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Anaaya Shah



Their Story

It all began with vanilla ice cream. In fact, things started to look up for Siara Veno after the vanilla ice cream incident. Listen carefully, reader, for this is the story of Susanne Brisbane and Siara Veno. An unexpected tale of true friendship and dislike and probable betrayal.


Imagine a tall girl with freckled cheeks, stepping into the pantry only to see an icy white liquid seeping up the place. “Cook!” Susanne Brisbane shrieked at the top of her lungs. A pretty young girl followed Susanne at a slower pace. She stood by Susanne’s side, an astonished look on her face. Both the girls looked quite similar when they stood together like that.


Susanne turned upon the girl standing next to her, namely Siara. “Go and fetch the cook immediately” Susanne barked.


But, Susanne wasn’t done. She gave Siara a shove. And a sharp glare. Just as Susanne was about to speak something, someone cut her off. Susanne’s mother gave her daughter an angry stare which could have reduced someone to ashes.


“Susanne, you will do it yourself. Remember, Siara is here to spend time with you. I demand you apologize to her, THIS INSTANT. She is royalty just as much as you.” her mother reprimanded. Susanne looked down, pretending she was ashamed of herself, scowled at Siara and then mumbled something and huffed off.


Siara shook her head and went off to call the cook. Siara found the cook talking to the queen mother, Susanne’s grandmother.


Susanne’s uncle was the king and he was good natured but rarely visited his family. Siara’s only living relatives were her two aunts, who were the kindest souls in the world other than her governess and Merry, the housekeeper. Currently, she also considered the royal family other than Susanne kind. Just hearing her name made Siara angry.


Aunt Rose and Aunt Mary were her mother’s sisters. Her parents were a duke and duchess who had gone trekking on a cliff and never returned. People said they fell off the cliff and some even claimed to have seen them falling.


Her aunts were lovely and did all in their power to make Siara smile and laugh. Her aunts and her family had all lived in the same house all her life so she knew them well.


However, her aunts were often away on trips. At that time she stayed with her governess and Merry. Merry was like a second mother to her.


But this time things were different. Her aunts were away on a trip, her governess’s grandmother had passed away and Merry and Siara were all alone at home other than the ginormous staff that served them.


The housekeeper thought it would be good for Siara to spend some time with other children her age. And so, she had ended up at the palace.


She was supposed to be Susanne’s companion, instead she was Susanne's servant. Siara was not used to all of this work. After all, she was the daughter of a duke and duchess and descended from royalty.


Siara couldn’t imagine living like this for another 3 weeks. Her mother had known Susanne’s mother and they were the best of friends. It was all the more reason Siara was visiting.


And that, reader, is the backstory and almost all you need to know about Siara for the time being. I know her story is an interesting one but we must move onto Susanne for some time. Quite some time in fact.


Susanne, on the other hand, had a big family. She was spoiled, to be honest. Susanne had never been to school or ever had a meeting with another child. She had been governed at home all her life.


Poor Susanne never knew what it was like to have a friend or be friends with someone. Siara had never had friends before either. But Siara had a passion for books. Thousands of story books lined the Veno mansions library. Siara knew from the books what friends did, and shoving or ordering around was definitely not one of them.


Siara had been to the palace for a week already and the two girls had been trying to oust each other in everything from sports to academics.


Siara and Susanne shared only one common passion. Trekking and hiking. As I said at the beginning of the story, I have already told you about their dislike for each other. Now on, you will know their story, a wonderful story.


“Siara, Susanne” Mrs.Brisbane called. Susanne came running up to her mother. Siara smiled at Mrs.Brisbane and walked up to her. Mrs.Brisbane smiled her kind smile at both of them and told them to take a seat.


“Now girls, listen up. Mr.Brisbane and I have decided to send both of you to a place we are sure both of you like.” Siara’s face spread into a big grin and her eyes danced with excitement. And yet there was a feeling that could perhaps have been called sadness and a look of scarediness.


To be all alone with Susanne sent shivers down Siara’s spine.


Susanne on the other hand, was afraid. Afraid of being alone. She had never in her life been alone. She doubted Siara would be a help.


“The place is completely safe and it will be just both of you. And most of all, it is a valley where the helicopter will leave you. There are mountains all around you and there are a bunch of villages a bit afar. They will know about your visit. And since both of you enjoy hiking so much it will be a wonderful experience.”


When the duchess looked at the two girls she became a bit concerned.


Siara’s face was now blank, not showing the tiniest bit of emotion. And Susanne, don’t get me started on her. Her look was one of complete shock, anger but still there was something pulling at one edge of her lips. Perhaps that could have been a tiny smile.


I think Susanne also was a bit jealous of Siara because of her so so many talents. And yet, Siara and Susanne were equally talented and skilled.


“You will leave the day after tomorrow. Please go and pack your bags and relax, you will be completely safe. There will be communication devices from which you will be able to talk to me any time and from everywhere. Both of you, please try and adjust with each other and not come to me for every and any small thing.”


Siara sighed with relief. At least she could talk with Mrs.Brisbane any time she liked. Susanne just shrugged and walked out in a rather cold way.


Mrs.Brisbane turned to Siara and explained to her why Susanne was not used to people and sharing things.


Siara understood then. Susanne had never had any friends and she did not know how to behave. Perhaps that told her why the girl was acting so cold and mean. A bit rude as well.


Much reassured that Susanne might change, she skipped off to her quarters to pack her haversacks.


The big day came and the girls knew all they needed to know for the trip.

A telegram had been sent to Aunt Rose, Aunt Mary, Merry and Governess informing them of the trip.


The girls were going to camp, go to the villages to get food every four days and be on this routine for two and a half weeks before the helicopter returned to pick them up.


The two girls boarded the helicopter, waving to everybody. The helicopter ride was barely an hour long.


They gasped when they saw the mountains and valleys. Lush green grass, all sorts of scents dancing around in the wind. Daffodils, bluebells, orchids, roses, sunflowers bowing to the sun and green dahlias as well. Every flower you would have ever seen was present as if welcoming them.


The mountains were majestic as well. Some areas were shaded while others baked in the sun. The girls stepped out in delight.


The helicopter left as soon as the girls and their equipment were out.


Susanne found a sort of sand pit and collapsed onto it in a fit of giggles.

Siara pranced about bending down every now and then to smell a flower. She found a pond where she started splashing water around her.


The girls found each other in sometime and started frowning again.


But inside both the girls' hearts bobbed with joy. They sat down on the ground, their shorts being tickled with the flowers that bent low.


Siara finally broke the silence “Can we start hiking?” she asked, her voice wavering a little bit. Susanne rolled her eyes but picked up her stuff. Siara jumped up and put on her packs and started trekking towards the first mountain. A banner said it was Mountain Velicity. It was supposed to be the biggest mountain in the area.


The youngsters started off in silence.


The day progressed and soon the sun was right on top of them. The girls kept themselves hydrated and energised with a granola bar or treat every two hours. Under their caps they were completely wet because of the water they splashed on themselves from the occasional springs running around or because they were sweating.


Not a word was spoken till the time they reached the peak which was 8:00pm. It took them 10 hours to climb up so they knew it would take them the entire next day to climb down.


As soon as they reached the peak, they removed their dry dinners and sat down to eat. The day passed in an eerie silence.


Soon after a dry dinner, the girls went to set up their tents.


Siara followed the instruction sheet and quickly had her tent set up.


Susanne, however, was not faring so well. Unable to join some sticks, she stood puzzling over them.


Smirking and head held high, Siara walked over and put up the tent in a jiffy. Susanne, still astonished at how good Siara was with these things, was unable to speak a word. Siara then retired for the night leaving Susanne alone with her thoughts.


Even though she wouldn’t admit it, the latter was definitely impressed with Siara.


Night came and Siara was restless. She had felt an emotion she’d never faced before. She actually felt happy that she helped Susanne.


The emotion one feels when we do a good deed. Dear Siara who had never really known the emotion didn’t know how to describe it.


But the next morning, Siara made up her mind she’d be good to Susanne.


As the girls ate breakfast sitting opposite each other, Siara smiled nicely at Susanne. The other girl had noticed the smile, but refused to smile back.


Siara frowned. ‘Why is Susanne being so difficult?’ she thought to herself. Susanne as well was quite surprised. ‘This girl is nuts’ she thought to herself. ‘I’ve been a bit mean to her, and now she’s smiling at me as if I’ve done something for her or what,’ she shook herself.


Both the adolescents were having a hard time putting their thoughts to words.


As they finished breakfast, and were getting ready for the day’s trip, Susanne noticed something.


Siara’s sunglasses were lying on a rock. Siara was ready to leave and was oblivious to the fact that she had forgotten her glasses.


Susanne’s first thought was to return it to Siara as a trade. Siara had fixed her tent for her so in return she should give her her glasses.


But soon the Susanne we had previously seen, returned and told Susanne not to return the sun protectors.


Reader, you must understand that you are not reading a modern day fairytale. Remind yourself that you are reading a story of dislike, betrayal and friendship. And remember that not all stories have a happy ending.


Susanne was so taken inside by the second voice that she removed all thoughts of returning the contacts.


And yet, the voice kept nagging her. Soon her common sense was back and she decided to take the specs along with her and then to decide if she wanted to return them or not.


Tucking the sun glasses into a small pouch in her bag, she looked around.


And reader, here is where our betrayal begins. We will never be certain whether Siara did what she did on purpose or if it was a mistake.


Instead of finding another girl with pale eyes staring into the distance, there was no one around.


All of a sudden she panicked. She knew that till this moment any of them had got into trouble, both of them would be in it together.


Now all alone, she felt a need for company. Stranded atop of a mountain, not knowing where her companion had left her. ‘What is the word to describe it?’ she thought to herself. Yes, she had a sense of longing to be together.


The day her mother had scolded her for ordering Siara around and asked her if she was ashamed of herself.


And now the word stood there in all it’s glamour. ‘ASHAMED, GUILT, REMORSE, SHAME, REGRET, CONTRITION, REPENTANCE, COMPUNCTION, SELF-ACCUSATION, SORROW’.


All of these emotions flowed out of her and she began to feel and see how she would have felt had the same thing happened to her.


She would feel...HURT. Yep, that’s what she would feel. She would be unhappy. Without knowing tears had started flowing out of her eyes. She vaguely remembered someone teasing her and how bad it felt.


She was upset, hurt, angry, and unhappy, all at once on that day, those so many years before.


Siara had started trekking downhill and her pace was going good. By the time it was afternoon, she was half way and a little more down. That’s when she noticed something was off.


Yesterday, the occasional chomping or pant by Susanne, would come to her ears. And today, today there was none at all. It was unusually silent.


She looked back only to find that she was all alone. Siara wasn’t afraid. She looked around and decided that Susanne could have gotten lost or lost her footing and could be seriously hurt.


Siara knew how it was like to be hurt and whimpering in pain, not literally but mentally it was possible.


Siara was clueless as to what to do next. Should she go back up to find Siara? or should she go down where she could call for the helicopter or help.


Siara thought it was better to get help. At least that was her first thought. And as they say, the first idea is the worst one. Probably this wasn’t the worst but Siara had a different plan.


Aware of how it was like to be in pain, Siara firmly set back up the mountain towards the late afternoon. It could have been too late for Susanne otherwise.


Her lips set in a determined line she started trekking her way up, occasionally yelling her fellow trekker’s name.


Up on the peak, Susanne was crying her heart out when she heard the echoes.


“Susanne, Susanne” the voice was faint but present. Was she dreaming? Nope, the voice was familiar. And then it clicked. It was Siara.


Had she really come looking for her? She was happy, surprised and feeling a new sense of hope that hadn't been there before.


She peered from the edge of the peak. The mountain was vast and looked like it was endless.


She realised it would be impossible to spot a person anywhere on the mountain even if they were close to the peak.


Susanne screamt her colleague’s name a number of times but got no response.


Meanswhile, Siara was desperate to find Susanne. She was not going to give what was certain, in a place filled with uncertainty.


Up on the top, Susanne was trying to call out to Siara, her voice cracking occasionally.


Siara looked around her. She was at a fork in the road. One of them led up to the peak, another one led to the bottom of the mountain and the third one was supposed to lead one to another path altogether.


Up there, Susanne willed herself to take matters into her own hands. The lass started to trek down the mountain herself.


Night was about fall and Siara was still thinking about what path she should take between the cave and the one taking her to the top.


Susanne had barely managed to trek 5-6 kilometers when it was time to camp for the night. Both the tweenagers set their respective tents for the night but Susanne’s was not exactly correctly fixed up.


At night Susanne saw a dream which roused her and did not let her sleep. She was screaming from the top and the words dancing away in the wind as if mocking her. She couldn’t bear it and immediately turned to the thing she loved to do,...TREKKING.


By eight in the morning, she had reached the fork as well.


Siara, who had just woken up, decided to take the road to the top. And Susanne decided to take the route which would lead her to the place where Siara had camped.


As many campers, Siara took some white chalk and wrote her name and the date she had camped on a rock nearby. And then she continued.


Susanne and Siara crossed the paths which were adjacent to each other but had a thick rock wall between them.


The girls’ voices, which were tired out after screaming so much yesterday, did not have the energy to scream today. Or the two would have definitely known where the other was.


The paths, which took almost 4 to 4 and a half hours to cross once, were wide but sharp and one had to be careful.


It was lunchtime by the time the young ladies had reached the other side.


Eating and thinking, Susanne literally jumped out of her skin when she saw Siara’s sign. She started to speak to herself. “28th March, that’s today! She’s been here today.”


The lass looked around to look for another sign when she saw some gravel that had moved away indicating someone had probably come recently. Throwing down her roll, then cringing at seeing her roll wrapped up cosily in a sand blanket.


She picked up her pack, and started hiking up the pass with rejuvenated energy munching on a granola bar.


Evening was just beginning to fall when Susanne saw a girl with freckles covering a large part of her cheeks staring down ahead of her.


Susanne’s face broke into a broad grin and she sighed.


Siara’s sharp ears caught the sound, and she turned around swiftly. Her mouth gaping open at Siara, she pinched herself twice to make sure it was real.


Once she realised it was true, she smiled kindly and all of a sudden she became a bit angry.


“Susanne” she began. She was cut off by the other girl. “For heaven’s sake Siara, where did you just disappear into thin air last night? Do you have any powers or what? You know, you could tell me about it” she said in a very solemn voice and then smiled.


An actual smile, he flushed red cheeks, moving away to show two cute little dimples on the corner of her lips. Her smile was eager and in a light tone. A friendly smile, a friendly tone, a friendly face.


And Siara, unable to resist the temptation of smiling back, smiled her small, shy smile.


The two gals' relationship had changed from arch rivals to companions to a friendship that didn’t need words to express themselves.


Reader, I must warn you again you cannot expect them to become inseparable or that sort of thing. This story sounds like a fairy tale but it’s not.


A friendship that doesn't need words, that’s a true friendship. And while, Siara definitely sounds like a perfect person, she’s not. EVERYONE, and I repeat EVERYONE, has their flaws.


Including Siara... Understand Siara is stubborn. She was not ready to forgive someone so easily. Especially a person who was her competitor some days back.


But the friendship that had newly blossomed between the two meant more than that now. “I’m not so sure I forgive you” she started. “I know, what I did was really mean and I’m sorry. And oh, here are your shades you left them on the peak.” Susanne replied but didn’t have time to complete her sentence as Siara spoke again.


“I didn’t complete. Well, let’s put it this way.” she spoke in her usual light tone. “You’re still under probation. Let’s put it that way. I may back out of the friendship any time” Siara teased Susanne.


Susanne frowned, then smiled at her...NEW FOUND FRIEND...


I do not know what happened to the two good friends after that, but I trust both of them led happy lives with their own ups and downs. But ONE thing is what I do know. Their friendship is unbreakable no matter what. They probably would have been close friends for a long long time. Yet, maybe they were not the best of friends.


Reader, now it’s time for you to put down this book with the peace of knowing that these two girls led happy lives as good friends.



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