Abigail hummed happily to herself. Rolling her blue marbles along the edge of the chair she picked one up in her paw. It felt cool and smooth, but when she held it up in the air it was so shiny. She waved it too and fro in the sunlight watching it sparkle. Glancing down onto the street she saw a big red van parked by the gate. As she watched, someone opened the door of the van and climbed out. He looked up at the house.
“Patrick,” she shouted loudly, backing away from the window, ‘there’s someone outside.”
Scampering quickly into the room, the polar climbed up beside her. “Where? No one’s coming home for weeks.” He peered down into the street.
The man was now pulling something out of the van. It looked like a long brown stick with a big white square on top of it. The square had big brown words on it.
“What’s he doing?” asked Abigail nervously, “why is he putting that thing in our garden, what does it say?’ She learnt forward. “It says… For Sale… What’s for sale?”
Patrick’s eyes went wide. “Oh no… it’s…’ he paused and pulled at his scarf, shaking his head. ‘I don’t believe it, it’s..the house. Our house is for sale…”
Abigail stared at the sign.
They all sat around the kitchen table. Patrick sat at the top with Preston next to him. Abigail sat opposite them and pushed her sandwich around and around her plate with her paw. She wasn’t hungry. How could their home be for sale? This was where they lived and she was happy here. What were they going to do? Even the tiger was quiet. He sat beside her, without bouncing at all. His whiskers hung down onto the table. She pushed her sandwich towards him but he shook his head sadly.
“Well,” said Patrick, clearing his throat. “As we know, it looks like the people that own this house have decided to sell it.”
Abigail got to her paws. ‘But they can’t! I like it here. This is where we live!’ A tear slid down her cheek and she brushed it away angrily. Turning away she looked out of the window into their quiet garden.
‘Of course they can sell it, they own it, you just live here when they’re away.’ Preston said. ‘And you have to hide when they come back too.’
‘You don’t live here!’ shouted Abigail, spinning back round. ‘You don’t understand!’
Preston stepped back quickly.
Leaning forward Patrick patted her paw. ‘Abigail don’t worry.. we’ll think of something.’
Rubbing her eyes, Abigail nodded. They’d think of something.
The next day felt like it went on forever. The house seemed so quiet. Patrick and Preston sat at the table again. Grigs was by the door, looking into the garden. Abigail padded around the kitchen. ‘Well has anyone thought of something? You said you would.’
Patrick sighed, ‘it’s not that easy, Preston and I have been talking and we don’t know how we can stop someone buying the house.’
Abigail climbed up onto the chair and sat down. Putting her head on her paws she thought hard. And thought some more. And then thought even harder. She was a very clever bear she was sure of it. ‘If we can’t stop someone buying the house, then why can’t we buy it?’
‘You can’t buy a house,’ laughed Preston, raising his eyes. ‘You’re a bear,’ he glanced at Grigs, ‘and.. well..’
‘So?’ said Abigail, ‘Patrick’s got money he took it to the shop.’ She got to her paws, a feeling of excitement starting to bubble up from her tummy and she leant towards him. Preston coughed nervously. Abigail was sure she’d had another idea. ‘Patrick you earn money and …. you said when you earned money, no one knew you were a polar.’
There was silence. ‘Abigail,’ said Patrick slowly, ‘I think you might be on to something…’
The next few days were very busy. Big pieces of paper covered the kitchen table. They had rows and rows of numbers on them. Patrick and Preston spent all their time staring into the thing with a screen and writing things down. Then crossing them out.
Abigail spent most of the time pacing up and down beside them. She’d had the idea, but nothing seemed to have happened. Climbing up onto the table she put her paws on top of the screen and peered over it. ‘What are you doing? And whatever it is you’re doing can you do it more quickly? Suppose someone else buys the house?’ Pushing at one of the piles of paper, she sniffed loudly and kicked the screen hard. ‘Ow!’
‘Abigail!‘ said Patrick, ‘don’t kick the screen.’ He looked around the edge of it. ‘I know you’re upset and it was a very good idea you had but.. ‘ he glanced at Preston and sighed. ‘We have to tell her Preston. You see, Abigail… I don’t think I have enough money to buy the house.’ Looking down at his paws he sighed. ‘I’m so sorry…’ There was a noise like a hiccup from under the table and Grigs ran from the room.
Sitting on her bed Abigail stared at the things laid out in front of her, her marbles, her blue blanket, her bag, her torch, all of her things. It was all she had. Gathering them up in her paws she padded slowly down the stairs. Preston and Patrick were still sitting at the table. Climbing up onto the chair she held her marbles tightly in her paw. Taking a deep breath she pushed her bag, her pink christmas tree and her blanket towards them. Then slowly she dropped the marbles onto the table. They made a loud rattling sound, then rolled slowly along the wood. ‘You could sell these,’ she said, watching them sparkle, ‘then.. maybe we’ll have enough.’
‘Oh Abigail,’ said Patrick, his eyes misting, ‘thank you I really wish we did but…’
‘And there’s this!’ said Grigs, dropping a soggy bar of chocolate onto the table. It’s wrapper was torn and it had teeth marks in one corner.’ He pushed it towards them with his nose. ‘I hid it, to eat later, but..’ his whiskers quivered, ‘I don’t want to leave.’
Shaking his head, Patrick looked down at the table and patted at his eyes with his paws.
Preston cleared his throat. ‘Well, I suppose …perhaps… perhaps I can help.’
They turned towards him.
‘How?’ asked Abigail.
Preston clasped his paws together, he looked a bit nervous. ‘Well I travel a lot, you know, but.. I do have some money.’
Abigail leant forward in excitement. ‘And you’ll give it to us? Is it enough to buy the house?’’
‘Well..’ Preston coughed, ‘not give exactly, but I could lend you the money, then you could give it back to me later.’
Abigail didn’t understand, ‘Why? How could we give it back and why would you want us to?’
‘Because I don’t live here!’ said Preston loudly, ‘and you do!’
They all stared at him. He sounded a bit upset.
Abigail thought quickly. She was a kind bear. ‘Oh but you could live here! Couldn’t he Patrick? Preston could live here with us there’s lots of room.’
Patrick went a very funny colour. ‘No Abigail he wouldn’t want to live here, he’s always travelling. You really wouldn’t want to live here would you?’ He glanced at Preston.
‘Well … I suppose.. Preston paused, ‘it might be nice to have a base. You know, somewhere to come to from time to time.’
‘How often?’ asked Patrick suspiciously.
Preston shrugged. ‘Just now and then, I could have the room on the top floor, it’s nice and quiet.’
‘I think it’s a brilliant idea!’ said Abigail, grabbing Grigs and hugging him hard.
‘Owww let go!’
Letting go of the tiger Abigail twirled around with her paws in the air. ‘And it means we can buy the house.’ She felt a bit dizzy and sat down hard. Taking a deep breath she looked at them. ‘So come on, what are we waiting for? Let’s buy our house!’