Usuki Singing Stars #24: Two for Tea
I, Lola, courteously invite you, Patricia, to attend a very special tea party this Saturday at noon. Please be dressed in your best outfit to partake in an elegant afternoon of conversation and tea sipping. There will also be ladylike party games, too, so don't forget to bring your favourite Usuki doll!
Please R.S.V.P. to verify your future participation.
Patricia gazed at the lace-trimmed invitation and then looked up at Lola, who had just given it to her and waiting patiently for a reply. "You're having an actual tea party this weekend, Lola?" asked the faerie Shoyru.
"Yes," said Lola, "and it would be a real delight if you could come and join me, Patricia!" The yellow Cybunny sighed with satisfaction. "I've been planning this tea party for the past two weeks, and I would be ever-so-happy if all of my dearest friends could come."
"Who else have you invited?" asked Patricia.
"Sparkles and Scary," said Lola. "I mailed their invitations, but I decided to give you yours as soon as Neoschool ended!"
"I see," said Patricia, who was thinking back to just a couple minutes ago when she was approached by Lola at her locker. The invitation caught her completely by surprise, and Patricia wasn't sure if she really wanted to go to a tea party... mainly because she wasn't interested in anything super girly, like frilly dresses or fashion magazines.
Just then, Sparkles strode over to Lola with a big smile on her face. The pink Bruce waved her invitation in the air. "There you are, Lola! Scary and I came to R.S.V.P. for your tea party!" She nudged her sister, who had been following her with a scowl.
Scary shrugged her shoulders. "Eh," muttered the purple Bruce.
"And I also have this fabulous dress to wear, too," Sparkles squealed to Lola. "I can't wait to go shopping for some tea party gloves and a matching hat! Oh, and I must help with the tea party foods!"
Lola nodded eagerly. "Let's go to my house and make a list of everything we need for Saturday!" she suggested. Sparkles nodded and both girls exited the Neoschool, happily chattering about the tea party with great anticipation.
Patricia re-read the invitation for a second time. "Well, it sure sounds like it could be fun."
"Ha! I bet it would be a major snooze-fest," Scary snorted. "There is no way I'll ever attend any social function at Lola's pathetic neohome."
"But Lola's expecting us both to attend," Patricia insisted.
Scary crossed her arms. "Like Lola would actually want me at her tea party. I've had more than enough froufrou parties with Sparkles to say that I absolutely HATE anything tea-related." Feeling enraged, Scary grabbed her invitation from her coat pocket and crumpled it into a ball. "There, now I don't have to R.S... uh, hand over my name to a lousy identity thief!" she sneered as she threw the crumpled paper ball into a waste basket.
Lola would be so upset if she finds out! Patricia wanted to shout, but something inside of her made her remain silent. She didn't want to admit that she was also having second thoughts about attending Lola's tea party, despite knowing how important the event was for her friend. After a few more moments of thinking, Patricia sighed and said, "Maybe Lola wouldn't mind if I accidentally skipped her tea party."
"You know she won't," Scary insisted. "And besides, I'm sure I'll have a much better time shopping around Neopia Central then I would be at that stupid Cybunny's tea party. You can come with me if you want."
Patricia nodded hesitantly, still uncertain if she had finalized her plan on bailing on Lola. "I just hope Lola would forgive me for my absence," she mumbled as she opened her locker and pulled out her math textbook.
Despite her uneasy feeling, Patricia found herself accompanying Scary on a shopping trip the day of their friend's tea party. It was a beautiful Saturday morning when the two girls strolled to the Neopian Bazaar, where Scary had wanted to begin their shopping endeavor. "I need to go to the Grooming Parlour first," Scary explained. "Then we can go to Usukiland to see if any new outfits arrived. After that, we can check out the Smoothie Shop and the Unis Clothing shop."
Patricia sighed, still feeling regretful about her decision. Although Lola was a very dear friend to her, the thought of spending the entire afternoon at a girly tea party wasn't something she wanted to do. But Lola must be waiting anxiously for us by now, she thought as she entered the Grooming Parlour. Maybe I can give her an apology card, or some candy and flowers-
"This is outrageous! You shopkeepers are the stupidest Neopians in all of Neopia!" Scary shouted at the top of her lungs.
The pink Usul shivered from behind the front desk. "I'm s-sorry, ma'am."
Patricia looked around the store and raised her eyebrows in alarm: the entire store's shelves were completely empty! Not a single grooming product was displayed in any case or purple shelf. "Why is the store so empty?" she asked the pink Usul.
"Today's restocking day," the pink Usul explained, "which means all of our new products are waiting in the back storage room. I'm just waiting for–"
"Who in Neopia opens their store when they're busy restocking?!?!" Scary demanded. "And to think I thought only baby pets could ever be this stupid!"
"Well we have a bargain bin full of some of our older products," said the pink Usul. "It's located near the–"
Scary grabbed Patricia's wrist and whisked her out of the Grooming Parlour. "That stupid store can't restock anything to save their Usul tails!" she muttered bitterly.
"Ouch! Scary, let go!" Patricia hissed as she was dragged into the front doors of Usukiland. After she had freed herself from her friend's grip, she looked around the store and found that almost all the shelves were exactly like the ones at the Grooming Parlour: empty. The shelves that weren't emptied were filled with discounted Usuki dolls and play sets.
"Eww, a Magical Hair Usuki doll for one hundred neopoints," Scary sneered. "Like anybody I know would be caught dead with one of those overrated things!" She looked around the store and growled softly. "Where are all the designer clothing sets and luxury cruise ships??"
"I guess Usukiland is also busy restocking their shelves," said Patricia, fixated on a Usuki tea party set. The sight of the miniature tea pot and cups made her heart ache.
"Let's go to the Unis Clothing shop and hope there won't be any fashions left over from last week," Scary suggested with an air of confidence. She led Patricia to the clothing store where, lo and behold, the majority of the store's racks and shelves were bare. In fact, the only clothing items that were even on clearance sale were only for Kaus and Zafaras. "Even the Unis Clothing shop of last year is restocking today," Scary grumbled as she approached the Smoothie Shop.
"Maybe we should just give up on the shopping," said Patricia, "since it seems every shopkeeper in the Neopian Bazaar is busy restocking their stores."
"Nah," said Scary. "I'd rather just walk around Neopia Central and confront every shopkeeper for wasting a perfectly good shopping day so they can restock for an idiotic Sunday!"
Patricia gulped. "Well we can still... um... go and see if Lola's tea party is still going on."
Scary laughed. "I'd rather eat petpet food," she sneered, "then be caught attending Lola-Sue's lame tea party."
"But Lola must have been expecting us all day!" Patricia insisted in a raised voice. "Oh, what was I thinking? Why did I decide it was an ingenious idea to ditch Lola's tea party for... this 'shopping' trip? I should have just attended Lola's thing and forced myself to smile as she served me tea. I should never have bailed on her because of my own selfish feelings!" After taking a few deep breaths, Patricia felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off her chest. The guilt she had been feeling today and yesterday had somewhat faded, and she began to feel anxious about leaving Lola alone with Sparkles at her neohome.
"Are you done exploding yet, drama queen?" asked Scary, acting as if Patricia's speech hadn't touched her in any way. "If you're done defending Miss Carrot-Head, why don't we go over to the Bakery and see if they have any cinnamon rolls."
"Oh alright," Patricia sighed. She glumly followed Scary as they walked over to the Bakery and opened the front door. As soon as she saw a familiar yellow Cybunny at the front desk of the almost-bare bakery, Patricia gasped, "Lola, is that you?"
The Cybunny turned and smiled wildly. "Patricia! Scary! What a lovely surprise."
"What are you doing here?" asked Patricia.
"I came to pick up the tea cakes I pre-ordered yesterday," Lola explained. "I wanted to make sure they were freshly baked for today's tea party."
"Bo-ring," Scary said with a yawn.
Patricia felt partly-relieved that Lola hadn't questioned her absence, but she was still feeling guilty about what she had done to her friend. "Lola," Patricia said hesitantly, "I'm really sorry for not attending your tea party today. I was just afraid I'd be wasting the day sipping tea and talking about super-girly things with you and Sparkles, which I know now, is not a good reason to bail on a special event. I just hope you can forgive me."
Lola smiled widely and nodded. "Of course I forgive you, Patricia. If you want, you can still spend the rest of the afternoon with me and Sparkles. We're almost finished our tea, though."
"That sounds good," said Patricia.
"Would you like to come too, Scary?" asked Lola.
"I'd rather watch Snaw paint light bulbs," Scary scoffed as she left the bakery.
Patricia linked arms with Lola, and both girls left the Bakery with wide smiles. "I can't wait to try one of your tea cakes," she remarked happily.
"And I can't wait for you to see the hat I picked out for you to wear," said Lola.
I'd wear anything to make up for today, Patricia thought as they walked towards Lola's neohome.