It was nice to be back home. Even though they still didn’t have much furniture, it felt warm and safe. Abigail had washed and brushed her fur and it wasn’t frizzy any more. Patrick and Preston sat together on the kitchen table in front of the laptop. Abigail peered over their shoulders.
‘Have you got the right one?’ she asked anxiously. ‘There, that’s the bed I liked.’ She prodded the screen and it fell over. Sighing, Preston picked it up and carefully dusted it down. Abigail prodded it again. ‘When will they all arrive?’ she said happily, sitting down next to him. She was really looking forward to sleeping in her new bed, it had been so comfy. She’d also picked some fluffy pillows and a warm sparkly yellow blanket. Grigs had found a furry striped blanket and Patrick and Preston had blue ones.
‘Next week,’ said Patrick, ‘not long. Come on Preston let’s go and print out the order. Preston? Now where’s he gone…’ He padded out of the kitchen.
Sliding down onto a chair, Abigail looked out of the window. Lots of leaves had fallen off of the trees and lay in big heaps of orange and yellow. As she watched, the wind whisked them up into the air and they floated down over the path . It looked very cold out there. There was a cough behind her. Turning around she saw Preston standing on the floor. His scarf was neatly ironed and there was a big bag next to him. Putting her head on one side, Abigail stared at him in interest. ‘Oh.. are we going somewhere? We’ve only just got back.’
‘No, I’m going somewhere actually, Uncle Paisley is collecting me today, you remember, the one that sent me the card. He’s taking me on holiday.’
Abigail sniffed. She’d quite like to go on holiday, although she still didn’t quite know what one was. It also felt a bit strange that Preston was going away. ‘How long is a holiday for?’
Preston shrugged, ‘oh I don’t know, a couple of weeks, maybe more.’
Padding back into the kitchen Patrick stopped, one paw in the air and looked at the bag in surprise. ‘There you are.’ He paused. ‘Are you going away? But.. I thought you’d decided to stay here, and…you’ve got your own room.’
‘It’s just for a little while,’ said Preston, ‘and I did say I’d be traveling a bit.’
There was silence in the kitchen. Abigail sniffed again, her eyes felt a bit funny and she rubbed at them.
Grigs peered out from under the table and yawned. ‘What’s happening?’
‘Preston is going away. Without us,’ said Abigail. ‘He’s going on holiday.’
Grigs stared at him. ‘Don’t like that.’ Turning his back he lay down again. ‘Don’t like it at all.’ There was a knock on the door.
‘That’s must be uncle Paisley now,’ said Preston, scurrying along the hall. ‘I shouldn’t keep him waiting.’ Climbing up onto the radiator he pulled open the door. They all stared out. Sitting on the path was another polar bear, he was much bigger than Preston. Clearing his throat the new polar waved.
‘You must be Patrick, and Abigail and Grigs, I’ve heard a lot about you.’
Abigail looked at him suspiciously. ‘What have you heard?’
‘Only good things of course, Preston speaks very highly of you.’
They all turned to look at Preston who was inspecting the end of his scarf intently.
‘Really?’ said Patrick slowly, ‘well I suppose that’s right.’
Paisley held out his paw towards Preston, ‘let me take your bag, and give me your paw you don’t want to get lost.’
‘I won’t get lost uncle Paisley,’ muttered Preston, ‘really I won’t.’
‘Nonsense!’ said Paisley, taking his paw firmly in his, ‘it’s very dangerous out there, we’ve got to be careful.’ He glanced back down the path. ‘You’re a very small polar, it’s my job to look after you. We’ve got quite a way to go but I’ve packed some sandwiches and a nice thermos of tea. Have you got a nice warm jumper with you?’
‘Right,’ said Preston slowly, ‘I suppose this is it, well you know for a while..’
Turning away Grigs ran back into the house, his ears drooping,
Nodding, Patrick sniffed and sat up straight. ‘Yes,’ he said brightly, ‘have a nice time and make sure you send us a card.’
‘Don’t all stand there, you might catch a cold,’ said Paisley, ‘nasty things colds.’ Preston was trying to shake his paw free but Paisley held on tightly, ‘why don’t you all wave from the window, it’s much warmer inside. It’s been lovely meeting you all. Come on Preston we’ve got a train to catch, I’ve booked us some tickets but we don’t want to be late.’ Picking up the bag he turned away.
Shutting the door with a loud click, they all climbed up onto the windowsill. The two polars, big and small, were walking down the path. Turning back, Preston waved. Abigail swallowed hard. She wanted to ask why they weren’t going too. It was very annoying. Glancing at Patrick she paused. Even though both polars always seemed to be arguing he looked very sad. Perhaps she shouldn’t ask. She was a very kind bear. Reaching out she patted him gently on the shoulder with her paw. ‘He’ll come back soon,’ she said, ‘I’m sure of it.’