Usuki Singing Stars #11: Patricia's Holiday Miracle - Part Four
"Umm, Miss Elizabeth?" Patricia gulped as she knocked on the door again. After waiting a few moments for Elizabeth to come back and open the door, Patricia sighed and began trudging her way through the knee-high snowfall back home. She couldn't help but feel hurt that Elizabeth had refused to visit her father, especially since he was going to spend Christmas by himself, with no other family member or friend stopping by for a mere minute to wish him a Merry Christmas.
I wish I could spend time with Mr. Ridgewood on Christmas day, Patricia thought yearningly, but I highly doubt that my mother would let me leave the house when it's going to be Brayden's very first Christmas! With a sigh of defeat and encouragement, Patricia decided to see Elizabeth Ridgewood again tomorrow. She was hoping that visiting the stubborn Ixi every day would convince her to go see her father. But before she could go see her again, Patricia needed help from two mischievous Bruces.....
"Why in Neopia should we help you?" Scary wondered. The purple Bruce, who was still upset that Patricia had ditched her and Sparkles at the Smoothie Shop yesterday, was appalled when she was asked to help Elizabeth reunite with her father. "Besides, we don't even know an 'Elizabeth Ridgewood'. So why should we care?"
"I know who Elizabeth is," Sparkles piped up. After taking a sip from her egg-nog smoothie, she faced Patricia and said, "Elizabeth and I work with each other at the Soup Kitchen. She told me that she volunteers there every Month of Giving to help the less fortunate, and she also remarked that her parents were important suppliers as well."
"Didn't you used to work at the Soup Kitchen, Pat?" Scary wondered, remembering when Patricia had decided to volunteer last year. "I always knew charity was a waste of time," Scary tsked.
Patricia frowned. "I've been volunteering! But only for a few days per week, though. I had to help Mother with the Christmas decorations, and I had to go gift shopping, and I had to write to Lola-"
"Excuses, excuses," said Scary. "Besides, isn't Lola vacationing with Miss what's-her-name in Terror Mountain? And to think that girl has no respect for those less fortunate than her!"
She's not the only one, thought Patricia.
"Still, I think we should help this Mr. Ridgewood reunite with his daughter," said Sparkles. She took her last sip of her eggnog smoothie before she continued. "How about we go to her house and ask her to spend Christmas with her dad? And if she says no then we can try again tomorrow!" She gave Patricia an assured look. "We have three more days before Christmas, Patricia. I'm sure that we can convince her to forgive him if we use persistence!"
"And if we lose some of our dignity along the way," Scary muttered. But Patricia just nodded and began planning some ways in which they could persuade Elizabeth to forgive her father.
After they had paid for their smoothies, the three girls went to Elizabeth's house and knocked on her door. As soon as Elizabeth opened the door, she frowned at Patricia and immediately closed it without saying a word. Patricia just stood there in awe while Sparkles and Scary discussed their plans for tomorrow. On Day Two of their mission, the girls had decided to tell Elizabeth what had happened to their friend Lola last year. But when Elizabeth asked them if Lola had forgiven her parents for what they had done, the girls just shrugged and watched as Elizabeth slammed the door at them.
"Geez, I never knew she was such a prissy miss," Scary muttered. "She could have at least let us sing her a Christmas carol!" With fury, Scary pulled out an icy snowball from her jacket pocket and threw it through one of Elizabeth's windows.
Sparkles face-palmed herself. "Why did you do that, Scary? Were you trying to imitate Patricia or something?" Patricia gave Sparkles a weird stare while Scary snickered at what she had just done.
"Guess we can go now," Patricia sighed. "I think I'll go visit Mr. Ridgewood before I go home, since I've just finished the Neopian Times series I borrowed from him. See you guys later!" After waving good-bye to her friends, Patricia quickly made her way to Mr. Ridgewood's house, hoping that the elderly Ixi was feeling allot better from the last time he was visited.
When Mr. Ridgewood opened the front door for Patricia, the faerie Shoyru was shocked to notice how pale and feverish her friend looked and felt. "Are you okay, Mr. Ridgewood?" Patricia wondered. "Is this a bad time to visit? I was hoping that maybe I could return the series I borrowed from you four days ago."
Mr. Ridgewood coughed. "Oh don't worry about my cold, dear Shoyru. Please come in and I'll get you cocoa." Hesitantly, Patricia entered the house and followed Mr. Ridgewood to his living room, where Patricia saw a blanket and pillow on the longest sofa.
"Are you sure you're okay? Maybe it's best for you to go see a doctor as soon as possible." Patricia was reluctant to stay too long, even if she had always enjoyed Mr. Ridgewood's company. Mr. Ridgewood was coughing and insisting that he had caught a temporary case of Neomonia.
"It's not too bad that I have Neomonia," Mr. Ridgewood insisted. He handed a plate of cookies to Patricia, who was beginning to feel uncomfortable in the supposingly-suffocating living room. Now Patricia was beginning to feel a bit pressured about staying, especially since Mr. Ridgewood asked her how her holidays were coming along.
"They're alright," Patricia insisted. She knew deep down that she couldn't tell Mr. Ridgewood about what his daughter had told her, but what should she do? She knew that she couldn't persuade Elizabeth to come through her stupid antics, and she was really positive that neither Scary and Sparkles will be able to help her. The only thing she needed was a new assuring plan, but what else can she think of?
After Mr. Ridgewood refused to go visit the doctor for the fiftieth time, Patricia sighed and left the door without saying goodbye. She didn't feel that the decision Mr. Ridgewood was making was a safe one, but what else can she say? I guess I can see him tomorrow, Patricia decided. It is going to be Christmas Eve, so maybe I can give Mr. Ridgewood the present I found for him. And hopefully he would have visited a doctor by the time I would visit. He just has to.
But when Patricia visited Mr. Ridgewood on Christmas Eve, she was dismayed to see that her friend had not seen a doctor yet. Although he had claimed that he had a 'temporary' case of Neomonia, Mr. Ridgewood looked a lot worse than he had yesterday! He was now too weak to even get up off the bed that he had made for himself on his living room sofa! "Now what will you do?" Patricia asked desperately. "Do you have any jelly pills left?"
Mr. Ridgewood shook his head. "I'm afraid I used up all of the boxes that I had kept in my medicine cabinet. And I'm afraid that the Pharmacy isn't going to open until after the New Year. So I guess I'll just have to stay here and rest."
"But you can't! What you need is your daughter at your side to take care of you!" Patricia blurted out. As soon as she had blurted everything out, Patricia immediately covered her mouth as her face went from purple to red.
"How I wish that my dear Elizabeth would come join me for Christmas," Mr. Ridgewood sighed, "but I'm afraid it would be virtually impossible for us to meet again. For one thing, I don't even know here she is! I'm certain that an intelligent Ixi like her could be studying in the same Brightvalian College that I went to when I was a lad."
She's actually right here in Neopia Central, but she just doesn't want to see you, Patricia had wanted to say, but she decided to keep those words in her mind to protect Mr. Ridgewood's feelings.
Mr. Ridgewood sighed again and pulled out the brownish-gold locket that had once belonged to Elizabeth. He opened the clap and wiped his eyes as he stared at Elizabeth's baby photo. "Hopefully, I would see you again, dear Lizzie." Mr. Ridgewood sniffled.
Poor Ridgewood! Patricia gasped. But when she looked at the locket again, she suddenly gasped, "That's it!"
"What's it, my dear?" Mr. Ridgewood wondered.
"Oh... nothing," said Patricia, "but Mr. Ridgewood, would you mind if I borrow your daughter's locket? I need it for... something."
"What in Neopia would you need this locket for? Is it for some scavenger hunt?" Mr. Ridgewood demanded.
"Um, well, I guess you can say that," Patricia stammered. "I'm looking for an... umm, antique locket. Yeah, that's it! So may I borrow it? I promise you that I won't lose it." With a reluctant sigh, Mr. Ridgewood handed the locket to Patricia's eager hands.
"Now you best be going now, Patricia. It's getting awfully dark outside," Mr. Ridgewood said between coughs. "Do wish your family a Merry Christmas for me." Patricia nodded and placed the locket in a zipped up pocket. She knew exactly what to do when she saw Elizabeth Ridgewood tomorrow!
To be continued...
To Jared, Hassan, Lei, Seiya, Janie, Jeremy, and Game: More great friends! *hugs* While every friendship has its ups and downs, I feel like our friendship gets stronger the longer we get to know each other. We each have our different skills and strengths that make us unique, and it is these talents that defy us in Neopian society. Thank you for being my friends.