Vacation Time

The ~neoashtah~ family household is on vacation, and everybody agreed that it was a well-deserved break from their normal routine. Emerald was dozing in the shade of some of the star trees, Ashtah was catching some rays by the pond and Ginger and Dral were engaged in a battle of wits...chess. Mom was inside making up some fresh squeezed lemonade and Mystery Island fruit squares.

Ashtah gave one long satisfied sigh. "This was so overdue..." She mumbled as she turned over to tan her back. "I am soooo glad we decided to do this..." It had been FOREVER since she had what could be called a day off. It seemed like she was always running here and there, watching out for her family and friends. Even now, it was hard to relax and let her worries go. She finally calmed down enough to enjoy her holiday when her three siblings cornered her and casually threatened to tie her to a swimming raft and leave her stranded on the water at the Neopian pool. After ranting and raving at them, she realized she really was over-stressed and calmly went out and soaked up some rays. She was not sure, but it seemed like all three of her sisters kept giving each other rather satisfied looks. Sighing again, she contentedly dozed off.

Emerald was making little yipping noises in her sleep. In her dreams she was chasing some rather pretty butterflies that kept leading her to hidden treasure chests. Her paws kept making little jerks as in her dream she was romping about in sun-drenched fields finding all kinds of exciting treasure chests. Even in her dreams she was very happy to be living with the rest of her sisters. This was so cool!

Dral and Ginger were hunched over the chessboard concentrating on their next moves. Dral was ever so calmly winning, just like she always did. She did not want to brag, but she really was very good at chess. Ginger kept plugging away however, and had secretly vowed to one day beat her "so and so" sister at this game. Ginger was now sweating with a touch of panic. Her queen was very vulnerable and needed a safe square to land on. Ginger had spent the past five minutes going over the board looking for a safe haven for her beleagered queen.

"I'm growing old Ginger." Dral said lazily. "Move or forfit."

"Yeah yeah.." Ginger was getting desperate. She saw an opening. "I have not yet begun to fight!" and with a flourish she moved her queen over to an empty spot.

Dral reached over and captured the queen. "Check" she said cheerfully.

Ginger froze and stared at the board. "No way!" She continuted to stare. "NO WAY!" She stood up and stomped around the patio angrily. "I don't believe this!" As Ginger ranted and raved, Dral calmly set up the board again for another match.

"Are you gonna play or keep screaming like a mad person?" Dral said with an arched eyebrown. Ginger stopped stomping and slouched down into her chair. "Much better," continued Dral. "I won last round so you go first."

Ginger picked up a pawn and moved it angrily to another square. She set it down with a muffled "thok". "I always go first..." she grumbled.

"That's because you always lose...." Dral said as she made her first move. Ginger just grumbled under her breath and made the next move.

Ashtah was chuckling to herself out in the lawn. She could hear every word the both of them were saying. She did have to admire Ginger for her tenacity. The day Ginger finally beat Dral at chess would result in Ginger running about the house shouting about how brilliant Ginger was. Ashtah knew she would be happy for her sister, but the thought of listening to Ginger rattle on would make her flee the house for peace and quiet. Sighing again, she turned back over and pulled out a book to read. It was so nice and quiet outside...

There was a large splash and Ashtah found herself covered in pond water and lillies. With a screech of outrage she looked out over the pond to see Emerald happily frolicking about in the water. "I thought you were sleeping!" Ashtah shouted.

Emerald stopped splashing about long enough to look over at Ashtah. "Um. I woke up." She said cheerfully and scooped up water with her paw and flung it at Ashtah who gave an even larger screech and flung herself out of her chair. She moved backwards shaking the water off of herself and backed into the table where Dral and Ginger were playing chess. She tipped over the table and sent all the pieces flying in every direction. Now Ginger and Dral had jumped to THEIR feet and were yelling at Ashtah and shaking their fists in the air. Ashtah started shouting back and after a minute Emerald joined the fray bouncing about everyone and barking happily.

"What is going on out here!" Mom had come out of the house and was trying to pull apart her shouting and barking pets. "Enough barking already Emerald." she said as she pried Ginger off of Ashtah. Both pets were sprawled on the ground with Ginger trying to stuff a chess piece up Ashtah's nose. Ashtah was resisting and trying to shove the board up Ginger's nose. It was a tied match. Mom hollared again and finally pried everyone apart. "As I was saying...what in the world is going on!"

Three of her pets started talking at once, pointing at each other, and Mom got the general idea that Emerald's splashing caused the whole fiasco. The gelert in question was calmly sitting on her haunches and watching the breeze blow through the trees. Mom sighed to herself. Trying to explain to Emerald all this was like trying to tell the sun not to shine so brightly or the snow not to fall. She wondered if she should even bother. Well, gotta do it sometime. she thought to herself. "Emerald, don't splash your sister. It's not nice."

Emerald looked over at Mom in surprise. "Why not? She looked hot sitting out in the sun."

"I wasn't hot, I was sunbathing." Ashtah said archly.

Emerald looked at Ashtah. "I thought you looked hot."

Ashtah gritted her teeth. "I was not hot I was sunbathing."

Emerald thought a moment. "You were sweating which means that you were hot so I thought you would want to cool down."

Ashtah gurgled for a minute. Before she could respond, Mom spoke up. "Emerald, in the future, do not splash your sister unless she asks you to."

Emerald nodded. "But what if she's on fire?"

Ashtah smacked her head into her hand. Dral and Ginger started to snicker. Mom sighed. "Really Emerald, we have GOT to talk."

"But we are talking..." Emerald looked confused. Ashtah made a low moan into her hands.

"Emerald...." Mom sighed to herself. This was going about how she thought it would...badly. Emerald just cocked her head at Mom. "Nevermind." Mom was not in the right frame of mind to deal with Emerald right now. Not that she ever would be.

Quickly composing herself, Mom looked around at her four pets. "I had a reason for coming outside, even before all this mess started." She looked thoughtful for a moment. "But I don't remember what it was..." her voice trailed off. "Oh well, it will come to me later." She turned around and headed back inside the house. "Let me get the lemonade and cookies. Maybe that will refresh my memory." She breezed back into the house only to return quickly with the cookies and drinks. Ashtah and Ginger righted the table so the food could be set on it. All four pets greedily dug into the squares and slurped down the lemonade. "Now, use your table manners!" Mom said. "Don't make such a mess, or the pool men will think you all are slobs." Ginger burped lightly. "Mom, you're losing it. We don't have a pool."

Mom smiled to herself. "At least, not right now..."

There was three heartbeats as this information was digested. Ginger licked her lips and ate her plate thoughtfully while Dral and Ashtah exchanged glances. Emerald just "whoofed" to herself quietly and blinked at Mom. All four exploded at once.

"We are?!"
"We are going to be the talk of the neighborhood!!"
"I can't wait!"
"Uh...I can't swim..."
"Then we'll drag you along on a float!"

Mom looked very pleased with herself. "I have to head into town soon, so I will leave Ashtah in charge while the pool guys are here this afternoon. Since this is their first visit, they will be taking measurements and SOME suggestions." she looked over at Dral and Ginger, "Please be huge rock slides or gushing fountains please." Both pets looked downcast. Awwwwww....

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