I, ten year old Alana Kin shrugged my backpack further up my shoulders. My wavy hair swayed in a pony tail. I kicked at the little white pebbles on the dirt path.
I was thinking. Just thinking mind you. I wanted company.
So, when I arrived home, I consulted Mom and Dad about it. This is what happened.
"You're telling me, you want a cat?" That was Mom, stirring the beef stew on the stove.
"Well, yeah. A kitten." I shuffled my feet. Please say yes!!! I thought. "So, can I have one?"
My dad looked at me. He pushed his glasses up his nose and set his newspaper down. "Sure." My face lit up. "But-" Dad always had "buts". He grabbed a piece of cake. "But-but with your own money."
I sighed. How was I gonna do that? No one in the neighborhood needed help, at least no one I knew. And no one who could pay well.
"Alright." I agreed.
"Why do want a cat anyway sweetheart?" Mom asked.
"Cause, Mom…" My Mom waited for a full reply. "Because I want company. You know, someone to welcome me when I get home from school. And someone to play with."
Mom nodded understandingly. She knew I always longed for a playmate, since all my siblings were grown up and off working. "You have your father and I to welcome you!"
I smiled. "Thanks Mom, but I mean someone to welcome me with a lick or with a purring sound. Someone I can play with!" I repeated.
Mom and Dad always wanted their children to work hard for what they wanted, so I guess I have to too. "Can I head out to the pet store after lunch Dad? I'll see how much for a kitty." I asked.
I got my permission, so after the dishes were cleared away, and the kitchen spotless, I grabbed my piggy bank, and transferred coins and dollars into my wallet.
Dennis was instructed to accompany me.
"I'll wait out here Alana." He said when we arrived.
I stepped into the shop. The first thing that caught my eye was a small kitten, about a few months old, striped grey and white. It was so cute! That was the one I wanted. I hurried out to the counter, wallet in hand.
"Excuse me sir, how much for that grey and white kitten?" I asked, pointing.
"She's a beauty ain't she? She's $60 bucks." He smiled and held out his hand.
"I don't have enough…" My face fell.
"Well, young lady, I'll tell you what, I'll reserve er' fer you." He offered.
Dennis was there, waiting for me. "I don't have enough money."
We walked home in quietness. "I have a bit of money." Dennis offered. "I have let's see. Uhm…$15 bucks. The rest is for camp next week. He handed the money to me.
"Really? Thanks Dennis!" I cried. I always knew he had a heart.
"Well well, hello there, Dennis and Alana!" It was old Mr. Corinoth, bent over his lawn mower.
"Hi Mr. Corinoth!" I called, waving. Then I thought of something. I ran up to him. "Would you like help with your lawn?"
The old man quickly agreed. "I'll pay ye' $5 an hour. It's all I got. I wish it was more."
Well, at least it was a job. I was to come after school hours. Mr. Corinoth had a very big lawn, so if I did three hours a day, I'd get $15 dollars. That was enough, with some to spare, so I agreed to do 1-2 hours a day. Now I needed to get my parents permission, and I got it.
Days passed, and everyday after school I rushed to do the lawn, and everyday, I got closer and closer to getting that kitten. Finally, I counted my money, to find I had earned $80 dollars!
I informed Mom and Dad, and together, Dennis and I walked to the store.
Proudly, I held out the money to the shop owner.
"Her brother came in yesterday. They absolutely love each other. If you want to get her, I'd advice to get both kittens, little lady. Your choice!" The shop owner said, resting his elbow on the counter.
I gazed at the two kittens playing happily together. I nodded. I didn't want them separated. I sighed. "Ok."
"He's another $60 bucks. All together, $120.
How was I gonna get the money? Mr. Corinoth's lawn was done, and I was absolutely sure there was no one who need help. And I was right. Until the next day at school. My teacher made an assignment to do at home. We had to write an essay about a famous person, such as Alexander Graham Bell. It had to have 2,000 words or more. The more the better, the more words, the more points.
I started on my way home, when one of the grade 6 girls (and one with the most poorest grades) stopped me.
I spun around. "Hey kid, I need your help." Jamie looked at me.
"Yeah?" I shook her hand of my shoulder.
"I know your good at writing. I'll pay you $10 bucks to write an ebit my whole essay. Make it about Alexander-whatever." She bribed me.
"Really?" She nodded desperately. "Ok. Make it $20, and you've got a deal." I held out my hand to shake.
"For the WHOLE 2,050 WORD ESSAY!" I returned the bribe.
"Ok." She agreed reluctantly.
There. In a week I would get some of the money I needed, but my next problem, was how to get the rest.
As I set of home, I kept wondering bout the deal I had made. Was what I did wrong? Thoughts raced in my head.
I shook them away and started the essay when I got home. I decided to spend 1 hour on Jamie's, and 1 on mine, alternately.
The day came and I proudly read my essay to the whole class.
"That was a very good essay, Alana!" Miss Prudence complimented. "Jamie Woodard!" She called the next person up.
Jamie made a face at me that said, "It better be good!"
"Started: January 10, 2001…" She began.
"Jamie, I'd like to see you after school." Miss Prudence said after the essay was read.
After school in the teacher's office:
"Jamie, may I see your paper please?" Jamie handed the paper over to her. "Where were you on the 10th?
"Well, I was uh- at home writing this, of course!" Jamie squirmed in her seat.
"Oh really? I thought you said you were going to be gone the whole day after school, and the next day?
"Jamie, will you please tell me what's going on here?" Miss Prudence asked, setting the paper on her desk.
"I-it was just a change of plans." Jamie stuttered.
Miss Prudence ignored that. "Did you write this essay?"
"I want an answer now. Where were you on that day?
"At grandmother's." Jamie mumbled.
"So you didn't write this?
Jamie shook her head. "it was Alana Kin! Uhm- she wanted me to get into trouble, so she wrote it for me, and If I didn't let her, she'd uh- tell you that I cheated or something."
Miss Prudence sighed. She opened the window and called to me. I was just about to leave, but I heard her, so I ran to her office.
"Yes?" I asked.
The teacher repeated what Jamie had told her.
My mouth fell open. "I wrote it for her, but she said she'd pay me for it! She asked me to do it!" Whoops! I clamped my hand over my mouth.
I was in serious trouble.
I apologized to her, and gave the money back to Jamie. And Jamie had to write another essay to enter.
At home, I told Mom and Dad what had happened, and how I cheated. I knew I didn't deserve the kittens.
To my surprise, they hugged me tight.
"Tell you what." Dad had a twinkle in his eyes. "Your Mom and I will pay for the boy kitten. How's that?" I gasped. "You've already worked hard for the girl, and we think you deserve it. Meanwhile, we'll think of a punishment. Ok?" Dad hugged me.
"Really Dad? Oh thank you so much! I love you both!" I cried, returning the hugs.
The next day I proudly marched to the store and handed all $120 dollars to the store owner.
That evening at home, I sat hugging my kittens.
The girl, was Alfrie, and the boy, Ginger, because of his yellow fur.
I loved them, and that's what I called, Kitty Love.
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