The house felt very quiet. Climbing up onto the kitchen counter, Abigail pulled open the cupboard door. There was a neat line of sardine tins on the shelf and pulling one forward she looked at it and sighed. Sardines were one of Patrick and Preston’s favourites. She wondered what Preston was doing? She hoped his uncle Paisley knew what kind of food he liked, Preston was a polar that was very particular about what he ate.
‘Patrick,’ she called, ‘do you want a sandwich?’
‘No thank you, our beds should be arriving soon.’
Pricking up her ears in interest, Abigail clambered back down onto the floor, a jar of raspberry jam in her paw. ‘Today? All of them?’
The polar padded into the kitchen. ‘Yes but we mustn’t be seen, they’ll have to leave them outside. I hope there’s enough room on the path, there are four of them.’ He rubbed his paws together nervously.
‘So how will we get them up the stairs?’ asked Abigail.
‘Rope.’ said Patrick, waving his paws straight up and down in the air. ‘We’ll take them to bits and pull them up in small pieces.’
Abigail nodded slowly, how would they know which pieces went where? She didn’t want her bed muddled up with anyone else’s. That wouldn’t be comfy at all.
There was a knock at the door and Patrick scampered back down the hall. ‘Leave everything outside..’ he shouted as loudly as he could, ‘thank you.’
With a yawn, Grigs appeared beside them and blinked. ‘What are we doing?’
‘Our beds have arrived,’ said Abigail in excitement, ‘we’re going to take them upstairs.’ Climbing up onto the shelf she peered through the letterbox. Why was it so dark, she couldn’t see. The path was filled boxes, they were in the way and… they were huge. Her eyes widened and she sat back hard on her paws. ‘Um Patrick… I hope you’ve got a lot of rope…’
Abigail decided that building beds wasn’t fun at all. It had taken ages to take them apart and pull them into the house. Grigs kept getting in the way. Then he disappeared. It was Patrick who finally found him, stuck in one of the cardboard boxes. They’d had to use a big pair of scissors and cut him out whilst he worried about his tail. ‘Well if you don’t keep your tail still it WILL be cut off,’ Patrick shouted, waving the scissors around. ‘How on earth did you get stuck in there anyway!’
Finally everything was ready. Sitting beside the polar Abigail watched him chalk a number onto the pieces of wood and then write it down in a big blue book beside him. It was very confusing. ‘What are you doing? I wish Preston was here, he could help us.’
Patrick nodded, then clearing his throat, shook his head hard. ‘Nonsense we can do this by ourselves, we don’t need Preston. I’m writing numbers on each piece of the bed so we know exactly how they go back together.’
‘Right,’ said Abigail doubtfully. ‘So why have you written the number three on each of those six pieces of wood then?’
‘Where?’ said Patrick, twisting around. Picking up one of the pieces he glared at it. ‘Stupid thing,’ he muttered.
Finally the beds were built. Only the pillows and sheets were left to pull up the stairs. Abigail was exhausted and her paws ached. The pillow was very slippery.
Patrick stood at the top of the stairs. ‘Come on Abigail, push, I can’t do this by myself.’
‘Where’s Grigs then,’ said Abigail sliding backwards, she felt very annoyed, ‘he should be helping us.’
‘Under here, pillows eaten me. Help!’ Waving his paws the tiger tried to get out. The pillowcase twisted more tightly around him.
‘It’s you, you’re wriggling further in not out,’ snapped Abigail, ‘why do you always get stuck in things? You’re making it worse and you’re not helping at all.’
The pillow tipped over and thudded down the stairs. ‘Ow! Ow! Ow!’
Patrick sighed. There was a ringing sound from the kitchen.
‘Is that the phone?’ asked Abigail in interest. ‘Do you think it’s Preston?’
Patrick glanced up. ‘Maybe, not sure. I’d um… better go and answer it.’ He scampered down the stairs and Abigail followed him quickly. The polar got to the phone first. ‘Hello?’
‘Hello?’ said Abigail snatching the phone from him, ‘is that you Preston?’
Patrick snatched it back. ‘Are you there?’
‘Yes,’ said Preston, ‘what’s going on?’
‘Our beds have arrived,’ shouted Abigail over the polars shoulder, ‘yours too, we had to get them up the stairs and make them. Patrick did it wrong.’
‘I did not!’ said Patrick hotly, ‘I planned everything from start to finish. It all went perfectly. Hang on..’ He pressed a button on the phone so everyone could hear. ‘Are you enjoying your holiday?’
‘Yes,’ said Preston in a polite voice, ‘it’s very nice. Very nice indeed.’
‘Is your uncle Paisley behind you?’ asked Abigail suspiciously.
‘Yes,’ said Preston. He paused. ‘Uncle Paisley you don’t have to hold the phone for me I can manage.’
The bigger polars voice was muffled and they leant towards the phone. ‘Nonsense that’s what I’m here for. It’s a heavy phone for a small polar. You go ahead and speak to your friends, then we’ll go and get a bite to eat. We don’t want to eat too late, it’s not good for the digestion.’
Abigail giggled. ‘Do you miss us? Are you coming back?’
‘Well um…you see uncle Paisley says…’
‘I mean I don’t care, obviously, if you do come back or not,’ said Abigail quickly, ‘we don’t mind at all do we Patrick?’
‘No,’ said Patrick in a small voice. ‘But your beds here, you know, if you want it.’
Abigail nodded, ‘and it looks very comfy.’
‘Thanks,’ said Preston, ‘well, I’d better go. Uncle Paisley doesn’t like to be out too late.’
‘It can be very dangerous to be out in the dark,’ said Paisley, ‘we polars need to be careful.’
‘You can call again,’ said Abigail, ‘you know, just to say hello.’
‘Right, bye then.’
‘For now,’ said Abigail, ‘bye.’ Silence fell and she glanced at Patrick. ‘He’s a very annoying polar you know, I really don’t miss him, at all.’
‘No said Patrick, ‘neither do I.’
They looked at each other. ‘But he could come back if he wanted to,’ said Abigail slowly. ‘I mean someone needs to eat all those tins of sardines.’
Patrick nodded. ‘Well..come on, we’ve got new beds to sleep in. We can’t sit down here thinking about fish. Let’s have a cup of hot chocolate.’
‘Yes,’ sighed Abigail, ‘chocolate makes everything better..’