Viewpoint: Part Two
Kayleen looked up from the paper she was editing and out the window. She watched Beekadoodles fly by. She still wasn't used to the fauna of Neopia Central. They were very different from the fauna of Shenkuu. She missed the squawking of Tomamu and the melodic songs of the Naleap. It had been a long year since she first came to Neopia Central.
The sunlight shone through the window of the office she shared with the other editors, pooling on the floor like liquid gold. That is how Kira would have described it, Kayleen thought sadly. She tried not to let out a sigh; she didn't want to attract the attention of her coworkers. They were kind, but she didn't want anyone poking around in her past.
The clock chimed five; she gathered up her things and neatened up her desk. Putting on a brave face, she went downstairs, chatting with her coworkers on the way out.
They parted and Kayleen turned and walked to a restaurant in the bazaar area of Neopia Central's shopping district. She sat down at an outside table. A waiter came up to the table and she ordered a lemon iced tea and asked him to come back when her friend arrived so they could order dinner.
The Purple Eyrie was not long waiting. A beautiful Royal Gelert wearing a blue kimono with Star of Paradise flowers in her hair turned the corner. Once again Sen looked flawless; sometimes Kayleen felt that Sen was too pretty to be real. She had to be a doll come to life. Kayleen missed the days she would have shared a thought like that with Kira. She missed the way Kira would laugh and tell her it was a good idea for a story. Sen sat down across the table from Kayleen and smiled at her.
"How are you doing, Kaylee?" Sen asked.
"Pretty well. Work keeps me busy, but I'm enjoying it. It is always what I wanted to do. How are you, Sen?" Kayleen replied.
"I'm doing quite well," Sen answered.
They ordered their dinners and made small talk. Sen, looking nervous, said slowly, "Kira is doing pretty well. She has almost completed the manuscript for her latest novel. She has titled it 'Shipwrecked on Mystery Island',"
"I'm glad to hear that. I'm looking forward to reading it," Kira replied, being careful to control her emotions.
"Kira would be proud of you if she knew how well you are doing," Sen commented. "Have you tried speaking to her?"
"I doubt that, and, no, I haven't. I told her that if she wanted to speak to me she would be able to find me easily enough. She hasn't contacted me, so I guess she isn't interested,"
Sen decided it was time to change subjects and Kayleen was glad for that.
Kayleen smiled as she listened to the rain pour, she loved rainy days and the way the deep fog obscured the mountains Shenkuu was situated in. She passed her sister's room and noticed Kira sitting at her desk writing. The Blue Eyrie was intent upon the story, and Kayleen smiled. She walked into the room and peered over Kira's shoulder. Kira looked up at her with a questioning look.
"It's good, Kira. Really thrilling, where do you come up with these ideas?" Kayleen laughed.
"The monster under my bed tells them to me at night," Kira said with a sly smile.
Kayleen playfully slapped her sister's shoulder, "Oh, shut up, you're such a goon,"
"I might well be," Kira laughed as she continued writing.
A few minutes passed in silence as Kira finished the chapter.
"Are you going to publish it?" Kayleen asked.
Kayleen was surprised to see her sister visibly startle at the question, could Kira really never have considered it? She shook her head no and replied that they weren't good enough. Kayleen pouted and said she was selling herself short.
A few weeks later, Kira finished her story and then placed it in a drawer and forgot about it. Kayleen waited until Kira went out one day a week later and snuck into her sister's room. She opened the drawer and took out the first few chapters. She quickly mailed them off to a publisher and tried to act normal around Kira.
About three weeks later Kayleen was sitting in the kitchen drinking tea with Sen and chatting. Kira came flying into the kitchen carrying a letter; looking shocked, pleased, and affronted all at the same time. Kayleen couldn't help but grin, sure of what it was.
"What is this?" Kira demanded, throwing the letter down in front of her sister.
Sen picked up the letter and looked it over, a smile rising to her lips. "Kayleen, I take it back. You are a Tomamu, Kira-chan,"
Kayleen just grinned at her sister. Kira tried to be affronted by her sister's initiative, but failed.
"Fine, I'll go send the manuscript, but don't you expect anything to come of it," Kira laughed as she went into her bedroom.
"You really sent this without Kira's knowledge?" Sen asked.
"Kira was too silly to send it herself," Kayleen laughed.
"She's not silly, just modest, but I'm glad you did it," Sen protested. "I can't wait for to read her book. I'll buy the first copy,"
"No, Kira is silly. I should know, I live with her. You can buy the second copy, I'm going to buy the first," Kira laughed.
Kayleen ran her fingers over the spines of the books her sister had written. She selected 'In the Shade of Terror Mountain' from the shelf and opened it. She read the dedication written in there.
'To Kaylee, for giving me the push I needed and always speaking her mind. Love you, sis.'
Kayleen's eyes watered at the memories of the days they used to spend in the kitchen, drinking tea and discussing Kira's works in progress. Discussing the plot points, Sen there listening and occasionally lending her opinion. The kitchen in her memories was filled with sunlight and laughter.
"No, no!" Kayleen cried. "That's silly, Kira!"
Kira threw up her hands and laughed, "But, it is supposed to be, Kaylee. I want to lighten the mood before I hit the climax so it is even more unexpected,"
Kayleen tilted her head to the side and read the scene again. Sen poured the tea and told Kira that the scene was brilliant and she should go with her instinct since it was her story.
Kayleen stuck to her opinion. "I still think it is too silly."
"I think everything you write is brilliant," Sen put in.
Kira laughed as she set her cup down, "You two are supposed to be helping me come to a decision! How can I do that if you both are telling me different things?"
"I suppose you have to bow to Sen's advice to use your own judgment, but I still think it is too silly," Kayleen said.
"You're trying to confuse her there, Kayleen. Kira is the author, she should know best. My opinion is lightening the mood is a wonderful tactic and you are brilliant. This next book will be even more popular than the last," Sen replied with a laugh at Kayleen.
The doorbell rang, and Kayleen went to get it. When Kayleen came back a minute later she felt a change in the atmosphere of the room. Sen was sitting there drinking tea silently; watching Kira who was staring distantly out the window.
"So, what are you going to do?" Kayleen asked, getting back to the point.
Kira jumped and looked away from the window at Kayleen. She looked almost embarrassed.
"I think I need more time to think over it," Kira said quickly.
"Okay," Kayleen replied. "I hope we weren't too much of a hindrance?"
"N-no, of course not!" Kira gathered her papers up and retreated to her room.
Kayleen looked at Sen; she seemed perplexed by Kira's odd behavior too. Sen shrugged and whispered, "She's an author,'
Kayleen laughed at that.
Kayleen packed up her stuff, another day at the office over. As she was doing this she couldn't help overhearing the conversation between two of her coworkers.
"Yeah, I had to break off the friendship after she won the contest. It went straight to her head," one said.
"That sucks," the other consoled.
"It did, we were like sisters. But, she was insufferable after it. She was always rubbing it in my face, and vaguely alluding to it. She also wouldn't listen to anything I had to say because apparently winning the contest made her the most knowledge person about everything," the first said.
"You did the right thing,"
Kayleen closed her bag as quickly as she could and hurried out of the building, fighting tears and memories.
Kayleen looked over Kira's finished manuscript, trying not to show any anger.
"So?" Kira asked.
"What?" Kayleen snapped.
"Should I send it off?" Kira asked.
"Why are you asking me? Every time you've asked my advice on things I waste my breath telling you and then you just do what you originally planned," Kayleen said.
"That's not true," Kira started.
"But the author knows best, I know!" Kayleen all but shouted. "Send it off, it's perfect!"
She pushed the manuscript back into her sister's hands, and went outside to sit on the porch. Sen was walking up the avenue. She smiled at Kayleen and waved, but Kayleen could only return the wave. Sen stopped in front of her.
"What is wrong, Kayleen? You look like someone put salt in your tea," Sen asked.
"It's Kira again, I'm so sick of her rubbing her success in my face with her implying that she knows so much better than I do," Kayleen cried in frustration.
"It is her book; doesn't it stand to reason that she does?" Sen asked gently.
"Yes, probably, but she asks my opinion. I wouldn't have a problem if she didn't ask me, but to ask my opinion and then blatantly disregard it is so arrogant!" Kayleen cried.
Sen sat down next to her and gently squeezed her shoulder. "Have you tried talking to Kira about it? Maybe she doesn't realize what she is doing?"
"I suppose that is possible. I'll talk to her about it later. I should let our fight blow over first," Kayleen agreed.
"Very good. I'm going to go inside and see Kira now. Why don't you come too? We will make tea and the three of us can have a friendly conversation, just like old times," Sen suggested.
"You go ahead, I might come in few minutes," Kira said.
Sen got up and went inside the house. Kayleen watched the Tomamu flying overhead as she tried to figure out how she would talk to Kira.
Kayleen walked into the mailroom at the newspaper's office to pick up the letters that had been left there for her or her fellow editors. Looking around at all the letters she felt a pang in her heart. She had hoped that by this time a letter from Kira would have arrived. She was still waiting, every day that passed hurt, but Kayleen refused to lose hope.
Someday Kira would swallow her pride and admit she had been wrong. She would become the old Kira again, and when that day came Kayleen would come running home. Everything would come right someday; Kayleen just had to hold onto hope.
The mailroom clerk handed her the letters and commented, "The new journalist's articles are becoming popular. He's been getting a lot of fanmail lately."
Kayleen wasn't sure what she responded as she worked to keep normal. Fanmail, that had been what had sparked the final fight between them.
Kira sat at a desk in the living room answering fanmail, while Kayleen sat on the sofa studying. She wanted to be an editor at a newspaper someday. Kayleen looked over at her and frowned. Kira kept sighing loudly and stretching her fingers, and just doing everything she could to attract Kayleen's notice. Kira was rubbing her popularity in her face again. Kayleen had tried to ignore her, telling herself she was being oversensitive, that Kira was unaware of what she was doing. But, in spite of her efforts, her anger had been building and she was ready to snap at moment's notice.
"What's wrong, Kaylee?" Kira asked noticing the frown.
"Don't call me, Kaylee! I'm not a baby anymore." Kayleen snapped. "Stop the sighing and acting like it is such a chore to write a reply to a fan."
Kira's eyes widened. "Kayleen, what's wrong with you? You're so snappish and that was uncalled for. You know I've been writing replies for the past three hours. Anyone is bound to get tired by that!"
"You're so stuck up, rubbing all your fanmail in my face like that," Kayleen growled.
"Kayleen!" Kira seemed hurt by her sister's comments.
Kayleen just grabbed her books and papers and ran out of the house. She kept running until she was out of breath. She dropped on the ground and wept bitterly, angry at Kira and at herself. She expected Kira to follow her, she would apologize for going off like that and they would talk it out. Maybe they would finally fix their relationship. She looked back through her tears, but Kira was nowhere to been seen. She waited hours, but she never came. Feeling extremely betrayed, Kayleen gathered up her books and papers and headed home, for the last time.
Kayleen was relaxing at her home in Neopia Central. It was a nice little apartment; she had decorated it with Shenkuu style furniture, trying to make it feel as much like home as she could. There was a roaring fire going in the hearth and she was curled up in front of it reading a book.
There was a knock at the door and Kayleen got up. She wondered who it could be since she wasn't expecting any guests. She opened the door and found Sen standing there.
"Hello, Sen! Will you come in?" Kayleen asked.
"Um, not today. I was asked to give this to you. I hope you won't mind my interference. I've been trying to convince Kira to talk to you again. Yesterday she gave me this letter, and asked if I would deliver it to you. So, here." Sen handed Kayleen an envelope. "I should go so you can read it and reply. I'll see you soon, won't I?"
Kayleen's smile was huge. "Thank you, Sen!"
Sen walked away and Kayleen closed the door. With trembling hands and high hopes she opened the envelope. There was one sentence on the page contained within.
'I want nothing to do with you, leave me alone.'
Kayleen packed her suitcase as her sister looked on. Kira's face was drawn and, Kayleen thought, angry. Kayleen was trying hard to be calm and unemotional about this. She needed to be rational and the last thing she wanted to do was push her sister further away with another fight.
Why are you being like this?" Kira asked, her eyes filling with tears.
"I'm tired of playing these games, Kira," Kayleen said coldly.
"You're the only one playing games, Kayleen! I don't know what your problem is and you won't tell me. We used to be the best of friends, and now look at us!" Kira screamed in frustration.
"I'm tired, Kira. When you want to end this you can come see me," Kayleen said quietly as she locked her suitcase.
"It's always me! I'm always the one at fault! Have you ever considered that it is you?" Kira shrieked, her angry tears overflowing.
Kayleen picked up her suitcase and walked to the door. Kira followed her, but didn't go farther than the doorframe. She could feel her sister's eyes on her as she walked away. Kayleen hoped she would call her back, but she was silent, she let her walk away. Once out of her sight, Kayleen cried bitterly.
Kayleen's hopes lay broken on the ground around her. She stared at the letter in shock. How could Kira have changed so much? How could she be so cruel? The tears rained down her cheeks as she sunk to the floor. She lay there and cried for hours.
With sudden energy she jumped up and threw the letter in the fire. If Kira wanted life without her, Kayleen would be happy to oblige. She watched the letter burn. When the last cinder of the letter had burned away she went to her bookshelf and took all Kira's books off and put them in a box, never knowing far away her sister was burning a letter of her own. One in which was written the same words of the letter Kayleen had received.
To be continued...