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Chapter 4

I stayed at Josephine’s house for lunch after calling my mom to tell her. A while later, my stomach satisfied with Ms. Chung’s delicious cooking, I rode my bike home so I could work with Kali before dinner.

The tabby cat let me pick her up gently now, but she still didn’t love me as much as Josephine. What did Josephine have that I didn’t? I didn’t come up with anything special. I knew we were different, but not in a way that a cat could criticize on.

I gave Kali as much love as I could in the next few days. On Friday I could definitely spot some progress. She looked to me for protection and saw me as the boss. Now all I had to do was make her be like this to other people, too. Especially Ms. Garner. I called April and asked her if she would mind coming over to test if Kali’s sudden sweetness was real or fake.

April was at my door in five minutes. I warmly welcomed her and showed her to the porch. I picked up Kali so that April could pet her.

‘I don’t want you bashed up like I was on Tuesday.’ I said.

April did everything carefully and perfectly. I wondered how she could understand cats so well when she’s an amazing horse gentler. She stroked Kali at an arm’s length away, until it was obvious that Kali showed no anger or fright. The two got along pretty well. I also had Mom meet Kali up close, which went just as well.

I was almost sure Kali was ready to go home. She really was “a sweet kitty at heart”, as Ms. Garner had said.

On Saturday, I spent some time with Kali, some time with Cashew, some time with my own cats, and some time with my book. I was reading A Summer of Sundays, by Lindsay Eland. I felt just the opposite as Sunday in the beginning of the book; she was being ignored and left out, while I was so lucky to have friends and family standing around me.

Saturday morning flew by, as I’d hoped. After lunch, I packed my sleepover bag, quickly said goodbye to Mom and my younger sister, Caroline, and went out the door.

As I approached April’s barn, I saw she’d set it all up for the slumber party.

April’s barn is by far the coolest in town. It has Star’s stall, a feed room, and even a bathroom because it’s not very close to the house. April’s dad built it for her when she got Star. And the best part of all, is that she has her own special room in it. The room is almost as big as the rest of the barn put together, so we have sleepovers here a lot.

I think April spends a lot of time in that room. I know it’s a very special place to her, and I’m glad she shares some of it with us.

I dumped my stuff in April’s room. We played a few card games, then we ate pizza for dinner, had ice-cream for dessert, and went to bed. Well, bed; we sort of stayed up till 12 o’clock and we even watched a movie after that. The boys, Robin and Cooper, had planned to be sleeping in the little hallway in front of Star’s stall, rather than the shed that stood a little way further off. They said they wanted to know if Star snores.

Summer shook her head. ‘Boys!’ she exclaimed in a pretended lady-like manner.

After we’d finally told each other that we’d go to bed and actually try to sleep, we all flopped down in our sleeping bags with our arms behind our heads. I stared into the darkness. We could hear the boys whispering excitedly.

‘Quiet down, noisies!’ Summer yelled. She’s always sort of all wild, crazy and fun like a dog. Maybe that’s why she loves dogs so much. Summer actually likes all the animals in the world, but dogs are drawn to her like a magnet.

The boys stopped whispering but still giggled every three seconds. The room always felt a lot more peaceful at bedtime, because the boys slept in the hallway, shed, or in the feed room.

After half an hour, we heard a sound like a chainsaw. Summer, Josephine, April and I looked at each other and started giggling our heads off. We tiptoed into the hallway and saw: two boys snoring, and Star looking very surprised and confused at them. We were about to go back to bed, until Summer had another one of her ideas. She took out her phone and took a video of the boys and Star. I knew she’d be torturing the boys with that in the future.

‘Poor Star,’ I whispered. The girls giggled even more.

Then we tried and tried to go to sleep, but I couldn’t.

It was quiet in the girl’s room for some time. Just when I was about to doze off, Summer talked again.

‘Lo and behold! The lullaby sound of Robin and Cooper,’ she whispered.

All of us girls dissolved into helpless laughter. We muffled it by stuffing our pillows in each other’s faces. I thought I would burst, even though the way we were laughing was much funnier than the thing that made us laugh.

Then I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew, was Summer holding her phone next to my ear, and a snoring sound leaving my ears ringing.

‘Summer!’ I yelled, kicking off my blanket. ‘You rascal!’

Summer just laughed at my response. ‘Come on, let’s wake up the boys!’ she called. Summer gave Robin and Cooper the same treatment, and they woke up with a start.

‘What’s that sound?’ Cooper asked, still sleepy.

‘What do you think?’ said Josephine. Her smile was hidden behind her hand.

‘Ooh! I know what it is. It’s Star snoring!’

‘Nope,’ said Summer. ‘It’s you guys. You both were snoring so loud it could probably wake up a hippopotamus.’

The boys were still convinced it was Star, until Summer showed them the video…

Breakfast was toast and pancakes. I filled myself with pancakes drizzled over by maple syrup. Delicious.

As I rode my bike home, my thoughts went back to Kali and I realized I hadn’t thought of the cat all day. I hoped she was doing well. And that Mom had remembered to feed her. I didn’t doubt Mom though.

When I came home that day, Mom ran up to me, eyes wild. My heart skipped a beat, and traumatizing pictures of Caroline and close relatives flashed around in my mind. Did something happen?

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