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To the Core 
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Post To the Core
New Cake sisters story!







To the Core







“Dog biscuits! How am I, the Great Gesundheit, going to hatch my—AH-CHOO!—my plans for making all cookies in the world disappear if you keep hindering them?” said Honey.

“As long as thou, rogue, dost weave thy webs of villainy, I, Haelith, will be nigh to stop thee!” said Vanilla.

“Oh, is that—”

Honey’s ears perked up. She looked out the window.

“Thy deceit is old hat, Gesundheit.”

“No, no, time out, Vanilla, I heard a van.”

Vanilla looked out the window as well. Sure enough, there was a large van down the street, and people were moving things into it.

“Someone must be moving away,” said Honey.

Vanilla nodded.

“From the looks of it it’s the Core family.”

Vanilla pulled her hood over her face.

“What?”

Vanilla shuffled her weight from one foot to the other.

“I…don’t know how I feel about that.”

“Because of Apple?”

Vanilla cringed.

“It’s…complicated.”

“Vanilla, I know what she did to you. I SAW her do it.”

“Don’t remind me,” said Vanilla through her teeth. It had been a long time but the wounds were still tender.

“If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay.”

Vanilla groaned. “I do and I don’t.”

“Well…which is it?”

“Kibble….”

“Don’t swear, Vanilla, just tell me whatever you want to say.”

Vanilla sat down and turned away from Honey. She didn’t say anything.

“Maybe you don’t need to say it,” said Honey. “I think I already know.”

Vanilla shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. I need to say it anyway.”

“Well then?”

Vanilla fought back tears, and almost failed. Almost, not quite.

“She was my FRIEND. How could she DO that?”

“I have no idea, Vanilla. I’m not her. She hasn’t spoken to either of us since.”

Vanilla sighed. “And now she’s leaving. Well, the one up side to this is she won’t be able to hurt me anymore.”



* * * * *



“Really? We can make Christmas lists this year?” said Honey, wagging her tail.

Mr. Cake frowned. “One gift per dog,” he said. “And nothing girly.”

Honey didn’t mind. She was just so excited at the thought of getting a Christmas gift she specifically requested this year.

“I know what I want,” said Honey. “Snow shoes.”

Mr. Cake muttered to himself, then said, “Vanilla?”

Vanilla thought for a moment. “I…I don’t—” She shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. Nothing for me.”

“Oh, come on, Vanilla, it wouldn’t be right if I got something and you didn’t.”

“I can’t think of anything.”

Honey turned to Mr. Cake. “Dad, is it okay if Vanilla waits until later to decide what she wants?”

Mr. Cake turned away, grumbling, but nodded.

“What was that?” said Honey.

“What?” said Mr. Cake.

“That tapping.”

Vanilla knew what it was—it was coming from the front door.

Mr. Cake, noticing the direction his dogs were looking in, went to the door and opened it.

No one was there.

“Practical jokes,” muttered Mr. Cake.

The dogs shrugged it off, and went to their respective rooms. Honey knew that it would be hard for Vanilla to think of an idea for her Christmas present with herself distracting her.



* * * * *



Vanilla’s ears perked up, turning toward the window.

“Surely,” said she, “surely that is something at my window lattice. Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.”

She approached the window.

“’Tis the wind and nothing more.”

She looked out the window without opening it. There was no one. She looked in one direction—no one. She looked in the other—

There was a dog. If not for her black spots, the dog would have blended in very well with the snow outside. She was even wearing a white coat, and she seemed to be shivering.

Vanilla’s stomach tightened.

Apple.

Apple Core.

“Turtle, turtle, turtle soup—“

No. She was NOT going to relive that. Apple and her family were moving. The upset stomach she got even when she THOUGHT of Apple would cease to exist.

Anyway, Apple wasn’t looking at the window, so Vanilla very discreetly turned back into the room, as though she had not seen her.

Tap, tap, tap.

Vanilla took deep breaths. How long would Apple last? She REALLY didn’t want to talk to Apple, not even to say “Go away and leave me alone”—not even if that would actually WORK.

Tap, tap, tap.

Vanilla couldn’t stand it. Fighting back a tear, she threw the window open.

“WHAT?”

The Dalmatian was trembling, and it didn’t seem to be because of the cold.

“N-Nothing…NOTHING!”

Apple ran away.

It was a long time after Apple was gone before Vanilla could speak.

“Practical jokes,” she said, imitating her dad. But it was a lie, and she knew it. There was no mistaking that look on Apple’s face.

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Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:56 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
Another great hit, missed my favorite sisters :D

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Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:12 am
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Post Re: To the Core
Thanks! :D Here's Chapter 2!







Vanilla scarcely touched her food.

“What is it?” said Honey.

“Tell you later,” said Vanilla.

Honey turned her head. Mr. Cake was watching TV. He was within earshot but he was tuned out.

“You can tell me now.”

“Later,” said Vanilla emphatically.

“Okay, okay, no pressure.”

Vanilla sighed, and tried to concentrate on eating her food. Why did there seem to be so MUCH of it today? It wasn’t any more than she always got.

Honey decided to leave Vanilla alone to finish, which took about another half hour. Then Vanilla came to Honey’s room and they closed the door.

“Okay, you going to divulge the great mystery?”

Vanilla bit her tongue. “Really not in the mood for wisecracks.”

“I’m just trying to lighten the tension in here, Vanilla, what’s wrong?”

Vanilla sighed. “Apple. At my window, earlier.”

Honey cocked an eyebrow. “Apple was at your window? Apple Core?”

“No, Apple Dumpling,” said Vanilla in a failed attempt to lighten the mood herself.

“Why was she there?” said Honey, ignoring that.

“I don’t know…. She was….”

“What? Was she snickering again?”

“NO!”

Vanilla said it so loudly that Honey jumped back, and Vanilla covered her mouth. They waited a few minutes, but heard no footsteps from Mr. Cake.

“No…she was…. It was like looking in a mirror….”

“What do you mean?”

“Kibble!”

Honey folded her arms.

“I mean…I don’t know what I mean. I don’t know if she was scared—well, I know she was SCARED, but I don’t know what else she was….”

“She was scared? Of what?”

“Of the big nasty turtle? I don’t know….” She took a shuddering breath.

Actually Vanilla was lying to herself—or at least partly so. She refused to acknowledge the possibility in her mind.

Tap, tap, tap.

“Who’s there?” said Honey.

Vanilla turned her head.

“I’m not here—I just left,” said Vanilla.

“Uh…it’s…it’s nobody.”

Honey recognized that voice. It WAS Apple. It had been a long time but she knew that voice anywhere.

“And would nobody like to leave a message?”

“N-No…. No, never mind, sorry to bother you….”

The snow crunched outside. Apple was gone again.



* * * * *



Vanilla was crouching outside her own window, shivering. It wasn’t entirely from the cold. She wanted to have this out, not let it keep going on as it had. She waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The soft crunch took her by surprise. She stood up.

“Apple, DON’T run away,” said Vanilla in a no-nonsense voice loud enough to be heard. She hoped Apple didn’t hear the quiver in her voice.

The crunching stopped.

That was something, at least.

“Look, if you have something to say, just say it already and let’s get this overwith.”

Vanilla’s stomach tightened.

Crunch….

Crunch….

The silence could be cut with a knife. For a moment Vanilla wondered if Apple was walking backwards through her own footprints, but before she could realize how ridiculous that was, that Apple could do such a thing and remain completely silent—

…crunch.

There was Apple, in her white coat, barely visible against the snow. She was hanging her head in shame.

“What do you want?”

“I….” Apple gulped, then took a deep breath. “I—we, my family, is—are—we’re…moving….” She shut her eyes tightly as if in embarrassment.

Vanilla strongly resisted the urge to gnaw through her own boots in frustration. “You didn’t come bother me three times to tell me something I already knew.”

“Oh, you—you knew, I’m—I’m sorry…I didn’t know you knew….”

“Spit—it—out, Apple,” said Vanilla. She sounded angry, but the angrier she sounded, the more frightened she was.

Apple winced. “This was a mistake….” She started to turn to leave.

“Apple, take ONE more step—”

She covered her mouth. Apple’s expression was a mirror for her own.

“Just TALK.”

Apple looked nearly about to cry. “I just…I—I wanted to—to say…I’m…sor—”

That was as far as she got before her sobs made it hard to understand her.

“You’re…what?”

“I’m…sorry….”

Vanilla looked like she could have been knocked over with a feather. She tried to make herself believe that Apple was lying, was putting on a VERY elaborate and convincing act.

She didn’t quite believe it.

“I…have to go inside.”

Apple nodded, then turned to leave.

Vanilla tried to forget this whole incident had happened, tried to convince herself that she hadn’t heard what she’d heard.

She couldn’t.

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Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:27 am
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Post Re: To the Core
believe it, girl! This is the time for an early Christmas present! :D

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Post Re: To the Core
Here's Chapter 3!







Vanilla thought about it for hours. She tried and tried to divorce herself from it emotionally, but it was not easy.

Apple said she was sorry. Either she was the greatest actress since Lassie, or….

…she was still reluctant to accept the possibility…

…Apple really WAS sorry.

But how could that be? Apple had ALL THIS TIME in which to apologize, and she was only saying she was sorry NOW? How could she be sorry for real?

But then—Apple’s whole demeanor SCREAMED “I’m sorry”—LONG before she said it in words.

On the other hand, Apple had seemed to be Vanilla’s friend—and she LAUGHED at her when—no, no, she wasn’t going to go there.

Why did this have to be so difficult?

She had told Honey, but needed some time alone to mull it over. It took a LONG time. The sun was low in the sky when she was ready to talk about it again.

“What are you going to do?” said Honey.

“What CAN I do? She’s moving away. She said she was sorry, and once she’s moved away I’ll never see her again.”

“It sounds like you don’t know what to do…or else….”

“…or else what?”

“…or else you don’t WANT to….”

“What do you mean?”

Honey shrugged. “I don’t know. But maybe you don’t want to do anything. Maybe you just want to leave it at that and let the decision be made for you when Apple and her family move away.”

Vanilla growled. She didn’t usually growl.

Honey stood her ground. She knew that growl. She had hit a nerve.

“I don’t WANT to want that,” said Vanilla. “But…what can I DO? I can’t accept her apology, not this late. I can’t apologize to her because I didn’t do anything.”

“Maybe that’s part of the problem.”

“Huh?”

Honey put her paws on her hips. “You DIDN’T do anything. We went over there one time, and I had to practically drag you there, and that was it—she wouldn’t see us, and you didn’t want to make any further effort.”

Vanilla turned away. “That’s not fair. She HURT me.”

“Inside, yes—and sometimes that hurts the most. But those other dogs hurt you on the outside, and they were TRYING to. Was Apple TRYING to hurt you?”

“LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Honey backed off, leaving the room without another word.



* * * * *



“Vanilla! Hi, what’s up?”

Vanilla slowly looked up from under her hood.

“Can we talk?”

Strawberry looked puzzled. “Sure, come on in.”

Strawberry led Vanilla into her room and shut the door. It took Vanilla a few tries, with one or two false starts, and it took her awhile, but she told Strawberry what happened.

“Oh wow….” said Strawberry, putting a paw on Vanilla’s shoulder.

Vanilla sniffed, wiping her face with her sleeve.

“I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want Honey to be RIGHT. That would be a horrible thing—but…it would make things a LOT easier….”

“Well…it sounds to me like Apple was being very brave in approaching you. From what it sounds, it seems to me that she was afraid to confront you over it, and I’d imagine that the longer it took, the worse it got. This moving sounds like it was a catalyst for an attempt to set things right before it’s too late.”

Vanilla turned her head. She didn’t want to face Strawberry, or be seen by her.

“I suppose I need to try to patch things up with her before it’s too late.”

Strawberry nodded.

“After all, she’s moving away. She can’t hurt me anymore.”

Strawberry nodded again.

“What do I say, though?”

Strawberry shrugged. “You’re the one doing this, not me.”

Vanilla sighed, pulling her hood over her eyes, and nodded.



* * * * *



Vanilla bit her lip as she listened to the phone ring. It rang three times, but it felt like it had rung twenty-seven.

“Core residence. We’re moving tomorrow, so you won’t be able to reach us here anymore—”

“May I speak to…Apple…please?”

Vanilla cringed. She hadn’t meant to interrupt. She waited.

And waited.

And waited.

“Hello?” she said into the apparently dead phone.

“V-Vanilla…?”

She didn’t know whether to be relived, or to panic. It was Apple.

“Apple…sorry for…leaving things as they were. You apologized, and…and I should accept it.”

She winced. That was the most she could bring herself to say—she couldn’t say she DID accept it.

“I…I understand,” said Apple.

“No—it’s…it’s not fair of me to leave things like that. I just…didn’t understand why it took so long.”

“…Iwasscared….”

“Huh?”

“I…I—I couldn’t face you, Vanilla, after what I did….”

Vanilla pulled out a clump of fur from the back of her paw. Here it came.

“Y-You don’t know…I know it doesn’t make it okay, but you don’t KNOW what….”

“What do you mean?”

She listened, suddenly very interested.

What she heard shocked her beyond belief, and almost made her doubt her own memories of what had happened on that nightmarish day.

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Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:14 am
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Post Re: To the Core
AAAAHHHH the mighty twist!!
Give us chap 4 NAO!

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Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:20 am
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Post Re: To the Core
Cliffhanger!

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Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:26 am
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Post Re: To the Core
luckily you aren't that great at cliffhangers considering how fast you write and update these.

I'm intrigued.

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Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:34 am
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Post Re: To the Core
I'm at the edge of my seat to that.

I remember the foreshadowing in which Vanilla dreamt of Apple feeling guilty that Vanilla hated her or so she thought from the first story.

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Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:48 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
Hm... Well-written, but I get the feeling that I'm missing something here ...

Still! Poe references. Hi-five. x3

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Post Re: To the Core
Well, finally here's Chapter 4! Coatl, what do you think you're missing? :?







It was the day that Apple and her family were going to move away. They weren’t leaving until the afternoon, and that was hours away. But Vanilla had thought and thought about what Apple had told her—she’d thought about it all night, she’d dreamed about it, and now she was thinking about it all morning as well. It would not leave her alone.

She wanted to talk to Honey about it, but…she wasn’t sure if she could. Did she even fully understand it herself, even now? She still didn’t know….

All this time, she had felt like the victim—like she was the one being attacked, and like Apple was the one who had attacked her. Not the bullies with their sticks—that healed. Not even the fact that the memory of it remained. She quite possibly could have licked that by now. Something like that never quite went away, granted, but it might have been muted by now. What prevented it was the fact that Apple, whom she’d thought was her friend, had LAUGHED at her.

But now…now she couldn’t help feeling like it was the other way around. That APPLE was the victim, and that she, Vanilla, had hurt APPLE by not doing more to talk to her, to forgive her. It didn’t make sense.

Or did it? DID it make sense, and was Vanilla just reluctant to admit it because she was still so hurt over what had happened to her?

Maybe it would be better talking to Strawberry about it. Then again, that could take longer, and she remembered what Honey had said about stalling for time. She decided to try to talk to Honey, but it would not be easy.



* * * * *



“Okay, go ahead,” said Honey.

Vanilla groaned. She felt as though Honey were asking her to take off her jacket so that she could be paddled yet again, and so that the pain would not be blunted by anything.

“I still can’t believe this is possible….”

“What?”

“Apple…. Oh, kibble, Apple…told me that….”

“Yes?”

“Well, she apologized for laughing at me, and I thought that would be it, but it wasn’t.”

“What do you mean?”

Vanilla whined. “She explained WHY she laughed at me.”

“Yeah? Was it just a reflex reaction she couldn’t control?”

“Yes—and much though I don’t want to, I could understand and even forgive that. But that’s not all it was.”

“Then what was it?”

Vanilla bit her lip. Hard. It almost started to bleed.

“It’s to do with those other bullies. What they did was worse than…than what you saw….”

Honey decided to keep silent as Vanilla told her what had happened.



* * * * *



“Hey, guys!” said Apple to her new friends.

“Hey, Apple, what’s up?” said a husky named Bruno.

“Well, I’ve just been to a birthday party—my friend Vanilla. She looks great in her new green hooded jacket—she looks just like a turtle, so funny!”

A terrier named Poppy snorted. “That know-it-all is your friend?”

“Well…yeah. She’s really nice, you know. If you got to meet her, you’d see.”

“Apple, it’s time you knew the truth about dogs like Vanilla,” said Bruno in a mock sympathetic voice. “You see, dogs like her…they’re not like us.”

“W-What do you mean?” said Apple.

Bruno shook his head. “Poor simple Apple…. See, dogs like Vanilla, you know, eggheads? They think they know EVERYTHING. They think they’re BETTER than we are. They look down their nose at us.”

Apple looked at her toes. “Vanilla doesn’t….”

Bruno sighed. “I can see we got a lot to work with here. Why don’t you introduce us to her, and we’ll show you?”

"Yeah," said Poppy, stifling a giggle. “And tell her to wear her jacket, so we can see how turtle-like she looks.”

Apple looked concerned. “You’re not…going to be MEAN to her, are you?”

Bruno stood up straight. Apple cringed.

“Apple…I thought you were our friend.”

“I—I am! Of course I am!”

“Well, friends do what their friends want. Right? If you don’t do what we want, then you’re not really our friend anymore, are you?”

Apple’s lower lip quivered. “Please…I don’t have many friends….”

“Of course not,” said Bruno. “You’re lucky we’re so generous as to be friends with you—most dogs wouldn’t. Most would make fun of your spotty coat. You’re lucky to have as many friends as you do.”

Apple nodded, tears in her eyes.

“So you’re going to bring Vanilla here, RIGHT?”

Apple nodded, backing off.




* * * * *



“Oh…oh wow….” said Honey.

Vanilla could no longer speak—her throat was too choked by now. It took several minutes before she could talk again, and even then her throat hurt and her voice quivered.

“What am I going to do? What she did was still wrong, but…but they MADE her do it! I can’t keep blaming HER for it, can I?”

“I’d think not, no….”

“But…. Even if she weren’t moving….” said Vanilla, “…now that I know this…. I can’t be friends with her anymore. I CAN’T! I can’t be friends with someone who would do that, for ANY reason! I can’t be friends with someone who would be that determined to keep that kind of friend, that she would do that.”

“Well, it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to do,” said Honey. “Sounds to me like she needs help. And it also sounds to me like you can’t help her. Even if she weren’t moving—and there’s always the mail—you’re too emotionally involved. For that matter, so am I.”

Vanilla sighed. She wanted to erase the whole incident from her memory, from reality. But she couldn’t do that either. What was she going to DO?

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Last edited by ChewyChewy on Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:13 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
Aw :(
Apple is not really guilty for going along with the plan but she is TOTALLY guilty for not doing anything in favor of Vanilla once it had started. Especially since she had at least an idea of what was going to happen, that was no random act of senseless bullyism, that was a preordinated act, and it scarred Vanilla for life.

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Post Re: To the Core
I've had a friend like those Bruno before. fortunately, I knew full well he was a jerk, and when he tried to make me choose between him and another friend, I said "no way."

Unfortunately, I didn't choose the opposite either and the jerk was my "friend" for a few more years.

Apple should have been smarter. and Vanilla has no obligation to forgive her.

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Post Re: To the Core
:(

I want it known that this emotional (but well-written) tale is NOT what I want for King. There are SOME similarities. SOME. But not THAT many.


Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:38 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
@valerio: I really wrote this story for you, so you wouldn't HATE Apple anymore.

@Brent: Sorry you've known someone like that. :( And that you didn't choose to end the friendship then and there. But maybe it wasn't that Apple needed to be SMARTER, just to have more self-esteem, and forgiveness is the only weapon against evil that there is.

@Phoenix: Thank you for the compliment, but this will NOT happen for King. AT ALL. As you said, the differences outweigh the similarities.

So here's Chapter 5!







Vanilla paced her room from the morning into the afternoon, trying to think of what to do. There wasn’t much time left before Apple would be gone forever. And while Vanilla didn’t want to—COULDN’T—remain friends with someone like Apple, not even if Apple were NOT moving away, she didn’t want to leave things like this. And she did not care to call Apple on the phone or mail her once Apple was gone.

The worst part—the part she couldn’t confess, not even to Honey—was that…that could very well have been HER. Not that Vanilla would LAUGH at someone else who was being treated as she was, not even if it genuinely made her react that way involuntarily, but—the part where Apple was so desperate for friends that she allowed herself to be MANIPULATED like that.

Granted, she knew now that Apple didn’t know exactly what her friends were going to do to her, and she hadn’t MEANT to laugh at her (painful though the memory still was), but…she had still betrayed her. Apple had still invited Vanilla to met her so-called ‘friends’, just so that they would STAY her ‘friends’. Apple needed help, yes, but Vanilla could not give it to her.

Suddenly Vanilla thought of something else. Apple and her family were moving away—but that meant that she was moving away FROM those bullies. In other words, her attempt at keeping her ‘friends’ had FAILED. Was THAT then why she tried to apologize to Vanilla? Because she didn’t have ANY friends here that she was going to keep?

And what was that doing to Apple now, knowing that she was going to be moving away from everyone she considered a potential friend, if she was so desperate to HAVE friends—AND keep them—as to do what she did?

Apple really DID need help.

But Vanilla couldn’t help her—even if Apple wasn’t moving away, Vanilla was too emotionally involved to give Apple what she needed.

Vanilla knew what she had to do—but there wasn’t a whole lot of time.



* * * * *



“Say goodbye to the house and the neighborhood, Apple,” said Mrs. Core.

Apple wasn’t crying anymore. Her pain was beyond tears.

“Bye, house…. Bye, neighborhood….” Bye, friends….

“Apple, wait!”

Apple’s ears perked up. No, it couldn’t be. She tried to ignore it.

“Apple! I need to talk to you!”

“…Vanilla…?”

Vanilla huffed and puffed, her breath visible from the cold.

“Apple…before you go…I need to talk to you.”

“You…want to talk to me…?” Apple honestly looked confused.

Vanilla looked at Mr. and Mrs. Core. “May I speak to Apple…in private?”

Mr. and Mrs. Core didn’t exactly say yes, but they got in the car—without starting it.

“Apple…first of all, I’m sorry I didn’t take any more steps to patch things up until now. I’m sure you are too.”

Apple looked uncomfortable. “I was just afraid….”

“I think we both were—afraid of getting hurt. I can understand that.”

“Y-You can?”

Vanilla nodded. “Those dogs that…hurt me…they were NOT your friends.”

“D-Don’t say that! Everyone makes mistakes—”

“Apple. They. Were. NOT. Your friends. Friends don’t make people do bad things like that. Friends CARE about each other, and HELP each other. They’re NOT your friends. And….”

Vanilla hung her head. This was hard to say, but she had to say it.

“…and neither am I. If I were any kind of friend I would have done better by you, but I didn’t. I was only thinking of myself.”

Apple’s lip quivered, and she bit it. She honestly seemed perplexed.

“I didn’t think you were like the others….” she said softly.

“Well…even if we’re not friends…I can at least do this much.”

“What’s that?”



* * * * *



“And then you told her about Mr. Yogurt?”

Vanilla nodded, shrugging. “I know it’s not the best I could have done—he’s not a therapist or anything, just a police officer, but…I thought he might know someone where the Cores are moving, and maybe he could get in touch with them. It’s the closest thing to connections that I have.” She sighed. “I can’t really do any more.”

Honey approached her sister and gave her a hug. “I think what you did will do for now. Considering you didn’t have a whole lot of time, I think that was the best thing you could have done while she was still here.”

“What do you mean?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” said Honey. “Apple suffers from low self-esteem. You showed her that you cared enough about her to do SOMETHING to help her. Even if that comes of nothing, she’ll remember that. She’ll remember even if you two don’t stay in touch after she leaves. Who knows? Maybe that alone will be all the therapy she needs.”

Vanilla frowned. “You’re patronizing me.”

“No, I’m not. It may be a long stretch, granted, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.”

Vanilla looked off to the side. “You really think it’s possible?”

“I do.”

Vanilla turned red, and pulled her hood over her face to hide it. Honey pulled it back, and gave Vanilla another hug.

Vanilla felt a little better, but she was still a little sad. After all, she was the closest thing Apple may have had to a real friend—and even she WASN’T a real friend, not completely. She couldn’t be. Now she wished she COULD be, but there was no chance, not even if the Cores decided to stay after all, which they wouldn’t.

Vanilla honestly didn’t know whether to be happy, sad, confused, or what. How she hated emotions! They were so irrational.

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Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:07 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
I didn't intend to say Apple wasn't smart, but that her actions weren't as smart as they could be. low-self esteem often leads one to act stupidly.

also, I didn't say that Vanilla shouldn't forgive her, just that she had no real obligation to do so. The path she took was a good one.

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Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:26 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
Well, no, they weren't. *nods* Well, Apple WAS sorry, and she said so.

Anyway, last chapter!







“Hold still, Vanilla.”

Vanilla sighed. “Do we have to do this EVERY year?”

“It’s just once a year, for Grandma’s picture.”

Honey and Vanilla were wearing their Christmas caroler costumes: matching green dresses (the color of Christmas trees) with sashes the red hue of holly, and matching green bonnets. Honey was tying Vanilla’s sash around her waist, and her own headfur was tied back with a red ribbon.

“My only consolation is that Dad doesn’t like wearing his costume any more than I like wearing mine.”

“Aw, but we look good in them—just like in Victorian England!”

“Exactly.”

“Oh, hockey!” said Honey, sticking her tongue out at Vanilla.

Mr. Cake came in, looking embarrassed. He was wearing a suit of the same shade of green, a long red necktie, and a green top hat with a red band.

“Mail,” he muttered.

“Ooh!” said Honey, wagging her tail.

“Let’s take the picture before we look through it,” said Vanilla. “I want to change out of this costume as soon as possible.”

“Oh, come on, be a sport, you guys,” said Honey.

Mr. Cake set up the tripod and the camera, and set it on the timer setting, then he posed with his two dogs for the photo. They were holding open books of Christmas carols, and Mr. Cake let his mouth go slack, as if he were singing. Vanilla tried to look solemn, while Honey was the only one smiling.

“I think I blinked in that one,” said Honey.

“You’d better be joking,” said Vanilla.

“Oh, you know I am.”

Vanilla went to go change back into her comfortable jacket.



* * * * *



Once Vanilla was back in her regular attire she got a knock at the door.

“Come in, Honey.”

Honey came in, still wearing her costume. Vanilla facepalmed herself. “You just had to, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Honey. “Anyway, you got a Christmas card.”

“I did? Must have been a mix-up at the post office.”

“No, it says ‘To be read by Vanilla Cake, and no one else—I mean it, hands off!’”

“It does NOT say that,” said Vanilla, taking the envelope.

“Okay, I added the ‘hands off’, but the rest is there, look.”

Vanilla looked. She could scarcely believe it. Honey was right.

“But—no one EVER sends me Christmas cards. Not non-relatives. And Strawberry’s too close to use the mail—she’d just give it to me in person.”

“Well, open it up and see.”

Vanilla looked uncomfortable. She turned away from Honey and slowly, as though fearful of a paper cut, opened the envelope and took out the Christmas card. It was hand-made, and it looked like it was drawn by a puppy about 18 months old. It was a drawing of a Christmas tree, and at the bottom Santa Claus was leaving what looked like a turtle.

Confused, Vanilla opened the card to the inside.

“Dear Vanila,” it started. Already it was going to be difficult reading this—one “L” in her name? Really?

“Dear Vanila,

Thank you so much for teling Mister Yogert abowt me. I fownd a thereapist here and Im feeling a LOT happyer now. Ive even mad a new frend, Sunbow. (Dont worry, shes a REAL frend!) I dont expekt you to right back, but I wanted to let you know how much I apreshiate what youve done for me.

Apple Core.”

Vanilla bit her lip.

“Well?”

Vanilla inhaled deeply through her nose, as if trying to stifle tears. “Terrible handwriting,” she said.

“Who’s it from?”

Rather than tell her, Vanilla showed the card to Honey.

Honey looked.

“Aww…. I honestly didn’t expect her to write back so soon.”

Vanilla nodded.

“Not to wax cliché, but—”

“But?”

Vanilla sighed. “With a gift like that, anything else I’d get would just fall flat.”

“Aww, Vanilla…. Well, here’s one that you very much deserve.” She gave Vanilla such a big hug that Vanilla couldn’t breathe. Then she let go.

“Thanks, I needed that.”

“I’ll go get the pencil so you can correct her spelling.”

“No…leave it as it is.”

“What?” Honey was honestly perplexed. “You HATE bad spelling.”

“Yes, I do,” said Vanilla in a voice that made this fact clear in no uncertain terms. “But if corrected, it wouldn’t be her handwriting, would it?”

Honey smiled. She left Vanilla alone with her Christmas present.



* * * * *



“I see you!” said Honey.

Vanilla turned red with embarrassment and put her body in front of what she was working on. “Do you make a habit of violating people’s privacy?”

“You’re correcting her spelling, aren’t you?”

“NO…. Just…rewriting the card with proper spelling.”

Honey chuckled, rolling her eyes. “Vanilla….”

“Well, I can’t STAND bad spelling! We all have our quirks—you’re STILL in your costume and it’s after dark!”

“Okay, okay, so we all have our quirks. You insist on proper spelling—that’s just who you are. And I wouldn’t have you any other way.”

“Oh, get out of here,” said Vanilla.

“All right, all right. You are going to send Apple a card back, aren’t you?”

“Why do you think I’m correcting her spelling? I’m writing back to show her the proper spelling.”

“Careful there,” said Honey, smirking. “You know how fragile she’s been.”

Vanilla bit her lip. “She said she’s happier now. Anyway, I’m just trying to help. I don’t expect her to write back anyway—she’s out of my life. She can’t hurt me anymore.”

“And I hope no one will hurt her anymore either.”

Vanilla nodded.

“Merry Christmas, Vanilla.”

“Merry Christmas.”

Honey left Vanilla to continue with her work.

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Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:27 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
All was forgiven and it was heartwarming enough.

Look like Honey's family never have happy photo, but they really care.

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Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:20 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
Okay, you officially made me forgive Apple. Very well done! :D

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Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:53 pm
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Post Re: To the Core
Thanks! :D

@kavviyenta: Well, yeah, they are what they are. :roll:

@valerio: Glad to hear it! :lol: :D

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Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:07 am
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