Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret
Chapter One Pajama Plans
“Which pajamas should I bring: the rainbow pair or the pony pair?” I asked, peering into the top drawer of my dresser.
My dog, Banana, tipped her head to one side as she considered the question.
“The rainbow ones are softer, but the pony ones are newer,” I said. I grabbed both pairs and held them out for inspection. Banana sniffed each one,
then nudged my left hand with her snout.
I grinned. “Rainbows it is.” I returned the ponies to their drawer and tucked the rainbow pajamas into my backpack, on top of the toothbrush, hairbrush, underwear, socks, shirt, leggings, glow-in-the-dark clawed dragon-feet slippers, and sparkly nail polish that I had already packed for the sleepover. I went to my closet and stood on tiptoe to pull my sleeping bag off its high shelf, and as I turned back around with it, I heard a familiar squeak. I looked down and saw Banana holding her favorite toy, a yellow plastic bunny, in her mouth. She wagged her tail hopefully, and bit down to make it squeak again.
I bent to take it from her, and tossed it across the room. It landed in the doggy basket right next to my bed, where Banana always sleeps. She
bounded over to retrieve it and carried it back to me proudly. She dropped it at my feet and looked up at me, hoping I would throw it for her again.
I knew this game: Banana wanted to distract me from packing. I hesitated, and she nosed at the toy, pushing it toward me.
I gave in. “I can’t play all day,” I warned her as I flicked the bunny high into the air. “Isabel’s expecting us to come over soon.”
Banana jumped to catch the toy before it could fall to the ground, and carried it over to my open backpack. She dropped the bunny inside. I laughed, but I also felt a twinge of guilt as I took it back out. “I’m sorry,” I told her. “By ‘us,’ I meant Sadie and me. I can’t bring you to the sleepover. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t invited.”
We had discussed this already. Isabel’s giant
orange tabby cat, Mewsic, doesn’t get along well with other animals, so it wouldn’t be fair to bring Banana into Mewsic’s home. I knew Banana understood that I would include her in the sleepover if I could, but that didn’t stop her ears from drooping with disappointment.
I squeezed the yellow bunny, hoping its squeaks would cheer her up, and tossed it as hard as I could. Banana watched as the bunny sailed over her head and landed on the other side of the room, but she didn’t even try to chase it.
“Aw, I’m going to miss you too,” I said. I dropped to my knees and nuzzled my face against her soft fur. “But it’s only for one night. I’ll be
back tomorrow morning with lots of stories to tell.”
Banana’s ears perked back up. She loves a good story.
“Knock knock,” a voice said. Banana and I looked up to see Mom standing in the open doorway to my room. She was wearing the oversize sweatshirt my brother, Chuck, and I had given her for her last birthday. It was supersoft and had big pockets where she could put her hands if they got cold. Mom’s fingers were always freezing. “You all packed for the sleepover?” she asked. I nodded. “Good. You’ve got just enough time for a quick lunch before Sadie’s dad picks you up. Come on downstairs. Dad’s making grilled cheese.”
“Cheese!” I cheered, and Banana twirled in a
circle, chasing her own tail with excitement. She loves cheese almost as much as she loves stories.
Banana led the way out of my room, and I raced down the stairs after her. We both knew I would sneak her a small bite of cheese if I got the chance. I wasn’t really supposed to feed her at the table, of course, but Mom and Dad didn’t have to know.
It would be our little secret.