Mouse and Bears in the Woods



Mouse and Bears in the Woods

My phone jingles softly with the Cantina Song from Stars Wars. Alexi.

“What’s up?” I ask.

“Look at the satellite.”

I pull up the app that Alexi created and immediately see the problems. “Damn. I need you to call Room 5 at the Hilltop Motel. The guy’s name is Joe. Tell him to get out of there. Leave no trace. And thanks, Alexi. I owe you.”

“Just one more for the list,” he says, laughing softly.

“Who’s counting?”

“I am, Gigi. I always am.”

I end the call and study the satellite imagery on my cell.

“Gigi,” Tom murmurs. No doubt wondering about this name. When I don’t expound, he moves on.

He stares at my phone as I maneuver the satellite imagery. It’s just like google, but realtime and without a censor.

“A roadblock?” he asks.

“Yeah. Who are these dudes? They’re going to a lot of trouble,” I say. “Something to do with the last mission?”

Tom shrugs, shaking his head. He wipes his hand over his face. “Seemed pretty routine to me.”

We’re quiet for a few minutes. A wood thrush calls with the gentle rush of a breeze through the scrub pine. Beads of sweat collect on my forehead. I imagine that Tom must be feeling pretty grim after his track over the mountain. I look at his profile, but he gives nothing away. If I could have ever envisioned myself as a solider, you know, once I got over having to make my bed to regs and exercise and wake up early and maybe eat things out a can (or was that only in old movies?), I might have been someone like him, only shorter with boobs. I can’t stop the grin that crosses my lips on that thought.

“What are you smiling about?” he asks, his eyebrow quirked.

“Just thinking about how much you and I are alike.”

He laughs. Outright. Like it might have been one of the funniest things he’s ever heard. Huh. I’ve never really heard him laugh like that. Of course, it is at my expense.

“You and me are as different as chocolate and vanilla.”

“Both flavors.”

“Water and air.”

“Both have oxygen.”

I almost yelp when he pulls me onto his lap, his lips smothering mine. I tremble when his forefinger traces my jaw. As I pull back, my eyes meet his. I concede that we are indeed different and in most definitely agreeable ways.

“You win,” I say breathlessly.

“No surprise there.”

“But a lot of ego.”

“You know we can’t drive out of here,” he says.

“We’ll just camp.”

He glances around. A short distance away is the camp store and sign-in. “We have no supplies,” he says and then shakes his head, grins, and looks at me. “Or do we?”

“All the comforts of camping are in my car.”

“I’ve never met anyone as prepared for everything as you.”

I lean my forehead against his stubbly jaw, knowing that a week ago this action would have been unthinkable.

I wish I had something funny to say, something smart, but the fact that everything my dad drilled into my head, even my belligerent, unwilling head, has become necessary, makes me incredibly sad. How did my life end up like this? Like my dad’s fortune-telling and doom and gloom scenario are all on the money? But I’m not that girl. I am not doom and gloom. Maybe a little goth. Maybe a little cynical. Maybe a lot hacker punk. Maybe Lisbeth Salander Extra Lite. But not Doom and Gloom (cue The Rolling Stones). So I’m going to put it down to being tired, which sleeping in a tent in the woods with bears around is not going to help. Great, bears in the woods. I am so not that girl. Time for a makeover. Again.

end 2/7/2017

S. Darlington

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