Two Cups of Islandberry Juice
"So I have this idea.”
Aristotle A. Avinroo didn’t have to look up from the game screen; multitasking was his strong point.
“Do tell,” he said.
Abigail tried her best to explain while maneuvering the speeding Meerca on the game screen. Her brother stated that games helped to strengthen various skills, such as focusing on two things at once.
“You know how you started that Games Master Challenge thing last month?” She took a moment to dodge a red Negg. “I was thinking that maybe I could do something like that with you.”
AAA smiled. “Tell me more.”
She continued. “Well, since I’m not exactly a pro gamer, maybe participants who are at my level could try to beat my score, and more experienced gamers could choose to challenge you. Then we’d do that every day for about a month.”
“A challenge, huh?” The yellow Blumaroo flicked his fingers on the game controller. “Kind of like a dare.”
Abigail’s sea green eyes lit up. “A daily dare!”
Her brilliant name she came up with caused her to jump up from the sofa, but in the process also led her Meerca to crash into its own tail. Her score—the typical amount of a little under a hundred—flashed on the screen in white letters.
AAA purposely grabbed a red Negg to end his game. He wanted to discuss more of the event idea with his sister. The Blumaroo took a sip of his favorite beverage: Islandberry Juice. Abigail drank the same juice from her glass as well.
“That’s actually a pretty good idea. Cool name, too!” He put his game controller in a neatly organized drawer that had all of his gaming supplies stored inside. “We could submit the plan and see if it can become an official event! The Games Master Challenge was a huge hit, so I bet that this will be even more awesome!”
The pair spent the following months planning out dates, activities, and other vital attributes to make the event a reality. Their fingers were cramped from all the writing, but all the hard work had paid off when they received a Neomail a month later, confirming that their grand idea would come to life in the month of Running.
That was how it all began.
It was just me, my big brother, and two cups of Islandberry Juice.~*~
The stress and drama that ensued in the Daily Dare hit levels of extreme. The siblings were assigned to a very picky manager, who required the Daily Dare to have a specific ‘image’ to it. There were well-tailored outfits to wear, unruly behaviors to display, and worst of all, precise words to say.
“Things are looking better this year,” the hefty brown Moehog said, “but the community is itching for something more…amusing.” He sipped his Juppie Java. “The scenario of the annoying kid sister is fairly popular amongst our target audience.”
Abigail raised an eyebrow. She didn’t like the sound of being seen as an annoyance.
Her brother drummed his fingers on the coffee table in a wave motion. “Are you planning on making our faces a lie?”
“Not entirely,” he shook a finger, and took another sip of his drink. “The world of entertainment is similar to this cup of coffee. Depending on the customer, one or two cubes of sugar may be added to the beverage. Maybe the next fellow in line wants their drink unsweetened, but the vast majority still prefer sugar in theirs. With these statistics in mind, it would be wise to focus on advertising the business’s sweetened coffee. If your audience wants a humorous, stereotypical pair of siblings, then you’ll need to give them what they want if the Daily Dare is going to stay an annual event.”
The brother and sister exchanged nervous looks.
I called AAA a moron twenty-seven times on the Roo Island stage that year.
He was asked to say even more nasty things about me.
The worst thing about it, though, was that our public façade was making its way into our own personal lives.~*~
When Abigail was told that AAA wouldn’t be making his way back from camp in time for the Daily Dare, and his popular classmate by the name of Chadley would be taking his place, Abigail jumped for joy. Her bother had become a constant nuisance for her, and the Daily Dare had come to be the culprit of aggravating their feuds annually. Abigail had heard from both friends and press reports alike that the green Zafara was a professional model for some of the hottest customization lines at the NC Mall, and he even had a percentage of his salary regularly donated to the Money Tree. Not only was he good looking, but good hearted as well.
The petite blue Aisha was almost done curling her hair into golden ringlets for the Daily Dare opening ceremony when she heard the doorbell ring its friendly chime.
Behind the amber tinted door was the suave Zafara that she had heard so much about. He smiled with sparkly, pearly white teeth, and Abigail felt her face become warm. She twirled a lock of hair and twisted it into a knot, as if her reaction was instinctive.
“You would be Abigail Avinroo, I presume?” He asked with a cool, deep tone.
“Y-yes,” Abigail stuttered, flushed by his elegant demeanor. “And you’re Chadley?”
“Chadrick Woolsworth Tuffington the Fourth, to be precise.” He struck a pose as he announced his full name with pride. “Are you ready for the first day of this year’s Daily Dare?”
He extended a gentle hand to her. If there was any colour brighter than pure red, then that was the colour of Abigail’s face. She stifled a blissful giggle as her fingers intertwined with his.
It was going to be the perfect Daily Dare.~*~
Abigail felt as if she was smiling even more than Chadley. Being in his presence made her heart skip a beat. She could hardly wait to return to the Roo Island stage that day. Chadley would announce his score, she would announce hers, the pair would crack a few jokes, they would smile, hold hands…
…And Chadley would have paper cutouts of his face plastered all over the stage.
Abigail’s jaw dropped at the sight of so many detailed photographs portraying the smiling green Zafara. Several stage crew members set up the new decorations, whilst Chadley laid back on a padded beach chair. He sported a pair of neon yellow sunglasses, which clearly were being worn for fashion over function; he was resting his body under one very small patch of shade. In his hand was a crystal glass full of Tchea Fruit tea. He nonchalantly took a sip of his beverage through a twisty pink straw.
Abigail blinked her eyes, refusing to believe the inconceivable sight presented before her.
“Chadley!” She charged in his direction. “What in Neopia do you think you’re doing?”
Chadley casually looked up, setting down his glass and removing his shades. “Oh, hey Abby. Just giving some good ol’ fashioned pizazz to this bland stage.”
Her eye twitched. She couldn’t even begin to comprehend how such an absurd amount of arrogance managed to fit its way into Chadley’s fourteen year old body.
“How can you call this pizazz? This is the Daily Dare, not one of your modelling sessions!”
The Zafara cringed. “Whoa now sweetheart, that angry face doesn’t make you look as cute. I’m gonna need you to calm down a bit.” He placed his shades back on to blind out Abigail’s disgusted expression.
“Take those off right now!” She demanded.
Chadley waved a hand. “Temper, darling. Why ever so? I need to rest my eyes if I’m to get a high score in the games.” He lifted the sunglasses for a moment and furrowed his brows. “How about you take a break as well? You’re in some serious need of beauty sleep, not gonna lie.”
Abigail’s ears became hot with anger. She stormed off, grumbling insults under her breath.
It was going to be the perfect Daily Dare.
I knew something was missing that year, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
But when I received a postcard from Lulu, I realized that I had entirely forgotten what the Daily Dare was all about.
I knew that learning Morse code would serve its purpose one day.~*~
The sound of Chadley splashing into the cold waters of the Roo Island pier was music to the siblings’ ears. The two grinned from ear to ear as they looked out the window to watch Chadley flail aimlessly in the water from the comfort of their own home. Aristotle felt confused, yet pleasantly surprised when Abigail pulled him into a tight embrace.
“I’m so sorry for being so mean to you,” she apologized, “I had totally forgotten why we even started the Daily Dare in the first place!”
AAA returned the hug, which he felt like he hadn’t done in years. “Hey, I’ve been a bit of a jerk as well. Looks like the media really did manage to get to us.”
“It doesn’t have to be that way though! Nobody has the right to control our own lives!” Abigail struggled to find the proper words to express herself. “I just… I want to…”
Her big brother reached over to his game cabinet and removed a case with a happy Meerca on the cover.
The pair took a seat on the sofa, and reminisced over the eccentric adventures they once shared and contemplated the wonderful moments that were soon to be.
It was just me, my big brother, and two cups of Islandberry Juice.