Sometimes it's hard to keep a secret; especially when that secret runs around a lot.  Alexandra, my Greek cousin, came to stay with us this summer.  We spent most afternoons in the park in front of my house. We were playing a version of rugby invented by Alexandra and when I threw the ball to her it landed in the bushes closest to the road.  Alexandra ran to get the ball and started rummaging around in the hedge when all of a sudden she let out a massive gasp..."Pete come over here, quick," she shouted. 

"What is it?" I shouted back, thinking that she was probably just messing around. She started waving at me frantically to come over with one hand whilst she kept the other under the bush.

As I approached I saw she had something brown cupped in her hands. "Look" she said, and as I came closer I could see sticking out above her fingers fine white whiskers, two soft brown ears and two bright yellow eyes. "Miaouw" the little thing squeaked. "A kitten," I said.

"Isn't she lovely?" Alexandra said as she stroked its head and the little creature began to purr very gently.

"She is but we've got to put her back," I said "her mum will be here somewhere." So we began to look, through the hedges, and in all the hidden, shady parts of the park to see if we could find the mother cat. When the sun started to go down we realised how late it was but we still had not found the family. "Look, let's just take her home," said Alexandra.

"We can't take her home!  Where will we keep her?  The dog will go bananas with a kitten in the house, let alone my mum.  Oh no, mum will go nuts!  We just can't do it. We have to leave her here." I replied. 

"Here! With no food or water in the cold?  There's no way. I know, let's hide her in your dad's shed; it's warm, we can bring her food." Alex pleaded.

 So, that is how we ended up keeping a brown, furry, four legged secret in my dad's shed. We took her back and whilst I distracted my mum in the kitchen, Alexandra took a soft jumper, water and a can of dog food out to the shed and "Rosie" as we called her, settled in for her first night.

The next morning we could not get to the shed quick enough. "Rosie! My little sweetheart!" Alexandra said excitedly as we pulled back the shed door and saw two yellow eyes staring at us from between two flower pots. "She hasn't touched the dog food, look!" Alexandra said worriedly. "I know sweetheart, you aren't a dog, we'll have to get you some proper food."

"You've got a big appetite today Alex!" my dad said as he cut a third serving of chicken for Alexandra. She had put her napkin on her knee and was collecting lunch for Rosie under the table. 

"Mmm, it must be all that running around outside." Alex replied smiling. Whilst my parents cleared up, we snuck out into the garden and into the shed. Rosie gobbled up the tiny bits of chicken, purring and squeaking with delight as she ate.

"What are you two doing in my shed?" my dad's voice came from behind. I quickly turned my chair around as Alexandra jumped behind me to hide Rosie on the shelf.

"Oh just helping you tidy up!" Alexandra smiled sweetly at my dad.

"Hmm, really, that is very nice. What are you tidying?" a squeak popped out from behind Alexandra and she coughed very quickly. "What was that?" my dad asked suspiciously.

"Just a little cough, oh my throat hurts today," Alexandra said. 

"Ok, well, if you two really want to help, then see if you can tidy that lower shelf and put these pots on there. And I am going to bring you some bags so you can throw the plastic pots out and tidy up. Thanks kids," he added and walked off.

"Phew!" said Alex, "that was a close shave."

But just as dad left, mum popped her head around the shed door!  Alexandra quickly hid Rosie behind her back.  As mum looked around I crossed my fingers behind my back and smiled until my face was very tight hoping she would go away quickly. "Is that chicken in that bowl? And what is my jumper doing in that plant pot?"

"Meep, miaouw" Rosie squeaked. "Oh no, what have you got here?" my mum said.  And that was that. Little brown Rosie was found and the secret was out.

Strangely, my parents were very calm and nice about it. They bought cat food for Rosie, my dad made a bed of towels in an old wooden box for the kitten and they sat us down in the living room.  "We aren't angry about the kitten," my dad said, "in fact you were both very caring, looking after the little kitten but you know she just can't stay here.  I don't think we'll find her mum now but we will have to give her to the cat shelter."

"But she's ours!" Alexandra protested, as two tears started to curl down her face.

"Darling Alexandra," my mum said as she held her close, "you can't take her back to Greece and if we give her to the RSPCA they will find a lovely, warm, new home for her. I tell you what, we'll all go to the shelter together and you'll see for yourself how kind and good the people there are with the animals they find. That's where we got the dog from and you know how much we all love him, now just imagine the lovely family Rosie could go to."

So we drove to the shelter, and saw all the wonderful cats and dogs there and met a very funny, tall man called Bob who collects the cats and animals in distress that people find. "Oh this one sure is a character," he said about Rosie, "we'll definitely find this little lady a nice new home." 

"I think you will too," said Alexandra as a smile spread across her face.