Penelope went sadly up the stairs. She had her bath and then changed into a pair of blue and white pyjamas. Putting her feet into her blue slippers and her arms through the sleeves of a matching dressing gown, she tied the ends together. She sat down on her bed and crossed her legs and arms, staring up at the ceiling.
Suddenly there was a purring from outside the door and Minnie crept in. Minnie wasn't supposed to sleep on anyone's bed but for once Penny didn't care. She coaxed Minnie towards her. The cat jumped onto the end of the bed and curled up. Penny reached out and stroked its fur. She loved animals. They were so non judgemental, never argued with you, was always there for you no matter what. There was something therapeutic in stroking Minnie and it calmed Penelope a little.
Penelope heard her mom coming up the stairs and quickly got off the bed. She turned the light off and pulled the door softly too so that her mom should not see Minnie.
She faked a yawn.
"Mom I think I'll go to sleep now. I'm tired."
Penny went into her room but left the door ajar. Turning on the light again briefly, she took off her dressing gown and hung it on a hook behind the door. Minnie got off the bed and Penny opened her duvet and crept in. Minnie curled up on the rug in front of the bed. Penny switched off the main light and smuggled down. She waited.
Half an hour later, she heard her mother go to her room. Penelope lay as still as she could, waiting.
When another half hour had elapsed, she judged it safe. She got out of bed, careful not to tread on Minnie. Putting on her dressing gown once more, she carried her slippers as she trod softly down the stairs, hoping against hope they wouldn't creak. They didn't. Once at the bottom of the stairs, she put her slippers on and crept to the kitchen.
The box was there with the lid on. Penelope reached out carefully and lifted the lid gingerly, hoping against hope it wasn't empty.
Inside was a lovely hamster.