Grandad Terry crawls out from underneath the bunk-beds. ‘It’s no good, love,’ he says, taking a scrunched up handkerchief from his trouser pocket and wiping the sweat off his forehead. ‘I can’t find the damn thing anywhere.’ His bones crack as he gets to his feet. ‘You’ll just have to tell them.’
‘I can’t,’ I say. ‘They’ll be devastated.’
‘I know, love. But they’ll have to find out some time. We can’t keep on pretending.’
‘Maybe I can say he’s gone on holiday?’ I say, rubbing at my eyes and pretending I’m not about to cry.
‘Hmm,’ he says. ‘That might work. For a little while anyway.’
‘Just until we can go to the pet shop…’
He nods. He doesn’t know I’ve already phoned the pet shop. They’ve only got pure white ones in. Morris is ginger with one white ear. They’re phoning round for me, trying to find one.
‘Can’t you just tell them the truth?’
‘No!’ I shake my head, fast. ‘They’ll say it’s my fault.’
‘But it is your fault!’ Grandad Terry says, loud. Making me jump. Then he smiles and says: ‘Sorry, love. You know it’s not your fault.’
It is my fault though. He was sleeping when mum went out. ‘Look after the twins,’ she’d said, adding: ‘and your grandad,’ as she walked out the door, blowing me a kiss as she went. She looked sad. Grandad Terry’s told the twins she’s gone on holiday. I’ll just tell them Morris has gone to join her and they’ll both be back soon.
‘When’s mum coming back?’ I ask, feeling more tears getting ready to escape, trying hard to suck them back in.
Grandad Terry just shakes his head. He looks sad now too. ‘I don’t know, love,’ he says. ‘I just don’t know.’
[to be continued???]