Abigail rolled her gold marbles down the hall. They made a lovely rattling noise on the tiles.
‘Keep the noise down, I’m trying to watch tv,’ shouted Preston.
Gathering the marbles together, Abigail rolled them even harder, this time against the wall. Putting her paw over her mouth she giggled.
Grigs looked around the door and yawned. ‘Woke me up.’
‘Well you shouldn’t keep napping,’ said Abigail, wondering how loud a noise her marbles would make if she actually threw them against the radiator. She lifted up her paw.
‘It’s too noisy to watch tv, I’ll make us a sandwich,’ said Preston, padding out into the hall, he paused and looked at her suspiciously, ‘what are you doing?’
‘Nothing,’ said Abigail, ‘just waving at you.’ She dropped her paw down behind her back.
‘Hmmm..’ said Preston, ‘I suppose you’d like a cake.’
‘Please,’ said Abigail, rolling the marbles quietly towards him.
Pausing, Preston held one paw in the air as they rattled past him. ‘Can’t catch me out, I saw those,’ he said smugly taking a step forward. He shot forward paws waving wildly, ‘whoooaaaaa!’
‘Didn’t see the blue ones I left by the door though,’ said Abigail happily. ‘A chocolate cake would be lovely.’
Sitting at the kitchen table, Patrick looked down at Preston as he slid quickly past on his back, all four paws in the air. He sighed. ‘Let’s have something to eat, does anyone want to stay up to see the new year come in?’
‘What new year?’ said Abigail still giggling, ‘we’ve got a year, why do we need another one?’
‘It’s not like that,’ said Patrick, ‘it’s the date that changes, we end one year, then start another.’
Abigail was confused. She thought back to all the fun things she’d done, like meeting the queen and the house they’d bought that was their home… and all the cakes she’d eaten. ‘But I like this one, I don’t want to start another one.’
There was a stifled laugh from under the table and Abigail pushed one of the chairs back hard.
‘Ow!’ said Preston.
Reaching out, Patrick patted her gently, ‘don’t worry nothing will change, only the date.’
‘Right,’ said Abigail uncertainly. She glanced out of the window and wondered what a new year looked like when it came in.
They were all curled up on the cushions in front of the warm fire. Abigail blinked sleepily, it was taking a very long time for the new year to arrive. She’d really like to go to bed but didn’t want to wake up without seeing it, just in case she didn’t like it.
‘There could be fireworks outside,’ said Patrick, ‘we can look from the window. What’s the time, we should watch the clock.’
Preston rolled over. ‘We should make some new year resolutions too, you know things we’d like to do. Patrick you start.’
Wrinkling his nose Patrick smoothed out his scarf absently and looked up at the ceiling, ‘Well.. I…um… I’d like to learn something new.’
‘Like what?’ said Abigail, ‘you could learn to make cakes, chocolate ones!’ She thought of the time the supermarket had run out of cake, it had been really upsetting. If the polar could make them they’d be fine.
‘No you could do that,’ said Patrick. ‘I think I’d like to study astronomy, stars, the universe you know.’ Abigail glanced at her paws, she wasn’t sure they were made for cake making and astronomy sounded boring. How could you study stars when they were so high up and so small?
Preston nodded. ‘I’d like to do something like that too, what about you Grigs?’
‘More bouncing,’ said the tiger, ‘you can never do too much bouncing.’
‘Tigers don’t bounce,’ muttered Patrick.
Grigs glared at him. ‘I heard that.’ With a sniff he turned around. ‘I suppose if no-one else is doing it, someone has to watch the clock.’ He settled down in front of it.
Patrick put his head in his paws.
‘Abigail?’ said Preston, ‘what do you want to do in the new year?’
With a sniff, Abigail thought hard. There was so much she wanted to do. She wanted to drive her red furrari, she wanted to see the queen again, she wanted to go on a holiday, she wanted to finish getting the furniture for their house, she wanted more cake… How could she decide? ‘I think…’ she said, ‘I think I’d like to do something new each week.’
‘That could be trouble,’ muttered Patrick, he glanced over the tigers ears at the clock. ‘Come on its nearly midnight, let’s all climb up and watch the fireworks out of the window. Grigs are you coming?’
‘Make up your mind,’ grumbled the tiger, ‘watch the clock you said, now its watch the fireworks.’
Both polars sighed.
Sitting on the windowsill they peered up into the sky. Abigail wondered what a firework was. Patrick looked at the clock again, ‘just a minute or so, oh I forgot.’ Jumping down he scampered down the hall and opened the front door a crack, then scampering back he opened the back door. ‘Letting the old year out and the new year in.’
Abigail swallowed hard. She really didn’t want the old year to go, not out of the house, she really liked it. ‘Couldn’t we.. couldn’t we keep both?’ she said.
Patrick shook his head. ‘Don’t worry Abigail, the year never really goes, no one can take away your memories, all the good things you’ve done.’
Letting out her breath Abigail nodded happily, there were so many nice things.
Preston pointed at the clock, ‘midnight! Happy new year!’
There was a whoosh and a bang and they all looked up as a stream of sparkly lights shot across the sky.
‘Fireworks!’ said Patrick, clapping his paws together. ‘Happy new year.’
Watching the lights catapult above them Abigail stood up on the tips of her paws. ‘Happy new year!’