Chapter 38

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*Elizabeth's P.O.V*

When my eyes open, it's because there's the sound of talking. I squirm to sit up, rubbing my eyes slightly. I rest my back against the head of the bed as a yawn forces its way out of my mouth. I rub my eyes, blinking for a moment as I look around for Mommy. I pout when I see that she has her back to me, not looking in my direction as she speaks with someone at the door.

I swing my feet off the bed, shivering at how cold the floor feels. I glance around, noticing mommy's heels which I carefully slip on. Her shoes are a little big for me but I just have to walk extra carefully, especially because she likes to wear 4 inch heels. I manage to get almost to her, stumbling at the last second and bumping into her. She turns around quickly and gives me a once over, grabbing my arm right before I fall backwards.

"Elizabeth, take my heels off please," Mommy instructs, a small frown on her lips. I don't like when she frowns at me like that so I carefully slip her heels off, feeling short now that I'm not wearing them.

"Sorry. Wanted to surprise you," I whisper, earning a small smile from her as she kisses my cheek.

"I know. I just don't want you to fall and hurt yourself. I would hate for you to injure yourself. That would be absolutely terrible," Mommy states, her thumb stroking my cheek slightly. She turns back around, giving her attention to the person she was talking to and I use the chance to peek around her. I've never seen the woman before but I assume that she must be the owner of the place we were staying at because of her attire.

"Sweetheart, this is Ms. O'Dell," Mommy introduces, making me cringe since I hadn't thought she knew that I was trying to peek to stare at the woman. She was a taller woman, wearing a pair of slacks and a coat that's sleeves were pushed up. What really caught my attention was the little creature sitting on her shoulder. My eyes widened as I stare at it, seeing that it was wearing a little knitted sweater.

"I see Shrimp has caught your attention," Ms. O'Dell says, making me nod my head. That was the name of the thing? Shrimp was a type of food, I knew that much, but there was no way that the thing on her shoulder was a shrimp. Don't shrimp live in water?

"Lizzie, can you say hi?" Mommy asks, grabbing my hand and gently tugging me so that I'm standing in front of her and not hiding anymore.

"Hi," I say shyly, a small smile on my lips as I wave slightly. I tear my eyes off the creature, looking Ms. O'Dell in the eyes. It takes me a moment to do that, having just wanted to stare at Shrimp the whole time.

"What kind of animal is Shrimp? Is Shrimp a boy or a girl?" I ask curiously, deciding to abandon my shyness to find out more about the creature.

"Shrimp is a boy, he's a male chipmunk and always the center of attention. He's just a little diva like that," Ms. O'Dell says, crouching down slightly as she smiles lightly.

"Would you like to hold him?" Ms. O'Dell asks after a moment, making me look at Mommy for permission. I could have just said yes but I had a feeling that mommy would want me to ask permission in this instance.

"It's yours and Ms. O'dell's decision baby, but thank you for seeking my permission first," Mommy smiles, making me realize that it had been the right decision to ask since she had praised me. Her praise was worth asking for permission before doing anything.

"Yes please," I answer Ms. O'Dell's question and step forward. I don't care that I'm in my nightgown, just happy that I get to hold Shrimp. I hold my hands out, surprised when Ms. O'Dell pushes my hands back to my chest before she carefully grabs Shrimp and puts him in my hands, preventing him from just jumping into them.

He's very soft and furry, his little body trembling as he stands in my hands, making me forget all about how he got there. All I care about is that he is here now. Carefully and very gently, I rub his little head with my thumbs and watch him flinch away until he realizes what I am doing. Once he does realize, I smile when he stops shaking and starts moving around until I rub the exact spot he wants.

"He seems to like you. Usually he takes a little encouragement before he warms up to strangers. It's rare for him to instantly like you so kudos... sorry, Lizzie, was it? Is that short for something?" She asks but I'm too busy taking care of my new friend to care about her!

"Elizabeth... It's short for Elizabeth... and yeah, she has a special way with animals that drives me and the... help, especially crazy." Mommy answers for me.

"Tried to turn your house into a rescue center?" Ms. O'Dell asks with a chuckle, making me give a frustrated huff. I wasn't that bad! At most I would invite one or two animals at a time!

"You have no idea..." Mommy says, totally not defending me like she should have!

"Well, since I had them prepared for you anyway, would you like to feed him these nuts?" Ms. O'Dell asks, holding out some nuts. Eagerly, I take them and almost knock them to the floor. Embarrassed, I collect them more carefully and head for a table to put shrimp down and feed him!

"And what do you say after taking something without asking first, young lady?" Mommy lectures sternly after I turn and try to leave.

"Sorry... thank you for the nuts..." I say quietly after turning back to look at Ms. O'Dell.

"It was my pleasure, child. Now go feed him quickly or he might just steal the food right from your palm!" Ms. O'Dell warns, making me go wide eyed and clutch the nuts tightly in my palms to protect them! When I see Ms. O'Dell wink at mommy and them both start chuckling, I realize she played a trick on me and puff my cheeks out at them!

"Awh!! Are you trying to be mommy's little chipmunk? Cause you are doing an amazing job, chipmunk!" Mommy teases me as she pinches my cheek. Slapping her hand away, I glare at her and she just ignores me, turning to talk to Ms. O'Dell again. Free now, I eagerly go feed Shrimp and ignore their conversation.

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