The Yellow Gelert: Part One
Dellayn stared hard at the “ugly yellow monster” in the mirror. “If only Pixie could afford a grey paintbrush for me, I know she'd love me so much more. She loves the color grey! I know she doesn't like yellow, even though she says she likes it on me.” Dellayn frowned at herself. “I wish I had enough money to buy it myself.”
Dellayn pinned on her blue bow (at least Pixie liked that) and went into the living room. “Hey, Pix,” she said slowly. “Since it's summer, could I get a job?”
“I guess that's fine. What do you have in mind?”
“I thought I could apply to be an elevator operator at the Neolodge. They're hiring, you know. So can I, please?”
“I'll take you down tomorrow.”
Dellayn smiled, thanked Pixie and went back to her room.
“As soon as I have enough money, I'll surprise Pixie. Then she'll love me as much as Chez. Maybe even more!”
Even though Chezzanne, a blue Uni, and Dellayn got along pretty well (some of the time) Dellayn was a little jealous because Pixie had chosen to write about Chezzanne first, and not her. “Blue Uni” sounds better than “yellow Gelert”, mused Dellayn. But “grey Gelert” sounds best of all!
“Are you seriously not done yet?” Chezzanne asked Dellayn annoyingly as Dellayn tried to fill out her application. “When I applied for the Neolodge, it was a piece of cake.”
“Yeah, but you didn't get hired,” snapped Dellayn.
Chezzanne pursed her lips.
“Break it up, girls. You'll get a job soon, Chezzanne, and, Dellayn, I can help you with your application now. Dinner is in the oven.” Pixie stalked in, giving both Neopets a stern look and convulsing them to laughter as she'd intended.
Why did she address Chez first? Why not, Dellayn, I can help you with your application now, and you'll get a job soon, Chezzanne? Dellayn chewed the inside of her lip, but scooted her chair over so that Pixie could sit down and help her out.
Dellayn wasn't usually the pushy, I'm-the-center-of-the-world type, but Chezzanne was, and she couldn't stand it. She didn't want a lot of attention, but she wouldn't mind a little more!
“See, I'm stuck on this. Owner's full name. What is your full name?”
Chez rolled her eyes from behind her sparkly pink reading glasses. She slipped her matching bookmark into “The Loveliest Uni” and cleared her throat. “Pixie's full name is Pixelina Peafarmaddious.”
“Yes, it is,” agreed Pixie–or Pixelina Peafarmaddious. “The Peafarmaddiouses are a very well known family, for your information. Why–”
“They made the recipe for omelette with peas, right?” Chezzanne broke in.
Dellayn sighed impatiently.
“Uh-huh. Remember when we went to get free omelette last month? Wasn't that fun?”
“No,” growled Dellayn almost silently. “I was at the Neolodge doing nothing!”
“Did you say something, Delly?” Pixie smiled at the yellow Gelert.
“Could you spell Peafarmaddious for me?”
Chezzanne went back to her book, and Pixie helped Dellayn with the application.
“Very good,” Pixie announced when they had finished. “I think you'll be accepted. You know–”
“Why is there smoke coming from the oven?” Chezzanne asked, interrupting again.
“I'm going to have to guess that I forgot to set the oven timer.” Pixie smacked her forehead and hurried into the kitchen.
“We're eating at Kela's house tonight,” Pixie said, relieved. “She called a minute ago while I was beating out flames and said that she'd made a big batch of soup for the soup kitchen, but found out that the pot was full and of course her pets can't eat it all.”
“Good,” coughed Dellayn, choking on the putrid smoke wafting from the potato casserole. “Alyett had something to show me, and of course Shei and I always love to chat with each other.”
“Alyett wants to show you her new hat,” Chezzanne said from where she had begun to polish her nails. “I already saw it.”
Even though Dellayn and Alyett weren't very good friends, she was still upset that Chez had been privileged to see it first. “Oh.”
As they sailed to Kiko Lake, Dellayn jumped at every noise. She was on edge. First, she hated being yellow, and that was just... always awful. Second, Chezzanne was being annoying. Third, she didn't know if she would be accepted at the Neolodge, and if she wasn't, she'd never be grey!
Shei always makes me feel better, Dellayn thought happily as she heard Kela's footsteps come towards the door.
“Hey, you guys,” chirped Kela sweetly. “Come in.”
Dellayn took a deep breath and detected onion, cheese, chicken, and cream. “Yummy,” she said, appreciative of good food. With Pixie, she got very little. “What kind of soup is it?” She didn't recognize the smell from any of the kinds at the soup kitchen, where they'd eaten before the days of plenty.
“It's a recipe I made myself,” Kela said simply. “Shei helped me with it.”
“Good job, Shei,” said Pixie. “Smells better than most of the stuff I make.”
They enjoyed the delicious soup, then Pixie and Kela chatted in the kitchen while their Neopets amused themselves in the living room.
“Like my hat, Delly?”
Dellayn looked at Alyett. She didn't like it. “It goes great with your eyes...”
Alyett didn't look very happy. It seemed as if she knew that Dellayn was just being nice. “Come on, Chez, let's go to my room. Oh, you know, I just got this beautiful new eyeshadow! It's so-o-o-o...” Alyett's voice trailed off as they disappeared into the bedroom.
Shei smiled at Dellayn. “Let's talk while we work this puzzle. It's a one-hundred piece puzzle of Kiko Lake. It's really pretty.”
Dellayn lay on the carpet and began separating the different colored pieces. “You know, I'm trying to get a job at the Neolodge.”
“Nice.” Shei snapped two pieces together. “What are you saving up for?”
“A grey paintbrush. Chez makes me feel so ugly next to her. But Pix likes grey even better than blue. I know she doesn't like yellow very much.”
“Oh, come on-n-n. You know she loves you. Quit the dramatics.”
“Thanks, you're so tactful.” Dellayn rolled her eyes and connected the sections she and Shei had been working on.
“Aren't I, though? Seriously, don't let Chez make you feel bad. Did you feel ugly before you knew Chezzanne?”
“That's just it. I don't know! I've always known Chezzanne. She was there from day one. It's always been Chez and Delly. Never pure Dellayn. So I've had her influence my whole life, and I don't even know...”
“Does she control you that much?” Shei gaped at her weak-willed friend.
“Well, she's always telling me that I should wear makeup, or quit wearing the necklace my friend Phae gave me.” Dellayn felt like crying. She didn't know what had happened to Phae–just one day the Neomails stopped coming and she never saw the baby Gelert again.
“And... you listen to her.” Shei sighed and shook her head.
“Well, yeah, she's three days older, you know. Besides, if I don't argue, everyone will be happy.”
“Oh, yeah! Except you,” Shei said firmly.
“We'll see. If I get this job, then I'll be able to be grey, and Chezzanne will have to respect me more. Don't you think? I mean, she's not painted, and I will be.” Dellayn smiled.
“I really think–”
“Time to go, Delly. Chez, come on.” Pixie poked her head in the living room as Dellayn snapped the last piece into the puzzle.
Dellayn got up quickly, happy to end the difficult conversation.
“Bye, Shei. Alyett.” Dellayn nodded to the yellow Eyrie and hugged Shei as she spoke.
“Good luck on your job.” Shei smiled and mouthed, “Don't let Chez control you!”
Dellayn followed Pixie out the door.
“Accepted?” Pixie danced around in a little circle with her yellow Gelert. “I'm so happy for you! It's so–“
“Hey, I got the job,” called Chezzanne as she ran into the house. “I'm now a sales-Uni at the beauty parlor. Isn't that just great? Uber-great, even?”
Dellayn pulled her paws out of Pixie's grip and slouched on the couch. Chezzanne was so–so–she wasn't sure how to explain it. Then she thought of it. Chezzanne couldn't stand having anyone else be the center of attention, even for a minute.
“I'll have to make a celebration dinner tonight,” Pixie declared, looking proudly at her pets. “On second thought, I think we'd better eat out, seeing as I can't cook anything.” She shrugged, smiled and said that she would make reservations at Kelp.
Dellayn was a little happier after that–she longed for adventure and travel–but she'd never been anywhere but Faerieland and Neopia Central. She went to her room to get ready.
Unfortunately, since Chez's room was being redecorated, they were sharing for a few days and Dellayn wasn't alone. Dellayn pulled a brush through her fur and rubbed the fine, silky fur on her ears with her paws before securing the usual blue bow in her right ear.
Chezzanne was adjusting her flower crown and glanced over. “Ew. Blue is for boys. Wear this bow. Aren't I generous?” She flicked a Prissy Miss Bow across the room and gave a vain little sigh.
Dellayn swallowed hard. She chewed her lips. “Th-thanks so much... but I like my bow. I like blue.”
“Blue,” snapped Chezzanne, “is an ugly color.”
“Whatever. I'm a different shade of blue, anyway. I can't believe you didn't accept my generous gift!”
Dellayn straightened the edges of her blue bow silently. “Thank you for offering...”
Chezzanne huffed and stalked out of the room.
“Come, Delly.” Pixie was ready, her crazy red hair pulled back in the usual ponytail, and a creamy white beanie was plopped over her curls. She was wearing a matching skirt, camisole and sweater.
Chezzanne's eyes were heavily bedaubed with eyeshadow, and her lips were unbelievably shiny.
Dellayn felt plain with nothing but a blue bow, but she straightened her shoulders and hurried out with her owner and sister.
Once they had been seated at Kelp, Dellayn stared around the restaurant, Neopet-watching. She looked up with a jolt when she felt someone standing behind her. It was a beautiful faerie Tuskaninny, and Dellayn relaxed again.
“Would you like anything to drink?” she asked gently, her voice low and sweet.
Dellayn blinked. Wow, if I could be like her...
“Waters all around,” Pixie was saying. “Thank you.”
“Certainly. I'm Lelah, and I'll be waiting on you this evening. Is there anything else?”
Lelah returned several minutes later with tall, fancy glasses of water. Dellayn was in awe as she moved gracefully, setting the glasses down so noiselessly. Dellayn looked at her sister, wondering what her reaction was.
Chezzanne was looking over the menu critically, clicking her tongue and shaking her head. “How in the world do you pronounce this?” she asked Lelah, pointing to the name of a dish.
Lelah went through it slowly, then asked, “Ready to order?”
“I'll take... that,” Chezzanne said, not ready to risk embarrassment in case she pronounced it wrong again.
Dellayn hadn't even picked up her menu yet. “Um, I guess I'll have that, too.”
Pixie told Lelah what she wanted, and Lelah took their menus away before returning almost immediately with their food.
“Great service,” Pixie commented. “No wonder it's so hard to get in.”
They ate happily, then paid the bill and went home.
As Dellayn was falling asleep, the only thought running through her head was: Tomorrow, I start work!
Dellayn smiled and pressed the 'two' button for the split Gelert that came in the elevator. “Nice weather lately, hm?”
“Are you from around here?” Dellayn tried, hoping for two syllables.
“Where are you from?” Dellayn couldn't think of any one-syllable places and grinned slightly.
The Gelert saw the elevator's light flick on, nodded, and went to her room without answering.
Dellayn rubbed her temples and closed the door, thinking about how great it would be to be painted while she waited for someone else to need a ride up or down.
The elevator lurched into motion, and Dellayn snapped out of her daydream. A blue Kacheek bounded in. “Lobby, please!”
Dellayn didn't need to start a conversation, because the Kacheek started one.
“I'm Melly. What's your name?”
“Dellayn. Sometimes people call me Delly.”
The Kacheek laughed. “Melly and Delly–that's funny. Too bad tomorrow's my last day. We could have gotten to be great friends.”
“Too bad,” agreed Dellayn. “Well, enjoy the rest of your stay.”
Melly waved as she sauntered out again, and an odd thought came to Dellayn's mind. Melly was just plain, but she was really nice, but the split Gelert was rude. Maybe being painted doesn't affect your personality for the better. She scratched her ear thoughtfully. I'm not expecting it to. I just hope Pixie likes me more once I get painted.
Two weeks after being hired, Dellayn went into work as usual, put on her little hat, and started work. And as usual, she rode up and down, greeting the pets whose owners had either gone on vacation or were too lazy to care for them themselves. But what was not usual, was that when she was leaving the elevator to go home, her paw slipped into the crack between the elevator and the lobby.
“Ow!” she yelled. Dellayn gingerly lifted her back right paw and inspected it, craning her neck to see. “That's not good.”
She frowned as her paw started swelling and turned red. Dellayn tested it with her weight and winced. She hobbled on three paws, but tripped and fell down with her limbs extended in all directions.
Dellayn's eyes smarted as her paw started throbbing again, and she sat up slowly. How mortifying. Sitting in the middle of the lobby doing nothing.
“Are you okay, Dellayn?” The manager, Mrs. Twinkle, finished serving a guest and came to Dellayn's side.
“I hurt my paw,” she whimpered.
“Oh, you poor dear. Pixie should be here soon, so don't you fret. Here, I'll carry you to the couch.”
Worse and worse!
“Thanks. I think I can walk though.” Dellayn proved her words untrue as she flopped on her face a second time, and Mrs. Twinkle shook her head and picked Dellayn up.
Pixie came in to see Dellayn moping and blushing on the couch. “Whatever's the matter?”
Dellayn quickly explained, and Pixie hurried her to the doctor, who prescribed “at least two weeks of bed rest”.
“I'm afraid you'll not be able to work, Delly,” Pixie said sadly as she made Dellayn's favorite food for her, which was Jelly–incidentally, the only thing Pixie knew how to make successfully.
“I have to have a job,” moaned the yellow Gelert. “Couldn't I do something else while I'm bed?”
“What do you know how to do?” Pixie wasn't trying to be discouraging, but sometimes she was annoyingly realistic.
“Well, I can.... I can...” Dellayn frowned. “Oh, I don't know.”
“Maybe you could try sewing plushies.”
“Ugh,” Dellayn mumbled, not at all in a good mood. “Sewing takes so-o long. But if you think I should try, I guess I will...”
To be continued...