Floala sighed as her alarm beeped loudly, the room automatically lighting up with artificial light.
For a moment, the glibby lay there feeling sorry for herself. Then, she blinked her tired eyes and peeled herself off the sheets, groaning as she did so. She sat back against the headboard and hugged herself with her tailpaws.
Just like yesterday, every muscle in her body ached. She stretched her sore neck gently in an effort to ease the pain. As she did so, she could feel an uncomfortable tension in her muscles. Her restless night of sleep had done a number on her body.
‘Good morning, Floala,’ Her ICH booped, ‘You have 7 new messages. Message one of-’
‘Shut up,’ Floala bluntly, stopping the little robot mid-sentence.
She clutched her aching head. No doubt it was her family, trying to get hold of her. Although whether they were calling to congratulate her on her win or berate her for delivering the worst television interview in history was anyone’s guess.
Floala shook her head, forcefully pushing her thoughts away. She immediately decided against opening her messages. Whatever her family wanted to say to her, it could wait until she’d woken up properly.
Wincing at the pain in her still-sore foot, Floala got out of bed and cast her eye about her room. She immediately felt her spirits sink. Her belongings were strewn everywhere, intermingled with the snack wrappers from her late night binge. It looked about as chaotic as her mind felt.
Floala sighed gloomily. It felt like everything had gone wrong yesterday. Not only had she completely embarrassed herself at every turn, she’d somehow managed to secure her place in the contest, despite her best efforts.
I even failed at losing, Floala thought bitterly. If there wasn’t ever a sign of her ineptitude, that was it.
Thinking back on her 'victory', she felt a pang of guilt as Vututho's distressed face filled her mind. She didn’t entirely understand why but she just couldn’t stop feeling bad about it. Vututho had been nice to her - the only one to be nice to her in the whole contest - and she’d repaid him by taking his place in the competition. It had been an accident, of course, but made her feel pretty awful. Vututho was going home and she got the wonderful privilege of staying here.
Floala, caught between misery and frustration, sighed. Taking a deep breath, she forcefully pushed all thoughts of the krokoko to the back of her head.
Whatever she felt, what was done was done. Vututho was out of the contest and she was stuck here. She was just going to have to deal with it.
Feeling distinctly grumpy, she began her search for her make-up bag. After several minutes and countless puffs of exasperation, she eventually found it under her pillow.
How did it get there? Floala wondered briefly before shrugging and continuing on her way. Taking station by the mirror, she began to beautify herself, combing her fur and applying shimmer to her cheeks. As she went through her daily grooming routine, she felt her worries drift away.
‘Incoming call!’ Her ICH suddenly cried.
Floala jumped out of her skin as the little robot began to play a cheerful jingle. She glanced over and felt her heart lurch. Tazan!
For a moment, she was stunned into silence, gripped with fear.
I’m not ready!
Terrified, she stood pinned to the spot.
What was am I going to say to him? What can I say?! Oh Xanta, I’m going to have to come up with such a good lie to convince hi-
‘Call declined,’ her ICH said.
The glibby let out a breath, silently thanking the little robot for interpreting her horror correctly.
She shivered, feeling her stress levels drop back to a manageable level.
Floala took a deep breath. No. She definitely wasn’t ready to talk to anyone yet. Least of all her brother, who she imagined wouldn’t be best pleased with her little media appearance earlier. She could definitely see a sharp telling off in her immediate future.
Relaxing back into her chair, Floala sighed grimly.
As much as she didn’t want to, she knew she couldn’t put him, and everyone else, off forever. She was going to have to face them eventually and to go through her many failings. After all, she’d only managed to do avoid it so far by hiding away from everyone and ignoring her messages. She hadn't even had the guts to head to the medical bay as she’d planned after yesterday’s public embarrassment. She’d figured that she’d rather her leg fall off than face anyone else at that point.
Deep in thought, Floala began to brush her fur again.
If she was to make it through this drama in one piece, she needed to get her head clear and start coming up with some excuses. It wouldn’t do her any good to call without getting her story straight.
Or, Floala thought, to talk on an empty stomach.
Registering the painful pangs of hunger in her stomach, Floala decided to forgo the last elements of her prettification in favour of heading off to find breakfast. Pausing briefly to grab her things, she set off down towards the canteen.
As she wandered down the corridor, she heard the tell-tale bleep of another call.
Floala’s brow furrowed. This time it was her mother.
In that instant, all traces of Floala’s sadness fell away as she felt a flash of anger.
So she’s after me too now?!
The glibby clenched her fists. This was now getting on her nerves. Why was everyone so keen to talk to her all of a sudden? Was it too much to ask for just a few minutes to think? Were they really that desperate to have a go at her?
‘Why can’t everyone just leave me alone?!’ she cried, stomping away from her ICH grumpily.
This was so ridiculous. Why couldn’t they just leave her be? She was doing their stupid contest, wasn’t she? Couldn’t they ju-
‘Would you like to block all incoming calls?’ her ICH asked politely.
‘YES!’ Floala shouted without missing a beat. Why hadn’t she known about that feature before?!
‘Directing all calls to voicemail.’
Floala felt a pang of satisfaction. There. That would teach them for bothering her.