changing genders and species. To me it was like an awesome thrill ride. Ellen refused to buy it, though, and I had to go around as a green Peophin until she got a Faerie paint brush.
My eyes burned.
I wiped my eyes and promptly said some dust had blown in them. But Reeses saw right through my lie and I had to blush as I saw in her eyes she saw the truth. She leaned over and patted my shoulder. We rode the rest of the way home in silence. Once or twice she tried to start conversation with me, but I just responded with a shrug or a simple, short answer. She gave up after a few times.
The Eyrie carriage finally landed at a loading and unloading station on the edge of Faerieland. I anxiously took a step off the carriage, then another and another. I dragged myself on the large cloud; it was so fluffy! It reminded me of cotton candy. Feeling quite foolish, I put my head down and opened my jaws wide. I intended to grab a bite of it, but a light faerie yanked me up.
To be continued...