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«Baby-Sitters Club 025», Ann Martin

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BSC025 - Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger - Martin, Ann M.

Chapter 1.

"I just don't understand," Dawn Schafer said to me as we slowed down for a stop sign. "How can someone as small as Tigger knock his toys behind the refrigerator, so that you can't even get to them?" I shrugged. Then I checked the street. The coast was clear, so we pedaled across the intersection. "He just does, that's all," I said. "And thank you for calling Tigger a someone instead of a something." Dawn smiled. "I still don't get it, though." "All I know," I said, "is that his toys roll into that space between the wall and the side of the fridge, where I ought to be able to get them out. You know where I mean?" (Dawn nodded.) "Well, they roll in there and I never see them again." "Sort of a black hole for cat toys," said Dawn.

I giggled. "There's nothing underneath the fridge. I looked there with a flashlight. That leaves in back of the fridge. And I can't get there." "Which is why we're riding our bikes all the way downtown just to buy cat toys," said Dawn.

"Exactly," I replied.

In case you can't tell, Dawn Schafer is my friend. (I'm Mary Anne Spier.) Dawn is one of my best friends, in fact. And Tigger is my kitten. My one and only. He's a gray tiger cat with very pretty stripes. If I do say so, he's smart. Smart and pretty. And he can catch flies, which is difficult. I mean, when you only have paws.

Dawn and I were on our way to downtown Stoneybrook, Connecticut, to stock up on cat toys for Tigger, since he keeps losing them behind the fridge. His favorites are those plastic balls with a little bell inside. They come three in a pack, and he loses about three a week, so cat toys can be expensive to me. Thank goodness I earn lots of money baby-sitting.

Dawn and I stopped at a traffic light. We had reached Stoneybrook's main street (which is about as small as Stoneybrook is), and were only three blocks from the pet store.

"Hey, what did your dad say about the date last night?" asked Dawn.

We laughed. Dawn's mom and my dad go out sometimes. We really wish they would get married, but we can't help laughing. It's just so weird to see your own parents dating. Especially dating each other. They go out with other people, too, but when Dawn's mom has a date with my dad, she puts on all this makeup and checks her clothes twenty times and then asks Dawn to check her clothes again. And my dad puts on after-shave that smells like the dentist's office and gets nervous and can barely speak to me. Then they go somewhere together. What a pair.

By the way, the reason they can date is Dawn's parents are divorced and my mom died ages ago. I really don't even remember her.

"I think my dad had fun when they went out," I told Dawn. "What about your mom?" "Same," she replied. Then she announced, "Pet store," and stopped her bike. "Hey, I just thought of something." Dawn was grinning.

"What?" I asked.

"Well," she replied, "there's not much space behind your refrigerator, right?" "Right." We were chaining our bikes to a lamppost.

"Probably just enough space for the width of one toy, right?" "Right." "So Tigger's toys are probably behind the fridge in a line. And when the line reaches the wall, there won't be room for any more toys, right?" "Right," I replied as we entered the store.

"And then Tigger's toys can't get lost and you won't have to keep buying new ones." "Yeah!" Honestly, Dawn is so logical.

I headed for the cat toy department and picked up two packages of Tigger's toys. In one package, the balls were half pink and half green. In the other, they were half orange and half yellow. I like to give Tigger a little variety in his toys. Then I began looking over the cat treats. Maybe I should buy some fancy food for Tigger.

I was counting my money when Dawn tapped me on the arm. "We better go," she said. "Club meeting in forty-five minutes." "Okay. Just let me buy these." I held up the toys.

I stood in line at the counter, thinking about the Baby-sitters Club. My closest friends are all in the club: Kristy Thomas (she's my other best friend), Claudia Kishi, Jessi Ramsey, Mallory Pike, Dawn, and Logan Bruno (an associate member, who doesn't usually attend club meetings. I'll explain that later.) Logan is basically my boyfriend, and he is incredible in every way. He's incredible-looking and incredibly nice and incredibly thoughtful and, well, incredibly incredible.

(There is also one person who's in the club who is not a close friend, and one person who is a close friend who's not really in the club anymore. I'll tell you about them later.) The Baby-sitters Club is more a business than a club. My friends and I sit for families in our neighborhoods. We get a lot of jobs and earn a lot of money. And I spend a lot of my money right here in the pet store. The club was started by Kristy Thomas, our president. (I'm the secretary, by the way.) In some ways, Kristy is like me, but in more ways, she's my exact opposite. I think that's why she was my very first best friend. That and the fact that we lived next door to each other from the time we were born. Here are the things that are the same about us: We're small for our age and have brown hair and brown eyes. Here are the ways in which we're different: I'm shy and sort of held in; Kristy is outgoing and can be a loudmouth. I'm beginning to take an interest in what I wear; Kristy couldn't care less. She always wears jeans, a turtleneck, a sweater, and running shoes. (Well, not in the summer, of course, but you know what I mean.) Kristy has more ideas than anyone I know. She's always thinking of things to do, or finding ways to solve problems. You can almost see her brain at work. Lately, Kristy's life hasn't been too easy, though. It hasn't been bad, just not easy. For the longest time, she lived with her mom, her three brothers, and her collie, Louie, right next door to me. (Her parents had gotten a divorce.) Then her mom met this millionaire, Watson Brewer, and the next thing I knew, they'd decided to get married. After the wedding, Kristy's family moved across town into Watson's mansion. There was more room in the mansion, of course, but Kristy was upset. She had left her old neighborhood and her friends behind. And then Louie the collie died, which was terribly sad. On the other hand, Kristy gained a new little stepbrother and stepsister, whom she loves very much, and her family had gotten an adorable puppy. . . . And then they adopted a two-year-old girl! Kristy's life is never dull.

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