Awake and Dreaming

Free Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson

Book: Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kit Pearson
Tags: Fantasy, Childrens, Young Adult
ears, the way she used to with Calico Cat.
    Then she had to pee. She went out of the bedroom into a square hall and found the bathroom off it. It was as untidy as the girls’ room, with damp towels in a heap on the floor and small pieces of bright plastic—Lego, a frog, boats—strewn in the bathtub and sink.
    After Theo came out, she stood gloating for a few seconds in the middle of the hall. If she peed in a dream she’d wake up in a wet bed. But she was still here!
    She glanced into the other open doors. One room was a grown-up’s containing a wide, neatly made bed. The other room smelled like dirty socks. It was littered with little boys’ clothes and toys and contained only one narrow bed. Ben must sleep here; she wondered where John’s room was.
    The house was very quiet. Some faint car noises came from outside and a gurgling sound came from below.Theo hesitated at the top of the stairs, staring at the blurry view beyond the window: a holly hedge, layers of treetops and a leaden sky. Her stomach roared with hunger, but she felt too shy to talk to the children’s mother alone. What was her name? Laura …
    Then Theo’s ecstasy faded as quickly as it had come. She was sure Laura would tell Theo she didn’t really belong here. It was silly to think that her wish had come true. There was probably a reason she was in this house. Rae might have got sick on the ferry and Theo had come here to stay for a few days. Or maybe Rae—or Sharon—gave her permission to visit. But why couldn’t she remember?
    Finally she worked up enough nerve to go down the stairs. They led into another hall. On one side was a living-room, on the other a den lined with books. Theo kept following the hall to a large kitchen with a smaller room at the far end of it. Through the open door she could see a woman sitting at a table, her back to Theo.
    A big black dog leapt up from the woman’s feet and galumphed over to Theo. It jumped up and slathered her face with its tongue, its thrashing tail hitting the wall. Theo backed away; she had always avoided dogs.
    â€œDown, Bingo! Come here!” Laura hurried over and took the dog by its collar. “You’re awake, Theo! I hope you don’t mind dogs. He’s very gentle—he’s just kissing you. Bed, Bingo!” The dog went over to a large round cushion in the corner of the kitchen; but he kept his eyes hopefully on Theo.
    Theo wiped her face. A kiss? It was more like a wash.
    â€œDid you have a good sleep?” asked Laura. “Do you feel better?”
    Theo nodded with confusion. Had she been sick?
    â€œYou must be starving—it’s almost eleven! Come and sit down and I’ll get you some breakfast. Would you like cereal? Toast?”
    Theo sat at a scratched wooden table and gulped down a bowl of puffed rice. Then she ate two pieces of toast and peanut butter and an orange cut into sections. She sipped at a mug of cocoa, her stomach finally satisfied.
    Laura didn’t seem to mind that Theo didn’t speak. Her movements were precise and orderly as she buttered toast and poured cocoa into the mug. Her smooth dark hair met in points below her narrow chin; her long fingers were stained yellow and red.
    â€œFeel better?” She sat down beside Theo with a mug of coffee. “We had a hard time getting the others off to school! Lisbeth wanted you to go with them, but you’re supposed to take it easy. Did you know you fainted? Luckily there was a doctor on the ferry. You weren’t out for very long, but as soon as you came to, you went right to sleep. You slept all the way back to the city in the car. We had to carry you up to bed. Do you remember fainting?”
    Theo shook her head. Why had she been brought to this house? Where was Rae? She waited for Laura to tell her, but Laura just sat there calmly, smiling at Theo.
    Theo tried to think of something to say besides asking where her mother was.

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