Chapter 4

JESSIE

"And why would Zuri be throwing a tantrum?" Jessie demanded as Emma and Tony (holding Chloe) stepped into the penthouse from the elevator.

"To be honest, I didn't take her to see the gators," Emma confessed. "And I promised to, and I'm really sorry! But now she's so upset that she denies being Zuri!"

Jessie took who she thought was Zuri from Tony, and set her down on the ground. She then took the kid's hands.

"Zuri. Although you may be upset that Emma didn't take you to see your favorite animal at the fair, you don't need to pretend to be someone else.

"We can talk about it! So, would you mind telling me what's really going on?"

"I'm not Zuri! I'm Chloe!" she began. She then lifted Jessie's hands. "And…you hands are so dry!" Have ou ever thought of using Aloe?"

The nanny was shocked and didn't move. Chloe took that chance to find the stair railings, and navigate her way upstairs.

"Something's definetly wrong!" Jessie cried.

Emma shook her head. "Nothing's wrong with her. You are in desperate need of lotion! I can go run to the store and-" someone, presumably Ravi screamed from the kitchen.

"You take the boys, I'll handle Zuri." Jessie ordered. "…And on the way I'll stop by the bathroom for lotion!" She dragged Tony up the stairs as Emma ran into the kitchen.

Ravi was standing on the countertop and Luke was knelt next to Mrs. Kipling's cage. It was open.

Ravi stopped Ema before she could get any closer.

"What is that hairy beast that is inside Mrs. Kiplilng's cage!?" He wailed.

A medium-sized dog, white with brown and black spots walked out of the cage and looked around.

"A dog?" Emma asked. She thought this was a joke. She bent down to the dog, and let it smell her.

After it did, the dog barked. Emma scratched him behind his ears, and read his name tag.

"Stan." She read. She turned back to Ravi. "Yep. This definetly isn't Mrs. Kipling."

"No wonder the cage was so heavy! It wasn't the ice cream! It was this dog!" Luke thought aloud.

"Hey! I'm not fat!" Stan defended. "I'm Husky." He said in a lower tone.

All the kids screamed and held onto each other.

"OMG! He just talked!" Emma yelled, pointing.

Stan realized his mistake, and barked twice, hopefully misleading them.

"That was the same exact dog in the same exact cage I heard talking to a girl!" Ravi explained. Stan nervously barked twice.

"And that was the same voice I heard talking to Tyler's sister!" Emma added.

"I never talked, okay? I just barked to prove my point!" Stan said.

Emma, Luke, and Ravi all screamed again. They slowly backed away in a huddle as Stan walked towards them.

"That was a mistake!" the dog explained. "Please keep quiet! You guys weren't supposed to know! Just don't tell anyone!"

Bertram busted into the kitchen. The kids screamed for the third time because he had scared them.

"What's with all the screaming!? You guys look like you've seen a talking dog!" he said.

Emma sent a warning look to Luke and Ravi so that they wouldn't spill anything. But apparently Ravi didn't get the message.

"We did!" he said, breaking away from the group. "That dog just talked!"

Emma clamped a hand over her youngest brother's mouth as Bertram looked in the direction he had pointed.

"…Why is there a dog in the kitchen?" he asked.

"Uh…" Emma began. "Ravi…won him at the fair! Did you know they upgraded their prizes?"

Bertram looked half convinced. "And did your brother just say it talked?"

"You know us kids and our imaginations!" Luke said. He, his siblings and Stan slowly began backing out of the kitchen. "Imagination." He repeated, using the Spongebob rainbow hands.

Once they were safe in the living room, Emma slapped Ravi on the back of the head.

"Why did you tell Bertram!?" she demanded.

"I am sorry! But hasn't anyone thought that maybe not having Mrs. Kipling has me stressed out?" Ravi asked.

"Think on the bright side!" Luke explained. "No more taking her on walks, taking her out to use the bathroom, having plenty of space for her to play, and monthly visits to the vet!"

"You just explained everything you have to do with a dog!" Stan pointed out.

"I am not taking care of you!" Ravi said. "If we have been played in the old 'switcheroo', then someone has Mrs. Kipling! Who know what they are planning to do to her!"

"What do you mean?" Luke asked.

"I mean," Ravi began, grabbing his jacket and heading toward the elevator. "I am going out to find my lizard! However long it takes, however far I have to travel, I will find her!"

He pressed the button and the elevator opened. He stepped in and began his voyage to find Mrs. Kipling.

As soon as the door closed, Stan turned to Luke.

"I hate to tell you this as soon as he leaves, but this was no master plan. It was an accident!" he said. "In fact, my family and I are only here on vacation. We go back home tomorrow! To Pascedena. California."

Luke frowned. "That's not good."

"Do you think he'll be back?" Stan asked.

"Yeah, as soon as he realizes he has no idea where he's going." Emma re-assured him.

"But for the time being, we'll take care of you, Stan." Luke offered. "It can't be hard!" he and Emma both wrapped Stan in a hug. All three of them began to think the switcheroo wasn't too bad.

"We don't know how to take care of a dog, so this could be fun!" Emma said.

"Then, I will have to teach you," Stan responded. Seeing a window of opportunity, he jumped onto their expensive sofa, and made himself comfortable. "Rule #1: Always let dogs on the couch."

"Emma!" Jessie growled from the top of the stairs. She was holding a girl under her armpits who didn't have her mask on anymore, so lots of curly red hair was revealed. "This isn't Zuri!"

"I know!" the girl said, shaking her hair. "Although some people say I have the mane of a lion!"

Jessie put her down on the floor. "I didn't say furry, I said Zuri! It's the name of one of the kids I'm a nanny for!"

The girl looked Jessie over up and down. "Don't nannies have magical powers and and umbrella that makes them fly?"

"No, but I can shoot a bulls-eye, and my scissor kick can dislocate somebody's ankle!" Jessie offered.

"Meh. That's not as fun." The red head replies as she started down the stairs.

Stan tapped Luke with his paw, and when Luke bent down, Stan whispered: "That's Chloe! She's a part of my family!"

"And you both got switched up?" Emma asked, now listening.

At that moment, Chloe saw her dog, and she hurried down the stairs and squeezed him. "Stan!" she yelled.

As Jessie came downstairs, Chloe looked suspisiously from Luke to Emma.

"Did you notice anything…different about this dog? " she asked.

"Well, although he only barks, it seems as if he…speaks to us." Emma replied with a wink.

Chloe got the message.