Abigail just didn’t understand it. Patrick’s cousin Preston was coming to stay but the polar didn’t seem very happy. He was very quiet.
It was time for her mid morning snack and sitting on top of the table, she swung her legs up and down. ‘Would you like a bit of cake?’ she waved the plate at him. Sticky bits of icing flew up into the air.
‘No thank you.’ With a sigh, the polar wiped icing off of his nose. He glanced at her and sniffed. Abigail could feel crumbs all over her whiskers and she brushed them off with her paw. They were very sticky, so she tried to press them back onto the cake. It didn’t work very well and now she had icing all over her fur too. Perhaps she could lick it off.
‘You know you shouldn’t eat so much cake Abigail,’ said Patrick, looking at her sternly, ‘you need different things too, like vegetables.’
‘Carrot cake,’ said Abigail brightly, ‘I had some just the other day. Anyway when does Preston arrive and where does he live?’ She picked up another cake just to annoy him. ‘You don’t seem very happy, aren’t you looking forward to seeing him?’
Climbing up onto the table beside her, Patrick carefully walked around a large puddle of pink icing. ‘Its very sticky up here. He’s a bit of a mysterious bear, he travels a lot and I’m never sure where he is or what hes doing. He says he’s coming by plane, he sent me a photo, here.’
Abigail looked at it, then glanced up at the ceiling. She’d seen planes from the garden, they were very high up. ‘A plane? But where will he land, on the roof?’
Patrick shook his head, ‘Don’t be silly, planes are far too big to land on the roof.’
‘No they’re not,’ said Abigail crossly, ‘they’re really small.’
The polar clambered down from the table. ‘That’s because they’re so high up! They’re much bigger when they land. Come on’. Abigail followed him into the garden. Shading his eyes Patrick pointed up into the sky. ‘There! There’s a plane right above us, it’s right up in the clouds, see? So down here it would be huge.’ Abigail looked up doubtfully. It didn’t look huge to her.
The hedge by the side of the grass rustled and a stripy face peered out. ‘What are we looking at?’ asked Grigs. A branch snapped into his face and he sneezed.
Abigail leant backwards, swaying from side to side. Looking up so high was making her feel dizzy. ‘Planes, Patrick’s cousin Preston is coming here in one.’
‘Really’ said Grigs in interest, looking up too, ‘is he in that one? I might bounce up and look.’
‘You can’t bounce that high!’ snapped the polar, ‘don’t be stupid.’
‘I’m not stupid and I can!’ snorted Grigs, ‘I could bounce right up there if I wanted to!’
Patrick put his head in his paws.
Abigail soon got bored looking at the planes. None of them seemed to show any sign of landing on the roof but that didn’t mean the polar was right. Sitting on the floor of the hall she set out her marbles. They were such pretty colours. And so round and shiny. The blue ones were her favourite and they made a lovely sound as they rolled along the tiles. Her ears pricked up, was that a noise at the door? Padding softly along the hall she climbed up onto the radiator and peered through the glass. She wasn’t meant to answer the door but she couldn’t see anyone there anyway. There was a sharp knock and she jumped back. The letterbox opened slowly. It seemed to be held up by a small white paw. Rather nervously, Abigail cleared her throat. ‘Preston?’
The letterbox opened a little wider and two black eyes blinked at her. ‘Yes. That’s me, who are you?’
Abigail pulled herself up to her full height, ‘Abigail’ she said haughtily, ‘and I live here.’
‘Well perhaps you could let me in then,’ said Preston, ‘it’s been a very long journey and it’s not very nice talking through a letterbox.’
Reaching forward she unlatched the door. It swung open with a creak. Standing in front of her on the mat was a small white polar. Abigails eyes went wide. You look just like Patrick!’ she paused, ‘but your nose is more pointy.’
With a sniff Preston stalked past her down the hall.
‘But I can see you’re both related,’ muttered Abigail under her breath. She kicked the door shut.
Preston and Patrick sat on either side of the kitchen table. Grigs was bouncing on a chair. Preston had a bandage around his leg. It wasn’t Abigails fault that he’d stepped on her marbles, he should have seen them, but they were rather slippery. She stood by the window watching them and leaning on the wooden frame.
‘It’s nice to see you,’ said Patrick politely. Preston nodded. ‘I’m sure it is.’ Patrick narrowed his eyes. ‘And to see you,’ added Preston. Patrick nodded. It went a little quiet. ‘Are you staying long?’ asked Patrick. He seemed to be holding his breath. ‘Just a week or so,’ I’ve got a few things to do.’ Abigail thought that Patrick slumped slightly.
‘What things?’ she asked, ‘and where will you be doing them?’
Preston looked at her and tapped the side of his nose. ‘I can’t say, just things, here and there you know.’ He tapped his nose again.
‘But I don’t know,’ said Abigail in confusion, ‘so why can’t you tell me.’ She reached forward and scratched Preston’s nose. He must have had an itch and she was a helpful bear. ‘Is that better?’
Preston shot backwards. ‘Take your big paw off my nose.’ Patrick giggled as Abigail held up her paw. ‘It’s not big!’ Leaning forward she did it again.
‘What are you doing!’ Preston backed further away.
‘Scratching your nose with my SMALL paw,’ said Abigail crossly. ‘You’ve obviously got an itch so I was trying to help.’
‘Patrick,’ said Preston haughtily, ‘where am I sleeping I think I’d like to go to my room, I’m rather tired.’ Patrick had gone rather pink for a polar and was trying not to giggle. He jumped down from the table and the two of them padded out of the kitchen. Preston stared hard at Abigail as he left.
Abigail stared back. She was a very clever bear, she was going to find out exactly what Preston was doing and where he was doing it. She tapped the side of her nose, then crossed her paws thoughtfully. ‘Things to do,’ she muttered, ‘we’ll see…’